Put­ting your pool first

NT News - Real Estate - - Realestate Territory Builders - JEN­NIFER VEERHUIS

We have a pool in our back­yard and it’s not look­ing the best af­ter win­ter. What do I need to do to get it swim ready for sum­mer? Hav­ing a pool in the back­yard can be a lot of fun but it also re­quires reg­u­lar work by the home­owner.

Swimart pool and spa care ex­pert Rick Gra­ham says home­own­ers tend to check the wa­ter qual­ity less of­ten and they run their fil­ters for fewer hours over win­ter.

“This drier weather has left many pools low in wa­ter treat­ment chem­i­cals and salt, sim­ply be­cause own­ers have had to top them up with tap wa­ter more of­ten,” Rick says.

“While our tap wa­ter is clear and healthy to drink, it causes a chem­i­cal im­bal­ance in pool wa­ter as it lacks chlo­rine and is gen­er­ally high in pH and cal­cium hard­ness, which leads to the growth of al­gae and harm­ful bac­te­ria.”

Rick says haz­ard re­duc­tion burns have fur­ther com­pro­mised pool wa­ter qual­ity.

“The dust and de­bris that set­tles on the sur­face pro­vide food for al­gae, which turns pools an un­sightly green,” he says.

“Al­gae also puts swim­mers at risk of get­ting sick from the wa­ter­borne bac­te­ria it har­bours. Many own­ers will find they need to treat their pool wa­ter with a higher dose of chlo­rine and add al­gae­cide and acid at the start of spring to make it clear and healthy.

“The first step to cre­at­ing a clean and healthy pool is to test the wa­ter qual­ity ei­ther at home with a kit or at your lo­cal pool care store. A test will re­veal your wa­ter’s pH and chlo­rine lev­els, which de­ter­mines treat­ment. The op­ti­mum pH for pool wa­ter is 7.4, which is slightly al­ka­line and en­ables chlo­rine to do its job.”

Some busi­nesses of­fer free test­ing. “Many pool own­ers con­sult with an ex­pert as the right prod­ucts and dos­ing quan­ti­ties are vi­tal to re­bal­ance their wa­ter and en­sure it’s clean and healthy,” Rick says. “It also costs less when you know ex­actly the right prod­uct and dosage.”

Rick says the next step is to clear your pool’s equip­ment be­fore you add prod­uct to the wa­ter.

“Turn on your pump if it isn’t al­ready run­ning and check and clear the fil­ter, skim­mer box and pump to en­sure they’re all work­ing ef­fi­ciently,” he says.

“If the fil­ter car­tridge needs clean­ing, sim­ply wash it with the hose. If you have a Di­atoma­ceous Earth (D.E.) fil­ter, you may need to take it apart and clean it thor­oughly with a small brush and wa­ter to re­move cal­cium de­posits. If you have a sand fil­ter, set it to back­wash to flush it out then re­turn it to its nor­mal set­ting.”

Warm wa­ter can lower pool wa­ter qual­ity, so reg­u­lar main­te­nance over the wet sea­son months is im­por­tant.

”Heat, hu­mid­ity and long hours of sun­shine can help al­gae grow, which com­pro­mises your pool wa­ter’s qual­ity and look,” Rick says.

“The best de­fence against al­gae is chlo­rine. With on­go­ing hot weather, pools don’t get the chance to cool down overnight, so the chlo­rine de­mand re­mains high.”

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