You have the sunscreen, goggles, foam noodles, and floaties. Now you just need to make sure that your pool is safe to swim in. This means keeping it regularly maintained. Just like a car your pool needs regular upkeep. Good pool maintenance starts with the three C’s: circulation, cleaning, and chemistry. So long as you have a good understanding of these three concepts, you will be equipped to keep your pool clean and safe and ready to dive in.
How to Properly Maintain Your Pool
It is common knowledge that stagnant water is not good. It collects bacteria and algae and ends up looking murky. Nobody wants to swim in that. Proper water circulation is your solution. A pool with good circulation will rarely have cloudy water or algae. The pool pump and filter system should be running daily to get the best circulation. While it is ideal to run the pump and filter 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, this may not work for everyone’s budget. If possible at least try to run the filter 10 to 12 hours a day to keep the water moving and clean. You can also backwash the filter frequently to help make sure the circulating water stays clean. This is beneficial if you are not able to run the filter and pump all the time. If the concept is new to you, backwashing refers to reversing the flow of water through your filter and shunting the dirty water to the waste port. This gets them out of your pool, leaving your water clean and clear. The method you use to clean and backwash your filter depends on the type of filter you have to be sure to check the manufacturer user guide.
By maintaining good circulation, you have already made cleaning the pool much easier. In addition to this you will still need to do some elbow work. The tools you need for pool cleaning are:
- Net skimmer
- Pool brush
- Pool vacuum
The weather will be responsible for throwing leaves and debris into the pool. There will also be collections of shampoo and lotion residues floating on the surface. These contaminants increase the risk of bacterial growth, so need to be removed often. Skim, brush, and vacuum your pool weekly, at least to keep debris out of your water, and the walls of the pool clean. Baking soda paste can also work as a basic scouring cleaner and it will not damage tile or vinyl liner when you brush. You can also opt for an automatic pool cleaner. This will cut down on your cleaning time but is more expensive.
Pool chemistry is surprisingly simple and not as scary as it may seem. Having a water testing kit will be your best resource to tell you if the water is balanced or not. The three most important parts of pool water chemistry are:
- pH levels: Lower levels are acidic and high levels are basic. The ideal pH range for pool water is between 7.4 to 7.6.
- Alkalinity: This acts as a pH buffer to avoid huge spikes in basicity or acidity and should be between 100 to 150 parts per million (ppm). Baking soda can easily be used to increase the alkalinity level if needed.
- Sanitizer levels: This refers to the amount of chlorine or bromine in your pool water and ideal levels will vary depending on which type of sanitizer you choose.
Creating a pool maintenance schedule will make it easier to stay organized so you can stay on top of basic upkeep. Make sure you also plan ahead for more advanced pool maintenance tasks like closing your pool during colder weather and caring for it during the off season. Owning a pool is fun and also a big responsibility, but with regular maintenance your pool will be ready to dive in any time you want.