Experts urge residents to maintain their pools this winter

POOL HEALTH: Pool maintenance in winter can prevent harmful bacteria from breeding and reduce costs to restore pool health in summer.

POOL HEALTH: Pool maintenance in winter can prevent harmful bacteria from breeding and reduce costs to restore pool health in summer.

POOL owners could be putting their families at risk by neglecting pool maintenance during the cooler months, local experts say.

With weekend temperatures dipping into single digits for the first time since last winter, many local residents have covered their pools for the winter.

Brian McKenzie from Poolwerx Birkdale said pool owners should keep pool health in mind even when they were not using their pools regularly.

He said research revealed 53 per cent of pool owners let maintenance slide during the cooler months.

"A neglected pool is a prime breeding ground for harmful bacteria that could lead to outbreaks of gastro, respiratory problems and infections of the skin, ears and eyes," Mr McKenzie said.

"With close to half of the pool owners we surveyed failing to test water pH and chlorine levels and 36 per cent never clearing skimmer baskets or scoop fallen leaves from the pool, the risk of developing a problem is very high."

Mr McKenzie said the lack of maintenance could also cost pool owners considerably.

"A pool might look clean and clear, but after a few months of little or no monitoring, odds are it's not," he said.

"Most people make the mistake of thinking that because the pool is not being used as much that it doesn't need as much cleaning, but it doesn't take long for harmful bacteria and germs to grow.

"By spring the results of lack of diligence can certainly add up. You can find yourself shelling out for extra chemicals and replacement parts for neglected filter and pump systems, or if the situation is dire the cost to fix a pool that has turned green."

He said extra expense could be avoided by keeping up a less-intensive but regular maintenance schedule over winter.

Wayne O'Malley from Poolwerx Redland Bay also urged pool owners to conduct a pool safety check with 52 drownings recorded from May to July last year.

"Unfortunately, our survey revealed 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.

"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 access to the pool area.

"Water safety is a year-round obligation and something pool owners need to take seriously to make sure it's a safe and fun space for everyone."

Tips for winter pool maintenance

  • Reduce pool pump operation time to up to 6 hours and switch timer onto an off-peak tariff.
  • Install a pool cover to reduce evaporation, chemical usage and protect your pool from fallen leaves.
  • Ensure chlorine levels and pH levels are in a healthy range through regular water testing and maintenance. This will make life easier come spring.
  • Thoroughly clean your skimmers, filters and pool cleaning equipment. These items can be hiding bacteria.
  • Clear the skimmer basket and remove debris from the pool's surface every week.