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Initial Start Up

Ensure that there is enough water in the pool to enable it to operate correctly ie: at least half way up the skimmer plate.

That the filter had been filled with the correct amount of sand.

That all pipe work has been completed properly and that all unions have been hand tightened.

For pools with plant above water level

Remove lid on pump, open both valves and fill up suction pipes as much as possible by pouring water down into hair and lint pot. If there is a slight rise in the pipes, then hair and lint pot may fill with water. If not, close both valves and top up until full. Replace lid but do not overtighten.

Position valve on filter to FILTER position. Make sure that any valves fitted are in the open position.

Simultaneously, open sump valve and switch in pump. Run pump until it stops draining water and then shut off valve at the same time as turning off the pump.

Re-fill hair and lint pot, replace lid and re-start pump at the same time as opening sump valve. Again run until it stops draining water, then shut off valve at the same time as turning off the pump. This procedure is known as priming the pump and should be repeated as many times as necessary until there is a constant flow of water through pump.

Once the pump is fully primed, open the skimmer valve very gradually, turning off again if too much air is being drawn through which may stop the pump from draining. Keep opening slightly and turning off until all air has been drawn through and both valves are fully open.

Now that the pump is pulling clearly with all air drawn out of both skimmer and sump lines, switch pump off and quickly turn the multiport valve to backwash position. Switch pump back on. Allow pump to run for about two minutes. This will purge all of the air out of the filter, as well as evening out the sand bed. Switch off pump and change valve position to rinse position. Switch on pump and run for about one minute before switching off and returning the valve to filter position.

The water system should now be free of air and should retain all of the water when the pump is switched off even with both brass valves open ie: the hair and lint pot should remain full. If not and the water can be heard draining out, there is a leak somewhere in the system and most likely to be in one of the following:

An insufficiently tight union

The pump lid

The filter top

If the cause of the leak cannot be detected, call Planscapes.

For pools with plant below water level

As for pools with plant above water level, except for the following differences:

To prime the pump all that is necessary is to remove the pump lid and open valves until hair and lint pot is full, shut valves and replace lid, open valves and start up pump. The water should drain straight through.

Purge filter as for plant above water level.

The system is now in normal running mode.

With both skimmer and sump valves open, take the reading off the pressure gauge and note it down. This is the normal running pressure for your system with a clean filter. If the needle fluctuates, the system is draining air and should be rectified.

The system should be run for 8 hours a day approximately.


This is the process of cleaning the filter. When there is a rise of 6psi indicated on the gauge, it is necessary to backwash. This is achieved by switching off the pump and changing the multiport valve to backwash position. Switch the pump back on and wait until the sight glass located in the waste pipe clears. Switch off pump and change valve to rinse position. Again wait for sight glass to clear before switching off pump. The valve can now be returned to the filter position and the pump restarted. The reading on the pressure gauge should have dropped back to the normal pressure. Backwashing normally only needs to be done about once a week but if the pool water is particularly dirty it may need doing much more often. Whilst vacuuming the pool, it may be necessary to backwash two or three times.

NOTE: It is most important that the pool is not actually vacuumed whilst the valve is in the backwash position. The vacuum must be left still and time should be allowed for the vacuum hoes to clear up before backwashing. This is because any excessive dirt could clog up the internals of the filter if the valve is in the backwash position.


The filter should first be backwashed to ensure a clean filter for better suction, and the plant should be left running in the filter position with pump and skimmer valves open. The float and its collar should be removed from the skimmer, leaving only the basket in position. The vacuum outfit should be assembled with the vacuum plate at one end of the hose and the vacuum handle and head at the other. Put the vacuum handle end into the water and feed the hose down into the water so that the hose fills up with water when the hose is full, place hand over the end of the skimmer plate and quickly lift out of the water and position over skimmer basket. Although some air is likely to get into the system it will be drawn through when all of the air has stopped coming back through the return inlets the air has cleared and vacuuming can be commenced. Extra suction through the vacuum can be gained by shutting off the sump valve. Start vacuuming at the deep end by moving the vacuum at a steady speed across the bottom. If the water is seen to cloud up, then the vacuum is being moved too quickly. If the suction deteriorates noticeably then either the skimmer basket needs emptying or the filter needs backwashing.

NOTE: The vacuum should not be lifted out of the water or the pump will draw air in.


Correct chemical balance and chlorine content is essential to maintain clear and safe pool water.

Firstly, the capacity of the pool in gallons should be worked out. This is done by multiplying the length by the breadth by the average depth to give the capacity of the pool in cubic feet. Multiply this figure by 6.25 to give the gallonage.

Basic chemicals and their uses

STABILISER – Cynuric Acid

This is added directly to the pool water on initial filling. It is not necessary for any further doses of this chemical unless the pool is drained and refilled. It is in fact detrimental to overdose or add any further does. The purpose of stabiliser is to stabilise the chlorine content of the pool water against sunlight.


This chemical is available in several different forms – liquid, granules, tablets. Its purpose is to disinfect the pool water. It is essential that the correct level of chlorine is maintained. Every 3-4 weeks it is necessary to super chlorinate the pool water, which means adding quadruple the normal dose. This is because the bacteria present in the pool water tends to build up a natural resistance to a certain level of chlorine, thus a shock dose will prevent this.


This is a substitute for chlorine and is used in a similar way. The main advantages of bromine over chlorine are that it is less of a skin irritant and its smell is not so noticeable.


These are chemicals which are added to maintain the pH balance of the water. The pH value should be kept between 7.2 and 7.6. acid is used to bring down the pH, alkali to raise the pH.


The pool should never have to be emptied and should only be done so after consulting professional advice. If the pump should stop draining water whilst running, it should be switched off and the engineer called in. If any serious leaks develop in the plant house the power should be switched off and the engineer called in.


As summer draws to an end it is time to consider putting your outdoor pool into hibernation.

Spend an hour or two checking the equipment and altering chemicals and water levels before winter sets in and you’ll be able to lift the winter cover without worrying next spring. Closing down the pool is a matter of following a simple routine but if you feel unequal to the task or have little time to spare, employ a Planscapes Engineer to do it for you.


All detachable equipment should be removed and stored for the winter to protect it from frost.

Remove the summer cover, make sure it is clean and dry. If you use a roller for the cover, wash it down with warm water and detergent and store the cover on the roller. If there is no roller, roll the cover loosely and store in a dry, dark place to prolong its life.

Remove stainless steel steps, slides, diving boards and similar equipment and clean and dry before storing. Oil and protect the anchor points so that the pieces are easy to assemble next season.

Take down any inflatable dome, check and repair if necessary before storing in a dry, dark place.


The water must be sparkling clean and treated with sufficient chemical to resist bacteria during the winter months.

Remove any debris from the pool to prevent it from staining the finish.

Check the pH and sanitizer level, adjust the pH to 7.4 to 7.6 and shock dose with chlorine, leaving filter running to distribute it evenly. Feed some shock dose into the skimmer as this will leave a small residue of chlorine in the filter bed to kill any bacteria in the sand. Add winterising fluid before shutting your system down.


Use a long-lasting algaecide such as Goodbye Green Pool which gives three months cover against algae build up.


You should never empty your pool for long periods as shell or liner damage may occur but you will need to lower the water level below the skimmers during the winter months.

Turn the skimmer valve off and the bottom sump valve on.

Turn the multiport valve on the filter to the back wash or the waste position and lower the water level.

When the correct level is reached, leave the pump running and turn the skimmer valve to empty the skimmer pipe work of all water.

Switch off the apparatus at the main electric box and make sure all electricity connection and switches are protected against damp.

If the former water level has left a tide mark on the tiles or liner, clean it off while the surface is still wet.




Now is the time to check major equipment to see if it needs maintenance or major repairs.

Drain down the pump, filter tank, heater and chemical feeders if fitted, using the drain plugs located at the bottom of this equipment.

Unscrew the union connecting this equipment to the pipe work. Using a hose pipe flush the units with clean water to remove all chemically treated water from the feeders, heaters and heat pumps. If an auto-dosing chemical feeder is fitted to the system follow the manufacturers instruction taking particular care of any probe sensors fitted.

If the sand in the filter needs changing (every 5-10 years for a domestic pool) do it now or ask Planscapes to do it for you if you prefer.

If your gas or oil boiler needs repair or maintenance make sure this is seen to during the close down period.

Protect your heater, heat pump casings, pumps, valves and filter multiport with protective WD-40 spray.

If you cover an outdoor heater, remember to allow spaces for air circulation.

Store all drain plugs, union seals and so on in the pump basket for safety, that way they will be easy to find in the spring.


A winter cover is robust enough to withstand hail, snow and debris and will protect your pool during the winter months.

Heres how you do it: -

Before fitting the winter cover, place some plastic pots containing a few pebbles or anti-freeze in the water to take any pressure if ice forms.

Remove the skimmer baskets and stop up the skimmer and pipe work if heavy rain alters the water level in the pool.

Fit the winter cover making sure you have the correct tensioning on the buckles and straps. If your pool is exposed to the wind and the coping or pool surround is aging or rough, cover the edges with plastic sheet or non-staining material to protect the cover from undue wear.



Check the water level from time to time

If pool too full, hire a pump from your local hire shop.

Make a note of any repairs, alterations or refurbishing required for next year.

Help yourself and your pool engineer to get the work down now.

Check the pH and sanitize levels regularly.


Forget your pool for the next six months.

Tip chemical in one corner of the pool if you need to replenish it – mix in water and spread it over the entire surface.


We have all the goods you will need in our showrooms in Studley and Charlbury

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