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What you need to know about your pool
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Our Newsletter


What you need to know about your pool

INTRODUCTION

A swimming pool provides the benefit of relaxation, pleasure and healthy exercise as well as a point of visual focus when built in a garden at home.

However, water in a swimming pool is constantly being contaminated, by bacteria and dirt carried in by bathers and the environment which support bacterial growth and look unsightly.

A routine maintenance schedule must be actively pursued in order to help achieve and maintain water chemistry.  Initially, pool maintenance may seem complicated and time-consuming.  But, once routine maintenance becomes an integrated part of your life as a pool owner, it will be very easy to maintain your pool.  Furthermore, as you continually engage in pool maintenance, you will begin to develop an understanding of your personal pool needs.

Once your pool is clean, clear, blue and sparkling, it becomes much easier to maintain.  It is always easier to maintain a pool and prevent problems than it is to rectify problems.

Pool water must be treated appropriately for safety, ensuring that the water quality approximates that of potable water.

PHYSICAL ASPECTS

To make the most of your pool a basic understanding of the volume of water, filtration and factors that influence pool water, like rain, wind, temperature, number of swimmers (bathing load), etc. is essential.

The volume of water in a pool can be roughly calculated as follows:

Use a tape measure and measure in metres.  If a tape measure is not available then by counting the number of steps to measure the pool (each a big step = one metre) and using deep-end + shallow-end divided by two = an average depth of your pool.  You may calculate a surprisingly accurate volume of pool water.

Rectangular or square pools:  length x width x average depth x 1000 = number of liters.

Oval, round & weird shaped pools:  circumference (start at weir, walk around pool back to weir) of pool divided by 3 =? (to get the length).  Length divided by 2 =? (to get the width) Then work on above equasion to get the number of liters.

(e.g.: L x W x A.D x 1000=litres in pool)

 

FILTRATION

Filtration plays an essential part in achieving the perfect swimming pool.  No matter what chemicals are used, without an efficient filter, or dirty sand, the pool water can never be kept clean.

The purpose of the filter is to remove foreign materials such as dust, leaves, algae, dirt, body oils, other organic matter, suntan lotions etc. from the pool.  If pool water is not filtered enough or adequately, an excess of pool chemicals must be used to maintain the pool and even then the pool water will tend to be problematic.

Filters will get clogged up periodically.  This will show on the filter's pressure gauge.  When this happens the filter must be cleaned, in order to continue operating efficiently. 

Filter sand roughly has a life span of about 2 years.  Depending on the individual needs of every pool, sand might even need to be replaced more often than every 2 years.

The amount of filtering needed varies according to the size of the pool, the condition of the filter, the condition of the pool cleaner, the bathing load (number of swimmers using the pool), the weather, wind, rain, sunshine, and the neighboring territory, nearby factories, open sandy ground, highways or airports.

We strongly suggest 12 hours filtering time during summer, and 8 hours in winter, if the correct pump & filter are installed.

In other word take care of your Filtration in order to SAVE MONEY on chemicals.

CHEMICAL ASPECTS

For practical reasons a basic understanding of just a few factors will enable you to take care of 95% of pool water problems.  These factors are:

1.  pH

The balance between acidity and alkalinity is referred to as pH or potential hydrogen.  It ranges from a pH of 1 (strong acidic) to a pH of 14 (strong alkaline) with a pH of 7 being neutral.  The actions of pool chemicals are affected by the pH of the water and for this reason it is very important to control the pH correctly.

A pool’s pH should be maintained between 7.2 and 7.6 for the most comfortable swimming, economical use of chemicals, minimum corrosion or scaling, and undisturbed water balance.

Regular use of a test kit to establish pH levels is vitally important.  Controlling pH prevents a large proportion of pool problems, and ensures the pool is maintained most economically. 

pH is tested by taking a 10ml pool sample and adding either 5 drops of phenol red solution or 1 phenol red test tablet.  If the pH is ideal the test sample will turn orange, if high it wil turn red and if low it will turn yellow.

Decrease pH by adding Hydrochloric Acid.  Sodium Bisulphate or Dry Acid may also be used.

Increase pH by adding Soda Ash (Sodium Carbonate) to plastered pools or Alkalinity Increase (Sodium Bi-Carbonate).  Always use small doses checking 2 hourly to gradually adjust the pH either up or down.

2.  Water balance

Just as water tries to balance its level physically it also tries to balance itself chemically.  Chemical balance is maintaining the essential amount of carbonates, calcium and pH so that the water has no desire to get chemical compounds from the pool cement, tile grouting, pool equipment, etc.  When the water is balanced and at ‘rest’ the pool chemicals can work properly and economically to keep it trouble free.

A reasonable water balance can be achieved as follows:

-    Once a week check and control pH between 7.2 and 7.6 by using either acid or soda ash/alkalinity increase.

-    Once a month check the total alkalinity.  Ranges on plastered surfaces should be between 80 and 120ppm, and on fiberglass or smooth surface pools between 125 and 150ppm.

3.  Total Dissolved Solids

Total dissolved solids or TDS refers to the total amount of organic, inorganic matter and metals dissolved in the water.  Pool test kits do not measure TDS but by keeping a good water balance, regular back washing and adequate filtration, TDS problems can be avoided.

If you suspect that your pool might have TDS problems, we strongly suggest that you bring in a water sample for us to test.

4.  Bacteria/Algae

Approximately 250 – 300 varieties of algae exist on earth, some dating back 170 million years and are still in the same form.  Algae are extremely resistant forms of growth, and are able to withstand most of man’s efforts to kill them.  Certain forms of algae can be killed, but not eradicated completely, because algae are constantly perpetuated by nature.

In layman’s terms, we deal with three main forms of algae in swimming pools, namely:

-      Green Algae

-      Black Algae

-      Mustard Algae

Green Algae is either free floating, which is a mild form, or green growing algae found on pool steps and on mosaic tiles.  Two10 Blue may be used to control this algae.

Black Algae is probably the most resistant of the above three forms.  Usually seen in the deep end of pools on the shady side first.  The water may well be crystal clear but these “black” spots occur.  They can be brushed off in the initial stages but brushing alone will not kill this algae.  If left too long the roots of black algae will become established in the concrete wall of a pool, which makes it almost impossible to kill completely.  Black Algae is a term used to describe a variety of dark coloured organisms that are highly resistant.  Some types form an outer skin that acts as a repellent, protecting it from chemicals.  Black Algae requires a powerful algaecide like Two10 Algaecide and vigorous, regular brushing plus Two10 Clarifier to flocculate.

Mustard Algae appears in sheet form on the walls of the swimming pool.  If not checked and killed, this algae will spread into huge patches on the pool walls and floor, eventually causing stains that are extremely difficult to remove.  In harsh, humid weather this algae growth will appear frequently and must be dealt with as it appears.  This form of algae is the consequence of under dosing when sanitizing a pool, the cells are injured but not killed, they change colour and develop a higher resistance to treatment.

BRUSHING

Brushing is extremely important but often overlooked, task towards maintaining your pool.  Brushing will remove microscopic matter from the pool walls and floor, suspend this matter in the water, and will be filtered out of the pool.

Note:  If the microscopic matter is too small and remains in the pool, you will need to add a Clarifier to coagulate these small particles into larger particles, where they will be trapped by the filter.

Always brush the pool from the walls to the floor, using a top to bottom brush technique.  Start at the shallow end and brush towards the deep end.  Brushing takes no more than a few minutes of work (depending on the pool size), and should be done at least twice per week (and perhaps more often if landscaping or construction are underway near your pool).  You should also make sure to brush the day before vacuuming the pool.  When you do this, make sure the pump and filter are operational for a couple of hours after brushing so that the skimmer(s) can remove the recently brushed dirt and debris from the pool.

Brushing is the one of the easiest items of the maintenance schedule.  If, however, brushing is neglected and favorable conditions should allow for an outbreak of algae, brushing will need to be done daily, and perhaps multiple times per day, and it will be time-consuming and labor-intensive.  Therefore, make sure brushing is part of your routine maintenance schedule to avoid getting into a position as mentioned previously.