In the sunnier months, the sun 'eats' your pool’s chlorine. To minimise chlorine loss your pool needs what’s known as ‘sunscreen’.
Using sunscreen on your pool can save you up to 50% on your chlorine expenses for chlorine swimming pools and it means shorter chlorination times for saltwater swimming pools.
Some chlorine products known as stabilised chlorines contain sunscreen, while those that don’t are referred to as unstabilised chlorines. Even with stabilised chlorines, the sunscreen level should be checked monthly.
The best way to do this is to come in and test the water at your local Swimart store.
TIP: Sunscreen helps minimise chlorine loss from your pool.
TIP: Sunscreen levels should be checked every month.
There are different methods of Superchlorination, depending on the type of pool and how dirty it is.
Superchlorination, also known as shocking or chlorine shocking, is the process of adding several times more chlorine to the pool than is normally needed so that the chlorine can "burn" through resistant compounds, chemicals, oils and strong types of algae. Usually adding chlorine to reach a level of 10 parts per million (ppm).
Always Superchlorinate with the filter on, and do so weekly during the swimming season to clear a pool of any excessive contaminants. You should always do it with the filter pump turned on, not off. There are two reasons for this; Firstly, the filter needs to be working in order to catch any dead bacteria or dead algae that the Superchlorination has killed. With the filter system off, these particles would just float to the surface or even stay where they are. Secondly, the pump system needs to be working to spread the chlorine throughout the pool area evenly, or it will not have the same effect.
Use different methods of Superchlorination, depending on the type of pool and how dirty it is. Superchlorination generally requires three to four times the regular dose of chlorine, although milder Superchlorination methods are available that only raise the chlorine to 3 ppm. Either way, know the normal amount of chlorine your pool is expected to have, and have enough chlorine to shock the system above that mark. With enough chlorine, even the tough compounds that have bonded to the original chlorine particles will be dissolved.
Your pool may also have a Superchlorination option for its filtration and chlorination system that you can switch to. This mode will automatically increase chlorine flow to shock levels and then decrease it as needed. Make sure you have enough chlorine in your pool system for Superchlorination before you turn on this setting.
THE POOL MUST BE CLOSED DURING SUPERCHLORINATION
The high levels of chlorine used when Superchlorinating pools can make them dangerous to swim in, so always make the pool or spa off limits while you Superchlorinate it. Superchlorination will only last about a day after adding the chemicals.
To be sure, you should always test the pool after Superchlorination. Safe chlorine levels are around 1 to 2 parts per million.
If you're not sure whether you should superchlorinate your pool see the article titled "What is superchlorination" in our Pool FAQ's section or talk to your local Swimart pool and spa specialist.
TIP: Superchlorination at regular intervals is a big part of keeping your water clear, clean and safe for use.
Superchlorination is an important part of swimming pool maintenance because it keeps your chlorine at the right level to effectively kill off bacteria and other contaminants.
At times your chlorine needs a boost to continue performing effectively, particularly when it comes to removing ammonia from your pool.
Ammonia most commonly enters your pool as swimmer waste, such as sunscreen, sweat, saliva etc. The reason ammonia is a problem for pools is because it combines with the chlorine to form chloramines and renders the chlorine ineffective at killing the contaminents in your pool. Testing will still show your pool to have the right amount of chlorine, but it will not actually be doing what it's supposed to. Superchlorinating your pool will take care of this problem.
Chlorine pool owners generally use either calcuim hypochlorite or lithium hypochlorite for superchlorination.
By adding a heavy amount of chlorine to your pool you can kill off the harmful contaminants and rid your pool of ammonia. This is best down in the evening to prevent the extra chlorine from evaporating in the sun and because you won't be able to use your pool for eight hours after adding chlorine shock.
Superchlorination should be a weekly part of your swimming pool maintenance program. You can also superchlorinate more often if you have a heavy rain fall that can carry or wash contaminants into your pool or if your pool experiences heavy useage. Frequent pool use allows more swimmer waste into the water, requiring more frequent maintenance.
See the article "How do I superchlorinate" for instructions on how to superchlorinate correctly. If you have any further questions talk to your local Swimart pool and spa specialist about when and how to correctly superchlorinate your pool.
TIP: Superchlorination at regular intervals is a big part of keeping your water clear, clean and safe for use.
Phosphates are mineral salts, and they are not only present in many household cleaners but also in pool some chemicals.
Recent worldwide reports in relation to phosphate dramatically illustrate two points.
- The levels of phosphate from the increased human population and land development have risen drastically.
- The effects of these levels are detrimental to both animal and human health.
For pool owners, however, there is another threat from this situation. Last summer, some of the highest recorded levels of phosphate were reported in pools right across New Zealand. Apparently, the problem of phosphates in our oceans and groundwater has now crossed over to our swimming pools as well as they can enter swimming pools in many way, including leaves, rain etc.
The biggest concerns for swimming pool owners from increased phosphate levels are excessive, stubborn algae blooms and rapid chlorine consumption. Wet algae weighs 1,000 times more than the phosphate needed to nourish it.
For the swimming pool owner, removal of phosphate is imperative in order to maintain good water quality. Then, once the phosphate has been removed, it is important to maintain a low level. This will ensure clean water, better chlorine performance and no algae.
Your local Swimart has special test kits to check the level of phosphate in swimming pools. Should the result of the test exceed the recommended level then you will be advised of what you need to correct this. We recommend Aqua~Health Algae Starver.
By removing phosphates from the pool water Aqua~Health Algae Starver it will:
- Allow other chemicals to work more effectively
- Deplete the water of the main food for algae
- Give the water a sparkling appearance.
Phosphates have become a problem in our oceans, lakes and streams, drinking water and now in our swimming pools. By being aware of the sources of phosphate, by testing regularly and by taking appropriate action to control phosphate buildup, owners can prevent serious algae problems associated with high phosphate levels in their swimming pools.
Pool owners can avoid high levels of phosphate in various ways:
- Firstly, they should try not to allow runoff from lawns, landscaping or washing decks to enter the pool
- Secondly, they should try and remove leaves and other rubbish etc from the pool regularly as these too are carriers of phosphates
- Thirdly, customers should regularly test their pool water for phosphatesto help keep it under control.
The best way to do this is to come in and get your water tested by a Swimart pool and spa specialist at your local Swimart store.
TIP: Phosphate removal is the key to keeping pools algae free, maintaining quality water and allowing other chemicals to work at their most effective level.
TIP: Test your pool water regularly for phosphates
Ozone is a sky-blue gas formed naturally by the action of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, or when a large electrical discharge, like lightning, passes through oxygen.
It is a relatively unstable, highly toxic gas that decomposes to re-form oxygen. A powerful oxidizing and disinfecting agent for water, you can't taste or smell it and it doesn't sting your eyes, but once it hits the water it starts killing bacteria and oxidizing organic waste.
Used for many years in the US and Europe, ozone is the standard purifier in water bottling plants and pools approved by the Olympic Federation.
It’s highly toxic, however. Therefore, all traces of ozone must be consumed or removed prior to it reaching the pool, so small amounts of residual sanitiser like chlorine or bromine must be used to provide continuous protection in the pool. Due to its instability it remains in water for a short time and has no effect on pH or water balance. It can also reduce the need for shock dosing.
Got questions about ozone? Unsure whether chlorine or ozone is suitable for your pool? Find out more today by talking to the experts at your local Swimart store.
TIP: Ozone is a powerful oxidizing and disinfecting agent for pool water.
It depends on a couple of factors. Liquid chlorine (also known as Sodium Hypochlorite) is one of the easiest forms of chlorine to use, as there's no need for premixing. It has a limited shelf life so it shouldn't be purchased too far in advance.
Granular chlorine, on the other hand, needs to be dissolved in a bucket of water before being added to your pool. Its pH is not as high as that of liquid chlorine but it still has a tendency to lift your pH. Because of the 35% calcium content in this type of chlorine it can have the effect of lifting your calcium hardness level.
Pondering your pool’s pH levels? Not sure whether liquid chlorine or granular chlorine is right for you? Visit your local Swimart store today to discuss your pool and spa needs.
TIP: Liquid chlorine is easy to use and requires no pre-mixing.
TIP: Granular chlorine must be mixed in a bucket with water.
Black spot is a green, clinging type of algae that has a tendency to colonise and multiply in hard to reach spots in your pool. It looks somewhat like moss.
Black spot is generally the result of poor water circulation and insufficient sanitisation, and it can start to grow and cling to places where cracks are in your pool’s plaster. The good news is that while algae can never be totally eliminated, it can be controlled.
You may need to purchase black spot algaecide - a copper-based product that may reduce the activity of chlorine in your pool. This kind of product must be used carefully and you will also need to undertake a thorough pool clean, too.
Spotted some black spot? Your first step is to obtain a sample from your pool and come in and test the water at your local Swimart store. Your Swimart pool specialist will prescribe exactly what your pool needs. Call 1300 991104
TIP: Black spot algaecide can help reduce and control black spot.
Correctly balanced water is essential for the long-term good of your pool finishes, exposed metal and equipment. Four factors contribute to balanced pool water: pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness and temperature.
Unbalanced pool water can end up costing you time and money. If your chemical levels are too low, the water could attack your pool lining and equipment. On the other hand, if you’re overusing chemicals it could lead to scale formation on the surface of your pool and on your pool accessories. It can also affect the sanitisation process.
The swimming pool and spa experts at your local Swimart can talk you through pH, alkalinity and much more, and teach you how to ensure your water balance is always at an optimum level. Swimart stores stock a range of products to correct any imbalances.
Talk to the experts in pools and spas today at Swimart about balancing your pool water today. Better still; bring in a sample of your pool water for a free test.
TIP: Balanced water is essential for the long-term health of your pool and equipment.
There are some easy to remember rules that need to be followed to ensure the safe use of swimming pools and spas at all times. Swimart strongly recommends these top tips for pool safety:
- Fence the pool. Ensure your pool or spa has compliant fencing and childproof locking. Remember, a fence and a gate is not a substitute for supervision.
- Supervise children at all times around water. If you need to leave the pool or water area, take the child with you.
- Learn to resuscitate. Take a cpr course so you will know what to do in an emergency. Display a resuscitation chart on your pool fence, too. They’re available at your local swimart store.
- Don’t leave furniture or other potential climbing items near your pool or spa fence.
- Familiarise children with water by taking them to swimming lessons at the local pool.
- Ensure all pool users are warned against sitting on, or covering, a drain or suction point. This can cause injury, or in extreme cases, death.
- Empty paddling pools, baths, basins, sinks and troughs when they are not in use.
- Never consume alcohol around water. Alcohol and swimming don’t mix.
- Be aware that poorly designed pools and spas can create an entrapment hazard. Get a licensed pool builder to review your pool and spa to ensure safety, replace broken or missing suction covers and have anti-entrapment covers fitted if needed.
- Never put your head under water when in a spa.
Need more pool and spa safety tips? Looking for a CPR poster for your pool? Visit your local Swimart store today.
TIP: Ensure your pool is fenced.
TIP: Learn CPR for pool safety.
TIP: For pool safety, remove furniture and other potential climbing items from the pool area.
TIP: For pool safety, supervise children at all times near water.
There are three basic types of pool heating systems. They include solar, gas and heat pumps.
Why choose solar?
Solar heating is popular because the energy to heat the water is free. You can harness the power of the sun to extend your swimming season.
The principles involved in solar pool heating are very simply illustrated. Imagine a garden hose that has been lying in the sun for hours. When you turn on the tap, out comes hot water. That’s solar heating: the sun’s energy has been absorbed by the hose and transmitted as heat to the water inside it. The hose acts as a solar collector.
TIP: Solar pool heating harnesses the sun’s power and extends your swimming season.
Shocking your pool or spa kills bacteria, live organisms and other contaminants (like dirt, debris or algal spores), so your pool sparkles and you can swim safely, sooner – within 15 minutes in most cases!
In some circumstances (when your pool or spa is very low on chlorine) you may need to ‘shock’ it by adding a large dose of chlorine.
Talk to your local Swimart pool and spa specialist about when and how to correctly shock your pool.
TIP: Shocking your pool helps your pool sparkle so you can swim safely, sooner.
Contrary to popular opinion, too much chlorine can make swimming uncomfortable by creating sore eyes and itchy skin for swimmers. Maintaining correct chlorine levels at all times is important.
Take a sample of your pool water along to your local Swimart pool and spa specialist for computer testing. They will analyse your pool or spa water and advise you on how much chlorine is suitable for your pool or spa.
TIP: Correct chlorine levels ensure a comfortable swimming environment.
Chemically balanced and sanitised water (measuring correct sanitiser, pH, alkalinity and calcium levels) prevents scaling, corrosion, as well as unnecessary damage to pool equipment and allows sanitisers to work effectively.
It also ensures that your pool water is safe to swim in. If water is out of balance, the effectiveness of sanitation is diminished and you may need to use more chemicals to maintain clean and healthy water. Sanitised water looks better, too!
Talk to Swimart today about how to sanitise your pool water.
TIP: Sanitised pool water prevents unnecessary pool and equipment damage and provides a safer swim.
Incorrect pH levels can cause a range of problems, including itchy skin and sore eyes. Unbalanced water can occur as a result of heavy rain, heavy pool usage, topping up the pool or adding chemicals.
Chemically balanced and sanitised water is critical for a safer, healthier swim. Talk to your local Swimart pool and spa specialist about getting the right balance for your pool water.
TIP: Balanced pool and spa water ensures a safer, healthier swim.
Heavy rain can change the pH level of your pool water. Water out of balance is uncomfortable for swimmers (think irritated skin and sore eyes). It can cause expensive damage to your pool and equipment and interfere with pool sanitisation.
Hurry! Ask your local Swimart pool and spa specialist about getting the right balance for your pool type and size.
TIP: Always balance your pool water after rain.
Pool covers save water by reducing evaporation and heat loss, plus they keep leaves and other debris out of your pool. Pool covers can extend your swimming season by keeping heat in! They also help preserve the chemical balance of your pool’s water and keeps the pool cleaner, saving you time and money.
Talk to Swimart about pool covers, blankets and other protective measures for your pool.
TIP: Pool covers extend your swimming season, reduce heat loss and keep debris out of your pool.
To keep your pool cleaner in good working condition, regularly clean your skimmer box and pump basket. Backwashing and rinsing your filter regularly will also help. Many factors impact upon the performance of your pool cleaner, including dirty filters, excessive chemical use, unbalanced water and incorrect suction levels.
Talk to your local Swimart pool and spa specialist about how to maximise the performance of your pool cleaner year-round.
TIP: Clean your skimmer box and pump basket and backwash your filter regularly to keep your cleaner in top condition.
Chemicals are potentially dangerous and may present some hazards if not used properly. Carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions for the use and storage of chemicals and follow these tips:
- Never allow pool chemicals to mix with each other or household chemicals. Use a clean scoop for each chemical and never combine material from "old" and "new" containers. Chemical reactions could take place resulting in possible fires or explosions.
- Never use metallic utensils- use plastic, glass, china or enamelware utensils and buckets only, and be sure that they are clean and dry.
- Add chemicals to water. Never add water to chemicals.
- Always add chemicals directly to the pool water, either in a suitable feeder, distributed across the surface of the pool, or diluted and poured into the water. Follow label use instructions.
- Never add chemcials to the pool water while swimmers are using the pool.
- Keep chemicals out of reach of children.
- Never reuse old chemical containers.
- Wash out empty disinfectant containers before disposing to eliminate danger of fire, explosion or poisoning.
- Carefully clean up any spilled chemicals with large amounts of water to dilute and wasy away the chemcials.
- Do not inhale dust or fumes from any pool chemicals. If necessary use protective devices from breathing, handling and eye protection.
- Promptly wash off any residues which get on your skin.
- Chemicals for test kits should be replaced each year.
- Keep the original lids on all chemical containers and makre sure the lids are closed tightly when not is use.
- Don't stack different chemicals on top of one another.
- Keep liquid chemicals away from dry chemicals.
- Physically seperate all different forms of chemicals.
- Store your chemicals in a clean, cool, dry, well-ventilated area.
- Do not store chemicals near the pool heater.
- Keep acids away from other chemicals.
- Do not sore your pool chemicals where other flammable items may mix with them. For example, a mixture of pool chemicals and fertilizer can cause a fire or explosion.
- Add each chemical to the pool separately.
- Follow all label directions and use instructions carefully.
- Keep your hands clean and dry, and wash your hands before and after handling chemicals.
- Always have your pump on when adding chemicals, and filter the water for at least two hours prior unless specified by your local Swimart pool and spa specialist.
See your local Swimart pool and spa specialist for more tips on pool chemical handling safety.
TIP: Wash your hands after handling pool chemicals.
TIP: Don’t mix your pool chemicals.
Over time, the sand in your filter will become uneven as a result of ‘water channeling’. This reduces your filter’s ability to effectively and efficiently do its job - and clean your water. For optimum filtration, it is recommended that you replace sand, on average, every five years.
To find out how to get the most from your filtration system and discuss sand replacement, speak to your local Swimart pool and spa specialist.
TIP: Replace your sand approximately every five years.
Filter socks, which trap large leaves, debris and small dirt particles, offer a low-cost, easy way to keep your skimmer basket clean. Filter socks are simple and quick to replace, too – saving you time!
Find out about filter socks at your local Swimart pool and spa specialist.
TIP: Filter socks keep the leaves out of your pool, saving you time.
Leaky pump seals are a common cause of pump noise. It’s likely that the pump’s seals have leaked, allowing water inside the bearings, drying them out.
In most cases, your local Swimart pool and spa specialist can easily repair bearings and seals. Talk to Swimart today.
TIP: If your pool pump is unusually noisy, check seals and bearings.