If you have a pool in your garden, it’ll be a popular feature for family and friends alike, maybe even the occasional dog! You have a duty to keep it clean and safe for everyone who uses it (two and four-legged!), so here’s how to do it.
Watch the children
This is the #1 rule – hundreds of children are hurt or even killed in domestic pools in the US annually.
Teach your children how to swim, and if your house or garden opens onto the pool area, have an alarm to alert you when someone enters it. You should have a fence around your pool to help to prevent children wandering into the pool.
Again, the main rule is to monitor the children – water noodles, floatation rings and water wings aren’t a substitute for supervision.
Get a secure fence
If you have a fence and a self-closing gate, the gaps between each picket should be no more than four inches wide, as should the space between the bottom of the fence and the ground. The fence should also be at least five feet in height to keep out unsupervised children and animals.
Keep your drain covers visible
If you can’t see to the bottom of the pool, you won’t be able to see someone struggling underwater. If you can see your drain covers, great, then you can also make sure they’re not cracked or broken, which can be a cutting or trapping hazard.
Have at least two items of safety equipment
A life ring and a safety hook at the very least. The life ring should be at least 17 inches across. Make sure they’re well signposted and that there’s clear instructions for use. You could also make sure there’s a phone handy for emergencies.
Repair damage to the decking, pool equipment and pool area as soon as possible
Ladders, railings and decking have to be safe and secure because people rely on them to get in and out of the pool. Uneven or cracked decking can cause falls, so make sure it’s attended to.
Keep the water clean
A safe pool isn’t just about eliminating drowning risks, it’s about keeping the water clean and safe. You should test the water at least twice a week to make sure there’s enough chlorine to kill bacteria.
Stay out of the water if you’re ill
Chlorine can only do so much – if you swim when you have a stomach bug, you’re introducing unnecessary bacteria or viruses into the water. If someone is sick or has a bathroom accident in the pool, get everyone out and follow the guidelines for cleaning it thoroughly.
Sweep, skim and vacuum your pool
There’s all sorts of environmental pollution – leaves, bugs, dust, as well as sunscreen and skin cells from swimmers – that can enter the water and prevent your cleaning chemicals from working effectively. Use a hand skimmer on the surface, clean the walls and floor and regularly clean out leaves from your skimmer baskets. Keeping the decking clean is a good way to reduce the amount of debris blown or walked into your water.
Clean the filter
If you have cartridge filters, clean and replace them as necessary. If you have a sand filter, backwash and clean filter screens regularly too.
Disclosure: Collaborative post