Pool Maintenance
To get the most from your pool over those balmy Summer months, it is essential to keep it in good working order.This guide will help you maintain the pool for maximum enjoyment and health all year round.

Chemical balanc
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Swimming pool maintenance is critical to the life of your pool and equipment as well as to the health of the people using it.

This includes maintaining a delicate balance of pool chemicals to avoid irritated skin and bacterial infection. Too few swimming pool chemicals or too many chemicals can cause major problems.

The most important chemical needed in a pool is a disinfectant, sometimes called sanitizer. The most common pool disinfectant is chlorine, though bromine is becoming more popular. Bromine is generally more expensive but has a less powerful smell than chlorine. Both are very good disinfectants for germs and bacteria.

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Chlorine can be dispensed in the form of tablets that automatically dissolve, or can be hand-dosed in a granular or liquid form. Chlorine can also be created via the use of a salt water chlorinator. These systems convert salt into chlorine and are very effective in doing away with that chlorine smell. You buy the salt from pool shops.

At other times it may be necessary to use other chemicals like algaecides (these kill algae, the microscopic plant life that clog up your pool filters and make your water cloudy), balancers (these either increase or decrease the pH or the hardness of the water), stabilizers (that protect chlorine from UV degradation) and shocks (these are large doses of chlorine that give the pool a super clean).
 

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Testing kits are readily available and are easy to use. These help you test the water yourself and determine what chemicals are required to maintain optimal conditions. The recommended pH level for pools is around 7.5 

If you are not comfortable using the test kits, many pool shops offer an analysis service and will advise what is required. Usually this is a free service but they stand to benefit from your purchase of required chemicals. These chemicals, of course, should be stored securely when you get them back home.


Pool cleaners

There are two types main of swimming pool cleaners - suction pool cleaners and robotic pool cleaners. There come in all shapes and sizes used for different types of pool surfaces. If you have a pebblecrete finish you will need a different unit to that used on a smooth surfaced pool (fibreglass). You may need attachments to your pool cleaner if you have corners that need cleaning.
  • Suction cleaners work by using the pump and filtration system to create suction and filter out the dirt. This is the easiest way to clean your pool and doesn't require any additional equipment. You can usually plug most suction pool  cleaners into the standard connector at your main filter. They are usually in the  $125 to $500 range, depending on the extras hoses, connectors and extensions needed.
  • Robotic cleaners generally do not plug into your pump system. You plug them  into a power outlet converted to a low voltage for safety. The power drives a motor for the pump that allows it to collect all the debris into its filter. There is a second motor that drives the pool cleaner around the bottom of your pool in a random pattern.

    With both types of cleaner you can just plug them in or connect them and let them run on their own until the pool is clean. You need to clean the filters by hand. 

    Pool cleaning is really a system of increasingly fine filtration; you should always help this system do its job by removing leaf and other debris from the pool by hand, particularly after heavy winds.

    And in Winter?  How you prepare your pool for winter depends on where it's located. Most of us live in a climate where the pool water doesn't freeze, so we don't need to shut down and cover. If you do shut down your pool for the winter, adding a winter algaecide and a soluble granular or liquid chlorine will help ensure the water is sparkling when you resume using it in spring.

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