Well, autumn is upon us and while the weather is on a downhill slide into winter you can still expect the odd nice day. You want to make sure that your pool is ready for use on the remaining ‘swimming days’ left in this swimming season.
At this time of year, we field a lot of queries about shutting down the pool for winter. Our answer is quite simple – it’s too early to shut your pool down and change it over to winter settings. As the weather cools down it is tempting to walk away from your pool and forget about it, but your pool still needs attention, though not as much as in the heart of summer. Depending on the weather we are probably still 6-8 weeks away from moving to full winter mode on the pool.
So, what should you be doing now? The main issue over autumn is leaf drop. Short of getting the chainsaw out there is not a lot you can do to prevent the leaves getting into your pool. If you have a debris cover you could install it now but that really does mean the end of swimming for you. For those with bubble/solar or thermal covers you can keep your cover on to catch the leaves, but you need to ensure you remove the leaves from the cover regularly. Leaves left on the cover will over time migrate to the edge of the cover and fall into the pool. Because the cover is on the leaves can’t float so they sink to the bottom. When you remove the cover, leaves drop into the pool unless you carefully lift the end of the cover up when removing it, so they don’t drop in. This usually requires 2 or more people!
If you don’t have a cover (and sometimes even if you do) regular clearing of the skimmer basket is essential. If the basket gets full of leaves it can obstruct the water flow to the pump causing the pump to overheat – a very expensive problem! A full skimmer basket creates quite a lot of pressure and can result in the skimmer basket splitting. This allows debris to flow down to the pump basket where either a blockage of water flow or splitting of that basket can occur.
If you don’t have heating on your pool or you have turned your heating off, you can potentially start decreasing the run times on your equipment. Don’t turn it right down yet as until the water gets significantly cold algae will still grow in the pool. If you don’t have enough chlorine in the pool, or the water isn’t circulating long enough (or a combination of both) then the pool could turn green on you. We are still helping folks with pools that have turned green in the last week. Don’t be like those people!
If you don’t have a heat pump on your pool and wish you did, now is a good time to make contact to talk with us about getting a heat pump installed before next summer so you can start swimming earlier and finish swimming later!
If you have finished swimming for the season, now is the perfect time to clean the media in your filter. The filter is responsible for removing impurities from your pool water. When you do a backwash, not all of the impurities in the filter are removed. What tends to remain are the sticky, greasy or oily ‘swimmer wastes’ that require a chemical treatment to remove. We recommend Filter Brite or Liquid Filter Brite for those with flooded suction to give your media a really good clean. This should be done twice a year and always after treating a green pool.
We are big fans of utilising an algaecide all year round. If you aren’t currently using an algaecide I suggest you give it some consideration. Best practice is always changing and once upon a time all that was ever used in a pool to control algae was chlorine. What we know now is that by using an algaecide you can save on your chlorine consumption (for salt pool owners this means extending the life of your salt cell) as the algaecide is keeping algae at bay meaning the chlorine can be utilised to kill bacteria in the pool. Additionally if you give your pool a shock dose of chlorine (oxidiser) occasionally you will reduce your chlorine consumption even further. This process is essentially what we call the 3 Step program;
- Sanitise (kill bacteria)
- Oxidise (remove organic material)
- Algaecide (prevent algae growth)
Remember that we have pool technicians who can look after your pool all year round. So, if you would like us to do all or some of your pool maintenance for you, just give us a call and we can work with you to create the ideal solution for your pool and your lifestyle.