To most people, the very idea of owning a swimming pool is incredibly glamorous. We imagine the summertime parties, sculpting a swimmer’s body, spending hours in a state of relaxation, and developing the perfect tan. Sadly, most of us also regard pool ownership as a pipe dream, reserved only for the wealthy.
Granted, a swimming pool can come with a hefty price tag before we even consider the maintenance costs. And those who find themselves ready to take the plunge often back down when they’re reminded of the pitfalls: algae buildup, green water, broken filters – the luxurious dream can quickly lose its glamour!
However, if you’re thinking about buying a pool, don’t get turned off the idea just yet. While they do require consistent maintenance, the process isn’t as cumbersome as you might think.
Skim and Scrub Regularly
The secret is routine care. This need-not be time consuming or expensive. If you incorporate skimming into your daily life, it will take no longer than brushing your teeth. Additionally, scrubbing the sides once per week is usually enough to keep algae at bay.
Keep the Chemical Balance in Check
The right chemical balance for your pool is probably the most important element of maintenance. Unless you fill the water with chlorine you’ll find yourself in deep trouble. No amount of skimming, scrubbing and filter changing will be enough to keep bacteria in check.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there are five chemical levels that you must keep an eye on cyanuric acid, free chlorine, acidity, alkalinity, calcium hardness. To balance the water properly you will need a testing kit to determine how much of each chemical is required – this essentially does all the hard work for you. If your pool is properly balanced it will have no scent and remain clear.
Shock Your Pool on Occasions
The process of shocking significantly raises chlorine levels – usually by three to five times the standard amount – temporarily in order to kill off bacteria. While many people think that shocking isn’t necessary for home-based swimming pools, doing it once or twice per season will keep everything in pristine order.
Watch the Water Levels
Water levels will naturally fluctuate, and these small imbalances can drastically change the number of chemicals required to keep your pool clean. So, if your water ever gets too low you’ll need to fill it back up again, while if it gets too high you’ll need to pump it out.
Throw Around Some Tennis Balls
Believe it or not, when you see tennis balls floating in swimming pools it doesn’t necessarily mean that people have been playing catch. When swimmers exit a pool they’ll leave oils behind in the water – hair products, sun tan lotion, natural oils. Tennis balls absorb these oils and can prevent pools from developing a sheen on the surface.
So there you have it. Yes, swimming pools do take some work, but it’s not as back-breaking as you might think. With a few good habits and a couple seasonal tuneups there’s no reason why you’ll have to spend more time fixing and cleaning than sunbathing and swimming.