A vital part of owning a swimming pool is that of its cleaning. It is a commitment you undertake when installing your pool whether you take the responsibility on yourself or hire one of the many professional pool maintenance businesses available. You have to ensure that your pool is always clean and safe for your family to use. A dirty pool can be detrimental to a swimmers health.

A pool needs regular cleaning and the chemical balance modified frequently. The first step is to remove as much of the floating debris, leaves etc. with a pool net. This makes the vacuuming process easier and quicker as you don’t then have to spend time taking large debris out of the pre-filter basket.

The water level needs checking and topping up if required to about halfway up the skimmer inlet. If the pool has no cover it can lose up to an inch a day through evaporation during July and August. Alternatively you may need to lower the water level if there has been recent heavy rainfall although some swimming pools have a drain in the skimmer to allow overflow.

The waterline around the edge of the pool needs wiping down and any stubborn grease stains removing with a specialist anti-grease product. Suntan lotion is key cause of grease build up around the waterline. The pool then needs brushing and vacuuming to remove all dirt, dust and debris. Robotic cleaners are available that are fully automatic and can be left unsupervised to vacuum the pool.

A dirty pool can cause ear, nose and throat problems and even cause infections as serious as meningitis. It is extremely important that the chemical balance is correct at all times to prevent any harmful bacteria from being allowed to breed. The most common chemical used to treat pools and kill off bacteria is chlorine which oxidises or burns the bacteria to kill them. There are several types of chlorine and ways to administer it.

The four types of chlorine are granular, tablets, liquid and salt. Granular chlorine is usually the cheapest type and needs to be manually added to the pool. This method tends to have the highest waste as not all the granules react. Chlorine tablets are dissolved in cool water and dispensed into the pool by a floating unit or erosion feeder. Liquid chlorine is, as the name suggests, completely water soluble and is easily dispersed into the pool and ideal for super chlorination. It must be handled carefully though as it is highly corrosive. The most popular method of chlorination is with salt. A salt chlorinator uses electricity to react with the salt and turn it into chlorine. These need regular cleaning and the salt replacing periodically. All methods of introducing chlorine into a pool must be done with care, the gas can knock you out and the chlorine itself should be handled carefully to avoid contact with skin and especially eyes. Chlorine should always be added at night to allow the levels to settle before swimming.

The water should also be tested regularly for pH, alkalinity and calcium levels. Testing kits are readily available and involve a small amount of water taken to be tested and then the levels adjusted accordingly. A pool needs to be around the pH level of between 7.2 and 7.8 which is the average pH level of human skin and also the optimum level at which chlorine works best. The pool equipment can also be harmed if the pH level is too unbalanced.

Taking on a swimming pool is a large responsibility but an integral part for you and your family to benefit from a safe, healthy and enjoyable pool.

Martin is the owner of Natura Design S.L. a building company that specialise in the design and build of luxury villas, swimming pools, spas and landscaped gardens. For more information on pool maintenance you can visit the Natura Design web site at www.naturadesign.net