There’s nothing like a nice cool dip in the pool to beat the summer heat. But for homeowners who own a pool, there’s a lot of maintenance that comes before the first splash. Keeping a regular maintenance schedule can seem overwhelming. With so much to do your pool may seem like more of a chore than a joy. But here at The Pool Butler, we want to save you time and make your pool fun again. Here’s how to maintain your pool quickly and easily.
How Often Do I Need to Maintain My Pool
How often to maintain your pool is a common question. Many pool professionals will tell you to test and adjust your water a few times a week, or even daily. But if you bundle all of your pool cleaning tasks together into a neat package, you can get away with a weekly routine. In fact, setting up a weekly pool cleaning ritual will keep your pool clean, safe, and crystal clear with minimal effort.
The key to any pool maintenance is regularity. Pick a day of the week to maintain your pool and stick to it. Never go more than a week and you should be in the clear. On the other hand, letting your pool go too long between cleanings will require more work to undo the damage. So if you want to keep your pool cleaning ritual simple and quick, you have to stay on schedule.
Clean out Debris
The first step is to take just a few minutes to clean out debris from your pool. Using your skimmer on a long extension pole, quickly skim the entire surface of your pool. This will catch any floating debris. Next, empty the skimmer basket. Dispose of the debris well away from your pool, in some bushes or even in a compost bin. You want to make sure the debris can’t just blow back into the pool or be tracked in by people walking in and out of the pool.
To keep the debris cleaning quick and easy, identify debris causing hotspots. Look for trees and bushes that shed a lot of leaves, blossoms, or pollen. Make sure to keep them trimmed back so you are not constantly fighting the plants to keep your pool clean. If possible, you may even consider replacing the offending trees and bushes with varieties that cause less of a mess.
Vacuum the Pool
First, turn the return jets on the side of the pool so that they are facing downward. This will reduce ripples on the surface of the water and make it easier to see the bottom of the pool. Next, set up your hose and submerge the head so that it is at the bottom of the pool.
Vacuuming is the part of your maintenance that will take the most time. An average sized pool should take 30 minutes to vacuum completely. Don’t rush or you won’t get all of the debris. Use smooth, even strokes that overlap a bit. Think of it like mowing a lawn. If you notice the hose floating a bit, you may be losing pressure. Check to see if the filter is full and empty it if it is. If you have low pressure and the filter isn’t full, there may be a hole in the hose. You will need to repair or replace the hose before your next weekly maintenance routine.
After you’ve vacuumed the whole pool, use a vinyl brush to knock any algae off the side of your pool. For a concrete pool, you can use a brush with stainless steel bristles.
Adjust the Chemicals
With a little practice, this step can be done quickly and smoothly. Get a testing kit from your local pool store and follow the directions exactly. After doing this a few times you will find that it goes much more quickly.
The first thing to adjust is the pH. If the pH is above 7.6, add muriatic acid. If it is below 7.4, add a soda ash product to raise the pH. Next, adjust the chlorine and alkalinity. If the chlorine is below 1 ppm or the alkalinity is below 90 ppm, you can quickly “shock” the water. Dissolve some chlorine and/or alkalinity increaser in water and add it to the pool. Try using a lithium-based chlorine. It will dissolve more easily and won’t leave a residue or affect the pH too much.
Backwash the Filter
Backwashing doesn’t have to be done weekly, but doing it weekly will keep your water clean and avoid problems building up. There are three main types of filters: sand, diatomaceous earth (DE), and cartridge filters.
In a sand filter, the sand traps dirt and oil. Letting the dirt and oil accumulate can cause serious problems. Backwashing will run the water through the sand in the opposite direction and the water pours out a waste pipe into the ground or a drain.
With a DE filter, a fine clay collects dirt and particles in the pool water. Backwashing will wash the dirt in a collection bag. Empty the bag every other week and replace the back once every few years. When the backwash is done, add some DE to the skimmer to replenish the filter.
A cartridge filter catches dirt and particles in a fine mesh filter. Simply remove the cartridge and hose it off with a garden hose. Then replace the filter and you are done
After backwashing, check the hair and lint catcher in the pump. Make sure to shut the system off and close the skimmer valve in front of the pump. This will hold the water in place so you don’t have to prime the pump after cleaning. Once the system is shut down and the valve closed you can unscrew and remove the filter. Dump its contents in the trash, replace the filter, and turn everything back on.
Chlorine is necessary to keep your pool water clean. It kills bacteria and prevents algae from growing in your pool. Keeping a constant level of chlorine in your water is the best way to keep your water clean, clear, and safe.
Once you have completed all your other pool cleaning tasks, you are ready to add chlorine to the system. There are a few ways to do this. Many pools have a chlorinator. A chlorinator is a small, tube-like tank next to your pool that allows you to slowly introduce chlorine to the water with slow-dissolving sticks. You can get these sticks at your local pool supply store. Read the directions on the packaging to calculate how many sticks to add based on the size of your pool.
If your pool doesn’t have a chlorinator, you can use a floating chlorinator. It works in the same way, with slow-dissolving chlorine sticks. However, if you have children who will be using the pool, this may not be the best solution. It can be dangerous for small hands to find their way into a floating chlorinator.
Refill the Pool if Necessary
The final step in your weekly maintenance ritual is to check the pool’s water level. It is important to keep the water level about halfway up the mouth of the skimmer. This prevents the skimmer form sucking air, potentially damaging the pump system. Use a garden hose to refill the water and bring it back up to the desired level.
Keep On Schedule
This is a great way to keep your pool clean with as little work as possible. As long as you can keep to a schedule, following these steps should keep your pool clean and ready to use. However, skipping steps or cleaning sessions can lead to problems. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to clean your pool, The Pool Butler can help. We offer regular pool cleaning and maintenance so you don’t have to think about your pool when you’re not swimming. Contact us online or call us at 770-439-2644 and we’ll set up a regular maintenance schedule to keep your pool at its best.