The importance of weekly pool maintenance during the summer
A cool, clear pool can be the pinnacle of luxury and refreshment in the middle of a summer heatwave – but pools are finicky at best, and the harsh heat of summer can quickly turn your personal oasis into something out of a horror movie.
Thankfully, a simple, consistent weekly routine is enough to let you keep enjoying your pool all year round. But maintaining that routine is easier said than done – and it’s particularly important during the summer months when the heat is at an all-time high, and the days are longest.
What does weekly pool maintenance look like?
If you want to make the most of your pool this summer, you will need to give it a little extra attention. Thankfully, this still only amounts to little more than a few minutes of work each day. Follow these simple steps, and remember, consistency is key!
- Skim your pool at least 3-4 times per week. Foliage, leaves and other organic matter break down into phosphates, which provide fuel for algae growth. Removing them as often as possible will help to keep algae to a minimum.
- Set your pump to run at least 6-8 hours per day. Water circulation is important to ensuring chemicals are spread throughout the pool. Remember, stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Check your water chemistry at least once per week, and make any necessary adjustments. Chlorine should be between 2ppm and 4ppm to keep the water sanitary. Chlorine gets used up and burned off more quickly during the summer, so you might need to up the dosage to combat bacteria and algae!
- Don’t be afraid to shock regularly. Most pool professionals will recommend a shock at least once per month during the summer.
- Keep an eye on water levels. Water will evaporate more rapidly during the summer, so it’s important to keep your water levels remain high enough to ensure no air is being passed through your pool equipment.
- Keep your yard and landscaping tidy. As we alluded to earlier, foliage is fuel for algae growth. If you can maintain a clean yard, it’s less likely that those leaves will end up in your pool.
Water chemistry, circulation, and brushing are the most important factors when it comes to preventing algae and bacterial growth.
Combating dry and humid heat
Summers are known for long, drawn out heat waves or oppressive rain – and both things aren’t necessarily conducive to keeping a pool clear for a long time.
While having the sun out is usually a prerequisite for getting a nice swim on, it also means you’ll need to pay special attention to your water levels and chlorine levels. Heat means evaporation, and a pool that’s constantly dropping below the ideal waterline is a bad thing. This means your water isn’t feeding back into the skimmer and filter, and the pump won’t be able to properly do its job.
The sunlight also helps algae proliferate, as these organisms thrive on photosynthesis. More sunlight throughout more hours of the day means more time to feed and grow and become a problem.
Finally, the sun actively breaks down chlorine and releases it into the air, reducing the free chlorine levels in your pool, which means your water won’t have the necessary sanitation levels to combat algae growth. This can mean more costs, and more frequent chlorine checks, even with helpful tools like cyanuric acid (which reduces the rate at which UV rays affect your chlorine levels).
In case of heavy rainfall
If the sun isn’t shining, then the next thing you might have to worry about is rainfall. The rain isn’t a bad thing for your pool per se, but it does carry with it a few causes for concern, including algae spores, and strong winds.
These winds usually blow more foliage and other organic matter into your pool, which means more work skimming at best, or pool stains at worst. Heavy rainfall also drags with it plenty of soil and dirt, which can lead to accumulating inorganic materials in your pool, especially metals like copper, manganese, and iron. These can stain your pool walls and floor with unusual colors like deep reds, purple, and black.
The heavier the storm, the greater the risk that you’ll wake up the next day with more than a slight tinge of green in the water, and your fair share of broken branches, leaves, flowers, and berries.
Consider cleaning your filter after a significant rainstorm. Most of the new organic material introduced through the storm will likely be caught up in your filter.
Summer landscaping and pool maintenance
From spring through fall, plenty of perennial plants bloom and wither time and time again. This is a colorful and pleasant contrast to the dead of winter, but it also means you’ve got to pay attention to what the winds might drag into the water.
Colorful berries and flowers can cause the most staining, decomposing and seeping into the cement of your pool. Keeping your pool surface clear and skimming often can help you avoid having to deal with stains most of the time.
What if you haven’t kept up?
Stagnant pools and pools left to languish will often be plagued with a number of problems: excessive algae growth, low water levels, sludge-like or swamp-like water consistency, and lots of staining.
Don’t worry. Even the darkest, greenest pool can be brought back to life. It’s just a matter of time, resources, and a bit of elbow grease. Or you can call in the pros – and watch them do most of the dirty work.
If your pool hasn’t developed to the point where you can no longer tell how deep it is, then there’s still hope that a few days spent running the pump, brushing and vacuuming in constant succession, and treating the water, will be enough to bring your pool back to its crystal-clear state.
A few advanced tips and tricks – such as using flocculants to sift up and run all your dead algae through the pool filter, running tests on your alkalinity and total dissolved solids to get an idea of whether you might need to drain a portion of the pool and refill it with fresh water, and using metal sequestrants to pool together the accumulated inorganic matter from rainfall and soil – can go a long way towards turning even the darkest, swampiest pool into a refreshing oasis.
If you’re considering turning to your pool pros to get a handle on your pool, as well as learn more about what you might want to pay attention to as a pool owner in your area and climate, be sure to bring a good sample of your pool water for them to check out. That will give them a better idea of what you’re working with, what you might need to balance the water, and what it might cost you in supplies to get your pool back in shape and keep it nice and clean on a weekly basis.