How Long Can You Leave Water In An Inflatable Pool?

How Long Can You Leave Water In An Inflatable Pool?

Inflatable pools, whether a small kiddie pool or a larger pool for the entire family, are a popular way to enjoy the warmer weather in the UK. These pools offer an easy and convenient way to cool off and have some fun in the garden with the whole family, but they also require you to change the water or treat it, to ensure the water remains clean and safe for use. One of the most common questions that comes up as the weather warms up is how long can you leave water in an inflatable pool. It's not quite as straightforward as you think, but we've put together some details on how you can best keep everyone safe when using a paddling pool, inflatable hot tub or a bigger family blow-up pool.

How Long Can You Leave Water In An Inflatable Pool?

In a small kiddie pool or baby pool without any filtration or chemical treatment, it’s best to change the water every day or at least every three to four days to avoid the buildup of harmful bacteria. However, with proper maintenance, including the use of chlorine tablets, a filter pump, and regular cleaning, you can leave the water in a larger inflatable pool for up to two weeks. Hot tubs can be changed up to every three months.

Chlorine Tablets

One of the easiest ways to maintain clean pool water is by using chlorine tablets. Chlorine helps keep the water free from harmful bacteria and algae. If your pool is of a size that emptying and refilling isn't that easy, you can keep your pool water safe by using chlorine tablets, but maintaining the right amount of chlorine is crucial. Without chlorine, the water can become a breeding ground for bacteria like E. coli, which poses a significant health risk.

For a small pool or hot tub, using a floating chlorine dispenser can help evenly distribute the chlorine. For larger inflatable pools, more robust solutions such as a filter pump or a sand filter might be necessary. Regularly testing the chlorine level with a test kit is essential to ensure the chemical levels are appropriate. The ideal chlorine level for an inflatable pool should be around 1 to 3 ppm (parts per million).

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning is vital for maintaining good water quality. This includes using a pool skimmer net to remove debris from the top of the pool, and a pool vacuum to clean the bottom of the pool. An oil-absorbing sponge can help remove any oils or lotions left behind by swimmers. It's also a good idea to use a ground cover under your pool to prevent dirt and grass from entering the water.

In addition to physical cleaning, it's important to maintain the chemical balance of the water. This involves testing and adjusting the pH level, total alkalinity, and chlorine levels regularly. The pH level should be between 7.2 and 7.8 to ensure the chlorine works effectively.


The Risks of Stagnant Water

Leaving water stagnant for too long can lead to a long list of problems, including algae growth and the proliferation of bacteria. Stagnant water is not only a health hazard but also can become unpleasant to swim in. It’s crucial to keep the water circulating and well-maintained to avoid these issues. Using a pool cover when the pool is not in use can help keep your pool cleaner and reduce the need for more frequent cleaning.

Signs Your Water Needs Changing

Knowing when to change the water in your inflatable pool is important, here are some things to look for when checking your inflatable pool

Cloudy or Murky Water

If the water becomes cloudy or murky, it’s a clear sign that it’s time for a change. Cloudiness can be caused by a buildup of bacteria, algae, and other contaminants.

Strong Chlorine or Chemical Odour

While a faint chlorine smell is normal, a strong chemical odour can indicate an imbalance or the presence of too many contaminants reacting with the chlorine. If your water smells like this, it's a clear sign that your pool requires fresh water and a reset of chemical levels.

Visible Algae Growth

Algae can make the water appear green and slimy. If you notice any algae growth, it’s time to drain and thoroughly clean the pool before refilling it. You can find out more about swimming in a pool with algae in it in this post.

Skin or Eye Irritation

If you or your loved ones experience irritation of the skin, eyes, or respiratory system, it may indicate that the water chemistry is off, or the pool has become contaminated with bacteria or other irritants.

Excessive Debris

When you notice a lot of leaves, insects, dirt, or other debris in the pool, and the skimmer net and pool vacuum are no longer sufficient to keep it clean, it’s a sign that the water needs changing.

Chemical Imbalance

Regularly test the water using a water testing kit. If the pH, chlorine, and total alkalinity levels are consistently out of balance despite adjustments, it’s time to start fresh with new water.

Best Practices for Monitoring Pool Water Quality

Daily Inspection - Check the water every day for clarity, odour, and any visible signs of contamination or imbalance.

Regular Chemical Testing - Use a water testing kit to monitor chlorine levels, pH, and total alkalinity at least twice a week. The ideal levels for your pool are:

- Chlorine: 1-3 ppm

- pH: 7.2-7.8

- Total Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm

Use Chlorine Tablets - Keep the water sanitised with chlorine tablets. For inflatable pools, a floating chlorine dispenser can help maintain consistent levels.

Filter Pump and Skimming - For larger pools, use a filter pump to keep the water circulating and clean. Skim the surface daily with a skimmer net to remove floating debris.

Vacuum the Pool - Use a pool vacuum to clean the bottom of the pool weekly, or more often if needed, to remove dirt and algae.

Cover the Pool - When not in use, cover the pool to prevent debris from entering and to reduce evaporation and chemical degradation.

Things To Think About

During hotter months, water can evaporate quickly and chemicals can break down faster. Increase the frequency of chemical testing and maintenance during these times. It's also worth knowing that if the pool is used heavily or by many people, contaminants like sweat, dirt, and oils can accumulate faster. Be prepared to change the water more frequently under these conditions. If you are in doubt about your pool or hot tub water it’s always better to err on the side of caution and change the water to avoid any problems arising from your pool water.

​Different Pools

Small Inflatable Pools

These pools typically require the most frequent water changes, especially if used by children who can introduce contaminants like dirt and urine. You are best to empty and change the water in these pools on a daily basis.

Large Inflatable Pools

With proper use of chemicals and filtration, the water in these pools can last longer, but still requires regular testing and maintenance. If properly maintained, the water in these pools can be changed every one to two weeks.

Hot Tubs

These require more maintenance and regular water testing due to the higher water temperature which can accelerate bacterial growth. For a permanent hot tub, you should change your water every 2 - 3 months, for an inflatable hot tub, you should change the water at least every month.

Saltwater Pools

These use a salt chlorine generator to produce chlorine from salt added to the water, reducing the need for traditional chlorine tablets.

Health Risks

Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are a significant concern with any type of pool. These illnesses can result from swallowing or having contact with contaminated water. Proper chlorination and regular cleaning are the best ways to prevent RWIs. It’s also essential to ensure that those using the pool or hot tub shower before entering the pool to remove sweat, dirt, and other contaminants.

Pool or Hot Tub Covers

Using a cover for your pool or hot tube is a simple yet effective way to maintain clean water. It helps keep debris out, reduces evaporation, and can even help retain heat in the water. This is particularly beneficial for pools in direct sunlight, which can accelerate evaporation and chemical breakdown.

Draining and Refilling Your Pool

When it's time to change the water, ensure you follow the manufacturer's instructions for draining and refilling. Most inflatable pools come with a drain plug that makes this process easier. When refilling, use a garden hose to add fresh water and then balance the chemical levels as needed.

Best Practices for Pool Maintenance

To keep your inflatable pool in good condition, follow these steps:

Daily Skimming and Covering - Use a skimmer net to remove debris and cover the pool when not in use.

Regular Chlorination - Use chlorine tablets or a bleach solution to maintain a safe chlorine level.

Weekly Vacuuming - Clean the bottom of the pool with a pool vacuum to remove settled dirt.

Chemical Testing - Regularly test the water with a water testing kit to monitor pH and chlorine levels.

Filter Use - For larger pools, use a filter system to keep the water circulating and clean

It's important to maintain the water in your inflatable pool or inflatable hot tub. By using chlorine tablets, keeping the pool covered, and sticking to a consistent cleaning schedule, you can extend the time between water changes and ensure safe water for you and your loved ones. Remember to monitor the chemical levels regularly and adjust as necessary to prevent the water from becoming a health risk. By following these guidelines you can enjoy your inflatable pool or hot tub throughout the summer without constant worry about water quality. 

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