You have a swimming pool! Hooray! Swimming is not only fun, but beneficial for your health, increases your home’s value and is pretty to look at. Or is it? Having a dirty swimming pool is not only an eyesore, but is gross for people wanting to swim and possibly even unsafe. Keeping your swimming pool clean, yes, is another thing on your chore list, but it doesn’t have to be a complicated task.
Circulate the Water
Moving water is happy water! Think of a running stream versus a stagnant pond. The stream, due to constantly moving, tends to be clear whereas a pond is mucky. Not only does circulating the water allow the chemicals to work, but it gets your water passed through the filter, which picks up dirt and other debris. How long you circulate your pump varies on a lot of factors, but to keep it simple, a good rule of thumb for a single speed pump is one hour for every 10 degrees of temperature outside. 80 degrees= 8 hours. With a variable speed pump (VSP), it varies. (See what I did there?) Some people run their VSPs longer on a lower setting, while others run it higher for less time. Others have a mix of high and low speeds. The key is to accomplish the proper amount of turnovers (all the water getting through the filter) in a 24 hour period.
“But running the pump is so expensive!” This can be true. A pool pump is the second most expensive thing to run in your home after your A/C. That is why more and more people have been switching to variable speed pumps. They can save you a lot of money. Not just on electricity, but on the unnecessary additional chemicals you have to buy because your pool turned green from not running the pump long enough. You can get a good quality Variable Speed Pump, Like the Black and Decker VSP, without breaking the bank! Black and Decker even makes a variable speed pump for above ground pools!
Whether you have a sand, cartridge or Diatomaceous Earth filter, it is important to keep it clean and in good repair. This includes cleaning it when the PSI gets to be 8-10 PSI above your clean starting pressure. This usually means about twice a year. Make sure your cartridges or grids are in good shape. Make sure to lubricate any o-rings. Replace old or damaged o-rings. If it is cracked, replace the whole piece of equipment. Proper filtration is key to a clean swimming pool.
Sanitize and Balance the Water
Whether you have a traditional chlorine pool or a salt pool or even an indoor bromine pool, always make sure your sanitizer is in the recommended range. Make sure your PH and alkalinity are in range to allow the sanitizer to be most effective. Protect your chlorine with cyanuric acid. Keep calcium hardness in range. Basically, keeping the water chemistry in top sanitizing form not only makes the water look good, but can keep people from getting sick. Pro Tip: A pool should be drained every 5 years, or when certain levels (such as total dissolved solids, calcium and cyanuric acid) get too high.
Brush and Remove Debris
Even if you have an automatic pool cleaner, they are designed to keep a clean pool clean. You will want to invest in a pole, a net, and at least one brush. Scoop, or skim, out leaves, branches and any other larger debris. They are not only unsightly, but add food for algae known as Phosphates. You’ll want to invest in a good brush like the 360 Pool Brush from Pool Parts To Go. It comes in three different sizes and each are all highly-reviewed by verified customers.
Pro Tip: Brush your pool at least once a week to keep algae spores from taking a foothold.
I highly recommend investing in an automatic pool cleaner, even if you have a pool professional. It just makes life easier. There are also manual vacuums that utilize your telescopic pole, a vacuum hose and a vacuum head. The hose plugs into your skimmer and utilizes the suction from your pump to vacuum junk into your filter.
We recommend the Blue Torrent Robotic Pool Cleaner. It's affordable, has a 5-star rating and gets the job done! (Backordered, but will be back in stock in April so sign up for notifications!)
Here's a firsthand review from Dave L:
"This thing is an absolute monster!!! Not only does it clean the bottom and sides, it comes halfway out of the pool to scrub areas above the waterline too!"
Does this sound too arduous? Just don’t have the time? You can always hire a monthly maintenance person who will come once a week to empty your baskets, check the water chemistry, net, brush and vacuum the pool. Interview the company you are considering hiring to see what exactly is included and what isn’t.
No matter how you keep your swimming pool clean, it is a must to avoid expensive treatments such as algae treatments, premature drains, chlorine washes and acid washes. After all, pools are supposed to be enjoyable, right? See you poolside!