Whether you’re a beginner who just got their first pool or a seasoned pool owner, having the right tools is essential to caring for your pool. If you’ve been doing this for a while, chances are you have most of these tools. If you don’t, you need to look at what you’re doing and decide if you could be doing it better. For new pool owners, it’s time to stock up and make sure that you have the best pool supplies every owner needs to care for their pool. There are literally hundreds of pool supplies you could spend money on, but these are the most essential tools that you should never be without.
Keeping Water Balanced
The most important part of pool care is also one of the most misunderstood. Keeping your water clean starts with maintaining a healthy balance of chemicals in your pool water. To do that, you will need two things. First, you will need to know your baseline, what’s going on with your water right now. Second, you will need the appropriate supplies to change the chemical makeup of your water when it’s not the way it should be.
The first piece of pool supplies you will need is a pack of pool water test strips. They’re easier to use than the liquid test kits, and they are accurate enough for weekly testing. To use them, just dip the strip into your pool water and keep it there for a few seconds. The strip will change colors. Then all you have to do is compare the color of the strip to a color key that came with the strips. The key will let you know the approximate chemical levels in your pool.
Once you have a reading of the pool chemical levels, you will need your next essential piece of pool supplies: chlorine. The most common chemical addition to your pool will be chlorine. You may also need to add other chemicals from time to time to adjust things like pH, alkalinity, and other chemical and mineral levels. But chlorine is your go-to. You can also use a chlorinator to keep chlorine levels in your pool steady. If you have a chlorinator built into your circulation you just need to add chlorine there, and the water will pick it up as it flows by. If you don’t have an integrated chlorinator, you can get a floating chlorinator that uses slow-release chlorine tablets to keep levels steady.
Besides keeping your pool water balanced, you want to prevent the water and your pool from collecting debris and algae. The best way to do this is to skim, brush, and vacuum your pool regularly. For all of these functions, the first and most important tool you will need is a telescoping pole. A telescoping pole is just a simple metal pole that can extend to help you reach further into your pool. It will save you a lot of walking around the perimeter of your pool. If your pool isn’t too large, you may even be able to reach all the way across it.
The telescoping pole is only as useful as the attachments you have for it. The first attachment you will need is a skimmer. This small net is great for collecting floating debris like leaves, twigs, and anything left behind by swimmers. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a skimmer, but don’t buy the cheapest one either. Cheap skimmers tend to tear, so you’re better off buying a mid-range skimmer that will last at least a couple of years. You will probably use your skimmer every other day, or at least a few times a week, so paying a little more for quality will pay off quickly.
Brushing and Vacuuming
In addition to skimming the pool for debris, you should be brushing the floor and walls of your pool regularly. Brushing helps knock off any scum or algae that may be taking hold. Even if you don’t see it, small amounts of algae can start to grow on your pool. Regular brushing keeps it from growing and turning into an all-out algae bloom.
Once you’ve brushed the walls, you will need to get the algae and scum out of your pool water. Waiting for the filter to take care of it could take too long, so a vacuum is in order. You can usually get a vacuum that will attach to your telescoping pole. Like your skimmer, it’s worth spending a little more for a decent vacuum. In particular, avoid vacuums with cheap hoses. A cheap hose can collapse and choke off your pump. This is a tool you will use a lot, so paying a little more for a decent one makes sense.
You will spend most of your pool maintenance time worrying about the water and debris in your pool. However, your pool equipment is vital to your pool’s performance, so it makes sense to check on it from time to time. Exactly what sort of maintenance you will need has been discussed in some of our other blog posts. For our purposes, let’s just talk about the supplies you will need.
One helpful tool to have is some all-purpose cleaner. Just like you clean your bathroom regularly, your pool equipment needs periodic cleaning. Heat, water, and humidity combine to form an ideal environment for mold, bacteria, and other scum. Occasionally wiping down the parts of your pool that stick out of your pool will keep them looking shiny and new. It will also help prevent harmful mold and corrosion. Use a mild cleaner on your railing, pool ladder, and anything else that sticks out of your pool.
Another helpful supply to have on hand is filter cleaning solution. You won’t use this nearly as often as your other supplies, but having when you need it will make your life easier. You should keep track of your pool filter pressure and write down the PSI level at least weekly. When the PSI reaches about 10 PSI more than your filter’s baseline, it’s time to clean it out. Depending on the type of filter you have, a little filter cleaner will get the job done more quickly. Just make sure to follow the directions on the cleaner bottle for the best results.
When You’re Not Using Your Pool
Even when you’re not using your pool, you still have to care for it. One of the best ways to minimize your pool cleanings is to cover the pool when it’s not in use. In general, there are three types of covers: solar covers, mesh, and solid covers.
A solar cover is really just there to keep the water from evaporating. It can also help to maintain water temperature if your pool is heated. As an added bonus, it will keep some falling debris out of your pool. Small items like leaves and blowing plant matter will remain on the top of your pool cover and stay out of the water.
Safety covers are a significant step up from solar covers. Available in mesh and solid materials, a safety cover is under a lot of tension, which will keep heavier items from falling through, including pets, children, and even adults. A mesh cover is nice because it allows rainwater through, so you don’t develop a giant puddle on top of the cover. Solid covers provide more protection for your pool water. But they also require a special pump to remove any water that starts to pool on top of the cover. Safety covers are strongly recommended for use over the winter when your pool will go unused for months at a time. You can learn more about winterizing your pool here.
We’ve talked about some pool supplies that no pool owner should go without. But your local pool shop will have dozens or even hundreds of other products you may be interested in. If you find one that works for you, add it to your roster of pool supplies. A pool doesn’t need to be a money sink, but you also want to make pool maintenance as easy as possible. So start with the supplies we’ve listed here, and feel free to add more according to your personal preference.
If you want to make maintenance really easy, you can contact The Pool Butler to learn about our pool cleaning and maintenance services. We can save you lots of time that you would have to spend cleaning your pool and finding the products to do it.