24 January 2018
5 things you should know about pool care
Looking after your pool is the best way to ensure it stays in peak condition throughout the year. In this post, we look at five things to keep in mind when considering your pool's general health.
However, the best way to maintain your pool is to observe the mantra of “little and often”. By performing tasks regularly, you can prevent a small issue from becoming a more serious problem that might require putting your pool out of action to fix the problem.
The first step to maintaining your pool is to ensure that the water is correctly treated. This means regularly testing the chemical and pH levels of the water. It's relatively simple to perform using test kits sold by a pool shop. These kits will determine the alkalinity of the water, as well as its pH (acidity), cyanuric acid, hardness and chlorine levels. Each of these elements should be at a specific level. If allowed to stray too far outside the prescribed levels, it may necessitate more drastic action, such as draining the pool entirely.
Fortunately, a regular service will include water testing. Your pool engineer will also correct the water levels if necessary.
Alongside water testing, it’s important to use your pool pump regularly and correctly. A key part of your pool's circulation system, the pool pump is especially useful for making sure chemicals are evenly dispersed throughout the water. A variable speed pump will work continuously, varying the pump rate depending on usage. Pool pumps can also help identify a leak before it becomes a problem. In the event of a leak at the pump, you may find that the pool water is cloudy, taking longer to recycle, or that the pressure appears weaker than normal.
Although your filters should last for years, regular maintenance can extend their lifespan.This means checking the skimmer baskets or pump strainers, making sure they're free of any debris or hair. If you have sand filters, you can clean them by reversing the flow of the water through the sand. This agitates the sand bed and removes dirt and other small particles. Fortunately, this process takes just a few minutes – again, the mantra of “little and often” makes small work of issues that can become bigger problems further down the line.
Cartridge filters are a bit more work, but still simple and straightforward enough. Periodically, remove the filter and soak the element in acidic degreasing agents. You could even purchase two sets of filters, replacing the ones in need of cleaning immediately.
If you’re in search of the best water quality, consider replacing your filter media with AFM. The letters AFM stand for “Activated Filter Material”, a new type of filter media made from clean green glass that has been subjected to several specialised processes to change its composition. It’s major benefit is the more efficient way it filters pollutants from the water. This makes your pool more economically and ecologically efficient. And because it is bioresistant, bacteria will not be able to take root in the filter itself, unlike other kinds of filters. A sand filter may need to be replaced after a year, depending on workload and maintenance - an AFM filter will likely last years.
For outdoor pools, it's a good idea to regularly shock your pool. This will keep the chlorine in the water working effectively. It is required more often outdoors because sunlight can burn off chlorine and feed algal bloom under the right circumstances.
For this reason, try to shock your pool in the evening – that way the chemicals are not disturbed or diluted by sunlight exposure. Indoor pools require shocking less frequently, but should be done at least every two months, if not monthly.
After shocking, always re-test the water before getting back into the pool. If the chemicals fail to disperse properly, or too little time has passed, it may harm the skin.
Watch the Water Levels
The water level can drop for any number of reasons. Leaks, splashes and evaporation can all lead to a lower water level. Unfortunately, if there's too little water then it may not reach the filters properly. This means the pool will not be thoroughly cleaned, leading to algal bloom or cloudy water.
When performing other maintenance tasks, be sure to keep an eye on the water level. In the event that the water level drops, prompt action can prevent damage in the long term.
Regular servicing is key to keeping your pool in tip-top condition and you could simply let the professional take the strain. A regular programme of service visits from a qualified pool engineer will cover all aspects of pool care so you can enjoy your pool without even thinking about maintenance.
At London Swimming Pool Company we specialise in swimming pool maintenance, servicing and refurbishment, so if you have a pool that’s in need of regular maintenance or a facelift, contact us for an initial discussion – there’s no substitute for expert advice. If you have an older swimming pool that needs upgrading, we suggest planning your refurbishment for the autumn, so all the work is done and dusted before the next swimming season.