SLIPPING into a sparkling pool on a hot day is more a necessity than an indulgence in a country in which temperatures can reach dizzying heights.
In Australia the backyard pool is close to being the norm but spending hours cleaning it especially after a long working week is not the most desirable option.
The trick, experts say, is doing a little often.
Cleaning your pool is essential to prevent the spread of bacteria and also to maximise enjoyment and regular maintenance will help keep the water clear and you in it, instead of scrubbing on the sidelines.
The push these days is to stay away from chemicals but all pools, saltwater or fresh, need some form of chlorine as a sanitising agent.
Saltwater pool chlorinators generate their own chlorine but for freshwater adding chlorine manually is recommended.
There are so many chemicals on the market that it is a good idea to check with a professional who can suggest the correct products for your circumstances.
More often than not your local pool shop provides this service free of charge.
The cheapest but probably most time consuming option (90 minutes a week) is the hand vacuum.
It is attached to your skimmer box to create suction and then you move it around manually to clean the pool.
Hiring a pool service is usually around $60 with chemicals an additional cost.
Automatic pool cleaners are the most popular and you can choose from suction cleaners, pressure cleaners and robotic cleaners.
Often referred to as creepy crawlies, they attach to your skimmer box via a hose and use the suction created by your filtration system to clean the pool.
Inertia-driven machines (Zodiac G3 from $649) clean in a random pattern and while they will clean every bit of the pool it does take time.
Good for pools with curved lines and no sharp corners. Geared cleaners (Baracuda MX8 $799) move in a predetermined pattern and can get into tight corners making them great for smaller pools and those with lots of steps and sharp ledges.
A good suction cleaner is meant to last 10-15 years but make sure it comes with a good warranty.
These (AquaQuip Jet Vac Pressure Cleaner, $957 without pump) also work on suction but combine with jet action for a more powerful clean.
Most require an additional booster pump, making them expensive to retrofit.
It will also pick up fine sand and small stones.
Excellent for large pools because they are efficient and not limited by hose length.
Work independently of pool plumbing using their own low voltage power source and collecting debris in an on-board bag.
They are pricey (Dolphin Supreme M5 Robotic Cleaner, $1475) and can cost a lot to repair.
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