Hot weather-proof your pool
There’s nothing more refreshing on a stinking hot day (or night) than diving into a sparkling swimming pool. However, pool water, like people, suffer when exposed to prolonged periods of hot, humid weather. While warmer conditions take the chill off the water, making it refreshing for swimmers, it can also trigger a chain of events that lead to algae blooms and bacteria growth.
With above-average temperatures recorded throughout Australia since the beginning of summer, pools from Tassie to the Top End have been exposed to hot weather for a number of weeks. “Throughout the warmer months and particularly this summer, swimming pools need a little extra attention to keep the water clean and clear,” advises Swimart’s Australasian manager Chris Fitzmaurice.
Hot weather warms pool water, increasing evaporation, depleting chlorine levels and altering pH levels, which in turn creates the perfect environment for algae and bacteria to grow. “On a sunny day, up to 95 per cent of a pool’s chlorine can be lost into the atmosphere in as little as three and a half hours,” says Chris.
Banish algae blooms
During prolonged periods of hot weather and high humidity, it doesn’t take long for algae to bloom and, being invisible to the eye, it often goes unnoticed until the water turns green. To avoid this happening, Chris recommends regularly testing your pool water and immediately treating it if the chlorine is low or algae and bacteria growth is detected.
“Chlorine is an effective and instant solution for algae and bacteria growth in pools,” says Chris, who recommends also using a phosphate starver to deter algae from taking hold (algae feed on phosphates and without them, they fail to thrive).
Phosphates, which thrive in warm water, are introduced into the pool from bird and bat droppings and detergent residues on swimming costumes. “The hotter the weather gets, the more the pool is used, so additional chlorine is required to keep it sanitised and algae free,” explains Chris. “If you have a salt chlorinated pool, we recommend pressing the ‘super chlorinate’ button to kill algae.”
In addition to killing algae, chlorine has the added benefit of sanitising your pool by killing bacteria, which can make swimmers sick. Every pool, indoors and out, is vulnerable to bacteria as it enters via top-up water and debris such as leaves and dirt. Top-up water also gradually dilutes chlorine, phosphate starver and salt levels, and alters pH levels. A pH imbalance affects the efficiency of chlorine and swimmers’ comfort: high pH levels, which turns the water cloudy and causes scaling on the pool surface and in the salt chlorinator, can be addressed by adding acid to the water. A low pH, or high acid level, which makes the water sting eyes and skin and etches away the pool surface can be treated with a ‘buffer’ or alkali.
Swimart’s 5-point hot weather pool check list
In summer, the sun’s UV rays ‘eat’ away at the chlorine in your pool, destroying up to 30 per cent of the chemical every hour. Ensure your pool water remains healthy throughout the peak swimming season with these five simple steps from Swimart:
- Check the chlorine and pH levels once a week. Pay particular attention after a period of heavy usage, rainfall and prolonged hot weather, and if pets have used the pool.
- Check and clean your skimmer basket and filtration pump’s hair and lint pot weekly
- Ensure the weir door to the filter is installed and operating
- Regularly take a sample of pool water from elbow depth to your local Swimart store to be professionally tested to check pH balance, chlorine levels and general quality and, if needed, to receive a tailored treatment plan.
- Keep algae at bay with a phosphate starver and algaecide such as Aqua-Health Concide
With a little time and effort and the support of Swimart, your pool will remain clean and clear during the warmer months.