While it’s totally worth it, there’s a decent amount of work that goes in to caring for a backyard pool. To maintain your investment, you want to: be consistent and exercise caution with the chemicals.
Regarding consistency, apps make your pool smart. They can also take some of the pressure off you and remove the guesswork about that all-important balance. While we have no vested financial interest in promoting these products, they are popular ones with pool owners. A few examples for your review:
Nimbus Pool Doctor (iPhone — $9.99)
“The Pool Doctor app is designed to control all of your pool’s chemical balances. It supports regular, saltwater and bromine pools, but displays only the analytics appropriate for your pool. Changing measurement units is easy, and the program saves and tracks treatment records. Given sufficient data, it automatically records Langelier saturations. It has a shock calculator and allows users to configure their own ideal ranges and chemical requirements.”
Swim University (iPhone — Free)
“Swim University appears on every list of must-have swimming pool apps. It offers online guides, videos, how-to articles and buying guides. It is a reliable way to find quick answers to just about any pool or hot tub question, including the nitty-gritty issues like maintenance, troubleshooting and chemicals.”
Still, as technology dependent as we all are, it’s important to understand what it takes to care for your pool while avoiding the most common (and costly!) errors.
Top Five Rules for Effective Pool Maintenance
Brush Your Pool
Your automatic vacuum likely does a great job. But just as you vacuum the floors in your home, you must periodically clean them as well. For your pool, that means brushing the interior to free it from harmful algae and the general gunk that builds up.
Although once weekly is fine, you want to concentrate on the little niches where these unpleasant substances collect. Like:
- Along the water line
- Behind the steps and the ladder
- Every corner and cranny
Fight That Algae
In the event you don’t brush your pool weekly, you will be faced with the dreaded algae invasion. At that point, even your automatic pool cleaner will be outmatched. Those automatic cleaners serve to offer preventative maintenance; they will therefore only push the algae around, not remove it.
You’re going to have to go old school here with a manual vacuum. You’ll need to first switch your filter to waste mode or remove the pool’s drain plug. The good news is, once you get to that point where you have to spend all that time “on” your pool instead of “in” it, you’ll never let the algae issue get out of hand again!
How to Shock Your Pool
You’ve likely already been cautioned about the dangers of pool chemicals. They should be stored under lock and key and be used with caution. What is called “shock” is a strong chlorine solution — harmful to the body as well as your pets, your clothing, and your pool furniture.
What you don’t want to do – ever – is add shock directly to your pool’s water. Those granules will find their way to the vulnerable spots (like your pool liner) and compromise its integrity causing it to become fragile. That fragility will eventually lead to leaks. An expense you do not want to incur.
Instead, simply add water to a bucket and then add the chemicals to the bucket and add the contents of the bucket to the pool water. You never want to add the chemicals to the bucket first. You will run the risk of them splashing back on you as the water hits the solution. Be safe and always add the water first. Wearing protective gear for your eyes and hands is always a good idea.
When to Shock Your Pool
This is fortunately a “set it and forget it” scenario and does right by your pool overall. You are shocking your pool to rid the water of the chemicals left behind by the work the chlorine does. When you shock it, you are restoring balance by banishing those chloramines that are the culprits responsible for eye and skin irritation.
It is however, strongly recommended that you shock your pool once weekly at night when you are finished using it for the day. That’s simply because the sun’s rays will do a number on the shock causing it to burn off more quickly. You would therefore be doing your pool a disservice by not giving it what it needs to stabilize AND you’ll be wasting money on chemicals that aren’t given the opportunity to do their job.
Why NOT to Skimp on Running Your Pool’s Filter
Being energy conscious comes pretty easily to most of us. Leaving unnecessary lights on in your home adds up – on your electric bill. So, when you look out your window at that filter that keeps running and running, the instinct may be to turn it off. The irony is, the less you run your pool’s filter, the more damage contaminants, etc. can do, the more money will go toward potentially expensive repairs.
Whether you set the timer or an alarm, let that filter run a minimum of eight hours per day. If you have a very small pool, it could be less, but eight hours is a good rule of thumb. Check with your pool contractor or local pool supply store to get their take on the run time given the amount of pool water.
When you DO step outside to plunge into that blissfully refreshing body of water, you want it to be clean and pristine.
If you are a first time pool owner, it may seem like a lot in the beginning, but just like anything else, you will get into a consistent routine that will allow you to enjoy your home’s favorite amenity!
Providing pool and home improvement loan solutions since 1979, Lyon Financial loves backyard pools… and understands the need for its unique kind of maintenance. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about exploring a backyard pool for your next summer!