A swimming pool in the backyard brings a ton of fun. There are so many things you can do. You can jump in the pool whenever you want and enjoy a beautiful summer day (or night). Or you can invite your dearest people and have a blast.
But, don’t think that once your pool is installed, you can relax and just go with the flow. In fact, that’s where the real work starts. Pool maintenance plays a vital role in keeping your pool clean and in a good condition. And we all know this is far from fun. However, it is something you have to do if you want to actually swim in your pool. By learning the most important aspects of pool maintenance and putting in effort and work, your pool can function for years to come. Plus, you will save money in the long run because regular pool maintenance will result in fewer repairs. In case you are too busy to care for your pool, we encourage you to hire a reliable pool cleaner. Whether you plan to install an in-ground or above-ground pool, this article will serve you. So, here’s what you need to know about pool care.
Pool maintenance for both types of pools
Cleaning the Pool
Cleaning the pool doesn’t include just one activity, but rather a several of them. When these activities are done regularly, you’ll find that keeping the pool clean is not as hard as you thought.
You can use a wall skimmer to keep the pool clean from debris. However, if you have a tree above the pool, you need something stronger because a wall skimmer can get clogged if it pulls in leaves. Use a leaf skimmer or a bag type if you have piles of leaves to collect.
When it comes to vacuuming an in-ground pool, you can either set-up an automatic pool vacuum or release a robotic pool cleaner and let it do the job for you.
If you have an above ground pool, you can vacuum it manually using the hose. Or you can also drop in a robotic pool cleaner.
Pool tile cleaning is just another step that helps maintain a clean pool is. This is done with a pool brush. The brush needs to be replaced regularly otherwise it may damage the pool liner. Brushing the pool is recommended doing a least once a week, though doing more won’t hurt.
The pump is in a great part responsible for keeping the water clean. Without the pump, your pool will be a lagoon pretty quickly. Make sure to leave the pump working on a daily basis, for 8-12 hours.
A pump timer is a handy pool care feature that we definitely recommend buying. You can set it to run for how many hours you want, and at the time you want. For example, in the evening, when everyone is done swimming. The great thing about it is that you can set it and forget it. Even if you aren’t home, the pump can still clean the pool.
Sand filters and DE pool filters offer a backwashing option. Backwashing is a thorough cleaning of a filter by reversing the flow of water and flushing out contaminants. Thanks to this method, you don’t have to clean the filter manually. When the pressure gauge is 8-10 pounds above the clean or “startup” pressure, it means it’s time for backwashing.
There is a pump basket and a skimmer basket. The pump basket should be emptied once a week, whereas a skimmer basket should be cleaned at least two times a week.
Pool Maintenance: Keeping the water clean and clear
Crystal clear water certainly looks attractive and inviting. However, clear water is much more important for providing a safe swimming environment, especially if you have kids. If you put off cleaning the pool, it won’t take long before it turns into a dark place full of algae and bugs. It goes without saying that a murky pool isn’t exactly people-friendly. So, here’s what you need to do to keep a pool welcoming and friendly.
Let’s admit, most of us are afraid of the words “water balance”. Water balance sounds just too complex to handle. Even though it requires several treatments, when you take a closer look, you’ll discover there are simple rules to follow.
The most important thing you should do is to keep a neutral pH balance, which is around a 7.4 pH level. Unbalanced pH is not good. It will irritate your eyes and make them red in case water comes into your eyes. On the other hand, when the pH level is neutral, you will feel minimum irritation after hours spent in the pool.
Another thing is adding chlorine to a swimming pool because it will keep the water clean, clear, and therefore, safe for swimming. But, chlorine is not the only element needed for water balance. There are other chemicals as well, such as oxidizers and bromine – and they all need to be perfectly balanced.
Keep in mind that water balance can be affected by weather and nature itself. Direct sunlight can cause chlorine to dissolve more quickly, and in this case, you will need to add chlorine more often. After heavy rains, the pool’s pH could decrease because of acid in the rain. This leads to another point which is total alkalinity. You should also check alkalinity a couple of times per week.
Moreover, you should check the Calcium Hardness and Cyanuric Acid levels on a monthly basis. These can also affect the overall water balance.
Testing the water on a regular basis is a sure way to keeping the Ph level neutral and water safe and clean. Testing is done in order to check water balance and chlorine level. Testing the water a few times a week is recommended. This one is easy as you only need to buy a test kit or test strips. Both are simple to use.
Shocking is a fast way to get rid of algae and increase chlorine levels. You shouldn’t use shocks too often though. But, it’s desirable to use it from time to time, especially in the times of heavy rain or when the pool is used too often.
Pool leak detection
Since above ground pools have exposed walls, they are more prone to damage such as a storm or kids’ bumping into the pool with their bike. Therefore, it’s good to always keep eyes open for any leaks. You should carefully inspect your pool every week. In case you notice that the water level is lower than usual, chances are the pool has a leak. If you can, fix it on your own. But, if not, leave pool leak repair to a professional.
As far as in-ground pool maintenance and leak detection are concerned, the same goes for this one. Observe closely for leaks, cracks, or other types of damage. If there indeed is pool leak detection, call a professional service and they will check and fix the damage.
Things to keep in mind…
Your pool deck is also important
You can try really hard to clean your pool, but if your deck is dusty and covered in leaves; your work will be all in vain. Commit 10 minutes of your day to sweep a pool deck (but do it on a regular basis) and your pool will stay cleaner for longer.
Wipe down the pool liner as well
This one is a no-brainer, which is probably why many homeowners forget doing it. Your swimming pool is not the cleanest place in the world. Every single product that you or your family members apply on their skin will end up in your pool. We know – yuck! And for that reason, you have to wipe down the pool liner every day. This way, the liner won’t get filthy and it will last longer.
Maintaining the pool equipment
A pump, filters, robotic vacuum cleaner – a variety of equipment is needed to keep the pool clean and beautiful. Designed with heavy use in mind, this equipment is built to last and deliver great results. But, after a while, repairs and even replacements will be inevitable. You can extend the life of equipment though, by doing regular checkups and maintenance. This way, machinery will function as well as it should and will probably require fewer repairs.
And there you have it, folks – the basics about pool maintenance and pool care. But, knowing is one thing, and doing is completely other. So, be consistent in your actions and you’ll enjoy a clear and beautiful pool all summer long. And so will other people around you.
A husband and father of two boys, an entrepreneur and business owner, a homeowner and a writer.