Maintenance Tips For Your Pool

1. Skimming & Basket Cleaning

Clearing the pool water surface by skimming is easy but needs persistence. To remove leaves and debris from the pool skimming should be done daily. It is one of the fastest and easiest ways to keep your pool clean. If not done daily floating debris will eventually sink, becoming harder to remove. Skimming significantly make your pool's circulation system efficient and lowers the amount of chlorine you'll need to add to your pool.

At least once a week also clear out the strainer basket. It will also help circulation and lowers chlorine demands. You can find a strainer baskets attached to the side of above ground pools. Remove the plastic basket and shake it and spray it with a hose to clean it completely.

2. Vacuuming & Brushing

Vacuum your pool every week to keep water clear. To clean your pool bottom use a Robotic Vacuum Cleaner. Each time you vacuum, clean the filter if required.

To reduce the occurrence of algae buildup and calcium deposits, brush the walls and tile every other week. This will keep your pool clean and fresh. You can use stiff or softer brush depending upon the type of your walls.

Stains can be caused by metals in the pool water, rust coming through the wall or by any organic material. To remove organic pool stains, shock the pool and for metallic pool stains use MetalFree and StainFree.

3. Filter Is Your Pool's Kidney

The Filter is a key component of swimming pool's filtration system. Its role is like kidneys in a human body that eliminates all impurities from the body.

As the filter performs its operation, the debris in the water is gathered in the filter and as a consequence the filter slowly gets clogged and the pressure increases.

If your filter pressure is raised by 20% over your starting pressure, it's time to clean out the debris. If you don't keep the filter's pressure in normal range, it will reduce your water flow and your water can get cloudy. You can backwash to clean sand filter every two week. A cartridge filter needs to be cleaned periodically for optimized performance. It is always a good idea to clean the filter at least once a season, even if the pressure doesn't go up.

4. Check Your Pool Chemistry

Checking your pool chemical levels is one of the most important steps of pool maintenance. Test your pool water every week as unbalanced pool water can irritate your skin and eyes and can turn your pool into a breading place for bacteria.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), you should consider following chemical levels:
pH: 7.4 – 7.6 
Also known as acidity/alkalinity and it prevent irritation and protect the pool equipment from eroding.
Chlorine: 1.0 – 3.0 ppm
Keeps your pool water safe and free of germs
Total Alkalinity: 80 – 140 ppm
Keeps pH in balance Calcium Hardness: 220 – 350
Prevent plaster damage
Cyanuric Acid: 30 – 50 ppm

Protects chlorine from sunlight and determines the required Free Chlorine level. Properly balanced chemicals will make your pool water crystal clear and having no scent.

5. Heater Maintenance

Swimming in a cool pool isn’t much fun, except for exceptionally hot days. By properly heating your pool, you can extend its usefulness and the swimming season. You can even enjoy the pool in spring, fall months and cool summer evenings.

Out of all pool equipment, pool heaters require least maintenance. Natural Gas Heaters or Propane Gas heaters can work fine without being serviced for a couple of years and electric ones can last even longer. To maintain your pool heater follow manufacturer's manual instructions. If Calcium scales build up inside the tubes of your pool heater, it will prevent water from proper heating. If it happens, call a professional because heater may need to be disassembled to clean out its tubes with a wire brush or acid.

6. Maintain Water Level

Maintaining your water level in your pool is as important as maintaining proper levels of your pool chemicals in water.

Water level goes down mainly in swimming season due to evaporation, backwashing, splashing and exiting the pool.

Keep an eye that your pool water level is half way up the opening of your skimmer otherwise the pump could be damaged. If the water is too low, use a garden hose to add the required amount of water in your pool. If the water is too high, acquire a submersible pump on rent from a home improvement store to drain the extra water. Be careful that your pool liner is not damaged by the pump weight or hire a professional for this purpose.

When you’ve reached the appropriate water level, remember to recheck the chemicals.

Always keep water in your pool even in winter season and never leave it empty because the weight of the water counteracts with forces from the ground pressing up against the pool from below.

7. Shock Your Pool

Shocking the pool means to drastically raising the chlorine levels for a short period of time to kill bacteria.

If your pool has a harsh odor or you had a big pool party, you have to supercholorinate or shock pool water immediately. It's a bacteria that you’ll want to get rid of as soon as possible. Organic contaminants like ammonia and nitrogen buildup in a pool and interact with pool's chlorine and form chloramines. This finally creates a potent chlorine smell. Shock the pool at least twice every season. Follow manufacturer's instructions before shocking your pool.

Shock your pool:
When pool water temperature rises 
When free chlorine level goes down
After heavy rains
When pool is heavily or frequently used

8. Find A Leak In Your Pool

Sometimes it is difficult to find the reason your water level is low. It can be due to evaporation or a leak. To determine if it is a leak or evaporation you can conduct a simple Bucket Test.

First turn off recirculation pump as well as any other auto-refill device you may have. Now take a plastic bucket and fill it with three quarters of water. Mark the waterline inside the bucket and place it in the pool. Now mark the waterline outside the container. Let this bucket float in the pool for 24 hours. If the water inside and and outside has gone down equally then your pool is losing water due to evaporation. However, If the water has gone down more than the water inside bucket your pool has a leak.

To narrow down the possible source of the leak repeat this test while your pump is on. If the water level in the pool is greater with water circulating under pressure, there are more chances that leak is in your pool's plumbing.

Now you are sure about the leak and should call a professional to fix this.

Evaporation mostly happens when your pool temperature is higher than the air temperature.

9. Winterize Your Pool

It is very important to make sure that your pool is secure for winter. To save your time and money on repairs next season, take the right steps at the right time to winterize your pool. Check your pool chemistry and test your water with a water testing kit to ensure that all chemicals are correctly balanced.

Pool water left in pipes can freeze and cause damage. To avoid this use an air compressor to blow water out of pool's plumbing. Also drain water from filter and heater. For above ground pools, disconnect the heater, pump and chemical feeders and keep them in a safe place like basement.

Finally clean the pool by skimming, brushing walls and vacuum pool floor, empty skimmer baskets, close skimmer line valve and lower the water. Supercholorinate your pool and finally use a pool cover to keep out debris.

10. Pool Opening In Summer Season

If a pool is properly winterized, it can easily be reopened come swimming season. Most importantly, don't remove the pool cover until you've cleaned the area around the pool. Sweep or hose away debris to prevent it from getting into the pool. Reconnect everything that was disconnected. Water will need to flow through the circulation system, so open the skimmer line valve. Test the water for its pH level, then shock the pool. It'll take a week or more before the pool gets balanced and becomes swimmable. Leave the pump running 24 hours a day, and reduce the run by only an hour or two each day until the water is balanced.

A properly winterized pool can be reopened easily in spring. Drain as much water as possible from top of your winter cover before removing it. You can use sub pump to do so. Don’t forget to scoop or blow all leaves off the cover before removal. Now you can raise the water level back to its normal level using your garden hose. This is around the middle of the skimmer opening.

Now you'll want to reconnect all the equipment including filter pumps, heater and anything else. For above ground pools reconnect the flexible plumbing lines to the pool equipment and skimmer. Please ensure to take out all the winterizing plugs from the pool equipment. A list may consist of your pumpfilterheater, booster pump and pool cleaners. Don’t forget to reinstall each normal drain plug. Remove Winterizing Plugs From Skimmer And Return Lines.

At this point, you will want to start turning most of your pool equipment back on. This includes priming the pump and turning on the circulation and filtration system. Add MetalFree To Prevent Staining. Test your pool water for pH, Total Alkalinity and Chlorine levels using a test kit. Test and adjust calcium hardness. Brush and vacuum the pool. Run the filteration system overnight. Filtration will filter out all the dirt, debris, algae, and bacteria still floating in your pool after brushing and vacuuming your pool. Finally shock the pool.