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Having been here just over six months (how time flies!), we are now on the verge of moving to our third property!!

We moved to this one to get out of the hell-hole that was our first apartment, but since all our 'stuff' has arrived, we are finding it a bit cramped, mainly because we have cupboards and the store room full of the landlords items that cannot be removed. So, we are taking advantage of the six-month option to give notice to move out, and have been looking for somewhere to be our 'forever home'. We were taken to a couple of places yesterday, and six more this morning, and we have settled on a detached villa in Peyia with a private swimming pool - not something we had particularly wanted or considered, but the house is lovely and we have had a good deal on the rent.

The question is, we now need to find out how to look after the pool! The rental agency say it's not rocket science, but we want to keep the cost as low as possible by doing it ourselves, so what do we need to do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, and how much approximately will it cost (not including the electric for the pump).

Beginning to wonder if we have bitten off more than we can chew!!
 

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To keep a pool in good condition is very simple as long as you check it regularly. It's when you leave it unmaintained for a while that things can go rather wrong and it may be more difficult to fix.

The following is a screed that my brother-in-law requested to help him with his first pool when he moves to Spain:

As far as pools are concerned you will find some good websites to give guidance, calculators and cures for problems. Most of them are American so read everything with a pinch of salt as they are designed to sell stuff. Americans love pouring chemicals into their pools and most of them aren't at all necessary unless something goes wrong.

I would suggest for your pool the first stage is to establish what you've got. Check your pump house where the minimum you should see is a pump, sand filter and a multi-way valve. For equipment you should have a net for lifting debris out, a brush attachment for cleaning the sides and a vacuum cleaner attachment which all fit onto an extending pole. You also need a vacuum hose between the cleaner head and an entry in a skimmer (the return outlet from the pool). In addition you need a water testing kit. These are often a small container with 2 sections you fill with pool water. You then drop dyes from small bottles in, fit the caps, shake and then check the colours against a scale on the container. A better way is to buy pots of test strips which you dip in the water and then check the colours against a scale. They will give you more readings about the total state of the water.

There are 3 types of pool construction. 2 form a reinforced concrete tank which can then either be tiled or have a printed PVC liner fitted. Rarer pools are a huge fibreglass tanks such as ours. The most common type is the liner pool. Liners should last about 10 years I am told before replacement.

The 2 most important things you need worry about in the water are chlorine which is added to kill bacteria and the pH of the water. Your test kits will tell you the state of the water for these. Chlorine is added regularly in small amounts. You can buy dichlor or trichlor in powder or granular form but better and more convenient are tablets. All of these contain chlorine and also cyanuric acid which helps prevent the chlorine being destroyed by UV light. As time goes by the cyanuric acid builds up and can only be removed by water change but this should be happening naturally as you maintain the pool. If not, as has happened in my pool for another reason, a mass water change is required. Chlorine tablets contain other chemicals too and should help balance the pH at the correct level. Ph is important to keep the chlorine working effectively and to help stop stinging eyes etc. If the level is too high you add acid which can be bought as tubs of pH+ or in sacks as Sodium Bisulphate. If it's too low you add pH- or sodium bicarbonate. The initial pH level will depend on the water you add for top up. Ours is very alkaline so I get through about 75Kg of acid a year.

If the chlorine and pH level are maintained you should have little problem with the pool. The main problem comes when you are away and leave the pool. If the water evaporates you can burn the pump out, but if you turn the pump off completely you can get algae and eventually green water which then needs to be treated. This can be very simple to deal with as it was for us until this year when the deterioration in our water after 6 years caused a real bad green water problem which I had to call the professionals in to sort out.

Obviously in a hot climate the water will evaporate and that's why you need to top up and check the chemical levels regularly. Other than maintaining the chemical levels, water level, emptying the skimmer baskets of debris and vacuuming dust and rubbish out the only other thing to do is an occasional backwash. You should be running the pump off of a time switch for 2 to 3 hours morning and evening during the winter with an additional midday cycle during the summer. If the pool then gets heavy use such as lots of kids in it or an orgy with the neighbours you can override the time switch onto manual for extra filtration. The water is being filtered through sand or glass filter medium in the filter within the pump house and after a time becomes clogged with crap. This may be indicated on a pressure gauge on the filter if you have one. When the gauge shows close to the red area it is time for a backwash. If you have no gauge you will have to judge it yourself but I would guess every 3 to 4 weeks should be plenty. Backwashing pumps water from the pool in reverse through the filter and then out to waste carrying the crap with it. It should only be necessary to run on backwash for a few minutes and your multi-way valve should also have a water sight tube where you can see the clarity of the water going through. When clear the backwash is complete. It is essential to then pump water through on the rinse cycle for 20 to 30 seconds to clear out the residual crap in the pipes or it will end up back in the pool. The multi-way valve should have settings which are fairly self explanatory: Filter, closed, backwash, rinse, recirculate and drain. It is essential to turn the pump off before changing the valve position or you will blow the internal gasket.

I hope this is useful.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Excellent information, Pete, thank you. Not sure about orgies with the neighbours though! It all sounds very involved but I'm sure we'll get to grips with it (the pool, not the neighbours). Might nip into one of the pool places and price up all the chemicals, etc, just to give me some idea.

We don't know much about the pool at the moment, other than it's being looked after while the house is empty, but someone is going to come and explain more to us once we have the keys - there's no going back now, anyway, as we've signed the contract today!
 

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One of our relatives pays €30 per month for the pool to be kept clean which may give you some idea. I suppose if you do it yourself, the worry is when you want to go away for a while.
 

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One of our relatives pays €30 per month for the pool to be kept clean which may give you some idea. I suppose if you do it yourself, the worry is when you want to go away for a while.
That seems quite reasonable, thank you for the information. I suppose it depends on the size of the pool. I will discuss it with the landlord anyway, and then decide what to do.
 

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That seems quite reasonable, thank you for the information. I suppose it depends on the size of the pool. I will discuss it with the landlord anyway, and then decide what to do.
That seems far too low. Does it include full weekly maintenance including chemicals or a once monthly vacuum session?

Pete
 

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One of our relatives pays €30 per month for the pool to be kept clean which may give you some idea. I suppose if you do it yourself, the worry is when you want to go away for a while.
Wow €30 a month is amazing, are you sure? We used to pay well over that! :D
 

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Just to add my tuppence worth, these are my thoughts and preferences:

A walk around any pool store will have you believe that PH and Chlorine balance is all you need to do. Unfortunately this isn’t true and what the pool store isn't telling you is to their benefit. As PeteAndSylv says, your Cyanuric Acid (CYA) level will rise with regular use of shop bought chlorine tablets and granules because they include CYA. Your Chlorine will get used up (by the sun or by killing algae) but your CYA will not. The problem is that the more CYA you have in the water, the less effective your chlorine is at killing algae so you will have to keep going back to the shop to buy more chlorine tablets/granules (you see how this benefits them?). The excellent TFP forum (linked to by MacManiac) has all you need to know (and more) but it will take some time to digest but I suggest a quick look at the Chlorine/CYA chart in the Pool School as a good starting point.

A couple of other points just for clarification:

PH+ is for raising your PH and PH- is for lowering it and you can use other chemicals to do this other than the expensive pool store products.

Bleach can be used to chlorinate your pool without raising the CYA. Yes, Bleach! You’d be surprised how alarmed people get when I tell them this until I point them to the labels and they read “Contents: Sodium Hypochlorite” on both (only use normal unscented bleach). If you haven’t got a bottle of liquid chlorine to hand, just take the lid off the bottle of bleach and have a smell, what does it smell like? The local swimming pool!

It’s a good idea to backwash when your starting pressure (where the needle is after backwashing) has gone up roughly 33% (some say 25% but I prefer 33% to save a bit of water). I’ve never been able to get my needle into the red as I think the pump would have conked out long before it got to that stage but to give you an idea. If your starting pressure is 15psi, back wash when it gets to 20 psi.
If you are serious about having the cleanest pool possible, then a professional testing kit is worth its weight in gold. I've used test strips that have told me that my CYA level was fine (between 30-50) but for some reason, I couldn't keep chlorine in the pool no matter how many times I shocked it. With my expensive (just to warn you) LaMotte FAS-DPD 7022-01 kit, it showed my CYA level to be 160! After a 75% drain and refill and SLAM (see TFP site) I now have a sparkling pool that requires very little maintenance and costs me about €1 a day, maybe even less.

I'll stop there as that’s more like five pence worth!

Good luck!
 

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Desiato, thank you for your comment. I believe I commented on your post on that excellent TFP site! We are waiting to move in and get some tips from a pool guy to start us off, then take another look at how to proceed with the TFP method.
 

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Desiato, thank you for your comment. I believe I commented on your post on that excellent TFP site! We are waiting to move in and get some tips from a pool guy to start us off, then take another look at how to proceed with the TFP method.
I figured that might be you. :)

I know that test kit is expensive but I've just emailed the guy I bought it from with a couple of problems (broken lid, cracked tube, query on the unsealed bottles) and he's answered all my questions thoroughly. I also said I'd take some reagents if he is going to post out the replacement parts FOC (to make it worth his while) and he said he'll throw them in! So at the moment a big thumbs up on the service side (I also told him you might be emailing him).

To be honest, apart from knowing which knobs to turn, there's not much a pool guy will tell you that the TFP site won't. In fact, he could send you off down the wrong track when it comes to chemicals. I'm still learning myself and today have been reading up on the BBB method. The problem at the moment is the B for Borax as it doesn't seem to be available in Spain (like strong bleach) but I'm still investigating.

Good luck!
 

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Because we will be with pool from September I try to find all information possible about this new thing. I am quite sure that I will manage to maintain it myself, but what I cant find is a figure for the cost of the chemicals.Different forum posts vary a LOT.

So perhaps all you you who maintain yourself can give a round figure?

The pool is 8x4m
 

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The costs will vary a lot depending on the pool itself, it's location and the water source. In our case we have salt chlorinator to provide chlorine so our chlorine purchase is very low. On the other hand our well water is very alkaline so I am regularly putting acid in to balance the pH. At the beginning of the season I have the cost of salt top up to consider.

I would suggest you might use 3 pots of trichlor and a bag or 2 of acid which will total around €150. You also have the cost of pump electricity which I'm sure you can work out. At the moment I run the pump for 3 sessions per day of 1.5 hours, 2 sessions of 1 hour out of season plus extra running if the pool is heavily used.

That will probably be your minimum cost. If you become one of those types that loves to hurl chemicals in you will also have the cost of algaecide, flocculant, cleaner, sand renovator and Dog knows what else.

One thing to note, I once bought some chemicals in a pool company in Polis and found their prices to be exceedingly high compared to Paphos.

Pete
 

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The costs will vary a lot depending on the pool itself, it's location and the water source. In our case we have salt chlorinator to provide chlorine so our chlorine purchase is very low. On the other hand our well water is very alkaline so I am regularly putting acid in to balance the pH. At the beginning of the season I have the cost of salt top up to consider.

I would suggest you might use 3 pots of trichlor and a bag or 2 of acid which will total around €150. You also have the cost of pump electricity which I'm sure you can work out. At the moment I run the pump for 3 sessions per day of 1.5 hours, 2 sessions of 1 hour out of season plus extra running if the pool is heavily used.

That will probably be your minimum cost. If you become one of those types that loves to hurl chemicals in you will also have the cost of algaecide, flocculant, cleaner, sand renovator and Dog knows what else.

One thing to note, I once bought some chemicals in a pool company in Polis and found their prices to be exceedingly high compared to Paphos.

Pete
No far from it Pete. I just want to keep it clear and healthy, using as little chemicals as possible. I will even talk to the owner about a chlorinator.

We have agriculture water to fill with, so I will make a lab-test to find out the quality.
 
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