Water Care Advice
Pool Maintenance Chores
A swimming pool can cool you off during the hot summer months, let you host great parties and increase the value of your property. But these incredible benefits also come at a cost to your free time. You need to practice regular pool maintenance if you want to see your financial investment in your pool going to good use.
Pool chores and pool ownership go hand in hand. To get the cleanest, safest and most enjoyable pool possible, you'll need to make sure you're taking care of your pool in all the correct ways. Let's take a closer look at the importance of pool maintenance and what chores you'll have to complete when taking care of your pool.
Importance of Pool Maintenance Chores
Pool maintenance chores are important because they help you get to know your pool and establish a pattern for taking care of it. Through consistent execution of these essential chores, you'll get the best experience from your pool — you'll want to use your pool because you've put the effort into maintaining it. The result, when done correctly, should be a beautiful, sparkling pool that's waiting for people to use it for some summertime fun.
Chores will always be chores, but at least these chores have a great reward waiting on the other side. You can keep track of these tasks with a simple list of tasks you keep on your refrigerator or in your pool shed. Tackle the items on the list one by one, and before you know it, the whole process will be easier and faster than when you first started.
Pool maintenance chores are also important because they can make the entire process feel more manageable. Dividing up pool-related tasks can help put your pool's needs into categories:
- Pool water: Perhaps the most obvious element of your pool, the water has a huge influence on your pool's overall health. You'll need to keep it clear, balanced and clean to protect more than just the rest of your pool — you'll be protecting yourself, your family and your friends from harmful pollutants and contaminants, as well. Keeping your pool water clean can also help reduce the money you spend on other repairs from mineral buildup and corrosion.
- Pool interior: The liner is the main piece of your pool's interior. A vinyl pool liner, or the inside surfaces of a fiberglass pool, are always in contact with your pool's water. That means it's also contacting everything your pool water absorbs or that's floating around in the pool water. You'll need dedication and consistency if you want to keep these interior pool surfaces clean and free from damage, mold, algae and debris.
- Pool filtration system: One of the key components of a clean pool is the filtration system. The filter cleans contaminants from the water after the skimmer draws it in, ensuring your water stays clear and clean.
- Pool skimmers and returns: The skimmer and returns are what draw the water into the filter and send the cleaned water back into your pool. You'll need to make sure these points are clear from any obstructions
The Most Important Chores and How to Do Them
Once you understand the main components of your pool, you're ready to begin doing the chores that are necessary to keep it in great shape. Note that these chores may seem more difficult when you're first getting started, but after a few weeks of consistent practice, they'll be easier and take less time. The trick will be to maintain that healthy pool once you achieve it.
When approaching your pool chores, you must remember the three c's — circulating, cleaning and chemistry. These three factors are crucial to maintaining a clean pool and will guide each pool chore you set out to do.
Any good pool maintenance checklist must start with circulation. Circulating the water is fundamental to your pool's well-being. Consider a body of stagnant water. It's easy for insects to make that water their home, algae to start multiplying and debris to start piling on the bottom. Similar things can happen to your pool without proper circulation of the water, but well-circulated and filtered water will stay cleaner, making your job of pool maintenance easier.
The elements of your pool that affect the water's circulation are the pump, skimmer, filter and jets. If even one of these parts of your pool is broken or obstructed, the entire circulation system of your pool may become ineffective. When a pool water circulation system is functioning, the pump will suck the pool water through the skimmer into the filter. The filter will then clean unwanted particles from the water. Lastly, the jets will send the clean water back into the pool.
To ensure this sequence of events works properly, here are some best practices for you to follow:
- Run the pool pump: The more you run your circulation and filtration system, the cleaner your water will be. Ideally, you could leave your pool pump on for 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. This can lead to costly electricity bills, so we recommend running your pool pump as long as you can, trying to reach a goal of around 8 to 12 hours per day.
- Clean the skimmer basket: Be sure to clean your skimmer basket once or twice per week by turning off the pump and emptying the removable basket located under the skimmer's lid. The pump draws the pool's water into the skimmer basket first, which makes it a prime location for debris buildup and clogs. Once a clog forms, your pool's circulation system will have a much harder time filtering the water. Clogs will also cause your pump to have to work harder to draw the water in, shortening its lifespan.
- Clean the filter if needed: Eventually, you'll need to clean your pool filter. A healthy pool pump should read around 10 to 25 pounds per square inch (psi) on the pressure gauge, depending on its size and the size of your pool. If the pressure gauge starts reading higher than normal, there's a good chance you need to clean your filter to relieve some of the pressure on your pump. Try backwashing your filter based on manufacturer instructions, or clean and replace your removable cartridge filter.
- Angle the jets: Make sure your jets are pointing away from your skimmer. This ensures the water in your pool moves in a circle, which is necessary for proper circulation. You can also angle the jets toward the bottom of the pool so the deeper areas of the water experience proper movement. Also, consider angling the jets toward the areas of your pool that experience little movement, like the corners and steps.
Once you've established a strong foundation of pool circulation, you're ready to start the essential pool chores that involve cleaning. This will require a more hands-on approach, but it's an essential step for every pool owner. The results of having a clean pool will be worth it.
Here are the three essential steps to cleaning your pool:
- Brush: Scrub the walls and other interior surfaces with a specialty pool brush. Doing this will help prevent stains, algae and scaling, especially in the areas that get little water movement, like ladders, steps, corners and the area below the skimmer.
- Skim: Use a leaf rake or netted skimming device to remove large debris from your pool's surface and throughout the water. Use an extendable handle to reach the deeper areas where floating debris could be lurking.
- Vacuum: Vacuuming is another essential practice for every pool owner, as it can remove many of the larger pieces of debris that can cause damage to your pool's circulation system. Connect a pool vacuum to your skimmer via a hose and a vacuum plate to force dirt and debris into your skimmer that may be too heavy for your regular circulation system to pick up.
Keeping the chemistry of your pool balanced is the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to essential pool chores. Balanced water helps you avoid things like green water, cloudiness in the water and harmful bacteria. It also ensures your pool surfaces stay in the best shape possible for years to come.
Balancing the water is a precise act that involves testing your water, adding the right chemicals and maintaining the levels once you've achieved balance. Here are some important concepts to keep in mind:
- pH: pH measures your pool water's acidity or basicness. Anything lower than seven on the pH scale is acidic, while anything above seven is basic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends keeping your pool between 7.2 and 7.8 on the pH scale for the safest and healthiest water.
- Alkalinity: Alkalinity has to do with the absorbed particles in your water. Maintaining proper alkalinity will help your pool resist massive swings on the pH scale, keeping it balanced. Aim for your water to have an alkalinity level of 80 to 120 parts per million (ppm).
- Calcium hardness: The right calcium hardness does a lot for protecting your pool. If the hardness is too low, you risk damage to your pool's plaster finish and vinyl liner. If the hardness is too high, the water will start dumping particles onto the surrounding surfaces, known as scaling. The proper range for calcium hardness is between 200 and 400 ppm.
To maintain balanced water in the pool, you'll need to add the right amounts of the proper chemicals. Here are the two most common pool chemicals and their recommended levels:
- Chlorine: Chlorine is an excellent chemical for preventing algae growth in your pool's water and keeping it clean and safe to swim in. Try to keep your pool's chlorine levels within 2 to 3 ppm and check chlorine levels daily. You should always keep chlorine levels below 5 ppm, as this can be unsafe for swimmers. Chlorine products are readily available at most hardware stores, home improvement stores and pool care centers. You can also find chlorine tablets online.
- Bromine: Bromine is another popular chemical used for pool sanitation, and serves as a worthy alternative to chlorine. Aim for 2 to 3 ppm in your pool while avoiding exceeding 6 ppm.
What Happens if You Don't Maintain Your Pool?
If pool chores are something you get around to only when you feel like it, you may start to notice consequences like algae growth, cloudy water, dirty surfaces, staining and scaling. Over time, these consequences can build into problems that are much worse and much more expensive to fix.
Even if you've been consistent with your pool chores for weeks on end, neglecting them can make all your hard work go to waste. Pool maintenance is something every pool owner should practice consistently, whether the task is checking the chlorine levels every day or making sure scrubbing the sides of the pool happens at the end of every weekend.
Keeping up with your pool chores is the key to avoiding the negative consequences that come with letting them go unfinished.
Keeping up With Pool Maintenance vs. Putting It Off — WaterGuru Can Help
When comparing the benefits of keeping up with pool maintenance vs. the consequences of putting it off, it makes sense to prioritize your pool chores. Still, it may seem like there's a lot to do, and you're wondering how you can make these tasks easier on yourself. The good news is that WaterGuru is here to help.
If you're wondering how to monitor pool chemicals, WaterGuru SENSE makes this task easier than ever. You'll place SENSE in your pool's skimmer, where its patented optical sensors will read chemical levels in your water as the pump pulls it in from your pool. SENSE then sends this information to your smartphone using the best swimming pool maintenance app on the market. You'll simply open the app, view your current chemical levels and respond accordingly.
With SENSE, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your pool chemicals are at the right level for your upcoming party or swimming session. If the app tells you it's time to add more chemicals, you can easily do that without having to take manual tests of the water to find out how much you need to add. Everything you need to know about your pool's chemistry is always available on the app, thanks to the accurate, real-time readings from WaterGuru SENSE.
Buy WaterGuru SENSE Today
If you're ready to take the next step toward easier pool maintenance, WaterGuru SENSE is the product you've been looking for. SENSE makes it easy to monitor chemical levels, which is a crucial part of keeping your pool in great shape for years to come.
Buy WaterGuru SENSE online today and experience a new way of doing your pool chores. If you'd like to do learn more about common pool problems, we have the information you're looking for on our website.