Without a proper maintenance routine, your pool could succumb to a variety of less than luxurious conditions such as green water, broken filters, and algae buildup, to name a few.
Here are 10 pool maintenance tips you need to try.
1. Make skimming and scrubbing a part of life
For a truly pristine pool, skimming leaves and debris from the surface of the water should be done daily. If you have some money to spend, consider buying a robot vacuum that will clean the bottom of the pool for you. In addition to skimming, you should scrub the walls of the pool to prevent algae buildup. You can get away with scrubbing once every two weeks. For those particularly stubborn stains, fill an old sock with chlorine and let it sit on the stain for a few hours before scrubbing once more.
2. Think of the filter as the kidneys of your pool
Just as your kidneys are constantly working to remove impurities from your body, your pool filter is responsible for removing impurities from the water – think dirt, leaves and even small toys. Most of the time, the pool can be cleaned by turning off the filter, removing the filter cap located on the deck of the pool, lifting the filter basket and removing all debris before replacing everything. It is best to clean your filter basket at least once a week. Once a month, you’ll also want to clean the pipes used by your filtration system, which you can do by backwashing. To do this, simply set your filter to backwash, remove the leaf basket and clean it. Then turn on your pump and let it run until the drain pipe ejects clear water. Turning the filter on and off too often can cause the filter mechanics to crack, so set your filter on a timer and let it run for at least six hours a day.
3. Swimming pools need constant chemical levels
Chemical levels are arguably one of the most important aspects of pool maintenance. Poorly balanced water looks cloudy, irritates skin and eyes, and can make your pool a breeding ground for bacteria. Ideally, you should test the water at least once a week. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are six chemical levels to consider:
* Cyanuric acid – protects the chlorine from the sun’s rays and determines the level of free chlorine required. An ideal reading for outdoor pools is 30 to 50.
* Free chlorine – a sanitizer that keeps your pool water healthy and germ-free.
* Acidity/alkalinity – also known as the PH level, acidity should be maintained between 7.5 and 7.8 to prevent irritation and protect pool equipment from erosion.
* total alkalinity – helps maintain PH balance. Levels should be between 60 and 120.
* calcium hardness – proper levels help prevent damage to plaster. Aim for 220 to 350, but less for vinyl-lined pools.
Testing water is easy. Simply purchase a few test kits from your local pool store and fill it with a sample of your pool water. Add the solution provided to the test kit and close the bottles. After a few seconds, your sample water will change color and a comparison of the sample water with the colors listed on the test kit should allow you to determine the current chemical levels. You should adjust the levels as needed to achieve the ideal balance. When all the chemicals are properly balanced, the water should be crystal clear, fragrance free and leave very little residue on your skin.
4. Try baking soda instead of chemicals
Most pool stores suggest using baking soda to control a pool’s alkalinity without drastically reducing PH levels. Regular baking soda does the same job as baking soda for just a fraction of the price. All baking soda boxes even have sodium bicarbonate listed on their ingredient label. Baking soda has the same concentration of sodium bicarbonate per pound as the solutions, so the amount you would need to add to your water would be identical.
5. Don’t be afraid to shock a murky pool
Shocking refers to a drastic increase in chlorine levels for a short period of time to kill bacteria. This is done by diluting three to five times the normal amount of chlorine or other chemical sanitizer with water, slowly pouring it into the pool’s return line, letting it filter through the entire pool, and then slowly filling the pool with water over time. Although shocking too often could damage your pool’s liner, you should aim to shock the pool at least twice per season.
6. You need to watch the water level
You want to maintain a level halfway up your skimmer opening. If the water level is too low, simply use a garden hose to add the necessary amount of water. If the water level is too high, rent a submersible pump from a home improvement store to drain the excess. However, if your pool liner is a vinyl or fiberglass material that could be easily damaged by the weight of the pump, consider consulting a professional. When you have reached the proper water level, remember to recheck the chemicals. Fluctuations in the water level will have thrown them out of balance.
7. Use a tennis ball to absorb oils
When swimmers get out of the pool, some oils can remain in the water – sunscreen lotion, hair product and natural oils produced by our skin. Just throw a tennis ball in the water. The fibers used to make the tennis ball will help absorb oils and prevent them from leaving a smooth shine above the water.
8. Pressure washing to make the pool deck shine
You can help keep your pool deck shiny by power washing it. Pressure washing, also known as pressure washing, will help remove rust spots or weathering that occurs over time. You can rent a pressure washer at any home improvement store. Start by sweeping the deck of any dirt or stray leaves first. Set the machine to a low to medium power jet and remove surface debris in layers, repeating the process until the surface is clean. Overlap the areas you’ve cleaned to avoid streaks. You will want the pressure washer nozzle to be several feet from the surface of the pool deck and maintain this height to avoid nicks.
9. Schedule an annual service appointment – whether you think you need one or not
Sometimes you have to trust an expert. When it comes to the mechanical equipment in your pool, such as pumps, filters, heating systems, you may not have the knowledge to maintain them. At least once a year, have a pool maintenance professional come in to check on your fixtures. Before your appointment, carefully examine your pool as a whole, making sure to use all of your senses. Compile a list of any leaks you see in the piping, holes you notice in the shelf, loud sounds coming from the mechanisms, or strange smells coming from the water. Mention them to your service person to give them an idea of where to start. In the event that there is nothing wrong with your pool, the annual maintenance appointment may seem like a waste of money and it may be tempting to cancel it, but detecting and fixing a small problem now can save you from having to solve a huge crisis later. .
10. Learn how to overwinter properly to avoid damage
As important as pool maintenance is during the summer, it’s even more important to make sure you’re securing it properly for the winter. After all, no one wants to take off a pool cover at the start of summer only to find their pool has a leak or its water is full of dangerous bacteria. Taking the right steps to properly winterize your pool can save you a lot of time and money on repairs for next season. Before you close up shop in the fall, buy a water testing kit to make sure your chemicals are properly balanced. Then blow out any excess water from your plumbing lines and invest in a cover to keep the pool free of debris.
By incorporating these pool maintenance tips into a regular cleaning routine, you can ensure that you spend more time tanning than doing chores.
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