Maintaining Your Pool In Peak Condition
Having your own backyard pool has many benefits, but it also carries a lot of responsibility. A properly maintained pool offers you long afternoons lounging beside it, a way to incorporate swimming into your fitness routine and the perfect place to throw amazing poolside parties. On the other hand, an improperly maintained pool offers build-ups of algae, green water, broken filters, unsanitary water and a terrible headache.
These pool maintenance tips can help you get the best out of your pool use:
1. Clean Regularly
It’s a fact of life that leaves and various debris will accumulate on the water surface. Even if you have a pool cover, it’s a good idea to skim the water surface daily in order to maintain a pristine pool. This is best done in the morning in order to catch all debris that has found its way to your pool during the night.
It’s also important to regularly clean and scrub the siding of your pool. This isn’t a daily task, but you shouldn’t go for longer than two weeks without giving the sides of your pool a good scrubbing. Making scrubbing a regular part of your pool maintenance will prevent algae buildups and will keep the siding fresh and clean with only a scrub brush and a little bit of elbow grease.
If you come across any particularly stubborn growths, fill an old sock and cloth bag with chlorine and place it over the spot for several hours. In particularly dire cases, leave it overnight. This will allow the chlorine to begin eating away at the algae which will make getting rid of the buildup much easier.
2. Maintain Your Filter In Peak Condition
The filter is one of the most important tools you have for keeping your pool clean. Its job is to remove any debris and impurities from the water such as dirt and leaves. A properly functioning filter is essential for any healthy pool. Make sure to clean out your filter basket weekly. You can do this by turning off the filter and removing the filter cap before lifting out the basket and cleaning it out.
In addition to this weekly maintenance, you should also use backwashing to clean out your filter system’s pipes. This is something that should be done at least once a month. Cleaning out the pipes is very simple, you simply need to set your filter to the backwash setting and clean out the filter basket. After you’ve turned on the pump, keep it running until the water that comes out of the waste pipe starting coming out clean.
Keep in mind that turning your filter on and off too often can damage its mechanisms and may even cause them to crack. A good way to avoid this is to keep your filter running for at least six hours a day. You can even utilize a timer so that you won’t accidently forget to turn it on or off.
3. Test the Chemical Levels
A pool with properly balances chemical levels has water that is crystal clear, doesn’t have a smell and doesn’t leave residue on the skin. On the other hand, if the chemical levels are improperly balanced, the water will not only look murky, but it will irritate the eyes and skin as well as becoming an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and algae.
While it depends on how often you use your pool, a good rule is to test the water’s chemical levels at least once a week. There are many testing kits readily available at all pool stores which are very easy to use. There are six chemical levels that you need to consider, and that should be adjusted to achieve the proper balance.
If you’ve had to refill your pool due to a lowered water level, make sure to check the levels soon after, as the added water will probably have altered the chemical levels.
4. Shock Your Pool When Necessary
Shocking a pool may seem like a drastic process that is only necessary for public pools, but it can have a tremendous benefit should you find yourself with a murky or cloudy pool. This condition is usually due to a buildup of bacteria in the water, and shocking the pool means drastically increasing the chlorine (or other sanitizer) levels in the pool for a short time which will get kill the bacteria effectively.
Dilute about four times the normal amount of sanitizer and slowly pour it into the return line allowing it to filter throughout the pool. Afterwards, slowly refill the pool with clean water. While you should avoid shocking the pool too often in order to prevent damaging the siding, doing it every six weeks each season is a safe way to keep it bacteria-free.