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.
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.
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.
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:
Total alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
Chlorine: 1.0-2.0 ppm
Cyanuric Acid: 40-80 ppm
Total Dissolved Solids: below 500 ppm
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.