So you are lucky enough to be a homeowner with a swimming pool? Hooray! Like any luxury item, it requires regular maintenance and sometimes a little T.L.C as problems arise. Let’s go over some of the basics of swimming pool care. Each , while important in and of itself, are individual cogs working together to keep your pool clear, clean and, most importantly, safe.
Netting the Pool
Whether we have a lush forest in our backyard or desert landscape, we are bound to get debris in our swimming pool. We want to remove the debris as soon as possible simply because leaves turn into food for algae known as phosphates. Anything organic contributes to phosphate levels. Phosphates are only a problem, when they are a problem. What I mean by this is, say you had the beginning stages of an algae bloom, if you have a Las Vegas Buffet laid out for the algae to consume it can mean the difference between a couple of algae patches and a full-blown green monster of a swimming pool.
You gather the debris out of your swimming pool by attaching either a skimmer or a leaf rake to the end of your telescopic pole. A skimmer is usually square or rectangular and has zero depth. It is used to do just that: skim debris off of the surface of the water. It is not for getting junk off of the swimming pool floor
A leaf rake is more of the basket, or scoop, style net. It also allows you to skim the surface without being limited to this. Leaf rakes come in a variety of sizes. Keep in mind , the deeper the basket, the heavier it will be to maneuver. I suggest getting a feel for your net. We want it to be manageable for you. I recommend looking for one with ergonomic curved edges which allow you to get right up against the swimming pool wall, as well as being able to jostle up the leaves and twigs from the floor of the swimming pool.
If you only net your pool once a week, that is fine. You need to do what works with both you AND your particular swimming pool’s needs. Whatever makes less work and costs less money in the long run is what I am all about.
Brushing the Pool
The most important step in preventing algae is to brush the swimming pool weekly. This eliminates the opportunity for algae spores to take a foothold on your pool’s surface. Once we can visibly see an algae bloom, it has been going on for several days. You may not see it, but it’s there! You may even feel some slimy walls or steps. This is the beginning stage of algae blooms.
There are many types of brushes out there. Choosing the right brush for you can be confusing. I recommend taking the guesswork out and going not only with an affordable swimming pool brush, but one that boasts the newest 360 degree technology that helps eliminate the need for multiple brushes, such as a corner brush. With corner brushing capabilities built right in, there is no need to break your brushing stride and change your brush. Check out what I am talking about here. This fantastic bundle provides you with 3 different brush lengths for the price of what you would tend to pay at your local pool store for just one brush. How cool is that? They also have a nifty combo pack that includes your leaf rake among other goodies.
Vacuuming the Pool
This does not need to be done every week. It is on an as-needed basis. It really depends on the amount of dirt and debris in the pool. I suggest to all of my clients that they invest in an automatic pool cleaner (APC) to make their lives easier. Suction cleaners utilize your pump and filter to vacuum. Robotic cleaners reduce unnecessary strain on your equipment and are the only cleaner that will also go all the way up to the water line. I know what you are thinking…”Yeah, but robotic cleaners cost thousands of dollars!” They certainly can. But you can get a reliable robotic cleaner right here without breaking the bank.
If you choose to hand vacuum, you will need your telescopic pole, a vacuum head and vacuum hose long enough to reach every corner of your swimming pool. One end of the hose attaches to the vacuum head and the other goes into your skimmer or designated suction line. All the dirt and debris you vacuum goes into your swimming pool filter.
Balancing the Chemistry
This is the most important because it is the step that keeps the swimmers safe in the water. It also protects against algae blooms, cloudy water and water that can be damaging to your water. You will want to test your swimming pool water at least once a week. You can do this at home with either test strips or the liquid bottles called reagents. You can also take your water into a local pool store. Most of them will offer free water testing. They will usually also write or print out your results as well as dosing instructions. If you need help with the dosing instructions from home, I suggest downloading the Orenda App. It’s free! You plug in your readings and it will tell you how and what to adjust
Maintain Your Equipment
If it leaks, squeaks or creaks, it may need your attention. Make sure to lubricate your o-rings like on your strainer cover on your pump and your filter tank o-ring when you clean your filter. If you do see a leak, no matter how small, it is indicative of a problem. Do not ignore it! It can ultimately lead to more issues up to, and including, ruining the piece of equipment.
Clean your filter every 6 months, or when the gauge on your filter shows 8-10 pounds per square inch (PSI) above your clean starting pressure. If you have a salt system, check your cell every 3 months to look for build up of calcium as this can interfere with production of chlorine and can damage your salt cell. This sort of damage is not covered under warranty.
Enjoy Your Pool!
Whether you purchased a home with an existing pool or you built your own, you did it to enjoy it! If all of these tasks seem arduous, you can always look into hiring a pool service. See you poolside!