Being a pool owner comes with big responsibilities. It is important to keep your pool safe and healthy for use. You need the proper pool maintenance and a few essential tasks to perform to ensure your pool is clean all year long. Basic pool maintenance can be described as three C’s: circulation, cleaning, and chemistry. If you can master these, then you will have the best looking and safest pool on the block.
Circulation is one of the most important aspects to pool maintenance. The pump and filter system ideally needs to be run 24 hours a day, but this can be very expensive. You can run the system less frequently and still have a crystal clear pool. During the summer, it is advised to run filters and pumps between 8 and 12 hours a day. When the weather is cooler, it only needs to run between 4 and 6 hours a day. If you happen to have a variable speed pump, lower the speed and it can be run more frequently. You can also save money by running the filtration system at night.
Another important component to circulation is the jets, specifically the angling of them. You may have multiple jets or just one. Jets need to be angled at about 8 o’clock so that water can be pushed to the bottom of the pool. If you have a skimmer next to your pool jet, then you need to make sure the jet is facing away from the skimmer. This will create a whirlpool. You also want to regularly clean the skimmers and pump baskets so debris does not block water circulation.
The water filter and pool pump are also important when it comes to the cleanliness of the pool. Debris can accumulate, blocking the flow of water. This will jam the filtration system.
If you have a sand filter, you need to make sure you backwash this regularly. There is a pressure gauge on the filter that should always read between 10 and 15 psi. If it ever goes 10 pounds over this, you know that the filter is clogged and needs to be back washed.
If you have a cartridge filter, you need to remove this and rinse with a hose to clean. You can also soak it overnight in a cleaning solution. The pressure gauge will again be your indicator that the filter is clogged and needs to be cleaned.
Skimming is the next important cleaning step. You can do this using a leaf net or your hand to skim the surface of the pool for debris. This should be done every day but if not, a few times a week is necessary to prevent the debris from sinking to the bottom of the pool. You will have to vacuum the bottom if anything is stuck there and that is much harder than skimming.
Brushing is the next step to cleaning and is something many pool owners skip. Purchase a pool brush from any pool supply store and brush the steps, sides, and ladders every other day. You can do this on the same days that you skim the pool to help keep a consistent schedule.
The final cleaning step is vacuuming. You can invest in an automatic pool cleaner or manually vacuum the pool yourself. Ideally, this needs to be done once a week but if you are skimming and brushing frequently, you can get away with not doing this chore as often.
Chemistry of the Pool
The chemistry of your pool is important for clarity and safety. You should test the pool water at least once, if not twice a week. Use at-home test kits or strips and check for the pH and alkalinity. The pH needs to be kept between 7.2 and 7.6 and alkalinity needs to be between 100 and 150 parts per million.
As for pool sanitizers, you have a few options. Chlorine needs to be kept at 3 parts per million to keep the water clear and to prevent bacteria and algae growth. Bromine levels need to be kept between 3 and 5 parts per million.
Chlorine pools also may need to be shocked at times. You can also do this with a bromine pool. Shocking a pool involves putting a very concentrated amount of sanitizer in the pool to kill everything. This can be done bi-weekly or even weekly if your chemical levels are pretty steady and on track.
Following the three C’s makes proper pool maintenance simple. Once you develop a routine for cleaning and maintenance it becomes much easier. Without regular maintenance, your pool will not be fit for swimming and will look cloudy. To make sure your pool is crystal clear all year and safe to swim, follow the three C’s and you can dive right in anytime you like.
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