The official start of the summer season is closely coming in. And I’m everyone is excited for some summer fun activities with families and friends. One of the most popular activities for the season is of course swimming. And if you have a pool in your backyard, then it’s going to be extra fun for the household to have easy access anytime they want to go for a dip and cool off for the hot season.
If you are a homeowner who just recently installed a new pool, have just moved into a house with a pool, or someone who is considering having one, we have to warn you. Having a pool is not all about fun, games, and weekend swimming + BBQ parties. You may not have realized this other facet of having a pool, but it comes with big responsibilities that are whole year-round and not just for the summer. Some of the maintenance tips that every pool owner should know are: regularly testing the water, cleaning the filter, checking the water level, adding chlorine, scrubbing and vacuuming, preparing for winter, and having it serviced by a pool maintenance pro, and more.
The tasks may be a bit daunting, and cumbersome, and has to be done regularly, as it is crucial for pool longevity, safety for the users and to dodge pool repairs as much as possible. But no worries, read up to prepare yourself and pick up some useful tips that you can apply to maintain your pool.
Check the water quality
To properly maintain the pool, the first thing you should know is that testing the water quality should be done frequently (At least once a week during summer). If you have improperly balanced pool water, your pool will cause irritation to the users’ skin and eyes, will look murky, and even be a breeding ground for bacteria and other pathogens –yikes! You definitely would not want it.
Good water quality means having the right chemical balance—clear water, no odor and don’t have any weird residue on the skin. You’ll know that you got the right chemical balance by using a testing kit that you can easily purchase from your local pool store or suppliers. All you have to do is follow the kit instruction and carefully adjust the chemicals (like chlorine) based on the results.
If you have imbalanced chemicals, then adding the right ones to the water is the key. Don’t forget that the pH level of your pool water should stay in the neutral zone of 7.4 to 7.6. So yes, knowing some basic pool chemistry is also needed.
Did you know that you can use baking soda as an alternative to other pool solutions to control alkalinity? This will be just a fraction of the price!
“Shock” your pool
More chemicals are involved in this process but don’t feel overwhelmed.
Think of this as super chlorinating your pool at a very high level to kill the bacteria in the pool that an ordinary chlorine level otherwise won’t be able to do. This is especially good when the water seems extra murky, probably after a pool party, if you have some algae problem, and just as a regular part of your maintenance.
You could do this by diluting 3-5x the amount of chemical sanitizer like chlorine with water then adding it to the pool’s return line. Let the solution filter throughout the pool and slowly refill the pool with water over time.
Clean the filter
In the pool maintenance process, cleaning your filter regularly is a must. Your filter works by collecting non-water things from your pool – dirt, threads, leaves, debris, detergent residue, and more. With it acting as your pool’s kidney, dirt will eventually build-up, making your pool unsafe and dirty.
Make sure to follow your pool service technician’s instructions for this maintenance task. Set an alarm for this, so you won’t forget, and in case of bad weather, you’ll have to check and clean it sooner.
Tip: In addition to cleaning your pool filter, make sure to check various collection pots and baskets that your pool has, like your pool’s skimmer basket, and clean them out.
Watch out for the water level
In as much as the chemical composition of the pool is important, the physical water level is too. Your water level will definitely change e.g. your kids did some serious cannon balls, lots of pool usage, evaporation, and there is a sudden rainstorm.
The ideal pool level is that it should remain at the halfway point of your pool skimmer. This is easy to maintain, if the water is low, add some water (you can use your garden hose), and if it’s too high, work on draining the excess.
Just a word of caution, if your pool liner is made of fiberglass or vinyl, let a professional handle the draining of water because the pump that you are using may damage the material.
Additional tip: When you add/reduce water, make sure to check for the water quality, as fluctuations in the water levels can affect the chemical balance.
Skimming, scrubbing, and vacuuming
Now here comes the “physical” part. Yes, you will have to do regular scrubbing, skimming, and vacuuming.
Skimming should be done daily, this is simple, as you only have to remove leaves and other debris floating around your pool. This will keep your pool pristine looking.
Scrubbing is a bit of hard labor but could be done weekly. This will help keep the algae build-up at bay.
Same with scrubbing, you can also do the pool vacuuming every week to keep the water clean.
Tip: If you have the extra budget, you can even consider purchasing a robot vacuum to clean the bottom of the pool for you.
Tip # 2: For stubborn spots that you can’t scrub away, just use an old sock and fill it in with chlorine. Just let it sit on top of the spot for a few hours before scrubbing away again.
Be aware of your bill
Most likely you know that having a pool also means additional electricity and water bill (if not, then brace yourself).
Make sure that you closely monitor your bills for a few months, why? Aside from it will help you have a set budget range for utilities, this is also a good indicator of possible pool-related problems. A sudden surge in your bills could mean that you may have a leak and need to call in for a professional pool repair.
Click here for pool repair.
Make your pool deck clean
We have discussed how to maintain your pool, but did you know that keeping the area around it is also an important part of your pool maintenance? If you fail to clean up your deck, then you are dragging dirt, bacteria, algae, spores, and more into your pool.
You can sweep debris, loose leaves, etc. a few times a week. And make sure to sanitize your deck by giving it a good scrub once or twice a month using a good pool deck cleanser. Or just use a power wash or hire some pressure washing pros to do it for you, making your pool sparkly clean.
Know about winterizing your pool
As important as pool care during the hot season, it is also important that you know how to prepare your pool for the winter.
Winterizing your pool would help you avoid any potential problems – imagine removing your pool cover during the start of summer and discovering that the pool is laden with algae and chemical residue buildup! Do this extra step and avoid costly repairs later on.
Check out some tips on how to get your pool ready for the winter here.
Make sure to read this article on how to clean your pool after the winter season for tips.
Have your pool professionally serviced
Yes, we have given some helpful tips that we think you should know as a pool owner, but at the same time, trusting an expert is the way to go.
Make sure to have your pool regularly serviced by pool professionals, this is especially true if you notice small problems during your routine or if it involves your pool’s mechanical equipment – please, never attempt to go the DIY route to repair it.
If you also just don’t have the time to properly maintain your pool and you have the budget, check out the available pool services here and let the pros handle everything for you.
When it comes to cost, the monthly expenses for a pool service could range from $74 to more than $200 per month depending on various factors e.g. size of the pool, location of pool, required cleaning methods to do the job, and more.
Quick tips when hiring for pool service or repair:
- Always choose a local pool service company
- Make sure to ask for the proof of insurance
- Ask for at least three quotations before choosing
- Request for an estimate, anything related to financials should be in black and white
- Companies that work during the weekend and holidays are a plus
- Ask how the pool service company will handle the waste material generated from servicing your pool
So before taking the plunge, make sure that your pool is ready and in top shape. As they say, “knowledge is power”, knowing how to properly maintain your pool will surely make each dip more enjoyable and ensure that your family is in a safe and healthy environment.