The following article was written by Ian Tjasink, the Owner of BLUPOOL Westville. I hope you enjoy the read!
Swimming pools exist in nine out of ten gardens. Their popularity in sub-tropical climate might be very rewarding at times. In truth, the occasions that contribute to its justification are often questioned by the one paying the bill. Pool costs differ from pool to pool depending on trees, shade, temperature, filter, and, the most significant: surface material. What is always abundantly clear is that, when it isn’t that all-inviting Blue, it is an eye sore, a curse, and an added expense. We all know that if you don’t make the effort to get it blue again, the cost to do so will accumulate the longer you leave it. Most pools are quite easy to keep clean and, while they might not be crystal clear, a pool complements the look of one’s garden. It is then an asset.
At a time when there is a fad to collect water in plastic water tanks, one can’t help asking “why not use pool water?” – Of course, we can. Pool water is not poisonous. It is not the best water and can sometimes taste terrible. The acid makes it bitter; sodium bicarbonate and chlorine don’t help. But the percentages or part per million is not high enough to hurt. And if clean and properly dosed, it is sterile. I am not suggesting that we drink pool water: it is not ideal and pool water is expensive because adding council water to the pool depletes the chemical balance needed to make the pool clear. That then needs to be made up to maintain the all important balance, stability and ultimately that blue appearance. But then, tanked water is not ideal either! Tanked water will harbor more micro organisms and the dreaded mosquito larvae and can quite quickly become very dangerous. Unless the installation in inlet from the gutter is well protected, mice, frogs, geckoes and other small animals can fall in and rot. Clearly pool water is visually inspected by default. If you add a pressure pump to the filter piping, a simple connection to the house supply can supplement your water requirements for house toilets, showers, and washing machines. Your appliances can continue to serve their purpose without a plastic water tank.
The plastic tank is limited in size and is typically installed out of the way, so we don’t see the water or smell it. They are often quite small – the typical installations are 1000 to 5000 liters. This will only supply the house for perhaps a day or two, while the pool can deliver the needed water for 10 to 20 times that amount. Again, it is not ideal to have the pool level drop too much, as this can leave a staining at any level that is consistent for a length of time, depending on the finish material. Fiberglass is more forgiving than Marbleite. But if it is there, then it is a more attractive option than a plastic tank. The installation includes pipes from the pool to the house pipe supply, a non-return valve between the connection and the council, and a high pressure pump which has a pressure-control valve. All of this is required for the plastic tank option, but without the plastic tank.
Water preparation for human use has various requirements. Two typical alternatives we are used to are drinkable tap water – something we are used to in South Africa, and those of us that have travelled know that, in many other countries, is just not an option – and purchased bottled water. Bottled water has come under much scrutiny from time to time, as chemists have found some labels to be suspect. This is because preparing water to be bottled really means making it very sterile and yes, that might mean pure. In truth, additives help its stability and often the purest water is safe as long as it is consumed as soon as you open the lid. Letting bottled water stand is dangerous, too. Councils only have to prepare water for a short time, as in the council system water is limited to air exposure and sunlight. Once the water is treated, it is consumed within days, if not hours. This enables councils to need fewer stabilizers than bottlers or anyone storing water. Because pool water is held for maybe years, it needs so much chemical treatment. High alkalinity is needed to maintain natural pH – high acid levels to help kill germs. Chlorine alone will not keep a pool clean. The clarity of the pool is aided by polymers that attach small foreign particles together so that they will get caught in the filter, giving the pool water clarity. These algaecides give the water that terrible plastic taste and, ideally, we want as little of that as possible. We know that storing water needs filtration, sterilizers and clarifiers. So how can a tank alone be safe? While there are different methods to keep pool water safe, chlorine is the most common. There are salt chlorinators, but if the mix is right and the chlorinator is working properly, then the salty taste is barley obvious. While systems that are easily available make it challenging to manage the option of hydrogen peroxide, it is available. Hydrogen peroxide is more dangerous than chlorine in its sellable form but, when managed properly, it gives pool water the same benefit that chlorine does and can taste as good as spring water because it is a natural sterilizer. The only down-side is the cost of this option.
Any sterilizing option for pools is safe if consumed – that is why they’re used, and that is why we let our children swim with little concern. Although they’re not ideal and are perhaps expensive, they are safe in their correct dose as pool water.
Storing water is a simple and obvious solution to the fear we have of water shortages. It is comforting to know that there are ways to protect ourselves, and that we can continue our daily lives and adapt to a lifestyle with less water. Whether you choose a tank or a pool, you need not be outdone by not having a flushing toilet or a shower. If you would like more advice, call us at Blupools for assistance. We at Blupools not only offer a service of keeping your pool blue, but include repairs, maintenance, and modifications to more than just your pool.