Buying a pool requires a huge investment on your side. You need to spend considerable time, energy, effort, and money to get a good quality pool in your backyard. Having done all the hard work, isn’t it only natural that you also have to maintain your pool well?
Pools are prone to dust, algae, debris such as leaves and twigs, and other contaminants, especially if they are placed near trees. They are also prone to damage due to extreme climatic conditions. Therefore, you must take care of your pool well so that it not only results in neat pools but also clear & fresh hygienic water at all times.
Here is a guide that will tell you some of the important points you have to keep in mind as part of your pool maintenance schedule:
1. Take care of the pool walls
Ensure that you use a manual or automatic vacuum cleaner to clean out your pool walls and surfaces regularly. The walls are places where dust, debris, and algae love to accumulate.
These not only affect the quality of the pool but also affect the grip of the pool users, especially if they are kids or senior citizens. While you are doing your pool walls, make the effort more fruitful than ever by vacuuming the entire floor of the pool as well. It’s such a shame to see pools worth thousands of dollars going down the drain just because they weren’t cleaned regularly!
2. A regular check of pool filters
Your pool filters are there for a purpose, aren’t they? They are supposed to filter out the debris and contaminants and give back clear water to your pool so that you can be guaranteed good water quality. What if those filters aren’t maintained well? The entire purpose of installing them gets defeated.
Yes, with sand filters, you might already backwash and rinse them many times during your usage. However, what most people don’t know is that backwashing alone isn’t enough to clean your filters. You need to use effective chemicals for cleaning your filters thoroughly so that all deposits of oil, dust, algae, and other contaminants are removed without a trace.
3. Regular testing of water balance
Having a proper water balance is very important not only for enjoying a swim in clear waters but also for the longevity of the pool. Use the test strips that are commonly available across any store to test the chemical balance of your pool waters. It is ideal to conduct this test at least thrice a week during the summer and once a week during the winter.
By performing these tests, you get an idea of the chemical/chlorine content of the water and their ranges. You get to know if your water is free from harsh metals and corrosions. In an ideal situation, the pH level (acidity & alkalinity ratio) should be around 7.2 to 7.6. While free chlorine content should be in the range of 1 to 3 ppm, free bromine should be in the range of 3 to 5 ppm.
For concrete pools, the calcium hardness level should be between 200 and 250 ppm. There shouldn’t be any traces of iron or copper in your pool water during any season. When your pool water doesn’t satisfy these ranges, you have to first correct the chemical balance in it, before proceeding to check the pump, filters, and pool accessories. Most of these accessories don’t work well if the pool water balance isn’t in the required ratio. Also, you will notice scale build-ups in your tiles when you don’t maintain the water balance in your pool.
4. Proper Winterisation
More often than not, when you are reopening your pool in the summer season after closing it down for the winter, you will notice that your pool doesn’t work to its fullest potential. In a majority of cases, this problem is because you hadn’t winterized the pool properly (which means, you didn’t follow the steps properly while closing down the pool for the winter). Here is a brief idea of how you should close down the pool so that the pool works to its optimum level when you reopen it during the next season.
- About a week before closing down, you need to ensure that the water balance in your pool is perfect. If not, bring down the alkalinity to around 7.6, calcium hardness to around 250, and alkalinity to around 100. Shock the pool to increase its chlorine content to around 12 ppm. Then allow the waters to settle down, before moving to the next step. Ideally, the chlorine should come down to 3 ppm for you to start the next step.
- Since you are closing down the pool, you want to be sure that you are disconnecting the pool of all its inground and above-ground accessories. This will include removing the connections to heaters, vacuums, ladders, skimmer baskets, slides, handrails, and the like. Clean the pool thoroughly to remove all debris.
- Backwash your filter well after using it for one last time before you close down or start the winterization process.
- Bring down the water level to such an extent that it is around 6 inches below the lowest plumbing line mark in your pool. You may remove the skimmer now if you haven’t already removed it in the above step.
- You have to ensure that you drain out the water completely from the pool pump, filters, heaters, chlorine shockers, and other accessories. This step is very important because this is the only way you can be sure that the plumbing lines are free of water. Allow the filters, pumps, heaters, etc. to dry well and store them safely in the skimmer basket so that you can take out everything as a set when you reopen the pool during the summer. Have you introduced any chemicals to your pool through a feeder? If yes, this would be the right stage to drain out the water in the feeder as well. Never allow the chemical feeders to settle inside the pool when it is shut down during the winter because this will result in damage to the pool.
- Finally, ensure that the water in your pool is kept clean and fresh throughout the winter, by using a proper winter pool cover. When you cover your pool with a durable and long-lasting winter pool cover, you can be sure that your pool water won’t be prone to algae growth or contaminants.
Yes, winterization is a time-consuming process. However, trust us when we say that every second you spend on this process is worth its weight in gold.
5. Reopening the pool
Come summer, and it is time to open your pool again! If you thought you could just open your pool, plug in the accessories, and start using it, just because you followed the above steps while winterization, you are mistaken. There are some mandatory checks that you need to perform at the time of reopening your pool as well, to ensure that your pool stays durable for many years.
Every year, when you follow these steps at the time of reopening and closing, you can be guaranteed the longevity of your pool.
- Keep the surroundings around your pool clean and debris-free. Before reopening your pool, you have to be sure that your pool won’t be prone to algae, debris, dust, twigs, leaves, and other contaminants. Cut off trees and plants if they are hanging too much over your pool. Keep your backyard clean and well-maintained.
- While removing the pool cover, be very careful so that the water accumulated at the top of the cover doesn’t get mixed with the pool water. It is highly recommended that you use a vacuum cleaner to suck out the water from the cover thoroughly before removing it. Once the cover is removed, allow it to dry thoroughly before storing it and putting it away in a dark and moisture-free place, for use during the next winter.
- Check for the quality of your pool after reconnecting the pool lights. Are there any stains or scale build-ups visible? If yes, use a manual or automatic vacuum cleaner or a simple scrub pad to scrub away the stains thoroughly. You have to be sure of the cleanliness of your pool walls and floors before you proceed to the next steps.
- Fill water in the pool to a certain extent and ensure that you clean away the debris and twigs completely. Reconnect the filters and clean the water once again. Backwash or clean the filters once thoroughly before inserting them again for further use. Repeat this process for a few days until you see clean water in your pool. You should get into your pool for swimming only when you notice clean, algae-free, and contaminant-free water.
- Check the pool chemicals and accessories before using them. Has their expiry period lapsed? If yes, you should discard them right away. Using expired chemicals and cleaners that haven’t been sealed properly can do more harm than good to your pools.
In short, you must do a thorough check of the water quality before you use the pool after reopening it. Since the pool was shut down for a few months, you have got to be sure that it is 100% clean from algae and other debris.
6. Check pool filter pressure
Pool filters don’t come cheap; therefore, it is important to check their performance quite frequently to know if they are performing to their optimum potential or not. Regardless of the type of filter you use, you should know how to read and comprehend the pressure gauge markings on them. In the most commonly used filters (sand filters), these pressure gauges are found on top of the filter.
They have various numbers (usually between 0 and 60) mentioned in multiples of 5s or 10s. The filter’s pressure is nothing but the rate at which water flows through it. The unit in which pressure is mentioned is psi (pound per square inch). Check the pressure gauge once a week to be sure that your filter is working at the right pressure. If the level goes beyond 10psi, you will have to get your filter serviced right away.
The normal operating pressure of each pump is recorded in it when it is used for the first time. So, when the gauge goes up by 10 psi above its normal level, you have to stop using your filter and get it serviced.
7. Identify cracks or leakages at the initial stages
When you notice cracks, leaks, or other issues in your pool, contact the customer service department of your pool manufacturer right away. It is easier to set the right issues when they are diagnosed in the initial stages. Sometimes, you may notice that the level of your pool water keeps decreasing slowly even though you aren’t draining it out. This would only indicate that there is a small hole in your pump that needs to be fixed.
Observe the performance of your pool closely to notice any abnormal changes in it. Also, sometimes cracks may develop on the skimmer lid. Never ignore these issues. The skimmer lid protects your pool water from debris and also protects kids and pets so that they don’t fall into the water by mistake.
So, any cracks on it need to be checked right away and replaced with a new lid. Inspect these lids every day while using your pool to be sure that the screws are in place and that they are doing their job well. If you aren’t able to follow the maintenance schedule properly by reading through the instruction manual, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
Even if your pool is out of warranty, you can still contact your manufacturer to send a pool expert to your place to inspect the same and help you out with maintenance, for a fee. Always remember to switch off the pool pump when you are dealing with skimmers, heaters, filters, and other accessories. Try these steps and watch your pool glow in all seasons.