“I want to build a new fibreglass pool in Melbourne, but don’t know a thing about maintenance… Do you have any tips?”
A new pool is a large investment, and you do need to be prepared- like any other investment, to take good care of it. Without proper maintenance your pool could become an oasis for mosquitoes, bacteria, algae and could even make you or your family quite ill. After your new pool installation your professional pool builder should explain how to take care of your pool and water at handover, but we have outlined some things you need to know to be prepared as a new pool owner before you begin your new pool installation.
Removing Obvious Contaminants
The first step in pool maintenance is to ensure your pool is always free from floating insects and leaves. It sounds simple, but ensuring you use a long handled pool skimmer to remove the floating debris will save you time later trying to remove them from the bottom of the pool. Even if you have a robotic or suction pool cleaner, it will not remove the debris from the surface, and cannot always collect larger debris. The quicker you remove the bugs and leaves from your pool, the better. Ultimately your built-in skimmer box will assist here, so be sure to clean it out weekly to give it the best chance of helping you do the job properly. Along with your weekly pool scooping, you should also make some time to brush the surface to help move any of the nasty bacteria that can latch on to the surface, as well as vacuum via a robotic or suction cleaner a couple of times a week.
Filtration & Circulation
Your filtration system, which includes your pool pump, filter and skimmer box, is the key to keeping your pool water circulating. Make sure the pump you choose to install has enough power to keep your pool water moving, and ensure your pool filter is kept clean and healthy. Circulating water daily is vital for a healthy pool. It is also important to look after your pool filter for maximum efficiency. Think of it like a mop- you cannot clean your floors properly if your mop is dirty. If you have a cartridge filter, you will need to clean the cartridges a minimum of 2-4 times a year depending on pool size, and if you have a sand filter, it is best to backwash once a week. You can learn more about how to clean your filter here. (Link to how to clean your filter).
The most notable part of pool maintenance is balancing your chemicals correctly. Below is a guide to maintaining ideal levels of pool chemicals:
- pH: 7.4 – 7.6
pH is the level of acidity of the water. Incorrect levels can cause skin or eye irritation, and for other chemicals to be less effective, allowing nasty bacteria to remain present
- Chlorine: 1.0 – 3.0 ppm
Chlorine is used for sanitising the pool water and is essentially responsible for killing bacteria. The warmer the water, the more chlorine your pool will require
- Total Alkalinity: 80 – 140 ppm
This is the level of alkalined substance in the water and is important for keeping the pH level in line
- Cyanuric Acid: 25 – 50 ppm
This acts like a chlorine stabiliser to ensure you don’t end up with an unnecessarily high chlorine demand
- Calcium Hardness: 200 – 400
This is the level of how much calcium is dissolved in your pool and can determine how “hard” or “soft” your pool water is
- Total Dissolved Solids: 500 – 5000 ppm
This is just as the name suggests- a total of everything that has dissolved in your pool water, including minerals, pollen, algae, sunscreen etc
*PPM stands for parts per million
It may seem like a complex list of chemicals to maintain, but you can get readily available pool water tests kits and strips from your local swimming pool shop, that you can use weekly to monitor the levels. You simply need a small sample of pool water to determine if you have an imbalance. If you do have an imbalance, it may be necessary to top up some of the chemicals in your pool. Chemicals you may have to keep handy include chlorine/ salt, pH increaser or decreaser, stabiliser, alkalinity and/ or hardness increaser and an algaecide. Make sure you follow the instructions from the chemical manufacturer, or seek advice from your local swimming pool shop. You will find a routine that is right for you once you get used to your pool, and it won’t seem so complex.
Occasionally you may need to shock your pool after heavy rains and storms, or after a pool party where you have had a lot of usage in a small amount of time. Shocking is the process of adding extra chemicals to your pool in order to raise the “free chlorine” level to a point where extra contaminates and bacteria are taken care of. It is recommended to do this at nighttime when you are not swimming, so the chemicals have time to circulate through the entire system, and also so the sun does not absorb any of the excess chemicals in the meantime. It is essentially a booster to add to your existing routine, only when required.
If you have a salt chlorinator, the ideal levels remain the same, however your chlorine is created via the salt you add to your chlorinator, so you will need to check the salt levels instead of chlorine levels. You can normally do this automatically via your salt chlorinator. To read more about salt chlorination please click here.
The good news is that a fibreglass pool is less porous so it may not require as many chemicals as a concrete pool. The difference is minimal in the short term, but over time every little bit adds up.
At Master Pools we have been creating healthy fibreglass swimming pools in Melbourne, Bayside, Mornington Peninsula and South East Melbourne for over 13 years. As part of our friendly service, we spend time with you once your pool is complete and ready to handover, to explain how to balance your chemicals and maintain your pool. If you have any questions about pool maintenance in the meantime, please contact us today here.