A Guide to General Swimming Pool Maintenance

pool-maintenance

A regular maintenance programme will help you get the most out of your pool with a minimum of cost and effort. The type and frequency of maintenance depends on a number of factors including the time of year, weather conditions, how often the pool is used etc.

As prevention is the best cure, regularly inspect your pool equipment for any signs of maintenance needs; also check the pool for surface damage.

Also see A Guide to a Clean Sanitised Swimming Pool and A Guide to Maintaining Swimming Pool Water Quality.

The following can be used as a checklist for the summer and winter months:


Summer


  • Check and clean the skimmer basket and hair and lint-pot basket weekly. Although this should be done more often if the pool is used frequently or when leaves and other debris make their way into the water.

  • Backwash any sand or diatomaceous earth (DE) filters or clean cartridge filters. Again, the frequency of filter-maintenance depends on how often the pool is used.

  • Frequently check the sanitiser levels and add more to maintain minimum levels. Check the operation of salt chlorinators or automatic chemical systems. The more people that use the pool, the more sanitiser that is required to kill algae and bacteria.

  • Check the pH level every two or three days. Daily additions of sanitiser and high swimmer use will affect the pH level, which needs to be between 7.2 – 7.6. Add acid if the level is too high or soda ash if it’s too low. Note: mix all chemicals with a full bucket of water before adding to the pool and always add acid to the water (not the other way around) and never in amounts more than 500ml. Also see A Guide to Swimming Pool Chemical Safety.

  • Check the Total Alkalinity (TA) weekly and adjust the level with bicarbonate of soda, or buffer, if the level is below 80–120 parts per million.

  • Check and adjust the timer to allow the filtration system to operate for 6-8 hours each day (or in accordance with the manufactures instructions). This can be done twice a day for 3-4 hours at a time. Some recommended times are:

  • Summer: 6-8 hours per day
  • Autumn: 4-6 hours per day
  • Winter: 2-4 hours per day
  • Spring: 4-6 hours per day
  • You may wish take a sample of the pool water into your local pool shop professional say every two to four weeks during swimming season to make sure the water balance is correct.

  • Salt-chlorinated pools may need additional salt; you may wish to seek the advice of your local pool shop professional. The production control on the salt chlorinator may need to be adjusted to increase or decrease its output. Maintain the water level at least half way up the skimmer box opening.

  • Vacuum the walls and pool floor regularly.

  • Regularly check the level of the pool water in the summer as the pump may suck air and damage the unit if the level gets too low.


Preparing For Winter


  • Thoroughly backwash the filter and clean it with a recognised filter cleaner and degreaser.

  • Ensure that the skimmer basket and hair and lint-pot are free of debris.

  • Lubricate all O-rings with a silicone based lubricant.

  • Adjust the total alkalinity level with bicarbonate of soda if the level is below 80–120 parts per million.

  • Adjust the pH to 7.2–7.6 by adding acid if the level is too high or soda ash if it’s too low. Note: mix all chemicals with a full bucket of water before adding to the pool and always add acid to the water (not the other way around) and never in amounts more than 500ml. Also see A Guide to Swimming Pool Chemical Safety.

  • Mix 500g of granular chlorine or 750ml of liquid chlorine in a bucket of water and add to the pool.

  • Mix 750ml to 1 litre of a long-life algaecide that is specifically designed for winter, and add to the pool.

  • Adjust the filter timer so it operates for two to four hours each day. To save money run it during off peak tariff times.

  • Salt chlorinated pools need the cells cleaned and the control adjusted to the half-production setting.


Winter Maintenance


  • Check the chlorine and pH levels every two weeks.
  • Empty the skimmer basket when full.
  • Check the water level is half way up the skimmer box opening.
  • Check the pressure gauge on the filter is not indicating ‘backwash’.

Other


  • Excessive water run off from sloping ground or roof tops must be diverted away from the pool. This is particularly important where the pool has been installed in clay or rocky ground and the drainage is poor.

  • Avoid children playing with iron or steel toys in the pool. The resulting rust stains may be removed by spotting the affected area with oxalic acid. Citric acid may also be used.

Never allow the pool to overflow in winter. Use the waste function on the backwash valve to lower the water level to approximately 75mm from the top. Allowing the pool to continually flow over may damage the installation.

 

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4 comments on “A Guide to General Swimming Pool Maintenance

  1. To obtain proper turn over rate of the pool water, the pump has to be on at least eight to ten hours a day, constantly. You have it being OK to break up that time. That doesn’t allow all the water to be turned over and will cause sanitation problems.

  2. Sounds very excessive checking your pool every week, I have a largish pool 10 x 5 meters and the pool guy comes out once a month and it,s perfect plus we only have the filter running four hours a day

  3. Please advise what laws are appicable in regards to the cleanliness of a private swimming pool.
    What authority is responsible for overseeing the maintenance of private swimming pools – water quality?

  4. Legislation for pool maintain and safety varies from state to state. Check with your local council

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