The water’s fine
Ah, summer – the season of long hot days, when all you want to do is to jump in the pool. But is your pool ready for you?
“Safety is the first thing you need to consider,” says Spiros Dassakis of the Swimming Pool & Spa Association of Australia.
It’s essential that your pool fencing and gates comply with local laws and standards. These may vary, so if your pool and/or spa has not been inspected by a swimming pool inspector, the best option is to check the websites of SPASA Australia, your state or territory government or your local council for pool safety checklists to ensure your fencing and gates are compliant.
“Also ensure your pool water and surrounds are in tip-top condition,” adds Spiros.
Pavers and decking
Dirty and stained pavers can look unsightly.
“It’s important to clean them often to keep the mould and other nasties away,” says tile and stone maintenance specialist Roscoe McFetrich of Tile Art. Avoid using chlorine or bleach as they can remove or lighten the colour in some stone, he warns.
“Simply wash with a nylon scouring pad, a quality neutral cleaner and water and then rinse off.”
If using a pressure washer to clean your pavers, “Use a fan spray and wet the surface first with water and a neutral cleaner. With cleaners, always use a mild solution and increase strength only if required,” says Roscoe. Don’t use a turbo head or pinprick as this may damage the pavers.
Most pavers should be resealed annually.
“Use a quality penetrating sealer to protect the stone and grout from both oil- and water-borne contaminants,” says Roscoe.
“Salt and chlorine can erode the stone, plus sealing it also makes the grout far more resilient.”
If you have decking, use a dedicated deck cleaning product according to the directions to remove any mould or grime. Leave as is for an aged look, or apply a stain or oil to rejuvenate the timber. Sand it back (an orbital deck sander from the Hire Shop will make short work of the task) then apply oil or stain with a woodcare brush and lambswool applicator.
Cracked or missing tiles in or around your pool look unsightly, may cause injury and can undermine your pool’s structural integrity. Cracked tiles can also indicate more serious damage, for example to pool surrounds or foundations. Seek professional advice if you notice cracks or water loss in your concrete or fibreglass pool.
“Check also for staining, eroded grout, loose tiles or pebblecrete-type surface delamination or deterioration,” says Spiros.
If you need to replace some tiles, you don’t need to drain your pool or lower the water level. SPASA Australia advises not emptying your pool without expert advice, as this can cause irreversible structural damage to the pool, its interior, surrounds and associated equipment.
Instead, leave the water level as is and use a product like Selleys Marine Flex, which can be applied to wet surfaces and under water if necessary.
“First ensure tiles are clean of oil, grease, dirt or dust,” says Damian Kirchmajer from Selleys help and advice team. “Then apply the sealant to the back of the tile, position in place and press firmly.”
Don’t plant large trees around your pool. A tree overhanging it can be climbed by children and is dangerous. Dropping leaves can also affect water quality and make extra work.
“Any plants within a pool area must be non-climbable and kept pruned low,” says Matt Lainson of Cronulla Pools. “If you have trees causing issues, cut them back and consider a pool cover.”
“Having the right water balance is crucial to your health and the longevity of your pool,” says Spiros.
To keep pool water safe and crystal clear, use a sanitiser such as chlorine, and appropriate filtration to remove contaminants. Use test strips or liquid kits to test water regularly, and have the pool/spa water tested professionally, by taking a sample to a service which can track and record your pool’s history and advise what chemicals are required.
Your pool care checklist
Keep the water in your pool healthy and sparkling with regular summer maintenance.
Check and clean the skimmer basket at least weekly.
Regularly backwash sand-type filters and clean cartridge filters.
Check sanitiser levels daily.
Check pH every two or three days.
Check total alkalinity weekly.
Auto-run your filtration system for at least six hours each day (three periods of two hours).
Have your pool water tested at least every two to four weeks.
Check if your salt-chlorinated pool needs extra salt.
Maintain water level at least halfway up the skimmer box opening.
Inspect plumbing for leaks.
Regularly vacuum pool walls and floor.
Visit your local Bunnings for pool water testing
Learn more about our free pool water testing service* before you head in-store.
*Not all services are available in all states and territories.
Photo Credit: Cath Muscat, Larnie Nicolson, James Moffatt.