We were going to start this post by explaining why pool cleaning and maintenance is so important, but we decided to keep that for the end. Lets get stuck straight into How To Keep Your Pool Clean…
Pool Cleaning Tools And Equipment
First thing’s first – you’re going to need some pool cleaning equipment. As a basic pool cleaning pack, you will need:
- A telescopic pole
- A leaf net or a leaf skimmer
- Pool brushes
- A hose and vacuum or an auto cleaner
- Chemicals and minerals
Let’s take a closer look at each one:
This is the piece of equipment which you will use in conjunction with the necessary attachment heads. It will give you the required reach to thoroughly clean your pool from the poolside. When looking for a new telescopic pole for your pool, ensure that the attachment head is universal. Also ensure it can fit any attachments that you currently own.
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Leaf Net or Leaf Skimmer
This handy little piece comes in two forms. One as an attachment to your telescopic pole. The other as an automatic skimmer system, which takes the hard work away from you. Coming in a range of different types and varieties, you will need to check the equipment you select is right for you. Remember to ensure your selected device is suitable to your pool’s design and for the detritus that it will be mainly cleaning.
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Use a Pool Brush to reduce the amount of Chlorine you need. Chlorine is an effective bactericide and algaecide, there’s no disputing that fact. Though chlorine is not currently classed as a human carcinogen, the truth is that chlorine (Cl) is a toxic chemical. So toxic that it was weaponised as a lethal agent in World War 1.
Personally, whenever possible I prefer to avoid the unnecessary use of heavy chlorine in a body of water that myself, my family and friends will be swimming in. So, if you’re like me, then you’ll also want to make sure you’re consistently brushing your pool with a pool brush. This simple action will reduce the need for you to shock your pool, also reducing the amount of chlorine you’re using.
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A Hose And Vacuum or Auto-Cleaner
A pool hose and vacuum or auto cleaner will be vital for ensuring that any detritus or debris will be removed from your pool. This will actually help with maintaining your pools desired pH levels, prevent rapid algae and bacteria growth, as well as keeping your pool looking clean and pristine.
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Chemicals and Minerals
It’s important to note that if your pool water is completely green, you will need a more thorough clean including the use of more chemicals. However, if your pool is not that bad, just some chlorine will be enough. Use the recommended dosage.
Read our blog post about How To Shock A Swimming Pool for more information.
Daily Pool Cleaning Guide
This pool cleaning guide lists things you should do to your pool on a daily basis:
Clean Your Skimmers
Probably the best thing you can do to avoid unnecessary equipment failures and technical servicing, is to clean your pool skimmer on a daily basis. What this will do is prevent any unnecessary backwashing, prevent detritus and debris from clogging up your skimmer and the pipes leading from the skimmer to your pump, which may cause your pool system to stop working.
Vacuum Your Pool
Consistent vacuuming will prevent staining of your water. It will also prevent unwanted bacteria and algae build up, reducing the need for additional chemicals to be added. Your vacuuming can be done either manually, or with an automatic vacuum.
If you choose to manually vacuum your pool, make sure you do so in a similar fashion as you would be mowing the lawn (i.e.. Working off a straight-line grid from end to end)
Otherwise if you are using an automatic vacuum, then all you’ll need to do is wait until it has finished vacuuming. Then empty and clean the debris catcher. It’s the simple!
Brush The Floor Of Your Pool
The type of material your pool is constructed from, will decide what type of pool brush you will need to use; to prevent algae and calcium deposit build up.
As a guide, if you have a pool built from plaster lined concrete pools you will want to opt for a stiff brush. Conversely, if your pool is constructed from vinyl or fiberglass to avoid damaging the material. Likewise, it is advisable to use a softer brush on tiled surfaces to prevent scratching or degrading the grout between the tiles.
Weekly Pool Maintenance Guide
If you keep up with your daily pool cleaning routine, the weekly maintenance will be a breeze. There’s just a few things you need to do on a weekly basis to keep your swimming pool sparkling clean all year round.
Brush The Floor And Walls Of Your Pool
As mentioned previously, we recommend you use a different brush depending on the material your pool is built from.
Brush the floor as you do with your normal daily clean, and brush the walls in a systematic way so as not to miss any patches.
Remove Debris And Leaves
Using a leaf skimmer or net to pull out and remove any debris from your pool, will be one of the best time investments you can make. If your pool is located under a large tree, or gets lots of leaves and debris falling on it for some reason, you should do this more often.
This will prevent many avoidable equipment failures and technical services. You can really prevent any unnecessary backwashing from occurring, as well as prevent detritus and debris from clogging up your skimmer. If you can, clear the pipes leading from the skimmer to your pump, as you may run the risk of your pool system failing.
Clean Your Pool Filter
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, over-cleaning your pool filter will actually make it less effective. As the mild build-up of dirt and particulates actually assists with catching and filtering out other dirt particles. One way you’ll know when you need to actually clean your pool filter will be an increase in flow between the pressure gauge and flow meter.
Each different type of filter medium will have a slightly different maintenance method:
Sand Filter Maintenance – The tank which the sand filter medium is held within is made from metal, concrete or fiberglass. It will generally contain a special-grade sand, that is quite coarse. The dirty pool water is pushed through the inlet pipe and is forced into and through the sand.
You can check the water flow level to see what level of blockage is within the filter. Simply look at the inlet pipe to see if it has more pressure than the outlet pipe. If this is the case, then there is debris collected in the filter and backwashing may be required.
As the sand filter medium is quite coarse when it is first used, over time it will become smooth and round; effectively making it useless. You will need to change the sand, either by asking a professional in pool care or by doing so yourself. Either way it will need to be changed around every 5 years.
Cartridge Filter Maintenance – A cartridge filter is a great filter medium which functions by allowing water to pass through the fine filter surface. It does this while trapping any particulates and holding them on the filter surface. It is held there until the cartridge is either cleaned or replaced.
The benefit of choosing a cartridge filter over sand is the greater surface area in a cartridge filter. Meaning fewer clogs and much easier maintenance for you. Also running at a much lower pressure than sand, means your system will have a lot less backpressure on the pump. This benefits you by resulting in greater water flow and higher system efficiency.
Cleaning a cartridge filter is by far the easiest of them all. You can simply do so by removing the cartridge and soaking in detergent. Then rinse it off with water and hang it out to dry. You will need to change the filter every 3-5 years.
Diatomaceous Earth Filter Maintenance – Diatomaceous earth filters vary a little from sand filters, however both share some similarities. For one, diatomaceous earth, like sand, is a fine powder.
However, unlike sand, it is produced by crushing the fossilized exoskeletons of ancient diatoms. Diatoms are ancient, hard-shelled creatures similar to algae. Their porous bone material make a superb filter medium, when they are used this way.
Adding new diatomaceous earth is actually quite easy. All you need to do is let the skimmer suck the earth into place, preparing it to filter contaminants from returning to the pool. You will be able to tell when your system has enough filter medium by keeping an eye on the pressure gauge. Or until it reaches manufacturer specified safe pressure zone. The new earth will need to replaced once or twice a year by a qualified pool care professional. Backwashing will follow a similar changing schedule.
Check And Test Water
Especially important during times of frequent usage, checking your water levels and testing your water quality is absolutely vital to ensuring good pool hygiene and water health.
In the warmer months and during active use, a lot of water can be lost from things like splashing around or evaporation. Be wary of you’re water level falling too low, especially if it is lower than the skimmer. You can potentially do some serious damage to your water pump if this happens.
Should you empty the pool for whatever reason, try not to leave it empty for too long. Removing the counterweight (mass of the water) from your pool leaves the pool floor susceptible to the pressures of the ground pressing from below.
You will also need to check your water quality on a weekly basis. What you’ll be checking for is the pH level of the water. This is basically an acidity to alkalinity measurement between 0 and 14. A healthy pool that is fit for use by swimmers and for effective sanitisation, will have a reading between 7.2 and 7.8 pH.
Spa Cleaning And Maintenance
Compared to a swimming pool, the spa is definitely a lesser time investment simply because of the potentially huge size difference; the average 25x10x1.5m pool holds 375,000L (approximately 99,065 gallons) compared to maybe 2,500 to 3,000L in the average spa.
However just because your average hot tub holds about 35 times less water than the average swimming pool, we definitely can’t say that your spa deserves any less care than a swimming pool would.
One benefit of holding a lesser volume of water means that the we can reduce the maintenance frequency. Plus reduce the intensity of cleaning to just a few daily checks and an easy weekly routine.
Daily Spa Cleaning Guide
- Checking your water levels and pH – vital for ensuring clear, healthy water
- Spa cover checks – essential for ensuring that your pool cover is correctly covering your spa
- Check it’s not developing a mildew-y or musky smell
- Check your water temperature
- Ensure there are no malfunctions in your heating equipment, and also a constant water temperature
- If you own an outdoor spa (in particular) – check that your spa does not have any debris in or on the unit, and to check for any damage
Weekly Spa Maintenance Guide
- Check your sanitiser levels every few days
- Due to heating of the spa and heavy usage
- In order to maintain top quality water
- Keep your spa looking and feeling fresh
- Top up your bromine or chlorine levels
- As per manufacturers advice
- Which will ensure you keep any bacteria and algae growth at bay
- Conduct pH checks on a weekly basis
- Checking your spa’s water pH is as close to level with our eye’s pH of 7.5
- Allowing you and your companions to enjoy your spa as comfortable as possible
The Difference Between Freshwater And Saltwater Pools
Did you know? Freshwater and saltwater swimming pools utilise the same basic set of equipment.
Contrary to popular belief both saltwater and freshwater pools use chlorine to keep the water clean and sanitary. The main point of difference, is the method of delivery for the chlorine.
In freshwater pools, the chlorine is delivered through concentrated chlorine tablets which kills any unwanted bacteria. The frequency that it is added is dependent on the size of the pool, the pool’s usage volume and weather conditions. On the other hand, a saltwater pool has its chlorine produced and added to the water by a chlorine generator. This special piece of equipment releases chlorine gas into the water by breaking down salt.
For those who are adept in chemistry, the saltwater pool produces the necessary hypochlorous acid (HClO) by using table salt or sodium chloride (NaCl), and a process called electrolysis. This process converts the sodium chloride into chlorine gas (Cl2), with hydrogen gas (h2) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) being by-products of the chemical conversion.
Instead of needing to handle and dump a toxic chemical into your swimming pool, you can rely on a subtler and potentially easier process with a saltwater pool set up.
Pool Filtration Systems
A pool filter will aid in keeping dirt, debris and other small, unwanted particulars from re-entering or staying in your pool. The filtration method you select will either be implemented as a media filter or a cartridge filter.
With media filters you have a choice of filtration medium (sand, glass, zeolite, diatomaceous earth, recycled glass). It would be best advised that you speak with a local pool care specialist as to which filtration medium would be best suited to your pool.
Sand and diatomaceous earth are actually falling in popularity due to their more frequent cleaning requirement and shorter lifespans. Conversely recycled glass is actually gaining in popularity due to its cost advantage, less frequent cleaning interval and can theoretically last twice as long as sand.
This filtration method is quite popular in vinyl clad, small pools and spas where water consumption is an issue. A cartridge filter does not require regular high-pressure water wastage, in the form of flushing the system
Unlike media filters, cartridge filters are a consumable item. They must be periodically cleaned and eventually replaced. This may mean that you will need to regularly maintain your pool filter.
With an array of designs to suit specific needs, from a host of manufacturers the choice is endless. Here are the 5 most commonly found pool sanitisation systems and disinfectant methods:
As the name may suggest, this sanitisation system is designed for use specifically with saltwater pools. This system will actually produce chlorine whilst filtering the water. This is done through the process of electrolysis, whereby the sodium chloride (salt) is converted to chlorine.
We can thank the ancient Greeks for this simple yet effective method of keeping your water algae free. Thanks to their knowledge that water kept in copper pots (or with silver coins) remained purer and algae free for longer. This occurs due to the disinfectant properties of silver ions.
As an ionised pool still requires an oxidiser for effective sanitisation, most manufacturers will still recommend the addition of chlorine.
Ozone Generation Systems
With the rapid advancements of technology, ozone generation systems are rapidly growing in popularity; particularly in commercial spaces overseas. Ozone generation systems are one of the most effective disinfectants and oxidisers available. In fact they actually need less chemicals to maintain the water’s sanitary levels.
Ozone kills bacteria incredibly efficiently, however is quite a toxic substance and is not very water soluble. So you will need an additional compressor or other forced induction system to force the ozone into the water.
Your ozone generation system may still need a little chlorine or bromine to maintain sanitisation. Especially while the system is off, however it does not affect your total dissolved solids content (TDS). Ozone gas decomposes into oxygen and is a very effective bactericide.
Chlorine Or Bromine Dosing
This disinfectant method sanitises against the growth of unwanted bacteria and algae. Dosage will obviously vary from pool to pool, depending on the organic load, or demand, on the pool.
Automated Chlorine Dosing Systems
This method of sanitisation is essentially a step up from the standard chlorine and bromine dosing, in the sense where the frequency and dosage amounts are automated by the dosing unit.
The unit will automatically test and administer precise dosages of the disinfectant, preventing accidental overdosing and reduces the need to super chlorinating (using up to 3 – 5x the amount of chlorine) to “shock” the pool, when sanitiser levels fall low.
Benefits Of Pool Maintenance
With a consistent pool cleaning schedule, you can prolong your pool and equipment life, prevent bacteria growth and save on any preventable repairs.
An Algae-Free Pool
Have you ever seen a swimming pool that looks more like a green soup than an enticing cool place of relaxation? Well that’s usually caused algae, which is the informal term for the very large, diverse group of phototrophic and mixotrophic organisms. This means that they essentially “feed” themselves through means of photosynthesis and the consumption of organic carbons.
When a pool’s filtration system is not performing efficiently and lacks of good water circulation, algae will bloom. Coupled with warm waters and consistent sunlight, encourages algae to be able to grow and spread virulently.
Preventing bacteria growth is imperative for keeping your pool hygienic. Plus it avoids any unusual water colours from the build-up of bacteria and algae.
You will maximise your pool cleaning equipment’s longevity by consistently ensuring your water quality is high; and free of debris.
By having a simple cleaning routine that you consistently follow, you’ll be able to keep your pool safe.Plus your pool will be clean and looking spectacular as ever.