You have a swimming pool for fun and relaxation, right? Don’t end up not using it halfway through this summer because the water’s greener than your grass! Pools can seem like too much work to keep up, but in reality, there are 3 categories of upkeep necessary to maintain your pool. As long as you stick with it regularly, you can prevent calamities and enjoy crystal-clear water for the whole summer.
1) First, check your pool’s chemistry frequently. During the warmer months, you should be checking your pool’s chemistry twice a week, and once a week when it’s cooler out. This may sound like a pain, but checking frequently allows you to make minor tweaks when a number is slightly off, rather than trying to swing things back into gear after waiting for things to go way out of whack.
For example, allowing the pH of your pool to swing .5 in either direction seriously impairs the efficacy of the chlorine in the water, which exposes it to bacteria and other little nasties. Allowing the water’s alkalinity to stray from the recommended range of 80-140 PPM can affect the water balance, and prevent sanitizer from working to its full potential.
As an aside, you should also avoid adding chemicals to the pool during the day. You’ll get the most out of them if you add them when the sun isn’t out.
2) Second, clean your pool properly. You should clean the skimmer basket and lint pot as regularly as you can because debris can prevent proper circulation of water, and stagnant water increases the risk that bad things will develop. Additionally, you should brush the walls and tile in your pool frequently. Buildup in these areas can promote algae growth, which you don’t want, and if you go too long without cleaning, the buildup can calcify, and you’ll end up paying a professional to come remove it.
Conversely, there’s one thing that owners often do too frequently: backwashing. If you backwash your pool’s filter too often, you’re wasting water and preventing the filter from doing its job properly. In most cases, you should only backwash your filter when its pressure gauge reads a specified amount over the reading for “clean.” Typically, this is 8-10 PSI.
3) Third, keep up with the general care of the pool and its surrounding area. You should run your pool’s pump 1 hour for every 10 degrees the pool’s water temperature has reached (so, for example, an 80 degree pool’s pump should run for 8 hours). If a pump or drain piece is broken or missing, you should fix or replace it immediately. Small problems like this often turn into big hassles later, when lack of circulation or failure to drain properly leads to algae or other issues.
Also, you should ensure that the space between the deck and the pool is properly sealed. If it isn’t, water can travel underneath the deck, causing rot or mold and a big, big headache.
Overall, maintaining a pool is about consistency. As long as you keep up your maintenance strategy, a clean pool should only require a series of small chores. It’s when you start skipping the small chores that your pool turns into a big pain.