Having your own backyard pool is a luxury that many people in Florida enjoy. Once you know how your pool works and how to care for it, you can easily establish a routine for swimming pool maintenance. This includes getting it ready, keeping it clean, and then closing it for the season. By staying on top of maintenance, you’ll spend more time enjoying the pool and less time dealing with problems.
Know Your Pool’s Parts for Swimming Pool Maintenance
The basic components of a pool are the interior walls or liner, the filter system, skimmers and returns, and of course the water. Clean and balanced water keeps your pool safe and helps prevent costly repairs. Since the interior walls and liner are in constant contact with the water, keeping these surfaces clean will help with the quality of the water.
A filtering system is critical to swimming pool maintenance. Types of filters include cartridge, sand, or diatomaceous earth. They all work to filter dirt, debris, and other contaminants from the water. Without a filter, your pool water will become cloudy. Skimmers pull the water into the filter while the returns send clean water back.
No two pools are the same, but an understanding of these basic components will help you with swimming pool maintenance.
Circulation is Key to Swimming Pool Maintenance
Circulating your pool’s water is essential. Run your pool’s filter constantly or at least 10 hours a day. Keep your filter clean by backwashing it frequently. This process reverses the flow of water through the filter, sending dirt and contaminants to the waste port. The cleaning and backwashing method depends on the type of filter you have, but the concept is basically the same. Learn how to backwash a pool for optimal swimming pool maintenance.
Keeping Your Pool Clean
Proper swimming pool maintenance requires a few more tools to keep it clean: a skimmer net, pool brush, and pool vacuum. At a minimum, skim, brush, and vacuum weekly. Use a baking soda paste as a scouring cleanser that’s safe for the tiles or liner. Toss a few tennis balls in the skimmer basket to absorb oils from suntan lotion and other cosmetics.
An in-ground pool is equipped with drains at the bottom of the deep end that force water into the filter. This makes it easier to clear away debris loosened from cleaning. You won’t have these drains in an above ground pool, but you can clear debris using a pool vacuum.
Adding Chemicals to Your Pool
Pool chemistry isn’t complicated, but it is important for proper swimming pool maintenance. The process is broken down into three parts: pH levels, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels. The pH levels measure your pool water’s acidity. The ideal range is 7.4 to 7.6. Alkalinity buffers the pH and helps avoid spikes or dips in acidity. The best range is 80 to 120 parts per million (ppm).
The sanitizer levels refer to the amount of chlorine and bromine in the water. Proper levels depend on the type of sanitizer you use. Follow the directions included with your pool water testing kit and adjust as needed to keep chemicals balanced.
Winterizing Your Pool
Unless you live in an area where it’s warm enough to swim all year, you’ll need to winterize your pool over the colder months. Give it one final good cleaning and shock the water with chlorine.
Scrub the walls above the waterline. Lower the water level to two feet below the skimmers. Drain the filter and pump and store them in a frost-free, protected area.