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10 Pool Maintenance Tips That You Need To Try Right Now
The idea of having a pool in your own backyard will always be incredibly glamorous. It’s easy to give into daydreams of hosting weekend parties, adopting an invigorated fitness routine that includes laps after work, and spending long afternoons lounging poolside while cultivating the perfect tan.
But, in those daydreams, one crucial element of pool ownership is often forgotten: the maintenance. Without a proper maintenance routine, your pool could succumb to a variety of less-than-luxurious conditions – green water, broken filters, and algae build up, just to name a few. And, no one wants to lay by a pool that’s seen better days.
1. Make A Skimming and Scrubbing A Part Of Life
Skimming the leaves and debris off of the surface of the water is a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. For a truly pristine pool, skimming should be done daily.
If you have a bit of money to spend, consider buying a robot vacuum that will clean the bottom of the pool for you. This Polaris Pool 360 ranks middle-of-the-road in terms of pricing and consistently receives five-star performance reviews
In addition to skimming, you need to scrub the sides of the pool to prevent algae build-up. Thankfully, that doesn’t need to be done quite as often. You can get away with scrubbing once every other week. Just look for any growths and go at them with a scrub brush to keep your siding looking fresh and clean.
For those particularly stubborn spots that won’t go away with any amount of elbow grease? Repurpose an old sock. Fill it with chlorine and let it sit on top of the spot for a few hours before scrubbing once more. The chlorine will eat away at the algae and you’ll finally have a use for those socks without pairs. It’s a win-win.
Here are 10 pool maintenance tips that you need to try right now. Whether you’ve just opened your pool for the very first time or you’ve been a proud owner for years, check out these tips to get your summer season off to the right start.
2. Think Of The Filter As Your Pool’s Kidneys
Just as your kidneys are constantly working to remove impurities from your body, your pool’s 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 out the filter basket, and removing any debris before replacing everything. It’s Affordable to clean out your filter basket at least once a week.
Once a month you’ll also want to clean out the pipes utilized by your filter system, which you can do by backwashing. To do so, simply set your filter to “backwash,” remove the leaf basket and clean it out. Then turn on your pump and let it run until the waste pipe ejects clear water.
A final note on turning the filter on and off: Doing so too often can cause the filter’s mechanics to crack. Set your filter on a timer and allow it to run for at least six hours a day.
3. Pools Need Consistent Chemical Levels
Chemical levels are arguably one of the most important facets of pool maintenance. The improperly balanced water looks murky, irritates skin and eyes, and can cause your pool to become 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 that need to be considered:
Testing the water is easy. Simply buy a few testing kits from your local pool store. Fill it with a sample of your pool’s water. Add the provided solution to the testing kit and close the vials. After a few seconds, your sample water will change color and a comparison of the sample water to the colors shown on the testing kit should allow you to determine the current chemical levels. You should adjust the levels, as needed, to achieve an ideal balance.
When all the chemicals are properly balanced, the water should be crystal clear, have no scent, and leave very little residue on your skin.
4. Chemicals Costing Too Much? Give Baking Soda A Try
There’s no denying that pool chemicals can be expensive to purchase, so why not get a little help straight from the grocery store?
Most pool stores suggest using sodium bicarbonate to control the alkalinity of a pool without drastically reducing the PH levels. They will try to sell overpriced solutions in order to get the job done.
As it turns out, regular baking soda does the same job as sodium bicarbonate for only a fraction of the price. All baking soda boxes even have “sodium bicarbonate” listed on their ingredients label. Take a look!
If you’re worried that using baking soda will mean doing a lot of complicated mathematical conversions, don’t be. Baking soda has the same concentration of sodium bicarbonate per pound as the solutions, so the amount you’d need to add to your water would be identical.
Keeping your pool sparkling clean doesn't have to be as cumbersome as you might think. All pools are different, and so are their maintenance needs. However, they all share one commonality: The secret to pristine pool health is regular, routine care. If you choose to handle common problems like murky water or broken pumps on your own, make sure to always consult manufacturers' manuals before fixing or using the equipment. No matter if you rely on a service company to take care of your pool, you still need to do a few things on your own to ensure your pool stays in good condition for years.
5. Skim Debris and Clean out Baskets
Skimming the pool's surface by hand every few days is one of the fastest and easiest ways to keep your pool clean. Floating debris will eventually sink, becoming harder to remove. Use a long-handled net called a hand skimmer or leaf skimmer to remove leaves, bugs and other unwanted items. Skimming significantly increases the efficiency of the pool's circulation system and lowers the amount of chlorine you'll need to add to your pool. Cleaning out strainer baskets at least once a week also helps circulation and lowers chlorine demands. Locate strainer baskets attached to the side of aboveground pools and in the pool deck of inground pools. Simply remove the plastic basket and shake it out; spraying the inside with a hose can help dislodge stubborn objects.
6.Vacuum the Pool and Brush Walls and Tile
A pool should be vacuumed every week to keep water clear and reduce the number of chemicals you need to add to it. There are many types of pool vacuums. 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 overlapping each stroke. Check the filter each time you vacuum, and clean it if necessary.
But vacuuming isn't the only maintenance that should be done once a week. Brushing the walls and tile helps minimize algae buildup and calcium deposits so they don't fester and become larger problems. The material your pool walls are made of dictates what kind of cleaning tools you should use. Select a stiff brush for plaster-lined concrete pools and a softer brush for vinyl or fiberglass walls. For tiles, use a soft brush to prevent scratching or degradation of grout. A pumice stone, putty knife or a half-and-half mixture of water and muriatic acid can also work well.
7. Clean the Pool Filter
There are three kinds of pool filters: cartridge, sand and diatomaceous earth. While there are different maintenance procedures for each type, all require periodic cleaning depending on the type of filter and how often a pool is used. Cleaning the filter more often than recommended can actually hinder the filtration process. A clean filter is less efficient than one with a mild amount of dirt in it because the dirt helps trap other particles, which removes debris from the water. However, you don't want to let the filter get too dirty. A sign that it's time to clean is an increase in flow between the pressure gauge and flow meter. Clean the filter when the difference reaches 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 6.8 kilograms) per square inch.
8. Professionally Service the Heater
Pool heaters typically require the least maintenance of all pool equipment. Gas heaters can work fine without being serviced for a couple years, and electric ones can last even longer. Consult your manufacturer's manual for specific care instructions. Sometimes, calcium scales build up inside the tubes of a heater and restrict flow, preventing the water from heating adequately. If this happens, recruit the help of a professional because the heater may need to be disassembled and have its tubes cleaned out with a wire brush or acid. Hiring someone to service your pool can cost $100 or more per month, depending on the maintenance your pool requires.
9. Keep dogs out
Dogs often love to jump in after their owners and play around in the pool, but chlorine isn’t good for canine companions. Not only will the pool irritate Fido’s skin, but the pool will get dirtier and hairier faster. Keeping up with dog hair in the filters may become a full-time job in the summer with dogs in the pool. If the family just can’t stand to let the dog wait out the fun on the sidelines, the chlorine levels need to be kept below 3.0 PPM for safety.
10. Keep a cool pool
Pools cost energy to run and maintain, and keeping a pool above 82 degrees may offer a homeowner a much higher electricity bill. Instead of keeping the temperature so high, it’s less expensive to keep a solar cover on the water. There are also options for solar-powered pool heaters, which will also save energy.
Although environmental factors such as humidity and temperature will impact the rate at which the pool loses water, the average water loss shouldn’t be much more than a quarter of an inch per day. Measuring water loss is easiest by placing a weighted bucket on the stairs and marking the water level on the side of the bucket. Big drops in water levels might signal a leak in the pool.
Using these easy and unique pool maintenance tips allows for a pool owner to have a cleaner pool each summer, which requires less maintenance and time spent pouring chemicals into the water. A clean and clear pool also offers a much more enjoyable swimming experience for the family. A well-maintained, regularly serviced pool will save you money in the long run.