The complete guide to Pool Maintenance
The benefits and pleasures of a swimming pool make for a very long list indeed. However, a good deal of that comfort and enjoyment hinges upon understanding and carrying out proper pool maintenance from one season to the next. Think of your swimming pool as an investment, similar to that of a car, or even your actual home. While swimming pools generally aren’t as expensive as either of those things, routine maintenance is still important with all three. This could also be referred to as preventative maintenance. It is the concept of putting in a little time and money now, which will likely prevent the need to devote more time and money to a more serious problem later on.
It is also worth keeping in mind that different swimming pools are going to have different maintenance demands. We will try to cover everything here. However, we would also suggest looking up the specifics of the type of pool you have, if you have any questions beyond what we are going to cover here. There is maintenance to keep in mind before you open your pool for the season, during the actual season itself, and just prior to closing up for the season. Depending on the type of pool you have, there are even maintenance tips to keep in mind when the pool isn’t even being used.
It sounds like a lot, but it’s really not. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to keep in mind.
What Are The Basics Of Pool Maintenance?
With the exception of resurfacing your concrete swimming pool, as well as replacing the vinyl liner of swimming pools which include that feature, all of the following tasks are essential for swimming pool maintenance:
- When to open/close your swimming pool.
- How to maintain swimming pool water levels.
- How to properly run the pump/filter system for your swimming pool.
- How to properly clean out swimming pool debris.
- How to ensure your water chemistry is properly balanced.
- How to brush your pool for proper maintenance.
- How to get rid of swimming pool algae.
These are the tasks all swimming pool owners need to keep in mind.
The Best Times To Open And Close Your Swimming Pool
Consistency is something you will hear about a lot, when it comes to proper swimming pool maintenance. The best time to open your swimming pool is when the weather gets to a point in which you can be sure the water is above seventy degrees Fahrenheit throughout the day. This ensures you won’t have to worry about algae or pollen causing issues during the season.
When the time comes to open your pool, you will start by removing the pool cover. After you’ve hooked up the plumbing/filter system, you will switch things on. Clean and vacuum the pool and surrounding area, and make sure the right chemicals are added to establish an essential balance.
When you decide to close up the pool for the season, you will start by cleaning and balancing your pool for what will likely be the final time. Have debris vacuumed and removed from the bottom, and make sure your chemicals are allowed to filter for at least twenty-four hours. Your swimming pool installation instructions should tell you how to safely and correctly lower your water level. All of your water and plugs should be removed from your filter and pump system. This includes any heating elements you might be using. Next, blow out your plumbing lines, while making sure to plug up each of them. After you’ve removed the ladders and/or handrails, you can place your cover over the pool.
How Do I Maintain Water Levels?
This one is easy enough to keep in mind. You can check your levels by checking along with your skimmer’s opening. You ideally want to keep things between your midpoint and roughly within 1 inch of the opening of the skimmer.
You do not want to drain your swimming pool. This can be costly and damaging.
How Do I Maintain My Pump/Filtration System?
Measured in what is known as gallons-per-hour, your first step is going to be to figure out your flow rate. This is the amount of water pumped by your pool’s filter over a set period of time. Once you have divided the amount of water in your swimming pool by the flow rate of your pool’s pump, you will know exactly how long it will take to run your pool pump effectively.
Generally speaking, your turnover rate is going to be somewhere between four and seven hours.
How To Clean Up Debris
Cleaning the debris from your pool makes for a safer and more enjoyable experience. Armed with a pole and skimmer net, you should be able to take care of most cleaning needs without too much trouble. Clarifiers and flocculants are great for getting the particles the net misses. There are also automatic robot vacuums, which can handle just about anything that the products mentioned can’t cover.
How To Balance Your Water Chemistry
Chlorine is naturally an important aspect of making sure your swimming pool is safe and comfortable for everyone to use. However, it is not the only chemical you will need to utilize.
To that end, here are the specific chemicals to consider, as well as the specific levels you will ideally want to aspire to:
- Alkalinity: Between 80 and 120ppm
- pH levels: Between 7.2 and 7.8
- Calcium hardness levels: If you have a fiberglass swimming pool, you’re going to want levels in the range of between 100ppm and 300ppm. For vinyl or concrete swimming pools, the levels should be somewhere between 200ppm and 400ppm.
- Stabilizer: Also known as your cyanuric acid levels, you will want to shoot for levels between 20ppm and 50ppm.
- Chlorine: Overall, you want your chlorine levels to be somewhere between 2.0ppm and 3.0ppm.
Different swimming pools are ultimately going to have different specific figures. Chances are, the installation information with your swimming pool will be able to help you determine exactly what you need to keep in mind.
How To Brush Your Swimming Pool
You should try to have your swimming pool brushed at least once per week. You will want to make sure you purchase a brush that is suited to the type of swimming pool you own. For example, concrete swimming pools are best brushed with a stainless-steel product.
Regardless of the specific brush you purchase, you will be able to attach it with ease to your telescopic pole. Many people consider that pole to be the most important pool accessory you will ever own.
How To Get Rid Of Algae
If your chlorine levels are too low, or if the pH levels are out of balance (too high or too low), your swimming pool runs the frustrating risk of attracting algae. You can find this stuff floating along the surface of your pool, but it particularly likes to gather and cause problems along the sides and bottom of the pool. Algae is particularly troublesome with concrete swimming pools. This is due to the fact that these pools are made from porous materials.
Proper pool maintenance will generally keep you from ever having to deal with algae. However, if you do find yourself with algae, there are several things you can do, starting with making sure that the chemistry inherent in your pool water is somewhere within the optimal range:
- Giving your pool chlorine and stabilizer, until your levels are in a good place.
- Use a swimming pool shock product. This should be done at dusk unless you have opted to purchase a non-chlorine shock.
- If necessary, you can also utilize algaecide to eliminate this undesirable intruder.
- Brushing your pool surface can eliminate algae to a meaningful degree, as well.
- Make sure the filters are cleaned frequently. Not only can a clogged filter make your swimming pool less efficient, but it can also create a situation in which algae can flourish.
- Finally, running your filter at its top speed for a prolonged period of time can be invaluable in the world of general pool maintenance.
Further Pool Maintenance Considerations
If you have to replace your vinyl pool liner, keep in mind that this is something you will need to do every five to nine years. You can expect to spend upwards of four thousand dollars to have this work completed. It is also advisable that this work be handled by professionals, although the DIY approach is certainly viable. The same can be said for resurfacing a concrete swimming pool. This is something you will need to do every ten to fifteen years, at a cost of roughly ten thousand dollars per occasion. Concrete pools also need to be acid washed at a rate of every three to five years or so. That will ruin you about $450 each time.
The information relayed above should give you a pretty clear indicator of just how much needs to be done. However, most of these measures are extremely straightforward and will go a long way towards guaranteeing a perfect swimming pool.