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Swimming Pool Maintenance & Pool Repairs in Indonesia

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Swimming pools require maintenance in the tropics just as they do in temperate climates.

Maintenance of Your Swimming Pool

You can ask your professional swimming pool contractor to give your gardener/jaga some basic training for daily pool maintenance which may include vacuuming and cleaning the bottom and sides of the pool and the water's surface. In either case you still need to monitor the quality of the water levels of pH and chlorine of the water yourself to ensure a safe swimming environment for your family.

Alternately, professional swimming pool service firms can be contracted to come to your home two to three times a week to clean the pool and adjust the chlorine level. They will also keep an eye on your pool filter equipment and suggest needed repairs that will benefit the overall functioning of the pool.

In addition, the water level should also be monitored and water added as needed. Especially in the hot, dry season, the water level in the pool can drop more rapidly due to evaporation. Low water levels can cause problems later for the pump and filtering system.

Pool Inspection Prior to Moving In

If you are thinking of leasing a home that has a pool, you can get an independent pool inspection from a firm that specializes in housing audits for expatriates, like Colliers International. A pool inspection should include:

  • check that there is no electrical current in the water. This is a problem more typically in smaller pools and Jacuzzi's but all pools should be checked for any electrical problems that affect the water as they can cause electrocution
  • continuous leaking of water which may entail expensive repair - seen by abnormally accelerated dropping of water levels
  • condition of the liner or tiling on the sides and bottom of the pool, ladders, steps, diving board and other pool equipment
  • inspection of the pool pump and pool filtration system

The inspection will result in a report which can be presented to the landlord so that you can request that any major problems can be fixed before you sign the lease and move in.

Choosing a Pool Service Company

Not all pool service companies are the same – just as in any business, some are more qualified than others! Choose a reputable pool service firm rather than an individual as it's hard to check up on business references or professional skills of individuals due to the transient nature of the expat community. A qualified vendor should inspect the pool two times per week and should provide a written attendance sheet which reports any potential problems. This would allow you to follow up with any potential problems or issues quickly.

In the long run, saving money by going with the "cheaper person" may end up costing you more with health issues or address expensive pool repairs that may result from poor maintenance. Beware of independent pool men with dubious skills; they may pour a lot of expensive (and potentially dangerous) chemicals into your pool in their attempts to solve problems. The lack or excess of correct chemical levels may lead to dangerous conditions such as the growth of fungus and bacteria, which may endanger your family's health.

Check the references of any pool service company you get bids from, talk to other expats about the companies they've used, ask your landlord for who they'd recommend or check the Jakarta Shoppers Guide for recommendations.

Filtration of your Swimming Pool's Water

Though some pool companies may advise you to change the filters on your pool every three months to keep water clean and clear, in fact a properly maintained sand filter should last for years.

A regular size pool should be filtered for at least 6-8 hours a day. A qualified maintenance man should be able to calculate the PLN charges and inform you of the most cost effective ways to filter your pool water.

Chlorination of your Swimming Pool

Before you decide where you purchase your pool chemicals from, just remember, chlorine (and other additives) are all chemicals – you need to get the assistance of a competent professional that knows what they’re doing, because your family is going to swim in the pool and you want them to be safe. Ensure that all the products used in your swimming pool are clearly labeled and designed for swimming pool use.

Swimming pool chemicals are expensive ... check into the cost of the service plus the chemicals before you make your decision to lease a house with a pool, to make sure that you can afford the expense of a swimming pool in your new home in Indonesia. Be aware that if there is a large difference in the cost of swimming pool chemicals from various suppliers, it may relate primarily to the quality of the products. Premium pool chemicals are 90% pure where as cheaper alternatives may only contain 60% chemical and the rest is a filler.

Recent advice related by Scooby from the Expat Forum:

"The PH is actually the most important. The chlorine we get in Indonesia is not PH PH testing of your swimming pool is importantregulated and will only work properly if it is used correctly. By the way, the better the quality, the better the results. A lot of the local products may only have a few % of active Chlorine and the rest of the liquid / powder could just be rubbish. So check the PH before and after Chlorine dosage.

To keep it simple we could also imagine that over a period of time the chlorine builds up a resistance to itself so in order for it to work again you have to take it over the breakpoint. That's one of the reasons that regular shock dosage is good. For a domestic pool once a month is no problem. You will hear some people say don't bother but like domestic, chlorine every now and again needs to be super strong. As a shock dose it will not only start working again but will also get into all those little corners that are normally not touched. Some 90% of the bacteria are in the top 30 cm. of the pool but the bits that are below that need treating strongly. Shock dose at night, not just for social reasons but sunlight degrades chlorine."

Swimming Pool Repairs

A seemingly minor pool repair can turn into a major financial disaster. This is the main reason for a thorough inspection prior to signing a lease and moving into your new residence. If there is an issue with either the electrical systems or the tiles/lining, you will have to partially or totally drain the pool before the work can be started on it. In the case of electrical problems, the water will often have to be drained to below the light level if the pool lights are not on a flexible retractable system allowing the workman to pull them out of the water. It is highly suggested that if your electrical system is not already using a  ELCB (Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker), this device should be installed to the electrical panel that controls electricity to the pool equipment. This device will immediately turn off the electricity leading to the pool if any irregularities in the current are detected, thus eliminating any chance of electrocution due to a short circuit.

If major repairs are required and you do have to drain your pool, you will have to purchase clean water to refill it by - usually several truck loads depending on the size of the pool. This is due to the poor quality of ground water and the fact that it may take weeks to fill up the pool from your household water pump. Most water is supplied from Bogor or Bintaro and is approximately Rp. 60.000 per cubic meter (3/2014); however it will have to be treated once it is in the pool to bring it up to acceptable PH levels. Trucking in clean water isn't a cheap proposition!

If you drain the pool, don't leave it drained very long because pressure from the surrounding dirt will put abnormal pressure on the tiling without the water to press back and this can cause cracked and displaced tiles and ruined grouting.  If the tiles crack or begin to leak, this will result in more issues that will necessitate that you drain the pool again.

Therefore, what may seem a small problem with your pool can quickly escalate to an expensive repair job. Regardless of whether or not the pool is being used it still needs to be maintained. Be sure that the pool is in 100% working condition before you sign any lease agreement!

Last updated February 20, 2014

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