Change of Season and Your Swimming Pool

Welcome, today I am going to be talking about the change of season and what it means for your swimming pool. Here on the Sunshine Coast being a sub-tropical, some may say it is more like tropical these days, but that could be a blog subject for another day.

The temperature changes through Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring are not as significant as they would be in colder weather zones, but still need to be considered. I hope to give you some insight into what needs to be done to maintain your pool through these times.

If you are lucky enough to have some form of heating on your pool, e.g. Gas, Electric or Solar, where your swimming season may be extended for some months to even all year round, then your normal test and balance regimes should be followed. In non-heated pools, the bather load will drop off dramatically as the days get shorter and night-time temperatures drop; this is when most pool owners become complacent and start testing and treating their pool water less or sometimes not at all.

While this is understandable as it can appear to be a bit of a chore to regularly go out and test your water or make the trip to your local Pool store (Billabong Pool Service & Supply branch if you are anywhere on the Sunshine Coast), this is not a wise strategy. It is far more economical to continue with a regular testing and treatment regime so that you are aware of any issues that may be occurring in your pool and you are able to react and address them before they become an expensive problem to deal with.

Imagine the scenario that you have ignored the pool over the cooler months, the weather is getting a bit warmer and the kids are standing by the side of the pool with their flippers and goggles on about to jump in. But the pool is greener than the front lawn, and there is a family of toads that have taken up residence in the skimmer box. 

So, you call your local pool technician (a Billabong Pool Service & Supply branch if you are anywhere on the Sunshine Coast), an expensive algae and pool clean-up will ensue and the kids will have to wait some time before they can enjoy a swim. This may sound extreme, but it is a very common occurrence for us. The following are some tips that will help you get through the cooler months and may even save you some money.

After a long hot summer, do an equipment check:

Filtration – do you require a sand change or cartridge element?

Pumps – any leaks, are they working efficiently?

Skimmer – and hair/lint baskets are they in good order, unbroken and clean? 

Chlorination/Sanitation equipment – is it working to specifications, leaking, require cleaning?

Pool cleaning equipment – hoses, vacuum heads, brushes, scoops, auto cleaners in good order?

If you are unsure of the status of any of these questions contact your local pool service centre (Billabong Pool Service & Supply branch if you are anywhere on the Sunshine Coast) to come out and advise.

Make sure your pool and surroundings are clear of debris, that your skimmer baskets remain clean throughout this period. A walk around your pool once a week will be effective in this process.

Filtration and sanitation go hand in hand, so if the filtration media is dirty, then the sanitation has a tougher job to maintain water quality. This places more demand on chlorine levels unnecessarily. Backwash sand filters, or talk to us about a sand/media change.

For Cartridge type filters, remove and fully clean the filter element and/or after a long swimming season; perform an overnight soak in a cartridge cleaning solution followed by a significant rinse. Due to lower bather load, the frequency of cleaning can be reduced during the cooler months, but not stopped.

Super Chlorinate with chlorine or other non-chlorine-based oxidants, probably only twice during this period. It is an important step for keeping your pool water in good condition and killing any waterborne pathogens and realistically takes next to no time. Algae use phosphates to proliferate, so adding a phosphate remover at this time is helpful in keeping them at bay.

At this point, your pool will benefit from a preventive algaecide treatment, sometimes referred to as winterising your pool. Addition of a quality complex copper-based algaecide will provide 90 days of copper residual to see off any minor algal outbreaks. It is advisable to add a metal sequestering agent at this time. Metals are always present in your pool water the sequestering agent will retain these metals in solution so as to help avoid any nasty staining issues.

For correct water chemistry to be maintained a daily test of Chlorine and pH levels should be performed. Even when you are not swimming, effective chlorine residual should be maintained and correct pH control is a must. 

We would recommended that you bring in a sample of water to be tested at your local pool service centre (Billabong Pool Service & Supply branch if you are anywhere on the Sunshine Coast) every fortnight or sooner if a significant weather event has occurred, so as to test other levels such as Total Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, Stabilizer levels, Salt levels (in relevant installations). This can avoid problems like staining, scaling, corrosion of pool equipment etc.

You will find that you don’t need to run your pool for as long as you do over summer as chlorine production you required during the swimming season is now far too much while the pool is not being used. Although you can make savings by reducing pump runtimes and chlorine production, please be sure to not overdo it. Have a discussion with your local pool service centre (a Billabong Pool Service & Supply branch if you are anywhere on the Sunshine Coast), and they will be happy to advise you.

As always, I hope this has been of interest and assistance.

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