You’ve made a big investment in your swimming pool, and it is a central element of your outdoor living space, where friends and family have hours of summer fun. Unfortunately, without proper maintenance, your pool can become dirty and smelly, putting a damper on your fun. While pool maintenance isn’t as exciting as swimming, there are a few techniques you can use to make pool maintenance easier to complete, so you can enjoy a clear and clean pool all summer long!
Basic maintenance for your pool includes maintaining the filter, cleaning the water, scrubbing the walls, etc. There are five simple steps you can take to help make basic pool maintenance a breeze.
Skim the Water’s Surface – Debris such as leaves and bugs accumulate on the surface of your pool every day. By removing this debris, you can help keep your pool water and reduce the deep cleans your pool requires. To skim your pool, attach the skimmer net to a telescopic pole. Sweeping the skimmer across the pool’s surface to catch debris. Periodically shake the debris onto the ground as the net gets dirty. By skimming the water daily, you can also prevent the debris from sinking to the bottom of the pool.
Scrub the Pool Walls – Scrubbing your pool walls helps to remove chemical residue, dirt and can also help prevent algae from growing. You will use your telescopic pole and attach the brush to it. Go around the pool and take the time to brush the corners, the ladder, and the walls. Be sure to get into all the tight spaces where algae could grow. By scrubbing the walls, you can push the dirt and chemical residue into the water making your pool vacuum and other chemicals more efficient at removing it.
Vacuum the Pool Floor – You will use a hose and a vacuum head attached to a telescopic pole to help remove the dirt and debris from the bottom of the pool. To help eliminate air from the hose, lower the vacuum to the bottom of the pool, pushing the other end of the hose against a pool jet until the bubbles stop forming. Move the vacuum head slowly across the pool floor to remove dirt and debris. After the vacuuming is completed, turn our filtration system back on to collect anything you may have missed.
Clean Off the Filter – Cleaning the filter is a crucial part of keeping your pool clean. A dirty filter can lead to more frequent cleanings. There are three types of pool filters, each with its own cleaning method, so it is crucial to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Backwashing is running your pool pump backward to flush out the filter system. When you want to backwash your pool, start by turning off the filter and connecting the backwash hose to the filter’s waste port. You will then turn the valve to backwash and turn your filter for two minutes. Then, shut off the filter and switch the valve to rinse. You will then turn the system on again for another minute. Again, shut the system off and then turn the valve to filter. To clean the pool filter, there are different methods to follow for each type of filter.
Cartridge Filter – Shut off the pump and filter and release the air from the filter system. Open up the filter and remove the filter cartridge. If the cartridge is damaged, be sure to replace it. If the cartridge is in good shape, you should rinse it with a hose. If it is still dirty after rinsing, allow the filter to soak overnight or use commercial filter cleaner. Replace or lubricate the O ring and rinse the cartridge and place it back in with the filter. Turn the filter system back on.
DE Filter – Be sure to put on gloves and a face mask to prepare for cleaning your DE filter. Begin by backwashing the system and shutting off the pump. Remove air from the system and open the drain plug to drain the water from the filter. Open the filter tanks and rinse the tank out. Be sure to rinse off the manifold and filter grids, checking for damage. If these areas are still dirty, clean with a commercial cleaner or soak them overnight. Follow manufacturer instructions to make water and DE slurry. Turn your pump back on and release the air from the system. Within the span of 60 seconds, add the slurry to the skimmer.
Sand Filter – Backwash your filter and then shut it off. Set the system to filter and open the pump lid. Add sand filter cleaner and turn the pump on for 10-15 seconds. This will carry the cleaner to the sand filter. Shut off the pool pump and leave it off overnight. Backwash again, and then turn the filter back on to the normal settings.
In addition to cleaning your pool, you also need to clean the area surrounding your pool. Remove grass clipping, leaves, and other debris that could be blown into your pool. Spray off the deck with a high-pressure hose or a pressure washer to remove chemical residue and algae growth. You should occasionally use a disinfectant to remove residue and bacteria. Pool deck cleaners and a stiff brush will help you get the area clean.
Testing your pool water is crucial. When you don’t test, you don’t know what’s in your water. You may not think trace contaminants are a big deal right now, but they can add up over time, causing major issues. The best way to avoid these problems is to test your water regularly. To test your water, you will first need a water sample. Collect this sample using a clean container to avoid contaminating the sample. Try to collect water deeper in the center of the pool. You can test the water using a liquid test kit, strips or by taking the sample to your local pool maintenance store. Common pool contaminants include:
● Copper- Excess can give your water a greenish color and can also make it cloudy. Use a metal trap filter or a metal sequestrant to prevent corrosion.
● Iron- Brown or rust-colored water can indicate high iron levels. You can use a hose filter, a metal trap filter, or a metal sequestrant to lower iron levels.
● Calcium- Too much calcium can cause cloudy water and corrosion, and too little can cause concrete surfaces to dissolve. Muriatic acid can help make excess calcium easier to remove.
● Phosphates- These can cause algae growth. Avoid using an algaecide that contains copper and keep your chlorine, pH, and alkalinity levels balanced.
● Salt- Add more water to lower levels; add more salt to raise levels. Depending on what your results are, you will need a combination of chemicals such as shock, algaecide, clarifiers, etc., to remove contaminants from your pool.
Throughout the summer season, your pool will lose water due to evaporation, splashing, and overall traffic, but water loss can also happen due to a leak. If your water levels are rapidly decreasing, then it is likely you have a leak. Follow these methods to help you locate the leak.
Try Food Coloring – Both inground and above-ground pools can use food coloring to help isolate a leak. Shut off your pool’s pump and filter. Fill up a squeeze bottle with water and a few drops of red food coloring. Walk around the pool and place a few drops of colored water in various spots. Start at the pool ladder and walk around the pool. If there is a leak, you will see the colored water flowing toward it. Once you’ve found the general area of the leak, repeat the test to get a more exact location.
Complete the Bucket Test – Fill up a bucket with water up to about an inch from the top and mark the water level—Mark the water level on the pool’s sidewall as well. Wait for 245 hours and then check the water levels. If you see that the pool’s level is drastically lower than the bucket’s water level, then it is likely that you have a leak.
Perform an Examination of the Exterior Walls – For an above-ground pool, finding a leak can sometimes be as easy as checking the exterior walls. Look for any6 obvious damage or feel for moisture on the outside of the pool’s walls. You should also check for leaks around the ladder, slide, and pump.
Pool covers serve an important purpose for your pool. They keep debris out of your pool while also keeping sunlight out to help protect from algae growth. A proper cover Is also a safety measure that can keep your loved ones safe when you are not around the pool with them. Pool covers can be broken down into three categories:
It is important to choose a pool cover that will meet your needs. All pool covers can help reduce evaporation and keep out debris, but if you have trouble putting on your cover, you may want to consider an automatic cover, and if you have children or have family members that do, a safety cover might be the best option. Everyone should use a winter cover in the off-season to protect from harsh weather and debris and to help make maintenance easier when it comes to opening the pool.
At Swimming Pool Discounters, we offer a large selection of high-quality products and tools to help you get your pool ready for summer. Contact us today to learn more!