Are you the proud new owner of a swimming pool? Maybe you just moved into a house with a swimming pool. Congratulations! Or perhaps you just installed a pool in your home. How exciting! But with a pool comes a new responsibility. You have to keep the pool clean. If you don’t, you won’t be able to enjoy it, and you may even cause damage to the pool. At first, keeping your pool clean can seem complicated and confusing. But with these three keys to keeping your pool clean you can become a pool cleaning and maintenance expert in no time!
Why You Need to Keep the Pool Clean
Why do you need to keep your pool clean? The answer may seem obvious. If you want to enjoy your pool it needs to be clean, right? But the answer is bigger than that. Keeping a pool clean is often referred to as maintenance. That’s because cleaning is a significant part of keeping your pool healthy, safe, and in good condition. If you want to enjoy your pool for years to come, keeping it clean is where to start.
What happens if you don’t clean your pool? First of all, it will be dirty. But it can get much, much worse. A clean pool is a healthy pool. Think of it like a human body. Eating healthy food and exercising can keep your body healthy, ensuring that you are able to use your body for many years. If you don’t keep your body healthy, diseases can develop and cause lasting damage. The same is true of a pool. When a pool is neglected, it doesn’t just get dirty, it can develop serious damage.
A pool is ultimately a giant tub of standing water. If you’ve ever seen standing water that has gathered in a bucket, tire, or some other neglected place, you know what can happen. Standing water is a great home for all kinds of life. That includes algae, bacteria, and bugs like mosquitos. If you left your pool without maintenance for more than a few days, it would quickly start to turn into a murky, nasty swamp. Once that has happened, it can be hard to get the pool back to its pristine condition.
How Often Do I Need to Clean My Pool?
To keep a pool clean and healthy, you need to be consistent. During the swimming season, you will have to do a little work to maintain it a few times a week, or even daily. Before the offseason, you will have to winterize your pool, or at least prepare it for closing, to avoid coming back to a swamp in the spring.
There are some tricks that will let you reduce the number of times you have to clean your pool to twice a week or so. But if you miss a cleaning, you could start a chain reaction that is hard to reverse. Consistency is the key. It is highly recommended that you keep a written schedule of cleanings. This will help you stay on track. It will also help you to track things like chemical levels, which will make maintaining safe, clean water easier.
You should probably skim and vacuum your pool daily, or at least every other day. Depending on how much you are using your pool, water testing and chemical adjustment could be a daily or a weekly task. Brushing can be done once a week. Checking and emptying skimmer filters should be a weekly chore. Backwashing your filter can be done less often, possibly once a month or once every 8 weeks depending on pool use.
If it seems like a lot of work, you may want to consider a pool cleaning service. The Pool Butler offers White Glove Service, the highest standard in pool cleaning. Whether you are doing it yourself or hiring The Pool Butler, it is important to know the three keys to keeping your pool clean.
1. Pool Water Circulation
The most important step in keeping your pool clean is maintaining good water circulation. The heart of the water circulation is the pump. Just like your heart pumps blood, the pool pump moves water around so that it circulates throughout the system. Your pool’s circulatory system has two sections, the suction side and the pressure side.
The suction side is everything from the skimmer up to the pump. Water exits the pool through the skimmer (and sometimes a main drain, or even two) powered by suction from the pump. As water passes through the skimmer, it gets its first cleaning. The skimmer collects large debris, like leaves, that could clog the system. The water then passes to the pump.
The pump takes in the water coming from the skimmer and pushes it out into the next part of the circulation. Everything from the pump until the water returns to the pool is called the pressure side since the water is moved by pressure from the pump.
From the pump, the water is pushed through a filter. The most common filters are sand, diatomaceous earth (DE), and cartridge. Each has its pros and cons. Whatever type of filter you have, its main job is to remove tiny bits of debris from the water. This may include dirt all the way down to such tiny impurities as algae and residue from things like shampoos, hair products, and sunscreen.
After it leaves the filter, the water is pushed by pressure from the pump back to the pool. Along the way, it may pass through a heater. Many pools also have an in-line chlorinator that releases a slow, steady flow of chlorine and bromine into the water. From there, the water return to the pool through small valve call…wait for it…returns!
While the circulation system will take care of a good bit of cleaning, your pool also some human input. The three main things you will need to do yourself are skimming, vacuuming, and brushing.
You should skim your pool daily. Using a skimmer attached to a telescopic pool pole, simply go through the pool and pick up any large debris you find. This kind of debris is most commonly leaves, twigs, needles, and other natural material. You may also find hair or other small human debris (like band-aids, ick!).
You should vacuum your pool regularly. Daily or every other day is a good schedule. With a pool vacuum you can get smaller debris that with a skimmer. You can also more easily get debris that has settled to the bottom of your pool.
Finally, there is brushing. Brushing should be done every couple of days. It should be done before vacuuming. Use a pool brush to brush down the walls and floor of your pool, including seats and steps. The brushing will knock off any algae or other tiny bits of junk that have stuck to your pool’s walls and floor. From there, they can be cleaned up when you vacuum. This is an important step to keep algae from getting a foothold in your pool.
For many new pool owners, this is the most intimidating step. But with a little bit of education and experience, balancing your pool chemicals can become just another part of your routine. Every couple of days you should test your pool water using a testing kit. There are many different kits available that test everything from just the pH and chlorine to a whole host of chemical levels. You can go to your local pool supply shop and talk to them about what’s best for you and your pool. You can also bring a water sample to most pool shops and they will test it for you.
The goal is to make sure that your pool water has a healthy pH and enough chlorine to keep it clean without irritating human skin and mucous membranes. Your ideal pH should be close to 7.0, which is neutral. Your chlorine level should be between 1 and 3 ppm. If your pH is too high or too low, you can add chemicals to raise or lower the pH. If the chlorine level is low, simply add chlorine, either as a powder or a liquid solution.
If you find yourself adding chlorine at a faster rate than usual, or you’re having a hard time maintaining a steady pH, there may be other chemical imbalances in your water. You can get a somewhat more details testing kit and make the adjustments yourself, or you can bring a pool water sample to your local pool supply store.
The Pool Butler Can Help
Of course, one of the simplest ways to keep your pool water balanced is to let The Pool Butler do it for you! Our pool experts can keep your pool water “just right” so it stays clean and enjoyable all season long.
The Pool Butler offers pool cleaning, maintenance, and repair. Whatever your needs, The Pool Butler is there for you. Contact us today for a free estimate!