How Much Time Will You Spend Maintaining Your Pool?
When you own a swimming pool your house will be one of the most popular homes in the whole neighbourhood, during the summer. However, along with the notoriety, comes the maintenance, as well as the peace and quiet. Because, when it comes time to maintain your pool, no one will know you exist.
The average homeowner is able to perform regular pool cleaning and maintenance on their own; however, the more mechanical processes are best left to the professionals. In this article we will cover the regular pool cleaning and maintenance which is well within your ability to perform.
Skimming off the Debris
If done regularly, it will only take you a couple of minutes to skim the surface of your pool for floating debris and emptying the skimmer basket.
Dispose of the waste so that it can’t blow back into the pool, or be tracked back in on the bottom of your feet. If you have trees and bushes nearby, that can shed pollen, blossoms and leaves into the pool, consider trimming them back, replacing them with a less messy variety, or even using more hardscaping around the pool.
Vacuuming the Pool
Direct the nozzles of the return jets on the pool sides downward to quiet surface ripples so you can see the bottom clearly. After connecting the vacuum to the hose, prop up the pole with the head of the vacuum, suspended over the water.
Next, use one of the jet nozzles to fill the free hose end until the water pours out the vacuum.
When it’s full, submerge the head of the vacuum and clamp a hand over the hose until you connect it at the skimmer. The average pool requires roughly 30 minutes of vacuuming once a week. Move the vacuum slowly across the water in overlapping parallel lines, like mowing the lawn.
If the pool is too wide for one pass, vacuum half of the pool at a time. If your hose floats, it’s a sign there is a hole in the line, or diminished suction due to a full filter. Complete the cleaning by brushing any algae off the pool sides with a nylon brush on the vacuum pole. For concrete, use a stainless steel brush.
Chemicals in the Pool
Once a week, test and adjust your pool water’s chemistry. Adjust the pH content first, with a muriatic acid if it’s above 7.6 or with soda ash product if it’s under 7.4. If the chlorine is below 1 part per million (ppm) or alkalinity is less than 90 ppm, “shock” the water: Dissolve chlorine and/or alkalinity increaser (baking soda works in a pinch) in a bucket of water and then pour the mixture in the pool.
A good suggestion is to use a lithium-based chlorine, which dissolves easily, leaves no residue and won’t affect the pH level.
Clean Pool’s Filter
Turn the filter valve to “backwash” to redirect the water flow. Most pools use one of three different kinds of filter: sand, diatomaceous earth (DE), or cartridge. In a sand filter, no longer used in new construction, sand blocks dirt and oil; the backwash directs the dirty water to a waste line leading to the ground or a storm drain. With a DE filter, the claylike remains of marine organisms do the filtering and the backwash directs the dirt into a filter bag. You need to empty this filter bag every other week and replace it every few years, when it shows wear.
Replenish the DE by sprinkling it into the skimmer well. A cartridge filter is a removable unit that you hose off and reinsert. You may want to consider replacing sand with a DE or cartridge system. Both clean better, save water, and are better for the environment.
Next, clean out the hair / lint trap in the pump. To do this, first shut off the system, then close the skimmer valve in front of the pump to hold the water in place so the system won’t need repriming when it starts up again. Next, unscrew the trap’s cover and remove the basket, emptying it out.
If your pool has a chlorinator, a tubelike tank next to the filter, it’s a great way to introduce chlorine, in the form of slow dissolving sticks, into your pool.
You can also use a floating container, but it can be a danger if small children get their hands on it. Always make sure you read the packaging thoroughly and calculate the number of sticks needed for the pool based on the water volume. Add more in hot weather, when the heater is on, or when the pool is more frequently used.
Finally, check the pool’s water level, refill it if the level is less than half way up the skimmer well’s mouth.