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 must try.
1. Make skimming and scrubbing a part of your life
For a truly pristine pool, skimming leaves and debris from the surface of the water should be done daily. If you have a little extra cash to spend, consider purchasing 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 the buildup of algae. You can get by by rubbing once every two weeks. For particularly stubborn stains, fill an old sock with chlorine and let it sit on the stain for a few hours before scrubbing again.
2. Think of the filter as the kidneys of your pool.
Just as your kidneys are constantly working to flush 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 pool deck, 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 hose ejects clear water. Turning the filter on and off too often can crack the mechanics of the filter, 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
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of swimming pool maintenance is chemical levels. Poorly balanced water looks cloudy, irritates your 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), six chemical levels need to be considered:
* Cyanuric acid – protects chlorine from sunlight and determines the level of free chlorine required. An ideal reading for outdoor pools is 30 to 50.
* Free chlorine – a disinfectant that keeps your swimming pool water healthy and free from germs.
* Acidity / alkalinity – also called the PH level, the acidity must be kept between 7.5 and 7.8 to avoid irritation and protect the pool equipment from erosion.
* Total alkalinity – helps to keep the PH in balance. Levels should be between 60 and 120.
* Calcium hardness – appropriate levels help prevent damage to the cast. Aim for 220 to 350, but less for swimming pools with vinyl siding.
Testing the water is easy. Just buy a few test kits at 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 vials. After a few seconds your water sample will change color and a comparison of the water sample with the colors shown 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, odorless, and leave very little residue on your skin.
4. Try baking soda instead of chemicals
Most pool stores suggest using sodium bicarbonate to control the alkalinity of a swimming pool without drastically reducing pH levels. Regular baking soda does the same job as baking soda for just a fraction of the cost. All cans of baking soda even have sodium bicarbonate listed on their ingredient label. Baking soda has the same concentration of sodium bicarbonate per pound as solutions, so the amount you need to add to your water would be the same.
5. Don’t be afraid to shock a cloudy pool
Shocking refers to the 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 disinfectant with water, pouring it slowly down the pool return line, allowing it to filter throughout the pool, then slowly filling the pool with water over time. While shocking too often will damage your pool liner, you should aim to shock the pool at least twice per season.
6. You need to monitor the water level
You want to maintain a level halfway up the opening of your skimmer. If the water level is too low, simply use a garden hose to add the amount of water needed. 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 seeing a professional. When you have reached the proper water level, be sure to recheck the chemicals. Fluctuations in the water level will have them unbalanced.
7. Use a tennis ball to absorb the oils.
When swimmers get out of the pool, some oils can remain in the water – sunscreen, hair product, and natural oils produced by our skin. Just throw a tennis ball into the water. The fibers used to make the tennis ball will help absorb the oils and prevent them from leaving a smooth sheen on the water.
8. Pressure washing to shine the pool deck
You can help keep your pool deck shiny by washing with high pressure. Pressure washing, also known as pressure washing, will help remove rust or weather stains that occur over time. You can rent a pressure washer from any home improvement store. Start by cleaning 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 cleaned to avoid streaks. You will want the pressure washer nozzle to be several feet from the surface of the pool deck and maintain that height to avoid gouges.
9. Schedule an annual service appointment – whether you need it 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 might not have the knowledge to maintain them. At least once a year, have a pool service professional come to check your devices. Before your date, take a close look at your pool as a whole, making sure to use all of your senses. Compile a list of all the leaks you see in the plumbing, holes you notice in linear and loud sounds from mechanisms or strange smells coming from water. Mention them to your service person to give them an idea where to start. In the event that there is nothing wrong with your pool, the annual service appointment may seem like a waste of money and it may be tempting to cancel, but detecting and fixing a small problem now can save you the money. having to deal with a huge crisis later.
10. Learn how to winter properly to avoid damage
As important as pool maintenance is during the summer, it is even more important to make sure it is properly secured for the winter. After all, no one wants to remove a pool cover in early summer only to find their pool has a leak or their 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 go out of business in the fall, purchase a water test kit to make sure your chemicals are properly balanced. Next, remove any excess water from your plumbing lines and invest in a cover to keep the pool free of debris.
By incorporating these pool care tips into a regular cleaning routine, you can ensure that you spend more time sunbathing than doing chores.
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