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Winter Pool Care

SWIMMING POOL CARE OVER WINTER

Swimming pools provide a great source of pleasure for family and friends over the hot summer months, but what about the cooler months when the pool is out of use?

Is your pool neglected throughout winter, an embarrassing slimy green backyard horror? Or is it a year-round asset, an interesting and inviting outdoor feature, no matter how unappealing the weather?

Equipment Maintenance

While you won’t get the same use out of the pool in winter, it’s still a good idea to keep your pool clean, safe and in good working order. Not only will a regular maintenance schedule keep the pool looking good, it can ward off serious problems which may lead to further expenses.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when checking components of the support systems. If you don’t have a manual for the pump, filter or heater get in touch with a reputable pool maintenance company who will assist you.

Regular Cleaning

Cleaning of your pool is a must in winter, otherwise you will end up with a slimy green pond. Nowadays, there are many excellent automated systems – contact a pool shop for further information.

Pool maintenance requires regular balancing of the water (such as testing pH, Chlorine, salt levels, etc) to ensure it is comfortable to swim in, and your pool surface and equipment is protected. To keep your pool safe to swim in and the water sparkling clean it is important to control bacteria and algae and remove residues (such as suntan lotion).

Over winter, leaves from deciduous trees and overhanging branches can be a problem; a pruning job may be needed to remove the problem.

In milder areas, winter is also a good time to give a vigorous cut back of the poolside shrubs to promote new growth leading into spring and summer. At the end of winter, fertilise the plants to give them a boost of fresh growth.

Winter cleaning schedule

· Skimming out debris

· Cleaning out strainer baskets

· Cleaning the walls with a brush

· Vacuuming the pool

· Testing the water

· Hosing down the deck

Pool Covers

Investing in a cover for your pool or spa is a good idea. Not only does it save a lot of time and effort keeping leaves and debris out of the pool but it also prevents animals and insects from falling into your pool. Most covers lie flat directly on top of the water surface and help to retain heat during winter while keeping leave debris out of the water. Most spas have custom made covers made of vinyl or fibreglass.

Pool Heating

Heating a pool is a great way to increase its use. After all, most pools cost thousands of dollars to install, yet are only used for four or five months over summer.

The most popular types of pool heaters are electric and gas heat pumps or solar heaters. The advantage of electric and gas heaters is that they work effectively all the time, regardless of the weather. Electric heaters work in a similar way to a reverse cycle air conditioner: taking in the surrounding air and transferring the heat to the pool water via a heat exchanger. Gas heaters are used in areas connected to a natural gas supply.

Solar heaters have the obvious advantage of providing a free source of energy, although some owners also use a backup gas/electric heat pump in overcast weather. The most important factor for solar heating is the size of the collection area – it needs to be at least equal to 80% of the area of the pool (and preferably larger). A booster pump is also recommended to lift the water through the collection area as many of these are located on top of roofs.

Pool Games in Winter

Consider the possibilities of extending the use of your pool through the winter months by organising a games day …maybe model boats or invite a few friends over in their wet-suits for an afternoon pool party, or aqua aerobics for the girls. Could be fun.

Holiday Care

Winter is a great time to take that long planned holiday. But what about the pool? Asking neighbours to clean your pool while you and the family are away sunning yourself on the Gold Coast beaches might not go down too well! Employing a contract cleaner is a far simpler method of ensuring your pool will be well cared for in your absence. Speak to other owners of pools and make enquires at your regular pool shop.

Decorating the Pool

For many the pool is too cold to swim in during winter without heating.

However a sparkling clean pool can still be used as a visual backdrop to parties and romantic dinners at home.

If the dinning room overlooks the pool area, consider a few bamboo torches or soft garden lights to create a theatrical effect. If the pool is not built with a water fountain or waterfall, then obtain a few large floating candles or artificial lotus flowers.

Real flowers can be used however it is important to make sure the pool is well cleaned the next day as some flowers may have sunk. Avoid using flowers from plants that are known to be poisonous.

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