Couple-with-Parasol.jpgUse the navigational links below to find the pool maintenance information you require. This information elaborates on the 3 Step System and provides a comprehensive guide to maintaining a beautiful looking swimming pool all year round.

The Poolpride 3 step system incorporates: TestingProblem Solving and Maintenance and links to each of these can be found at the bottom of each page.

Daily Pool Maintenance

  1. Test pH & Free Chlorine levels using the Poolpride Pool & Spa Test Strips.  Ensure pH is within the 7.2 - 7.8 range.

  2. Pool filter should run at least 8 to 10 hours per day (24 hours per day is best).  If possible set your pool timer to run the filter.  If you are not running your pool 24 hours per day, it is best to have it running during the daylight hours.

  3. Make sure your skimmer basket is empty and clear of leaves/debris.

  4. Add Chlorine to the pool on a daily basis in one of the following ways:

Weekly Pool Maintenance

  1. Backwash filter (see The Pool's Support System).

  2. Test water for Chlorine, pH and Alkalinity.

  3. Adjust pH and Free Available Chlorine levels as needed.

  4. Vacuum pool floor and walls if needed.

  5. Add Poolpride Liquid Floc to pool water to remove suspended dirt and algae particles.  

  6. Add Poolpride Algicide to inhibit algae growth.

  7. Check and adjust water level as needed.  Water should be half way up the skimmers.

Seasonal Maintenance

There are many items worth checking throughout the season.  Simple periodical checks are good way to ensure common problems don't occur.

  • Pump Baskets:  Check your pump basket for cracks and splits.  A cracked pump basket can allow debris to clog your impeller.  This can cause loss of flow that will lead to poor filtration and water clarity issues.

  • D.E. Filters:  It is a good practice for you to clean the D.E filter grids thoroughly mid season.  Open the filter and remove the entire grid assembly and hose off.  During regular backwashing you get about 80% of the D.E. out over time you will still get a D.E. build up in the filter.  This can cause the filter grids to bridge together resulting in high filter pressure and poor filtration.

  • Ladders and Diving Boards:  It is important to check your ladder, handrail, and diving board bolts and hardware are tightened properly.  If you have a diving board always check it for cracks, and rusty bolts.  Also check your ladder, and handrail bolts.

  • Equipment Area:  Ensure your equipment area is free of leaves, grass and mulch.  Debris tends to attract to pumping equipment and can cause it to over heat and wear out.

  • Electric:  Check to make sure all electrical wire connections are intact.  If splits or cracks are present, connections should be replaced (electrical tape can be problematic in weather exposed environments).  Unsafe electrical conditions can cause injury, or even death.

  • Skimmer Baskets:  Check for cracks and splits in the skimmer baskets.  Splits can cause unwanted debris in the pump basket placing pressure on the pumping equipment.

  • In-Floor Cleaning Systems:  The in-line filter located at the union going to the unit should be checked and cleaned regularly.  If it is clogged the in-floor system to not work properly.

Opening the Pool

Tropical-Pool.jpgThe reopening process begins the moment the pool is closed.  Snow or rain can raise the water level or sink the cover.  Since heavy debris can fall in, it is better to remove it immediately than waiting till the spring.

  • Supplies:  Take the supplies (chemicals) out of storage and replace those that have exceeded the expiration date.

  • Uncover:  Remove the cover, and then clean it.  Allow it to dry (to prevent mildew) before folding and storing it for the summer.

  • Equipment:  Reinstall or reassemble the pump, filter, and other removed items.

  • Deck:  Reinstall ladders, diving board, and other deck fittings.  If used at closing time, most of the petroleum jelly used to coat exposed metal fittings will have weathered off.  Use a dry terry cloth towel to wipe off the remainder if necessary.

  • Plumbing:  Remove the plugs and replace return outlet fittings.

  • Refilling the Pool:  Bring the water level up to normal.

  • Electrical:  Restore circuit breakers, switches, and time clock trippers to normal operating positions.

  • Cleaning:  Restart the circulation equipment and clean the pool.

  • Chemistry:  Balance the water chemistry and check the levels frequently during the first few days (until they stabilise).

Run the circulation system 24 hours straight for three days or until the water has cleared completely.  Depending on how dirty the pool became over the winter, the filter must be backwashed frequently during this period.

Closing the Pool

When closing your pool for the winter, keep these things in mind:

  • Get your water balanced properly to prevent stains, scaling and algae growth.  Put in an extra dose of chlorine to help keep the pool clean and algae free.
  • Thoroughly clean and vacuum the pool.
  • Close valves on the skimmer.
  • Make sure water does not accumulate and freeze in skimmer.
  • Clean and backwash the filter.
  • Drain all water in the heater, filter, pump and piping system.  Remove the pump motor and store in a dry place.
  • Turn off all power to the support equipment and remove fuses or turn the circuit breakers to OFF.
  • If you have a slide or diving board, take it off and store it.
  • Cover the pool and plug all openings.
  • Store chemicals in a cool dry place.

Only a few pools need to be drained during the winter.  Many pools handle cold conditions better when partially filled with water.  A drained pool can crack or pop as a result of pressure from ground water.

Cleaning and Purifying Pool Water

Filtration

There are several types of filters available for swimming pool water.  Sand and gravel, diatomaceous earth, anthracite, and cartridge types are the filter mediums most commonly employed.  Regardless of the medium used, the basic principles are the same.

This consists of passing water through tiny passageways.  Particles larger than these passages are trapped and thereby separated from the main body of the water. This process continues until all of these passageways are blocked.  The filter must then be cleaned and the cycle repeated.

Vacuuming

A filter is designed to remove sediment and suspended matter from the main body of water, however, some dirt will inevitably settle to the bottom of the pool during periods when the filter is not in operation.  The only way for this sediment to be removed is through vacuuming.

The swimming pool vacuum operates in a similar manner to the common household unit except it draws water through the vacuum head instead of air.  There are two ways in which this may be accomplished.  One method employs a jet of water supplied by a garden hose to power the suction, which draws the dirt into the head to be trapped in a cloth bag.  The other method uses the suction power supplied by the filter, which draws the sediment and dirt from the pool floor for removal through the filter.  When there is a considerable amount of sediment to be removed the filter valves should be adjusted so that the vacuumed water will bypass the filter and run to waste.

It is recommended that the pool be vacuumed about once weekly, the exact schedule to be determined from the pool owners experience.

Surface Skimming

Hair, lint, leaves and insects, which enter the pool and remain floating on the surface can be easily removed with surface skimmers.  There are two types of surface skimmers: hand and automatic.  The hand skimmer is simply a plastic screen or net attached to a long pole and should be used to remove the larger floating objects such as leaves and grass.

The automatic surface skimmer is a device, which is attached to the filtering system.  During the filtering process, part of the surface water is drawn through the skimmer and into the filter, carrying with it dust, small insects, and other fine debris before these can settle to the pool floor.

The pool should be skimmed frequently since most dirt enters the water through the surface.

The Chemicals

By adding chlorine to your pool water, you can protect yourself against germs and algae that might form on the pool's surface or in the water itself.  Chemicals disinfect the water and also keep it sparkling clean.

How to Use Test Strips

Testing the water is the first step.  Poolpride Pool & Spa Test Strips indicate the condition of your pool water and what needs to be done to get it sparkling.

Test Strips have three chemical sensitive pads that display a colour change when added to water.  Strips should be swirled in pool water for at least 15 seconds to allow for a complete reaction.  The colour pads can then be compared with the chart on the Test Strip container.

  • Maintaining the correct level of Free Chlorine will keep your water sparkling clean.
  • With the right pH levels you will prevent corrosion, scaling, cloudy water and skin irritation.
  • Correct levels of Total Alkalinity will prevent sudden pH changes.

Helpful hints:  1) Reach well below the surface to get an accurate water test  2) Test water at the same time of day, say early evening.

Balancing pH in Pool Water

Water testing will indicate your water's pH balance.  The ideal pH level for pool water is between 7.2 and 7.8.  Above 7.8, the water is more alkaline (base) and under certain conditions can form calcium deposits in the piping and on pool surfaces.

Below 7.2 pH, the pool water is more acidic; the lower on the scale, the greater the acidity.  If the water is too acidic it can damage both the piping and pool surfaces.

Maintaining your water slightly on the alkaline side (between 7.2 and 7.8) helps chemicals do a proper disinfecting job, keeps scale from forming on the pool and support equipment, and retards any corrosion.

Adding the Right Chemicals

The pH of your pool tells you which chemicals to add to maintain a 7.2 to 7.8 pH level.  The pH level in your pool is highly susceptible to change due to such things as rainfall, sun light, and swimmer loading.  Use Poolpride pH Increase to raise the pH level of the pool water or make it more alkali.  Use Poolpride pH Decrease to lower pool water pH and make it more acidic.  Use Poolpride pH Buffer to lock the pH level and prevent rapid changes.

Simple Winterising

The New Zealand climate allows pools to be kept full all year round and it is relatively simple to keep the pool water looking great all the time.  Add Poolpride Algicide to the water to inhibit the growth of Algae during the winter.  Algicide reduces the amount of chlorine required during the winter months.  Add a double dose to you pool water once every 6 weeks during the winter.

The Pool's Support System

The support equipment circulates, filters and heats the water in your pool.  It also helps to evenly distribute the chemicals you add to control purity and balance.

The Pump

The pump is the heart of your pool's support system.   It circulates water through the filter and heater and then returns it to the pool.  When choosing a pump, important factors to consider are its pumping capacity relative to your pool size, the operating costs and maintenance steps.  There are now many energy saving models available on the market.

The Filter

The high-rate sand filter is the most popular type, partly because of its simplicity of operation and maintenance.  Pool water is pumped through layers of sand inside a pressurised container.  Dirt and grease particles are retained in the sand.

The high-rate sand filter is cleaned by backwashing, which reverses the flow of water through the filter and pumps it out a waste line.  Backwashing lifts the particles collected, raises the sand bed and cleans it.  With proper backwashing and use of a filter cleaner, the sand can last indefinitely.

The D.E. is another popular filter. It contains diatomaceous earth (hence the name D.E.), a white powder that filters out even very small particles.  There are various methods of cleaning D.E. filters, including backwashing.  In most cases, the used D.E. must be replaced whenever you clean the filter.

In a cartridge filter, pool water circulates through cartridges of fibrous material.  These cartridges can be removed, hosed down and soaked in a cleaning agent.  Cartridge filters are relatively easy to clean and also have a low replacement cost.  They should be replaced when they fail to maintain clear water in the pool or when they show signs of wearing.

Backwashing Filters

D.E Filters

  1. Turn pump off.
  2. Open backwash valve.
  3. Pump handle slowly 15 times.
  4. Turn pump on and run it for 2 minutes.  Turn pump off.
  5. Pump handle slowly 15 times.
  6. Turn pump on for 1 minute.  Turn pump off.
  7. Close backwash valve tightly.
  8. Turn pump on.
  9. Add D.E. to the skimmer located closest to pump.  Add D.E. to skimmers slowly and whatever you do, don't clog them!
  10. Check pool water level after backwashing - add more water if necessary.

Sand Filter

  1. Turn pump off.
  2. Turn multi-port valve to backwash position.
  3. Open backwash gate valve (if any).
  4. Turn pump on and run it for 2 minutes.  Turn pump off.
  5. Turn multi-port to rinse position.
  6. Turn pump on and run it for 1 minute. Turn pump off.
  7. Turn multi-port valve to backwash position.
  8. Turn pump on and run it for 2 minutes.  Turn pump off.
  9. Turn multi-port valve to rinse position.
  10. Turn pump on and run it for 1 minute.  Turn pump off.
  11. Turn multi-port valve to filter position.
  12. Close backwash gate valve (if any) & turn pump on.
  13. Check pool water level after backwashing - add more water if necessary.

The Heater

Pool-at-Night.jpgMost pool owners who have heaters agree that it is a vital factor in expanding their pool's use.  Heaters can extend your swimming opportunities for more hours in the day and more months of the year, even year-round in some areas of the country.

Look at a few facts first.  Pool water of 25oC is what most people prefer for swimming.  The sun alone can help water achieve that temperature, but unless you live in a very warm part of New Zealand this is unlikely as your pool will never exceed the average air temperature.  Therefore, the assistance of a heater might be needed to keep water constantly at 25oC in most climate zones.  Your heating options are gas, oil, electricity or solar.  Certain sources are more effective and less costly in certain areas of the country.  Check with the experts for the most efficient energy source in your area.

Size is another consideration.  Don't select a smaller heater on the initial cost alone.  A larger heater may actually be more economical because a smaller heater will have to work longer and harder to heat the same size pool.

The Surface Skimmer

One or more skimmers are included in properly designed pools.  Skimmers draw in surface water accompanied by any floating dirt, leaves, oil or other debris while pool drains remove objects suspended in the main body of water or that fall to the bottom of the pool.  Connected to the filtration system, skimmers help to keep the water's surface clean and minimise the amount of debris that gets into the main body of the pool water.

Most skimmers are built right into the side of the pool, but portables are available.  Portable skimmers hang on the edge of the pool and are used for above- or in-ground pools that were initially built without skimming systems.  The skimmer is most effective if located on the down-wind side.  The wind will help push in more water and it will also blow most leaves in that direction.

Energy Maintenance

Whether you heat your pool or not, a pool cover is one of the best investments you can make.  Most solar pool covers are made of plastic or aluminium sheets, are moderately priced, and can generate energy savings of up to 70 percent.  If handled properly, a good cover will last many years.  Pool covers also aid in keeping leaves out, reducing pool water evaporation, and reducing chemical requirements.

Repairing Cracks

In-ground cement or gunite pool walls may crack from earth movements under the shell or around the deck.  Hairline cracks are easily repaired with a small amount of plaster, caulking compound or epoxy putty once you lower the water below the damaged area.

Check the extent of the crack.  Large cracks may indicate a serious problem, possibly from soil movement or poor drainage.  If a large crack should appear, consult a pool professional.

Replastering Concrete Pools

For best appearance, concrete pools should be replastered about every 10 to 15 years or repainted every 3 to 5 years.  This is because daily contact with pool chemicals and changing water temperatures often cause flaking or chipping.  Slight damage can be buffed and patched or painted over.

Repairing Fibreglass Surfaces

Although this material is strong and durable, after time the smooth finish may fade, chip or discolour.  If this occurs, check your warranty as many manufacturers cover surface deterioration.  If the damage is small, patching the area may be all that is necessary.  For larger areas, you may have to recoat the entire pool.  A simple coat of epoxy paint may improve the appearance of an older fibreglass shell.  Always follow manufacturers' recommended procedures.

Tile Care

Tile trim along the inner edge of a pool can be very sensitive to shifts in the soil, and it can crack or pop off.  Stronger adhesive can be used to relay the tile; but if there is actual structural damage, some excavation and rebuilding may be needed along the outer area of the pool.

Checklist for Pool Cleaning

Keeping your pool clean can be made easier by following a regular schedule.  A good checklist to follow for regular pool care is:

1. Use a small hand-held leaf skimmer to help in cleaning the pool.

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2. Clean the strainer baskets in the skimmer and pump.

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3. Clean the tile and walls; tile is best cleaned with a soft brush and a pool tile cleaner.  The clearing of pool walls will depend on your surface: cement, vinyl or fibreglass.  Follow manufacturers' suggested procedures.

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4. Vacuum the pool at least once a week.

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5. Test the water frequently and add chemicals if necessary.

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6. If water turns cloudy, test for chemical balance; if necessary, backwash and service the filter.

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7. Keep the deck clean and clear of debris.

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Spa Maintenance

Just like a pool, your spa or hot tub will benefit from a regular schedule of maintenance.

  • Test your water daily for its pH level and chlorine.  Test for total alkalinity levels once a month.
  • Use your cover consistently to prevent heat loss.
  • Clean your filter approximately once a month.
  • Check the leaf strainer basket every second week and remove debris.
  • Drain and refill the tub or spa with fresh water every 3 months.  Take this opportunity to clean the unit thoroughly.  Heavy usage may require cleaning more often.
  • Periodically check for leaks around pipe joints and seals in the support equipment.
  • Inspect the heater annually for scale, mineral deposits, and/ or corrosion.
  • Apply exterior oil to hot tubs 2-4 times a year to preserve the finish.
  • Check the metal bands or hoops of your hot tub for signs of rust or corrosion.

If you have a fibreglass spa, add a coat of special wax about twice a year to restore lustre.

Note:  The chemistry of spa and hot tub water changes very quickly.  Factors that cause this are high water temperatures, the aeration of the water, the body chemistry of the people using the spa or hot tub, and the high body to water ratio in the spa or hot tub.  For example, five people in a 2000 - 3000 litres spa or tub equals about 250 people in an large size (113,000 litre) pool.  Warm water temperature also provides a good environment for algae and bacteria to grow and as such water should be checked daily.

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