Pool maintenance is generally considered to be hard work but in all honesty, with regular, yet minimal maintenance one can easily enjoy year round pool pleasure. The trick is to be consistent and hands on in your approach. Letting the gardener, for example, manage your pool, is definitely not the way to go.
Firstly, backwashing and rinsing of the filter needs to be done religiously and consistently on a weekly basis. Rinsing the filter every other week or on Saturday this week and then only on Thursday the following week is the single biggest mistake most pool owners make since the filter, being the heart of the filtration system, needs to be clean and clear in order to do its job effectively.
The backwash cycle should run for no less than about 1 full minute (for small pools) and no less than about 2 full minutes (for medium to large) pools. The rinse cycle should be done straight afterwards as it is a secondary yet final cleaning cycle and need only run for approximately 15 -20 seconds. Very important to note is that the pool cleaner (usually either a Kreepy Krawly or Barracuda of some sort) should be unplugged during this cleaning cycle as the resistance offered by said pool cleaner drastically reduces the flow through the filter which results in totally ineffective rinsing of the filtration system.
It is imperative that one cleans out the weir basket as well as the pump basket before attempting to clean the filter as leaves, etc. found in these areas can also drastically reduce the flow through the filter.
A ph testing kit is very important to have at hand during the weekly maintenance routine since the ph of the water is what really matters at the end of the day. A balanced ph allows for the chemicals one administers to effectively be absorbed and react as they should. Generally, if the ph is either too high or too low then the chemicals will not work. It's that simple.
In the past, and until very recently, salt chlorinators were the so called "answer" to low maintenance pool water treatment systems. This was more or less true except for the fact that the salt in the pool water is highly corrosive and over time it corrodes the lime in the paving as well as the grout in between the paving which leaves the paving pitted and groutless which is a real eyesore! These days we're able to generate ozone (O₃) via corona discharge or UV light which is 3000 - 3500 times more effective than chlorine in purifying water. Ozone is not as dependent on a balanced ph as other chemicals, including chlorine, and it just about creates mineral water for you and your family to swim in. Ozone is the most highly oxidative substance known to man and it is known to destroy up to around 98% of all known bacteria and viruses. Ozone generators are therefore the more eco-friendly option for any pool since the pools chlorine consumption is drastically reduced and as a result the water can be backwashed and rinsed into the garden without causing any problems for the grass or plants.
General tips for a healthy looking pool would be to do regular cleaning of baskets and the filter as well as regular testing of the ph and it's always a good idea to add a cup or two of chlorine granules straight after a storm or cloud burst. Keeping the pool free from leaves and other floating debris is also very important to prevent decomposition which ultimately leads to the growth of algae. The addition of either a salt chlorinator or an ozone generator is supposed to lower the maintenance of the pool water but in reality these systems still need to be managed as they create either chlorine or ozone respectively and do nothing for the ph of the water.
If ever one feels the need to re-line or waterproof one's pool then stick to marblite or if you can afford it, fibreglass. Algae cannot manifest on fibreglass as it does on marblite and therefore it can be brushed off with ease leaving a clean, smoothe surface. Never ever use any kind of pool paint to waterproof your pool as this is a temporary solution to a permanent problem.
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