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Essential Guide to Swimming Pool Options and Maintenance

  • By Andrew Astonville
  • Published 12/23/2011

While a swimming pool is all about fun and relaxation, it is also an investment that needs to be well looked after.

The following guide will give you a useful overview of the types of swimming pools you can choose as well as the basics involved in keep them in tip top condition.

Types of Swimming Pool Builds

There are wide range of pools and finishes to suit every individual taste and budget. Nevertheless, here is a description of the three main types:

Above Ground Pools

These are normally the most affordable option. Because they can be dismantled when not in use, they are a good choice if you have limited space in your home or think you might move in the next few years.

Built In Pools

These will require a professional build unless you’re a DIY genius! The advantage however is that you can have the pool designed to your specifications.

Indoor Pools

You might need planning permission to build your indoor pool, however the major benefit is that you can enjoy a swim comfortably all year round without worrying about the weather.

Pool Enhancements

There is a wealth of pool extras that can make your life easier and boost your enjoyment. Have a talk with your swimming pool supplier for guidance on this, however here are two of the main enhancements you can opt for:


If your budget allows for it, a heated pool is particularly useful here in the UK where the sun makes infrequent appearances. Traditional pool heating methods such as gas, electric or oil heaters are still used, but with the rising costs of energy plus the emphasis on going ‘Green’, heat pumps and solar power solutions are fast becoming the most popular heating method of choice. You can also opt for a combination of traditional and renewable heating options.

Swimming Pool Covers

For outdoor pools, covers are highly recommended as they have a number of very useful benefits. They:

  • Prevent debris from entering the pool, thus minimising the need for cleaning.
  • Conserve heat (up to 90% of a pool’s warmth is lost through evaporation in open pools).
  • Reduce the loss of chemicals through evaporation, which will save you money.

In addition, you can buy swimming pool covers which are strong enough to prevent small children of pets from accidentally falling in the water, which is an important safety advantage.

Swimming Pool Maintenance

Once you have chosen and installed your swimming pool, the next vital factor is learning how to maintain it correctly. Here are some if the factors to tackle:


Do make sure your contractor installs the right filtration system and explains to you how best to operate it. Together with the correct sanitising agents, it will guarantee a healthy and sparkling swimming pool.


Prevention of bacteria and algae in pool water is a top priority, so disinfection using chemicals is critical. The most common product for sanitisation is chlorine. There are many other methods and products available however, such as bromine, UV and Ozone, but although they can be affective, they often don’t have the residual properties of chlorine (meaning they don’t tend to carry on working over time). If in doubt, have a chat with your swimming pool supplier for guidance.

pH Balance

After sanitisation, maintaining the correct pH balance of your pool water is essential, as this impacts on the effectiveness of your sanitising agents. The pH is the balance between the acidity and alkalinity of the water and is measured on a scale from 0 (highly acidic) to 14 (highly alkaline), with the neutral zone at 7. You’ll want to aim for a slightly alkaline level between 7.2 and 7.6.

Shock Treatment

It is sometimes necessary to ‘shock treat’ your pool to enable the sanitising product to work at its optimum level. This is necessary after extensive use of your pool (which introduces bacteria), if the pool turns green due to algae spores after heavy rains or after the pool has been out of use for a prolonged period such as over the winter months.


The price of a swimming pool will vary depending on its design, size and type. Do some browsing online to get an idea of what’s out there, but you will only nail down the final price with your chosen pool supplier. It’s a good idea to get a number of quotes before making your final decision.


Deciding on which pool will suit your needs best and learning how to keep it clean can be tricky, but you have a number of resources to turn to for help with this. You can find a wealth of information online, but it’s easiest to talk to a reputable swimming pool supplier as they will have the experience and expertise to give you the right guidance.

About the Author: Andrew Astonville is an independent advisor on swimming pool supplier options.



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