A swimming pool has a lot to offer, including special gatherings with your friends and family. In order to maintain these relaxing and enjoyable moments, it’s important to maintain your pool.
Yet, pool maintenance can be overwhelming. To help, here is a detailed list of 6 swimming pool maintenance tips to read and follow.
Swimming Pool Maintenance Tips
Owning a swimming pool comes with a sizeable list of responsibilities. Left neglected for too long, your pool can succumb to pump problems and broken filters, leaky piping, murky green waters, and thick algae buildup. Like a well-oiled machine, regular maintenance and daily care are crucial to minimizing the most common swimming pool problems and making the most of what should be an enjoyable luxury.
Here are 6 swimming pool maintenance tips for keeping your pool in good shape and saving yourself both considerable time and money.
1. Skim Every Day
At some point, you begin to figure out that the key to keeping a pool nice and inviting is through consistent, and simple daily care. Much like getting out in front of a problem, you’re better off dedicating just a few minutes every day – or even less than that depending on the size of your pool – to skim over the surface and filter out the largest and most obvious debris, rather than wait for the water to get murky, the walls and floors to get green, and the filter to get stuffed.
Build it into your day. Grab the skimmer and give the pool a once-over before or after work, first thing in the morning, or later in the afternoon. Take the moment to appreciate the weather, spend some time in your backyard or garden, or clean your pool as part of your daily pre-workout ritual before heading in for a few laps.
Of course, some days are much heavier than others. Autumn, storm season or even just a strong gust can leave your pool cluttered. Poor pool planning, such as building right next to or under a tree grove, will lead to quite a few headaches. You can minimize some of these issues by:
- Clearing out overhead and surrounding branches.
- Considering a perimeter fence.
- More intensive landscaping.
- Installing a pool cover.
2. Set Aside a Day a Week for More Thorough Cleaning
Daily skimming can keep your pool inviting on most days, but there’s far more than just a few leaves and bugs swimming around in there. Algae buildup from spores in the rain and wind, dirt, soil, dead skin, and other organic and inorganic material will gather and settle over time, despite your filter’s best efforts.
It’s a good idea to be proactive here, too, by giving the walls and floors of your pool a calm and thorough once-over with a pool brush and vacuum at least once a week. If you’ve got kids, it’s a great summer chore. Check the pump strainer baskets, keep an eye on the pump pressure, and clean out the skimmer to keep your pool’s circulation healthy. This will disturb and disrupt algae blooms.
Depending on the season, area, and filter size, you may want to clean out your pool’s filter cartridge at least once every three months, or as often as once a month. Certain events and natural occurrences may mandate an immediate cleaning session. These include:
- Pool parties.
- After a heavy algae bloom and subsequent chemical clean.
Whenever your filter is bound to take on a heavy wave of material, show it some love.
Aside from manual cleaning, keeping an eye on your pool’s chemistry at least once a week is also important. Should your sanitizer levels get too low, for example, you’ll wake up to a much greener swimming environment than you might like. Shock your pool once or twice a week and keep an eye on other chemical levels. Pool shocking involves backwashing concentrations of chlorine.
Be careful! Shocking your pool too often will attack and break down the pool lining. Once a week is enough.
3. Know Your Pool Chemistry 101
Whereas skimming, circulation, and keeping your filters clean are the 101’s of manual cleaning, chemical cleaning is the other side of the coin. The science of a clean pool lies in maintaining a careful chemical balance to keep your pool clean, without negatively impacting your health or enjoyment of the pool, and without damaging the pool itself.
Aside from the weekly or biweekly shock, your chlorine levels should stay between 1 and 3 parts per million. That’s roughly 0.00013 ounces per gallon of water. Use a chlorine test strip to check your levels often.
Your pH should float at about 7.4 and can be manipulated through pool acids or sodas. Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and sodium carbonate (soda ash) are two common chemicals for raising the pH levels of a pool (making it more basic). Common pool acids include sodium bisulfate and muriatic acid.
Calcium hardness is the third thing to keep an eye on, based on what materials your pool is built from. In water chemistry, a water’s hardness described by its calcium and magnesium levels interacts with its pH level to determine whether the water has a too high or too low mineral content, which can lead to either mineral deposits (scaling, rough surfaces, reduced circulation) or corrosivity (eating away at the pool, destroying grout, plaster, and concrete). Pool water shouldn’t be too hard, nor too soft.
4. Check the Water Levels
This one is a no-brainer, but it bears mentioning. Keep an eye on your water levels to keep your pool circulating efficiently. That means keeping the water level at least a third of the way up the skimmer box and at most half of the way up.
5. Get (At Least) a Yearly Checkup
Saturation levels, water hardness, alkalinity, heavy debris, algae bloom, and water pressure – these all serve to wear down pumps and pipes over time.
Just like our own circulatory system, you owe it to your pool to get a professional to go over your pool system, keeping an eye out for leaks or strange sounds, or signs of imminent failure.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Hire Someone
Pool maintenance is a science in and of itself, and for most pool owners, it’s bound to be a tedious one. Whether you choose to handle your weekly cleanings alone and turn to professionals for a biannual checkup or want regular pool care to make sure your pool is tested and maintained on a regular basis, it’s a better long-term investment to get in touch with professionals than to risk the costs of serious damage due to poor or irregular maintenance.