Pool maintenance is about plumbing, water chemistry and common sense. Listed below are 10 important things about looking after your swimming pool:
1. Most problems are caused by incorrect pH. pH is the acidity balance. Use a testing kit. A pH of 7 is neutral, 8 is alkaline, and 6 is acidic. Pools should be maintained at pH 7.2
As this is the most important thing, make sure that you adjust your pool to the correct pH. If your pH is above 7.4 ad pH- (which is an acid). If your pH is below 7.0 ad pH+ (which is an alkali). Chlorine does not work very well when the pool pH is too high and algae can more easily grow.
When adding chemicals first add them to water in a bucket to dissolve them, then add to the pool slowly at the inlets with the pump on.
Always follow the instructions on packs – pool chemicals are potentially dangerous.
2. The next most important thing is maintaining the correct amount of free chlorine in the water. It should be 1.5 ppm (parts per million) but a value between 1 and 3 ppm is OK. If there is no chlorine detected with your testing kit, the pool is not safe to swim. If there is no chlorine at all in the pool immediately add 10 grams of shock dose (granulated or powdered chlorine) per cubic metre of water. For an 8m x 4m pool, this would be about 450 grams. Add it to the skimmers while the pump is running, and leave it running for at least 4 hours.
3. Twice weekly checks are important. A pool should not be left without any maintenance for long periods. Checks should be for chlorine and pH levels and adjustments should be made. Keep the pool topped up – half way up the skimmer mouths is the correct level. If the pool gets too low it can suck air, annoying your neighbours with the noise, and possible damaging your pump impellers.
4. Once a week, vacuum the bottom of the pool, and brush the sides to remove all dust, soil and any slight algae growth. A well maintained pool should not grow algae, but we all lapse sometimes! Keeping your pool clean means that less chlorine is required to maintain sanitisation.
5. Deal with algae growth immediately! If your pool starts to turn green, get on top of the problem. Ensure the pH is at 7.2. Add 15 grams of shock dose chlorine to the skimmers for each cubic metre of water. This is about 700 grams for an 8m x 4m pool. Add it to the skimmers with the pump running. Hoover the pool and brush the sides and ensure that daily checks are made until the problem has definitely been cleared.
6. Do not add chlorine tablets to the skimmers. Use a floating chlorine dispenser. This helps to protects the skimmer area and associated pipework from extremely high chlorine levels which can damage the pipework.
7. Once a week in the summer months only, when the pool is above 18ºC add 450ml of liquid algicide to an 8m x 4m pool (approx 10ml per cubic metre). This will help to keep algae at bay.
NOTE: Different makes of algicide have different concentrations so check the instructions.
8. For safety reasons, it is best to never bathe alone. It is also imperative that young children are not allowed unrestricted access to pool areas. Sadly there are many cases of drowning in pools in Spain every year.
It is recommended that you do not bathe in the pool until 2 hours has elapsed after adding chemicals.
9. Remember that once the pressure on the sand filter dial reaches the yellow area, the filter needs to be backwashed. To do this, turn off the pump. Then move the multi-port valve to backwash. Run the pump for the time suggested in the filter manual. Usually 90 seconds or until the waste runs clear (if you can see it). Then stop the pump change the valve to rinse and run for 30 seconds. Always stop the pump before changing the multi-valve positions.
10. If you have difficulty with your pool call in an expert. Your pool is worth a lot of money and sometimes you need to spend a little on extra help.
Most of all, enjoy your pool and stay safe!