How to maintain a home swimming pool
Swimming pools are a great addition to any home. They are an incredibly fun asset to have, especially during the warmer months of the year, like spring and summer.
As exciting as it might be to have a pool in the backyard, though, it’s important to maintain your pool throughout the year with proper pool care. If you want to ensure your swimming pool continues running properly and safely for years to come, it’s worth a moment of your time to learn the basics of pool maintenance and pool cleaning essentials. Whether you have a hot tub, a salt-water pool, an above-ground pool or an in-ground pool, you need the right know-how.
If you’re wondering how to get started with pool maintenance, you’re in luck. This article covers the best ways to care for your pool and how to solve any potential pool problems.
The importance of swimming pool maintenance
Regular cleaning and maintenance are critical steps in keeping your swimming pool in tip-top shape so it will last for years to come. More importantly, it’s essential to keep your pool safe to swim in.
With proper pool maintenance, you can ensure the water chemistry of the swimming pool stays balanced. This will help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria which could be bad for both the swimming pool and anyone who jumps in for a dip. If the pool’s water chemistry is unbalanced, many concerns could arise.
For example, too much chlorine could cause damage to the pool equipment or handrails. Even worse, the wrong pH levels can irritate the skin and eyes. Chemically imbalanced Pool water can also reduce the overall life expectancy of the pool liner, pool pump, filter system and other parts of the pool.
Regular upkeep will also help you pay less in the long run as it will reduce the concern of unexpected repairs or replacements.
How to clean a home swimming pool
While regular upkeep of your home swimming pool sounds like a chore, here are some essential tips and tricks to make the entire process easier. You’ll need a net skimmer, a pool brush and a pool vacuum.
Step 1: Remove any debris
Look at the surface of your pool and scan for any visible debris floating on the surface of the water. If your home is near several trees or bushes, it’s normal for a few leaves, branches or pollen to make their way into the swimming pool water, even with a functioning filtration system.
In the warmer months, you might even find a few critters or bugs may have found their way in for a swim. Skim the surface of the pool with a net to remove and dispose of any floating contaminants. Empty the skimmer basket of the pool while you’re at it. This helps prevent any debris from tracking back into the pool water.
If you want to go the extra step, consider modifying your yard to better accommodate the addition of your swimming pool. You can plant different types of foliage less likely to make their way into your pool or even incorporate more intensive hardscaping or landscaping in areas close to the swimming pool. Consider also adding a pool cover to keep the pool clean while you’re not using it, particularly during the colder months.
Step 2: Vacuum your swimming pool
If you haven’t already installed a vacuum in your pool, now is the time to do so. Once it’s installed, you can prep the vacuum to tackle any hidden buildup lingering at the bottom of your pool. Connect your pool vacuum to a hose, then suspend the vacuum head over the surface of your pool water. It helps to prop the vacuum pole upward to get a good angle on the surface. Fill the vacuum hose with water from either a jet nozzle from the swimming pool or an alternative garden hose. Once the hose is full, you’ll see the pool water pouring out of the vacuum head. Now, you can submerge the vacuum into the pool water.
Expect to set aside a good 20 to 30 minutes when vacuuming the swimming pool. While it may sound like a long time to be vacuuming, it's worthwhile in the long run. Slowly make your way with the vacuum across the water. The process is like mowing a lawn — consistency and a steady hand works wonders. If your swimming pool is on the larger side, and the bottom of the pool is too wide to do in one pass, try vacuuming half of the pool at a time. While a bit more expensive, another option to consider is a robotic pool cleaner.
If your vacuum hose is floating, there’s a problem. This could indicate the existence of a hole in the line or the vacuum’s filter is full and causing a weaker suction.
Step 3: Brush the pool sides
Brush off any built-up debris, calcium hardness or algae growth on the sides of the swimming pool with a nylon pool brush or vacuum pole. If your pool is concrete, use a stainless-steel brush instead to preserve the sides.
Between swimmers taking a dive and the wind blowing all sorts of nature into the water, it’s likely for there to be a buildup of gunk-like pollution and algae not to mention residue from suntan lotion, tanning oils, shampoos, perfumes and other products. Setting aside time to brush the pool walls will keep them sparkling and clean. If there is tough residue buildup on the pool sides, try using baking soda paste with a basic scouring cleaner. This combination is powerful enough to remove any stubborn buildup but gentle enough to prevent any damage to delicate surface materials, like tile or vinyl liners.
Additionally, adding algaecide will help slow down the growth of algae in your pool.
How often should you clean your swimming pool?
You should skim, brush and vacuum your swimming pool at least once a week. The more, the better to help keep debris out of the water and prevent any risk of harmful bacterial contamination.
While automatic pool cleaners help reduce the time you have to spend vacuuming the pool water, it still doesn’t eliminate the need for consistent wall scrubbing and regular skimming for leaves and built-up debris.
Home swimming pool maintenance tips
Now, it’s time to learn the basics of swimming pool maintenance. As a responsible homeowner, here’s what you should do regularly to ensure your swimming pool keeps running smoothly, stays clean and keeps the right water balance.
- Start with the water circulation of the pool. Ideally, it’s best to run the pool pump for anywhere from eight to 12 hours each day. Understandably, this may not be feasible for every budget or type of equipment. Nevertheless, it’s important to at least run the water filter 10 to 12 hours a day to keep the water circulation consistent and prevent bacteria and algae growth from infesting your swimming pool. A good pool filter cleaner is a great alternative or even addition to this maintenance task. Pool filter cleaners trap contaminants and other particles in the pool water, besides helping the water circulate and mix to distribute the pool chemistry throughout the water system.
- Maintenance also requires balancing the pool water chemistry with proper chemical procedures. It’s pretty easy once you have the basics down and a few testing kits on hand. Pool water chemistry consists of pH levels (how acidic or basic the water is), alkaline levels (helps keep pH levels in check) and sanitizer levels (or the amount of chlorine, bromine, cyanuric acid, etc.) To balance the water chemistry, simply test the measurement for each, including the alkalinity of the water, chlorine levels and overall water level, then adjust accordingly by adding appropriate chemicals as needed. Always run the pool pump when water testing or adding chemicals into the water.
- Just like your cleaning routine, it’s essential to check your pool water chemistry every week. A test kit — which usually comes with test strips you can easily dip in the water and compare to a chart — is an easy way to test the water chemistry and keep it balanced. A chlorinator also helps simplify this process.
- Make sure to always wear protective gear, including gloves and goggles, when handling any chemicals. Standard swimming pool chemicals are typically available at most retail stores and will provide safety precautions to adhere to. Remember to follow the dosage directions listed on the products and store the chemicals in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
- Shock treatments help resolve many pool problems. This entails testing the water’s pH balance and freeing available chlorine directly into the pool water. If necessary, you can shock treat the water on a weekly basis. The pool might need additional shock treatments because of severe rain or windstorms, bad-smelling water, extreme weather or temperatures and an increase in pool activity. Extra shock treatments are also necessary if visible algae growth is abundant or if the pool has murky and or slimy water.
Protect your major home systems from costly repairs with Cinch
Now you have the peace of mind resulting from these thorough and efficient pool maintenance and pool cleaning tips, you can enjoy safe fun in the sun with family, friends and neighbors for years to come.
While swimming pools aren’t covered under a home protection plan by Cinch Home Services, you can still protect many other major appliances and built-in systems which may require replacement or repair from normal wear and tear. With 40-plus years of experience and an excellent rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), you can trust Cinch to look after your home while you look after your pool. Request a free quote today to get started.