Cleaning your pool might not be your idea of a perfect weekend, but it is important and is part of the responsibility that comes with owning a pool. A well maintained and clean pool prevents serious issues that could impact the health of swimmers. According to the Government of Canada, some of the more common illnesses that caused by unclean pool water include “ear infections, stomach infections, and skin rashes”.
Unclean swimming pools provide the perfect habitat for bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms that can be seriously detrimental to your health. Follow these simple steps to ensure your pool stays clean and healthy:
1. Prevent algae before it grows
Algae is usually the culprit when your pool water is cloudy, murky or off colour, and especially when it is green. Aside from being gross and uninviting, cloudy water is also downright dangerous. Algae growth also makes pool equipment and surfaces slippery, increasing the risk of falling – which is especially dangerous for children or seniors.
Dealing with algae is important in its own right, but algae can also lead to other major issues. Algae diminishes the effectiveness of sanitizers (like chlorine or bromine). Sanitizers have to be added in proportion to the amount of organic matter or bacteria that you need to kill. If your pool has algae then adding the usual amount of sanitizers will not kill all the bacteria.
Algae grows especially well in hot weather with lots of sunlight when sanitizer levels are low. To prevent algae growth, you should consider investing in a cover for your pool to use when you are away. This will prevent sunlight from feeding algae. To prevent algae remember to also clean your pool regularly, and always monitor your chemical levels.
2. Check your filter and circulation system
Even if you meticulously balance your chemicals your pool may still get dirty if your filter and circulation system are not working properly. That is why it is important to monitor and test both regularly. Lack of pool circulation means that when you add your chemicals they are not being spread evenly throughout the pool. Lack of circulation also allows water to stand still, creating a more hospitable environment for algae, bacteria, mould and other organic matter.
Modern pool filters are built to last, but you still need to check them regularly to ensure that they are working properly. Take your filter out, hose it down, and set it in the sun so that any remaining debris will dry making it easier to brush away. You should also replace filters or cartridges regularly. To keep your filter and circulation system both working in top condition remember to clean your pool’s pipes by setting your filter to “backwash”.
3. Keep an eye on your water level
Changing water levels will mean that you need to either increase or decrease the amount of chemicals you need to add to your pool, and can make your skimmer less effective. If you pool water is low then top it up with the garden hose, if it is too high then pump some out. Your water should be about halfway up the opening of your skimmer.