A quick guide to fixing pool problems such as cloudy water, unpleasant odours and algae
Swimming pools are a summer essential, providing fun for the kids and relief from the heat. But they have to be regularly maintained for hygiene and safety.
Left to its own devices, a pool becomes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and algae, which can lead to ear, nose and skin infections.
As well as clearing fallen leaves and debris, you need to sanitise the water using a balance of chemicals.
If it is too acidic, it can cause itchy skin and red eyes. If too alkaline, it can damage the pool surfaces and equipment.
To keep maintenance work to a minimum, ensure you have a good pump and filter and check the water weekly, even through winter.
Chlorine is the standard way to keep water clean and is applied via granular, tablet or liquid form, or using a salt chlorinator. Additives like clarifier condition the water.
Most experts agree that pool water should be checked regularly to assess its chlorine and pH levels, water hardness and total alkalinity.
DIY test kits measure these levels and explain what should be added to achieve the optimal water balance.
To determine the water quality, dip a test strip into a sample of water from your pool, wait 15 seconds then match the colours to the chart that comes with the kit.