Pool Care— Is it worth it?
The Importance of Pool Care
If you want a sparkling, crystal clear pool year-round, regular maintenance is a must. More than just for aesthetic purposes, regular pool maintenance also helps preserve the life of your pool’s filtration system and helps stave off all sorts of nasties that are prone to grow in neglected backyard pools.
It doesn’t matter whether you do it yourself, or if you hire a pool service technician – what matters is you do it and do it regularly!
It’s a smart move to use an automatic pool cleaner, as it reduces the amount of work you need to do. However, it doesn’t do all the work for you. Vacuuming your pool at least once a week will help to remove any debris that the filter misses. Finally, to avoid a buildup of algae and bacteria that are prone to growing on the sides of your pool, we recommend manually brushing these low circulation areas.
One of your pool’s most important pieces of equipment is the filter. The pool filter is designed to remove any visible debris and most of the microscopic matter that build up in the water. Because your pool’s filter is often working around the clock, it’s recommended you clean it on a monthly basis.
For a sand filter: Backwash or reverse the flow of water through the filter for 2 to 3 minutes until the wastewater appears clear.
For a cartridge filter: Remove the cartridge, hose it thoroughly and replace.
Any body of water that’s left stagnant will quickly become a home for bacteria and algae. To avoid this, and to help the filter capture any floating debris, regularly circulate your pool’s water daily for a minimum of 10 hours.
Water Testing & Maintenance
Your pool’s water is a carefully balanced mix of acids, alkalines and chemicals. This is what keeps it crystal clear and swimmable throughout the year. So in order to maintain this balance, pool water should be regularly tested, measured, and adjusted. Depending on the frequency of use, number of swimmers, product application and weather, your pool’s water can – over a period of time- become unsanitary to swim in, and even reduce the life of the filtration equipment. To avoid this, carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using test kits and chemicals (available from your local hardware or pool supplies store).
Without the proper care and attention, swimming pools can quickly become contaminated.
Although it is impossible to prevent bacteria and viruses from entering the pool water, it is possible to neutralise such threats and prevent them from reaching unhealthy levels.
Chlorine Pools: Due to the effects of the sun’s UV rays and heat, chlorine can break down very fast in the presence of high contamination and swimmer loads. With these factors in mind, many swimming pool owners over-chlorinate their pool in the hope that illness can be prevented.
While this is true, too much chlorine can also cause health problems. Mineral water sanitisers can reduce chlorine consumption by 75%, creating a safer and healthier swimming environment. They also effectively destroy potentially harmful bacteria, viruses and algae before they can strike.
Saltwater Pools: An alternative to chlorine, saltwater pools offer softer water, lower operation costs and, of course, no chloramines. Although a saltwater pool isn’t entirely maintenance free, it is less involved as you don’t need to tend to the pool’s chemistry as closely.
Alternatives: There is unequivocal proof of the efficacy of non-chlorine additives or pool water treatments that can supplement chlorine to create safer pool water. Elements such as copper and silver have become widely accepted as potent antibacterial and antiviral agents.
Waterborne Pool Illnesses
If you thought a rash was the worse thing you could get from a poorly-maintained pool, think again! Swimming in an infected pool could result in:
- Dysentery & Amoebic dysentery
- Hepatitis A
- Dermatitis, and other skin conditions.
Pool-related health facts & statistics:
- Of 282 pools tested, over 50% of the pools which had a chlorine level above 2.0 ppm still had both E. Coliand Pseudonomas bacteria present.
- “Swimmers had significantly more eye, ear and skin infections than non-swimmers, largely because of high bacteria and virus levels in pools, doctors advise.
- “Swimming asthma” has been observed, especially in young children, as a result of breathing in the by-products (trihalomethanes) of chlorine used in swimming pools.
- Eye and nose irritation, stomach discomfort and anemia can occur as a result of chlorine (Cl2 or ClO2) or chloramines in the water.
- Diarrhea has been steadily on the rise since the mid-1980s as new germs appear that are increasingly resistant to chlorine used to disinfect pools.
If you don’t have the time, or would just like one less thing on your to-do list, pick up a quote from a professional pool technician here.