With the Middle East enjoying warm to hot weather all year round, swimming remains an all-weather, popular activity. Pools are an increasingly important part of construction projects in the Middle East, both in residential and commercial areas. Maintaining these near-essential facilities in properties is an intensive task, one that both overall FM companies and pool maintenance firms deal with. Tahir Javed Kashif, CEO & Founder, IFSG, talks to Megha S Anthony on what it takes to maintain a swimming pool in this region.
Every project whether villas, apartments or high rise towers has included a swimming pool as an integral part, it has increased the demand on resources, maintenance and sale of components. According to Tahir pool maintenance can be a fun activity as long as you follow the ‘Rule of 7’. “The maintenance process can be made easy when you divide it into 7 essential steps that will result in a clean and usable pool. We start with collecting leaves, brushing the pool walls and go deep for vacuuming the floor tiles. Then we check the pH level of pool water, sanitize it with chlorine tablets and let it remove the contaminants,” he explains.
The display of water is often viewed as an important status symbol and having hygienic water are core religious and psychological values, particularly among the GCC countries. The government has been enforcing stricter safety standards for aquatic facilities, and issue fines to those who don’t meet municipal standards. “Owning a pool is an expensive affair,” states Tahir, who explains that by ‘expensive’ he means it takes a lot of time and not necessarily money. Which is why, Tahir says that it is essential to clean the pool regularly. He adds, “There are different stages of a dirty pool. If it’s comparatively clean then stick to a daily skimming and scrubbing routine or do it at least once a week. But if the condition is severe then your pool would require an advanced level of cleaning treatment. The key is to check the pH level whenever you get the time or at least before using the pool to ensure there are no health problems waiting for you inside the pool.”
The main problems in the maintenance of pools for the owner are: the turbidity of water; excess chlorine; the accumulation of debris on the surface and bottom of the pool; lack of proper pump application; cleaning the sink; heating and cooling; and, the effective use and combination of products for water maintenance. The amount of chlorine in the pool has always been an issue. When it comes to the right way to approach adding chlorine to the water, Tahir says, “To chlorinate the pool we need to tackle it through a systematic approach. Always start by checking the pH level of the pool, shock the pool with chlorine and let it dissolve into the water for about two hours. Make sure no one enters the pool during this time period until the contaminants vanish away after the process.”
Challenges are aplenty when it comes to maintenance of a swimming pool. But the most frustrating and recurring ones are, “Algae, maintaining the chemical level, and keeping the filter clean,” says Tahir, and goes on to add, “You might find a permanent solution to almost any pool related problem but I think these remain on the top whenever we make a list of pool maintenance challenges.”
When it comes to technology, the pool cleaning industry is packed with products and solutions that will enable the users to keep a check on the pool at a click of a button. Products like UV cleansing system, pH alert for checking the chemical level and a onetouch control are very popular among the pool owners. “However, regardless of their promising features and astonishing benefits, these technologies are restricted to a specific group of users due to certain factors in which price and electricity cost tops the list,” adds Tahir.
Interestingly, though there have been some additions in the pool maintenance industry, in the last five decades there hasn’t been any prominent trend that has occurred. “In the old days, when people were more concerned about the algae and bacteria they used to apply variable methods to tackle different problems. Even today, though there are different products available in market majority of pool owners prefer to adhere with old school maintenance methods. Education is the biggest challenge for proper pool maintenance, which is why, we can't be certain how much time will it take people to embrace the new gadgets and tools for pool maintenance but it will replace the traditional methods soon,” sums up Tahir.