It may be the case that sand has escaped from the filter, debris could be blocking the filter or the sand particles may be coated in calcium. Make sure that your filter is the right size for your pool and that the sand is changed every 2 years.
The pH scale measures how acidic or basic a water-based solution is. Lower pH values indicate that a solution is acidic and higher pH values mean that a solution is basic. This is important for your pool, in ensuring the balance between acidity and alkalinity. If your pH is less than 6, this implies your pool is too acidic, while a pH of more than 8 means your pool is very alkaline. The perfect balance for a pool is a pH between 7.2 and 7.6.
Getting your pool chemistry right is key to ensuring the lifespan of your pool cleaner. When cleaning or backwashing your pool filter, it is a good idea to disconnect the cleaner from the weir. It is also advisable to remove the cleaner from the pool when performing chemical or shock treatments. Wait at least 4 hours after super chlorination before reconnecting your pool cleaner. Finally, keep your weir basket clear of debris for best performance.
Owning a swimming pool brings plenty of chances to make pool care mistakes. Luckily mistakes are really just opportunities to learn. Educating yourself on the most common pool maintenance mistakes helps you keep your pool safer, cleaner, and running efficiently with less mess and frustration.
1. Adding Shock Directly Into the Pool Water
The chemical we call pool shock is basically concentrated chlorine. At high strength, chlorine can bleach anything that enters your pool. Don’t worry – you can’t over shock your pool. However, adding shock directly to the pool water if you have a vinyl liner can be a disaster. The shock granules will sink to the bottom and bleach out your liner making it brittle and frail, and prone to leaks.
Pre-dissolve the chemical in a bucket of water before you shock your pool. This will allow the shock to disperse more evenly in the water, protecting your liner, pool walls, and floor. An important rule to remember when you’re avoiding pool maintenance mistakes is “Always add chemicals to water, and never water to chemicals.” Fill the bucket with water first before adding the shock to avoid potentially dangerous splashback.
2. Not Brushing Your Pool
You already know how important it is to vacuum your pool regularly to keep scum and gunk from building up and ruining your swim. But just like your teeth, your pool needs a good brushing to look its best. Whether you vacuum your pool manually or automatically, follow up with a good brushing.
Grab yourself a pool brush and attack your pool’s hard-to- reach areas, including:
- Behind ladders
- Steps and stairs
- Corners and crevices
All this scrubbing keeps algae and other funky, gunky invaders at bay. Brush once a week, or more often if it needs it, for a healthy, pristine pool.
3. Using an Automatic Pool Cleaner When You Have An Algae Problem
Dealing with pool algae is hard enough. Add vacuuming to the list, and you might find yourself thinking it’s time to replace your pool with something less high-maintenance, like a rare orchid farm or a meerkat sanctuary. It’s tempting, but don’t fire up your robotic cleaner. Pressure-side automatic pool cleaners push algae and other debris up through a mesh bag. This gives the algae a nice little tour of your pool, but doesn’t remove it.
Solving this very common pool care mistake is easy, though a little more labour-intensive. You’ll need to break out the manual vacuum. Be sure to switch your filter to “waste” or remove the drain plug. Yes, you’ll lose a fair amount of water, but you’ll also lose the algae. They’ll be vacuumed right out of your pool and out of your life. Here’s our guide to how to vacuum a pool manually.
4. Ignoring Your pH and Alkalinity Levels
Waaaaaay back in your high school science classes, you probably learned about the importance of balanced pH to healthy, happy ecosystems—including your pool. A low pH indicates acidity, while a high one indicates alkalinity. Too much of either is bad news. But as we once found out after eating some really bad gas station sushi, appearances can be deceiving. Low pH can actually damage your pool equipment, including:
- Pool pump and filter
- Vinyl liner
- Automatic pool cleaner
- Chemical feeder
- Maintenance equipment
- Solar blanket
Our motto? Better living through chemistry. Balancing acidity and alkalinity keeps your pH stable. Because just about anything can skew water chemistry in no time flat, make sure you test your pool water regularly. Then adjust your levels with pH increaser, alkalinity increaser, and other essential chemicals until everything’s back in balance.
5. Shocking Your Swimming Pool During The Day
Chlorine in your pool water attaches itself to particles it wants to kill, leaving behind chemical compounds called chloramines. Since they irritate the eyes and skin and generally make life miserable, chloramines don’t belong in your pool. Shocking gets rid of chloramines and helps bring your pool’s chlorine levels to a well-balanced 3 parts per million (ppm). But while daytime is great for enjoying your pool, it’s the wrong time to shock.
Shock at night to give your pool shock the time it needs to do its job. Also, shock your pool once a week, using about 5 kg of shock for every 37,854 L of water, and test until you’re at or near the target of 3 ppm.
6. Running Your Pool Filter Fewer Than Eight Hours A Day
Your pool’s filter can’t do its job if it’s not running. The more you run your pool filter, the fewer contaminants and critters can create headaches. As pool care mistakes go, this one’s pretty minor, but it’s still worth your time to clock that filter.
Run your pool filter and pump at LEAST eight hours a day. Depending on the size of your pool, this should be plenty of time for all of the water to pass through the filter, keeping your water clearer.
7. Neglecting To Test Your Pool Water
Weekly Owning a pool comes with a whole list of chores to complete every day, week, month, and year. Your weekly water testing is one of the most important, since it can tip you off to small issues in your pool’s water chemistry before they blossom into major disasters.
Test your pool water at least once a week, either with test strips or a liquid test kit. Then take a sample of your pool water to your local pool supply store to get a detailed analysis at least once a month.
8. Wearing Street Clothes in Your Pool
Listen, we’re no strangers to fashion-forward trends. We can rock the majestic weirdness of a romphim with the best of ’em. We even thought about picking up one of those Lady Gaga swan dresses for casual Fridays a few years back. But we draw the line at street clothes in pools. Wearing your everyday clothes in the pool can introduce chemicals, fibres, and other contaminants to your water. Plus, the chemicals in your water can actually ruin your clothes. Your water will be compromised, and everyone in the neighbourhood will wonder why you’re suddenly so into the tie-dyed look.
Keep your clothes streetside and stick to swimsuits in the pool. Nobody’s perfect. From poor water chemistry to letting your Uncle Piet test his experimental beer-powered algae extractor, we all make pool maintenance mistakes. But every goof is a new lesson on improving your pool care game. And if you take the time to learn from the mistakes of others, you’ll find you’re spending less time maintaining your pool, and more time enjoying it.
Yuck! I’ve got algae in my pool!
Nothing spoils poolside fun in the sun like the presence of algae in your swimming pool. Slipping and sliding is for water slides only and sure doesn’t feel good when it’s because of aquatic organisms photosynthesising and taking over your pool. Algae spores find whatever means possible to get into your pool, via the wind and rain, or even through swimwear and tiny spots of slime on inflatable pool toys. If your pool circulation is poor and your water chemistry is imbalanced, you’re putting out the welcome mat for the worst kind of pool party: an algae infestation. People often ask, “Can pool algae hurt you?” The good news is that algae is not harmful in itself, but if left for too long, the bacteria feeding on algae could cause health issues for swimmers. Regardless, it’s just plain yucky and so it’s best to kill algae right away.
How do I get rid of algae in my pool?
To get your pool crystal clear again, you might want to do some manual vacuuming and, of course, get brushing and scrubbing, especially in those shady corners and slimy nooks and crannies. Use a stiff-bristled brush, as algae is very clingy. You’ll also need to test your pool water, paying special attention to your pH level, which should be between 7.2 and 7.6. Next up, it’s time to get down to business and grab that shock. When it comes to pool algae, one of the most common questions is, “Will pool shock kill algae?” It most certainly will, although it is best to follow the entire process so that you don’t get any unwanted returning visitors. If your swimming pool looks as if it’ll be welcoming in frogs any minute, don’t be shy to shock your pool a few times with a large amount of chlorine. Generally, for green algae, you won’t need as much shock as yellow and black algae. A good rule of thumb is shocking until your water turns a blue-grey colour. Don’t forget to shock your swimming pool at night, as the sun will burn off most of the chlorine. Be patient, as it could take up to a week before your water looks good again. You may also want to add an algaecide once your chlorine level starts to fall again, although this is best used to prevent algae rather than killing it.
Things will be a bit more under control at this point and it is almost time for splashing about in the pool to resume. Filter your pool water for at least 8 hours once it turns cloudy blue. However, if you are eager to speed up the process, you can vacuum up the dead algae too. Test your water again once filtering is completed and remember to clean your filter to make sure the algae can’t creep back into your pool. Breathe a sigh of relief and grab your swimwear, because your pool is ready for action again. If you’ve tried everything and are still battling with algae in your pool, don’t worry, our friendly pool professionals are always eager to help in a pool crisis and get you back in your beautiful blue water again with a big smile on your face.
Get a pool cover
If you’ve built your pool fence, you may be asking, “Are pool covers worth it?” The answer is a resounding yes, so as to keep your pool extra safe. The general advice is that a pool cover should be able to hold the weight of two adults and a child. We all know about mesh nets, which prevent children from drowning should they fall onto the net or venture to take a crawl across it. Yet, there are also updated versions of the tried-and-tested pool net, such as automatic swimming pool covers you can walk on quite happily. They require few attachments and fittings, making them a neat and tidy option. Make sure a pool professional always fits your pool cover, so that it offers maximum safety.
Keep pool chemicals locked up
Pool chemicals, such as chlorine, are simply part and parcel of any pool maintenance routine. After all, they are responsible for how a swimming pool is cleaned. Be sure that these are always locked away, as they present a serious risk when they are consumed or come into contact with the skin.
Have a lifeguard on pool duty
If it’s pool party time at your place, the responsible thing to do is to have a lifeguard on duty for the little ones. Perhaps you don’t have the budget to hire someone, but you can always ask the adults to take it in turns to be on swimming pool duty. The reality is often that when everyone is watching the pool, everyone is only half watching the pool. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye, so it is best to be vigilant.
Enforce pool rules
Lastly, while no one wants to play the part of the fun police, swimming pool rules are an essential way to make sure the pool stays fun. You might even want to position a sign near the pool which reads, What are the swimming pool rules? That way, there’s no confusion! Your pool rules should include instructions not to dive into the shallow end, push people into the pool, hold swimmers under the water or swim without an adult present. There’s nothing like the sound of happy laughter coming from the swimming pool when the kids are having fun. It is up to the adults in the situation to make sure it stays that way. Do your part to keep your pool safe.
For many of us, the term pH brings back distant memories of school science lessons. But, for pool owners, getting the pH right in your swimming pool needs to be a top pool maintenance priority. In a nutshell, pH is a measure of how acidic or basic a solution is on a scale from 0 to 14. If the pH of a solution is below 7, it is an acid, while a pH reading above 7 is a base or an alkaline. For your swimming pool, the ideal pH range is between 7.2 and 7.6, with 7.4 being the perfect balance.
If the water in your swimming pool is clear, does the pH even matter? It most certainly does and here’s why.
Why do I need to test the pH of my swimming pool?
When your pool pH is low, meaning that it is too acidic, you are likely to see some nasty side effects, not only for your pool, but for swimmers too. A pool that is too acidic will end up causing serious corrosion to your pool equipment and metal surfaces, such as the pump, filter system, ladders, screws and pool lights. This damage may even extend to the plaster, tiles and cement of your pool surfaces. While swimming pool damage is one thing, your swimmers are hardly going to be having fun in acidic water. If the pH in your pool is too low, the water will sting eyes and nasal passages, while also causing itchy, dry skin. However, when your pool pH is high, meaning it is too alkaline, this can also result in a whole host of problems. You will likely find yourself making more trips to your local pool store to buy chlorine, as alkaline water largely inactivates the effectiveness of chlorine. Not only is your water therefore not clean enough, but as the pH increases, minerals come out of solution, which is exactly when pool water turns cloudy. Alkaline water also results in scale forming on pool equipment and surfaces, while swimmers suffer too, as a high pH can cause skin rashes and eye irritation.
How do I test the pH of my swimming pool?
Let’s get down to the practicalities. Testing the pH of your pool, fortunately, isn’t rocket science and is actually quite a neat trick to learn. A pH test strip is a cheap and easy way to test your pool water. Simply follow the instructions provided, although it’ll entail dipping the strip in your pool water for a set amount of time and then comparing the colour of the strip after removing it from the water to a colour chart. This will give you an indication of how acidic or basic your water is. Alternatively, you may want to purchase a digital pH tester, which will give you a numerical pH reading, but these require batteries, which will need to be replaced from time to time, and they may also need occasional re-calibration.
If you have time, patience and a little extra money to spend on your pool, a liquid pH test kit is the best way to get a good understanding of the balance of your pool water. Kits differ and you will need to follow the instructions carefully, but generally it will involve using a sample of your pool water and applying a reagent to this water, in order to test the pH level. Some kits go a step further and assist with the treatment of your water if there is an issue with the pH.
How do I change the pH of my swimming pool water?
If your pH is off, don’t fear, there is always a solution. For low pH values below 7.2, simply buy a pH increaser and pop this into your water. Baking soda can also be used, although this isn’t as effective and can result in a total alkalinity level that is too high. On the other hand, if your pH is too high, at a level above 7.6, just add pH minus to your pool. In severe circumstances, you may require a stronger acid, such as hydrochloric acid or sulphuric acid.
Balancing your pH as part of your pool maintenance routine takes time, but is an essential element in keeping your pool healthy and swimmers happy. If you need a little extra assistance from a pool professional, don’t hesitate to find a Pool Xpert near you and we’ll help get your pool’s pH balance back.