How to Maintain a Swimming Pool at Home
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Owning a swimming pool in your backyard is the best feeling in the summer! It’s even more fun when you hold parties around the pool. But wait, how will you maintain your pool to ensure it’s ever clean? Drafting a regular maintenance schedule will help you clean your swimming pool on time and prevent algae and bacteria growth.
Besides keeping your pools clean, maintenance will also help your filter system and pump to serve you longer without a major breakdown.
Depending on your pool and budget size, you can hire a professional cleaner to do the work. Alternatively, here are methods you can use in maintaining a pool at home and ensure clean water.
Removing floating leaves from the surface of the pool is quite easy. You can do it manually with a skimmer daily if you are available. Alternatively, you can invest in a robotic pool vacuum cleaner to suck up all the stubborn debris from the bottom.
Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for ease of use and help keep it in good condition. You can also disassemble clean the filter to remove sticky dirt.
Besides skimming, you also need to brush the walls of the swimming pool to remove growing algae. You can do the scrubbing once in two weeks to check on any algae build-up. In case of stubborn spots, add more chlorine to the area and scrub after some time.
Vacuuming your pool’s essential as the vacuum cleaner sucks all the dirt on the bottom and walls of the pool. You need to set the sucker at the center of your pool bottom and using its long hose pipe, and
pole attached to the skimmer, press until it sucks all the rubbles.
When too much dirt settles on your pools, water circulation is affected and can lead to pump and filter clogging. You can vacuum it weekly if it’s not covered.
Run your Pool’s Filter System
Although there are different filtration systems, all of them need cleaning and maintenance to remove dirt that could cause blockage. You will need to run your pool’s water for at least seven hours to properly filter all dirt, though it depends on your pool type. Concrete pools need double turnover time to keep clear water.
However, you can clean the swimming pool by switching off the filter system, disassemble the pool deck, remove the collecting basket and empty the dirt before returning the basket in place. You can do this at least once a week and clean the filter pipes once a month through backwashing. This will help keep your pool safe from dirt.
Check Your Water Level
Swimming pool water level is as important as its chemical composition. The proper level is between a half and a third way up from the skimmer’s opening. If the water is too high, you can consult a pool technician to remove excess water and if the water level is low, use your garden hose pipe to fill to appropriate levels.
Here is the trick if the local pool water rises above, the skimmer will not trap the leaves, and the water speed slows down. Similarly, when the water is below the skimmer, it will only absorb air as it cannot attract the leaves. Thus it’s important to preserve the right levels to avoid damaging the motor pump and the pool filter.
Balance Chemical Composition
Balanced chemical composition is the most important aspect of pool maintenance. Besides creating a breeding space for bacteria, unbalanced pool water looks cloudy and causes skin and eye irritation. Begin your local pool care journey by testing water using a testing kit from pool accessories stores. This test kit will help you know your pool water chemistry. There are five chemical levels that you will need to test to come up with a balanced report. They include:
- Chlorine: which is used as disinfectant and sanitizer in water and is measured in ppm
- pH levels: This is the alkalinity/acidity of the water. It’s kept at 7.8 to 7.5 to prevent the pool from corroding.
- Cyanuric Acid: protects the chlorine in the water from the sun rays
- Calcium Hardness: Is the total calcium in the water. Low levels cause plaster damage. Aim for 220-400 for concrete and fiberglass but lower level for vinyl pools.
- Total Alkalinity: it should be between 60 -120 and helps in balancing the PH.
Besides testing, it’s also important to know the best testing timelines for these chemicals to keep your pool clean and healthy. Thus pH and chlorine levels should be tested twice a week, while total alkalinity and total dissolved solids can be tested at least once a month. However, you can test Cyanuric acid and calcium hardness once a season. All these chemicals affect each other thus, compromising their level will give different results.
Shock the Water
A cloudy pool indicates bacteria presence. Pool shock is considerably raising chlorine levels per million in the swimming pool to clear away bacteria. You add between two ppm to five ppm times the normal measure of sanitizer or disinfectant to the filter return line and then let the water run through, clearing away the murkiness for at least eight hours. Strictly use the manufacturer’s directions as you can only shock the pool twice a season to avoid eroding the sides of your pool due to too much chlorine.
However, there are two shock products you can use to keep your pool clean and odorless. Basic pool shock products kill bacteria by breaking swimmer waste, lotions, and cosmetic residue in the water. In contrast, multifunctional pool shock products kill bacteria, balance the pH levels, increase protection from algae, and boost filtration. The advantage of multifunctional shock products is that you can use the pool within minutes after shocking.
There are millions of microscopic floras that can grow in and around your pool if it’s not well treated. Algae float in water or hang on the walls and at the bottom of the pool. It grows when chlorine level is low, and pH is either low or high. Their growth is also fueled by rain, fall water, and wind which will dilute the chemical in the water, giving them room for growth.
Therefore, you will need to check your water for any algae signs regularly. This is because they reoccur even after adding chemicals, especially in the concrete pools because they are permeable. Vinyl pools may harbor algae in some areas, though.
The best method to get rid of algae is by confirming your water chemistry is within the right range. Add stabilizers up to the right level, shock the pull in the evening and reading the manufacturer’s instructions well, add algaecide. Brush the walls and lastly, run the pool’s pump and filter at high speed until all the water is crystal clear.
Replacing your Interior Pool Finish
Vinyl pool liners require replacements nine years after installation. You will require an expert to do the pool service for you, especially if you have not handled vinyl liners before. On the contrary concrete pools require acid washing after five years to keep off the algae and prevent the finish from waning away.
Further, the concrete pools require resurfacing after 15 years which is very expensive. However, it’s influenced by many factors, including the type of waterline tile, size, pool condition, etc. You can use plaster, tile, or exposed aggregate for continued pool care to give it a fine finish.
Opening Your Pool
People always debate on this topic, but the truth is you should open your pool when the temperature is consistently above 210C during the day. It helps prevent pollen and algae growth.
People who open later than this are likely to incur extra costs in cleaning up the debris and algae growth over the pool cover. Similarly, it would help if you closed your pool before the temperatures get to 10C at night. This will help water not to freeze in the pump and the filter.
Clean the main drain, vacuum, or use a skimmer to remove debris and allow chemicals to filter for at least 24 hours. To lower the water level, follow the technician’s directions, unplug the pump and the filtration system, then disconnect ladders, and lastly, put the cover to help keep your pool intact.
Schedule Annual Inspection
An expert’s annual pool maintenance will help identify defects before they actualize and affect the pool’s water flow performance. You may fail to notice technical defects in your routine check, but an expert will easily identify them, hence the need to engage a professional.
Before inviting experts over to your backyard, examine your swimming pool and note all areas with defects. Ensure you brief them on all your finding – it will guide them on where to start.
In some areas, temperatures fall below 10Cin the winter. If you live in such locations, consider winterizing your pool immediately after summer to keep it healthy.
Drain water remains in the filter system, heater, and pipes by blowing using an air compressor because it can cause damage by freezing in there.
Disconnect the pump, water heater, and chemical pipes, which should be thoroughly cleaned and stored safely. Add chemicals to treat and balance the water before closing.
Benefits of Pool Maintenance
Having a swimming pool in your compound adds to the overall beauty of the backyard. In fact, it becomes a center of attraction for every guest in your home. But not when dirty!
To achieve the glory attached to a pool, you have to regularly clean it by removing leaves floating on water, brushing the bottom and the walls, vacuuming, testing, and treating water with the right components.
You don’t want your family and friends to contract skin diseases from your own pool! Thus aim at keeping your pool as healthy as you can. However, while maintaining might sound difficult, you can hire a pool cleaner always to preserve the attractive appearance of your pool throughout
Pool Equipment’s Last Longer
Constructing a swimming pool can be expensive, depending on the material used. It’s therefore important to take care of the pool and its equipment through maintenance which will make it serve you longer.
Check regularly your filters and skimmers for any clogged debris. If they are left to stay, they can damage the filtration system altogether. You can also check the pump and grease when necessary. Regular checking and maintenance make the pool last longer and increase its performance and save you money.
Makes Your Pool Safe
Part of pool maintenance is cleaning the dirt, debris, and grease regularly. If unattended, pool water can cause algae growth and bacteria, which in turn causes eye and skin irritation. Brush your pool’s walls and bottom to remove the dead leaves, then add algaecide and pump water at a speed until it’s all clean.
Water testing, treating, and balancing chemicals in your pool make it safe for your family. Additionally, backwash your pool after long usage, especially after parties, and cover it correctly when not in use. This will retain chemical effectiveness, which keeps the pool clean and safe.
Pool maintenance helps in detecting and preventing damages before they become a nightmare. Hence proper pool maintenance saves you money and can’t be compared to construction costs.
If you take the right steps to preserve your pool or hire a professional to do the work as soon as you notice anomalies, the costs are extremely low compared to when you wait for more signs of damage.
Changing your filters, greasing, removing dirt are simple tasks that you can DIY and save you from long-term issues like pump and filtration system breakdown, which are expensive to repair.
The main purpose of owning a pool is to relax your body and mind in your backyard. More so, when your pool’s well maintained, your mind feels settled and relaxed.
Whether you are doing the maintenance in person or hiring a professional, you can’t resist the calmness and peace of mind you get when everything is done.
From collecting debris on the water surface, brushing, treating water to shocking, the exercise can be strenuous and stressful. Worse still, when you let debris build up on the pool surface. Perhaps what you need is to get a professional who will create a maintenance schedule for your pool. This will reduce your worry and help relax your mind more.
A clean and well-maintained pool is not only safe for your family and relaxes your mind, but it’s also a source of pride when you have people coming over to your backyard for parties or even meet-ups.
When your pool surface is clean, you feel at ease when showing people around your backyard and home in general. Its cleanliness is a reflection of how organized you are all through to your home. To enjoy every summer, focus on proper maintenance and improvement of your pool regularly.
Corrects the Chemical Balance
Pool experts recommend chemical level checking 3 times a week. This is because true reading can be affected by temperature change in the pool, the surrounding or debris present in the pool.
The most important chemical balance in a pool is the Ph. maintaining your pools’ pH level is not only necessary for the safety of your swimmers but for the look and longevity of the pool itself.
When it’s too high, the pool looks milky, while the water is acidic and very clear when too low. The best level for water is 7, which means neutral.
Ignoring this step when treating your pool only puts your family and guests at risk of body irritation and severe skin injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How do you Maintain a Pool at Home?
Maintaining a pool at home can be the easiest procedure if you follow the right steps. You can DIY or hire a professional pool expert to do it for you. Start by opening your pool when the temperatures are above 210 C to prevent algae growth on the pool’s cover. You can also check the pool’s water level in case it’s too low or high.
Next, use a skimmer to collect debris or vacuum the pool to remove the stubborn leaves. Using a testing kit, test your water to ensure that the pool chemistry is balanced. Follow the manufacturer’s direction to mix the right ppm of each chemical.
Slowly add the solution to the pool. You can also add algaecide if the algae are there, then run the pump and the filtration system at a speed until the water is clear and the pool is ready for use.
2. What Chemicals Do I Need to Maintain my Pool?
Different chemicals play different roles in the maintenance and safety of pool water. However, there are five main chemicals that pool experts recommend for its maintenance.
While Chlorine is used as a stabilizer and disinfectant in pool water, cyanuric acid acts as a cover for protecting chlorine in the water from direct sunlight. Ph is simply the alkalinity or acidity of water and is measured on a 0-14 ppm scale. Zero ppm being the most acidic, while 14 ppm being the most alkaline.
The best PH is at 7, although the recommended pool water is 7.5ppm to 7.8ppm to prevent corrosion. To achieve the recommended PH balancing, total alkalinity is used at the levels of between 60 and 120 ppm.
Total calcium in water is called calcium hardness, and the required level is between 220 -400 for fiberglass pools and concrete pools. When the hardness goes below these levels, it causes plaster damage, reducing the pool’s lifespan.
3. How do you Maintain a Pool for Beginners?
Owning a pool for the first time is an exciting experience, but wait until you start maintaining it. It can cause you more headaches than when constructing because you don’t have experience handling pool maintenance.
You can start by always pool cleaning using a skimmer or a robotic pool vacuum cleaner if you have good cash. You can also use a manual vacuum cleaner, although it requires more energy to function.
Check your pump and filters for clogged leaves that might slow the pool’s functioning. This can also prevent serious problems with the filtration system. Brush your concrete pool with a steel brush or plastic brush if you have a fiberglass or vinyl pool.
Confirm if the water level is okay using the pool manual your pool contractor gave you. If too high, you can use a siphoning pipe or contact your pool contractor for further instructions. If too low, add water using a garden hose pipe, although it can take you hours to fill. Follow manufacturer’s direction to add algaecide to the pool to reduce algae build-up. Finally, increase pool pump speed to filter and clear all the dirt.
4. How do I keep my pool water clean?
You can keep your pool water clean by ;
- Test your pool water and treat it with balanced pool chemicals. The composition includes cyanuric, PH, Calcium hardness, total alkalinity, and chlorine.
- Regularly cleaning the debris from the pool using a skimmer, a manual vacuum sucker, or even a robotic vacuum sucker.
- Covering your pool when not in use, especially at the end of summer. This prevents unnecessary debris in the fall month from filling your pool and helps in retaining water chemistry.
- Always opening your pool when the temperatures are at 210C during the day and closing it when they are 10C and at night.
- Pool Shocking. It adds three to five times the normal chlorine quantity to your filter return line, then runs the pump to remove any growing bacteria. You can shock your pool twice per season.
- Backwashing: If the pool filter line is clogged with debris, it will always affect the cleanliness of your pool. Regular backwashing helps to unclog the filtration pipes hence clean water.
Pool maintenance at home is simple if you have the required chemical composition and you regularly check out for debris in your pool and the filter system. This can save you time and money.
Alternatively, if you have no experience and don’t want to be stressed, you can hire professional pool cleaners. They will keep a schedule for your pool maintenance even when you have forgotten and help keep it clean.
You will be proud of your backyard and be at peace when the pool is clean and looking fabulous.
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