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How To Care For Your Pool and/or Spa

How to Look After Your Pool and Spa?

This will detail a step-by-step approach to maintaining your Swimming Pool and Spa.

  1. How is caring for a Pool or Spa different in a rural setting?
  2. Types of Pools?
  3. How to heat your Pool?
  4. How to treat your Pool?
  5. Where to buy the Products?
  6. How often should it be Serviced?
  7. How often should it be Emptied?

  1. How is caring for a Pool or Spa different in a rural setting?

    There are two ways a Pool or Spa in a Rural setting or a Lifestyle Block is different to an Urban Setting. You are most probably collecting rain water because you are not on town/city supply.
    1. Abundance of Water : You need to be careful with the water. The only thing you can do is to have a decent cover to reduce evaporation.

    2. Quality of Water : Water is cleaner and therefore soft. See the section on Water Hardness

  2. Types of Pools?

    There are three types of pools based on the water treatment.
    1. Chlorine Based : This is the traditional way to treat your pool water. The advantage is that it is relatively cheap.

    2. Bromine Based : Some pools, especially spas may use Bromine. This is a little more expensive.

    3. Salt Water : The modern way is to use salt water. Not all pools and spas can be used with salt water. Follow your manufacturer's advice.[1]

    Note : Generally speaking you should not mix Chlorine and Bromine, unless otherwise advised by your supplier.[2]
  3. How to heat your Pool?

    These are the main forms of heating -

    1. Solar Heating - A traditional method of installing black pipes on your roof. This is very effective and very cheap. You can rig one up yourself. Not much surface area is required and you can easily use a large garden shed roof to collect the sun's heat.

    2. Electric Heater - The most expensive way to heat your pool, but it heats it rapidly. If you are only going to use the pool occasionally then this may be a candidate for you.

    3. Heat Pump - The cheapest and most reliable method to heat your pool. I would personally always go for this solution.

    4. Gas or Fossil - The cost varies but it can never be cheaper than a Heat Pump. It can be as rapid as an Electric Heater.

    5. Cobble your own - You can certainly make one yourself from a disused fossil heater. If you do, then you MUST install a heat exchanger. Otherwise the temperature of the water may distort and damage the pool pipework.

  4. How to treat your Pool?

    You MUST follow your supplier''s instructions. However, some suppliers just do not understand the concept of buffer and hardness. The following recommendations are to be used to supplement them. Most pool shops will do water testing for you.

    1. Debris - This is obviously the first step, use a scoop or skimmer to remove leaves, flowers and bugs. You should also have some sort of vacuum cleaner. For the spa, the cheapest one plugs into a hose tap and uses venturi effect to do the job.

    2. Alkalinity or Buffer - For lay people, Alkalinity is a bad name for it. Buffer describes it better. It is often referred to as "Total Alkalinity". This is NOT the same as pH.

      Consider a simple scenario. Say you have 10 H+ and OH- ions each in the water. If you add one H+ ion to it, the pH will change dramatically. If you have a 1000 ions each then a single additional H+ ion will not affect the pH at all.

      Therefore, it is very important to have this level as high as the pool or testing kit instructions allow you to.[3]

    3. pH or Acidity - Historically this is the "Potential of Hydrogen". Simplistically, for water, this is a logarithmic ratio of H+ to OH- ions. Pure water is pH 7 as it has an equal number of each.[4]

    4. Chlorine Level - Confusingly there are two (or even three) chlorine levels. "Combined, ""Total" and "Free". Follow the instructions from the supplier and testing kit. This is extremely important as the pool surface may lose its warranty, if the pH level is not correctly maintained.[5][6]

    5. Bromine Level - Follow the advice given by the manufacturer and testing kit.[7]

    6. Salt Level - Follow the advice of the supplier of the salt water chlorinator.[8][9]

    7. Stabiliser - This is a chemical (normally Cyanuric Acid) that is potentially harmful to the body. It slows down the breakdown of chlorine. If you have a pool cover that you ONLY remove to use the pool, then don't bother with this. [10][11]. It is rightfully banned in places and I will not use it under any condition.[12]

    8. Hardness - There is a correct level of hardness for your pool. If you are using rain water to top up the pool, then you should consider increasing the hardness. Soft water can cause pitting, etching and leaching of substances from concrete, tiles, grout, and rubber rings.[13][14]

    9. Clarity While incorrect chemicals may cause your water to look cloudy, there can be other reasons for this. In which case a Clarifier or Flocculent can help by making the sediment settle down to the bottom.[15][16]

  5. Where to buy the Products?

    1. Chlorine : Pool shops are the most expensive, followed by superstores. But do check out your local farm shop. It may surprise you.

    2. Bromine : Same as Chlorine.

    3. Salt : Pool shops, followed by superstores. But it is extremely likely that farm shops will be the cheapest. They have bulk salt for cattle feed. This is very cheap. There is nothing wrong with it but it may dissolve more slowly. I would just empty 6-7 sacks of salt every few months (as required) into the pool and let it dissolve by itself.

  6. How often should it be Serviced?

    This depends on the size of your pool, the levels of chemicals and how often you use them. If you are using the pool or spa daily then you should really check the levels daily. If you have enough buffer or if you are using salt, then this can be extended to weekly.
  7. How often should it be Emptied?

    Theoretically, a Pool or Spa never has to be emptied. However, I would recommend

    1. Swimming Pool : Once every 3 to 5 years. Sooner if it''s really filthy.

    2. Spa Pool : Annually. This is because there is less water so dissolved material can build up. And body oils tend to accumulate faster.


  1. What Is A Saltwater Chlorinator And How Does It Work?
  2. Choosing Between Bromine vs Chlorine
  3. What is Total Alkalinity
  4. Definition of pH
  5. The Difference Between Total and Free Chlorine
  6. What are Free, Combined, and Total Chlorine?
  7. Bromine in Swimming Pools?
  8. Definitive Guide to Salt Water Pools 2020
  9. Salt & Mineral Water Chlorinators: Your Comprehensive Guide
  10. How Does Stabiliser Help My Pool?
  11. Five things to know about Cyanuric Acid (CYA)
  12. Should You Or Should You Not Use CYA In Your Swimming Pool?
  13. Calcium hardness in water
  14. Soft Water Facts and How it Affects Your Pipes
  15. 7 Causes of Cloudy Swimming Pool Water and How to Clear It
  16. Pool Clarifier: How Does It Work and Is It Better Than Pool Flocculant?

A Step-by-Step Process to Care for your Pool and/or Spa

Disclaimer : I am not associated with any of these companies. I do not receive any financial incentives from any of them. These are my honest views based on experience and research.