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Having your very own pool is an enticing thought—It’s perfect for entertaining friends and family, makes at-home exercise easy and refreshing, and can improve your backyard aesthetics. As that dream becomes a reality, it’s important to know that a pool requires regular maintenance. Here are a few things to keep in mind to keep your backyard oasis from turning into a run-down swamp.
Skimming and Scrubbing
Skimming should be part of your daily routine and doesn’t take much time. If it’s in the budget, a pool vacuum is a good investment and helps ensure that any and all objects are cleared from the floor of the pool. If you can’t make it part of your daily routine, it should at be done at least a few times each week to prevent algae from building. If you do encounter some stubborn spots of algae growth, an easy household tip is to repurpose an old sock by filling it with chlorine and positioning it on top of the stubborn area for a few hours. The chlorine will eat away the algae and your pool will again look clean and pristine.
Take Care of the Filter
The pool's filter is responsible for removing small debris and impurities from the water. Akin to the air filters in the house and car, they get dirty and need to be cleaned. The filter is simple to clean—just shut off the filtration system, remove the filter cap, lift out the filter basket, and remove the debris. You should be doing this a few times each week. You’ll also need to flush the pipes about once each month using the backwash setting on the filter system. Set your filter to the backwash setting, remove and clean the basket, turn on the pump, and allow it to run until the waste pipe water runs clear. Finally, the pool’s filter should run for at least six hours each day to be most effective.
The most import maintenance for your pool is probably making sure the chemical levels are balanced. You’ll know if the balance is correct when the water is crystal clear, has little to no scent, and doesn’t leave any residue on your skin. An incorrect balance can result in murky, partially stagnant water that can irritate skin and eyes. Unbalanced water can also be a breeding ground for organisms and bacteria. Test your levels weekly to make sure they’re balanced. You can purchase test kits from your local pool supply store and will test for six chemicals levels: Cyanuric Acid, Free Chlorine, Acidity/Alkalinity, Total Alkalinity, and Calcium Hardness.
Your pool may look a bit murky after a heavy rain or after use by a large group of people. That murkiness is indicative of bacteria forming, and it’s more than likely time to shock the pool. Shocking your pool raises the chlorine levels for a short period of time. Increased levels of chlorine can cause damage to your pool siding, so this should only be done occasionally—maybe only twice per season to be safe.
The amount of water in your pool can fluctuate due to heavy rain or an afternoon of rowdy play, so it’s important to monitor the water level and adjust if necessary. The optimal water level is at the midway point of the filter opening. If the water is too low, simply fill it with your garden hose. If the water is too high, use a pump to drain until the right level is restored. Just be sure to check your chemical levels once new water is added or when water is removed.
Having a pool can improve quality of life for the whole family as long as it’s maintained correctly. Following these tips will guarantee many years of enjoyment.
If you need any additional information on maintaining your pool, or if you want a recommendation for a local pool service—please reach out; I’d be happy to help.