Taking care of your swimming pool or spa begins with a few easy maintenance tips that will help keep it clean, sparkling and inviting for you and your family to enjoy.
- Skim the surface. Routinely use a long-handled skimming net to clean the water’s surface of floating pollen, bugs and debris before it sinks to the bottom of the pool.
- Brush away dirt. Use a long-handled brush to loosen dirt, algae and calcium deposits from the sides and bottom of the pool. Avoiding buildup of algae and calcium on your pool surface and tile is important for the health of your pool and prevents damage to the surface. Stubborn deposits can be removed with a pumice stone or muriatic acid.
- Vacuum your pool weekly. The cleaner your pool is, the less often you will need chemicals to treat the water. If your pool vacuum cleans automatically, check to make sure the wheels are moving properly and the unit is traveling freely along the bottom and up the sides. Check the pool hose often for kinks that can hinder proper suction. If the hose is floating, it may have a hole and need to be replaced.
- Empty the plastic strainer baskets. They can become clogged with leaves, rodents and other debris that can hinder water circulation water and affect the chemical balance.
- Water evaporates, and kids splash. So check the water level occasionally. If it falls below the skimmer basket line, you will need to add water to avoid damaging the pump. If your pool has automatic water leveling and the water level is still low, it may need maintenance or repair.
- Check your pH. When water chemicals are out of balance, it can cause skin and eye irritation and damage pool equipment. The pH scale from 0-14 measures acidity or alkalinity in the water. Your water should remain between 7.2 and 7.8 for optimal balance. You can easily monitor the pH level with simple testing strips that change color when dipped in the pool water. The strip’s color can be matched to a color chart that determines the pool’s pH level. Or, use a Raegent’s kit that uses tablets to dye a sample of the pool water. The color determines the pH level and type of chemicals needed to bring it back into balance.
- Shock it. If your pool is cloudy you will need to “shock” it with a super-chlorination treatment which quickly raises the chlorine level and kills off the algae. Let the pump run for a minimum of 6 to 8 hours after adding shock, then retest the water’s chemistry.
- Clean the pool filter. Follow your equipment manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning the filter properly. Recommendations vary for cartridge, sand or diatomaceous earth filters. Your pool builder will recommend the best system for you. While filters should be cleaned periodically, the need can increase or decrease depending on use, weather and the amount of surrounding landscaping that regularly falls into the pool. You can check the pressure gauge and flow meter to determine if the filter needs cleaning. Clean the filter when the difference reaches 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 6.8 kilograms) per square inch.