Owning a pool is an amazing luxury that when looked after will last you years and years. Whether you choose to use yours for keeping fit and getting in those laps, or you just want somewhere to cool off the main element of pool ownership should never be forgotten; maintenance.
If you do not maintain your pool properly, it could lead to various problems. Green water, broken filters, calcium scales on your heater and more.
With Summer on the way, knowing what you need to do to have a beautiful and safe pool will ensure for many months of enjoyment.
Getting into a pool maintenance routine needn’t be a cumbersome one. Here are our top 10 pool maintenance tips that you should implement into your life. These tips are handy regardless if you’ve just had your pool installed or you’ve owned one for many years.
1) Skimming and scraping
One of the easiest ways of keeping your pool well maintained is to use pool skimmers and scrapers.
Skimming leaves and other types of debris of the surface is a task that ideally needs to be done daily. You can get away with every other day, but for the sake of a few minutes of skimming, every day will ensure for a beautifully pristine pool.
You will also need to remember to regularly empty out the filter baskets, otherwise, they will get backed up and you will have to start all over again.
If your budget will allow for it, you could invest in a robot vacuum that cleans the bottom of the pool for you. There are a wide variety of types available with varying prices, so we recommend you do some research and work out which best suits your needs.
However, skimming isn’t enough to keep the water nice and clean. You will also need to scrub the sides of the pool to prevent algae from building up.
This is a task that does not need doing as often and can get away with doing it every 1 – 2 weeks. If you notice any larger growths in the meantime, we recommend you tackle them with a scrubbing brush to keep your pool sides clean and fresh.
2) Keep those filters clean
Keeping your filters clean is paramount to a healthy pool. There are three kinds of pool filters: cartridge, sand and diatomaceous earth. Each type requires different maintenance but all need to be cleaned and kept in tip-top condition.
The simplest way to clean a pool filter is to turn it off, remove the cap, remove the filter basket and emptying it of the debris before replacing it. You will need to do this around once a week or so.
On top of this though you will also need to clean out the pipes that are used in the filtration system. This can be some simply by ‘backwashing’. To do this, all you need to do is set your filter to ‘backwash’, remove the debris basket and leave it to clean its self out. Once this is done, turn on your pump and leave it to run until the waste pipe runs clear water.
There is a line between having a clean filter and a ‘dirty’ one though that you need to think about. If you clean the filter more often it can actually hinder the filtration process.
This is because a cleaner filter is less efficient than one with a small amount of dirt in it because having the dirt already there help trap other dirt particles.
On the other hand, you don’t want to leave it too long between cleaning for obvious reasons.
3) Keep an eye on those chemical levels
Arguably one of the most important parts of pool maintenance is the chemical levels. If the levels are not balanced, your water can be irritating on the skin and eyes, the water will become murky and the whole pool will be a breeding ground for bacteria!
Clearly, this is something that everyone will want to avoid so keep on top of your levels by testing them once a week.
5 levels that should be tested;
- Cyanuric acid – this protects chlorine from UV rays and determines the required ‘free chlorine level’. Ideally, you want a reading of between 30 and 50.
- Free Chlorine – this is a sanitizer that helps keep your water free from germs.
- Acidity and Alkalinity – this is also known as the PH level. Acidity needs to be between 7.5 and 7.8. This is important to prevent irritation and protects the pool equipment.
- Total alkalinity – this helps to keep the PH levels in balance. The range should be somewhere between 60 and 120.
- Calcium hardness – this helps to prevent plaster damage. You want these levels to be between 220 and 350 – aim for the lower end for the pool with vinyl siding.
Testing the water is quick and easy. You can buy testing kits online or from your local pool store. Simply fill it with some of your pool’s water, add the provided solution and close the vials.
Wait a few seconds and the sample will change color. There will be a color comparison shown on the testing kit which will allow you to determine your pool’s current chemical levels.
When you have the results, adjust the levels as needed to create the ideal balance.
You will know when the water is balanced as the water will be clear, have little to no smell and leave a very small residue on your skin.
4) Check the water level
This is one of those things that is usually overlooked. A pool will lose a lot of water, especially throughout the Summer. This is due to evaporation and simple things such as splashing, (or perhaps cannon-balling) and just exiting the pool.
Throughout the week, when you are doing your daily skimming routine, be sure to check your water level. If it falls too low the pump will not be able to work properly and could become damaged.
All you need to do is simply use your garden hose to bring the water level up – easy!
Once you have topped up the water, remember to check those chemical levels again as the balance will now be offset.
Some people choose to empty their pools once a year for maintenance purposes. While this is safe to do, try not to let the pool sit empty for too long and leave water int he pool over the Winter months. This is because the weight of the water will counteract the force from the ground that presses up against the pool from below.
5) Find and repair leaks
If your water level seems to be dropping at an alarming rate, it may not be due to normal wear and tear. You could, in fact, have a leak.
One of the easiest ways of determining if you have a leak is to do ‘the bucket test’.
Simply fill a plastic bucket three-quarters of the way full with water, marking the waterline with a permanent marker. Next, place the bucket into your pool and mark the water line on the outside of the bucket. Then, simply let it float in the water for 2 – 3 days.
If the water has gone down both inside the bucket and outside in the pool the same amount, your pool is simply losing water due to evaporation.
However, if the pool water level has gone down more than the water level inside of the bucket then your pool has a leak. If this is the case, the best thing to do is call out a professional to have it fixed.
6) Keep your deck clean
Another step to having a well-maintained pool is to keep your deck clean. The best and easiest way to do this is to power wash the surface. This will remove any weathering, dirt, and grime that will inevitably build up over time.
Power washers don’t have to be very expensive, but if you want/need a very high powered pressure washer, you may instead choose to rent one – this can be done at most home improvement stores.
Before you start blasting your deck with water, you should sweep the deck to remove any larger debris such as leaves. Once the larger stuff is out of the way, you are ready to go.
We recommend you start off by setting the power washer to low and slowly remove the debris in layers until clean. Overlap the areas you clean as you go to prevent streaking. If it looks as patchy and like the surface could be cleaner, try bumping it up to s medium setting.
Remember to take it slow and steady and keep the nozzle several feet away from the surface – this will prevent gouging into the wood causing damage.
Using a high-quality finish on your decking will ensure that even when it gets dirty, you will not need to refinish it. Products such as Deks Olje D1 are perfect for use around a pool deck. Deks Olje D1 is a high-performance oil that saturates deep into the wood, pushing out moisture and air and filling the pores of the wood with rich oil.
7) Schedule a yearly service
While pool maintenance can usually be carried out on your own throughout the year, we recommend investing the time and money into having a yearly service engineer come and check everything is okay.
This can be costly, so make sure you do your research into the engineer to make sure it will be beneficial to you. You can do this by checking their reviews or if you know they have services someone’s pool that you know, ask them what their experience using them was like.
When it comes to all the mechanical equipment in your pool such as your pumps, filters or heating systems, you may not have enough in-depth knowledge to know they are in perfect condition.
We recommend you go around your pool before they arrive and make notes of any issues you think the pool may have such as leaks or holes in your pipes, loud or strange sounds from the machinery or even odd smells.
If there are no problems with your pool you may feel like the appointment was a waste of money, but you just don’t know if they may find something and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Finding and fixing a small problem now may well save you from a large expensive fix later on.
8) Rinse before swimming
This is such a simple one but you would be surprised as to how effective it is. Before you get into your pool, be sure to rinse yourself with a quick 5-minute shower.
Doing this will prevent any secondary contamination from entering the pool such as dandruff and loose hairs.
By doing this simple step you will have fewer dirt particles in the water, meaning the pool will stay cleaner for longer. If you think about it, a quick rinse before entering the pool before swimming will not only give you cleaner pool water but you will also see reduced use of maintenance products – win, win!
9) Add a cover to your pool
Strangely this is something that a lot of people do not utilize but is so simple and effective.
For obvious reasons, using a pool cover when the pool is not in use will result in fewer dirt particles in the water, but it will also reduce the heating costs in your pool.
Installing a pool cover will help the water to retain heat and prevents it from cooling rapidly on the surface. This results in the heating system not having to work as hard meaning the life span and maintenance will be less and even better, you will save money on your electricity bill!
10) Winterize your pool
This is a somewhat lengthy process but is highly recommend, especially if you live in a climate where below zero temperatures are normal. Winterizing your pool will protect it from damage from freezing water and also keep it as clean as possible for next seasons use.
Step 1 – check your chemistry
The very first step you need to take is to make sure your water chemistry is balanced. Doing this protects the edge of the pool from becoming stained and etched.
Make sure that you do not use a floater that contains a strong oxidizer. This is because the floater may stick up against the pool’s wall and potentially stain or bleach it.
Step 2 – protect the skimmer
Water expands when frozen which can cause damage to your pool, plumbing, and filter system. A good way to avoid this is to lower the water below the mouth of your skimmer. This will allow the water to come out of the throat of the skimmer which can easily become damaged if water freezes in it.
If you have a vinyl lined pool you could instead put an Aquador over the mouth of the skimmer. An Aquador is a plastic dam that holds out the water from the skimmer which will allow you to leave the water level as it is over the Winter.
Step 3 – clear the plumbing
Using a shop vac you should blow out the water from your plumbing lines. As the water purges from each line, you will then need to attach a plug in the lines at the pool end.
Make sure you use a plug with a rubber gasket or ‘O’ ring to make a seal otherwise the water may fill the line back up. If your fittings are not threaded use a rubber freeze plug.
Step 4 – drain your filter and other equipment
At the bottom of your filter is a plug that will allow it to drain. Open the air relief valve on the top of the filter and remove the plug below to allow it to drain. Next, put the multi-port valve into the closed or winterized position and remove the pressure gauge.
Next, drain your chemical feeder, automatic cleaner pump, heater and any other equipment that has water in it.
Step 5 – cover your pool
The last step to properly winterize your pool is to cover it. Doing this will keep debris from falling in and keep the water as clean as possible
There are two types when choosing a pool cover; a mesh type and a solid surface safety cover. Mesh covers are a lot lighter than solid surface covers and are cheaper and easier to install. However, they will allow for some water and debris to seep in over time.
Both work fine, but if you have the budget it may be wise to invest in a solid surface safety cover.
And that’s it – these are our top 10 pool maintenance tips! If you have any further tips or advice, please comment them down below – we love hearing from you!