Backyard pools: what are your options?

Are you thinking about adding a swimming pool to your home? Backyard pools come in all shapes, sizes and styles, so you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect match for your outdoor area and your price range.

Before you get into design details though, learning a little about the different categories of pools will help to narrow down your selection.

In-ground pools

What most people think of when they think of swimming pools, in-ground pools look great and are long-lasting, but they can also be expensive to buy, require more maintenance and take longer to install compared to other types of pools.

In-ground pools are generally made from concrete or fibreglass. Concrete pools are constructed on-site and are more durable, while fibreglass pools are pre-manufactured and take less time to install, but are less resilient.

You’ll need to apply to your local council for approval before installing an in-ground pool, and the approval, planning and construction time can take anywhere from 3–6 months.

Above ground pools

An increasingly popular option for backyard pools, above ground or modular pools don’t usually require digging up the garden, so they can be cheaper and faster to install than in-ground pools. You just need to make sure the site you choose in your backyard is flat and level. Another advantage of these pools is that you can take them with you if you move!

Above ground pools may be made from steel or resin with a vinyl interior, with different models designed to tolerate freshwater and chlorinated salt water. Some pool packages are supplied with everything you need to set up your pool, from pumps and filters to ladders and decks.

Portable pools

If you don’t have a lot of space in your backyard, you don’t have to miss out on having a pool. Versatile portable pools are suitable for most gardens, as long as you have somewhere flat and access to water. Available in a range of sizes and shapes, these pools can be ideal for pool parties and families with kids, and they’re easy to store when not in use.

Inflatable pools

If you only plan to use your pool occasionally and you’re worried about storage, inflatable pools could be the answer for you. Made from durable plastic, these pools will stand the test of time and come with a cartridge filter pump to keep the water as clean and healthy as any other pool.

Kids’ pools

If you’re mainly buying a pool for the little ones, kids’ pools are the cheapest and safest option. These shallow pools still have enough room for splashing and paddling, and some models are big enough for the whole family to sit in. Children still need to be supervised at all times when they’re in or around pools of any size.

Find your perfect pool today

Whatever type of pool you’re looking for, browse our pools and spas catalogue to see all the options available online and at your local Clark Rubber store Australia-wide.

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How long can you leave a pool empty?

The cooler months of the year are the perfect time to take care of pool maintenance or repairs and make sure your swimming pool’s ready for summer. But does that include draining the water?

However neglected your pool may be looking this winter, draining should only ever be a last resort. It’s not just your water bill you should be worried about, but also the possible long-term damage that could be expensive to fix.

Why shouldn’t you drain a pool?

Swimming pools are designed to be filled with water. They get used to the heavy weight and pressure of the water over time, so if that’s taken away, even for a short time, it can cause serious damage to pool walls, floors and liners.

Some pools can ‘pop’ out of the ground, while others may cave in. There may also be damage to decks or paving surrounding the pool, as well as electronic systems installed in the pool such as lights and in-floor cleaning systems.

The specific problems you could face depend on the type of pool you have.

How long can you leave an in-ground pool empty?

If you have an older in-ground pool, it probably won’t have been designed to withstand the weight of the surrounding soil when drained. Modern concrete pools can usually stand being drained for as long as needed, but there’ll still be a risk of popping if the ground water level is high.

Fibreglass pools are less resilient. The floor may come loose and float to the top when refilled, even after a short period. These pools should be properly braced before draining begins.

How long can you leave an above ground pool empty?

It’s not only in-ground pools that can be damaged by draining. Above ground pools are also sensitive to the sudden change in pressure that comes from emptying the water.

Pool liners can start to shrink the longer they’re exposed to the air, which could cause them to tear when the pool’s refilled. This is especially common with older liners. For this reason, you should avoid draining an above ground pool or refill it as quickly as possible.

Don’t drain and refill your swimming pool on a cold day, as this will make the lining even less likely to stretch. Check that the liner is properly aligned while the pool is refilling, as you may need to make quick adjustments before the weight of the water becomes too great.

How to drain a pool safely

If your goal is simply to clean the pool, this may be achieved more effectively with chemicals. However, there may be times when draining and starting over is the only option.

For an in-ground concrete pool, hiring a submersible pump is the most efficient way to drain the water. Fibreglass or vinyl-lined pools need a more careful approach though, and you’re better off calling professionals to lower the risk of the pool or lining breaking.

If you need professional pool servicing, get in touch with Clark Rubber today. We’ll send a fully trained pool technician around to your home to take a look at your pool or spa and get it up and running in no time.

Call 13 80 90 to find out more about our services for swimming pools in Melbourne, Sydney and throughout Australia.

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Install your pool ready for summertime

There’s nothing more refreshing than diving into a cool pool when the hot weather arrives, but you shouldn’t leave it too late to get started.

Depending on what type of pool you want, the planning and installation process could take many months, and waiting until summer’s begun could mean you miss the swim season altogether.

Here’s what you need to think about when planning the timeline for summertime pools.

Planning

If you’re installing a larger pool like an in-ground pool or some above-ground pools, your backyard will first need to be assessed to make sure it’s suitable and to find the best location.

Not every outdoor area is a good fit for a pool. Rushing the planning process could mean you end up with a pool in a less than ideal spot or have to spend time and money reinstalling sewer lines and making other adjustments.

Approvals

Larger pools also need to be approved by local councils. Depending on where you live, waiting for a development application to be approved could take as long as 4–6 weeks.

You may also need to install suitable fencing if your garden doesn’t have it already, or your pool may not be approved. In New South Wales, pool fences need to be at least 1.2 metres in height or 1.8 metres for a boundary fence.

What type of pool are you installing?

Larger pools that involve changes to the landscape take considerably longer than those above the ground. Not only do you need to wait for approvals, but the pool needs careful planning which can take several months to finalise before excavation of the yard even begins.

In-ground concrete pools can take up to 6 months from start to finish, as these are individually constructed on-site. Fibreglass pools are already manufactured, so these in-ground installations can be completed in a shorter time frame.

Above ground pools may require preparation of the ground to make sure it’s flat as well as installation of paving or decking. These pools can be installed closed to summer, but as they can involve hiring several contractors, there are more likely to be delays as the peak pool season arrives.

If you prefer a portable pool or inflatable pool, these are supplied ready-made and may only require minimal preparation time if your backyard’s already suitable.

What’s the best time to install a pool?

Summer is the worst time to start planning summertime pools, unless you want a low-maintenance portable option. From October to April, prices will be at their peak and you’re more likely to be put on a waiting list.

You can avoid delays and secure the best prices by talking to pool companies in the winter when business is at its slowest and you’re more likely to have their complete attention. Getting your pool sorted early means it’ll be ready and waiting for you when you need it.

Thinking about a new pool?

If you’re dreaming about backyard pools, see our wide range of summertime pools of all sizes to suit every garden.

Find your nearest Clark Rubber store

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How long should I run my pool pump for?

How long should I run my pool pump for?

Whether you live in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or other locations Australia-wide, swimming pool maintenance is important all year round. Even if you’re not using your pool in the winter, you should still be running the pumps every day to keep your pool clean and prevent algae build-up that can be difficult to remove.

Pool pumps have two major functions: filtering dirt and debris and producing chlorine. You need to run pumps long enough to clean and chlorinate the entire pool. Some pumps switch off automatically when the optimal level of chlorine is reached, but others need to be set manually.

If you’re not sure how long to run a pool pump for, follow this general guide to recommended pool pump hours and adjust according to your own circumstances.

Average pump times

In general, pool pumps in Australia should be run for approximately

  • 8 hours per day in summer
  • 4 hours per day in winter

However, this is only an average and your situation may be different.

How long to run pool pump calculator

The main factor that affects pump times is the volume of your pool (length x width x depth). Most backyard swimming pools are between 40,000 and 100,000 litres in volume.

Once you know this figure, you can compare it to the output of your pump to work out the minimum hours it needs to run. For example, a 60,000 litre pool with a pump running at 200 litres per minute should be run for 300 minutes (5 hours).

Other factors to consider

As well as pool size, your pumping needs may vary based on:

  • the size and type of pool pump you have
  • whether you have a pool cover
  • how much foliage is surrounding the pool
  • whether the pool is shaded or exposed to the sun
  • your local climate
  • how many people use the pool and how often
  • whether swimmers shower before entering the pool

An uncovered swimming pool that has more exposure to dirt, debris and sunlight will usually have a longer daily pumping cycle than a covered pool.

How to reduce pumping time

If running the pump for so long each day has you worried about your energy bills, there could be ways to reduce the time needed without compromising a clean swimming pool.

If you think you might be running your pump for too long, try to reduce pumping time by an hour. Check the water quality after a week to see if there’s any noticeable difference. If not, you can try to reduce it by another 30–60 minutes until you find the ideal level.

Keeping your pool clean by running pool cleaners and vacuums will lighten the load on the pump and help it to last longer. You should also clean the filters once or twice a week and install a pool cover if you haven’t already.

Search our online catalogue to find all the pool equipment or maintenance accessories you need to keep your swimming pool in perfect shape all year round, or find your nearest Clark Rubber store.

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What is a plunge pool?

Swimming pools aren’t just for big gardens. If you’ve got limited space in your backyard, you can still enjoy many of the benefits of a full-sized pool and spa combined with a space-saving plunge pool. When you choose the right features, these pools can also help with rehabilitation and exercise.

But what is a plunge pool and what makes it different from other types of swimming pools? These increasingly popular pools distinguish themselves in three main areas:

Size

Plunge pools can range from 4 to 7 metres in length and 2 to 3 metres in width – smaller than regular swimming pools, but larger than spas. They’re generally no deeper than 1.2 metres, although deep-plunge models are sometimes available.

There are many reasons why smaller backyard pools may be preferred. Your home may occupy a smaller lot, you may want to save space in your garden, or you may simply want to avoid the higher maintenance and running costs associated with a larger pool.

Plunge pools can fit neatly along the side of a house, along walls and fences, inside decking or even inside a home. They’re suitable for people of all ages, although children should always be supervised when they’re in or around the pool.

Features

Just because they’re smaller in size, that doesn’t mean plunge pools lack the features of a larger pool. In fact, their more compact size can offer distinct advantages when it comes to hydrotherapy.

If you or someone in your family suffers from aches and pains, you have weak muscles or you’re healing from an injury, plunge pools with swim jets, heaters and seats can turn a regular pool into a therapeutic spa. Massaging jets and whirlpools can help you to relax as you float in comfort, while resistance jets are a great way to get exercise while swimming in place.

Just like plunge pools in nature, models with waterfalls can recirculate water to add a pleasing water feature to your backyard.

Design

Plunge pools also come in a wider variety of designs than standard swimming pools, from geometric rectangles, circles and ovals to custom designs tailored to your backyard or your personality. Available in a range of colours and styles, combined with creative landscaping or decking, you’ll have plenty of options for designing your garden retreat.

Most plunge pools are built in-ground, made from concrete or fibreglass. Above ground pools made from strong resin are also available, but these require strong bracing. The type of pool you choose and the material it’s made from will affect its initial cost as well as its longevity and ongoing maintenance.

If you’re looking for plunge pools, spas or full-size swimming pools in Melbourne, Sydney or other locations Australia-wide, get in touch with your nearest Clark Rubber store. Search our pools and spas catalogue to find a wide selection of swimming pools in all shapes and sizes to suit every home.

Call us today on 13 80 90 to be redirected to your local store or use our store locator

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8 common pool maintenance mistakes to avoid

Installing your new swimming pool and learning how to put chemicals in a pool for the first time is just the beginning. Pools require ongoing maintenance to keep them clean, safe and hygienic for your family and friends, even in the colder months of the year when you’re not using them.

Pools aren’t especially high maintenance, but it’s important to get it right. Learning some of the common mistakes other pool owners have made means you won’t have to make the same mistakes yourself. These include:

  1. Not cleaning the filter

Pool filters help to keep your pool free from dirt and debris – until they get clogged with dirt themselves and won’t work any more. Running a clogged filter puts strain on the equipment and could involve repairs or replacements.

  1. Cleaning the filter too often

Sometimes, over-maintenance can be as bad as under-maintenance. If you use your pool regularly, the filter should be backwashed about once a week. Washing it too frequently can prevent the pressure from reaching its optimal cleaning level, not to mention wasting water.

  1. Not cleaning the pool walls

Algae that builds up on pool walls and floors can be tough to remove. Running a pool cleaner every few weeks to remove surface dirt should prevent most algae build-up. Climbing pool cleaners can every scrub the walls.

  1. Not running pumps for long enough

Good circulation is essential for a healthy swimming pool. Pool pumps should even be run in the winter when you’re not using the pool. Even if you do switch on your pumps regularly, you might not be leaving them on for long enough. They should be run for around 8 hours a day in the summer and 4 hours in the winter, although this depends on a number of factors.

  1. Not checking the chemical balance

Good chemistry is important in your swimming pool. Even if you made sure the balance was correct when you learned how to put chemicals in the pool for the first time, this needs to be checked twice weekly in the summer and once a week in the winter. Leaving it for too long could mean you need to shock the pool to correct it.

  1. Not shocking the pool after heavy use

If you’re throwing a pool party or there are a lot of people in your swimming pool at the same time, this can use up the chlorine and throw off the balance. Shocking your pool by adding a large helping of chlorine and running the filter for a few hours can be the best way to restore equilibrium. 

  1. Adding chemicals when it’s hot

When you’re adding pool chemicals, timing is important. Adding chlorine and other chemicals when the sun is high can cause some to evaporate, which will affect the balance. Ideally, chemicals should be added at night.

  1. Not maintaining the water level

Even if you’re doing your best to maintain your pool, you may not notice the water level dropping over time. If your pumps are exposed to the air, this can lead to damage and expensive repairs. Check your water level at least once a month to avoid problems.

Regular maintenance keeps your pool in great condition and saves you money. If you’re looking for pool maintenance equipment and accessories or a new Sydney, Melbourne or Perth swimming pool, visit your nearest Clark Rubber store.

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How deep can an above ground pool be?

Backyard pools come in all shapes and sizes, whether they’re in the ground or above it. Some people think of above ground pools as being little more than paddling pools, but these installations can sometimes be just as deep as in-ground pools.

When comparing pool sizes, keep in mind that the total depth of the pool includes the height of the wall above the water level, not just the water. If you want a deeper above ground pool that’s suitable for diving and other activities, talk to your pool supplier. They may have above ground pools in a range of sizes or offer custom pool sizes.

Can above ground pools have a deep end?

Above ground pools are normally constructed to the same depth throughout to make them easier to install, but some manufacturers offer deep end or deep centre versions too. These will require more preparation of your backyard, which will need to be excavated to the depth needed.

Deep ends are better suited to longer pools, as this allows for a gentler gradient than in a small pool. A deep end can be added more easily to a rectangular or round pool than an oval pool or irregular shapes.

Do you need a deep end?

A deeper pool will cost more to install and maintain, so it’s worth considering whether you’ll really make use of the extra depth or if it could be an inconvenience.

If you’re looking forward to diving, jumping and swimming deep in your pool, the extra cost could be worth it. However, a deeper pool also takes longer to clean and the deep areas can be more difficult to access.

If you have children, pets or elderly relatives, a deep end can also be a potential safety hazard, and pool fencing must be present.

How much to install a pool?

A deeper pool will cost more, especially if it’s a non-standard or custom size. There’s also the added cost and time involved in digging your garden to accommodate the slope of the pool. Even with these extra expenses though, an above ground pool with a deep end is still cheaper than an in-ground pool.

If you don’t have a lot of space in your garden, an in-ground plunge pool could be a practical alternative to a full-size pool. These can also be made as deep as a standard pool.

If you want something more convenient that doesn’t involve digging and only minimal preparation, a portable pool or inflatable pool can be ideal for lounging or splashing with the kids, although deep options are not available.

Backyard pools in all sizes

Whatever size, type or design of pool you want in your garden, search our pools and spas range at Clark Rubber to find the perfect fit for your backyard. Most of our pools are available in a range of sizes with deep end options available.

Call us on 13 80 90 to connect with your local Clark Rubber store or use our store locator.

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How to install a pool light

Are you installing pool lights for the first time, or do your old lights need an upgrade? Modern energy-efficient pool lighting will light up your outdoor area while also being light on your electricity bills.

Pool lighting helps to keep your family and friends safe around your pool, but the installation itself can be hazardous if it’s not carried out by a qualified professional.

Why do you need pool lights?

The most important reason to install pool lights is to improve safety around your pool, especially at night. Without proper lighting, people and pets could fall into the pool or injure themselves on slippery poolside surfaces. Even with good lighting in place, children should never be allowed in or around a pool without supervision.

As well as safety, pool lighting has aesthetic benefits. Well-chosen lighting can transform summertime pools when the sun goes down. If you have a spa pool, the right lighting can enhance the therapeutic experience. Your pool lights can also extend to other areas of the garden to create whatever mood you want.

What types of pool lights are there?

Pool lights can be installed flush with the pool wall or protruding. While flush lights have a sleeker finish, they don’t produce as much illumination, so you may need to install more of them to achieve the light level you want.

With incandescent bulbs no longer on sale in Australia, today’s pool owners have a choice between LED lights or halogens

LED pool lights are the more economical option, being 3 to 5 times more energy efficient than halogen bulbs and lasting 10 times as long on average (50,000 hours). They’re also available in a wider variety of colours, including colour changing sequences, to make it easier to set the right tone in and around your pool.

Halogen lights may be less efficient, but they have the advantage of brightness. Their more intense light illuminates pools and surrounds more clearly, with the downside that these bulbs also produce significant heat that can melt the seals over time. This means they may have to be replaced each year.

How many lights do you need?

The number of lights you need depends on several factors. The main one is the size of your pool. You can calculate the level of lighting needed as 5.4 watts per square metre – so around 200 watts for an 8.5m x 4.5m pool.

A lighter-coloured pool will reflect more light and needs less illumination than a darker pool. If your pool has an irregular shape with curves or corners tucked out of sight, these may require separate lighting.

Can I install a pool light myself?

Under the Electrical Safety Regulation of 2002, you can only install a pool light in Australia if you’re a licensed electrician. Working with electricity around water is a major safety hazard that requires training and experience.

You should also check that the pool lights you buy are manufactured in compliance with Australian Standards.

How much is a pool light?

LED lights are usually more expensive per fixture than halogens, but you’ll save money in electricity costs and won’t have to replace them so soon. If you’re buying a pool for the first time, check whether lights and other essentials are already included in the pool package.

For a wide range of summertime pools, equipment and accessories, search Clark Rubber’s online catalogue or find your nearest store.

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How to prepare the ground for an above ground pool

 If you don’t have the space for an in-ground pool, or you don’t want the cost and hassle of digging up your garden, above ground pools are a convenient alternative. These pools sit above the ground but still require careful preparation.

We offer a full installation service that includes preparing the ground for you in selected stores, but you can save time by taking care of the first steps yourself.

Find the right spot

You might already have a favourite spot picked out for your new above ground pool, but it may not be suitable if it doesn’t mean all the criteria. Whatever size pool you have, it should be installed in a location that’s:

  • flat and level
  • at least 2.5 metres away from trees (check your local regulations)
  • not over utility lines, septic tanks, tree roots or other underground hazards

You also need to make sure there’s enough space for the size of above ground pool you’re buying. To do this, locate where the centre of the pool will be and plant a stake in the ground. Tie the post with string and measure out to the distance given in your pool’s specifications. Remember that some overlap will be needed around the perimeter.

If you don’t have enough space for an above ground pool, your backyard may still be suitable for a smaller portable pool or plunge pool.

Prepare the ground

When you’re found the right spot, mark roughly where your new pool will go using spray paint or another method and start to prepare the underlying ground.

Your pool needs a flat surface, and you should always dig down to the lowest point rather than trying to build up, which can result in a less stable surface. When you’re done, you can check that it’s level by using a carpenter’s level tool and a plank of wood on a pivot.

If there’s grass or other vegetation on the site, this needs to be removed down to the roots, not just mowed. You should then thoroughly rake the area to make sure no plants, roots or loose stones remain.

Lay the foundations

Now that your pool site is flat, you can prepare it for the above ground pool by filling it with limestone. This should be around 5cm deep and will provide a stable foundation for your new pool. You can now arrange a time for your new pool to be delivered and installed.

If you’d rather have a professional take care of your pool preparations, or you’re too busy to do it yourself, some pool companies offer this service or can put you in touch with other local tradies who do.

Choose your pool package

However much space you have in your garden, and whatever your budget, check out Clark Rubber’s above ground pools range to find the right pool package to suit you.

We also offer a range of pool services to help keep your new Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane pool in top condition all year round.

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How to lower pH in your pool

Part of swimming pool maintenance is making sure the chemicals are properly balanced. Knowing how to raise and how to lower pH in pool chemistry will help to keep the water clean and keep swimmers safe.

Balancing your pool isn’t as complicated as it might sound. Using a pool tester at least once a week (more often for heavy use pools) and having the right chemicals to hand will keep your pool in tune all year round.

Why is pH important?

Pool chemicals prevent bacteria from spreading in your pool and algae from growing on the floors and walls. However, they need to be correctly balanced.

Your pool’s pH is the measure of how acidic or alkaline the water is. pH 7 is neutral (e.g. distilled water), lower values down to pH1 (gastric acid) are increasingly acidic, and higher values up to pH 14 (bleach) are increasingly alkaline.

If the pH is too low or too high, this can erode the pool surface, damage equipment and cause discomfort or serious harm to swimmers. Your pool’s lifespan will also be affected.

What’s the ideal pH for a pool?

The Australian Standard for swimming pool water is between pH 7.0 and 7.8. The ideal range is pH 7.35–7.45, to prevent problems such as itchy skin and red eyes.

Even if you find the right balance, this will be altered over time by the sun and rain, people using the pool, and dirt and debris entering. You should check your pool’s chemical balance with a water testing kit once a week for occasional use pools, daily for frequent use pools or after a pool party, and apply the right type of chemicals to adjust the pH accordingly.

How to lower pH in pool

A manual or electronic pool tester will check the pH, chlorine level and total alkalinity of your water so you can see how much acid or alkali is needed to balance it out.

If your pool’s pH is too high (above 7.8), you should start to add pool acid until it reads as close to 7.4 as possible. These acids may include hydrochloric acid, sulphuric acid or sodium bisulphate.

How to raise pH in pool

If your pool’s pH level is too low (below 7.0), you’ll need to add a strong alkali until it reaches closer to 7.4. These can include sodium carbonate (‘soda ash’) or sodium bicarbonate (‘buffer’).

Can pH be controlled automatically?

Chlorinators and liquid chemical feeders fitted to your pool filters can add chlorine or pool acid to water at regular intervals. Basic models are pre-programmed by users, while more advanced systems use probes to detect the chlorine and pH level throughout the day and add chemicals automatically when needed.

These systems can make the chemical balancing act easier, but they shouldn’t be relied on completely. You should still check your pool’s pH once a week to keep your friends and family safe.

If you need pool chemicals, testing kits or any other maintenance supplies for a Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane pool, browse our online catalogue and visit your local Clark Rubber store.

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