There are many things we need to do to keep our swimming pools clean and safe. Let’s go over some of them to get a better idea of what taking care of our own swimming pool looks like.
Balance the Water Chemistry
This is SO important. Unbalanced water chemistry can be dangerous for the swimmers and can be damaging to the swimming pool’s surface as well as the plumbing and equipment. You’ll ALWAYS want to test your swimming pool water prior to adding any chemicals. We never want to assume it will be the same as last week. Some things that change water chemistry are
- Bather load
- Sun exposure
- Splash out (of water)
- Wind (which adds debris which can turn into phosphates)
- Aeration (from a water feature, which can drive up pH)
- Chemicals we have added
- A salt system (which produces chlorine and raises pH)
You can test your pool water with test strips, a test kit that uses liquid reagents or by taking it into a local swimming pool supply store. After you have your results, add the necessary chemicals to adjust it. If you have an automatic pool cleaner, it is fine to add chemicals with it in the pool.
Pro Tip: Always read the instructions on any chemical you are adding to your swimming pool and allow adequate circulation time between doses of the same, or different, chemical.
Brushing your swimming pool walls and bottom is uber important. Not only does it remove dirt and debris, but it prevents algae spores from taking a foothold. Don’t forget those pesky corners! I recommend using a 360 technology swimming pool brush so you don’t have to buy a separate corner brush. Find what I am talking about here.
There are 4 ways to vacuum a swimming pool. Always remember to scoop out heavy debris before relying on a vacuum so you don’t clog anything.
- Manually vacuum
- A pressure side automatic pool cleaner
- A suction side pool cleaner
- A robotic cleaner
If you are manually brushing, you will need a vacuum head, your telescopic pole, vacuum hose and your skimmer or designated suction line. This can be a lot of work, especially on larger pools. Most people prefer an automatic pool cleaner. Pressure side cleaners require a designated pressure line, a pressure side cleaner and a pump just for the cleaner. These are becoming less and less popular due to the cost of energy. Debris is collected in the bag of the cleaner.
Suction side cleaners utilize your main circulation pump and the cleaner head, pool cleaner hoses, and your skimmer or designated suction line. Debris is collected in your swimming pool filter. When your pump comes on, the cleaner operates. If you own a variable speed pool pump (And I hope you do to save on energy costs) make sure you have a high enough RPM at some point during your circulation cycle to operate your cleaner. Every cleaner requires a different minimum revolution per minute (RPM) to operate. Looking for an affordable, quality, name brand variable speed pool pump? Look no further.
Pro Tip: Never use a solid manual vacuum hose on your automatic cleaner. It is too heavy. Use the hose lengths that come with the cleaner, buying more lengths if needed. Individual lengths are more buoyant and allow the cleaner to travel without being weighed down.
Now we come to my personal favorite type of vacuum…a robotic cleaner! These modern technology cleaners run on a standard 110v outlet. You plug it in, drop it in and watch the magic. They are the only type of automatic swimming pool cleaner that are designed to scrub the walls, floor and even tile line. Cleaning cycles vary by cleaner, but 2-4 hours is a good estimate. They do not put any strain on your circulation pump, do not require a separate pump and do a great job of cleaning your pool. Debris is collected inside the robotic cleaner’s canister, saving you from filling up your filter faster. Think you can’t afford a quality robotic cleaner? Think again and check these bad boys out.
Net Out Large Debris
All vacuum methods are designed to keep a clean swimming pool clean. What I mean by this is if there is extra large debris from trees or a windy day, you’ll want to manually scoop it out using your swimming pool net and telescopic pole. Debris is collected in the net and then thrown away. This prevents a clog in your cleaner or line. Need a net and a brush? Check out this groovy bundle.
Empty All Baskets
You need to empty any skimmer and pump baskets to ensure proper water flow. I can’t tell you how many pool pump motors I have seen ruined because the pool pump ran dry and burned itself out due to improper circulation. Which brings us to our next task.
Circulate the Water
Chemicals only work when the water is moving. Moving water is happy water.
Pro Tip: Only add chemicals when the pool pump is running and run it for the recommended time after adding any needed chemicals.
Think of a river vs a swamp. A river is clear because it is constantly moving while a swamp is green and yucky due to being stagnant. We need to circulate our water for different lengths of time, depending on how warm the weather is. This is where an energy saving, variable speed pump really starts to pay for itself.
Part of proper circulation is having a clean filter. When your filter gauge reads 8-10 pounds per square inch (PSI) above YOUR clean starting pressure (every pool’s clean starting pressure is different) it is time to clean or backwash, depending on how dirty and what sort of filter you have.
So, we have covered the basics of maintaining your own swimming pool. If this sounds like too much, you may want to hire a pool person. I still recommend getting an automatic pool cleaner to keep your pool looking clean between visits. See you poolside!