How to Maintain a Swimming Pool

Keeping your pool clean and safe should always be your priority as a pool owner. In order to maintain it properly, follow the steps below.

  1. Remove debris.
  • Skim the surface of your pool while debris is floating. Once they sink, they will be harder to get rid of.
  • Skimming with the use of a skimmer takes only a minute or two.
  • However, with an automatic pool cleaner, you don’t have to manually remove the debris.
  1. Vacuum the pool and clean the filter.
  • If you don’t have an automatic pool cleaner, you have to clean the entire pool—from the base up to the steps and walls.
  • Don’t forget to clean the pool’s filter to prevent clogging.
  • Be aware of the three types of filters: sand, cartridge, and Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
    • Sand filters are made of concrete, fiberglass, or metal and are great for trapping debris. They need to be changed after every five years.
    • Cartridge filters allow water to seep through a fine filtrating surface. They have a greater surface area than sand filters which results in fewer clogs and easy maintenance. They need to be changed after every 3-5 years.
    • DE filters contain porous bone material allowing them to filter debris with ease. These are placed directly into the skimmer and need to be replaced once or twice a year.
  1. Clean your pool pump.
  • Shut your pump first.
  • Close the skimmer valve to allow it to hold the water in place so that the system won’t need to be primed when it restarts.
  • Then clean out the hair/lint catcher.
  1. Determine your pool’s alkalinity and pH levels.
  • Knowing the total alkalinity will allow you to measure your pool water’s ability to neutralize acidity.
  • The higher the total alkalinity, the higher the pH levels of your water will be.
  • pH levels measure how basic or acidic substances are. They range from 0 to 14.
  • The neutral pH is at 7.
  • If your pool water has a pH level of more than 7.6, then adjust it with muriatic acid.
  • If your pool’s pH level is under 7.4, adjust it with soda ash product.
  1. Know your chemicals.
  • Chlorine is your primary sanitizer, as it kills algae and bacteria.
    • One dose can last for a week.
    • There are two chlorine levels: free and combined.
    • Free chlorine is the one in the water while the combined is the chlorine that is combined with contaminants rendering it useless as a sanitizer.
    • Add up the two types and they will give you the total chlorine.
    • If the chlorine is below 1 part per million (ppm) or the alkalinity is less than 90 ppm, dissolve chlorine with a pinch of baking soda in a bucket of water and toss it in your pool. This process is often called “shocking the water”.
  • Bromine is chlorine’s alternative. It also comes in a tablet and granular form.
    • It is more stable than chlorine at higher water temperatures.
    • These are generally used in spas.
    • It has two drawbacks: a) it’s expensive, and b) it’s burnt off easily by sunlight.
  • Shock is another type of chlorine.
    • It is unstable and usually lasts a day or two.
    • Your pool needs to be shocked at least once a week to spike the chlorine level to 10 ppm.
    • Wait at least 12-24 hours before swimming after you’ve shocked the water.
    • But there are non-chlorine shocks that will allow you to swim after 15 minutes.
  • Keep these recommended level ranges in mind:
    • pH: 7.4-7.6
    • Total alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
    • Chlorine: 1.0-2.0 ppm
    • Cyanuric Acid: 40-80 ppm
    • Total Dissolved Solids: below 500 ppm
  1. Determine your pool water’s calcium level.
  • If the level of calcium is too low, your water is soft. Soft water is corrosive since it will dissolve calcium and other minerals from plaster pool surfaces and metal equipment.
  • If the level of calcium is too high, your water is hard. Hard water can cause scale on pool surfaces and equipment.
  • Aim for a calcium hardness that’s between 200 and 400 ppm.