When you think about it, a swimming pool is really nothing but a big container for water that gets filtered and treated to keep it clear. The problem is what can happen with that big container and the ever present issue of striving for crystal clear water. Many pool owners struggle to fix one problem and end up creating other ones that need to be dealt with. Getting rid of algae by using harsh chemicals often results in swimmers complaining of pool water that burns their eyes or dries their skin. Let’s take a look at the best routines and methods to maintain swimming pools.
Testing Pool Water
First things are first in any project, and fixing pool water problems begins with water analysis. A full service pool supply center will have a computerised water testing machine. Pool owners only need to bring in a sample of pool water. The test will reveal the condition of the water and the amount and type of chemical treatments that need to be added, cut back on or even omitted. Computerised pool testers using the Palintest photometer help customers avoid treating pool problems incorrectly. This ends up saving a lot of money in wasted pool chemicals. Water that has balanced level of proper pool chemicals for the local conditions will be sparkling clear and free of algae.
Filtering Pool Water
The filtration media is crucial for filtering pool water. Sand typically removes particles down to about 20 microns in size. Diatomaceous earth, sometimes referred to as D.E., can remove particles down to about 1 micron in size. What that means is D.E. filters can remove particles that are 20 times smaller than what sand filters can remove.
Diatomaceous earth is made up of fossilized diatoms that are, ironically, an algae that had a shell. It is a great water filtration media, but it is important to have a filter of the proper type and size for the liquid capacity of the pool and how much it will be used.
Many pool water quality problems are caused by not changing backwashing and re-adding D.E. as recommended, or not running the filter long enough on hot days to adequately filter all of the water in the pool. Another issue is filters with bump handles that are not cycled properly when the pressure begins to rise on the filter gauge.
One of the best things a pool owner can do when providing pool care is to connect a vacuum to the filter intake and manually clean the bottom and sides. Automated pool vacuums are available, but a good manual cleaning gets all of the nooks and crannies of pool liners where algae and debris like to hide. Pollen, grit, dirt from feet, pool toys and even insects and bird waste make their way into pools. Pool vacuums have a hose connected to a brush head that cycles water through the filter, which creates suction. The agitation of the brush head dislodges the debris, and the suction pulls it into the filter where it is trapped.
Daily Pool Care Regimen
It is nice to just run out and jump in the pool. However, someone needs to take the responsibility of making sure the pool is fit for use. Schedule a few minutes ahead of the first swimming session of the day to check the pool. It is important to do a visual inspection before letting anyone in the water. Anything from broken glass to reptiles, mammals or stinging insects could have entered the pool while it was unoccupied. Using a surface skimmer clears out the living and dead bugs, but an expert may be needed to remove other creatures.
Once the pool looks free of things that can cause harm, a few minutes should be spent vacuuming at least the bottom. Many pool owners only operate the filter when no swimmers are present, so this is a good time to connect the pool vacuum to the filter. Vacuuming reveals items on the bottom of the pool that may be hard to see from the surface. Contact with items on the bottom with the vacuum head is usually felt through the vacuum handle.
Shut off the filter and clean the skimmer basket of leaves and other debris. Check to make sure removable ladders and stair rails are firmly attached. Inspect the deck surface for items that can harm delicate bare feet. Make sure chlorine tabs in floating dispensers have not fully dissolved. Finally, use a test strip to see if the pool water is in the proper range for chlorine, pH and other water quality parameters (different test strips test for different things). It sounds like a lot of work, but it really only takes a few minutes. These few minutes help to make the pool safe for a new day of swimming fun.