If you want to make sure that your swimming pool is clean and healthy, proper maintenance is a must. In this guide, we outline a few simple steps that should be part of your routine. This way, you can maintain a crystal-clear pool with ease and get back to relaxing!
When it comes to pool care, keep in mind the three C’s of pool care: Circulation, Cleaning, and Chemistry.
- Run pool pump 8-12 hours per day
- Backwash or clean filter if pressure is above 10-15 psi
- Clean the skimmer & pump basket
- Keep jets facing circular and downward
- Brush walls, steps, ladders, low circulation spots daily
- Skim the surface daily
- Vacuum once a week or use automatic cleaner
- Test water 1-2 times per week
- Balance pH and alkalinity
- Maintain sanitizer levels
- Shock bi-weekly
To keep your pool looking great, you’ll need to keep your water moving and properly filtered, keep debris and “dead spots” cleaned up, and balance your water chemistry.
The first step to keeping your pool clean and clear is to make sure your water is circulating properly.
Pool maintenance starts with pool circulation because if your pool water isn’t moving, your pump isn’t pumping, or your filter isn’t filtering, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle to keep your pool clean. This is because stagnant water is a breeding ground for algae growth.
There are several parts that make up your pool’s circulatory system. The skimmer, the pump, the filter, and the jets. If any one of these pieces is significantly impeded, your water quality will suffer. Here’s a short explanation of how a pool works to keep your swimming pool water clean and circulating:
- The pool pump will suck water from the swimming pool through skimmers
- The water then travels through pump into the sand filter
- The sand filter cleans out any dirty particles or debris that is making your pool water unclean
- Water is then pushed back into pool through the swimming pool jets
Your pool pump is the center of your swimming pool. The pump draws water through the filtration system, where it’s stripped of dirt, debris, and impurities. After, the clean water goes back to the pool.
Running your pool pump
Duration: 8-12 hours per day
The more time that you run your filtration system, the cleaner your water will be therefore you will spend less time having to spend scrub the algae from the floor and walls, and balancing the water will become easier. If it is not possible for you to run your filter 24/7 then aim to run your pool filter 10 to 12 hours per day. Being in a warmer climate, you should run your pump more hours per day.
Backwash or clean the filter when necessary
Frequency: When the filter gauge reads about 10 psi higher than normal
If your pump gauge is about 10 lbs. or more above the normal reading (usually 10-15 psi for a clean filter), then it could be time to backwash your filter. If you have a cartridge filter, then you will need to clean your filter cartridge.
Clean skimmer & pump baskets
Frequency: 1-2 times per week
Cleaning the skimmer and pump baskets regularly is an important part of maintaining your swimming pool. Baskets that are full of debris make your pump work harder to try to cycle the water. This can put a strain on your pool pump and reduce the life of the pump and the seals in your pump. We suggest cleaning your skimmer once or twice a week depending on how often you use it.
To clean the skimmer basket, simply turn off your pool pump, lift the skimmer lid and take out the removable skimmer basket. Clean the skimmer basket and then replace it making sure the skimmer lid is put back in place.
Every couple of weeks you should also clean out the pump basket on your pool pump. The skimmer baskets catch most of the leaves etc. but it is also important to keep a check on the pump basket.
Another easy adjustment to make is to make sure your pool jets are pointing away from your skimmer so that your water cycles in a circle. This will encourage the pool water to rotate and make it easier for your skimmer to get rid of debris. It also helps to angle the jets downward so that the bottom of the pool gets circulation as well.
Frequency: Vacuum once a week. Brush and Skim once per day.
Swimming pool maintenance comprises brushing your pool walls, skimming the debris off the top, and vacuuming the pool.
Scrubbing the walls with a pool brush pool prevents algae, staining, and scaling, especially in the corners, around the steps, ladders, and below the skimmers.
Skimming the surface of the water with a flat net or leaf skimmer removes large debris.
Vacuuming your pool is an essential part of removing debris that can reduce circulation and damage your pool. You can use a vacuum head, hose, and pole attached to your skimmer through a vacuum plate or suction point which is normally found in the center of one of the side walls. Alternatively, you may have a robot to do this job for you.
Frequency: Test 1-2 times per week.
Chemistry is an important factor in keeping your water clean. When your water is properly balanced, you’re less likely to have issues like cloudy water, green water, or the buildup of harmful bacteria. It is important to have the correct testing kit for the job in hand.
Test Your Water & Balance Chemicals
For best results, test your water weekly. To keep things easy, purchase a test kit that will advise you when you need to add pool chemicals to maintain your water balance. The most popular kit is testing strips that are quick, simple to read allowing you to make the necessary chemical changes to your pool.
Here are the essential ranges to keep in mind:
- pH: Ideally, you want your pool water to have a pH of 7.2 – 7.6. This is important because if pH levels that are too high or too low it can lead to a variety of pool maintenance issues, from equipment corrosion to increased green algae growth.
- Calcium hardness: Again, it’s all about balance here: Shoot for 200 – 400 ppm in a pool. When calcium hardness levels are too low, you risk damage to your pool’s plaster finish or vinyl liner. But if your pool’s calcium hardness is too high, you’ll be scraping away tough-to-remove calcium deposits. We advise you to add an anti-cal liquid on a regular basis.
- Alkalinity: You want to aim for a total alkalinity of around 120 to 180 ppm. If it’s below this range, your pool’s pH can be affected, and your pool’s surfaces are more prone to stains. If it’s on the higher side, your water can become cloudy.
- Chlorine: Available in granules, and tablets. Chlorine breaks down harmful bacteria and sanitizes your pool water. You’ll want to keep the chlorine levels stable to ensure that your pool stays clean.
- Phosphates: If your pool water is green and cloudy, it is possible that the phosphate levels in your pool are too high. Having too many phosphates in your pool can make algae growth more likely and makes it more difficult to maintain proper pool chemistry.
Shocking your pool
Frequency: Shock every 6 months.
In addition to keeping your pool chemistry balanced, it’s also a good idea to shock your pool once every 6 months. “Shocking” means you overload your water with sanitizer to kill off any bacteria, contaminants, and organic matter.
You may also want to shock your pool after the following:
- After an intense storm
- A spill or unexpected contamination
- After an algae breakout
If you follow these basic steps, you will be on your way to maintaining your swimming pool crystal-clear and avoiding problematic algae growth and cloudy water.
It is important to establish a routine and action if you notice discoloration, cloudy water, scaling, or other signs of trouble.
If you are experiencing pool issues outside the normal pool maintenance, please download the guide below or get in touch with us at Pool Services Group, we will be happy to guide you and offer you advice.