Being able to take a swim in your own backyard pool is quite a treat on hot days. But to fully enjoy this perk, you’ll need to maintain your pool regardless of the weather. You’ll discover quite a bit of work is involved in making sure your pool stays clean and safe, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find your rhythm for taking care of the essential pool chores on a regular basis. Explore the following list of the top pool maintenance tips to make sure your swimming spot stays in good shape all season long.
Test Your Pool’s Chemistry
You want to maintain the correct chemical levels in your pool. Proper pH and chlorine levels will help to keep the water clear and safe. Stock up on water testing kits to measure these levels once or twice a week. You should aim for the following results:
- pH level: Between 7.2 and 7.6
- Chlorine level: Between 1.0 and 3.0 parts per million
Replenish the chlorine if it measures too low. For a high pH level, add more acid to the water; two of the most common acids used for pool water are muriatic acid and sodium bisulphate. For a low pH level, add an alkali compound such as sodium carbonate to the water.
You can also use a pool shock product to periodically deliver a high dose of chlorine to the pool. This popular method kills off any algae or bacteria that may still be in the pool water despite the water having a healthy chlorine level. Follow the instructions on the package to determine the correct amount of the treatment to add to the water based on your pool’s size. This addition can be done on a weekly basis to keep your pool clean and fresh. If algae problems persist, use an algaecide product as well.
Clean the Filter
The filter is perhaps the most essential tool for keeping your water clean, so it’s important to empty it regularly. This maintenance task will help the filter function more effectively. You may need to manually clean out the lint and hair catcher in your pool. In addition, you’ll need to backwash the filter to clean it.
Backwashing sends the water backward through the filter to flush out whatever has been trapped inside. Backwashing typically takes a few minutes; the process is complete when the water runs clear. Check your pressure gauge to see if it’s time to perform a backwash. If the pressure is 5 to 7 pounds per square inch above the normal reading, it’s time to clean the filter.
Run the Pump
Ideally, your pool’s pump would run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But to save on energy costs, many homeowners run their pumps less frequently. Ideally, you should run your pump at least 12 hours per day. You can set a programmable timer to ensure that your pump is circulating the water sufficiently.
Use Skimmers Regularly
Your pool’s filter won’t catch everything, so it’s important to use skimmers regularly. This point is especially true for larger items which your filter may not be able to remove on its own. Skimmers are easy to use and allow you to manually remove leaves, sticks, insects, and other debris that may land in the water. You want to remove them quickly so that they don’t break down in the pool, which would result in cloudy, dirty water.
Depending on where your pool is located, you may need to use a pool skimmer at least once a day. Pools near plenty of trees often need to be skimmed more often for leaves and sticks. Other tools that help with cleaning the water manually are submersible vacuums and brushes for the sides and bottom of the pool.
In addition to the manual skimmers that are usually attached to a long pole, your pool should have built-in skimmer baskets. If so, you’ll need to clean out these baskets at least once a week to make sure that the baskets keep working effectively. The access panel for skimmer baskets is located on the deck. Simply open the panel and dump out the contents as needed.
Check the Water Level
Look at your pool’s built-in skimmers to see if the water is at the correct level. Ideally, the top of the waterline should reach at the center of the skimmer opening. If the waterline is too low or too high, the skimmer door won’t work correctly and debris can start to build up in the pool. Add or remove water as necessary to achieve the correct water level. In addition, be sure to recheck the chemical levels in the pool after changing the water level.
Repair Cracks Quickly
Most of this maintenance involves the water itself, so one issue that pool owners can often miss is cracks around the perimeter of the pool between the deck and the tile. These cracks can cause serious issues if pool water starts to come under the deck through these cracks. If you see any of these cracks developing, address the issue as soon as possible by applying clear silicone to patch up any cracks.
Cover Your Pool
Some pool owners prefer not to deal with the hassle of regularly covering up the pool when it’s not in use, but several benefits exist for doing so. In addition to keeping debris out of the pool, applying a cover can help to prevent improper chemical levels since UV light degrades chlorine. A cover also keeps up the water level by preventing some evaporation. The pool temperature can even increase when it’s kept covered in warm weather.
Although taking off the cover and replacing it every time you want to go for a swim takes more effort, it could lessen the overall amount of maintenance required to keep your pool clean. Plus, rigid covers can be a great way to make your pool safer for kids.
Split up these pool maintenance tasks with other residents of your household to make these chores a little less overwhelming. When you maintain your pool properly, you’ll be able to jump in whenever you have the urge over the summer without worrying about whether the water is safe and clean.