Preparing your pool for the cooler months
Top tips for winter care
Okay, so the temperatures are falling in many parts of the country, so now is a good time to get your swimming pool and spa into shape for the cooler months.
"It's easy to disregard pool care when the weather cools down, but it won't thank you if you let things slide too far," says Chris Fitzmaurice, Swimart's national manager. "Neglected pools can quickly lose their sparkle and hygiene.
"And regardless of the season, with the unpredictable weather we have been experiencing, there's every chance you may be able to take a dip during autumn or winter, so it's best to keep your pool in pristine condition."
What happens if you don't look after your pool?
Uncared for pools can get a build up of algae and debris. Not only that, windy and stormy weather can blow leaves and dirt into the pool which, if left to settle, can become difficult to remove.
How to prepare your pool for winter
There are a number of steps to take in order to ensure your pool is properly winterised. These include:
- Balance the water: The pool's pH level needs to be between 7.2 and 7.6. Taking a sample of pool water to your local Swimart store will tell you exactly what the pH is. If the level is not correct, add the appropriate treatment to bring the pool to the correct level
- Clean the pool! It's important to brush the walls and floor of the pool and then to vacuum the whole pool thoroughly. Algae thrives in unclean water, so don't forget to clean the skimmer baskets and the pump's lint basket of debris
- Clean the filter: Ensure that the pool's filter is sparklingly clean, as any grease or oil deposits will harden over winter and make the filter harder to clean in the warmer months, not to mention reducing its overall efficiency
- Use a shock treatment: It's recommended to use a regular shock treatment throughout winter. Once you've added the shock treatment appropriate for your pool, run both the pump and filter for several hours to ensure it has been well distributed throughout the pool
- Protect against algae: Use an algaecide that's appropriate for your pool
- Check chlorine levels: To keep your pool clean and clear, it's important to keep your pool's free available chlorine levels at a constant level of 2-3 PPM (parts per million) at all times during winter. If you're using a salt chlorinator and a pool blanket, remember to reduce the output of the chlorinator to 1-2 PPM, as pool blankets trap chemicals and chlorine, and can cause high chlorine levels to occur, resulting in damage to pool equipment if not monitored carefully
- Maintain the pH and Total Alkalinity levels: Total Alkalinity (the measure of the ability of your pool or spa water to resist changes in the pH) is the overseer that keeps the pH of your water where it needs to be. If your buffering capabilities are too low (low alkalinity), your pH levels can swing drastically from highs to lows
- Run the filter: The pool's filter should operate for three to four hours each day. If you're using a timer, adjust it to suit. Remember if you switch the filter on during off-peak periods, you can save money
- Cover the pool: This will prevent water loss and also stop debris from entering the pool. Ensure you have a good quality pool blanket or cover
- Keep up your maintenance schedule: Once you've completed your preparation for winter, it's imperative that you stick to a maintenance schedule, even though it's cold and the pool is not being used. Once a week it's important to do a quick visual inspection of your pool and make sure all of your equipment is working properly. Also check the water level, empty the skimmer basket and check your chlorine and pH levels. If in doubt or if you need help, Swimart's technicians are available to provide advice and service.
Thorough check: Swimart's 94-point Pool Check
Swimart offers a comprehensive 94-point Pool Check for pool owners. The check provides pool owners with a complete overview of their pool equipment from the skimmer basket and main drain, through to the pump, filter and chlorinator/chemical feeder, and back to the returns. Every part is examined to ensure there are no visual leaks at the pump, the cleaner is operating correctly and covering the pool as required, and skimmer and pump baskets are correctly fitted and intact so no debris passes through, causing the impellor on the pump to seize.
So don't pack away your swimmers yet - you may just need them!