Dec 03

Are you thinking of buying a robotic pool cleaner?

In the past, almost everyone used a suction cleaner or pool vaccuum, and we all became accustomed to swimming around the hose, and listening to that ‘tick tick tick’ sound whenever we were near the pool!vacuum hose

However, in the last few years, robotic cleaners have become quite affordable, so are gaining popularity with pool owners. But while it is true that a robotic cleaner can be used in any pool, not every robotic cleaner is suitable for every pool.

If you have an abrasive pool surface such as pebble, you’ll need a cleaner that is strong enough to scrub the surface clean, and durable enough to tolerate any wear against the cleaner skirting.

On the other hand, if you have a soft and flexible surface finish such as vinyl, you need to ensure a robotic cleaner has no sharp edges, and that the tracks and rollers are gentle enough to not cause wear on the pool finish. With all pool finishes, it is also important to ensure there is enough clearance on the underside of the robot to avoid rubbing and scraping against the surface.

So which is better to use? Robotic or suction? It really is a matter of opinion. Suction cleaners have been the norm for many years in Australia, and they generally do a pretty good job, for a very reasonable price. But all pools are different, and no cleaner is perfect (there is usually a corner or step, or some other spot in every pool where the suction cleaner always seems to miss!)

Plus you have to wrestle with the cleaner and hose when you want a quick swim as most pool owners just don’t bother to remove the vacuum from the pool. And when you do finally take the vacuum out, no one ever lays the hose out nice and straight, to minimise any effects of hose kinks on the cleaner’s performance. (Suction cleaners rely on the hose to help control the area they cover and the direction they take).

I’ve personally owned a number of suction cleaners over the years, and a couple of robots, so I thought I’d put together some of my thoughts, to help anyone who is tossing up between a suction cleaner and a robotic cleaner.

Robotic cleaners are designed to be put in the pool once or twice a week for up to 2 hours to roam around the pool in a random pattern and vacuum all the dirt and leaves from the floor and walls. The biggest issue I have with robots is the cleaning! That’s right – you need to clean the cleaner! They need to be cleaned every time they do a full pool clean.

I liked my suction cleaner’s handling of the dirt and leaves, it just sends it all to the pool filtration system. I found my sand filter much easier to clean than the cartridges of the robot – it was just a matter of switching off the pump, turning the valve, then running the pump until the waste water was clear, selecting rinse for a minute and then back to normal filtration. Quite easy really, and only takes about 7 minutes.

The robot takes about 7 minutes each time I clean it – and I have to do this at least every week – whereas I only backwash my sand filter every 4-6 weeks. However, I love the fact that my pool has NO cleaner in the water most of the time and no annoying “tick”, “tick” sound or the surface of the water rippled all the time.

And, when I go for a swim, I jump straight in and don’t have to remove the suction cleaner and store it alongside the pool edge. Now putting the robot in the pool and getting it back out requires a bit of strength, especially getting it out when as you have to wait for the water to drain out before lifting it otherwise it is quite heavy.

Now – the effect of the cleaners on your pool finish. The suction cleaners are often left in the pool all the time as some people choose to swim with them as it is easier. The problem is, for 8 or more hours a day in summer, the suction cleaner is rubbing over the pool surface. If you have an abrasive surface, this will wear the cleaner skirt and some other parts. If you have a soft surface such as PVC, the suction cleaner can rub and wear the surface over time, and if it doesn’t move evenly over all parts of the pool, you may see its common path in form of a wear track, usually around the wall to floor junction.

The concept of a robot being more compatible with all pool surfaces comes from the fact they are only used for a short period of time – BUT you need to make sure you have the correct tracks and rollers for your pool surface finish.

If your pool surface is quite abrasive, then the robot will have less wear on its tracks and rollers as it is only used for relative small amounts of time, but the wearing parts need to be compatible otherwise you will need to replace them quite quickly. If your pool has a soft finish, the robot makes sense as again it is only used for small amount of time, but you need to make sure the areas of contact with your pool finish are compatible so as not to create wear spots.

One of the considerations for your pool before you purchase a robot if you have a softer finish is to ensure the shape of the surface is free of sharp edges, and that there is enough clearance of the underside of the robot to avoid rubbing and scraping these edges, as the hard plastic of the robot body can cause abrasions.

If you ever suspect your robot has caused abrasion to your pool finish, just check the tracks and the underside of the unit – you will likely see some of the pool surface colour on it and maybe some worn plastic parts.robotic cleaner print rub off on tracks

So in my opinion, if you are on a budget or don’t mind swimming with the hose and cleaner, or removing it every time you swim, a suction cleaner will work for you.

If you want the clean look of a pool without a hose and cleaner 99% of the time and happy to rinse off the cartridges after every clean, then a robot will suit you.

Remember, no cleaner is perfect, but they sure beat having to set up the vacuum hose, handle and brush and cleaning the pool manually yourself!

 

Sep 30

Improved formula for Coral Sand print pool liners

As of Coral-Sand-web (Large) (Medium)today, all Coral Sand print above ground pool liners will be made from an improved material. Previously printed on a white base, we are now printing on a beige based film. The beige film has no effect on the appearance of the print, but it has shown to give higher resistance to chemical fade.

The colour has a real pebblecrete appearance, and gives the pool a pale blue hue when filled with water.

May 26

What makes Aqualux better than a regular inground pool liner?

aqualux pool finish in Bahama ABGALAn Aqualux pool finish is a specialist, flexible pool interior which is designed for Australia’s harsh climate, to out-perform other similar pool finishes.

The Aqualux difference starts with the chemistry. Some products perform well under certain conditions, and others just don’t make the grade – and it is all in the chemistry.

First we need to understand a little about the conditions, and that’s why Aqualux was developed here in Australia, specifically for Australian conditions. By studying the environmental conditions, we have been able to see over the years how small adjustments to the chemistry have improved Aqualux, and increased its performance.

The performance is measured by the resistance to the environmental elements like the sun and the chemicals in the pool water (like chlorine and salt). By carefully monitoring the performance of the pool finish, and adjusting the chemistry little by little, Aqualux has become the ultimate flexible pool interior for the Australian environment. It has taken many years of testing and expertise, and the end result remains a closely guarded secret that many try to immitate, but none have sucessfully reproduced.

Australia’s climate punishes standard grade plastics. A standard inground pool liner might work quite adequately in Asia, Europe or the Americas, but bring it to Australia and its a different story alltogether. That’s why the formula is the key and how chemistry makes all the difference to making your pool finish longer lasting. We have our own chemist with more than 30 years’ experience, employed to make sure each manufactured batch of Aqualux is carefully monitored and quality tested to meet our strict standards.

This means you can be assured that your Aqualux pool finish has been expertly manufactured to suit Australia’s harsh climate. But it is still one of the easiest surfaces to keep the pool balanced and looking good ready to swim. It is soft and silky to the touch which means it is more comfortable to swim in for you and your family. No rough edges or scratches or scuffs to worry about.

Don’t just install another pool liner. Choose the finish that’s passed the test of time, and been the choice of thousands of pool owners across Australia since 1976 – an Aqualux pool finish.

Mar 30

Fibreglass Pool Resurfacing

Faded fibreglass pool

This fibreglass pool is faded and in need of resurfacing.

If your Fibreglass pool is over ten (10) years old it is probably start to show some signs of surface degradation –  both above the water level and below the water level. Fading above the water level will be signs of weathering. This is from the sun constantly beating down on the plastic resin surface of the Fibreglass gel coat. The UV in the sun’s ray attack the plastic and cause it to degrade and fade over time to the point where the surface becomes rougher and starts to attract stains and discolouration.

This is fairly obvious to see the fibreglass surface degrading, but it is under the water level that most of damage is being done, by the very chemicals that keep your pool looking sparkling clean.

What is this I hear you ask? It is the chlorine in the water. Now some people say “I have a salt pool, there is no chlorine” but that is wrong. Salt chlorinators by their very name generate chlorine from the salt that is added to the pool water. Therefore you still have chlorine in the water, it is just generated from the salt instead of being added to the water in the form of tablets or granules or powder.

Have a look at this empty fibreglass pool, you can see above the water level, the colour of the gel coat is in much better condition than below the water level. The chlorine used to keep the pool clean over all the years is an “oxidising agent”. And what it has done, is oxidise the fibreglass gel coated surface to become white and bleached and faded looking. But worst of all is the surface now has a “rough” feeling to the skin, it is no longer smooth like it was when it was new. This means algae and stains cling onto the surface more easily and make the Fibreglass pool surface much harder to keep clean. “What can I do to fix this” I hear you say? The answer is an Aqualux low maintenance pool finish. It is guaranteed and the ideal resurfacing option for a Fibreglass pool. The pool in the photos has been drained in preparation for a smooth to touch, soft and flexible low maintenance finish that will give up to 20 years of hassle free service. You can see how much the Fibreglass surface has worn and discoloured, time for a new look!

May 07

Can I pebble over a leaking fibreglass walled pool?

At least once a month we hear from someone who has a fibreglass walled pool, who has made the mistake of resurfacing it with pebbles.

This ‘Glascon’ pool in Brisbane is one of them. Glascon pools have a concrete base, and use a rolled fibreglass sheeting for the walls. A common issue with these type of pools which have a separate base and walls, is leaking in the joint where the walls and floor meets.

This leak between the walls and floor joint was precisely the case with this pool. The most effective way to solve these leaks is with the installation of a flexible, waterproof membrane such as a pool liner, or an Aqualux pool finish.

However, when the home owners approached some pool builders for quotes to repair the pool,  one told them resurfacing with pebble would be effective, and add more value than a vinyl liner. As you do, they trusted their pool builder’s advice, and decided to go ahead with the pebble coat.

Costing many thousands of dollars to install, the pebble interior lasted around 12 months before it failed. It leaked, it cracked – and then it literally fell off the walls.

The only thing the pebble added value to was the builders wallet.

pebble over fibreglass

The pebble finish cracked and fell off after 12 months.

Naturally that pool builder has since left the Brisbane area, and not covered by insurance, the homeowners were left to sort out the mess themselves.

Luckily, this time around they found themselves in contact with a reputable pool builder. And rather than just go ahead and build a whole new pool inside the existing one, he suggested installing a pool liner, and put them in touch with Complete Pool Liners.

Complete were able to resurface the existing pool shell with an Aqualux Pool Finish, creating a waterproof membrane which covers the entire surface. The pool was finished and ready to swim within 2 weeks. The owners were happy with the price, and couldn’t be happier with the result.

fibreglass pool resurfaced with Aqualux

The Aqualux pool finish puts a waterproof skin over the entire pool shell.

 

Nov 25

My pool has black or grey staining on the interior surface, what is the cause?

There are three main causes of what appears to be staining or marks on a pool interior surface.

The first, and most common cause of staining or discolouration of a pool interior is algae. This will start in an area where water circulation is not good, like the deep end or comers of the pool.

Or, it could be caused by algae feeding off debris in an area from overhanging foliage or just a basic lack of enough chlorine to maintain the water balance.

By the addition of an algaecide or a super dose of chlorine, the algae will die and then it can be brushed off the pool surface and permanently removed. Some more stubborn types of algae like black spot, need to brushed before the addition of chemicals as their outer surface forms a protective barrier to chemicals.

By brushing and breaking the outer surface, it allows the chemicals to more easily kill the algae so it can be removed. Provided the correct chemical levels and good water circulation are maintained, it will be removed permanently.

The second type of staining is from metals in the pool water. These metals can be introduced by ionic sterilising systems or even from a water source (town water through an old copper pipe or bore water) that contains a higher than normal level of metals when filling or topping up the pool.

If increasing the acidity (lowering PH in the pool) removes the staining temporarily, then it indicates a problem with metals. If you re-adjust the PH and the stain re-appears, then this confirms it is caused by a high concentration of a metal in the pool water. Lowering the PH just puts the metal into solution, it doesn’t remove it from the water and that is why it will re-appear when the PH is balanced – it precipitates from solution and plates onto the pool interior surface.

To remove the metals, you need to dilute concentration by using a chelating agent or draining a substantial amount of the pool water and re-filling with fresh water (without metals).

The third, (and very rare cause of staining), can be microbial activity under the interior surface of the pool. If in this example the pool has a PVC liner, it is possible for ground water contamination under the liner to encourage microbial activity. These microbes feed off nutrients in the ground water (like seepage from a septic system or other grey water) and they secrete dyes that will stain the liner from the underneath and can flow through to the inside surface of the pool.

Once this dye staining has occurred, the stain can be lightened sometimes with the addition of high levels of chlorine introduced into the pool, but usually the staining is permanent and cannot be removed.

Nov 18

Correct chemical balance for a vinyl lined pool

Getting the water balance right in a vinyl lined pool is a little different to a pebble, tiled or other finished pool. Regardless of whether it is an above ground pool or an inground pool, the water in a vinyl finish pool all needs to be balanced and stabilised, and regularly checked for imbalances. The following levels ensure the best care for both your family and your pool, for a vinyl lined /Aqualux finished swimming pool. DO NOT use these levels on any other pool finish.

Recommended levels for a vinyl lined/Aqualux pool:

pH…………………….. 7.4 – 7.8

Total Alkalinity……  100 – 150ppm

Calcium Hardness..  200 – 300ppm

Free Chlorine……… 1 -3 ppm (not heated pool)

2 – 4 ppm (heated pool)

Stabiliser…………..  30 – 50 ppm

Saturation Index..  -0.1 to+0.4

Apr 22

Is there a special type of liner for an indoor pool?

 If you are renovating or installing a new PVC lined indoor pool, consider the type of PVC liner you are using.

Some people say all liners are the same, with the only difference being thickness, but that’s just not true. Most liners are made from a PVC film. This flexible, stretch fabric relies on the structure of the pool, and the weight of the water to maintain its shape. This works well in most situations, and with high quality options available, it’s an excellent surface finish for both above ground and inground swimming pools that are outdoor.

However, under certain environmental conditions (likely to be found in an indoor pool) the fabric of a standard PVC liner can sometimes start to ‘absorb’ water.

PH, total chlorine levels, ventilation and bathing load are all thought to be contributing factors. If the liner fabric begins to absorb water, it eventually expands the PVC, which then causes wrinkles to form in the pool. The wrinkles usually start on the floor of the pool, but can be all over the whole liner. If you look closely at a section of affected PVC, you can see the surface is weakened, and prone to forming tiny cracks that can develop into larger tears.

If this happens, there is no reversing of the process, and the life span of the liner is greatly reduced.

While many indoor pools are surfaced with standard PVC liners without any problems, there is always a risk of it occurring in the right (or wrong) conditions, and it is best to avoid the risk completely in indoor pools, by using a reinforced liner.

AquaForce is a specialist reinforced PVC fabric which is suitable for use in indoor pools. AquaForce features an internal reinforcing layer that keeps the fabric stable in indoor pools, and virtually eliminates the risk of wrinkling.

With a three layer design, AquaForce has a PVC base ply, a layer of reinforced polyester mesh, then topped with another ply of PVC. All three layers are homogeneously bonded together during the manufacturing process to be permanently fused. The mesh reinforcing layer stabilises the fabric and stops it from shrinking or expanding. 

Traditional PVC liners can be delivered to site fully welded in one piece, but AquaForce reinforced PVC liners are always fabricated on site, as they do not stretch or form to the pool shape.

The rolls of the AquaForce fabric are laid in the pool and overlapped to form seams that are welded on site. Edges are then sealed, to stop water absorption through the fabric itself. AquaForce liners can be fitted to any pool shape, as the liner is cut and shaped in the pool on site, allowing it to be fitted over steps and benches and down into deep ends of all style of pools.

 So if you are looking to install a PVC liner in an indoor pool, we recommend the use of a reinforced PVC such as AquaForce, to reduce the risk of wrinkling. AquaForce is also recommended for use on Commercial PoolsIndoor commercial pool, bunbury WA AquaForce liner.

Nov 28

Why is my new pool liner slippery?

This question has come up a couple of times in the last week, so I thought it was worth another mention. It can affect both inground pool vinyl membranes, and above ground pool liners.

Both are made of a PVC, which contain additives to make the material more flexible, to assist with with the rolling and processing during manufacture. These additives (known as ‘lubricants’) will sometimes sit on the surface, and make the pool liner feel rather slippery. While most people who are coming from a rough surface such as pebble are simply delighted with the texture, those who are replacing an existing liner will often feel that the new liner is too slippery. The slippery feeling is generally accentuated with replacement liners, as older liners often have small amounts of calcium build up on the surface, giving a slightly rougher texture.

The good news is that the slipperiness is only temporary, and the extra lubricants will ‘wash off’ the surface of the liner within 6-12 weeks, leaving you with the feeling of more grip underfoot.

If your pool liner is not a new installation, the most common cause of slipperiness is algae. Algae is incredibly slippery, and it is not always visible to the eye – just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean you cant feel it!

So if its not a brand new pool, check your chemical balance. Chances are, it’s a little out of whack, and you have some algae. For the correct chemical balance for a vinyl pool interior, please refer to our Care & Maintenance document for vinyl pools  and print a copy for your records.

So if you find your liner to be more slippery than expected, check the chemical balance of the pool and ensure this is correct. If it is not due to the chemical balance, but your liner is brand new, then you will find after a few months the liner will have more grip under foot.

Aug 27

What are the pink marks on my liner?

It does not happen very often, but sometimes a pool liner will display some pink coloured marks. These are usually on the floor of the pool and will look “cloudy” rather than have defined lines or shapes. The pink colour is more commonly seen on a liner that has a white base and it is what we call “microbial staining”.

It seems to affect about 1 in every 500 pools, so while it is uncommon, it does happen. What causes it? Following heavy rain, pools in an area with a high water table can get water pass behind the liner. If this water contains certain microbes, and these microbes feast on the nutrients in the water, they will excrete small deposits. Those ‘deposits’ are acually a dye, and these dyes can move through the PVC and create cloudy stains on the inside of the pool liner.

This problem is purely site related and has no relationship to the batch of pool liner fabric or the colour of the liner or the person who installed it in the pool. It just happens when the ground water brings with it these nasty microbes, who in turn discolour the liner.

The good news is the liner is not affected in performance or longevity. The dye has just changed the colour a little and the pool will remain fully functional and easy to maintain as always. The microbial staining can disappear after short while if the ground water drains away from behind the liner and the stain will slowly fade.

Be careful if your pool chemical supplier advises you to “double the dose” of chlorine as you can damage the pattern or colour of your pool liner. (While this technique has been known to reduce the stains, it is most certainly not recommended).

A product called “Copperas Iron Sulphate” has been suggested as a remedy for this problem and is a much better option to try.

Apply the Iron Sulphate by using around 5Kg’s for an average 9mx4m pool. It is applied by sprinkling it around the pool surround (on all sides) and then watering it well into the ground with a sprinkler. Allow it to soak in and get down to the ground water around the pool over the next few days. This process is designed to change the ground PH to a level that will kill off the microbes and stop the dis-coloration of the pool liner. Be careful not to get the Iron Sulphate on paving areas as it can stain concrete and other paving products.