Hooray!  It is that time of year where we remember why we actually decided to own a swimming pool.  The weather is warm.  People are on break.  There are tons of fun holiday weekends.  Yup.  It is pool season.  So how often should we be cleaning our swimming pools?  It really depends on usage, but no less than once a week.  Here are the things you will need to do.

Balance the Water Chemistry

This is the most important because balanced water helps keep the pool clear and, most importantly, the swimmers safe.  Use a test kit, test strips or bring in a water sample to your local pool supply store for a test.  This will tell you where your water is and allow you to determine where it needs to be.  

We will want to check our sanitizer level, our pH and our alkalinity.  These are the “musts”.  It is also a good idea to periodically check for calcium hardness, cyanuric acid levels, total dissolved solids (or salt levels for salt pools), metals and phosphates.  Phosphates are anything organic and are food for algae.  Always read and follow the directions on any and all chemical bottles and where the proper PPE. (Personal Protective Equipment).

Empty the Baskets

You have a basket in your skimmer and in your pump.  You may also have a leaf canister.  Empty these baskets because the leaves and debris can actually block the circulation of the water and cause not only a dirty pool, but cause your pump to run dry and could ruin your equipment.

Grease Your O-Rings

You will want to make sure that your o-rings on your equipment are properly lubricated.  This can include your pump lid o-ring, filter tank o-ring, backwash valve o-rings etc.  Make sure you are using the proper lubricant for each job.  NEVER use petroleum jelly to lubricate any o-rings around your pool.

Skim/Rake the Water

Time to get the crud out of the pool!  You will need to grab your telescopic pole and attach a skimmer to skim the debris off of the surface.  Then switch to your leaf rake to get the debris that has fallen to the bottom of the pool already.  Don’t have a simmer?  No worries!  You can certainly use your leaf rake to skim as well.  In fact, that reminds me of this awesome kit.

Vacuum the Pool

This can be the most arduous task which is why most people opt to have an automatic pool cleaner.  Did you know you can get not only an automatic cleaner, but a robotic automatic pool cleaner for about half of what your local pool store is charging?  I kid you not. 

If you do not have an automatic cleaner you will have to grab your telescopic pole, your vacuum hose and your vacuum head.  Attach the hose to the skimmer and vacuum the bottom of the pool.  It is like vacuuming the carpet in your home.  All of the dirt and debris will end up in your filter.  Another reason to get a self-contained, robotic cleaner if you ask me.  Vacuum before brushing because otherwise all of the debris you kick up brushing won’t have settled to the bottom of the pool yet.

Brush the Pool

If you don’t have time for anything else, make sure you brush your pool every week.  This prevents algae spores from taking a foothold on your pool’s surface.  Start at the top and push the brush down to the middle of the pool.  Scoot over a bit and do the same thing until you have gone all the way around the pool.  What about those pesky corners?  I recommend the newest technology of a 360 degree pool brush.  It is like a regular brush and a corner brush in one.  Check them out here! 

Check the Equipment

Make sure nothing is squeaking, creaking or leaking.  If it is, we have a problem.  Check your filter pressure.  If it is 8-10 PSI above your clean starting pressure, it needs to be cleaned.  If you have a diatomaceous earth filter, you may get away with just backwashing.  Don’t forget to recharge with DE!

Increase your pump run time.  Gone are the months of our pool either being closed or having the luxury of only running the pump 4 hours and being good.  Nope.  Hotter weather calls for longer pump run times.  We need the chemicals to mix and be active during the hottest part of the day, so this means running our pump during those times of the day.  Sound expensive?  Then you must own an old fashioned, single speed pump.  I feel for you.  Those do cost a fortune to run.

Are you aware that you can get a name brand variable speed pump for half of what you thought?  Not just any brand either.  The American made, household trusted name of Black & Decker.  With different horsepowers and an incredible FIVE year warranty, you are sure to find a pump that fits your pool and your budget. 

See you poolside!