We’re almost through the dog days of summer and chances are your pool has taken a beating. Though you might not always have time to thoroughly clean your pool, there are a few routine items you can check off to ensure your pool stays in pristine condition.
The best (and easiest) way to keep your pool clean this summer is to skim the surface. Regular skimming will increase the efficiency of the pool’s circulation system and lower the amount of chlorine you’ll need to add to the water. Use a hand skimmer or leaf skimmer to remove debris, leaves, and other unwanted items. Clean out the pool’s strainer basket every week by removing the plastic basket located in the pool’s deck (on the side of aboveground pools) and spray it out with a hose.
Vacuuming and Brushing
The walls and floor need weekly attention, too. There are many different types of pool vacuums to choose from, which come automated or can be used manually. Make sure the vacuum’s filter is clean before you use it. Debris sinking to the floor of the pool shouldn’t be your only concern; pool walls tend to buildup algae and calcium deposits that can fester into larger problems if not tended to. Brush the walls of your pool using a stiff brush for plaster-lined concrete, or a soft brush for tile.
Cleaning a pool’s filter requires finding the appropriate balance: it can’t be too clean and it can’t be too dirty. Collected dirt helps trap other particles, removing debris from the filtered water. At the same time, too much dirt build-up doesn’t allow the pool to filter water properly. To find out if it’s time to clean your filter, simply check to see if the pressure difference in the pressure gauge and flow meter has reached 10 to 15 pounds per square inch.
As we get further into the summer season, the water level goes down due to evaporation, swimming, splashing and exiting of the pool. A good time to check the water level of your pool is after you skim it. If the water level falls below the length of the skimmer, you can use a hose to bring it back to normal levels. You may also want to check to see if the water pump is damaged. If the pump is damaged, you can refer to these tips to troubleshoot the problem and get the water flowing again. To make sure a leak is not the culprit, fill a plastic bucket three-quarters full of water and mark it; place the bucket in the pool, then mark the pool’s water line on the outside. Let it float for three days, and if the pool water level has gone down past the bucket’s, you have a leak. At that point, it’s best that you consult a professional.
Maintaining the pH Level
A pool’s pH scale is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity that runs on a scale of 0 to 14. You want to keep your pool’s pH level between 7.2 and 7.8, as this range is safest for swimmers and helps sanitizers work efficiently. The easiest way to monitor the pH level is by using test strips. Submerge the test strip in the pool for a few seconds and then watch it change colors; match the strip to its accompanying color chart to determine the pH level. This will inform you on what kind of chemical treatment (if any) your pool needs.
Don’t wait until the end of summer or rely on a service company to come out. The best way to make sure your pool is in top shape is by giving it regular, routine care.