Quality time with family in the pool is precious, and hard to come by with all of the responsibilities tugging at our schedule. So, keeping a well-maintained pool with the least amount of time, effort and expense is essential to gaining the greatest return on your swimming pool investment. If you’re looking to maximize your swimming pool maintenance ROI, read on for Protuff’s tips and tricks for new pool owners.
Understanding the Parts of Your Pool
There are four main components of your pool to consider to keep everything sparkling clean and safe:
- Water – Your pool water needs to be balanced and free of debris.
- Liner or Pool Interior – The walls and floor of your pool should be in good repair and free of algae.
- Filtration System – You’ll use a cartridge filter, sand filter, or diatomaceous earth (D.E.) filter to keep your water clean and safe.
- Pool Skimmers and Returns – These are your go-to tools that eliminate debris from the water that you’ll use on a daily basis.
Why is Pool Maintenance So Important?
Pool maintenance is key for the longevity of your pool. Without it, you run the risk of damaging your hard-earned investment or putting your family at risk for illness or injury. Putting in the time, effort, and money to take care of your pool will ensure that you and your loved ones will be able to enjoy it for years to come.
How Often Do I Need to Do Pool Maintenance?
Certain tasks, like skimming leaves and debris from the water’s surface and running the pool pump should be done daily. Fortunately, for those with busy schedules, most pool maintenance can be done on a weekly basis. We recommend finding a day when you can batch these tasks together for the most efficiency. A weekly maintenance routine would look something like this:
- Sweep and clean the pool deck
- Net debris off the water’s surface
- Brush all hard surfaces of the pool
- Clean the skimmer and pump baskets
- Check the filter pressure
- Test the chlorine, pH, and alkalinity
What if I Have an Automatic Pool Cleaner?
Automatic pool cleaners are an excellent way to minimize the time we invest in cleaning our pools, but they are not perfect. They’ll get us 80% of the way there, but, properly maintaining our pool means we’ll still need to periodically get our hands dirty with the more manual tasks like targeted brushing and fine detail vacuuming to earn that “perfect score”.
Steps to Achieve Proper Circulation in Your Pool
Good circulation is the key to a healthy pool. To avoid stagnant water that can harbor bacteria, viruses, and other germs that can make people sick, it’s important to take care of your pool’s pumps and filters so the water keeps moving and stays safe. Here’s how:
- Make sure the pump basket is clean and properly installed. If your impeller is clogged, that’s a sign that something isn’t right.
- Lubricate and tighten the pump lid to prevent air leaks.
- Run the pump for a minimum of 8-12 hours daily.
- Check the pump daily to be sure that it is pumping properly. Air leaks or low water levels can weaken the pump. You’ll know there’s a problem if you notice strange sounds, swirling water in the skimmers, or a surface ripple from the returns.
Pool Cleaning Basics
It’s easier to skim debris from the surface of the pool than to rake or vacuum it from the bottom. So, if you have the time, taking just a couple of minutes to skim each day can save significant amounts of time raking and vacuuming later.
Skimming the surface of the pool with a pool rake (basically a pool skimmer that has a deep mesh BAG instead of a flat mesh screen) is much faster and more efficient than using a flat skimmer since it doesn’t have to be emptied as frequently and is less likely to lose debris back into the pool as you clean.
If you prefer to use a flat skimmer in lieu of a rake for this purpose, our professional grade “flat” skimmers are designed with a deeper lip, stronger full-aluminum frame, and a slight depression in the mesh screen allowing for the collection of much more debris in much less time than a residential grade flat skimmer.
Our “dish soap hack” (available in our weekly Pool Tips emails – Click to Subscribe) takes pool surface skimming to an entirely new level, drastically slashing the time required to complete the job, whether you use a flat skimmer or a deep bag pool rake.
A professional style deep bag pool rake, used properly, is MUCH faster and more efficient for cleaning the bottom of your pool than a pool vacuum, and often can achieve a similar result as vacuuming in about half the time or less.
It’s All About Chemistry
A task that may seem daunting is balancing your pool water with the right chemicals. However, it doesn’t take a scientist to figure it out. A basic understanding of the three levels to check for and where each should fall paired with the right tools will do the trick.
- pH Levels: Low pH levels mean your pool water is acidic, while high levels are basic. The ideal range for your pool’s pH is between 7.4 and 7.6, but 7.2 to 7.8 is acceptable.
- Alkalinity: If your pool falls within 100 to 150 parts per million (ppm) it’s at a perfect alkalinity level.
- Sanitizer levels: This measures the levels of chlorine (or possibly bromine for hot tubs and indoor pools) in your pool water. These should fall between 1 and 4 ppm, although pools using significant levels of CYA (chlorine stabilizer) should probably sit at the higher end of that range, and customers who use other complimentary sanitizing options (such as mineral purifiers) may be better off at .5 – 1.5 PPM chlorine.
These levels should be tested at least once a week with a testing strip or kit. Sanitizer levels and pH should be tested two to three times per week while alkalinity need only be tested once per week.
Water testing should be done at a similar time of day each time. If you alkalinity is off, wait to test pH until you’ve remedied the alkalinity issue. Be mindful not to micromanage pH – you’ll only make it worse. For more information as to why we make the recommendations that we do, subscribe to our weekly Pool Tips newsletter.
Perform Regular Pool Shocking
As stated above, maintaining proper chemical levels in your pool begins with testing. You’ll want to pay close attention to the chemical levels after any events that might affect them – heavy rainfall, accidents in the pool, partial drain or fill of the pool, etc. If your test strips or kit indicate that the chlorine levels dip below 1 ppm, then you’ll want to shock the pool to help clear any algae, combined chlorine molecules, and invisible germs.
Shocking is simplys the act of adding more chlorine pool chemicals to the water in order to increase the chlorine level.
You can shock your pool with any type of chlorine (liquid, granular, etc.). You do not need to use a pool product specifically labeled as “shock”.
Always shock your swimming pool at night. Why? Because the sun’s ultraviolet rays will quickly devour the chlorine if you add it during daylight hours. Wait until after dark when everyone is finished using the pool, skim the surface, run the vacuum, and brush down the pool surfaces. Add the pool shock, turn on the pool’s pumps, and leave them running for at least eight hours to circulate the chlorine completely.
Responsible Pool Ownership is Key
Pools are a lot of fun for young and old alike, but you can’t just let people do whatever they want in and around the pool. For everyone’s safety and to protect the pool, you have to set firm ground rules. In order to keep your pool maintained and available for use, you need everyone’s cooperation. Just a few of the things that you can do to keep your pool and the area around it clean and well-maintained include:
- Make sure that anyone who’s going to be using the pool rinses off first.
- Keep pets out of the pool to limit hair and debris.
- Maintain a clean pool deck by sweeping and mopping the area.
Creating a Pool Maintenance Schedule
As you’re reading this list of pool maintenance tasks, you might be thinking that it’s a lot of work, and you’re not wrong. Keeping your pool clean, testing and adjusting the chemicals, and maintaining the pool equipment is a part-time job in itself, but, like most things in life, getting it “right” is worth investing time into.
After all, the pool is where your family and friends gather to splash, play, and make lifelong memories. Proper pool maintenance is important to the longevity of your pool and should be prioritized.
On a daily basis, you should:
- Skim the water’s surface.
- Sweep the area around the pool.
At least once a week, make sure you:
- Vacuum the pool.
- Brush the pool’s surfaces.
- Empty the filters.
- Check the chemical levels (pH & chlorine 2-3X each week).
ProTuff Makes Pool Maintenance Easier
Owning a swimming pool is one of the best ways to ensure your family will spend plenty of quality time together. Sure, it’s going to take some work to keep the pool in good condition, but you’re no stranger to rolling up your sleeves and getting down to business.
Skimming the surface, scrubbing the walls, and cleaning the deck can be tedious, but you’ll be glad you did it when it’s time to enjoy a dip in your fresh, clean pool.
To learn more about our wide selection of revered pool products that will help ease the stress of pool maintenance contact us here or subscribe to our newsletter, so you can get to enjoying your backyard oasis sooner.
Disclaimer: Pool ownership and maintenance is very complicated, and we know every situation is unique. While we’ve done our best to cover the best practices here, we encourage you to reach out to ProTuff directly at [email protected] with any specific questions you may have.