Summer Pool Care
Summer is peak season for the family pool. Kids are on holidays, they invite their friends over and everyone spends hours playing and relaxing. But, with this high swim load comes the need for a stepped up maintenance program and more attention to water quality.
Pool water chemical levels are constantly changing throughout summer because of the extreme weather conditions, extra oils from the skin of swimmers and the leaves and dirt that gets blown around by the easterly winds.
After several hot days, a summer storm or an increased number of swimmers, chlorine levels will drop suddenly causing leaves to stain the floor or the water colour to change quickly becoming cloudy or dirty.
In a pool with high use in summer, pool water pH testing should be undertaken every second day and perhaps even daily to ensure that the water is safe for swimmers.
AFTER A SUMMER STORM
Western Australia often experiences summer storms with the most obvious problem being more leaves in the pool, but garden run-off and storms from inland areas can also cause excess phosphates to enter the pool, making it go green overnight.
After a storm, spend some time tidying up around the pool. Scoop out the leaves before they get into the skimmer basket to make sure that they don’t form a blockage and check the water level of the pool. Excess rain may have caused the water level to rise above the skimmer box meaning that the filtration system won’t work effectively.
Heavy rain will cause chlorine levels to drop significantly so a water analysis should be undertaken. Bring a water sample in to Better Pets and Gardens for a free analysis. Our printed report will give you clear advice on how to return your water to the level required for the family to swim in.
A summer ‘shocking’ may be necessary after heavy rain or hot weather. This will help destroy visible algae, restore low chlorine levels and burn off excess organic waste in the water.
Check the timers, clock and any circuitry to ensure that lightening or surges haven’t caused any damage.
PREPARING FOR HOLIDAYS
Before going away on holidays, disconnect the cleaner or vacuum and store it away and remember to take the vac pack out of the skimmer box as this may cause the pump to suck air since the cleaner won’t be attached.
Fill the pool as high as possible to reduce the amount of leaves in the skimmer basket. On returning from holidays, the pool might end up a bit dirtier but there will be less chance of excess leaves damaging the pumps.
If your pool has a blanket, make sure to turn the chlorine generator down as a full pool blanket will lead to high levels of chlorine since there is almost none lost through evaporation. A very high level of chlorine in the water for an extended period can damage equipment, including the blanket.
Finally, get a neighbour to pop in every few days to check the pool and clean the skimmer basket. They can even bring in a water sample from your pool to Better Pets and Gardens as, if you have had your water tested with us before, we will have your pool records available and can offer your neighbour free advice on maintaining the water quality.
TESTING FOR A POOL LEAK
In the heat of summer, it is sometimes impossible to tell if the drop in water levels is from a leak in the pool or just from evaporation on the long, sunny days. To find out what is happening, try this simple bucket test.
Fill a bucket to about two-thirds full with water from the pool and put it on the top step. Put a brick inside it to weight it down. Use a waterproof marker pen to mark the water level of the bucket on the inside and then mark the water level of the pool on the outside of the bucket.
Monitor the water levels for several days. If the pool level has dropped more than the water in the bucket there will be a leak somewhere in the pool. But, if the water levels of the pool and the bucket drop by a similar amount then the loss of water will be due to normal evaporation.