In the height of our South African summer, taking a dip in your home swimming pool is pretty much as an enjoyable and regular an occurrence, as firing up the braai, if not more. Depending on where you live, South African’s are generally lucky enough to be able to swim comfortably between October and February.
Besides the pleasure it brings, owning a swimming pool is fairly big responsibility, and given the effort it takes to maintain, one really needs to consider their options during the cooler months.
Will you make adjustments to be able to continue using your pool, or does it make more sense to close it up until swimming season returns?
Just Keep Swimming
In order to continue swimming comfortably, especially if you live in a colder part of SA, the addition of a pool pump will allow you to increase the temperature of your swimming pool to 25°C, and keep it there.
While simple enough to do, keep in mind that this will increase your running costs. There are however cheaper alternatives that can be explored such as solar heating, or the more creative “Boer maak a plan” which involves pumping pool water through a series of strategically placed pipes on the roof of your home, which absorbs the heat of the sun and warms the water as it travels on through.
Although swimming pools don’t generally ice over in South Africa, the changes in weather and blown-in debris can make the water turn green faster and more frequently. Be prepared to embark on routine tasks if you have decided against covering the pool up and ignoring it until swimming season returns.
In the colder months, you will require at least six to eight hours of daily filtration. Adjust your timer to suit.
Backwash the pool once a month, or if you notice the Kreepy has lost its groove. Stormy weather conditions may require you to backwash more frequently.
Add one cup of dry chlorine twice a week until the end of May and correct the pH level weekly. Up the chlorine to once a week during mid-winter – continue to check the pH.
Preparing your Pool for Winter – the Cover Up
If keeping the pool accessible for a dip sounds too much like hard labour, then you need to prepare your pool for winter before covering it up and putting it into hibernation. If you close up your pool correctly, when spring arrives, it will good to go.
These are the guidelines to follow:
- Clean your pool and vacuum thoroughly
- Backwash for five minutes
- Check the pH and correct it to the lower end of the ideal range
- Check the alkalinity
- Check the hardness
- Shock treat your pool with three cups of dry chlorine / or use a shock treatment formula
- Lower the water level to the appropriate level below the skimmer opening
- Clean, dry and pack away pool fittings and automatic cleaners
- Cover the pool – making sure the cover is still in good condition.