7 Swimming Pool Tips Everybody Should Know
When we have a pool, we can't take a couple weeks off. Our pool needs weekly care, and these pool tips will certainly help you to have the perfect pool all swimming season.
Swimming pool care is easy when you have the right information. My largest piece of advice is to fully know and understand your pool and your unique situation. Through my years of taking care of pools I've realized that each pool and situation is different.
Why Pool Maintenance Is Important
Having a pool in your own backyard can be glamourous. Hosting weekend parties and relaxing after work is the dream of many. But those dreams require effort and weekly maintenance. Without a proper pool maintenance routine, your pool could turn into the home for the Swamp Thing and that is certainly less than desirable conditions. We don't need a green pool water and a leaking filter. What we do need are some really good pool tips and knowledge.
Swimming Pool Tips Made Easy
Maintaining a swimming pool is incredibly simple, so let's keep it that way. Chlorine kills the algae and the filter clears the water. Honestly, that's about 95% of the battle. Many chemicals can be purchased at your local swimming pool supply store or your local grocery store. More on that later.
It's important to know that pool chemical are hazardous, so be sure to read the directions on the package and properly store the chemicals. Mixing chemicals together is dangerous, so use caution.
1. Pool Chemistry
To maximize your swimming pool care and maintenance, you'll need to perform the following a minimum of 1-2 times per week, regardless if you have an above ground or inground swimming pool.
- Pool chlorine - 2 - 4 ppm
- Combined Chlorine - 0.0 ppm
- Pool pH - 7.2 - 7.8
- Pool Total Alkalinity (TA) - 80 - 120 ppm
- Calcium hardness (for plaster pools) - 150 - 250 ppm
- Cyanuric Acid (CYA) - 30 - 50 ppm
Cyanuric Acid is your pool's stabilizer/conditioner and is mainly for outdoor above ground and inground pools. If the CYA is out of its respective range, the free chlorine (FC) will be unable to effectively sanitize and oxidize the organic matter in the pool water.
2. Keep Your Pool Clean
Skimming and removing the leaves and debris off of the top of the water should be done daily. And investing in a robot vacuum will clean the bottom of the pool. This decreases the time it takes to manually clean your pool.
One area that is often overlooked is the pool tile. Use your pool brush and thoroughly scrub the tile, which helps loosen up algae spores and dirt particles. This doesn’t need to be done quite as often, but once week is a good number to shoot for.
3. Use A Good Pool Test Kit
We want to keep our pool water clean and healthy, and that means testing our pool water on a weekly basis. Testing our pool water is one of the most easiest and important things we can do. And what test kit should we have, you might ask? That's an easy one. The Taylor K-2006 pool water test kit is the best on the market and will give us the accurate measurements we need.
Test strips are easy and affordable, but will never give us the actual chemical numbers.
4. Schedule A Yearly Pool Service
This one is the most overlooked part of pool maintenance, but it might be one of the most important. Your pool is a great asset, but it can become a liability of not taken care of. Enter a pool expert. Your pool has mechanical systems such as pumps, filters, heaters. A normal pool owners may not have the knowledge or experience to properly inspect its components.
Having a pool service professional come by once per year can help save you hundreds on costly repairs down the road. Your service tech will be able to thoroughly inspect your system for leaks and premature wear. He should also offer advice for periodic maintenance you can do yourself to keep your system running perfectly. We schedule maintenance for our air conditioners, so why not do it for our pools?
5. Keep The Pool Deck Clean
The surrounding area of our pool is just as important as the pool itself. Sweeping the deck and occasionally power washing it will help get rid of any baked on dirt and weather related stains that can occur.
Sweep the deck first to rid it of any loose or errant dirt or leaves. Then using a power washer, or pressure washer, give your deck a good cleaning. Power washing your deck should be done twice per year for the best results.
6. Keep An Eye On The Water Level
I can't tell you how many pool inspections I've done and have seen the water level in the pool lower than it should be. Pool water levels will naturally fluctuate. You might have a heavy rainstorm that overflows your pool, or perhaps a pool party where it seems everyone is doing cannonballs and you're losing water by the second.
We want to maintain a water level that is 1/3 - 1/2 from the bottom of the skimmer. The pump motor can't do its job properly if the water level is too low. Air will be drawn into the system which can cause the pump motor to overheat. Your pump motor is designed to pull water from the skimmer and bottom drain, not air. If the water level is too high, the skimmer won't be able to do its job of skimming debris off the top of the water.
For water that's too low, simply use a garden hose to add the necessary amount of water to reach the correct level. If the water level is too high, you can use the WASTE setting on your multiport valve. If you don't have a multiport valve, a submersible pump works like a charm. Remember to recheck the chemicals after adding water. The chemical readings can fluctuate with an influx of new water and throw them off balance.
7. Use Chemicals From Your Pool Store
Pool chemicals can get expensive, so why not use your local grocery store to your advantage? Sodium bicarbonate, or regular baking soda, is perfect for raising your alkalinity levels. 20 Mule Team Borax or Arm & Hammer Washing Soda will increase your pH levels without much happening to your alkalinity.
And let's not forget about unscented bleach, which is sodium hypochlorite. What grocery store doesn't have bleach? This is the exact same ingredient in pool chlorine, and 1/2 the price!! More savings for you and more money in your pocket.
Keep These Pool Tips Close To You
Having a perfect swimming pool does not come by accident. It takes planning, preparation, knowledge, and effort. If a good routine can be established that includes these pool tips, you'll be enjoying enjoying your pool for years to come.