Why DIY Maintenance is the Way to Go—And How to Keep It Simple

I know it’s tempting. You got a swimming pool to have fun, and you have the floaties pumped, the sunblock rubbed in, and the swimsuit tied to do just that. Why should your interaction with your pool go anywhere further than a nice, relaxing swim? Many of your friends have an ongoing contract with a pool maintenance servicer. So why shouldn’t you?

Of course, at the end of the day, it’s your choice whether or not you take a DIY approach to maintenance. I’m just here to help you make a good one. And my recommendation is that everyone who owns a pool should know its basic operations and be able to troubleshoot general problems that arise—it’s cost-effective, it avoids unnecessarily urgent service requests, and, most importantly, anyone is more than capable to learn. I’ll get you started in no time.

Hello, You’ll Save Money

Well, this one is admittedly a no brainer, but it needs to be said. If you take just a little time to learn the basics of pool maintenance—and a little time each week to implement that knowledge—you’ll save enormously in the future

Remember, it’s already a cost commitment to have a pool, since you need the right equipment and the power to run it. My job is to help you stay sensible and mitigate those costs, whether that’s choosing the best variable-speed pool pump on the market to cut down your monthly energy bill, explaining how to troubleshoot the operational issues that might arise, and laying out the basics of ongoing pool maintenance—which I’ll do here.

DIY Pool Maintenance

You’ll Avoid the Frequency Conundrum

Now for the real talk. Say you want a pristine pool, but don’t want to be the one to manage it. The most common alternative to doing basic maintenance is hiring someone to work on your pool every other week—and even that won’t be quite enough. Pool experts recommend that you treat your pool with sanitizing chemicals and check that your equipment is in working order on a weekly basis. In other words, you’ll be paying for constant service, and your pool still won’t be as clean as if you just did it yourself. Hiring someone every week? That’s twice as costly.

You’re More Than Capable. Yes, You

This one’s major. You are more than capable to take this on. Sure, your pool circulation system might look a bit complicated on the surface, but with just a bit of help and knowhow from you, it’ll do its job. If you’re not yet on board to learn the basics of pool maintenance, ask yourself whether or not it’s because you doubt you can do it. Trust me, you can.

So Let’s Get to the Basics

I promise, it’s easy—and so worth it. Once you know just a few basics, including how to care for your pool water, your pool walls, your pool pump, and your larger circulation system, you’ll be good to go. And here’s a spoiler: whether you’re into meditation or not, here everything is connected.

Is your above-ground pump just not cutting it, now that you’re looking? Try the Copper Force Above Ground Pool Pump. It’s energy-efficient, runs cool, and includes a start capacitor to eliminate failure-prone mechanics of other above-ground models.

DIY Pool Maintenance

Dive In... to Caring for Your Water

Almost everything you do for your pool—such as keeping your pump, skimmers, returners, and pieps in working order—is to keep the water clean, clear, and chemically balanced. In order to keep your pool water in top shape, you’ll want to chlorinate your pool at least every week. Plus, it keeps you protected from contaminants and potentially pathogenic bacteria. It also prevents costly maintenance, such as repairs due to corrosion or build up of minerals.

Although chlorine is the chemical with which you’ll be the most familiar, you’ll also want to have a few other chemicals in your arsenal to achieve the balance of any pool owner’s dreams. New to this? That balance is:

  • Total Alkalinity: 80 to 120 ppm
  • pH Level: 7.4 to 7.6
  • Free Available Chlorine: 2.0 to 4.0 ppm
  • Calcium Hardness: 200 to 400 ppm
  • Stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid): 30 to 50 ppm

If you’re just starting out, use pool test strips to determine where your pool is currently, or take a sample from your pool to your nearest pool supply store for a more definitive reading. Use an alkalinity increaser to get your total alkalinity up, a pH increaser or pH decreaser to adjust your pH level, a calcium hardness increaser for calcium hardness, and chlorine and cyanuric acid should be used together to achieve optimized free available chlorine and stabilizer levels. Be sure to wear safety goggles and gloves when you’re handling these—sort of like wearing sunscreen to prevent that other type of burn.

And of course, don’t forget pool shock, which removes inactive particles your chlorine has already wiped out. You should be shocking your pool once a week throughout the swimming season. Don’t worry, no electricity is involved—pool shock is just a compound that you drop into your pool while slowly walking its perimeter, either at dusk or dawn. Not quite as fun as the name sounds, but easy and totally worth it.

If you’re on the market for the most powerful pool shock around, look no further than my top recommended Super Premium Sanitizing and Fast-Acting Pool Shock. It’s ultra strong, conveniently-sized, and dissolves fast.

DIY Pool Maintenance

Those Pool Walls Matter

Because your pool’s interiors are in direct contact with its water, it’ll also affect the overall cleanliness and safety of your pool. You’ll want to make sure these walls are free from algae, mold, and accumulated debris with the help of a pool brush. My recommendation is this patented 360-degree bristles pool brush, developed by longtime pool servicers tired of aches and pains from reaching tight corners. You’ll also want to vacuum your pool at least once a week—sucks, I know.

You’re Only As Strong As Your Pool Pump & Filter

Your pool pump and filter work together to keep your pool clean and safe. Without them, your water will be cloudy, slimy, and generally unswimmable. That’s something nobody would want, except for alligators, snakes, and whatever the creature from the Black Lagoon was.

How they work is simple: your pump circulates your water through the system—which is absolutely a must for distributing cleaning chemicals in an even fashion—and your filter clears dirt and other contaminants from your water. You didn’t think your handheld net was going to catch all of it, did you?

To keep your pool pump and filter in check, make sure that they’re in working order once a week. That includes checking that they’re operating free of clogging debris, and that you’re troubleshooting if any issues come up, like your pump running too hot or your pump getting too loud.

Ready to get the right pool pump for long-term success? My top recommendation is the 2HP Energy Star Variable Speed in Ground Pool Pump. It circulates thoroughly, quietly, comes with a lifetime warranty, and pays itself off in energy saved.

DIY Pool Maintenance

Skimmer, Returners, Pipes, Oh My

Remember, when it comes to your greater circulation system, the water needs to flow from your pool, through the pump and filter, and back. It can only do this if your skimmer (that’s the bucket-looking container built into the side of your pool) and all the pipes leading to and from your pool pump are unobstructed. These parts all share one goal: to circulate water. However, it’s not always so simple, especially when your pool is outside with the elements. Leaves, twigs, and other debris can clog up your system. Make sure to check and clean these routinely—and make sure those pipes aren’t leaking.

Seal the Deal and Make It Real

Forget distance, I’d say it’s habit that makes the heart grow fonder. Make your relationship with your pool last by integrating weekly maintenance into your routine. And don’t be afraid to draft other members of your household to help—especially if you have teenagers. These are some wholesome life lessons on responsibility just waiting to happen.

DIY Pool Maintenance

Now That You’re in The Know, Make a Splash

Hello aptitude and goodbye intimidation. Now that you know how to implement weekly pool maintenance all on your own, you have a less stressful, and more financially secure future ahead. Remember, these are just the basics—you’ll need to access a new set of skills for the larger jobs, such as opening your pool for the season. But you know the best part? You could easily do that, too. Once you realize how capable you are, the sky’s the limit. And would you look at that—it’s reflected beautifully in your pool.

My parting advice? Set yourself up now for significant savings later. The 1.5HP Energy Star Variable Speed In-Ground Blue Cyclone Swimming Pool Pump is eligible for rebates, comes with a lifetime warranty, and pays itself off in energy saved in under two years.