Friday, 17 March 2017

Taking Care Of Your Home Swimming Pool

At least among foreigners living here, there's a joke about the seasons Singapore has to offer: hot, hotter, wet, and wetter. Located only one degree off the equator, the least desirable feature of this lovely city must be the high temperatures and humidity.

This means that taking a cooling dip in a swimming pool after a long day's work is an extremely gratifying experience, whatever the month. With land prices being so high, a home swimming pool is very much a luxury item. Allowing it to start looking like something a crocodile will be at home in is a terrible misuse of such an asset, yet many poolowners find their pool's condition deteriorating despite their best efforts. If you are responsible for maintaining a shared swimming pool, such as for an apartment block, this will mean many people getting angry at you for making them risk kena some kind of disease!

Save Yourself Some Frustration and Money

The truth is that maintaining a pool is much more complicated than tossing a handful of chlorine into it whenever you remember.

· Water quality is influenced by many different factors, and any action you take might end up backfiring unexpectedly.

· Once things start to go bad, trying to fix them without knowing what you're doing will probably make them worse.

· Eventually, the pool may reach a state where it can't be fixed and the only solution is to pump it dry, scrub it by hand and start over. With Singapore's water supply being somewhat under pressure, water prices will be increased by 30% starting from June, so re-filling a pool will cost you.

· Contracting a pool service company who's on the ball will prevent all this from happening, saving you money in the long run and ensuring that you can use your pool year-round. Whereas you buy pool chemicals by the kilo, they probably buy it by the hundreds of kilograms, leading to cheaper rates.

Some Aspects of Water Quality

When professionals talk about taking care of a swimming pool, what they really mean is taking care of the water. The physical construction is generally going to be okay unless an earthquake passes through; so keeping the water healthy to swim in and pleasant to look at is 90% of swimming pool maintenance. Here are only a few of the factors that need to be monitored and controlled on a regular basis:

· Alkalinity. The pH of swimming pool water can change very quickly under certain circumstances, and unskilled intervention will often not be sufficient to put it right. If the water is too alkaline, the water will start to look milky and limescale will form on tiles and within the pumping equipment. Too acidic, and the pool liners, pipes and pump parts will start to corrode, and the water might even sting your eyes.

· Hardness. All water contains some level of minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium. In a swimming pool, these are left behind as water evaporates, leading to a gradual increase in these levels. This is a prime cause of scale formation over time, and will leave swimmers' hair feeling “scratchy” even after shampooing.

· Chlorine Levels. Too little chlorine in the water, and bacteria and algae will start a party in your pool. Too much, and the water will be dangerous to swim in, especially for children. Unfortunately, sunshine, evaporation, temperature and other factors all influence the rate at which the concentration of chlorine in your water decreases. Chlorine is not the only chemical used to sanitize swimming pools, nor very effective in the case of certain microorganisms, but you can't do without it.

These four are the most important, but many other elements go into making a pool happy and healthy. The average homeowner has his own job, and cannot be expected to have the knowledge, experience or specialized chemicals to respond to every contingency. Professional pool maintenance companies not only possess these advantages, but also the ability to test water for a number of quality indicators. If a problem has become so bad that you can see or smell it, remediation will be that much more difficult. Regular visits can catch developing complications while countermeasures are still easy to implement.

Why Use a Swimming Pool Service?

If you've been managing your home swimming pool for years without problems, feel free to keep doing so. You obviously know what you're doing. However, if your pH levels keep swinging up and down like a drunken monkey, a little skillful help might be just what you need. A pool which you can't use two weeks out of four is nothing more than an expensive garden ornament – if you want to get the best out of your investment, spending a few dollars a month is truly worth it.

· Institutional swimming pools, where a large number of people get into the water daily, are notorious health hazards. You can ask people to shower before entering, some of them won't. You can ask people not to swim while sick and not to relieve themselves in the water, they will anyway. The results will be eye, ear and stomach infections, if not worse.

· Not everyone has time to spend on home pool maintenance. If you can earn more money in the time you spend scooping up leaves than a service asks, you are actually saving by paying them.

· Contracting a good pool service is almost certainly cheaper in the long run. Not many people have the skills to take apart and service a pump for even a home swimming pool, never mind a larger multi-stage system. Proper maintenance prevents avoidable purchases.

· A little knowledge of chemistry can go a long way. Adding a little of a few substances you might not be familiar with can reduce the need for more harmful chemicals, leaving you with water that's easier on the skin and eyes while still being pure.

General Tips for Using Your Pool

· Asking swimmers to shower before entering the pool is a good way to reduce the amount of dirt and bacteria that enter the pool in the first place.

· If you maintain your own pool, try to make it a daily chore rather than aiming to balance everything once a month. If you constantly have to resort to shock treatments, everything is not shiok.

· Your filter is what keeps your pool clean, which means that it will become dirty itself. Even if you don't have much time to spare, make a habit of cleaning out the leaf basket.

· At the very least, you should get a professional to audit your pool once or twice a year. They know what to look for when inspecting piping, filters and many other components you probably prefer to ignore. Little things like leaks or a pump that “sounds wrong” can lead to serious consequences if not addressed in time.

Owning a home swimming pool is a source of either constant joy or constant frustration, and the only difference lies in the quality and frequency of maintenance and cleaning. If you can't or wont do it yourself, there are plenty of companies in Singapore who can take care of it for you, and their rates are lower than you probably expect.