Your brand-new pool! Likely, your first inclination is to dive in and enjoy the splish-splash of relaxation. You start thinking about all those lazy summer weekends (and rejuvenating staycations) stretching out ahead of you. And then there are the parties! Your friends lounging on floats while you fire up the grill. That there’s a picture-perfect backyard scene.
As pool lovers ourselves, the best thing to do when you own your first pool is to learn about it.
Understand what’s connected to what, how the different components work together, know the signs of wear and potential repair on everything from the diving board to the tiles on the pool floor. Read every manual, interrogate the pool contractor. Knowledge is power.
The biggest caveat is never to guess or assume. Don’t guess on the quantity of chemicals to use and never assume your safety protections are in place. Be diligent about both these aspects to keep your pool and the people who use it safe.
Six Basic Steps to Keep Your Pool Sparkling and Healthy
The reason why it’s good to use a pool cover (or solar cover to help retain heat lost through evaporation) is because they also help keep unwanted debris from clogging things up. You’ll want to use a hand or leaf skimmer every couple of days. Catching these materials before they sink to the bottom makes maintenance much easier. You’ll not only increase the circulation system; you will likely need less chlorine. Strainer baskets are easy to address, just remove and shake them out weekly.
The simple act of brushing will give you a bit of an upper body workout but will reduce the accumulation of algae and calcium. Just once weekly with the proper brush recommended for your pool liner or tile or pool surface type. Just like you vacuum your carpets weekly, a vacuum every six or seven days will make a huge difference in your pool’s appearance while also reducing the quantity of chemicals it will need.
Filters do what their name implies, but they still need to be kept clean, so they function optimally. Whether you have diatomaceous earth (DE) filters, or ones made from a cartridge or sand, follow the instructions to the letter. The manufacturer will likely advise that a flow increase of around 10-15 PSI indicates the need for a clean.
Just regular activity and of course evaporation will change how much water is in the pool. The rule of thumb is that the water should not get below the skimmer level. Too low and you risk damage to your pump and that is something you do not want to replace unless you have to!
This is probably the pool maintenance task you hear about most often. The pH level refers to the ratio of acid to base. Again, a job that should be done weekly, and a simple test strip will tell you what you need to know about the balance or imbalance. A move to either end of the scale will cause problems. The level should be kept around 7.5.
Generally listed as a weekly task, this involves a jolt of super chlorination to the water to fight the development of nitrogen and ammonia. This treatment is typically followed by the addition of an algaecide to keep those organisms at bay.
What NOT to Do When Maintaining Your Pool
Courtesy of the experts at Swim University are these essential warnings for new and not-so-new pool owners.
Don’t Add Shock Directly to the Pool Water
Pool chemicals are harmful to you and your pool liner if shock is added directly. Other than what it will do to your eyes and skin, the “shock granules will sink to the bottom and bleach out your liner. The bleached area becomes brittle and frail, causing leaks.” They advise this important rule: “Always add chemicals to water, and never water to chemicals. Fill the bucket with water first before adding the shock to avoid potentially dangerous splash back.”
Don’t Just Vacuum It
As covered above, vacuuming your pool is an essential. But it is not a substitute for brushing. This should be done in both the easy to reach and not so easy places including:
- Behind ladders
- Water line
- Steps and stairs
- Corners and crevices
“All this scrubbing keeps algae and other funky, gunky invaders at bay. Brush once a week, or more often if it needs it, for a healthy, pristine pool.”
Don’t Ignore pH and Alkalinity Levels
While we covered this in Step 5 above, the repercussions of very acidic water are a good deal of damage. You may have algae-free surfaces that sparkle as this environment is not attractive to them, but your pool gear is at stake.
Low pH can actually damage your pool equipment, including:
- Pool pump and filter
- Vinyl liner
- Automatic pool cleaner
- Chemical feeder
- Maintenance equipment
- Solar blanket
Don’t Add Pool Shock Through Your Skimmer
We can’t stress enough the precaution that must be used when dealing with chemicals. “If you have an automatic chlorinator attached to your filter system and you pour the shock into the skimmer, the two chemicals will combine in a very small space” possibly resulting in an explosion. The shock and the skimmer should not be anywhere near one another.
Don’t Skimp on Running Your Pool Filter
Eight hours a day is the minimum. If you purchase an efficient one and keep up with all the other tasks, you will have the immaculate pool you desire.
Don’t Shock Your Swimming Pool During the Day
Swim University states that, “Shock is unstabilized chlorine. The sun, which is not kind to pool shock at all, will burn off 1 ppm each hour, reducing the efficiency of your chemicals, and wasting your money. Shock at night to give your pool shock the time it needs to do its job.”
Not all of these do’s and don’ts are common sense. Pool owners may not be aware that chemical efficiency is compromised during the day. So, let’s settle on saying that we don’t know what we don’t know, but we make sure to find out!
Providing pool and home improvement financing solutions since 1979, Lyon Financial loves backyard pools… and keeping them happy and healthy. 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 installing your corner of paradise.