Torrential rain, gale force winds, firestorms and drought-related heat spells – Australians experienced it all this spring. And with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting warmer than average days and El Niño conditions likely through the summer months, extra care is vital to keep our swimming pools clean and healthy.
That’s because the weather has a major effect on water chemistry, often providing the perfect breeding ground for algae to grow.
“Hot weather causes evaporation, which in turn leads to water imbalance and chemical loss; storms blow in debris and contaminants which lead to algal growth; and heavy rain dilutes pool chemicals causing water imbalance,” says Swimart’s pool and spa expert Rick Graham.
The best defence against algae, he explains, is chlorine: “With ongoing hot weather, pools don’t get the chance to cool down overnight, so the chlorine demand remains high.”
Phosphates, which algae feed on, also affect water quality. They enter pool water from a variety of sources – dust, rain, runoff from lawns and gardens, bird and bat droppings, dogs, top-up water and leaves – and chlorine alone can’t eliminate them.
“The first sign of an unhealthy pool is cloudy water as the lack of sanitiser causes algal blooms,” Rick says. “This increases the demand on the sanitiser. When growth is out of control the pool water turns green or dark brown, depending on the type of algae. You’ll see this first in places where the water circulation is poor, such as corners, steps, and where the pool floor meets the walls.”
How to prevent pool water from going cloudy this summer – Swimart’s top 10 tips
There are many causes of cloudy pool water, however the most common include: low level of sanitiser in the water, chemical imbalance, algae blooms, inefficient water circulation, and faulty filtration equipment. Here’s how to maintain sparkling clean water throughout the peak swimming season.
- Check your pool’s chlorine and pH level every two days, especially after a period of heavy usage and after a particularly hot day or period of solid rain
- Clean out your skimmer basket and hair and lint pot in your filtration pump weekly
- To re-balance pool water, take a sample from elbow depth away from the pool returns and take it to your local pool store to be professionally tested
- Use a quality algaecide like Aqua-Health Concide to keep algae at bay
- Operate the filtration system 6-8 hours a day
- Regularly check sanitiser levels, ideally on a daily basis
- Check Total Alkalinity (TA) weekly with a Swimart test kit or by taking a sample to your local Swimart store
- Thoroughly backwash your sand or DE filter, or remove and clean the cartridge from your cartridge filter with a hose, depending on pool use
- Maintain the water level at least half way up to the skimmer box opening
- Regularly brush or vacuum pool walls and floor
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