POOL & SPA MAINTENANCE
Maintaining a pool or spa need not be a chore. Automatic chlorinators, chemical feeders and pre filter devices can all reduce the work required however even the most advanced pool requires a regular regime of checks and balances to keep the pool or spa in ideal condition.
Leaves, twigs and seeds will accumulate on the pool surface and eventually end up in the skimmer basket, leaf canister or the lint pot of the filter pump.
These collection points should be cleaned out at least once a week or more often if the site conditions dictate.
Regular removal of this debris will allow the filter system to operate efficiently and minimize chemical demand.
Once these baskets are cleaned they can be rinsed and replaced.
VACUUMING & SCRUBBING:
The interior surface of the pool or spa will accumulate dirt, oils and algae. The floor, walls, steps and ledges should be scrubbed or vacuumed on a weekly basis.
The extent of this build up will vary depending on the interior finish. A plaster interior is relative porous and will require more attention than a tiled surface.
Vacuuming of the pool will pick up debris that has collected on the floor of the pool or spa. This work can be done manually with a vacumn hose and head or more commonly with a vacuum cleaner.
Vacuum cleaners can either be connected to the skimmer or be an independent robotic unit. Robotic cleaners are more expensive but they are much more effective at cleaning as they systematically map and clean the pool/spa interior.
As dirt accumulates within the filter it begins to clog and reduce the effectiveness of the filter media or cartridge.
When a sand filter becomes clogged it needs to be backwashed. This is relatively easy to do and can be accomplished with a few turns of the multi port valve.
A cartridge filter needs to have the cartridge(s) removed from the unit and rinsed. This can be done with a garden hose or a specialized cleaning attachment.
The frequency with which the filter needs cleaning will depend on the size of the unit. An undersized filter may need cleaning as often as once a week. Filter cleaning once a month is more common but larger filters and the use of pre filtration devices can reduce filter cleaning to as little as once a year.
The easiest way to check if a filter requires cleaning is observe the pressure valve at the top of the unit. Generally a filter is ready for cleaning when the operating pressure has increased 10-15 psi above the normal/clean operating level.
CHECK WATER LEVEL:
Pools and spas require the water level topped up periodically. This water is lost through evaporation, splashing and people exiting the pool.
If the correct water level is not maintained the skimmer can run dry which will result in significant damage to the filter pump.
The water can be replenished with a garden hose however it is more convenient to have an auto filler which is plumbed into the water supply. These units are regulated by a sensor which automatically add water as required.
TEST WATER BALANCE:
Automatic chlorinators and pH doses will only regulate the chlorine and pH levels of a pool.
Whilst they are important there are several other critical elements which require regular monitoring and adjustment.
Total alkalinity and calcium hardness are other key measures of water balance. These levels can be checked manually with a water testing kit or the water can be tested by a computer at a pool shop. The advantage of regular testing at a pool shop is that the computer maintains a track record of the test results which makes diagnosing issues much easier.
Most pool owners will take a sample of water to a pool shop at least once a month. During peak swimming season, when the chemical demand on the pool is the greatest, this off site testing should be done once a week.
Another important check with automatic dosing equipment is to ensure that there is an adequate supply of chlorine or acid within the dosing containers. These chemicals are stored adjacent to the pool equipment and can be checked/refilled as required.