Monthly Maintenance Reminder - Pool Maintenance Tips and Tricks

Appraisal and Home Inspection
Swimming Pools
By Contractors.com Team August 02, 2021

There’s nothing quite like having your very own backyard splash country experience. An inground swimming pool is the place to be during the warmer months of the year. It can even be a nice place to hang out on chillier days if you have a pool heater or even a pool house. But as with many things, maintenance is crucial for keeping your pool clean, fun, and safe for years to come. Regular pool maintenance can sometimes be a bit tedious, but it is far from difficult to do. Plus, most will agree that the reward for keeping a pool spic and span far outweigh the costs. Keep up with pool cleaning and repairs, and your swimming pool will reward you with decades of trouble-free fun and relaxation.  

Also, not all pools are made equal. A relatively small pool with a simple design may not require as much work as a fully loaded larger pool. A lot of the tasks involved in swimming pool maintenance can therefore easily be DIY tasks without much hassle. Of course, you can always bring in a professional for the more technical matters that can pop up from time to time.     

Pool Maintenance Checklist 

When it comes to basic pool maintenance, there are three main areas to focus on. Paying attention to these three tasks on your pool maintenance checklist means the party never has to stop because of pool algae or something breaking. If your pool does end up having an issue, the odds are it will involve one of these three components. So, understanding what each of these pieces of your pool system does and knowing what problems they can give rise to will help you to tackle any swimming pool maintenance challenges. 

Pool Filters

This is the big one. Your pool filters are the main things that keep out all the crud and grime that falls in. Since your pool is constantly exposed to the elements when it isn’t under a pool cover, the filter is really important because without it things would quickly become stinky, murky, and nasty. But as with all filters, a pool filter tends to clog up over time and it will need to be cleaned regularly so that it keeps working as it should.  

There are three different kinds of pool filters: sand filters, cartridge filters, and diatomaceous earth (D.E.) filters. All three filter types should be cleaned at least twice a year. This is usually achieved by removing the filter, backwashing it (spraying water the opposite way it normally flows through the filter), and cleaning it with a pool filter chemical cleaner. You can easily do this yourself in an hour or two.  

Your Pool Maintenance Checklist

Your Pool Maintenance Checklist

The Water and Walls

Your pool’s water is also quite important; it too will require some maintenance to retain its emerald effervescence and to stay chemically balanced and clean. This will not only keep things safe but will also help avoid expensive repairs caused by corrosion or clogging. Your pool’s liner will also need regular care since it is constantly exposed to the pool water. A crucial part of pool cleaning will be to keep the lining free of mold, damage, and algae.  

Skimmers and Returns

This refers to the pipes that pull water into your filters (skimmers) and then pump out the water that has been cleaned (returns). As with the filters themselves, skimmers and returns can become dirty and clogged up. Keeping them clean and clear of debris can head off any problems.  

Do You Know Your Pool Parts and the Maintenance they Need?

Do You Know Your Pool Parts and the Maintenance they Need?

Balancing Your Pool’s Chemistry

One key part of keeping your pool’s water in good shape is to take care of water chemistry. This can be left to a pool maintenance professional, but it can also do it yourself provided you have a basic understanding of what is needed.  Any aspect of your pool’s chemistry can be easily tested with a test kit and strip available at any big box store. You should check the following parameters at least once a week during the summer months, and once a week during colder months as well. 

pH

Your pool’s pH level has to do with how acidic or basic the water is. This can be done with a pool pH measuring device. The ideal pH level for a pool lies between 7.4 and 7.6. Anything higher is too basic, and anything lower than this is considered too acidic. Excessively high or low pH levels pose a health risk for swimmers and can also accelerate wear and tear of your swimming pool. Abnormal pH levels can be caused by pollution, acid rain, and a variety of other factors. 

Alkaline

If you discover that your pool keeps getting a pH level that is too high or too low, fret not, for there is an antidote. It’s called alkaline, and it is a chemical that helps to neutralize basicity and acidity. Alkalinity for your swimming pool is measured in parts per million (ppm) and can be determined with an alkaline testing kit. The ideal alkalinity level for a pool lies between 100 and 150 ppm. If you find that your alkalinity levels have dropped too low, you can increase the ppm by adding some baking soda. 

Swimming Pool Chemistry 101 You Should Know About

Swimming Pool Chemistry 101 You Should Know About

Calcium Hardness 

Calcium carbonate, which is usually called calcium hardness, is a naturally occurring chemical that can cause problems for your pool if its concentration becomes too high. It can come from high or low alkalinity levels and leads to rusting, cloudy water, staining, and calcium flakes floating in the water. However, this doesn’t mean that calcium should be removed from your pool altogether, as this can also cause problems. 

Any body of water will naturally seek to be chemically balanced, and so removing calcium will cause the water to draw it from elsewhere (meaning your pool’s lining). As a result, removing calcium completely will only cause more damage and stain your pool. Instead, the best solution is to keep the calcium hardness levels at an ideal level by keeping the ph and alkalinity at the recommended levels.   

Sanitizer

This is another major component of a clean and safe pool. Sanitizer is what will keep harmful microorganisms from making your swimming pool their home. The most common sanitizer is chlorine, though bromine is another popular choice. There must be a stable balance between the concentration of sanitizer and alkaline. Too much sanitizer can make the alkaline less effective, leading to high acidity or high basicity. If you’re looking for a more organic form of chlorine, there is one.

How to Balance Your Pool's Chemistry

How to Balance Your Pool's Chemistry

Phosphate

Dead leaves, lawn fertilizer, and other organic matter can affect phosphate levels in your swimming pool. High phosphate levels mean your water will begin to take on a green hue and become cloudy. This is bad news, because phosphate also serves as a source of food for algae, allowing it to thrive in the pool. 

Extensive pool cleaning will be required to bring things back to normal. While it is impossible to completely get rid of phosphates (since stuff is always falling into your pool), you can greatly minimize them using pool cleaning equipment. Use a net skimmer to regularly remove leaves and other debris that is floating in your pool, and use a pool vacuum to get anything that has sunken to the bottom.  

Keeping Things Clean

Keeping a pool clean means more than just pouring a bunch of chlorine in and leaving things at that. Proper swimming pool maintenance requires a regular pool cleaning schedule to keep things sparkling clean. 

Pool Shock

You’ve probably been in a pool that had a strong chlorine smell coming from it. While this may be something reassuring, since it reminds you that the pool is protected by sanitizer, it's a sign. When your pool starts getting smelly, it's trying to tell you something: the sanitizer is getting tired and needs some help. 

What Is Pool Shock and Why You Should Do It

What Is Pool Shock and Why You Should Do It

This often happens after a rainstorm, or when a lot of people have been in the pool. In other words, it happens after a lot of contaminants have been added to the pool. To help the sanitizer deal with this sudden influx, you should add pool shock at least once a week. It is recommended to do this at night and let the pool pumps run overnight to ensure that the “shock” reaches every part of the pool. 

Pool Cleaning Equipment

Your pool should be skimmed, brushed, and vacuumed regularly to remove any debris that has fallen in. This should be done at least once a week to keep. If you find the whole cleaning routine to be a bit tedious, consider investing in an automatic pool cleaner. This can do a lot of the pool cleaning for you, but you’ll still need to do a tiny bit of regular skimming and brushing by hand. 

Cleaning Hacks 

There are changes you can make to your net skimmer to make pool cleaning easier.

Swimming Pool Cleaning Hacks

Swimming Pool Cleaning Hacks

Tennis Balls

Your pool will be full of various oils left behind from shampoos, lotions, and cosmetics. To get rid of these, add some tennis balls to your skimmer basket. These will absorb these oil spots to make your pool squeaky clean. You can also just toss a few tennis balls in the pool and leave them to float around, soaking up the grime. 

Pantyhose

Wrap your skimmer basket with pantyhose as this will act as a filter to catch small things your net might miss. 

Baking Soda

You can also use baking soda for scrubbing as this won’t damage tile or vinyl liners.

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team