Do you or anyone else like the water experience of swimming, diving, snorkelling, playing games in the pool, getting fit?
Are you prepared to spend some money and take some time out on the swimming pool for heating, pool chemicals and maintenance chores?
“Does this sound like I’m trying to put you off?”
Well not really! I am just bringing up some points to consider before you buy a home with a swimming pool!
If the decision is in favour of having the swimming pool, you may consider commissioning a separate survey to inspect the pool. More often than not the property surveyor may suggest that a suitably experience person from a swimming pool installation company surveys the swimming pool.
A swimming pool survey may be a valuable tool to have when making an offer on a property that has a swimming a pool with it?
If the pool survey suggests that a further investigation is required or the survey reveals defects with the swimming pool and the possibility that the pool may need a new liner, or some repairs carried out
This is where a pool survey can give some leverage on the asking price when negotiating with the seller. It can give you a good indication on the state and condition of the pool and could save you pounds in the long run. A pool survey is a good investment, and well worth every penny and peace of mind.
If you suspect your swimming pool is leaking there are a number of steps you could take to locate the leak(s). You can request a pool survey, but first try these step by step approaches below These will eliminate some of the suspects in finding where the pool is losing water from.
First fill the pool up to the usual level and place a mark on the wall to where the level is.
Take note of the time and leave for 24 hours, then measure from the mark down to the water level and make a note.
Calculate the length x width of the swimming pool x the depth measurement of water loss that you noted.
This will give you the volume of water in cubic metres (or cubic feet if you prefer) that the pool has lost over 24 hours.
Further calculation will work out how many litres or gallons per hour the pool is losing water.
Take a close look for any holes or tears in the liner fabric.
If it’s a concrete pool, look for tiles or mosaics that have come loose off the wall or from the pool floor in places.
Can you see any cracks in the walls or the floor of the swimming pool?
A crack in the rendering could potentially be where the water is leaking from and further investigation may be needed to determine the extent of possible damage to the pools shell.
Look carefully at your roman end or pool steps, there may be slight cracks on the treads or the rises so have a good look all over the sides of the steps.
Sometimes pool skimmers crack due to poor maintenance, frost damage or general old age and deterioration.
Check the returns for signs of ware.
Main drains and underwater lights are obviously more difficult to get at to check for leaks, so unless you know what to do, this is best left to an expert to determine if there a leak around these fittings.
In concrete pools, it is often either a breakdown of materials of poor workmanship that causes the leak, i.e. Not sealing around the inlets, the skimmers and main drains correctly. Check around hand rails as well.
Inspect around the filter, pool pump, valves, multi-ports, and filter lid, pipes, and the connections.
Sometimes a gasket fails leading to water leaking from the connection.
Look over the heat ex changers, and pool heater these can corroded.
For other clues check underneath the fittings for wetness, look for puddles of water.If we are fortunate to have weeks of hot weather or you have an indoor pool use the bucket test.
Shotcrete and Gunite pools are notorious for leaks.
If constructed incorrectly the structure will eventually breakdown and become nothing more than soggy paper cup.
This is because the water has seeped through the finished lining, be it tile or render and has aggravated the matrix of the concrete breaking down the bonds that hold the shell together.
As opposed to liner pools, concrete swimming pools are built with reinforced concrete walls and flooring, several coats of waterproof render covering the shell, followed by
tile-bands and marble type render finish, or covered with mosaics or tiles which are fixed on with waterproof adhesive and grouted. The plumbing system is installed during the construction process and that is the finished product.
When a concrete pool “shell” begins to leak, it’s usually in more than one section of the pool and there may be unseen underlying problem with the construction itself.
Patching and re-rendering the swimming pool is not always a good idea and you may be throwing good money away. The only answer apart from fibre glassing the pool is to line the shell with a heavy duty 1.5mm thick vinyl liner with a felt underlay. These types of liners have 10 year guarantee.
For help in locating and finding leaks and possible swimming pool renovations, plus more informationabout leaking pools, or if you are about to purchase a property with a swimming pool and require a swimming pool survey contact John Cox TnISPE. Covering most areas from London Gloucester Oxfordshire Bath Bristol Herefordshire to Cardiff Swansea and West Wales
Some pools have been installed in basements and on purposely strengthened flat roofs.
so a swimming pool may be installed just about anywhere it is permissible.
Add to the size of the swimming pool enough room to walk around the pool. The walkway and lounging areas are usually about 3ft to 6ft wide, and much more on at the shallow end of the pool, allowing for tables chairs, room to move and mingle, barbecue, loungers, maybe a pool slide and so on and easy access for maintenance.
You may need to allow for a plant room where the filter, heater and pump is to be housed. Some pool owners locate the pool plant in their garage or already have a shed ready.
Do you need somewhere to shower especially before you get into a pool, so consider a changing room and also storage lockers for safety equipment, pool toys, loungers and games, a secured, tamper proof container for pool chemical storage?
Regarding indoor pools allow for environmental control systems these are the dehumidifiers of the swimming pool building.
Obstructions must be considered before selecting a final pool site. These could include underground services like phone and electric cables, gas lines, septic tanks and drainage, Wells, trees, and overhead power lines. Underground obstruction and utilities should be located before excavation begins. Utility companies will usually locate underground pipes and cables that are located on your property for you. If any of these underground services are unavoidable, a compromise must be reached in where the pool is to be located, keep in mind labour and material costs of moving or replacing services and obstructions.
Which type of heating do you require? Heat pumps are favoured at the moment and these are “air source” heat pumps where the heat pump is relying on the ambient air temperature to get the pool up nice and warm. Ground source heat pumps are more capable of supplying heat to your pool nearly all year round, as the heat is taken from the ground is a constant temperature of around 10°C all the time.
Other accessories to consider are
Walk in steps like a Roman end.
A pool slide.
A counter current to swim against.
Automatic chemical dosing.
Solar covers to trap the suns energy.
Winter cover when closing down in the cold season.
Enclosures so you may swim all year round whatever the weather.
There are many things to consider when locating your swimming pool in your garden. Remember with swimming pools as with everything brand new accept there will come a time where some repairs and possible renovations may be needed.
I have survey swimming pools in many areas of Wales and England including Gloucestershire Monmouthshire Oxfordshire Cardiff Swansea Hereforshire Oxfordshire London Bath Bristol and Somerset. Mobile website
Allow enough room to walk around the pool and for outdoor furniture.
Allow for a plant room and maybe a changing room, storage lockers for safety equipment, pool toys and games.
Have a secure tamper-proof container for pool chemical storage. and pool maintenance and repair equipment
For Indoor pools allow for environmental control systems.
Obstructions to excavation and construction must be considered before selecting a final pool site. This is the responsibility of the customer to find out where the obstructions (if any) are located, and decide the next step with the swimming pool builder.
The obstruction may include underground wires, gas lines, septic tanks and drainage, water wells, running springs and streams, plumbing, trees, and overhead power lines.
Underground obstruction and utilities should be located before excavation begins.
Utility companies will usually locate underground pipes and cables that are located on your property for a charge to you.
If various obstructions are unavoidable, a compromise can be reached, but keep in mind labour and material costs of moving or replacing obstructions.
Choose an avenue of least resistance for the sake of practicality and economy.
Trees and foliage are another consideration for the pool location, unfortunately trees and pools do not make good bedfellows, so location of the pool needs to be away from trees.
These stages of pool construction are usually straightforward as opposes to say building a house or an extension. However. there are many parts of this process to be aware of, for example:
Do you know what is beneath your feet?
.Ground conditions for your swimming pool installation is very diverse in parts of Monmouthshire Gloucestershire Herefordshire and the Bristol, in fact everywhere in the UK there can be anything beneath your feet from rock or sand to clay, old infill sites, underground springs or high water tables, Whatever the subsoil is, there is a method for dealing with most of these obstacles
A high water table is a major factor to consider when installing a pool. It may be practical to raise the finished pool level to avoid later problem associated with a high water table other options are land drainage and submersible pumps.
Proper pool orientation will take advantage of sunny days for comfortable swimming condition and decrease heating costs. Prevailing wind direction should also be noted for the position of the pool skimmer and returns .
Under “Permitted Development rights” you can build a swimming pool within your garden, provided that the total area covered by the pool does not exceed 50%?of the area of the garden. However you will need planning permission for a swimming pool if: (Check with your area planning dept as the planning laws may have changed since going to press).
The swimming pool is located beyond the side elevation of the property and faces the highway
Is within 2m of a boundary, the maximum height of any structure is greater than 2.5m.
If the pool is located on a site where the property is a listed building, in conservation areas, national parks, ANOB, The Broads, World heritage sites.
The structure has a veranda, balcony or raised platform.
This is short explanation on the merits of two different types of swimming pool construction.
Concrete swimming pools
First a tiled concrete pool is a waterproof concrete shell where the surface of the pool is finished with tiles or mosaics all over the rendered surface of the pool shell. The tiles can be produced in many different dimensions. The mosaics come (usually), in sizes 20 x 20 x 4mm and the sheet size is 300mm x 300mm square.
Or it can be special marble type render that usually come in the form of 25kg bags. The marble render is used in conjunction with a tile band laid around the top edge of the swimming pool (again the usual size of the top band is 300mm), and a tile band on the floor adjacent or parallel to the pool walls usually 3 mosaic tiles wide.
A liner pool is much different to build as it involves installing a purpose made vinyl lining specifically designed to mimic a tiled or plain coloured concrete pool. In fact to the untrained eye you would not know the difference until you looked very close at the surface and touched the walls.
A swimming pool with a liner
Both methods of construction are totally different as the shell of a concrete pool is designed specifically to hold water and (believe it or not) the shell (Block walls and base) of a liner pool is designed “not” to be water proof and not to hold water as the liner pool shell/structure relies exclusively on the actual vinyl liner “only” is the waterproof membrane that holds the body of water in.
Liner pools are specifically designed to be much quicker greener to install than a concrete pool with less subsoil to be excavated and building materials to use.
A concrete pool is more than three or more times the cost of a top of the range liner pool.
Also the construction of the concrete tiled pool can take a tremendous amount of materials to build.
It can take three to four times as long to construct a tiled concrete pool as a liner pool.
This is mainly due to the curing and drying times of the materials needed for each stage of construction. (i.e. the cement rendering on the wall surfaces may need 3 or 4 weeks or more sometimes to cure and dry depending on conditions).
However a concrete tiled pool is more flexible when it comes to different “designs” much more than a liner pool, as the liner pool is governed by a made to measure vinyl liner is fabricated at the factory.
You still can have a liner pool of any shape or size but this would require “on-site lining” where the liner is welded to the shape of the swimming pool on site.
One must take into account when excavating for your swimming pool of what there is beneath your feet. (Type of subsoil).
In our area of Monmouthshire we have rock, clay and pit sand this is the same across the border into Gloucestershire. In and around the Cardiff area there’s a geologist’s treasure trove of different subsoil’s and rock formations.
However where you may find clay in as particular location, just a few metres away there may be rock or even a running spring.
So when deciding to build a swimming pool, try to find out what type of subsoil there is below ground as it can make a big difference to where you position your swimming pool.
There are several check lists below to assist you in finding the possible reasons why your swimming pool is leaking
If the liner installed has been bedded in for a long time and has had numerous repairs and patches, it maybe false economy to continue repairing the liner, so consider whether it’s better to replace it altogether?
The bonus for replacing your vinyl liner is your pool should almost look brand new again. If you decide it’s worth changing your liner before installing the liner pressure clean the surrounds and the pools coping stones or if they are worn have them replaced
First of all an example of why it maybe time to change the pool liner
This example (to the right) in this pool liner image is that it looks old and has lost its vibrant colouring. It had pin hole leaks as well as some tears in the liner.
Some of the coping stones were loose and dangerous, all the coping stones were taken up and relayed, before relaying we removed the old liner lock and fixed new track then the poolliner was replaced
The reason for replacing all the pipework is simple. When you’ve excavated one section down to the pipework that’s leaking and repaired it. there’s always the potential for another leak to appear in the pipework. later in time. which will cost more in the long run and is a false economy, so sometimes it’s better to replace the lot then you know that the pipework laid is not leaking. (assuming the pipework is done correctly.
The filter, heating and the pool pump
The possible causes of leaking.
Filter connections and gaskets damaged or degraded.
Multi-port spider gasket, O’ring has degraded or damaged.
Drain valve broken.
Filter unit has cracked.
Pump leaking through joints, broken gaskets, ceramic seal on the impeller
Depending on the nature of the leak in a liner pool, sometimes these can be repaired underwater.
However the liner maybe to old and brittle to repair and in the end there is no alternative but to install a replacement liner.
There is a range of liner colours and patterns to chose from.If the swimming pool is looked after, winterised & summerisedcorrectly, has a good pool maintenance record, regular checks on correct pH, total alkalinity, chemical balance then serious leaks and repairs should be a rare occurrence. A pool liner could last around 8 to 10 years or even longer in some cases.
It may be that your swimming pool liner is leaking, or the colour has faded so you’re considering changing the old liner.
A new liner makes a lot of difference but…
Before you have your old pool liner, think about having the stone coping and deck surround pressure cleaned. There’s nothing worse than to notice after the liner is installed that the surrounds look tatty and bedraggled…
Look around your swimming pool to see if there are any loose or chipped coping stones? You may want to replace these as they potentially catch a swimmers foot and other parts of the body. (Especially the younger swimmers and toddlers)
If there is loose or damaged pool coping, decide whether to change some or all of them.
If you favour changing all of the coping, your swimming pool will look like the first time it was installed, brand new, fresh and clean again.
Furthermore, ask the pool liner installers, (before the order goes through to the liner manufacturers) that you wish to look at a sample book, so you can consider an alternative pattern or colour.
Don’t forget about the pool decking. If you have paving around your pool you should check for loose, cracked or wobbly paving. These again are unsafe for pool users and should be repaired, relayed or replaced before the pool liner is installed and you start using your swimming pool.
It is nice to see an old swimming pool renovated and look revamped and new again. Automatic pool covers keep the debris down and there’s less maintenance to do to the pool water
A good idea is to take some photo’s of your swimming pool as it is now, during and when the pool liner is replaced and the pool is finished.
Call us if you need advice or you need a swimming pool surveyed. We cover most areas of England and Wales. From Monmouthshire to Swansea up to Hereford Worcester across to Oxford down Bath Usk toBuckinghamshire and London back to Taunton Bristol and Gloucestershire.. Mobile website
Cleaning the stone copings and the pool surrounds.
Begin the pool maintenance, but before you do anything with your swimming pool, brush in sections with a water/light chlorine solution.
Be careful when using chemicals, and wear protective clothing when mixing to manufactures instructions before using.
Brush onto the coping and the pools surrounds and once treated gently hose down avoid splashing yourself and other objects like plants etc. Next gently pressure clean and brush the copping and with water.
Brush the swimming pool walls down.
Begin with cleaning the tile band (Waterline) using the correct pool tile & liner cleaner.
Gently brush the pool walls using a pool brush to remove any green algae and other materials.
Check pool pump
Before priming and starting the pump, check the pump basket for leaves or debris then empty the basket.
Once the pool pump is circulating the pool water check for leaks
Swimming Pool filters.
Do you know how old the filtration media is (usually sand)and when it was last changed?
Filter sand becomes less and less effective over the years as the sharpness of the sand becomes rounded over time and less efficient in removing particles and other matter from your swimming pool.
Your pool would benefit from periodic changes of filter media at least every 3 to 5 years depending on how much the pool is used and other factors.
Use regular back washing and rinsing during the use of your swimming pool.
Use a leaf net for cleaning off the surface.
Remove any surface debris or leaves off the pool water with a leaf net and dispose.
Vacuum the pool floor.
Connect the pool cleaning equipment together. Fill the pool hose with pool water, place the hose in the skimmer with the skimmer basket still in, or attach to the vacuum point. Begin vacuuming the swimming pool.
Shocking, super-chlorinate, oxidising.
These terms all means the same, but most people say “to shock the pool water” because that is what a dose of chlorine does to any algae or bacteria. It’s the same as when you add bleach (which is composed of 5% chlorine, the rest is a carrier) to your kitchen.
Add the chlorine to the water and mix.
When mixing the chlorine granules remember to add chlorine to water and not the other way round). Obviously the amount you add depends on the condition of the pool water, and how effective the winterising treatments were, shock the pool water the pool appropriately and follow the chemicals instructions remember to have the filtration system running.
Testing the water is in balance.
For the chlorine to work effectively the pH, has to be at the correct levels between 7.2 and 7.6. Total Alkalinity need to be at the correct level (80-120 ppm) and Calcium Hardness levels, so use a test kit to check there preferable before you add the chlorine. Remember do not mix different swimming pool chemicals and always read the manufactures instructions.
Retest the water after 24 hours.
After the swimming pool cover has been removed, allowed to dry and stored away, the pump and filter has been checked, the pool is circulating, has been cleaned, the pool water tested and shocked, leave the pool running and retest the waters pH and chlorine level after 24 hours and dose the water as necessary. Once you have the swimming pool in a balanced condition, continue to regularly maintain your swimming pool to keep it healthy and crystal clear.
Now that winter is here you might be thinking about winterising your swimming pool for the coming cold months. We have some tips here at Osprey Pools to help guide you through the maze of things to do when you decide it’s time to winterise your swimming pool.
It is most important that you winterise your swimming pool, as you don’t want freezing weather conditions damaging your pool equipment like filters and pumps, as this can end up costing you money, finding water leaks all over the place. Indoor pools under normal conditions don’t need closing.
You also need to maintain the water inside your swimming pool to keep it as clean as possible over the winter months so when the warm weather arrives it will be easier to get the pool up and running again.
Here are some of the top 10 tips for closing your swimming pool:
When winterising and closing down your swimming pool, make sure you check the pool water pH to make certain it’s balanced
Check the total alkalinity (TA) and calcium hardness are at the right levels.
Balancing the water in this way will help to protect the pool’s surfaces from etching and staining and it also activates the sanitiser to keep the water healthy.
Add shock chlorine to your pool, (Follow manufactures instructions) and use winter swimming pool chemicals like algaecide to preserve the water in your pool to keep it looking clear and blue (but not dark green) ready for your summer season.
Take off your solar pool cover, clean it down and either store it away or leave it on the roller, covered.
Now place a winter cover over the swimming pool, this will keep out most leaves and debris that might have normally fallen in. If you have children or pets you might want to consider a safety cover to stop anyone or thing accidentally falling into the swimming pool. These safety covers can save lives as children or pets and wild creatures can get tangled in a normal winter cover and drown. Automatic Pool covers are the best. Remember to place the automatic water pump to clear any water that accumulates on top of the cover.
Make certain that you just have cleared out all of the water from your pump, heater, plumbing, and filter. Drain your filter by unscrewing the plug at the bottom of it. Remember to open the air valve for all the water to drain out. Do the same to the pool pump; try to make sure you get the last trickles of water out. You need to remove any chemicals from the feeder as these will damage your pool equipment.
Before you begin this next operation you should check with your dealer or pool installer if the water in your pool can be lowered . If it is fine to lower your pool water then drop the water level so that it is just below the skimmer and returns only. If your returns are positioned much lower down in the pool, you might want to consider asking your local pool dealer or pool company who installed your pool if this is OK to do. Clean the skimmer basket out and remove from the skimmer place a plastic bottle about half filled with sand in the skimmer so it floats and place in the pool several plastic containers half filled with sand or similar so they float. this may help take up ice expansion during a freeze.
Over the winter months you may need some intermittent maintenance on the pool. Check the balance of the pool water. Top up the pool water with more sanitiser and algaecide, there may be a need to remove some of the winter’s rain water that has topped the pool up over the months.
These top tips are meant for pool owners in the UK and only as a general guide to assist you in closing your pool this winter. In other countries like the USA the climatic conditions can vary substantially across states and in some cases are very different from the climate here in the UK, where we have the jet streams and warm Atlantic current keeping us in a temperate climate for most of the year.
Make sure your read any and all instructions that came or are associated with your swimming pool including the labels on the pool chemicals and any pool equipment that came with it.