If you are a lucky owner of a swimming pool, you already know that there’s quite a bit of work needed to keep it clean and working properly.
As intimidating as it may sound, taking care of a swimming pool isn’t that complicated, you just need to know what you’re doing. Read on to discover everything that you need to do in order to keep your swimming pool in top shape!
Cleaning the filter
While a clean filter is slightly less efficient because of some particles of dirt make it easier to trap other particles, you don’t want to have your filter get too dirty. How often should you clean it? By the rule of thumb clean them every 4-6 months. How to know when your filter really needs cleaning? It’s easy to tell because a dirty filter causes overall flow rate of the swimming pool circulation to drop. It’s worth to take a pressure reading when your filter is clean, and when it rises by 10 psi, you’ll know that it’s time to do some cleaning.
There are three types of filters:
- diatomaceous earth,
Depending on the kind of the filter that you have, you must clean it in an appropriate way and also adjust the pressure that impacts it. Keep in mind that cartridge filters can handle lower pressure than sand and diatomaceous earth ones. So be sure to check the maximum pressure that your filter can work under and adjust it properly.
Also, avoid using power washers while cleaning cartridge filters as they may destroy the filter material and make it function poorly. And don’t be a perfectionist – don’t worry if your filter after cleaning isn’t looking like a brand new one, the key goal is to make it work properly, not necessarily looking flawless too.
Vacuuming the pool is crucial for keeping the water clean, which will let you reduce the amounts of chemicals that you need to add to it. You should vacuum your pool every week for the best effects. If you’re not into doing it with a manual pool vacuum cleaner, consider investing in an automatic one, but keep in mind that it will most likely won’t be as efficient as a manual one. Sure, manually vacuuming the pool takes some effort, but you gain the certainty that the job is well done. When cleaning the pool this way remember to overlap each stroke to ensure maximum accuracy. It’s just like with vacuuming the carpet, work it back and forth till you have covered the entire space. Also, match the type of the brush to the type of your pool’s walls. Harsh brushes work best with hard surfaces, like concrete, while softer ones prevent scratching gentler surfaces, like fibreglass and tiled walls.
Skim the debris regularly
Skimming the debris with a net with a long handle makes it easy to remove any leaves, bugs or other unwanted objects. You should do it every few days, as it’s crucial for keeping the pool clean. Remember, any objects that float on the surface will eventually sink which will make them a whole lot harder to remove. Skimming is also extremely important for another reason – it’ll let you limit the chemicals that you need to add to your pool. It also improves the pool’s circulation. The same goes for emptying the strainer baskets as they also influence the circulation and the amounts of chemicals needed. Also remember about wiping the tile line weekly, as it’s super helpful in limiting the build-up.
Keep the pH levels in check
Although the pH scale is large and goes all the way from 0 to 14, the only amounts that are desired when it comes to the swimming pool, fit between 7.2 and 7.8 as they are the best both for human health and the functioning of the sanitizers. To check the pH levels of your pool, you can use either reagent tests or test strips. Both are very easy to use. When using a test-strip all you need to do is to dip it into the water for a few seconds and wait a bit to let it change its color. After that, you compare the color of the strip with the attached scale to gauge the pH level. Reagent tests work slightly differently, as you need to take a bit of the poll’s water and dissolve a special tablet or liquid in it, which will cause the water to change its color which compared to the color chart will let you discover the pH level. Now all you need to do is to adjust the chemicals to achieve the optimal pH level!
Spot and fix the leaks
If you notice that the water in your pool is mysteriously dropping levels out of the sudden, it might mean that you are dealing with a leak. But it may also mean that it’s just evaporating. In order to be sure what is really happening, conduct a simple bucket test. Take a bucket and fill it three-quarters full of water. Mark the water line on the inside of it and put it to your pool to let it float there. If it has a handle, detach it to let the bucket float more easily. Now mark the water level on the outside of the container. Leave it for a few days and check how much the water levels dropped. If they dropped exactly the same, it means that it’s just due to evaporation, but if the water level in the pool dropped more that in the bucket, that’s a sign of a leak. Fixing a leak properly takes some experience and special equipment so don’t hesitate to call a professional to have it repaired.
Maintain optimal water level
Keeping the proper level of water in the pool is crucial for ensuring that the pump can work efficiently and that it won’t get damaged. So be weary of the water level in your pool and when you notice it’s too low, just fill it up with a garden hose. And if you’re in doubt if the reduction of the water level is caused by a leak, conduct the bucket test that I mentioned above.
Schedule a yearly professional pool check-up
Even though you may know a whole lot more about pool maintenance than an average pool owner, don’t skimp on a yearly pool check-up conducted by a professional. It’s the best way to gain confidence that there are no hidden damages that need fixing and that you’re taking care of your favourite summer relaxation paradise in a proper way. Get the most out of the professional check-up and use this occasion to gain even more knowledge and resolve any doubts that you may have by talking with the pro who’s controlling your pool.
Fight off the oily residue in a clever way
As much as no one likes talking about it, using the pool causes some oily residue to appear on the surface of the water. Washed off sun lotions and body balms leave an unpleasant track, which fortunately you can remove almost without any effort! All you need to do is to buy a tennis ball and throw it into the water. It will float on it and as its texture is full of fibres, it will collect any oily residue from the water surface. Yup, it’s that easy!
Take care of your pool heater
Remember about having your heater professionally checked if you notice any problems with its functioning. Fortunately it’s one of the least demanding parts in terms of maintenance – usually, gas heaters do just fine without servicing for a couple of years and electric ones last even longer. Check out the manual for detailed care instructions which will help you save up on servicing. But if you notice that it’s working oddly and doesn’t heat the water as it used to, it is a sign that it requires fixing by a professional.
Clean the pool deck
Maintaining the pool isn’t just about cleaning the water and taking care of the pool’s systems. After all, you spend quite a lot of time outside it lying on the sunbed and you wouldn’t like to be surrounded by a dirty pool deck. I know that cleaning the pool deck definitely doesn’t sound like fun, but fortunately, you get it done really quickly by using a pressure washer, which will make cleaning super easy and efficient.
Remember to shock your swimming pool
Irritated by the chlorine smell? It’s not chlorine that’s causing it but chloramines which are a side effect of chlorine interacting with the organical chemicals build up (mainly ammonia and nitrogen), which naturally appears in the water. It may sound illogical, but to kill this smell, you should add more chlorine to the pool. The frequency of this procedure varies from pool to pool as some can go only a week without superchlorinating, while others will last much longer.
But if you are using your pool often, consider investing in an ozone system instead as it is much healthier than using chlorine. And you can also switch chlorine for non-chlorine chemicals for shocking your pool. While those solutions might cost a bit more, your body will thank you for using them, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Save up on the sodium bicarbonate
One clever hack that will let you spend less money on the chemicals is switching sodium bicarbonate for just some regular baking soda from the grocery shop. It’s exactly the same chemical but for a fraction of the cost! Also, it has the same concentration of it, so you don’t need to adjust the amounts that you add to the water while using baking soda.
Keep all chemical levels in check
Controlling the chemical levels in your pool is crucial for preventing skin issues and eye irritation caused by bacteria build up or wrong pH levels of the water. Buy a testing kit for swimming pools and use it every week to be sure that everything is ok. You should control six main factors:
- free chlorine levels,
- ph levels,
- calcium hardness,
- total alkalinity,
- cyanuric acid.
Prepare for the winter
Preparing for the winter season is super important for preventing any damage and ensuring that your pool will serve you for a long time. It’s always easier to prevent than to fix, so winterize your pool properly to save yourself wasting your time on removing the damages when summer comes. Check the chemical balance of the water and if needed use your last chance to adjust it. Don’t remove all of the water from the pool, because this will leave the ground forces pressing from below the pool construction with no counteracting factor. Empty the pipes thoroughly to prevent water freezing in them during colder days. Drain the water from the filter and the heater too, and if any water remains, buy a special antifreeze liquid for swimming pools to get rid of it. Be sure not to use the antifreeze for vehicles as it is a completely different chemical that could damage the pool’s systems! Now, disconnect all of the equipment and remove chemical feeders to clean them and store them. The final task is to clean the pool: do the brushing, skimming, vacuuming and empty the skimmer baskets. After that be sure to close skimmer line valve and lower the water level to approx. 18 inches (45 centimeters) below the coping and shock the water with chlorine or non-chlorine chemicals. After you are done, put the pool cover on to prevent any debris from getting into it.
How about you? Do you know any other cool swimming pool maintenance tips? Share your thoughts!