One of the biggest mistakes swimming pool owners and operators make when getting ready for the swimming season is leaving everything last minute.
We tend to do this with numerous facets of our lives, shopping, changing light bulbs etc. But, when cleaning a pool, we also have to take care of all the mechanisms that help us enjoy clean water in the summer. Skimmers and skimmer flaps, skimmer baskets, main drain covers, return jets are just the items you can see from the patio surrounding the pool, but what about the things you cannot see? The equipment in the pump house. Filters and pumps, electricity boxes, pipes, and valves, all these things need to be checked to ensure you have a trouble-free swimming season.
Compare running a pool to running a car.
- If you don’t service the car, it will break down. Check the pool pump, bearings etc.
- Not checking and cleaning the filter, you will have running issues or a cloudy pool.
- If you don’t change the tyres (valve for swimming pools), you will have an accident, leaks or an even worse blockage that leads to a complete pump failure.
- If you don’t balance your wheels, the car will not run correctly. If you don’t balance your water, the pool will not be clean or clear.
The main issue we have is the makeup and balance of the water.
Many people associate chlorine with cleaning the pool. However, chorine is there to solely eradicate bacteria and microorganisms. That’s it. However, maintaining the correct Ph balance of water in the pool will lead to crisp, clear water. So, getting the balance right early in the season is essential.
We need to split our pool into four sections for the best results in the run-up to the swimming season.
Testing – Test the water frequently for the essential seven elements as below
- Free chlorine – the chlorine that is available in the pool to kill the bacteria
- Total chlorine – the total amount of chlorine in the pool
- Combined chlorine – is harmful chlorine in the pool that needs removing. This calculation is “Total Chlorine minus Free chlorine = combined chlorine”.
- PH. The measure of Acid v Base of the pool water, the testing range is acceptable from 7.2-7.8, but the preferred range is 7.4-7.6.
- Alkalinity. The ability of the water to resist change in the PH. Alkalinity is an anchor for the PH, get the alkalinity right, and the PH will be easier to maintain!
- Calcium Hardness. Calcium is the only mineral desired in the water with an acceptable 200 -400 ppm range. Low calcium is corrosive, and high calcium will result in scaling.
- Cyanuric Acid. CY Acid (stabiliser) is essential in pools to protect chlorine from burning off. High readings will result in the chlorine being masked and requiring more chorine to ensure the killing process works correctly. We need the measurements between 30-50 ppm when testing CY Acid. Under 30 and chlorine will burn away, but over 50 ppm and the CY Acid will negatively affect the chlorine, resulting in more chlorine required to perform the task. Finally, this raises the CY Acid as most chlorine we use (Tri-chlor / Di-chlor, granules or tablet) contain CY Acid as part of its ingredients.
For further information on the correct test procedures, please contact us.
Cleaning for the Swimming Season.
When cleaning a pool, especially during the swimming season, we all assume it’s just a case of hoovering the dirt to the filter. There are many other aspects of cleaning a pool and brushing the walls. Avoid Algae build-up. And get any lingering spores to the base ready to vacuum. Make sure you brush around the lights and the return ports to get all the dirt to the bottom.
Vacuuming, take this process slowly to ensure you clean the entire floor.
If you hurry, you will elevate the smaller particles of dust into the water, where it will take them 12-24 hrs to settle again. If the pool is filthy, vacuum to waste to ensure you don’t block the filter or the pump.
- Never backwash the filter every time you vacuum. Use the pressure gauge on the filter to tell you when to backwash. If you backwash too frequently, you will never get a clear pool and eventually damage the filter media (sand /glass).
- Treatment. Testing guides you as to the current state of the water. Equally, testing informs you how many chemicals you need to add to bring the individual readings to industry standards. Add your chemicals after cleaning and backwashing (if required) and ensure you add the correct amount. Do not underdose or overdose, thinking you will achieve a more satisfactory result. It merely will cost you extra money to rectify the next time you perform the tests and balance.
- Repeat. The best way to keep your pool clean and healthy is to repeat the process. (Daily if possible). The more you test, clean and treat your pool, the better it will look. You will also find that repetition brings less work and more settled balance to the water, making cleaning a healthy and satisfying process.
Finally, we have to balance the water, which takes time and patience but will ensure the water looks clear and allows the rest of the system to operate correctly, leading to fewer issues throughout the swimming season.
Water balance is the correct ratio of mineral content and PH that prevents the water from becoming corrosive or scale forming—testing and balancing pool water delivery a saturation index to calculate the correct readings and additions required.
For more information on this testing and all these processes, don’t hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
All these tests are taught and performed in the Certified Pool and Spa Operator (CPO) training course.
A swimming pool can go green or certainly off colour overnight, but it will take several days to rectify correctly. Remember, prevention is better than cure ushering in a trouble-free swimming season
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