A Beginner's Guide to Pool Maintenance
Swimming pool maintenance essentials. Know how your pool works, the best ways to care for it and how to plan for it. Be prepared to solve any potential pool problems that floats your way. Learn how to maintain your swimming pool in the right order to make it safe for future generations of people.
There are 4 main processes to keep a Perth pool in top shape. These are circulation, filtration, sanitisation and water balance and each of these processes are important to the pool and the equipment but most importantly to your health and back pocket. If any of these processes are not maintained or out of balance then you will have problems, which will either damage the pool surface or lead to early failure of the equipment later on. You also may get very ill from poorly sanitised or filtered pool water.
The pool water will require circulation (or turnover) through the filtration system and then sanitised as it returns back to the pool. Pool pumps vary in cost, size, shape and efficiency. There are single speed, 3 speed or variable speed pool pumps which all achieve the same, to move water from one point to another with variable amounts of efficacy.
The two most popular pool filter types are high-rate sand filters or cartridge elements, which are most commonly used on pools here in Perth. A high-rate sand filter contains a fine media inside to remove the micro-organisms. This media can be zeolite, sand or glass. Sand media is still popular today, not so much zeolite, but the upsurge has been to convert or install glass media due to the consistent fine filtration it offers, with anti-bacterial qualities and less time required when backwashing. Cartridge elements are also very popular due to the exceptional filtration and flow rate. Their compact design is especially useful if you are struggling for space for all the pool equipment in a confined area. Their only downfall is that a cartridge element will need to be removed and hosed down to remove all the pool water contaminants that are collected within the pleats. This usually doesn’t require any tools or equipment to remove it but will need some physical strength or agility to do this. This will be part of the routine your pool maintenance and after removing the cartridge it is simply a case of hosing the pool cartridge down.
Here in Perth the popular choice of sanitisation is with the use of a salt cell and chlorinator, where electrolysis through a salt cell converts salt into chlorine during the circulation and filtration process, as already mentioned. This is important to destroy any bacteria present in the pool water and keep the pool safe to swim. This is not the only method as liquid chlorine dosing equipment is used also. We also have Ozone and Ionizers that are used but we will keep with the most popular choices that are used in residential or commercial pools here in Perth. A salt cell and chlorinator can be the easiest to maintain, as it is a case of adding a measured amount of salt to the pool. With the benefits of pool pump time control and output selection at the chlorinator, this type of pool equipment is a very popular choice on residential pools. The salt cell does require routine maintenance and inspection to ensure that it is still functioning correctly to the desired output and may require a cell clean with a salt cell solution, this can be due to poor pool water balance.
The water balance and chemistry is considered to be the most important part and the hardest of pool maintenance or servicing to get right. The potential to cause damage to the pool, expensive pool equipment and injure pool users is at its greatest when the incorrect equipment is used to test the water balance. This combined with untrained persons incorrectly adding pool chemicals, under or overdosing the pool water can be disastrous. The damage to the pool and equipment can manifest in calcium stains around the pool surface and salt cell, cloudy pool water, bleaching of the pool surface and premature failure of the pool equipment are a few noticeable items of poor pool water balance. The problem is the pool water will always fall out of balance due to environment, bather load or chlorination type and will require re-balancing on a regular basis. The frequency of testing is determined by a few factors which include the classification of the pool, environment, bather load and disinfection type. The pool tests can include, Free & Total Chlorine, pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, isocyanuric Acid, Total dissolved solids, Total dissolved salt (if required) and Phosphates. All these chemicals have a minimum and maximum setting required for each pool and the code of practice here in Western Australia sets out these requirements in detail.