Living in Queensland, we have a number of tenants lucky enough to have a pool on their property. With the storm season in full swing, there can be a range of issues that can occur to the cleanliness, chlorine and PH levels.
As a tenant, you are responsible for looking after the property and keeping it, and any inclusions such as a pool, an oven or lawn, clean. These requirements are set out in Form 17a.
Your requirements are outlined further in Form 18a – your General Tenancy Agreement. Section 46(2)(c) holds that at the end of occupancy, a tenant is responsible for ensuring the swimming pool, filter and spa equipment are returned to a clean condition with correct chemical levels.
Pool maintenance can be a drag, but there’s no point having a great pool out the back if it’s full of sludge. Cleaning and maintenance are crucial to keeping the water safe for you and your family, and to make sure you actually get to use it!
From collecting leaves and debris to keeping the chlorine levels stable, there’s a huge range of tricks, tools and products to keep your pool in tip top shape.
Cleaning your pool
All pools require cleaning to remove the leaves, dirt and other grotty things that they collect. Most pools have a Kreepy Krauly which are one of the cheapest and most popular automatic cleaners.
Without regular sanitisation, all pools develop bacteria – which can pose serious health risks. Water top-ups, leaves, grass, dust, and even people all cause bacteria to grow; these factors, along with the size of your pool, will determine the level of sanitisation you need.
Most pool owners use chlorine. There are other options to keep pool water clean and in balance – such as using ozone gas, UV sterilisation, bromine or ionization – but these methods make up a very small part of the Australian market. Health departments around Australia generally recommend all domestic pool owners have a chlorine residual in their pool.
There are three main ways domestic users can keep their pool chlorinated:
By hand, which involves adding chlorine manually.
By installing a salt chlorinator, which produces chlorine and is the most common form of domestic pool chlorination in Australia.
By installing a liquid chemical feeder, which automatically adds chlorine.
As well as sanitisation, you also need to chemically balance your pool water. The chemical balance of your pool is made up of:
pH (acidity/alkalinity level): 68%
total alkalinity (TA): 16%
calcium hardness: 16%
You should monitor your chlorine and pH levels at least once a week, or every day if your pool is in high use. Total alkalinity and calcium hardness levels can be monitored less frequently.
The most labour-intensive way of keeping your pool sanitised is to manually add chlorine. This involves testing your pool’s water to figure out how much chlorine to use, and will need to be done every second day for the average backyard pool. This might be the best option if you’re renting a property with a pool and aren’t looking for a long-term solution.
Saltwater pools are popular in Australian backyards – but they don’t do away with the need for chlorine. Saltwater pools use salt chlorinators to convert common salt crystals into chlorine gas which is soluble in water.
You can install a salt chlorinator in the existing pipe work of any pool. The only exception is above-ground pools with metal structures as they’ll rust.
Some salt chlorinators are self-cleaning. If you don’t buy a self-cleaning model, you will need to manually clean the salt from the cell as often as every fortnight. Self-cleaning models don’t need such intensive maintenance, but they are more expensive.
When a salt chlorinator is initially installed, you will need to manually add salt to your pool. The recommended initial dose is 4kg of salt per 1000 litres – about 20–30% will be lost every year due to backwashing, splashing and overflow, so regular salt top-ups will be needed.
Salt chlorinators operate automatically, so you can go on holiday knowing your pool water will remain clean. They are also cost-effective to run and will generally last about five years.
The capacity of a chlorinator is usually expressed in grams per hour. Some pool suppliers will express a unit’s capacity in terms of its liquid, granular or tablet chlorine equivalent. As a guide, liquid chlorine is about 12–15% chlorine, granular chlorine is about 65% chlorine and tablets can be up to 100% chlorine.