What do many prospective homebuyers look for in a backyard? A swimming pool! Whether you’ve just moved into a new house with a pool or recently had one installed, you know that having a pool requires regular time and attention. First-time pool owners can easily feel overwhelmed with all the details, including what chemicals are needed to maintain a pool. Once you learn the basics, you’ll feel more confident understanding how to maintain your pool yourself.
Pool Maintenance For Beginners
The three Cs of pool care are circulation, cleaning and chemicals. Pay attention to each of these areas on a consistent basis and you’ll be able to prevent any issues before they become costly problems. Before we explore each of these areas, let’s talk about the tools you’ll need to get the job done.
What Equipment Do I Need?
The first thing you’ll want to get is a pool cover. A cover is effective in shielding the water from any debris from trees, plants, weather elements and anything else that may find its way into your pool. Having a pool cover is especially helpful if you’re away for a few days and during the winter months, when you won’t be using your pool as often. Setting up the pool cover can be hard work when you’re first starting out, but it is also an important safety measure, since it can act as a barrier to keep children and pets from accidentally falling in.
The second thing you’ll need is a skimmer. It’s a rake-like tool with a net that is used to fish objects out of the water. Use this regularly to remove any debris that may have gotten into your pool, such as leaves or dead insects. For the best results, skim your pool on a daily basis. It’s a simple task that clears the water fast. Automatic pool skimmers can do the hard work for you, since they are designed to pull surface water in to filter out any debris that form on top of the water. Automatic skimmers can be either stationary or mobile.
Last, but certainly not least, invest in an automatic pool vacuum. This machine gets rid all of the materials which make their way to the bottom of the pool and other areas that may be hard to reach with the skimmer. There are manual vacuums that can be attached to your skimmer, but investing in an automatic vacuum is as simple as “plug and play.”
Keeping water moving throughout your pool helps keep the water clean, maintain a desired cool and consistent temperature and ensure that needed chemicals are evenly distributed. The pool pump is the focus of your pool’s circulation system. This important part of your swimming pool’s mechanics moves water from the pool, through the filter and back out again. When thinking about how long to run your pump each day, you’ll want to consider pump size, pool size and how often your pool is used. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to run your pump for 10 to 12 hours each day, which will circulate the water in your pool two to three times per day. To save on your electric bill, run your pump at night, when rates are lower.
Your pool’s filtration system is what keeps your pool clear of undissolved dirt and debris. It’s the primary cleaning element and choosing the right one could mean the difference between a clean pool and a dirty one. There are three types of filters to choose from:
- Sand filters remove dirt by backwashing, a process in which water passes through sand, which attracts tiny particles of debris in your pool water. Sand filters can remove debris that is as small as 20 to 40 microns, which is less than the width of a single strand of human hair. Sand filters are relatively easy to maintain and inexpensive to replace, but backwashing must be done almost weekly and because these filters create the most pressure, they tend to be the least energy efficient.
- Cartridge filters trap dirt and other debris in a removable fabric barrier as water passes through. Catridge filters are manual and need to be cleared of dirt when the pressure gauge registers an increase of seven to ten pounds. An increase in pressure indicates that the fabric is dirty, which makes it harder for your filtration system to “push” water through. Cartridge filters are the most energy efficient and therefore most cost effective over time, although they require more maintenance, since you need to clean the cartridge a few times a swim season and replace the cartridge about every three years.
- Diatomaceous earth filters are like sand filters in the sense that use the backwashing method. Diatomaceous earth is a powder which contains algae to attract dirt and debris to help filter unwanted materials from your pool water. Once the filter has been backwashed, new diatomaceous earth must be added to coat the grid’s filter. Because of this, these types of filters tend to be more expensive, although diatomaceous earth filters give you the cleanest water because it removes the smallest-sized particles.
When you choose a filter, you’ll want to balance cost, how clear you prefer your water, what type of environment you live in (and the associated debris which will make its way into your pool) and how much time you want to spend maintaining your system.
Chemicals are an essential part in keeping your pool clean and the water safe to swim in. This is why it’s important to test and correct your pool chemistry each week. Balancing your pool means keeping the pH level between 7.4 and 7.6, which is slightly above neutral. The three keys in keeping your pool’s proper chemical balance are pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness. Understanding the science that goes into maintaining a healthy pool isn’t something that should be overlooked. Watch this video to take a step-by-step look at how to accurately test your pool’s pH level.
Leave Your Pool Upkeep To The Pros
There are a lot of factors that go into caring for your pool. Aside from making sure you have the right tools and know how to use them, you need to come up with a regular schedule to maintain all your pool’s working parts and make sure you understand the science behind pH levels. What was supposed to be relaxing time spent by the pool can quickly turn into what feels like a part-time job. Trust the pros at ABC Home & Commercial Services to take care of your pool on a routine basis so that you can get back to enjoying your backyard oasis.