The Ultimate Guide to Swimming Pool Maintenance
If you want to swim in crystal clear water, you have to maintain your pool regularly. Pool upkeep requires a basic understanding of pool anatomy, care, and water chemistry, along with some elbow grease. This ultimate guide to swimming pool maintenance contains all the essentials of proper pool care.
Understanding the anatomy of your pool is the foundation of proper pool care. Pools vary in size and amenities, but all pools have four key components:
1. Pool Filter
The pool filter plays two key roles: purifying and circulates the pool water. The filter catches pollen, dirt, and other contaminants. The pool pump attached to the filter circulates water to reduces the risk of algae growth.
Ideally, your pool filter would run 24/7 to prevent algae growth, but that is unaffordable for many households. You should run it for at least 10 hours a day.
You should backwash the pool filter about once a week. This will flush out contaminants in the filter. Backwashing it regularly will help it last longer and catch more contaminants. There are three types of pool filters for chlorinated pools: diatomaceous earth (D.E.) filter, sand filter, or cartridge filter. Saltwater pools have a saltwater chlorinator. How you backwash your filter will depend on the type your pool has.
2. Pool Skimmers & Returns
The pool skimmers play a similar role to the filter. Instead of capturing small particulate contaminates, the skimmers capture larger contaminants like leaves, insects, and little critters that get into the pool. The returns push the cleaned water back into the pool.
You can ease the pool filter’s burden by wrapping the skimmer basket in pantyhose or tossing a tennis ball in it. Either one will absorb oils from skin, lotion, and makeup in the water. When the tennis ball or pantyhose look dirty, replace them with fresh ones.
3. Pool Liner
The pool liner or pool walls encircle the pool. They need to be cleaned regularly to remove mold and algae.
4. Pool Water
The pool water is the most important component. Testing and balancing the water regularly is essential to ensure the water is safe to swim in. Balancing the water chemistry can also prevent mineral build-up and corrosion that can harm your pool liner and components.
Throughout the swim season, you should continually clean your pool throughout each week.
- Use a net skimmer to remove leaves, sticks, and other debris that fall into your pool and are missed by
the automatic skimmers.
- Brush the sides down at least once a week to clean away algae and mold.
- Run a pool vacuum once a day to pick up additional debris that you didn’t pick out with the net skimmer.
Consider creating a pool cleaning schedule to ensure you tackle these cleaning tasks each week.
Balancing Your Pool Water
An essential tool in your water maintenance kit is your water testing kit. During swim season, you should test the water at least two times a week. The chlorine in your pool plays the most important role in clarifying your pool water. It neutralizes bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants that the filter later picks up. Chlorine isn’t as effective if the pH or alkalinity are off.
The three critical aspects of pool water chemistry you must check are:
- Sanitizer levels
- The sanitizer level is the amount of chlorine in the water. The sanitizer level should be between 1 and 3 parts per million (ppm).
- pH levels
The pH level measures how basic or acidic the water is. Water with a high pH is basic. Water with a low pH is acidic. Your pool water’s pH should be between 7.4 and 7.6.
Alkalinity is related to pH. It creates a buffer that reduces acidity. Your pool’s alkalinity should be between 100 and 150 ppm. If you need to increase the pool water alkalinity, you can add baking soda.
Once you have tested the water, adjust the chemicals as needed. If you need help, take a sample of your pool water to a local pool service like Pool Works. We can test your water for you and teach you how to treat it.
How to Use Pool Shock
You should always have pool shock on hand. Pool shock is an essential tool to cleanse your pool. Typically, it is used when the sanitizer level in your pool is too low. It is also used to combat algae problems. When you use pool shock, run the pump for at least the next eight hours. This will help it circulate fully through your pool.
You should only use pool shock in the evenings after the sun has set. The sun’s ultraviolet rays reduce the effectiveness of chlorine. You won’t get the desired effect if you use pool shock during the day.
Caring for a pool is an ongoing project. The joy of swimming and playing water games in the pool are worth the effort. Now that you understand pool anatomy, care, and water chemistry, the job will be a little easier. Even long-time pool owners need help from time to time. That’s why we are here! PoolWorks serves residents throughout Lakeland, FL. You can stop by to pick up pool supplies or invite us over to help you maintain your pool.
If you are looking for more pool maintenance resources, check out or other blog posts:
Spring Cleaning for Your Florida Swimming Pool
3 of the Most Common Pool Problems & How to Fix Them
Tips for Winterizing Your Pool & Spa to Prevent Freeze Damage