Beginner Pool Maintenance Tips To Keep That New Pool Clean And Inviting
Pools are a lot of responsibility. As any honest pool salesman will tell you, a pool comes with many costs, both financial and in terms of your time and effort, beyond the installation.
- Check and adjust the water level: Make sure the water level (or gallonage) is within the recommended range, as low water levels can cause problems with the pump and filter.
- Test and adjust the water chemistry: Use a pool test kit to check the pH, total alkalinity, and chlorine levels in your pool water. Adjust these levels as needed to keep the water balanced and safe for swimming.
- Skim the surface: Use a skimmer to remove debris such as leaves, bugs, and other small objects that may have accumulated on the surface of the water.
- Vacuum the pool: Use a pool vacuum to remove dirt and debris from the bottom and sides of the pool.
- Clean the pool filter: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your pool filter. This is typically done by backwashing or using a filter cleaning solution.
- Check and clean the pool cover: If you have a pool cover, check it for tears or damage and clean it as needed.
- Check and clean pool accessories: Inspect and clean any pool accessories such as ladders, rails, and diving boards.
- Check and clean the pool pump and motor: Inspect the pump and motor for any visible signs of wear or damage. Clean any debris that may have accumulated around the pump and motor.
- Check and clean the pool heater: If you have a pool heater, inspect it for any visible signs of wear or damage. Clean any debris that may have accumulated around the heater.
- Check and clean the pool plumbing: Inspect the pool plumbing for any visible signs of wear or damage. Clean any debris that may have accumulated in the plumbing.
- Check and clean the pool drains: Inspect the pool drains for any visible signs of wear or damage. Clean any debris that may have accumulated in the drains.
- Check and clean the pool lights: Inspect the pool lights for any visible signs of wear or damage. Clean any debris that may have accumulated around the lights.
- Check and clean the pool deck: Inspect the pool deck for any visible signs of wear or damage. Clean any debris that may have accumulated on the deck.
Pool parts you need to know
Often called the pool liner, the interior wall is made of a waterproof and durable material such as concrete, fiberglass, or vinyl.
The interior wall plays an important role in the structural integrity of the pool, as it helps to support the weight of the water and any other loads that may be placed on the pool. This is also where you’ll find various pool designs that give your pool its aesthetic flair.
There are a few signs that may indicate that it is time to replace your pool liner. Some common signs include:
- Cracks or holes: If you notice any cracks or holes in your pool liner, it is likely time to replace it. These can allow water to escape, which can lead to structural damage to your pool and costly repairs.
- Fading or discoloration: Over time, pool liners can fade or become discolored due to UV exposure and chemical treatments. If your liner is visibly faded or discolored, it may be time to replace it.
- Wrinkles or sagging: If you notice wrinkles or sagging in your pool liner, it could be a sign that it is not properly supported. This can be caused by improper installation or structural damage to the pool. In either case, replacing the liner is likely necessary.
- Age: Pool liners typically last for about 10-15 years, depending on the material and how well they are maintained. If your pool liner is approaching this age range, it may be time to consider replacing it.
Pool filtration systems are important for maintaining clean and safe swimming conditions in a pool. They help to remove impurities and contaminants from the water, which can prevent the growth of algae and bacteria and reduce the risk of illness.
It’s important to regularly maintain your pool filtration system to ensure that it is functioning properly. This may include cleaning or replacing the filter, checking and adjusting the pump, and ensuring that the circulation system is working properly. By performing regular maintenance, you can help to extend the life of your pool filtration system and ensure that your pool remains clean and safe for swimming.
A pool cover is a barrier that is placed over the surface of a pool to protect it from debris and other contaminants. Pool covers come in a variety of materials and can be either manual or automatic. If your pool doesn’t come from a factory-produced mold, you’ll likely need your pool cover to be custom-fit to the size and shape of your pool.
It may seem so obvious as to slip people’s minds, but the water is the most important part of your pool. Without it, your pool is useless. With bad water, your pool is at best unhealthy and at worst unswimmable.
It’s vital to maintain good chemical treatments, cleaning practices, and regularly circulate your pool water in order to keep your water in good condition.
It’s expensive and a big hassle to have to drain and refill your pool, so spare yourself the nightmare and follow the 3 Cs of pool maintenance.
Tips for taking care of your pool: 3 Cs of pool maintenance
Still water is a breeding ground for bacteria and algae. Chemical treatments and cleanings are useless if they do not spread throughout the entire pool via circulation.
If there is a poor or non-functioning circulatory system, your chemicals will sit at the top of your pool and will be rendered ineffective.
Your pool shouldn’t look like a swamp; muddy, full of insects, lily pads and algae. To prevent organisms, whether it be bacteria, insects, or algae, from gathering in your pool, you need to have the water constantly moving.
Luckily, you don’t need to swim around in circles to create a whirlpool, even though that can be quite fun! Circulation functions are performed by filters, jets, and pumps. Keep these parts of your pool in working order by performing routine inspections and regularly cleaning or replacing your filters, depending on the type.
The cleaning process for the most common types of filters goes as follows:
- Sand filter—you should backwash and re-check the pressure level.
- Cartridge filters—remove the filter, clean it, and check the pressure. If cleaning doesn’t fix the pressure rate, you may need to replace the filter.
- DE filters—you must backwash AND replace the filter. Always approach DE filters with eye protection, masks and gloves.
Cleaning plays a vital role in swimming pool maintenance and is perhaps the easiest and most regular thing you can do to ensure that your pool is swimmable next time you have your mates around. These tasks you should perform once a week, though you can always clean right before a big swim.
- Skim the surface of your pool: Scoop any leaves or debris off the surface of the water and try and get any that have sunk to the bottom. This task takes a few minutes tops and is by far one of the easiest ways to slow down filter changes and wear and tear on your pool.
- Brush the walls, steps and ladders: Prevent algae buildup before it gets out of hand by brushing areas of your pool that are shady or don’t receive much circulation.
- Vacuum the base of your pool: A simple once a week vacuum will take a huge load off your filter and pump system and help keep your pool chemically balanced. Be sure to get all those debris that your skimmer misses. You can vacuum your pool by hand or via an automatic cleaner (better known to Aussies as a ‘creepy-crawly’).
Controlling your pool’s chemistry is often the most daunting aspect of pool maintenance for beginners. Shopping around for chemicals and knowing which does what can be quite intimidating.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a university-trained chemist; most pool chemicals are quite easy to measure and apply. Within a couple weeks of regularly checking and controlling the chemicals in your pool’s water, you’ll get the hang of it.
We’ve listed some of the key chemical attributes necessary for a good, healthy swim along with their target levels and how to affect change.
pH: The target range is between 7.2 and 7.6.
To increase pH, use soda ash, washing soda, or sodium bicarbonate—different names for the same chemical.
To decrease pH, use dry acid or muriatic acid. Always remember to follow the instructions on the box or the guidance of your local pool store.
Chlorine: your chlorination is the main method your pool kills harmful bacteria. The chlorine level should hover around 3 parts per million.
Chlorine is raised with a shock and usually maintained via chlorine tablets. The size and amount depend on the size of your pool.
Chlorine dissipates over time, so its level will decrease naturally. As such, to lower your chlorine, simply use less chlorine or dilute your pool water. However, if it’s an emergency and you need to get your pool ready for a swim immediately, use a chlorine-neutralizer.
Calcium (hardness): Normal calcium levels in swimming pool water range from 200 to 400 parts per million.
Low levels of calcium can lead to surface damage on your lining while high levels can harm your pool’s filter system and require the physical removal of the hard calcium deposits. It’s not the end of the world (Arizona in the United States famously has hard water), but keeping this chemical in check can help you preserve your pool and its costly parts for a longer time.
To increase calcium, add a calcium hardness chemical such as calcium chloride. To lower hardness, you’re going to have to drain or partially drain your pool and refill with fresh water.
By performing these tasks on a regular basis, you can help ensure that your pool is clean, safe, and ready for use. It is also a good idea to have a professional pool service company perform regular maintenance checks to ensure that your pool is operating at its best.
If you’re ever in doubt, bring a clean sample of your water inside a pool store for a water test. There, they can tell you precise readings of your chemical measurements and provide a detailed prescription of the products you need to buy and how to apply them in order to keep your pool in top shape.