START UP OR PREPARATION FOR SUMMER
GET THE BALANCE RIGHT
The most important aspect in keeping a pool sparkling clean is WATER BALANCE. The water must constantly be kept in balance and to do this means regular testing every week. Once balanced it becomes simple to keep the pH constant and it allows all chemicals used to work correctly at their optimum level and prevent the growth of algae and bacteria. At the beginning of summer or when a new pool has been filled with water check the following and adjust to the recommended level.
- pH – the correct level is from 7.2 to 7.6
- Total Alkalinity – the correct level is from 80 to 120 parts per million (p.p.m.)
- Calcium Hardness – the correct level is from 250 to 350 parts per million(p.p.m.)
Water can never remain clear unless the filter is kept clean. Even though water balance is the most important part of running a pool the water will never stay clear if the filter is dirty or if there are defective o-rings on the filter or pump. To get the filter ready for summer:
- Remove the top of the filter and give it an open backwash.
- Check the level of the sand and top up if necessary.
- Check all the o-rings on the pump and filter, making sure that there are no water or air leaks.
- Check that the Multiport valve is working smoothly and have it serviced if necessary.
The more efficient the circulation of the water in the pool, the harder it is for bacteria and algae to grow. Make sure that the water circulates in such a way that the dirt and debris are pushed around the surface of the water and into the weir. If the flow is directly from the outlet into the weir, “dead spots” will be created and some areas of the water will never pass through the filter.
It is essential to run the pump for at least eight hours a day for a normal size pool. However, if you use your automatic pool cleaner (APC) continuously, you need to increase this to twelve hours a day. This is because of the restricted water flow caused by the fact that the diameter of the APC pipes is smaller than the pipes leading from the weir to the pump. Also, the larger the pool, the longer the filtration time needed.
Check the pool cleaner pipes for leaks. The ridges on the pipes tend to wear when they rub against the pool walls causing minute holes, which suck air into the system.
To keep your pool water sparkling clean and to ensure that your water remains in balance, the following routine should be followed on a weekly basis.
- Leaves and debris – Remove all leaves and debris from the leaf traps both in the weir and the sludge trap. If the leaf traps are blocked and the water cannot flow freely through the filter, optimum filtration will never be achieved and much of the dirt will fall to the floor of the pool.
- Brush the walls and covings – This loosens dust and dead algae so they can be taken out through the filter.
- Vacuum the loose dirt – This removes all loose dirt, grass, leaves etc from the floor before they get the chance to start sticking to or staining the pool surface.
- Backwash – Do a good backwash. To get the filter clean you must backwash for at least three minutes followed by a one minute rinse. If you have not backwashed for a couple of weeks, repeat this process a second time. If you have a diatomaceous earth or bag filter, remove and wash them. After washing replace them and add diatomaceous earth.
- Testing – Carry out the necessary tests and adjust the levels accordingly as follows:
- Check the pH – The correct value is between 7.2 and 7.6.
- Check for leaks – Look for water leaks and air bubbles. These reduce the filter efficiency and may cause cloudy or green water. Rectify any leaks found immediately.
- Look at the water – If your water loses its sparkle, looks milky, turns light green or green algae appears…. You already have an infestation of bacteria and/or algae which are clogging your filter and attaching to your pool walls and floors. If you don’t act immediately they will continue to breed and multiply and your water will deteriorate very quickly.