A backyard swimming pool can be life changing. But unfortunately, not always in the way you expect or want. With every afternoon spent lounging on a flamingo with a huge margarita in hand comes another one afternoon spent handling chemicals, cleaning pool liner and skimming bugs on top.
That’s almost enough to make you want to gut it all out, fill it with soil, and plant a pretty garden instead.
But you don’t have to let pool maintenance diminish your zest for life in the summer. You just have to make it easier for yourself. Here are seven tips:
1. Develop your weekly routine
Keeping your pool pristine, not just “acceptably not dirty”, requires military precision. Or at least a good routine.
Marc Montegani, the owner of Pool Heaven in Huntington Beach, CA, recommends reserving “once a week, the same day every week” for your pool routine. Measure and adjust your pool chemicals, brush the pool and take out the net for any large debris. Then empty the baskets and make sure the pool filter is clean.
“I could drive other pool service professionals crazy,” he says, “but I’m going to reveal the biggest secret of an expert pool cleaning service: consistency.”
Sounds like a lot of work? If you are not the handyman type, pool maintenance technicians will be happy to perform a weekly check on your pool. The cost can vary depending on where you live, but expect to pay between $ 100 and $ 400 per cleaning.
2. Breakdown budget
Owning a swimming pool can sometimes feel like supporting a very expensive and very difficult baby. Not only does this eat up your paycheck, it also requires vigilant attention. This is because your pool has several delicate parts and mechanisms, many of which are more susceptible to damage by being in constant contact with water.
“Swimming pool equipment is known for its breakdown,” says Jean Bodrozic, who lives in Sacramento, Calif., and co-founded HomeZada, software that automates home maintenance tasks.
Perhaps your motorized pump has stopped working, the plumbing is eroding, or the pump basket has broken. Either way, it’s money out of your pocket, on top of your utilities. Budget accordingly.
3. Drop the pool cover
If your area of the United States is known for its rainy summer, you might be inclined to grab the pool cover whenever there is a downpour.
“Most pool experts aren’t big fans of pool covers,” says Montegani. “They take longer playing with them than cleaning the pool.”
While these oversized tarps have their advantages, they can also cause algae and cloudy water. The build-up of debris can also put weight on the cover, allowing leaves and twigs to enter your pool just when you think you’re safe.
4. Monitor your water levels
Whether you live in a rainy or dry climate, you will need to learn how to measure the water levels in your pool. Luckily, it’s pretty easy: Just keep an eye on your skimmer, the “big hole in the tile where the pool pump sucks pool water in to filter it,” says Montegani.
The ideal water level is between the middle and the top of the skimmer. Too low, and your pump may burn out from lack of water. Too high, like after heavy rains, and your pool could overflow.
Each pool flows differently; If you are unsure of how yours works, consult a pool technician or the parts manufacturer on how to dispose of the excess.
5. Treat your pool like a bar
No, that doesn’t mean you should host a martini bar in the water. (Although we certainly don’t tell you not at.)
A good backyard pool has definitive “open” and “close” times. In cooler climates, you should open your pool in the spring, around May, and close in the winter, around October.
“This process involves closing the skimmers, removing the baskets, putting on winter chemicals and covering the pool,” says Bodrozic. Then reverse the steps in the spring.
Opening and closing your pool is a tedious job, but it’s mandatory for a good reason: First, closing allows you to thoroughly inspect your pool liner and make necessary repairs before the season. next. Second, skipping the closing process (or even delaying it too long) can lead to algae blooms, which will make your pool water clear green and pose a health risk to swimmers.
6. Eliminate sunscreen (and other oils)
Let’s clearly say that the sunscreen is good and that we are in certainly not tell you not to use it. But if you own a swimming pool, these kinds of things are going to cause you maintenance issues.
“With heavy use and sunscreen, more time brushing the tiles, netting and filtering the pool may be necessary,” says Montegani. “We need to keep the pool filter clean and efficient at all times, to filter out oils, dirt and grime.”
In addition to checking and changing the filter regularly, consider adding a small amount of non-chlorine shock each week “to help ensure sparkling, clean and safe pool water,” he says.
This eliminates chloramines – the source of that unpleasant “pool odor” – caused by body oil and use, and an indicator that your chlorine is not active and effective.
7. Find a favorite pro
For the most part, you can be comfortable with the DIY of maintaining your pool. But when the going gets tough, as they inevitably will, a relationship with a pool supply store can make all the difference.
“The pool supplier wins your business and shares their advice,” says Montegani.
Having an expert number in your digital Rolodex helps overcome the beginner’s maintenance hurdle.