Swimming Pool Maintenance: Your Number One Guide
If you’re lucky enough to own your very own swimming pool, it’s only natural that you should want to keep it in top condition. While pool maintenance might not sound like much fun, it’s an essential part of extending your pool’s lifespan and getting the very most out of the time, effort and money you put into it.
Every swimming pool requires the right amount of maintenance to keep all its parts in good working order and its water sparkling clean. In this guide, we’ll cover all that you need to know to keep your pool beautiful and ready to use all summer long. Let’s get started.
When it comes to pool maintenance, all roads lead back to circulation. If your water is moving and your pump isn’t pumping, it’s going to be next to impossible to keep your pool clean and healthy. Stagnant water quickly leads to algae growth, which can quickly take a toll on your pool and its life expectancy.
Many parts make up your pool’s circulation system, such as the skimmer, the pump, the filter and the jets. If even just one of these components is compromised, your water quality will soon become compromised as well. Here’s a quick overview of how your pool’s circulation system works:
- The pump sucks water from the pool through the skimmer
- Water then travels through the pump and inside the filter
- The filter cleans the water and removes anything that’s making it unclean
- The jets push the water back into the pool
To keep your pool clean with the help of your circulation system, you’ll have to do the following:
Run the pool pump
For around 8-12 hours every day, keep your pool pump on. The more time your filtration system is on, the cleaner your pool will end up. To save money, ask your pool builders about variable-speed pool pumps that can run at a lower speed, using less energy and costing less money.
Backwash or clean your filter
Generally speaking, it’s recommended that you backwash your pool filter every fortnight or so or when the pressure gauge reads at 8-10 PSI (pounds per square inch) over the starting level. If you have a cartridge filter, then you’ll have to clean it with a hose.
Empty and clean the skimmer basket
A clogged skimmer basket makes it harder to cycle your water, stressing out the seals of your pump and leading to premature damage. Empty and clean your skimmer once or twice a week to stay on top of your pool maintenance.
The next major component of pool maintenance is cleaning. Brushing, skimming debris off the top and vacuuming are all important parts of keeping your pool clean, so let’s break them down.
Brushing and scrubbing the walls of your pool with a pool brush is one of the best ways to keep away algae, staining and scaling, especially in those hard-to-reach crevices and around steps and ladders.
Skimming the top of your pool with a net or a leaf rake helps to remove larger debris like leaves, twigs and more. This makes your pool look cleaner and more presentable and stops those larger debris from falling to the bottom and potentially leaving stains.
Vacuuming your pool is the best way to remove debris from the bottom of your pool that can potentially reduce circulation and cause unnecessary damage. You can either purchase a robotic vacuum to do this for you automatically or use a handheld pool vacuum.
Finally, having the right chemical balance is another huge component of keeping your pool clean. Properly balanced water means a smaller likelihood of cloudy water, green water or a buildup of bacteria.
Test your water weekly with an easy-to-use testing kit found at pool supply stores. These kits will tell you what chemicals you need to add to help keep your water balanced. These ranges include:
- pH: Your pool water should have a pH of about 7.5. If your pH balance is off, you’re more likely to experience green algae growth and equipment corrosion.
- Calcium hardness: You should have around 200 to 400 ppm in your pool. If this level is too low, you could damage your pool’s plaster finish or vinyl liner. If it’s too high, you’ll end up with calcium deposits that are difficult to scrape away.
- Alkalinity: 120 to 150 ppm is the alkalinity level to aim for, with stains and cloudy water more likely to appear if the levels are too low or too high.
- Chlorine: Chlorine helps to deter harmful bacteria and keep your water sanitised. Make sure to keep the levels stable to keep your pool clean and safe for use.
- Phosphates: If phosphate levels are too high, your pool water will turn green and cloudy and make it more difficult to maintain the rest of the chemical levels.