It can be daunting to keep a swimming pool clean, but it doesn’t have to be as burdensome as you may think. Even though all swimming pools are unique in their own way, they all require one commonality: a regular care routine.
Regardless if you rely on a service company to treat your pool, your swimming pool will still require a few things that you need to do on your own to ensure that your pool stays in good condition for years to come. These tips will get you started on pool maintenance for beginners!
First, let’s talk about the different kinds of pools and the different types of treatment they require. Concrete pool maintenance, vinyl, and, of course, fiberglass are prime examples of low maintenance pools. Some pools have various alternative finishes that need to be looked at on a case-to-case basis.
All pools, regardless of material, tend to deteriorate with age due to exposure to the elements like the sun, debris, and chemicals. There are a few steps you can take to extend the life of your swimming pool.
Gliding the pool’s surface by hand every few days is one of the easiest and quickest ways to maintain a clean pool. Floating debris will sink after some time and will become harder to remove. To do this, you can use a net with a long handle called a hand skimmer or leaf skimmer to remove any unwanted items like leaves and bugs.
Skimming notably increases the success of the pool’s circulation system and decreases the amount of chlorine you’ll have to add to the pool.
One easy pool maintenance tip is removing the strainer baskets and cleaning them at least once a week as it also helps the circulation and lowers chlorine demands. The strainer baskets are attached to the pool deck of inground pools and on the side of above-ground pools.
Next on your swimming pool maintenance checklist is vacuuming. Kind of confusing to vacuum a body of water, but it is a crucial pool care tip. A pool should be vacuumed about once a week to keep the water clear and reduce the amount of chemicals you have to add to it.
There is a variety of pool vacuums, so the process may look a little different depending on what type you have. If you have a manual design, work it back and forth all over the surface of the pool like you would if vacuuming carpet. It’s good form to slightly overlap each stroke.
You should check the filter every time that you vacuum and clean it if necessary. But vacuuming isn’t the only cleaning that should be done once a week. You can minimize algae and calcium buildup by brushing the walls and tile. If your pool is made out of concrete, select a stiffer brush. If you have a vinyl or fiberglass pool, choose a softer brush so you don’t damage the material.
Arguably the most confusing part of the maintenance routine is the pool filters. If you are really asking how to take care of a pool, filters are a crucial step. There are typically three different kinds of pool filters for swimming pools, including sand, cartridge, and diatomaceous earth. They all require periodic maintenance and cleaning but have different procedures and recommendations. Now here is where it gets confusing.
A clean filter is actually less effective than a filter with a mild amount of dirt in it. This is because the layer of dirt can help trap other particles that a clean filter wouldn’t latch on to.
Having said this, you also don’t want the filter to get too grimy, so an excellent way to measure is when the flow between the flow meter and pressure gauge reaches 10 to 15 pounds per square inch.
Now moving on to the most important step in swimming pool maintenance, the water. Throughout the swimming season, a lot of water will be lost primarily because of evaporation and normal wear and tear.
Make sure you check your water level weekly, preferably when removing any grime with the skimmer. If the water falls below the level of the skimmer, this could potentially damage the pump.
You should use a garden hose to bring it back up to the water level. As a common rule, it’s better to leave the water in the pool during the wintertime because the weight of the water works against the forces from the ground and presses up against the pool from below, decreasing any chance of damage.
Pool water should also be tested on a regular basis to make sure it’s clean and healthy. The pH scale runs from 0 to 14 and is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity. Your swimming pool is safe for swimming if the pH balance is between 7.2 and 7.8. You can monitor your pool’s pH level with an at-home testing kit.
Depending on where you live, you might have to winterize your pool. If your climate tends to drop below freezing in temperatures, you’ll have to take some extra steps to ensure your pool stays healthy.
First, use an air compressor to blow any water out of the pool’s pipes and plumbing. Then, drain the water from the filter and heater, and any remaining water can be removed through the use of antifreeze that is pool-specific.
If you properly winterize your pool, it will be very easy to reopen it in the summer. Just make sure you remove all debris around the pool before opening the cover. Use a hose to get the water levels back up and reconnect everything. Next, test the pH level and give it at least a week for the water to become swimmable.
Owning a pool is a lot of fun! While it may be a little extra work to keep your pool in good shape, it’s worth it for a perfect summer day.
Use this as a guide to help you maintain your pool, as you’ll avoid a lot of costly issues down the road and also continue to enjoy your amazing pool with family and friends for years to come!
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