Autumn is here, the leaves are changing colour so all it will take to fill your precious swimming pool with leaf debris is a windy day.
Now's the time when all pool owners in the UK should be preparing their swimming pools for the winter. One key task is to fit an effective swimming pool cover. Get the cover in place now and you will save yourself lots of work and expense in cleaning your swimming pool of all those autumn leaves.
Before fitting the pool cover it's worth spending some time preparing your pool water. Taking appropriate winterising precautions now will pay dividends when spring finally comes around. Your pool water will be usable and save the need for the pool to be completely drained and refilled.
Winterising your swimming pool water means that you will need to check the pH water balance and ensure that it is in the range of about 7.2 to 7.6. This can be achieved with appropriate additives. Next, you will need to chlorinate the water, raising the chlorine level to around 6 to 10 ppm. It is also advisable to add some winterising algaecide to keep the algae at bay. It's worth remembering that the algaecide effectiveness wears off as the winter roles on and when the spring comes around and the days begin to get longer algae can take hold very quickly. So its worth rechecking the water at regular intervals and re-dosing to keep the algae at bay.
Once your water has been treated you'll be ready to fit that pool cover. Swimming pool covers come in a variety of forms. The most expensive and robust tend to be swimming pool safety covers. These are incredibly strong, intended to prevent a person or a pet falling into the pool or becoming entangled in the cover. But it must be remembered that they need to be securely tethered to be effective.
A swimming pool debris cover is all that is required to keep the leaves and rubbish out of your pool water. These are significantly cheaper than pool safety covers but, of course, they don't offer the same level of protection that is provided by a safety cover.
When winterising it's also worth considering the possibility that your pool water may freeze, particularly if you're located in areas that are susceptible to lower temperatures. This means that you will need to drain all water from your pump, heater, skimmer and the pipe work. This is best carried out after you've added your chemicals as you will need to run the pump for a period (8 to 12 hours) in order to effectively distribute the water treatment chemicals evenly.
Another good idea is to introduce a few floats or buoys into the pool, distributed around the perimeter. These will serve absorb some of the expansion that takes place as the pool surface freezes. There are even some swimming pool buoys that will slowly release water treatment chemicals to keep your pool water in tip top condition throughout the winter.
Whatever you do don't overlook the need to look after your expensive swimming pool during the winter months. If you can't do it yourself you may like to consider employing a professional pool maintenance firm to winterise your pool for you. Looking after your pool now will save you money and headaches when spring finally comes around.
By Tony Gee
I recommend a good pool cover and winterising chemicals from http://www.h2ofun.co.uk/