How to Clean Your Own Pool and Save Money
Pool maintenance costs can vary depending on multiple variables, ranging from size and materials to features like fountains and waterfalls, and overall design. Some people may choose to shell out thousands of dollars a year to hire someone to take care of their pool maintenance needs, but not you.
You know that one of the best ways to save money is with a DIY pool cleaning approach. While various factors determine your monthly maintenance expenses, there are certain practices you can adopt to ensure you don’t spend more than you need to keep your pool sparkling all year round.
Read on for practical ways to save on pool cleaning costs with these DIY tips.
Know Your Chemicals
Your pool requires various chemicals to achieve a safe and healthy swimming environment. Although balancing these chemicals may seem complicated for new pool owners, it is essential to reduce operating costs over time. For instance, if any amount of chemicals is slightly unbalanced, it could result in bacterial buildup, causing recreational water diseases like skin infections. It’s critical that water pH levels should neither be too high nor too low to avoid scale deposits or etched and corroded pool surfaces.
Understanding chemicals to add to your pool helps avoid countless unwanted issues that increase maintenance costs. Chlorine is the chemical of choice to keep pool and spa water clean and safe. However, adding too much may cause eye and skin irritation, while too little cannot effectively kill algae, bacteria, and other contaminants. Therefore, test your pool water at least once a week to ensure water alkalinity, pH, calcium hardness, cyanuric acid, dissolved solids, and other elements are within the required range.
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Skimming refers to cleaning the pool surface and is an important part of your pool care routine whenever the pool is open and more likely to be covered with dry leaves and other debris. A pool skimmer can help remove debris accumulated on top of the water.
To keep the water clean and free from debris, you’ll want to skim your pool weekly if not daily. It is an effective way to cut costs of replacing or unblocking clogged pool pump filters. Regular skimming helps provide unobstructed access to the pool, a clean, aesthetic feel, and reduces the chance of debris sinking to the bottom causing stains or damage.
Clean Your Filters
Pool filters are a vital component of your pool since they keep the water clean and healthy. The cleanliness of your pool filters affects the entire pool filtration system, meaning the whole system can operate more efficiently with a proper filter. This makes filters among the top components that require regular maintenance to avoid costly pool upkeep.
The intent is to remove particles trapped within the filters and likely to clog and put stress on the pool equipment. Eliminating debris and other particles from the pool filters helps prevent buildup, which can make cleaning expensive. Cleaning your pool filters is also an effective way to extend the life of your pool pump and the entire filtration system.
There is a balance to this, however. The efficiency of a filter actually increases as it collects debris. So, cleaning too frequently is actually not recommended. But, it’s also important not to allow the filter to become so clogged with debris that the pump becomes stressed. You can find the “sweet spot” by determining the water pressure reading when you install a new, clean filter. Then, anytime that pressure reading climbs to about 10 psi over the norm, you’ll know it’s time to clean the filter.
Vacuum the Pool on Your Own
If you own a pool, vacuuming regularly is essential to keep it clean and remove contaminants like mud, debris, and algae that build up naturally and affect the pool’s water pH balance. We recommend you vacuum your pool every week to keep it clean and prevent overusing chemicals. In addition to vacuuming regularly to clear the water and avoid the accumulation of debris and dirt, we also recommend using a pool rake. When done properly and with the right equipment, raking can be nearly as effective as vacuuming but with half the time and effort.
Vacuuming your pool reduces the need for using pool chemicals and pool problems like foul odors and algae blooms. It also helps improve the circulation of sanitizing chemicals and makes the pool water clean and clear. This cuts down maintenance costs like adding several chemicals to your pool, as well as prevents debris buildup, which can be expensive to remove during renovation.
Use A Pool Cover
A pool cover may involve a plastic sheet or bubble-like nylon or plastic sheet available in different sizes, colors, and types to fit specific pool sizes and designs. Pool covers are placed over the pool surface manually in most cases, although some can be automated. Most people use a simple solar pool cover to keep in heat and reduce evaporation, although you could opt for a more expensive safety cover that serves as an enclosed barrier to prevent people or animals from falling in.
Using a pool cover is an effective pool maintenance practice that traps warmth during the day and prevents it from escaping during cold nights. It also prevents water evaporation up to 95% since it serves as a barrier between the atmosphere and pool water, therefore lowing water heating costs and preventing water loss.
Use an Energy-Efficient Pump
Your pool pump is the largest electricity consumer in your home, accounting for a quarter of your household energy bill each month. Choosing the right pump for your pool can make all the difference in your monthly energy bills, so it’s something you want to get right the first time.
There are three types of pumps you can install in your pool. They vary in upfront and operational costs.
- Single Speed Pump – A single speed pump is the most popular pool pump. It operates at a single speed and horsepower. It’s the cheapest purchase price, although it will cost you more in operating costs than the other, more energy-efficient pool pumps.
- Dual Speed Pump – You guessed it. A dual speed pump runs on two speeds and HPs. It’s more expensive than a single pump upfront, but makes up for it in operational cost savings.
- Variable Speed Pump – With a full range of speeds and HPs, a variable speed pump gives you the most bang for your buck, despite being the most expensive pool pump upfront.
While dual speed and variable speed pumps cost more than a single pool pump to install, investing in these more energy-efficient options will save you money in the long run. Being able to adjust the speed of your pump is key. While you may think the faster you can run your pump, the better, reducing pump speed is actually far more energy-efficient as it reduces wear and tear on your equipment and circulates the water more often to avoid algae buildup. The energy you save from being able to reduce your pump speed is exponentially larger than the reduction in speed.
Turn the Temperature Down When Not in Use
Most pool owners consider installing a heater to warm pool water before using the pool. It is a good idea to warm up the water in your pool, mainly after a cold night or when opening the pool after winterizing for the off-season. However, keeping the heater running even when not in use can needlessly increase your energy usage, causing you to pay more on your energy bills.
Turning the temperature down when not in use or keeping the pool cool helps lower energy usage, which saves you money. While some pool owners find it convenient to warm up their pools, keeping the temperature lower helps reduce energy usage and associated energy costs.
Reduce Water Loss Due to Evaporation
We know you take pride in your pool, and likely take advantage of certain features like fountains, deck jets, and maybe even a water slide. However, these features consume energy when operating and might lead to increased water cooling and evaporation. Although pool features help create an ambient, relaxing, or playful atmosphere, turning them down when not in use or eliminating them altogether can help reduce pool maintenance costs.
Water loss due to evaporation can happen anytime you break the surface tension of the water. This is a natural consequence of swimming and splashing. However, a fountain creates constant breakage of surface tension, leading to increased evaporation loss. When water exits the pool through evaporation, you spend more money treating and heating your pool. You need to regularly replace the lost water and re-add chemicals, both of which add a regular and unnecessary expense.
Also, you can considerably lessen water loss due to evaporation by investing in a pool cover (as long as you regularly use it when the pool is not in use). Using a windbreaker like a fence or even a screen around the pool to minimize wind blowing over the pool is also a good idea. Additionally, you can limit pool accessories, reduce pool temperature, and lower the water level to help limit water loss. These DIY methods can help you save money while keeping your pool in pristine shape.
There are a variety of factors that contribute to water evaporation. To learn more about this and other pool-related tips and tricks, check out ProTuff’s newsletter.
Ready to Use Pool Tools That Come with A Lifetime Warranty?
Whether you are a new pool owner or a seasoned vet, ProTuff has the pool tool solutions to save you time and money. Check out our full product range on our online storefront or contact us if you have any questions about how to properly maintain your pool. All our tools come with an unlimited replacement guarantee, so you’ll never have to spend another dime on quality pool products. With the proper care, you’ll be able to enjoy your pool for yours to come.
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@example.com with any specific questions you may have.