Some Cayman residents are lucky enough to have pools in their garden, however, as the government battles to stop community transmission, pool maintenance services have been deemed to be non-essential businesses and as a result pools throughout Cayman run the risk of becoming polluted.
In order to try and help residents protect their pool, Pool Patrol has provided some valuable information on how to try and maintain your own pool as best you can during the lockdown.
The three main areas of pool maintenance are Circulation, Chemistry and Cleaning, all of which are interrelated and dependent upon each other for their effectiveness.
While it may be tempting to turn off your pump and filter while your pool is out of action, keeping it running will help delay your pool turning green. Running the pump will keep your pool water moving, pushing it through the filter to remove dirt, leaves, and debris.
If you know how to, try to check your pool filter, make sure it is clean as a dirty filter slows flow rates. Check to see if the pool valves are fully open and regularly clean out your pool’s skimmer and pump basket.
Cleaning your pool is a must to protect it and will help prevent bacteria growth. It is important to clean and brush the pool on a regular basis.
Net any debris off the surface of the pool water, and if you have a long brush, clean the entire surface of the pool, including tiled areas.
Without the customary chemical care provided by your pool maintenance company, you are likely to see the following things happen:
- You pool will become cloudy and you’ll be unable able to see the drain at the bottom.
- You may see an increase in mosquitos as water become stagnant and they begin to breed.
- There will also be a risk of your pool water carrying waterborne infections such as diarrhoea, E. Coli and skin infections, amongst others. This is more common for shared pools, but not unheard of in private pools.
To help mitigate the above issues, Pool Patrol has helped provide a basic chemistry lesson and some tips, until such time pool maintenance services can resume. Please note that the process differs for salt water pools.
The main two areas to be concerned with are chlorine and pH levels. Chlorine is a sanitizer that kills bacteria and pathogens in the pool. The ideal pH level of your pool or hot tub is 7.4 and provides the greatest bather comfort. Anything more or less will start to adversely affect your pool water and begin to irritate your eyes and nose.
In the absence of access to chlorine, the only thing you can do is add some household bleach to the water to get some sanitizer in there. However, the bleach will not really be able to provide enough free and available chlorine to counter all the bather load if you continue to use your pool regularly.
The more bleach we pour in, the higher the pH will be and the weaker the pre-existing chlorine will be. In the unlikely event you have a test kit, it is always smart to test before blindly adding any chemical. If you do not, here is a rough guide:
- If the water is still clear, add about ¼ gallon of bleach per 10,000 gallons of pool water.
- If the water is clear, but the walls are starting to get slimy, then add ½ gallon per 10,000 gallons.
- If the pool is starting to get cloudy but not quite green, then up it to about ¾ gallon. If it is swamp-like, then you can use a full gallon or more per 10,000 gallons of pool water.
If you are not sure of the volume of water in your pool, use an online pool calculator.
The only thing remotely close to an effective moderator of pH and available at the grocery store will be vinegar, however this is not recommended to use in a pool or hot tub due to certain disinfection by-products. Unfortunately there’s not much you can do about the pH until pool supply stores are allowed to reopen.
Salt Water Pools
Salt water pools generate their own chlorine, but it is a concentrated version of sodium hypochlorite, so the pH goes up on an hourly basis. The only remedy to reducing the pH is to introduce an acid, which is not currently available to the general public. Therefore salt water pool owners may want to turn off the chlorine generator every other day to prevent the pH from climbing so quickly.
While the information above has been provided by Pool Patrol, Cayman Resident strongly advises that you speak to your pool company before attempting to maintain your own pool.