The right pool accessories for your concrete pool will be determined by the level of automation and convenience you desire. Some of these accessories are considered mandatory, like your filtration system, while others simply reduce maintenance requirements and add to the overall enjoyment of your concrete pool. Pool safety fencing, compliant with current Australian standards is another important consideration and is required by Australian law. The accessories you select will largely be based on necessity, aesthetics and budget. So, let’s look at a selection of the most popular accessories worth considering when installing a new concrete swimming pool.
Filters are standard pool accessories. The most popular types used in Victoria are High Rate Sand Filters and Cartridge Filters with sand filters being the most popular. The kind of filter media used in your filter, particularly sand filters, will influence your filters performance and will be discussed below.
As essential components of your entire filtration system each type has their advantages.
HIGH RATE SAND FILTERS
For overall convenience and simplicity, it’s hard to beat the High Rate Sand Filter. To clean, simply backwash your filter to the sewer, no mess no fuss. Back-washing will consume more water than a cartridge type filter, however, a pre-filter will bring the sand and cartridge filters back on par. Additionally, your sand filters performance will depend on the type of filter media inside your filter and the velocity of water passing through this media.
The three types of media available for your sand filter are:
Sand, being half the price of Glass beads and Zeolite is the cheapest and least efficient filter media. Capable of filtering down to around 25 microns (about the thickness of a hair strand) it’s the product of choice for most budget pool builders.
Zeolite is a naturally occurring mineral rock capable of filtering down to around 5 microns. Zeolite significantly improves pool water quality by reducing ammonia and chloramine odours. It requires yearly regeneration with a caustic brine solution to maintain its ammonia absorbing capabilities. Since most owners forget this process, it rarely continues to perform at full capacity
3. Glass Beads
Glass Bead filter media is an excellent choice and the preferred media used by Bespoke pools. However, we will use Zeolite on request. Manufactured from 100% virgin glass, it’s capable of filtering down to around 3-5 microns providing water of superior clarity and requiring up to 20% less water for back-washing
Cartridge filters are an excellent choice if your primary goal is reduced water consumption. They’re a good choice if sewer connection isn’t feasible because your legal point of discharge requires substantial trenching or disruption to existing structures. Or you may have a septic system.
Cartridge filters can filter down to around 8-15 microns and only require cleaning once or twice a year depending on site conditions and your filter and pool size. Unfortunately cleaning your cartridge filter is a smelly, messy and long drawn out process. Apart from washing away a year’s worth of dirt, hair, oil and body fats, you also need to soak your cartridges over night for best results.
A Waterco Pre-Filter works based on centrifugal water filtration with no moving parts and no filter media to clean or replace. By filtering up to 80% of debris before entering your main pool filter the pre-filter substantially reduces your filter’s workload. This minimises filter maintenance, saves water, saves money on chemicals and improves pool water circulation.
SALT WATER CHLORINATORS
Salt water chlorinators work by converting salt into chlorine. They’re an effective way to automatically and inexpensively sanitise your water. In Australia, they’re standard equipment on 95% of all swimming pools. A common misconception is that salt water pools have no chlorine. The fact is all salt water pools have chlorine. The dissolved salt is the raw material required to produce your chlorine.
High end manufactures offer chlorinators in three versions:
1. Standard Chlorinators
These chlorinators are on a timer and will chlorinate your pool based on the level you dial into the unit.
2. Salt Water Chlorinator with Built P.H. Control.
Apart from maintaining chlorine to a set level, these units monitor, adjust and maintain P.H. levels within the optimum range. (Mandatory on quartz rendered pools)
3. Fully Automatic Salt Water Chlorinator with P.H. Control
These units have two distinct advantages over the previous chlorinators. In addition to maintaining optimum P.H. levels, they automatically monitor chlorine levels and will only activate when necessary. As a result, your running costs are reduced.
Solar heating is the most effective way to heat most concrete swimming pools. It’s economical, energy efficient and prolongs swimming season. Furthermore, the rooftop installation minimises ground space requirements.
There are many good solar heating manufactures, however, premium brands run more efficiently and last longer because they’re manufactured with higher quality materials. If you’re prepared to pay a little more up front you’ll recoup the difference in energy savings.
We recommend you always have an independent pump and an automatic sun switch controller for the best performance. Then your solar heater will only operate during optimum temperature conditions. You’ll save money and reduce fluctuating water temperatures.
Pool lighting will create a wonderful night time ambiance. Imagine looking out your living room window and seeing a beautiful glowing pool instead of an empty black space.
The vast majority of lights installed in concrete pools are low voltage high output LED’s. The advantages to you are lower running costs and less maintenance.
High quality units have a life expectancy of around 70,000 hours and operate on 70% less energy.
In-floor cleaning systems
If you really want to significantly reduce pool maintenance then an in-floor cleaning system is a must have pool accessory. It is like having a full-time pool guy making sure your pool is permanently clean.
Your in-floor cleaning system saves you money and time because heat and chemicals, normally lost at the surface, are thoroughly distributed throughout your pool via discrete nozzles installed in the concrete pool’s floor.
Not all Melbourne pool builders have a license to install this option so be sure to ask them if you want an in-floor cleaning system.
Solar pool covers work exceptionally well at reducing evaporation and heat loss. Your pool will be more economical to run, your swimming season will be extended and you will reduce water consumption. If you intend to heat your pool during the winter, then a cover is a particularly good investment.
Security covers are the Rolls Royce version of a pool cover. They are constructed of tough plastic slated material and roll out across your pool’s surface like an automatic garage roller door. They have four times the thermal efficiency of a standard pool cover and are designed to retract out of site under your pool deck. They’re buoyant and designed to prevent people or pets from falling into the pool giving you that extra bit of security. However, it is important to understand that pool fencing will still be required. Australian legislation requires the installation of appropriate pool fencing in all situations.
Installation costs and the price of the unit require a rather large investment and depending on your pool shape and/or size can range in price from around $15,000 to over $40,000. However, they are worth serious consideration for the ability to securely lock your pool and the long-term energy savings.
If you intend to install a spa or you want to continue swimming during winter then you will need a gas heater. Gas heaters can also assist your solar heating system by providing a rapid boost in temperature early and late in the seasons on those odd hot days.
With today’s technological advances, gas pool heaters are becoming smaller and more efficient which is good news for your pocket and if space is limited.
Good Robotic cleaners have a distinct advantage over the creepy crawly type cleaners in that they run independently of your pools circulation system and therefore don’t interfere with water velocity or render your skimmer inoperative during its operation. Additionally, quality robotic cleaners have anti fouling features and are programed to run for a set period before automatically shutting down.