Although the Queensland summer is over for another year, we hope at some stage you’ll get some use out of your pool in this sunshine state of ours! As the cooler weather approaches, don’t fail to properly maintain your pool. This may result in more work once the weather starts heating back up again.
If you’re planning to switch off pool equipment during winter to save money on electricity and chemical costs, think again. Not only will you run the risk of damaging expensive filtration systems, but you could also damage your pools design.
According to Royal Life Saving Australia, there are five imports facts to consider when it comes to maintaining your pool over the cooler months:
Clean your pool
If you want to save on pool maintenance you can do a lot of the work yourself. Algae tends to build up in the corners of pools so regularly cleaning is a good way to promote a healthy pool. Be sure to skim your pool and make sure there’s no organic matter left in the water. Next, give all the pool surfaces a thorough clean and vacuum. Make sure all surfaces are scrubbed with a broom or brush to remove any algal growth or build-up from the warmer summer months. Ensure you get to all surfaces to remove the build-up; floor, walls, steps and fixtures. Vacuum the pool, taking care to remove all the debris and organic material you dislodged while scrubbing.
The pool will most likely be cloudy from all the scrubbing and vacuuming. Run your filter until the water clears up. It’s vital to give the filters a good clean and thorough backwash before winter. Over summer oils and fats accumulate in the filter media and over winter they will thicken or become hard, making it difficult to remove next spring. Follow your filter’s backwash procedure to ensure it’s clean. If you have filter cartridges, now is the best time to remove them and clean them according to the manufacturer’s specifications. If you have a “winter” setting on your filter, you should engage this once you have cleaned the filter.
The secret to a great pool is great water. Water is only great when the chemistry is correct for your pool. In winter you will need to use less chemicals, but you’ll still need to give your pool a shock treatment before it is ready for winter. A pool’s pH level needs to be in the 7.2-7.6 range before we pack up for winter. If it is too low (acidic) or too high (alkaline) you will need to adjust accordingly.
Winter algae can be a problem in Queensland, however long acting algicides are available. This should be applied after balancing the pool pH and will help to keep your pool water clear while also reducing the time you’ll need to take in Spring getting your pool ready for summer.
Now might be a great time to talk with your local pool shop about getting a pool blanket if you don’t already have one. Pool blankets serve multiple purposes and are an almost vital addition to any good pool. Pool blankets help trap heat in the pool water – this in turn helps stabilise the water chemistry and reduces power consumption required for heating over winter. It also reduces the amount of time required to re-heat the pool in spring if you have turned the heating off completely over winter. Pool blankets also help keep debris out of you pool, this means less winter maintenance and, again, a quicker return to swimming after removing the blankets in spring.
A pool is at its most dangerous during offseason. Any covering should fit securely with rope-ties and modified catches to prevent children or animals from entering the pool. Pool fencing and gates should be kept locked off to avoid potentially fatal accidents from occurring. It’s also a good idea to store away any pool toys. Deflate and clean any blow-up toys and store them away during winter.
Committing a little time each week during the cooler months can make all the difference to your pool come spring. Happy hibernation Queensland!