Switching off in winter risks unexpected pool costs

Experts are urging pool owners to avoid risking significant costs to treat an unhealthy pool at the start of the swimming season, with new research showing a staggering 53 per cent of Australians switch off pool care during the cooler months.

The 2014 PoolWerx Winter Pool Care Survey revealed that more than half of pool owners across the country failed to maintain their pool throughout winter, however PoolWerx CEO John O’Brien said this often resulted in unexpected costs of up to $1000 come the start of the swimming season.

“Many pool owners forgo regular winter pool care because they think they’re saving money, but they’re actually allowing bacteria to flourish for months which can lead to significant costs to treat pool water to a standard that is healthy and safe to use again,” he said.

“Also, the efficiency of the equipment can decline due to imbalanced water chemistry resulting in repair or replacement and often voiding the warranty of new equipment.”

While 60 per cent of pool owners indicated they operated their pool pump daily, the survey revealed half (49 per cent) still failed to test water pH and chlorine levels and 36 per cent never cleared skimmer baskets or scoop fallen leaves from the pool – both, jobs that should be done every week during the off season.

Mr O’Brien said the results showed that many pool owners still underestimated the importance of maintaining a healthy pool all year round.

“Out of a sample of 1,000 pool water tests conducted by our franchisees at the start of the swimming season last year, just 4 per cent of backyard pools registered healthy pH and chlorine levels.

“We’d like to avoid these issues this year by encouraging pool owners to be more conscious of the financial and health impacts of a pool that is left untreated throughout the colder months.”

He said following a regular pool maintenance schedule was the best approach to avoid unexpected pool costs.

“Despite infrequent use, pool water needs to be tested every week throughout winter to ensure the pool’s pH level is between 7.2 and 7.6 and the chlorine level at 2-3 PPM,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The pool pump and filter should also run every day, but only for up to six hours unlike the 12 hours needed during summer. Pool equipment should also be checked each week to ensure it is working effectively.

Mr O’Brien said as well as maintaining a healthy pool, it was imperative that pool owners also ensured their pool was safe.

“Unfortunately, our survey also showed that less than half of pool owners regularly inspected the safety of their pool area throughout the year yet this is critical in reducing the risk of drowning deaths among young children.

“Pool fences must be checked  to ensure they’re intact, and you must have a self-closing and latching gate. The area surrounding the pool fence should also be clear of any climbable objects that can allow children to access the pool area.”

For more information call 1800 034 528.

Top pool care tips for healthy pool people

  1. Ensure chlorine levels and pH levels are in a healthy range through regular water testing and maintenance.
  2. Clear the skimmer basket and remove debris from the pools’ surface every week.
  3. Consult a pool technician for a winter maintenance schedule suited to your pool.
  4. Reduce pool pump operation time to up to 6 hours and switch timer on to an off-peak tariff
  5. Install a pool cover to reduce evaporation, chemical usage and protect your pool from fallen leaves

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