Swimming pools are always a great thing to have on your property, but the maintenance aspect can be a lot to handle, especially if you let things get out of hand before addressing any issues.
As with most things, prevention is always better than reaction, so it’s essential that you adhere to some basic swimming pool maintenance tenants, locking in a simple routine that not only prevents major issues, but saves you time and effort as well.
Swimming pool cleaners are obviously a crucial part of pool maintenance, but proper care for your pool goes well beyond just sucking up and removing dirt and debris. In fact, keeping up with your pool maintenance allows for your automatic pool cleaners to be more effective.
If you have been struggling with how to care for a pool, or how to keep a pool clean, this guide can serve as an easy-to-follow resource that touches on each major aspect in pool care.
Getting rid of any debris in the pool should be the first order of business. Examine the pool for any large debris items that you can remove by using a handheld skimmer or net. To make your view a little more clear, aim the propulsion jets downwards to negate the ripple effect in the water.
After doing so, examine the pools traps and get rid of anything inside. This prevents the item from re-entering the pool area, as well as halting any decomposition that could alter the pool’s pH levels.
Another helpful step is to take measures to reduce the amount of debris that ends up in the pool in the first place. If there are bushes and tree limbs close to your pool, or even hovering overhead, trim them back to cut down on leaves, twigs, and branches falling in the pool.
Once you’ve taken care of all the large debris items present in the pool, it’s time to vacuum the floors and walls (if possible.) If your vacuum isn’t suitable for walls, use a scrub brush to remove any algae or dirt lining the walls before vacuuming.
If you have a handheld vacuum model, begin by first connecting it to the suction valve in the pool. Be sure to let all the air out of the vacuum hose first, otherwise the suction effect will be diminished.
One the vacuum is ready, begin vacuuming the floor, using long, slow sweeps in sections like you would if you were mowing the yard. Repeat the process until you’ve covered every inch, even if some spots look clean from your vantage point.
If you have an automatic pool cleaner, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to run a cleaning cycle. Give the cleaner plenty of time to fully run the cycle to ensure that it’s captured as much dirt and debris as possible before removing.
Do you lack a handheld pool vacuum, or simply want a way to spot vacuum parts of the pool in between using your automatic pool cleaner? You can easily create your own with just a few items. While the vacuum is shrewd in appearance, it costs very little to make, and can be just as effective as conventional vacuums.
You will need:
Begin by taking your funnel, and placing the pointed portion into the tubing. Using your glue gun, attach the funnel to the tubing, and create a full seal all of the way around. This not only secures the funnel, it also prevents air from leaking and ruining your suction power.
Once you have let the glue dry, double-check to make sure the seal is complete. After doing so, stretch the panty hose over the outside of the funnel, and secure with a rubber band. Your vacuum is now ready to be used.
As the season goes on, your pool will slowly lose water due to a number of factors, including evaporation and splashing. Low water levels not only affect the pH of your pool, they can put added stress on your pools surface strainer when the water drops below the threshold.
Check the water level weekly to make sure that it is where ie needs to be. If low, use your hose to raise the level back to normal.
Once your water level is ideal, and you’ve removed debris from the pool, it’s time to ensure that the pH levels are within the normal parameters. Pool water care is just as essential as your pool’s pump and filtration system. This keeps bacteria out of the pool, while also ensuring you don’t have too many chemicals residing in the water.
For those who don’t know, The pH scale is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity that falls between anywhere from 0 to 14. An ideal pH level for a swimming pool is 7.2 and 7.8. This range is safe for all swimmers, while also ensuring that sanitizers in the pool work at their most efficient level.
You can monitor your pool’s pH level with a pool chemistry test kit. There are many kinds of pool chemistry testing kits available, with most residential versions being reagent kits or test-strips. With a reagent kit, you take a sample of pool water, then add liquids or tablets to it. The water will then change its color, displaying its chemical balance.
Test-strips work in a different manner. Simply place the strio in the water, and observe the color on the strip after a few seconds. You then hold the strip up to a chart to see what the pH level is, and how much chemicals are required to get the level right.
The filtration system in your pool is the front line of defense when it comes to keeping the water clean and as pure as possible. Over time, the filter, or filters, will get bogged down after accumulating a large amount of dirt, pollen, and whatever else has been floating around.
Once the filter gets too dirty, water has a more difficult time passing through, which then causes your pump to have to work even hard to circulate the pool’s water. If left unchecked, you’ll eventually have a dirtier pool, a worn down pump, and an increase in your electric bill.
Avoiding this is easy: just check the filter each week when making your rounds. shut the pump off, lift the filter out, and hose it off if it’s too dirty. If the filter is still in a mediocre state, simply replace it. You should replace it at the start of the season as well, and possibly during the middle of the season too.
“Shocking” a pool refers to adding a large amount of chemicals to restore the pool to an ideal state. If your pool smells like it has too much chlorine, this is actually a sign of not enough chlorine, as the chemical breakdown from excess ammonia that creates the smell is the result of a lack of chlorine to neutralize the compounds.
Some pools need to be shocked once a week, so refer to your manufacturer’s instructions to be sure.
Properly preparing your pool for winter, and opening it in the right way will save you a lot of time and money, while also ensuring the health and structural state of your pool.
If your location has winters with below freezing temperatures, you’ll need to take certain steps to protect your pool, as water left in pipes can freeze and result in major problems. Use an air compressor to blow any remaining water out of the pool’s plumbing system when you are certain the swimming season is over.
You should also drain as much water as that you can from the pool’s filter and heating systems. Eliminated remaining water using nontoxic antifreeze. Disconnect the heater and pump, and then clean and store away the chemical feeders.
Finish the process by actually cleaning the pool thoroughly. Skim the surface, brush all of the walls, vacuum the floor, empty all of the skimmer baskets, close skimmer line valve,and then lower the water level to approximately 18 inches below the coping. Shock the pool one last time, and then cover it to keep it as clean as possible.
When it’s time to open the pool, do not take the cover off until you’ve cleaned the entire surrounding area around the pool. Sweep and hose debris and dirt away.
After doing so, reconnect everything that has been disconnected. Water needs to flow through the system, so open the skimmer’s line valve. Now you should test the water for its pH level, then shock the pool.
You will likely have to wait a full week until the pool can be used. Leave the pump running 24 hours a day, and reduce the cycle by only an hour or two each day until the water is completely balanced out. Now the pool is ready for summer!
Following these simple steps routinely is the best way to ensure a healthy and functional pool while also avoiding potential issues to its structure and system. Do you have any pool maintenance tips or things to avoid? Let us know in the comments below!