By Julia West
An ideal summer typically has something to do with a dazzling swimming pool. But, with this luxury comes responsibility. Keeping your pool crystal clear doesn’t have to be as burdensome as you might think.
While all pools are different, basic pool maintenance needs are the same. The most important way to maintain a pool’s health is through routine care. Without proper maintenance, your pool could fall victim to a variety of unfortunate conditions: green water and cracked pipes are not exactly appealing features in a swimming pool. Below are a few things that you can do to make sure that your pool stays in great condition for many summers to come:
Get Rid of Debris
Cleaning debris from the surface of the water is one of the simplest ways to keep a pool clean. It significantly increases the effectiveness of a pool’s circulation system and lowers the amount of chlorine needed to keep the water clear. Not only is it an easy procedure, but it takes very little time to complete with the help of tools such as a long-handled net and a skimmer basket.
The process of catching floating debris and then emptying the basket only takes a minute or two. It is important to skim water regularly — preferably every day. If debris is not removed often, then it will eventually sink to the bottom of the pool, making it harder to remove. Although debris such as bugs and other unwanted objects are inevitably going to end up in your pool, there are tricks to decreasing the amount that you must skim through. Consider trimming back nearby trees and bushes to reduce the amount of leaves, pollen and blossoms that fall into the pool or purchase a pool cover.
Scrubbing a pool is another way to easily reduce the amount of debris build-up. Over time, debris can get stuck along the sides or the bottom of a pool, which increases the chance of unwanted growth. Scrubbing a pool can significantly help to prevent the build-up of growths such as algae and calcium deposits.
The kind of cleaning tools that you should use depends on the material your pool is made out of. For vinyl, fiberglass pool or tiles, a softer brush is recommended, whereas a harder brush is better suited for pools made of plaster-lined concrete. It’s best to scrub a pool at least once a week to prevent from unwanted build-up.
Vacuum and Filter
If manual skimming and scrubbing seems too tedious, there are other options. Vacuums and filters are great choices when it comes to consistently keeping a pool clean. These tools drastically reduce the amount of debris and unsolicited growth of organisms within a pool — in other words, a pool’s impurities.
If you are using a vacuum, it best to carry out the vacuuming procedure at least one a week for about 30 minutes. Filters, however, require less manual work as it runs constantly on its own. It is recommended to “backwash” a filter once a month to clean out the pipes within the system.
The physical water level of a pool is very important. It’s best to maintain a level that is halfway up the opening of the pool’s skimmer. If the water is not at the ideal level, there are simple solutions to fix it. If the water is too low, you can add the necessary amount of water by using a garden hose. If the water level is too high, you can use tools such as a submergible pump to drain the excess water. When the pool has reached the appropriate water level, remember to re-check the chemicals. The water level changes will have thrown them off balance.
A good time to check the water level is when you manually skim the water with a net. Make sure the level does not fall below the level of the pool’s skimmer because that could indicate that the pump is damaged. If you drain your pool, be careful to not let the pool sit empty for too long. It is best to leave water in a pool throughout the winter because the weight of the water counteracts with forces from the ground pressing up against the pool from below, which can result in a damaged pool floor or walls.
Chemical levels are one of the most important aspects of pool maintenance. Unbalanced water doesn’t just look bad, it can be hazardous too. It’s possible for improperly treated water to cause discomfort such as irritation of the skin and eye. Chemicals in the water should be tested at least once a week. Luckily, testing water is quite easy, thanks to testing kits. When all the chemicals in your pool are properly balanced, the water should be crystal clear, have no scent and leave very little residue on your skin.
Taking care of your pool in the winter season is just as important as in the summer. Properly winterizing your pool can save you lots of time and money on repairs for the next swimming season. Nothing is a downer like finding out that your pool cracked or became bacteria-ridden over the winter. Ideally, this procedure should be performed in all regions, but particularly in those with freezing winter temperatures. One of the most important steps of this process is draining the pool. Water in the pool’s pipes can easily become damaged due to the expanding effect of freezing water.
Yearly Service Appointment
A yearly service appointment may seem like a waste of time and money. However, keep in mind that finding and fixing a small problem sooner is better than being burdened by a big problem later. When it comes to your pool’s mechanical equipment, are you an expert on pumps, filters or heating systems? Probably not. That’s why it’s best to leave it to the professionals. At least once a year, have a pool service professional come to check your pool.
As you lounge poolside this summer, don’t forget to think about your pool maintenance schedule. Keeping your cool blue waters clean can be easy by following a few simple tips.
Julia West is a content intern for NewHomeSource. You can find her on Google+.