There is a lot to do to maintain a swimming pool. If you take care of it yourself, you already know this. We have to maintain proper water chemistry, we need proper circulation and filtration, we need to empty our skimmer and pump baskets. We need to brush and vacuum the pool. We need to skim the leaves out of the pool. We need to take care of our equipment, always being aware of any leaks, creaks or squeaks. Whew! I am tired just writing all of that, let alone doing it. LOL. One question I get asked a lot is if it is better to run your pool pump during the day or at night? We will answer that question and more in this piece.
Proper Water Chemistry
Improper water chemistry is the number one killer of your swimming pool’s surface, plumbing and equipment. Water can either be neutral, corrosive or scale forming. Our goal as pool owners is to get the water as close to neutral as possible. There is something called the Langelier Saturation Index (LSI), which takes certain fields into consideration and will determine where your water falls. You then make adjustments to the field or fields needed to get your water where it needs to be. The LSI uses pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, temperature and total dissolved solids. TDS meters can be kind of pricey so you can always take your water to a local swimming pool store to get your water tested. They will usually do it for a nominal fee or even for free!
You do not HAVE to use the LSI to balance your pool water. Each field has a desired range. Staying within these ranges protects the swimmers and your pool. Proper water chemistry also makes the pool clear and inviting. The chemicals we add only work when they can mix. So this means when the pump is running. When do we need our chemicals, such as chlorine, the most? During the hottest part of the day. So, the answer to whether you should run it during the day or at night is during the day.
Always test your water before adding any chemicals. Always follow the product’s instructions. Always wear the proper PPE (personal protective equipment). Never add water to chemicals or mix them in the same bucket. We are dealing with dangerous stuff and need to treat the chemicals with the respect they deserve!
Proper Circulation and Filtration
When we turn on our swimming pool pumps, the water mixes all of the chemicals as mentioned above. The water in your pool is drawn from the skimmer and/or main drains. It is then pushed through your system, making various stops along the way. You may have a heater, salt cell or in-line chlorinator. What every pool has is a filter. The filter is where first and debris gets captured. Then the water is pushed back into your swimming pool by way of the return inlets. Make sure your filter is clean enough to capture such dirt and debris. This means cleaning it or backwashing it if you have this option, whenever the PSI (Pounds per square inch) gets to be 8-10 above YOUR clean starting pressure.
Our goal when running the pump is to accomplish what is known as a turnover. A turnover is where the amount of water in the pool (in gallons) equals the amount of water that passes through your system. We need to leave our pool pumps on long enough to accomplish this. If you have a variable speed pump we are running at a lower speed so this process takes longer. A lot of my clients want to run their pool pumps at night to “save money”, but in actuality they end up spending any “saved” money on clearing cloudy water or costly algae treatments. They are usually owners of an old-fashioned single speed pool pump. These are crazy expensive to run! Plus they use a lot of energy. I recommend upgrading to an affordable, quality, American made, name brand pump. Think you have to spend a fortune to get one? Think again! Black & Decker has made quality swimming pool pumps that customers just love! Gone is the need to run your pool pump at night. Hooray!
Brushing, Skimming and Vacuuming
If you want to help fend off algae, brush your swimming pool every week. That way the algae spores do not have a chance to take a foothold. By the time you can visibly see algae, it has been blooming for about 4 days already. I suggest using a good, 360 technology pool brush. You’ll also want to get the leaves off of the surface of your swimming pool. They are not only unsightly, but turn into phosphates, which are food for algae. Phosphates are only a problem when they are a problem. An example would be during an algae bloom. We don’t want to have a Las Vegas buffet laid out. Vacuuming would be as-needed. A lot of swimming pool owners have an automatic pool cleaner. These cleaners come in suction side, pressure side and robotic. Robotic are considered the best because they climb the walls and scrub the walls.
Checking Your Equipment
Always be aware of your pool equipment. Even a small leak can turn into a big problem. For example, if your pump is leaking from the middle, you probably need a $20 pump seal. If left untreated, water can get to the motor and burn it out. Remember, your pool equipment is supposed to be air tight so if water is coming out when the system is on, air is getting in when the system is off. Also, replace as needed any o-rings like the one on your pump lid or the one around your filter. If it is not time to replace them, make sure to use a silicone based lubricant. Don’t let minor repairs turn into major repairs or replacements! See you poolside!