With summer around the corner, it’s time to take the tarp off of your pool and assess the upkeep that needs to be done before jumping in. While skimming the surface is an important first step, there are many other aspects of pool maintenance that are equally necessary to preserve your equipment and create safe swimming conditions. Here are seven maintenance tips to keep that pool running in tip-top shape.
While many people tend to skim just prior to swimming, skimming is a step that should be done every day in order to remove plant debris, bugs, and whatever else may cloud the water. Investing in a pool vacuum will make this task much easier since it removes the debris from the bottom of the pool, and it’s something you can set to clean every day on its own.
Whatever isn’t skimmed out of the pool or removed from the vacuum will ultimately end up in the pool’s filter. For the sake of preserving the mechanics, leaving your filter on is only recommended for about six hours a day. However, the leaf baskets can only hold so much and should be emptied around once a week depending the amount of debris the pool generally accumulates.
Generally, shocking a pool is a measure that people only take when they need to disinfect. However, going through this process once or twice a season will improve both the clarity and cleanliness of your pool’s water. If the water is looking especially cloudy, you can shock it by diluting it with three to five times the normal amount of chlorine into the pool and letting it filter through before cycling the normal water back through it. This tip effectively kills off the bacteria that may have begun to infect the water and is much faster than letting the normal levels of chlorine take care of the germs.
Maintaining the right water level is also an important step in pool upkeep. The levels will often fluctuate and may become too high from rain or too low from evaporation and splashing. To avoid a waterline low enough to damage the filters or high enough to flood, be sure to check the water levels, especially after events like pool parties and rain storms.
Making sure that the water’s safe to swim in is important for not only the health of the swimmers but also for the pool’s piping and mechanics. Without the right balance of chemicals within the pool, problems can occur. On one hand, if the pool isn’t treated enough, bacteria will begin to grow in the water and could be harmful. On the other hand, if the water is too heavily treated, the chemicals may cause irritation of the skin and corrosion of the pool equipment. With a pool water testing kit, you can easily test levels of calcium hardness, PH, alkalinity, cyanuric acid, and chlorine residual. Testing a small sample of your pool’s water once a week, and adjusting the chemicals accordingly can take care of contamination problems before they arise.
Perhaps a lower water level has more to do with a hidden leak rather than your kids’ cannonballs. Especially if you have an above ground pool, be sure to check for leaks anywhere around the rim of the pool because unchecked leaks may lead to bigger problems later. Also, make a habit of checking the pipes connected to the filtration system to make sure there aren’t any leaks there either. If there are leaks, however, don’t hesitate to call a maintenance pool specialist to have him assess the damage and make the necessary repairs.
Another often overlooked maintenance task is cleaning the pool deck, especially if it’s a surface that attracts mildew. The presence of mildew can make the edges of a pool slippery and dangerous to swimmers getting in and out of the pool. By taking a power washer to the deck, you can remove grime and freshen up its appearance.
Taking these steps to maintain your pool is absolutely essential to having a clean and safe place to swim and keep cool this summer. By diligently taking care of your pool, it’ll ultimately last longer, and cost less to make repairs later on down the road.