We all know that spectacular, healthy and enjoyable summer pools are maintained year round! Here is an easy step-by-step guide on prepping your pool and making it crystal-clear the whole year round.
Step One: Test and Balance your Pool Water
The pool pH level needs to be between 7.2 and 7.6. Taking a sample of pool water to your local pool shop will tell you exactly what the pH is or you are easily able to test it yourself by using test strips or a test kit. If the level is not correct, add the appropriate dosage of acid to bring the pool to the correct level.
Algae loves high pH, so by keeping your pH level, this will keep the green water away!
Step Two: Maintain the pH and Total Alkalinity Levels
Total Alkalinity (the measure of the ability of your pool or spa water to resist changes in the pH) is the overseer that keeps the pH of your water where it needs to be. If your buffering capabilities are too low (low alkalinity), your pH levels can swing drastically from highs to lows. Increase alkalinity by adding Buffer.
Check out this post we have on the relationship of pool chlorine and your pool's pH levels for more information.
Step Three: Keep your Phosphates Low
Leaves in your pool? We’re here to help! Phosphate is Algae food. If debris such as leaves, gumnuts or sticks are not cleared quickly through either the skimmer, manually scooping or vacuuming or your pool cleaner, they’ll settle on the bottom, start to break down and cause your phosphates to rise. High phosphate levels = low sanitisation levels, because sanitisers such as chlorine can’t do its best job. The best way to fix this is a simple chemical called phosphate remover.
Step Four: Use a Copper Based Algaecide
Copper is a natural killer of algae, so by adding a copper based algaecide to your pool regularly (3-4 times per year) will keep any algae blooms at bay. We also have a post explaining the proper use of Phosphate Removers and copper-based algaecides here.
Step Five: Clarify your pool!
After you kill any type of algae, it’s going to be floating around as tiny particles in your pool water, along with many other waste particles from humans, pets, or animals that land in your pool. Your filter will pick up most of these, but for what’s left over, there’s is a chemical that is like the garbage man for your swimming pool water. It clings to and eliminates any left over waste particles in your pool, keeping it sanitised and healthy to swim in.
Step Six: Clean the Pool
It’s important to brush the walls and floor of the pool and then to vacuum the whole pool thoroughly. Algae thrives in unclean water, so don’t forget to clean the skimmer baskets and the pump baskets of debris. Also,if you don’t already have one, a pool cleaner is great for the job as opposed to manually vacuuming!
Step Seven: Clean your pool filters
Ensure that the pool’s filter is sparkling clean, as any grease or oil deposits will harden over winter and make the filter harder to clean in the warmer months, not to mention reducing its overall efficiency.
Cleaning your Cartridge Filter
Take your cartridge out and give it a good hose down. Rule of thumb is to clean your cartridge once every 2 weeks. to save on time, consider getting a water wand filter cleaning attachment. Cuts down on your filter cartridge cleaning time and water consumption by more than half!
Need a new filter cartridge? You can see our range of filter cartridges here.
Hot Tip: If you are after a thorough clean, soak your cartridge in a tub of clean water with some Zodiac Filter cleaner overnight. Follow this by a good rinse with your garden hose the next day and this should take care of any stubborn gunk and dirt that have clung to your filters.
Cleaning your sand filter a.k.a. Backwashing
Give it a good backwash. Rule of thumb is to backwash once every 2 weeks. Chances are you'll notice that the water that comes out during the backwash is very brown and dirty, this means that you should be doing it a bit more often! Let that backwash run for 2 minutes or until the backwash water turns clear. Set the handle back to filter and you're good to go.
Not sure how to backwash your sand filter? Here's a simple step by step:
- Turn off the pool pump.
- Set the filter valve handle to the BACKWASH position and ensure the handle locks in place.
- Turn on the pump and backwash for 2 minutes or until the water in the sight glass (located on the filter) is running clear.
- Turn off the pump.
- Set the filter valve handle to the RINSE position and ensure the handle locks in place.
- Turn on the pump and run the rinse process for 1 minute or until the water in the sight glass is clear.
- Turn off the pump.
- Reset the Filter Valve to Filter and ensure the handle locks into place.
- Turn on the pump.
Step Eight: Clean your salt cell (If using a salt water chlorinator)
As a rule of thumb, salt cells should be cleaned every 3-4 months to help it live its longest life! You’ll probably see some white calcification building up on the plates of your cell, you remove these by giving your cell an “ hydrochloric acid bath”. This is done by mixing 1/10 of acid to water (a tub/bucket filled with 90% water and 10% acid). Hold onto the top of your cell, and gently lower the plates into the bath. Continue to hold the plates in the water for 4-5 minutes. You’ll notice some bubbles, this means that the bath is eating away the calcium. When you’re finished, rinse the salt cell plates with water and re-fit to your chlorinator.
As always, please always be careful when handling any type of chemicals, including acid! Ensure it does not splash up or make contact with you in any way shape or form.
Even if you have a "self-cleaning" chlorinator, you still need to give your salt cells a little bit of love and cleaning. Read more on how self-cleaning chlorinators work and our in-depth salt water cell cleaning guide here.
Has your salt water cell given up on you? Browse our selection on genuine and replacement salt water cells here.
Step Nine: Check your pool Chlorine Levels
To keep your pool clean and clear, it’s important to keep your pool’s free available chlorine levels at a constant level of 2-3 PPM (parts per million) at all times during winter. If you’re using a salt water chlorinator, turn it to about 60-70% output. Learn more about the most important chemical in your arsenal, pool chlorine, here.
Step Ten: Run your pump and filter
The pool’s pump, and in turn, your filter should operate at least enough to turnover the water in your pool at least once. If you’re using a timer, adjust it to suit. Remember if you switch the filter on during off-peak periods, you can save money, BUT during extremely hot days and during heavy bather loads, it's best to run your chlorine during the day. If you're shocking the pool, shocking it at night is the way to go.
Step Eleven: Keep up your maintenance schedule
Once a week do a quick visual inspection of your pool and make sure all of your equipment is working properly, check the water level, empty the skimmer basket and pump basket and check your chlorine and pH levels. By sticking to a great maintenance schedule, you're basically making sure that nothing really bad happens to your pool like algae blooms or other nasty things.
Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.
Happy swimming :)