Depending on where you grew up, you might not know there are different kinds of pools. After all, apart from the shape and depth, all pools are equal, right? Maybe you’ve heard of indoor pools or heated pools, but other than that, you may be unfamiliar with pool variety.
Well, Australia is pool country, so the options are endless. You can get pools in different colours, and with finishes ranging from concrete to vinyl. Your pool can be salt water or fresh water, chlorinated or unchlorinated, oval or square.
Around the world, traditional pools are dug into the ground, but above ground pools are becoming increasingly common. These are pre-assembled pools that are lined with metal or vinyl. The parts are delivered to your home, and you can install the pool yourself or hire a local pool crew to do it for you.
All pools require a pump to keep the water flowing and a filter to get rid of any contaminants, so maintaining a pool is the same whether the water is salty or chlorine treated. Above ground pools and in-ground pools also follow the same maintenance regimes.
Daily pool maintenance is basic. Just use a skimmer to remove leaves and surface dirt, and make sure the filter runs for a few hours to keep the water clean. If your pool becomes stagnant, it can breed harmful microorganisms and start to smell. It will also change colour, and nobody wants that, so keep the filter active.
If your pool is unused for a while, due to weather or travel, close the pool. Run the filter for a few days to get rid of all potential toxins, add an extra dose of algaecide and salt or chlorine, then remove pool accessories like ladders, skimmer baskets, and even the filter itself. Cover the pool securely and leave it shut down until ‘swimming season’ returns.
Even if your pool is closed during the winter, you’ll need to check on it once in a while to see that all is well. Run the pump once a month or so, to make sure the water hasn’t frozen and damaged the pool. If you’re away from home, you can ask a friend or professional pool crew to do this for you. If not, you may end up spending on unnecessary repairs.
While the pool is open, you can use a pool brush or vacuum to clean the floor and sides of the pool once a week. It gets rid of surface debris. This is a bit more challenging if you’ve installed an above ground pool without a deck. Consider this during installation, and allow a bit of a platform that you can walk on as you clean your pool.
As you brush the pool surfaces, check skimmer baskets. They will hold any leaves or insects that have accumulated in the pool, so empty them and rinse them out. Your pool filter needs cleaning too, but you should only do so twice a year. Over-cleaning will affect efficiency. Your pool crew will advise you on timing, but filters need replacing every 3 to 5 years.
You may not think about it very often, but the water in your pool needs specific maintenance. Check the pH levels on alternate days to make sure it’s suitable for use. Safe pool pH is 7.2 to 7.8. Look for the levels of chlorine, salt, calcium, trace metals, and other dissolved particles. Adjust levels to maintain a safe pH.
Sometimes, your pool has an intense chlorine smell, and this might make you think you’ve put too much chemical. Usually, though, it’s the reaction between chlorine and other substances like ammonia. Remove the stench by shocking your pool with a large dose of chlorine. This neutralises the reactive elements and returns the pool to normal.
You also need to keep an eye on water volume. If it’s dropping too fast, there may be a leak that needs fixing. On ordinary days though, your pool loses water through splashing and evaporation, so you need to make sure the water stays at safe levels.
The water shouldn’t fall below the skimmer because if it does, the pump might get damaged. If the water level is too low, refill the pool with a garden hose. Follow these maintenance tips on both your in-ground and above ground pools. They will save you a lot of cash on repairs and will ensure you can enjoy your swim whenever the mood strikes you.