Swimming Pool Maintenance for Dummies
Maintaining your swimming pool can feel daunting when you are a new pool owner. Flashbacks of struggling in chemistry in high school might run through your mind when you test your pool water. Even if you failed chem lab, you can learn to maintain your pool like a pro.
The two most important things to understand are how to manage your swimming pool’s chemicals and clean your pool’s filters.
How to Manage Your Pool’s Chemicals
The chemicals in your swimming pool keep the water clean, clear and safe. If they aren’t balanced, it can allow harmful bacteria to multiply or algae to thrive. During the swimming season, it is a good idea to test your pool water daily. You need to keep an eye on your pool’s pH balance, alkalinity, and calcium hardness as well as the chlorine levels.
When water is too acidic, chlorine loses its effectiveness. That’s why it’s important to keep the pH levels between 7.2 and 7.6. We recommend keeping pH increaser and pH decreaser on hand so that you can add it in as needed.
Having too much or too little calcium in the water can harm your pool’s lining. The most important time to check your pool’s hardness level is at the beginning of the swimming season since it doesn’t fluctuate as much as pH or alkalinity. The calcium level should be between 200 to 275 ppm (parts per million).
The chlorine levels should be between 1.0 and 3.0 ppm whether you have a saltwater pool or chlorine pool. (Saltwater pools convert salt into chlorine). When you need to add additional chlorine, you’ll have to do a little math. To calculate it, you will need to know how many gallons of water your pool holds. The rule is that you should add 0.013 ounces of chlorine per 100 gallons to get 1.0 ppm. If need help with the math, you can find chlorine calculators online.
Check out our post Basic Pool Chemistry 101 to learn more! If you are still feeling confused or overwhelmed, reach out to pool professionals like Pool Works. We maintain traditional chlorination systems and salt systems for Florida homeowners in Lakeland, Winter Haven, Auburndale, Bartow, Lake Wales, Haines City, and the surrounding area.
How to Clean Your Pool’s Filters
Pool filters catch dirt and debris that get into your swimming pool. They do the heavy lifting to ensure your pool water isn’t gritty and grimy. There are three different types of pool filters: sand filters, cartridge filters, and diatomaceous earth filters. No matter what kind you have, it should be cleaned regularly.
Sand filters are easy to clean but need to be cleaned more frequently. To wash out a sand filter, turn the knob on the filter to backwash. This will reverse the airflow, clearing dirt and debris out of the filter. It’s a good idea to do this at least once a week while your pool is open.
Diatomaceous earth (D.E.) filters are almost as easy to clean as sand filters. They also have a backwashing setting. Unlike sand filters, after the backwash is complete, you’ll need to add extra diatomaceous earth to the filter. You should backwash your D.E. filter about once a month or when the filter’s gauge is 10 psi more than normal.
Cartridge filters have a removable fabric barrier that catches dirt similar to a vacuum cleaner. To clean it, you will need to remove the filter by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Then use a garden hose to rinse it off. You only need to clean cartridges filters a few times a season. You’ll know it’s time to clean it when the air pressure gauge increases to 7 to 10 pounds.
What Equipment Do You Need for Your Pool?
A pool skimmer is a rake-like tool with netting on it. It’s a vital piece of equipment for your pool. It allows you to quickly and easily remove leaves, insects and even amphibians, like frogs and salamanders, that get into your pool.
Automated Pool Vacuum
We highly recommend investing in an automatic pool vacuum. It operates much like a Roomba. When you turn it on and put it in your pool, it will automatically roam around the bottom and sides sucking up leaves, twigs and any other debris that’s fallen to the bottom of your pool.
Tip: Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help!
Building a relationship with a local pool service is the best way to learn about your pool and make sure it is properly maintained. We have more than 40 pool technicians on our team at Pool Works. We help homeowners throughout Polk County Florida keep their pools clean, safe and in good condition.