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Pool Tips

What’s best? Should I clean my own pool, or should I pay a pool cleaning service to do it for me?

Cleaning your own pool has its advantages. For example, you can save money if you’re only paying for chemicals, and you are the labour. 

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Cleaning the swimming pool is a relatively easy task. Scoop the leaves, brush the walls, backwash the filter etc. etc. 

Swimming pool chemistry (although not everyone’s favourite topic) is also quite easy, when you know how. 

When training our teams up in ‘pool maintenance’, we like to split the service into sections or phases. 

  1. Inspect
  2. Clean
  3. Test
  4. Dose
  5. Record

 

  • Inspect

The first thing we do when arriving at the swimming pool is inspect the pool and collect data. 

Is the Kreepy working? If not what’s caused the automatic pool cleaner to stop working? Leaves stuck in the throat? Not enough suction power? Has the vacuum lid come off? Is the pool green? Why has the swimming pool turned green? Is the swimming pool pump making a noise? Has it been switched off? Why is it off, because of the timer switch? 

 

It’s important to make notes of these things because they can tell us a story about the pool. 

 

  • Clean

Clean the swimming pool. Using a leaf rake (as opposed to a leaf net) makes the pool much quicker to clean. A rake can hold more leaves than a net. 

 

Always brush the walls and the steps (at least once a week). This helps prevent algae growth on the pool walls and steps. 

 

Remove all the leaf traps, in the pump and in the weir, and make sure there is nothing obstructing or restricting the water flow. 

 

Backwash the filter. Tens of thousands of litres of water pass through the filter tank during the week. So it’s very important to backwash the filter periodically. Backwashing reverses the water flow through the filter, loosening the trapped dirt and sending it out to waste.

 

One can never get the filter sand back to its original clean state with a backwash, so there will come a time when the sand needs to be changed. (There are products available that can chemically clean the sand filter, and this usually extends the life span of the filter sand). Every swimming pool is different, so there’s no set time limit to changing sand - the industry norm, however, is 1 - 2 years.

 

  • Test

Even if the swimming pool water is crystal clear, the pool pH and chlorine residual should be checked once a week - and even more often if the pool is undergoing a treatment of some sort.

 

Testing the water helps us identify problems before they happen. A new test kit (or refill reagents) every season is worth the money. The booklet inside should clearly explain how to test, and how to resolve certain water balance and sanitizer situations.

 

The basic pH and chlorine tests are sufficient to perform once a week, however, there are other aspects of water balance which are equally important. (Stabiliser, Calcium Hardness, Total Alkalinity etc) It’s often best to leave these tests up to a professional pool company to do.

 

If you can find a pool company that is registered with the National Spa and Pool Institute of South Africa (NSPI), they should have a sophisticated water testing lab. If they’ve done the training, they should be able to explain exactly what to do to keep the rest of the water balance in check. This will make your pool maintenance even easier and cheaper.  

 

  • Dose

Dosing the swimming pool is an important function. Our test results tell us what the water needs, and then we add it to the swimming pool as per the instructions on the label.

 

Some pool experts tend to confuse their customers by changing the instruction that come on the packaging. But if we keep it basic, then it’s easy for everyone to follow. Largely, we’ve found that we get best results when we dose our pools bearing the following in mind:

 

  1. Clean the media (filter sand) leaf traps out first.
  2. Balance the water. (pH especially)
  3. Oxidise the water (shock the pool if necessary).
  4. Sanitize, making sure there is a continuous feed of sanitiser entering the pool for enough days between the testing and dosing.
  5. Use algaecides if necessary. Some bacteria and algae strains are resistant to very high levels of chlorine, so it could become necessary to use an algaecide from time to time.
  6. Clarifiers. Often, the suspended dirt particles in water are too fine to be trapped in the filter sand. There are swimming pool water clarifiers available which bind the fine dirt particles together so they become big enough to get trapped in the sand filter.  

 

  • Record

Recording test results isn’t essential if you, as a pool owner, are testing your own backyard pool. However, we encourage it. (Our swimming pool maintenance team keep log sheets of every service and we check them regularly to forecast and prevent problems before they become costly.) One can see trends between seasons and high bather loads, and keeping a record of this will form an intrinsic knowledge of a swimming pool and how it behaves under certain circumstances. 

Tip No. 1

How do I get my swimming pool water crystal clear?

We use a brilliant BioGuard product called Polysheen Blue. It’s a concentrated water clarifier, only 15ml needed per 10, 000l of pool water. We’ve been using it our pools in Durban North for 13 years and have never been disappointed. 

Tip No. 2

How do prevent my chlorine reading dropping to zero? Stabilise your pool water.

To protect the chlorine from being zapped out of your pool by UV rays from the sun, add SunShield stabiliser. This will help to keep a chlorine residual in your swimming pool water, even on Durban’s sunniest of days.

Tip No. 3

What should I do after my pool has just been re-plastered? (Marbelite)

The single most important thing to do once your pool has been re-surfaced and topped up with fresh tap water is to balance it. Every pool we re-surface gets balanced by us, on start-up, with calcium, Sodium Bicarbonate, and Stabliser. This ensures the proper curing and longevity of your newly plastered pool surface.

Tip No. 4

How often should I change the sand in my filter?

This depends entirely on how the pool is used. Do dogs swim in the pool? Do you have a high bather load, with lots of kids and lots of suntan lotion going into the pool? If you do, we recommend changing the sand in your filter every 2 years.

Tip No. 5

My Kreepy keeps getting stuck on the steps.

If your Kreepy or Pool Cleaner gets stuck in places in your swimming pool, there are a few things you can try:

1. Take one hose off

2. Put an extra hose on

3. Try changing the direction the aimflow jet is shooting water in

4. Increase the suction strength on the flow control valve

5. Try using a different pool cleaner to see if it works better - borrow one from a friend

Tip No. 6

How can I clean the scum-line off my swimming pool tiles?

We use a great product called Off The Wall made by BioGuard. It’s perfect for swimming pools as it doesn’t affect the water balance like house hold cleaners would. Easy to spray on, let the foam soak, and then wipe it off. (Older scum-lines are harder to remove, so the process may need to be repeated.)

Tip No. 7

My pool keeps going green after the rain.

Every time it rains or there’s a thunderstorm, a swimming pool can easily turn green for a number of reasons. We use a great product called BackUp by BioGuard. In the event that the chlorine in the pool gets depleted, BackUp helps algae prevention, which in turn saves you having to keep shocking the pool after rain storms.

Tip No. 8

How do I get my pH in my swimming pool right, and prevent pH bounce?

If you find it difficult to manage your pH readings, then it could be that your Total Alkalinity is very low. Increase your pool water alkalinity - 80ppm (parts per million) to 120ppm in Marble Plaster Pools and 120ppm to 160ppm in Fibreglass Pools. Have your pool water tested at a professional pool shop with a professional water testing station to get your water fully analysed. 

Tip No. 9

How often should I test my pool water at home?

During the summer months, we recommend that you test your pool water at least once a week. This will keep you in the know about your pool’s water balance and can help you pick up potential problems, like your pool going green or cloudy, before it happens. 

Tip No. 10

Is a Salt Water pool easier to maintain?

Yes, it certainly is. Salt Chlorinators prevent you from having to physically add chlorine to your pool water. So this not only saves you time, but also saves you money. Note that not all Salt Chlorinators are equal, investigate and purchase a chlorinator that is manufactured by a reputable brand. 

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Durban South Africa has a high concentration of swimming pools, even though the beautiful warm Indian Ocean is right on our doorstep. BLUPOOL swimming pool services recently exhibited at the House & Garden show, building a temprary concrete (not gunite, but hand-packed) swimming pool with colour changing LED lights, a few water features and a sunken fire pit inside the pool. Here's what it looked like.

 

 

 

uneven plaster and pitting in swimming pool

A swimming pool owner in Durban had some concerns about his swimming pool:
1. Possible Cracking in the Corner of the pool
2. Marble plaster discoloured
3. Marble plaster pitting and surface uneven in places.


Jason Sanders from BLUPOOL Durban, a member of the National Spa and Pool Institute of South Africa, attended to the pool inspection and reported the following:

Read More: Cracking and Discolouration in Gunite Pools