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Frequently Asked Questions - Pool Health and Safety

Pool Health and Safety

This is dependent on which State you live in (water balance is affected by temperature), where the pool is situated (shade or no shade), the bather load of the pool, the size of the pool, the sanitation process you are using and other factors. As a rough guide in tropical climates during the warmest months of the year the recommendation would be a minimum of 8 hours up to 12 hours separated into 2 cycles. This can be reduced back to 2-3 hours during the cold months or non-swimming times. Inadequate filtration time is the primary cause of cloudy, green or unsanitary water.

  1. The first thing to check is that the pH is in range and that you have Stabiliser in the water. If not, adjust the pH and add stabiliser.
  2. If you have added large amounts of chlorine to the pool and are still unable to get a chlorine reading it is possible that the chlorine is “bleaching” out your test tablets. Dilute the sample with tap water (4 parts tap water and 1 part pool water) and retest. Remember if you get a chlorine reading to multiply the result by 5 to be accurate.
  3. If the test is not being “bleached” out then the water has an organic demand. This will require double or even three times the normal shock dose of chlorine to eliminate.
  4. Add 2 kgs of Focus Stabilised Chlorine (per 50,000 litres of pool water) to the pool with the pump and filter in operation.
  5. Run the filter for at least six hours.
  6. Retest and repeat the treatment with a kilo of stabilised chlorine at a time until the chlorine residual is maintained.

As the population ages, many people are finding it harder and harder to lift drums of liquid pool chlorine for their automatic feeder systems. Until recently, however, there have not been other options that allow people to utilise their feeders effectively. The addition of 1 kg Focus Stabilised Chlorine in 20 litres of water will give the same benefits for automatic dosing without the weight, spillage and pH adjustment To ensure that the feed lines are kept clean and flowing freely, 30ml of Aquashield 3 should be added each time. This will sanitise the pool water at the same measure as liquid pool chlorine but is a lot easier to handle.. The reduced pH of Stabilised chlorine will also remove the need to add Hydrochloric Acid into the pool, Stabilised chlorine, unlike liquid pool chlorine, is also classified as non-dangerous providing peace of mind for your storage. No fuming acid to worry about and no risk of the acid and chlorine drums getting mixed up resulting in a nasty and potentially life threatening accident.

The first step is to ascertain what is causing the stain. Staining can sometimes be caused by incorrect water balance. Check your water balance and adjust if necessary to the correct levels. Stains can also be caused by metal contamination and tannins from leaves. The following is a checklist to assist in determining the likely source of the problem:

  • Water is emerald green in colour - Copper
  • The walls and floor have turned blue-green or black - Copper
  • The water has a greenish yellow tint - Iron
  • The walls and floor have a rusty colour - Iron
  • The areas where the leaves settled have gone brown - Tannins

The longer a stain is present in a pool, the harder it is to eliminate.

Water loss through evaporation, backwashing or splash out is common. However, if you feel that your water loss is more excessive than this check out the following:

  1. Check around the equipment to ensure that there are not any wet areas as equipment can develop leaks which will result in water loss.
  2. If you have a vinyl liner check that there are not any tears around the lights, ladders or in corners. Check the ground around the pool.
  3. Inside the skimmer box put a mark where the water is and recheck it a day later. Your pool should not lose more than about 7mm per day.
  4. Fill a bucket with water and place a mark where the water level is. Leave next to the pool for a day. The amount of water loss from the bucket should be similar to the water loss from the pool.
  5. If there is a noticeable difference you will need to call a leak detector to ascertain where the leak is coming from.

There are currently 3 types of pool cleaners on the markets; suction, pressure and robotic in addition of course, to good old fashioned manual vacuuming.

Manual vacuuming is time consuming and most consumers these days are very time poor. When considering what type of cleaner is best for your pool take into account your lifestyle, the finish of your pool, the size of your pool and the environment in which your pool sits. These will be paramount in selecting the correct cleaner for your needs.

Automatic cleaners are either suction or pressure. Suction cleaners are very popular and are often considered the most economical choice. The hose basically attaches to a vacuum plate in the skimmer and is driven by the suction generated by the pool pump. The cleaner then proceeds to move around the pool in random patterns. The filter must be kept clean as the suction cleaner is dependent on filter pressure. Suction cleaners are not always a good choice if the pool is subject to heavy leaf deposits.

Pressure cleaners are generally more expensive but are considered by some to be more efficient. These cleaners work by attaching the hose to the pool return and require a boost pump which pushes pressure through a line into the cleaner. This creates a vacuum effect which drives the cleaner and the dirt and debris are collected and deposited into either the filter or sometimes a bag. Pressure cleaners are excellent for use in a heavy leaf scenario as the bag helps prevent them from clogging the filter. Another type of cleaner is a robotic cleaner which operates on a timer utilising a transformer than converts the power to a safe level. Robotic cleaners are considered the quickest method to clean a pool. They come with their own filtration system and do not attach to a pool pump of filter. These filters are normally only put in a pool when it requires cleaning and then removed. Traditionally these cleaners were used mainly in Commercial situation but more and more backyard pools are seeing them as a viable option.

Over time your swimming pool water becomes dull and irritating as it will accumulate a build-up of waste products. The waste products come from rain, insects, hairspray, suntan lotion, make-up, urine and other wastes introduced by either the environment or swimmers. These waste products “tie up” your chlorine making it inefficient and causing a pungent “chlorine” odour.

  1. Adjust pH of the pool water to between 7.4 to 7.6
  2. With the pump and filter running add one bag of Shock and Clear (per 50,000 litres of pool water)
  3. Run the filter for at least one hour.
  4. If the problem still persists contact us for a Free and Total Chlorine test. This will determine if more applications are needed.

Blonde hair particularly can experience this problem. It is generally caused by incorrect water balance, excess copper or high chlorine levels. Pay particular care to your water balance to eliminate the likelihood of it occurring.

It can be removed from the hair by any of the following methods:

  • Dissolve a couple of disprin in a glass of water and rinse the hair. Follow with your usual shampoo and conditioning treatment.
  • Wash hair in Sunlight soap and follow with a conditioning treatment.
  • Rub tomato sauce into the hair and then shampoo. (Kids love this one!)

Pools can get calcium levels that build up over a period of time, particularly those pools utilising Calcium Hypochlorite, which can cause hard scale to form on the surface of the pool. New pools particularly can have a scaling issue as they “adjust”. In areas of high water hardness the problem is unavoidable. To prevent scale from forming Aquashield 3 should be added every three months. This will inhibit calcium scale and assist with the cleaning of the salt chlorinator cell. To remove deposits that have already formed it will be necessary to conduct a treatment involving Hydrochloric Acid and Aquashield 3. Contact your nearest Focus Products Authorised Dealer for assistance.

The first question to ask is whether the growth can be removed through brushing as this will confirm whether or not the discolouration is caused by an algae growth. If the answer is yes then apply the following treatment:

  1. Adjust the pH of the pool water to 7.4 to 7.6
  2. Brush the walls and floor of the pool to stir up the algae
  3. Treat the pool with at least one bag of Shock and Clear (per 50,000 litres) by pouring through the skimmer box with the pump and filter in operation
  4. Pour 2 litres of Focus Algicide 20% around the edge of the pool.
  5. Follow the algicide treatment with either 200ml of Waterpolish or a sachet of Ultrasheen.
  6. Run the filter continuously observing the pressure gauge. Backwash or clean the filter if the pressure exceeds Manufacturers recommendations.

The first thing to check is that the filtration system is working effectively and does not need chemically cleaning. If the filtration is working effectively the following should be checked.

  1. Check the pH of the water is between 7.4 to 7.6. If the pH is high this can cause water to be cloudy. Adjust pH accordingly.
  2. Check that the pool has maintained a consistent chlorine reading over the past few days. Reduced chlorine levels can also cause cloudy water. If the chlorine level has not been consistent then apply a bag of Shock and Clear (per 50,000 litres) by pouring through the skimmer with the pump and filter in operation. If the chlorine level does not hold after the first treatment then repeat the process until the chlorine residual is maintained.
  3. If the chlorine and pH levels are OK then the cloudy water is probably due to suspended particles in the water. Add 200ml of Waterpolish to 50,000 litres of pool water to restore and maintain sparkling water. Run filter for at least 8 hours. Backwash the filter if pressure reaches the maximum recommended by the Manufacturer.
  1. Adjust the pH of the pool water to 7.4 to 7.6
  2. Brush the walls and floor of the pool to stir up the algae
  3. Treat the pool with 2 bags of Shock and Clear (per 50,000 litres) by pouring through the skimmer box with the pump and filter in operation
  4. Pour 2 litres of Focus Algicide 20% around the edge of the pool.
  5. Follow the algicide treatment with either 200ml of Waterpolish or a sachet of Ultrasheen.6.Run the filter continuously keeping an eye on the pressure gauge. Backwash or clean the filter if the pressure exceeds Manufacturers recommendations.

Every year over 35 children under the age of 5 drown, 50% of these deaths occur in private swimming pools. Queensland has recently experienced changes in its fencing regulations which are enclosed, however all States will follow with amendments in the future. Legislation is different within each State and information is obtainable from the State Government but the following checklist is a minimum requirement for all States:

  • The swimming pool gate must open outward from the pool.
  • The latch must be more than 1.5m from the ground and must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • The Pool fence must be secure and in good working order and no more than 100mm from the ground.
  • The Pool Fence should be at least 1.2m high with no vertical gaps more than 100mm apart.
  • There must be a CPR sign prominent in the pool area

Residential swimming pools constructed after 1 December 2009 in Queensland

Stage one took effect on 1 December 2009 and applies to new residential swimming pools. It includes: pool fencing to comply with the latest pool fencing standards. Compliant temporary fences to be permitted for a maximum period of three months during the construction of a pool, after which compliant permanent fencing will be required. Both the temporary and permanent fences will need to be inspected and certified by the building rectifier who approved the application if the required final inspection has not been done, building certifiers will be required to undertake a mandatory follow-up inspection within a set time frame after giving a building approval for a swimming pool. The time frames will be six months for new pools or two years in cases where building approval is granted for a swimming pool and a new residential building. If the building approval is due to lapse earlier then six months or two years, the final inspection must be done before it lapses pool owners to display a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign that reflects the current CPR method adopted by the Australian Resuscitation Council.

Some other requirements under existing Queensland pool fencing laws:

  • Owners must ensure that a compliant fence is in place and maintained
  • Owners must display a warning sign advising that a new pool is under construction
  • Owners must ensure pools constructed on or after 1 October 2003 display a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign
  • Local governments can only grant exemptions in circumstances where an occupant of the building has a disability that will not enable them to gain access to the pool area if a complying pool fence was constructed.

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