Whether you’re new to owning a pool or just getting started, it takes work to keep your pool sparkling clean for family and guests. Here are some tips that will make it easier.
Empty the skimmer basket regularly as debris build-up can impact water circulation. This simple (but dirty) task can also prevent low sanitizer levels.
Create a Cleaning Schedule
There is nothing quite like a glistening clean pool to enhance summertime fun and relaxation with friends and family. However, it is important to remember that pools require regular maintenance if they are going to be kept in pristine condition. Unfortunately, many homeowners neglect their swimming pools until they turn green with slime or a filter gets clogged with leaves. The key to avoiding these issues is establishing a cleaning schedule and following it consistently.
One of the best ways to keep a pool clean is by regularly brushing surfaces. Automated cleaners can help with this, but they won’t be able to reach every surface or dislodge stuck-on debris. Homeowners should brush the walls and steps of their pools at least weekly to help prevent algae and sediment buildup.
Another way to improve water quality is by adding a chemical shock treatment once a week. This will help kill any germs and bacteria that may be contaminating the water. After shocking the pool, it is important to test the water and make adjustments as necessary. This can be done by adding a pH balancer, adjusting chlorine levels, and/or adding sanitizer as needed.
Finally, homeowners should ensure that the pump runs at least 8 hours a day throughout the summer for proper circulation. This will help remove dirt and debris from the bottom of the pool, making it easier for skimmers and filters to keep the water clean.
While this step may seem obvious, it can be easy to overlook when establishing a cleaning schedule. By creating a schedule and following it, homeowners can enjoy a clean, sparkling pool all summer long. If you would prefer to avoid the hassle of keeping up with a cleaning schedule, consider hiring a professional to do it for you. They can also check for any leaks or other problems that could arise before they get out of hand.
Shock Your Pool
Shocking your pool is an essential part of pool maintenance. It oxidizes particles, removes contaminants, and helps to clear cloudy water. It is particularly important after heavy use of your pool, such as following a big party or heavy rain. It is also necessary for maintaining proper chemical balance in your pool. The goal of shocking your pool is to destroy any bacteria, algae, or chloramines that have accumulated in the water. This will ensure that the water is safe for swimming and won’t irritate sensitive areas such as your eyes and lungs.
There are several types of shock chemicals available to buy at your local pool store or online, including cal-hypo, dichlor, and potassium monopersulfate (KOP). Cal-hypo is the most popular type of pool shock because it is cost-effective and can be used in any pool. This product contains cyanuric acid, which protects chlorine from degradation by the sun and can increase its level. It is best to add a cyanuric acid stabilizer to your water when using this type of pool shock.
Dichlor is a great alternative to cal-hypo because it does not contain calcium and comes in 65% or 73% strength. It can be used in any pool and is more effective than cal-hypo because it has a higher concentration of free chlorine. It is best to add dichlor at night when the sun’s UV rays won’t degrade it.
KOP is a non-chlorine shock product that can be used to eliminate organic debris and clarifies the pool water, but it does not kill bacteria or algae. This type of pool shock is useful if you have a large amount of organic debris in the pool and don’t want to use a chlorine-based shock that could potentially damage your pool liner or equipment. It is also a good option to use when chlorine levels are too high or if there is a buildup of chloramines.
One of the most important steps you can take to keep your pool clean is skimming debris. If you don’t regularly skim the surface of your pool, it will quickly get filled with dirt and leaves. This can then sink to the bottom of the pool and cause staining. To avoid this, you should skim the water’s surface daily before swimming.
If you’re worried about the time and effort it takes to hand-skim your pool, or you have a large backyard with lots of trees, you may want to hire a professional to clean your pool on a regular basis. They’ll have the tools and equipment to do the job quickly and effectively.
Even if you have an automatic skimmer, it’s still important to check the skimmer basket on a daily basis and remove any trash that may have collected inside of it. If you don’t, this can lead to clogging which will reduce the efficiency of your pool pump.
Another simple way to prevent debris buildup is by brushing your pool’s walls, steps and floors weekly. This will minimize the amount of algae that grows on your pool walls and prevent any calcium deposits from forming.
When brushing your pool, be sure to wear rubber gloves and eye protection. Also, only wear proper swimwear in the pool. Street clothes can carry chemicals, fibers and other contaminants into the water that can damage your pool walls and fixtures. If you notice any stains on your pool wall or steps, try using crushed vitamin C tablets to dissolve them. The acid in the tablets will break down the stains and help them disappear faster. The same method can be used to remove rust from your pool’s ladder rails.
Vacuum Your Pool
While your pool filter and skimmer basket will help remove some debris, vacuuming your pool is essential for keeping the water clean. A good pool vacuum can remove even the smallest bits of dirt and prevent them from damaging your pool’s interior surface or clogging your pump strainer. You’ll also find that the quality of your swimming water improves as a result.
Vacuuming your pool can be a bit labor-intensive, but it’s important to keep up with it. Aim to vacuum every other day or every week. It’s best to do this when no one is in the pool so that you can avoid disturbing the water and potentially damaging your vacuum system or filters.
Ensure that your vacuum is fully primed before you begin the process. Start in the shallow end of your pool and move your vacuum in slow, sweeping strokes. Don’t rush, as this can cause the vacuum to kick up more debris than it collects. You’ll also want to pause and empty the vacuum’s pump strainer regularly to avoid clogging.
Once you’ve finished vacuuming, empty the skimmer basket and return your vacuum to its storage location. It’s a good idea to have a basket in storage at all times so that you can quickly vacuum any large debris items that have collected, like branches or leaves, before they sink to the bottom of the pool and pollute it.
If you have a suction-side automatic vacuum, turn off your pool’s pump and connect the hose to its vacuum port. Begin moving your vacuum around the pool in a straight line grid pattern, making sure to brush the walls and floor of your pool. It’s important to brush your pool before vacuuming to minimize any algae build-up or calcium deposits that are being worn into the surface of your pool.
Test Your Water
Whether you’re cleaning your own pool or having it cleaned professionally, testing your water is an important step to ensuring clean, safe water. A routine testing schedule helps you to keep your water sanitized and balanced at all times, reducing the risk of irritation for swimmers and potential damage to equipment.
Test your water for levels such as chlorine, pH (a measure of acidity or alkalinity), total alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Aim for a reading between 7.2 and 7.8 PPM to maintain a healthy swimming environment. Also be sure to test for cyanuric acid, which acts as a stabilizer to protect your chlorine from the sun’s rays and extend its lifespan.
When collecting a water sample, be sure to take it in a location away from any return lines or dead zones, as these can skew results. Also, make sure to use fresh test materials – they can lose their effectiveness over time.
Once you know the condition of your water, it’s easy to create a maintenance routine. If your pool sanitizer level is low, simply add Chlorine Tabs or liquid chlorine to raise it back up. If your pH is too high, try adding a muriatic acid solution to lower it. If your sanitizer and alkalinity levels are fine, a weekly shock treatment should keep them that way.
With a few simple steps, you can have your own sparkling pool all summer long! Having a well-maintained pool is essential to keeping you and your family healthy, while saving money on costly repairs. The Pinch A Penny app makes it easy to set reminders for your daily, weekly and monthly maintenance tasks, while ordering what you need and storing results right in the palm of your hand.