Putting your pool first
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.”