Pool Construction, Maintenance, and Repair

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Bob's Tips For Maintaining Your Pool

1. Rubbish Removal Remove all leaves and rubbish in the pool using a swimming pool leaf rake. (Never try to vacuum these out)

2. Brushing If there is algae or any other growth attaching its self to the walls and floor, you should brush the walls & floor with a pool broom. If it is stubborn, you may have to buy a stainless steel pool broom to remove it. (Be careful using on a vinyl liner pool).

3. Settle or Floc After you have removed the leaves and brushed the walls and floor, you will find a lot of fine rubbish has been stirred up, you will need to let this settle or use a floc or settleing agent to drop it to the floor for vacuuming. Remember, it is much less costly to physically remove as much solids as possible before using chemicals.

4. Top up Pool Fill the pool to about 3 to 4 inches higher than normal running level. Do this before you add the settling agent. You are going to use this extra water to remove the heavy rubbish from the pool.

5. Skimmer Box and Pump Strainer Check the skimmer box in the side of the pool to make sure that all the leaves are removed from the skimmer basket. If the basket has tipped over (happens often) make sure to dig all the leaves out of the bottom of the skimmer so they dont get sucked down the pump suction line, they could become blocked on the way. (A bit cold on the hands and watch out for frogs) Clean the basket in front of the pump and run some water down the pipe to the skimmer box to make sure it is clear and to make sure the pump is primed, ready to start.

6. Check Pump and Filter Especially if the pump has not been operated over the winter, then you need to: Set the filter valve to the Waste Position or if you dont have a waste position then Drain, if you only have Filter and Backwash positions, then you need to disconnect the line between the pump and filter and direct the pump outlet to go to waste. Switch the pump to the On position for a few seconds, The pump should start to operate and begin pumping water to waste, if there is just a Hummmmm from the pump, switch it off straight away. This normally means that the motor bearings have become seized over the winter, the pump and motor would need to be taken to a pool shop to have new bearings set in or call your local pool service company. If the pump runs ok and starts to pump water, then let it run for 30 seconds and switch off. During the 30 seconds, check for leaks between the pump and motor, normally out of the bottom, if you do have a leak here, then the mechanical seal which stops water moving back along the shaft has become stuck or worn and needs replacing. The pump and motor would need to be taken to a pool shop to have a new mechanical seal fitted or call your local pool service company.

7. Vacuum to Waste Now that you know your pump is operating ok and you have settled the fine rubbish to the floor you will need to vacuum that fine rubbish to waste. (Never vacuum this type of rubbish, especially if it contains live or dead algae through your filter, never, never, never.) Connect the vacuum as you normally would being careful not to stirr up the fine rubbish when you set your vacuum head on to the floor. Switch on the pump and start vacuuming. You will find that you will be able to move the vacuum head quite quickly with out stirring up the fine rubbish. You may need to repeat this process if the rubbish or debris is heavy

8. Primary Chemical Addition If you find that the pool is looking reasonably clean on the walls and floor and the water allows you to see the bottom, then go straight to step 9.

9. Filter Cleaning: Sand Filter If the filter has not had the sand changed for more than five years, then consider getting new sand put in the filter. After you have finished vacuuming to waste, and all the heavy rubbish is out of the pool, set the valve to the Backwash position and run the pump to backwash the filter sand. Run until the backwash water is clear, then use the Rinse position for 30 seconds and then move to the Filter position. (Remember to never move the filter valve position while the pump is running, always switch off the pump first).
Diatomaceous Earth Filter Dismantle the filter tank and remove the internal filter pads and give them a good clean with a very light dish brush and detergent, rinse well in fresh water after. Check for any holes in the pads and repair (after letting them dry) using fingernail polish. (Color does not matter). Replace pads back in to filter, make sure valve is on the Filter position. Mix the required amount of DE powder with water and have it ready to pour in to the skimmer box after you start the pump.
Cartridge Filter Remove the filter cartdidge from the tank and give it a good soak for 24 hours in cartridge cleaner which you can get from your local pool shop. Blast the cartridge clean with a good high pressure hose, (I have found the pressure hoses they have at car washes very handy). Rinse with clean water and place back in the filter tank. If the cartridge is torn or collapsed at one or both ends or more than two years old, then replace it.

10. Chemical Setup Make sure to set your chemicals correct in the following order. If you have a local pool shop then get them to check a sample of the water but only buy those chemicals you don't have on hand.Correct as follows: Calcium hardness first, set to 150 PPM if it is not that high naturaly. Total alkalinity next, correct to 80 to 100 for normal pools and 120 to130 for pools using salt chlorinators. pH next set to 7.4 to 7.6 when all thease are done, then add chlorine.

11. Starting Equipment Now you can start your filter pump and make sure to run it for 24 hours straight to give it a good chance to clean the fine rubbish in the water, then go back to your normal daily running 6 to 8 hour

Chemical Safety Tips Some chemicals used in swimming pools may be hazardous if used improperly. Read and follow all directions and cautions listed on the labels. Or, ask your pool chemical supplier for help.

Do Not Use Quantities in excess of the recommended dosage on the label.

After Super Chlorinating you must wait until the free residual chlorine is at the level recommended by the label instructions.

Keep All Chemicals out of reach of children.

Containers should always be kept closed when not in use.

Do Not Use contents of unlabeled container.

Never Mix Chemicals together. Add them seperately.

Never Add Water to chemicals. Always add chemicals to water.

Wash Out The Container when empty, then dispose of it.

Wash Your Hands thoroughly after handling any chemicals.

Store Chemicals in a cool, dry, clean place. Maintain good housekeeping procedures.

Only Use Clean utensils when handling chemicals.

Use Seperate clean metal or plastic measuring cups for each chemical.

Safety Tips

Thunderstorms: The Red Cross and other safety organizations recommend moving into indoor shelters for the duration of a thunderstorm.
Fencing: Your community may have specific regulations concerning protection to be installed around your pool. Some require sturdy 6-foot fencing. This prevents children or pets from using the pool when there are no adults present to supervise.
Non-Swimmers at the pool: Unsupervised activity by non-swimmers can turn out to be dangerous. Don’t be afraid to ask if your guests can swim. If they can’t, make sure a swimmer is present at all times. Always keep a "Shepherd’s Crook" and a life ring available for emergency use.
First aid kit location: Make certain everyone in your family, and visitors, know where you keep first aid equipment (band-aids, iodine, etc.) Keep it handy, in a convenient location. (But, well away from the reach of small children!)
Electrical appliances: Keep them away form the pool, lest they are knocked into the water. For safety with the use of electrical appliances, radios, TV’s etc., talk to your pool dealer about a ground fault interrupter. The interrupter will avoid potential danger by shutting off power if a sudden power surge occurs at poolside.
Pool markings: Private pools don’s require depth markings. It’s a good idea, anyway, to prevent someone from diving into water too shallow for complete safety.