With winter now well and truly with us here in Adelaide, many customers ask me “Why should I test my pool in winter ?”. Most damage to your pool surface and filtration equipment unfortunately occurs during the time you are least likely to want to do anything about it. Winter. With the usual downpour of winter rains, extra debris falling and a lack of enthusiasm to do anything about it, your pool can really suffer. The rain will dilute most of the chemical balances that are required to maintain not only healthy water but also levels that protect your expensive pool surfaces and equipment from corrosion.
What chemical levels should I test my pool in winter for?
The most common levels most people think about are chlorine, ph, salt and stabilizer. When these chemicals dilute, the pool is going to be more prone to algae problems and cloudiness. Both these problems can be quite expensive to rectify if left unchecked. The algae growth while growing on the surfaces also secretes an acid which causes pitting and corrosion to the pool surface. This can be very expensive to repair and allows algae to grow more vigorously next time. If ph is allowed to stay too low, then corrosion to pool surfaces, pump seals, gas heater pipes etc. will occur. If ph is allowed to stay too high, then calcium scale will form on pool surfaces and inside pool equipment and pipework.
Are there any other levels that I should test my pool in winter for?
Two levels commonly left untested are Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness. Low levels will cause a corrosive condition to the pool water. This leads to damage to all pool surfaces whether concrete, fibreglass or vinyl. While you may not see the effects of this by looking at the water, over a period of time, it will result in prematurely shortening the pool surface life, costing thousands of dollars to repair.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for pool owners to turn the pump off completely to try and save electricity costs. The problems this creates by having to treat a filthy algae infested pool are far more expensive than the cost of electricity you would normally use in running the pump regularly over winter for approx 4 hours daily. Not to mention the damage to pool surfaces and the costly possibility of pump failure when restarted in summer.
All of the above problems can be prevented over winter by simply testing and adjusting chemical balances at least every couple of weeks, keeping the pump running and having a professional water test at Pool Care every 6 – 8 weeks. Investing in a fully fitted winter cover will also save time and money.