Most pools have a peak season when they get everyday use or close to it. But even in tropical Queensland, where summer lasts for about nine months of the year, pools don’t get swum in throughout the whole year. While pools are a higher maintenance job during summer, there are a few important steps to take to keep your pool clean and the water balanced during winter, too – and they’ll save you time and money when summer returns, too. These steps are called winterising a pool, and in this article, we’ll explain what it is and why it’s worth doing.
What is ‘winterising a pool’?
Winterising a pool is a process whereby you reduce chlorine levels and filtration in your pool and put a cover on during the winter months when it’s not being used frequently. This doesn’t necessarily mean winterising is a ‘one-and-done’ operation, though.
Reducing chlorination and filtration means the water balance can easily be thrown out, and this can lead to the dreaded ‘green pool’ when algae spreads throughout the pool and renders it unhealthy to swim in. For this reason, the savviest pool owners include testing the water every few weeks during winter to their pool winterising process.
Why you should winterise your pool
Winterising a pool is worth doing for a number of reasons.
1. You’ll save money on energy bills
By reducing filtration throughout winter, you’ll save money on power bills.
2. You’ll save time on maintenance when summer returns
Debris can provide a breeding ground for algae and stain your pool, so keeping it out with a pool cover makes a lot of sense.
By protecting your pool from debris like sticks and leaves that may otherwise end up in the pool when it’s raining or windy, you’ll save time and money on maintenance during both winter and summer.
At this time of year, when summer is in full swing, our pools are exposed to the elements more than ever. The cover’s off, people are swimming often, the temperature is high, and stormy weather means debris and stray metal objects frequently end up in the pool. All these factors increase the risk of pool stains, and the longer you leave them, the harder they are to get rid of. It’s up to you as owner to treat them quickly and thoroughly and preserve the sparkling-clean appearance of your pool. Our team has prepared this handy guide on how to remove pool stains to help you do that!
What causes pool stains?
Firstly, let us put your mind at ease – pool stains are not a reflection on your maintenance skills! Even the most diligently-maintained pools can acquire stains.
Now we’ve established a blame-free environment, let’s talk about what causes pool stains. Pool stains occur when debris or rusting equipment causes stubborn marks to form on the pool’s walls or floor.
There are two types of pool stains: organic and metal. Each requires a different type of treatment to remove. Organic stains come from natural matter like leaves, sticks, and dirt, and happen more often when certain types of foliage and plants are close to the pool. These stains usually have a green-brown, red-blue, or blue-green-black colour.
Metal pool stains come from metal objects that are left in the pool and rust, such as pool cleaning equipment, jewellery, or even corroding metal pipes in your water system. Metal stains usually have a green-brown-red or brown-black-purple colour.
Thankfully, almost all stains can be removed if you correctly identify the cause of the stain, use the right pool stain remover and follow the right process.
How to remove pool stains
Removing organic stains
When it comes to removing stains from your pool, chlorine is king. But you’ll need to ‘shock’ your pool, i.e. dramatically increase the chlorine balance above standard level, to combat the stains. So you’ll need to buy a shock treatment. You’ll find one at any pool store, or you can order from us to have it delivered.
Start by testing and balancing the water, then use a shock treatment according to the package instructions. We recommend doing the shock treatment at night. Then, brush the pool walls and floor, run the pump overnight, and brush again. Most stains will be a distant memory when you’ve finished!
Removing metal stains
While metal stains are harder to remove than organic ones, they can be removed with the right strategy.
First, figure out what type of metal is present in your pool water. Some home test kits can test for the metals that most commonly cause stains, like manganese, iron or copper, but you’ll get the most accurate results if you take a sample into your local pool shop.
Once you know what kind of metal is responsible, choose the metal pool stain remover that targets it. Then, simply follow the package instructions.
Pools are a great asset for a home – but they can also be expensive and time-consuming to maintain. One of the simplest ways to cut costs and reduce your maintenance load is to invest in a pool cover. But while most people only use pool covers in winter to prevent evaporation while not using the pool frequently, using one all year offers a range of extra benefits.
Here’s why you should use a pool cover year-round.
1. Pool covers prevent evaporation and reduce water usage
With a climate like Australia’s, heat and sunshine often cause pool water to evaporate quickly. This is why pool covers are a popular accessory during the cooler months, when people use their pools less.
Particularly in times of drought or in regional areas where supply is limited, preventing evaporation and using as little water to refill your pool as possible come summer is key. But pool owners who also use a pool cover in summer, the hottest and sunniest season, see the greatest reduction in water usage.
Reducing water usage isn’t the only reason to use a pool cover in summer, though.
2. Pool covers keep debris and dirt out (so you don’t have to)
Summer isn’t just the hottest and sunniest season in Australia – it’s also among the stormiest. During tropical storms, storm and rain water often ends up in pools, bringing with it mounds of leaves and debris. The result is a whole lot of extra work for you as the owner: the chemical balance is thrown off, the water is dirty and there are leaves all over the bottom.
Eventually, this can lead to every pool owner’s nightmare: the dreaded green pool (where bacteria causes green algae to develop).
Use a pool cover all year to avoid annoying and time-consuming maintenance tasks after storms.
3. Pool covers retain heat
If you like to use your pool all year round, a pool cover could actually make your swims more enjoyable. Pool covers help the water to retain heat from the sunshine, so when you swim on a cool evening, the water’s ready for you with a little natural heating.
Pool owners are constantly hearing that pool cleaning and maintenance is vitally important, but to many, it’s more a friendly suggestion rather than an essential instruction. What’s the worst that could happen, right? But keeping your pool clean and chemically balanced is completely crucial in order to keep you and your family safe – and to protect your investment and make it last. Here are the top 3 reasons why pool maintenance is so important.
Why is pool maintenance important?
Reason #1: To keep swimmers safe
Pools are only safe to swim in because of a delicate balance of chemicals. A chemically balanced pool wards off bacteria without irritating skin. If there is too much or too little chlorine, or if the pH, alkalinity or calcium hardness is too low or high, your pool’s water can cause itchy skin and eyes, degrade swimwear and allow bacteria that can make you sick to grow inside it.
This is why monitoring and maintaining the right chemical balance in your pool is crucial to keep you, your family, and anyone who swims in it safe and healthy.
Reason #2: To protect your pool and pool equipment
Like all mechanical devices, your pool equipment – especially the pump and ‘creepy crawly’ or robotic vacuum cleaner – are designed to tolerate specific conditions. While all pool equipment will eventually need to be repaired or replaced, this will happen much sooner if the conditions of your pool water aren’t what it’s used to.
Save yourself thousands and extend the life of your pool equipment by ensuring the chemical balance of your pool is in the right range for pH, chlorine and hardness.
Reason #3: To protect your investment
Getting a pool is a serious investment, and not looking after it regularly has a long-term effect on your pool as well as the value it adds to your home. Improper chemical balance and unchecked leaves and debris can damage your pool liner and hardware, which are expensive to repair. Make your investment worth it by looking after your pool throughout the year.
While many pool owners take pride in maintaining a clean, beautiful and balanced pool, the level of know-how required to do so effectively often leads people to let pool maintenance fall by the wayside. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Pool maintenance services are more affordable than ever, with a range of options for regular cleaning, water testing and equipment repair available no matter what your budget. You know why pool maintenance is important – now, see how Tuggerah Pools can help you protect your family and your investment!
With warm weather and lots of sunshine, you’ll probably be spending a lot of time in your pool during summer. You may also notice that your pool garden could use a makeover. Plants around pools need to be tough, and knowing which plants work best in your climate will allow you to create a lower-maintenance, more vibrant pool garden.
So which are the best plants for around pools in Australia? Here are our recommendations for pool-friendly plants to create your private slice of poolside paradise.
Before we begin, let’s talk about what NOT to plant around your pool.
Plants not to have near your pool
Pool maintenance is a lot of work, so we recommend avoiding trees and shrubs that shed leaves and twigs all year-round near your pool area where possible. Jacaranda, silky oak and poinciana trees are some of the worst offenders when it comes to dropping debris into pools.
Also avoid trees with spines or cones, and large trees that develop sprawling root systems. These include umbrella trees, ficus (fig) trees, rubber trees, willows and bamboo.
The best plants for around pools – Australia
Smart pool landscaping means planting tough, low-maintenance, low-mess plants that can tolerate full sun positions and the occasional salty, chlorinated splash.
If you’re stuck for pool garden ideas, start by considering what your goals are. Do you need plants to enhance privacy, provide shade, or add a vibrant decorative feature? Then, choose a mix of the following pool-friendly plants that fulfils those needs.
Succulents for around pools
Succulents are perfect plants for around the pool: they’re low maintenance, drought-tolerant, sun-loving and beautiful. Look for Crassula varieties, like Jade plants, for larger features, and Sedum and Aeonium varieties for intricate, colourful highlights.
Privacy is a huge perk for pool owners, so many use shrubbery to create functional and beautiful privacy screens. Look for hydrangeas or tropical hibiscus varieties – they love sunshine, offer luscious blooms and have large enough leaves to make cleaning up easy.
Trees for around the pool
Trees are essential for creating shade in super-sunny pool gardens, and can become standout features of any backyard garden. We love frangipanis as ideal poolside trees. They flower through summer and autumn, and a beautiful fragrance and work well in a pot or in the ground.
Palm trees also work well, with minimal leaf shedding and thin root systems. Create shade or privacy and boost growth by planting them in clusters around the pool. Just keep in mind that they’ll need a partially shaded position, as full sun can fry their leaves.
Is your pool full of leaves, sticks and sunscreen after the first half of summer? Let us get you swimming in a sparkling-clean pool again. Let us know what we can do for you – from monthly cleans to a full service – and we’ll handle the rest!