Pump Not Working

It is always advisable to first empty your skimmer basket and the basket in your pump (most – not all above ground pools) and clean the filter if you do not seem to be getting enough pressure. Sometimes these can make it appear the pump is not working properly. If the motor is working and the pump is full of water but it is not pushing it through (and your pressure is zero) then you may have a broken impeller. If it is emptying out but not filling up you are sucking air into the pump. This can be from the lid of the pump, the pipe at the front, or the skimmer box. A hole in your vacuum hose or a low water level can also make a pump run out of water.

If your pool motor has stopped and is humming, or is not pumping properly it may have an internal fault, bearings and mechanical seals are common. In which case it is recommended to bring it in to our service centre or to contact us for more specific help. Leaking or a noisy (squealing) pump are also signs of this. Bearings in a pool pump are sealed and if they rust or the oil dries out they will get noisy then seize. Usually this can be repaired and is common on older pumps.

If your pump is over 10 years old, shows signs of rust, wear or damage it might be worth considering a new pump, check out our range of Davey pool pumps. Many of the older motors are unavailable now and it is cheaper in most cases to replace the entire pump.

Insurance will only cover pumps damaged by electrical fusion, if included on your policy. The amount you receive is usually calculated on a pump depreciating 10% per year. With many pumps now under $500, you will find with the cost of the excess it is usually better not to make a claim, as this could also affect a no-claim bonus.

Leaking Pool

If you are getting water dripping down the waste line (drain) when your filter is running there is a leak in the multiport (handle) mechanism on the filter. Depending on the type the handle mechanism can be taken apart by screws or a lock nut. Inside will be rubber seals or a rubber gasket. These may be worn, bent, or dry of grease. If you have a cartwheel styled rubber gasket in yours it should be glued down with a contact cement. If it isn’t it will lift and water will leak down the drain.

If your pool is losing water there are a number of self tests you can do. Firstly, if you let the water go down and mark where it stops. If it stops near a pipe or tiles or a crack this might give you a hint. It will stop level with the leak. Secondly, block all the returns (jets) on the pool walls and block the skimmer box (under basket) and see if the water still goes down. If the water doesn’t go down with the second test then you have a broken pipe. If it does you have a leak in the pool somewhere, most likely the light or the main drain. Contact us with the above information and we will be able to give you a better idea of the problem and how to fix it.

If you have pipes that are dripping or leaking then this just requires simple re-plumbing. Most pool shops will be able to help explain to you how to do it or do it for you. There are a number of products that can be used to plug a leak but in plumbing it is better to replace it than to try to seal it.

Chlorinator Not Working

For those with a salt chlorinator, if you are having problems the most common things to check are (a) that the cell is clean and working, (b) it has water flow, (c) you have salt in your pool, (d) it is running long enough and (e) it has stabiliser.

If the salt chlorinator cell is dirty the unit will not be able to produce as much chlorine. To clean the cell simply soak it in a weak acid solution (1 part acid, 10 part water) or a cell cleaner while the calcium dissolves. If the chlorinator gauge is showing low you may need salt. Otherwise your cell may have worn. Cells last between 3 and 10 years depending on quality and maintenance. 
If your unit is showing low on it’s indicator even with the correct amount of salt then you need a replacement cell. 
Do not brush or scrape the plates of your cell to remove calcium as this will shorten its life expectancy.
Most salt chlorinators produce between 15 – 30 grams of chlorine per hour at peak. This means that they must run for 8-12 hours daily in summer to produce the equivalent of one cup of chlorine.

Make sure you have a stabiliser (isocyanuric acid) level of 50-100 in your pool. Due to the slow production rate of chlorinators on a hot day the sun can remove chlorine faster than your cell can make it. Stabiliser holds the chlorine in the water. Without stabiliser your pool may not get enough chlorine and can get algae.

For those with liquid chlorinators, they are much simpler. Most importantly, where the chlorine tube goes into the pool pipes there is a plastic injector. Unscrew it and pull the clear tube out. This tube will clog occasionally with crystals from the liquid chlorine. If it is blocked your pool will not be getting chlorine. If the pump is working but the chlorine drum is not being used, check the squeeze tube in the pump and the clear tube from the drum to the pump for holes. If the pump is not working or runs irregularly you may have a problem with the gearbox or motor. If these all seem fine then make sure your filter is running properly and you have chlorine in the supply container.

Building a pool

When building a pool we always recommend doing your research. Consumer sites like NotGoodEnough.org or the Department of Fair Trading can help you avoid trouble-plagued companies. The most important thing when building a pool is to ensure your contract is fair, complete and includes the appropriate equipment. The SPASA contract checklist identifies what to look for in your contract.

While we do not build pools we can provide consultancy services to those building their own pool or for those who wish to have their contract independantly checked. We can provide plumbing services and equipment. In some cases it can be better to get your pool built without equipment and purchase appropriate equipment separately. This can not only save you money but allow you to choose better or more appropriate equipment than what may be provided in the standard package.

Contact us and make an appointment to come in and see us. With over 40 years experience in the pool industry we can ensure you get the pool you really want.

Which Pool Cleaner?

All pool cleaners are not the same.  To get the best value for your money and low maintenance for your pool it is important you choose the correct pool cleaner.  For more information contact us, or visit our showroom, and we can help determine the best pool cleaner for your pool.


What is the difference between cleaners?

Suction cleaners work off the pressure of your pump, sucking the dirt and leaves through a 38mm hose into your skimmer box.  Due to the size of the hose, your skimmer and your pump basket they can only handle a certain amount of leaves.  If you have lots of leaves you will need to empty the skimmer basket on your pool very regularly (often daily).  A leaf strainer like the Baracuda Leaf Eater can help to stop your skimmer basket clogging and your pump running out of water.  Most suction cleaners are very reliable due to the small number of moving parts.  The Baracuda cleaners all have only one moving part, an easily replaceable diaphragm which pulses quietly to move your cleaner around the pool.

Pressure cleaners work by using the flow from your pump to blow or scoop the leaves into a big bag which can hold much more than your skimmer and if blocked will not stop your pool working.  These can be up to approx 120mm in diameter and can take much larger leaves and debris.  Some models require their own booster pump for adequate pressure which can be hard to retro-fit to old pools, but other models like the Polaris Vac-Sweep 165 or the Polaris 360 will run off your normal pool pump.

The Poolrite Manta, Zoltan, Algae-Eater, Kreepy-Krauly, Hayward Ultra or Questa Mini/Maxi Vac all operate similiar to the Zodiac Baracuda.  The Hayward and Questa cleaners operate differently to the other suction cleaners by using a programmed gear mechanism.  While this programmed method can work better in standard shaped pools they can be expensive to repair.  The Jetvac or Legend operate similiar to the Polaris pressure cleaners.

Which Pump and Filter?

The most important thing to ensure when selecting a new filter or pump is that they are both appropriately sized to each other. A larger filter requires less cleaning but can use more water to clean. It also requires a bigger pump. A smaller filter will clog up to often and not handle heavy loads or require long running times. You must also have an appropriately sized skimmer box and return jets to handle the water flow. For more information contact us, or visit our showroom, and we can help determine the best equipment for your pool.

What is the difference between pumps?

Most manufacturers produce a standard and heavy duty range of pumps.  The key differences to consider when selecting a pump are noise, energy efficiency, water flow and water pressure. Modern all-in-one plastic cased pumps provide the highest energy efficiency using water to continuously cool the motor and with the highest output for the lowest power input. Older pump and motor style pool pumps have the lowest energy efficiency. As pumps are often in wet areas those with stainless steel rotors (not mild steel) will not rust and as a result will last longer. These usually come with a 3 year warranty.  Lastly you must consider water flow. For solar systems, pressure cleaners and fountains high pressure pumps with lower water flow volumes are preferred however for you standard primary pool pump you want lower pressure and higher water flow. The main thing to consider here is that the pump is the appropriate size for your filter. Choosing a larger pump does not mean better filtering, in fact this just pushes the water through the filter too fast and reduces filtering quality.

What is the difference between filters?

Sand filters operate by filtering the water through a large bed of sand (that is why they are bigger). As the water is pushed through the sand by your pump the dirt is trapped in the sand. When you backwash the filter the water actually flows backwards through the tank and washes the dirt back out of the filter, but into the drain rather than your pool. The rinse cycle settles the sand down again and washes out any loose sediment. Opinions vary regarding how often sand should be changed, but how often do you change sand on a beach? Sand is a form of glass and as such cannot rot or decompose. Unless problems arise you will probably change your sand filter before you should need to change the sand (e.g. 15 years). It is important to remember with older filters that disassembling them to change the sand can cause more problems as parts can be easily broken and spare parts may not be available. Sand filters are not as efficient as other filters which is why we run them longer hours, but they are much lower maintenance.

Cartridge filters operate by catching dirt on the outside of a cartridge element which can be easily hosed clean. There are no valves or difficult plumbing. They are much finer than a sand filter but this means they can also clog faster. The advantage is that they can be cleaned easily and their finer filtering quality means they can operate for less time. If you have a lot of sediment in your pool or the pool gets green algae, clean your cartridge filter immediately, because it will clog with these fine particles. These filters can remove anything down to 10 microns which is much smaller than we can see.

WATER RESTRICTIONS – Cartridge filters use less water!!
Although they do require hosing to clean, a cartridge filter cleaned with a pressure hose will require only up to 15 litres of water to clean. A standard pool pump will pump up to 350 l/min. This means that a 2-4 minute backwash on a sand filter will require between 400 and 1400 litres.

Changing Sand in a Sand Filter

There are a number of varying opinions for and against changing sand in a sand filter.  There are a few important things to consider before changing sand:

  • How often is sand changed on a beach?  Sand is a form of glass.  It does not rot, it does not degrade but it may wear after millions of years of washing.
  • How old is your filter? Older filters, especially those which are sealed by a large number of bolts around the valves or connections, may be difficult to adequately seal after you have re-assembled them.  You may also have difficulty finding parts if you break any internals, like the laterals, when you change the sand.
  • Foreign media? It may be necessary to change the sand (maybe only partly) in situations where media like concrete dust, or dog hair has clogged the filter, due to activities around or in the pool. It can be an idea to remove the top and scoop off any lint accumulated on top of the sand and stir the sand up if your filter does not appear to be backwashing properly.
  • Will it filter finer? NO. A new sand filter does not filter very finely because the sand is clean.  Over the years the sand in your filter will settle, accumulate dust and lint and naturally filter finer. A new sand filter is very poor in it’s filtration quality.
  • Zeolite versus sand? The sand used in new filters contains granules from 1.18mm-6mm in size.  Zeolite has granules from 0.5mm-2mm in size which theoretically gives it finer filtration.  So that the filter operates at the same pressure we use less zeolite than we would sand in the filter.  The sand we use today is finer that what was used 10-15 years ago so there is not a significant difference and is still the most common filter media. Traditionally sand filters used -1 grade sand which has very large particles. Today Davey recommend 16/30 grade sand which is very fine.

In most cases, we do not recommend changing sand just because your filter is a few years old.  Those with older stainless steel filters should not change the sand, due to a lack of available parts for repair.  We are more likely to recommend replacing a filter before we will recommend replacing the sand.

Emptying a Pool

Emptying a pool is not to be done without prior consideration. A considerable amount of damage can be caused by leaving a pool empty. Inground pools are like a large bath tub in the ground. When we get heavy or continuous rain for a day or two the soil can become quite water logged. If it wasn’t for the weight of the water in your pool, the entire pool can float. It is not uncommon for a concrete pool to lift up to 1/2 a metre out of the ground as a result. To alleviate this your pool has a pit in the deep end. This usually covered pit contains a spring release valve designed to allow water from the soil into your pool if the outside pressure is higher than the inside pressure. If a pool is to be left empty the valve is often completely removed so water can flow from the soil in and out of the pool as necessary. Fibreglass pools are easily broken and even more easily damaged if left empty. In above ground pools it is the water pressure which holds the liner in position. If you empty the pool you will have to ensure the liner is flat and smooth again before and during filling and that the sand beneath the liner is still flat and level otherwise you may end up with creases, wrinkles or tears in the liner.

The reason that you see local council swimming pools empty is because they have a special drainage system and sump pumps that remove water from the ground below them to ensure no damage occurs.

Due to the associated risks many companies will not empty pools unless absolutely necessary. Apart from resurfacing or other major pool rectification work there is usually no need to empty a pool. Algae or staining are the result of incorrect water balance and can be often cleared by correcting the water chemistry.

D.E. Filters

Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) filters are the best quality pool filter available. Used by Coca Cola in the production of soft drink they filter down to 5 microns. D.E. filters consist of a number of material elements inside a large filter. These elements are coated in Diatomaceous Earth and it is this combination that produces their excellent filtration quality. One problem with D.E. filters however is their cost. Ongoing maintenance requires a continual supply of diatomaceous earth and parts, such as the elements can be worth up to $100 each making them expensive to repair. They are also expensive to purchase initially and can cost up to twice that of a sand filter. In most cases a cartridge filter is a simpler replacement for an ageing D.E. filter.

Due to their cost, the level of maintenance required and the use of diatomaceous earth, which the water board is trying to stop being put down drains, they are slowly disappearing from the market. This is also making their cost increase. A larger cartridge filter or a sand filter and the occasional use of pool blue cubes or filter alum will require considerably lower maintenance and years of reliable operation.

As time constraints increase most people opt towards sand filters due to their minimal maintenance requirements. Most sand filters come with a 10 year tank warranty ensuring years of reliable operation.

Copper/Silver Ionisers

Copper and silver based ionisers purify water by creating free ions of silver and copper in the water. This method has been used for centuries and even today silver is used to purify water on passenger ships, airlines and oil rigs worldwide. Copper is the base of most algaecides and is good at preventing algal growth while silver is used in medicine for it’s antibacterial properties. By using these two ions together you can help keep water clear and clean. In conjunction with an ioniser a shock treatment of some kind is required to actually disinfect the water. This can include things like monopersulfate compounds or chlorine

Most people choose an ioniser because they do not want to use chlorine. Unfortunately you still have to use a sanitiser that is chlorine or similar as copper and silver alone will not constitute healthy water. The Nature 2 system is different to most ionisers in that it is a replaceable unpowered cartridge which releases ions in the water and is designed to be used in conjunction with chlorine to improve sanitation and help keep your pool clean, clear and healthy all year round.

For those who are looking for a chlorine alternative, it is important to note that there are not many chemical sanitisers as effective as chlorine, or as safe. No alternatives for chlorinated chemicals or products are carcinogen free. For more information read our help section regarding chlorine or contact us for what would be the best option in your situation.

* 2004 – NEWS – The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Association (APVMA), the sanitiser regulation authority, has warned that copper and silver ionisers are not effective by themselves and must be used in conjunction with a registered sanitiser, essentially chlorine or bromine. This sanitiser must be maintained at the normal recommended levels.

Nature 2 was the first product to be affected by these changes and has modified it’s labelling on new products to suit. It was already designed to be used in conjunction with chlorine. Using a Nature 2 in conjunction with a salt chlorinator or liquid dosing pump can help your chlorinator cope with higher temperatures and high bather loads with relatively low maintenance.

The APVMA is now investigating other copper and silver ionisers available, as they are required to seek approval as a sanitiser. I will update this site as any further information becomes available.

New APVMA guide for demonstrating efficacy of pool and spa sanitisers – 28 July 04

New Guidelines
There is now a new set of guidelines for the approval of new pool and spa sanitisers. They must be an effective sanitiser against a list of recommended organisms and pass specified laboratory tests and a field trial. These new guidelines provide a standard for the approval of all sanitisers whether copper/silver based or chlorine/bromine based.

Important APVMA update on use of copper/silver ionisers – 24 December 2004
The APVMA has been advised by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to allow Poolfresh and Aquabrite Ionising rods and
oxidisers to be sold however suppliers must warn you about the APVMA’s concerns over the effectiveness of copper/silver ionisers and recommend the use of chlorine in conjunction with these systems. This also effects Floatron solar powered floating ionisers.