What a swimming pool taught me about EVERYTHING

Recently our swimming pool turned a nice, deep, not-so-luscious green. Now, this is not the first time it happened. After fixing the green monster a few times before, you get to know why it turned green in the first place and which water levels are out.

To have perfect swimming pool water

There are 4 main water levels that one needs to control to have great looking water:

  • pH level – it shouldn’t be too low or too high. It should be as close to 7.2 as possible. I have found in the past that when the water gets too acidic, then the water tends to go green quickly.
  • Chlorine level – there needs to be a certain amount of chlorine in the water. Chlorine alone will not cure a green swimming pool.
  • Alkalinity level – there needs to be a certain level of alkaline in the water.
  • Stabiliser level – there is nothing that you can really add to the water to change this level and it is a level that is influenced by the other 3 levels mentioned above. That is what I observed over time.

To have a great looking swimming pool, all four these levels need to be at their optimum levels.

Thinking you know what is wrong

I fixed the pool so many times before, I thought all I needed to do is raise the pH and add more chlorine to the water. Yet, the pool just got worse and worse. For two weeks I couldn’t get the water to lose its lovely green colour. The reasons I tried to fix the things I believed to be wrong without actually testing the water, is because I thought I knew what was wrong and also, I did not have any more test strips.

Not having test strips did not bother me, I mean, I “know what is wrong”.

Finally, I gave up. I got in the car, drove to the store and bought test strips. And they are expensive. R 110 for 15 little strips. I tested the water as soon as I got back and to my amazement, the alkalinity was way too high. it was about 8.4. I checked how much pool acid to add to get it down to between 7.0 and 7.2. The test strip also showed there was hardly any chlorine in the water, although I added lots of chlorine during the week. Again, I was amazed. I added more chlorine. I was amazed at the results.

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 5:

Day 7:

Knowing what is wrong

Standing in amazement, looking at the pool now shining in all its glory, I focused on what I should learn from this.

  1. I thought I knew enough to fix the problem (I was wrong).
  2. I thought I was taking the right actions to fix the problems I thought I identified (based on previous problems and solutions for what seemed to be the same problem).
  3. I wasted time (a whole 2 weeks).
  4. I wasted money (running the pump, using chemicals I shouldn’t have).
  5. I wasted chemicals (I used the wrong chemicals and then I needed more to fix the problem).
  6. Using the right tool(s) at your disposal will help you identify and confirm the actual problem, no guesswork.
  7. Always following a process to deal with any problems, opportunities, change, etc. will save you lots of time, money and frustration.
  8. Always be open to check if you are in fact still right, even if you’ve done it a million times before.
  9. There are instances when something seems to be an expense, when it is actually an investment (referring to the test strips).
  10. This applies to all areas of one’s life, not just the swimming pool.

What a valuable lesson this was to learn and to be reminded of.


  • Francois du Toit, CFP®

    Francois du Toit, CFP® holds a B. Com degree in Risk Management as well as the Post-Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning. He is an avid miniature figure painter with a passion for helping others succeed and for professionalising the Financial Services Industry. He holds the certification of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® or CFP® in good standing with the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa as well as being a registered Tax Practitioner with them and SARS. Francois offers a unique and powerful proposition to businesses employing Financial Advisers and Broker Consultants that leads to significant improvement in production and reduced advice risk. His practical experience, success, technical knowledge and understanding the challenges and opportunities in this field, ensure immediate practical application in the target market. Francois has designed and created very successful online courses for the Financial Planning Institute and has trained hundreds of financial planners, advisers and other trainers for among others Old Mutual, PPS, Liberty, Iress and atWork. His ability to answer questions that relate to practical on-the-ground issues is what sets him apart from traditional trainers who may not have been in practice.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *