The Basics of Caring for a Pool
If you’re considering installing a pool in your backyard, you need to keep a few things in mind. The initial cost of the materials, installation, and filling won’t be your only bills associated with staying cool poolside this summer. Let’s walk through the basics of maintaining and caring for your new pool before you dive in.
Keeping your pool water clean and healthy enough to swim in starts with a well-maintained filtration system. Using this system, the water from your pool passes through a filter, which traps debris and dirt, and then passes back out into the pool. Without filtration, you’d need to empty, clean, and refill your pool almost every day to be able to swim in it.
For the most part, your filtration system takes care of itself, though its sand (if it uses sand) will need to be replaced once every two years. If you have a cartridge filter, you’ll be able to tell when to remove and clean the filter by the readout on its pressure gauge. When you empty your cartridge filter, you’ll need to let it soak in cleaner for about 12 hours before returning it to your pool.
Your pool has aim flows in its walls to keep water circulating through it to distribute chemicals and move the water through the filtration system and back into the pool, as well. Angle the aim flows to between 30 and 45 degrees down, and the water will flow freely and won’t affect how your pool cleaner performs, either.
About once a week, you’re going to need to clean your pool’s pump, skimmer, and filter. If your pool is near a lot of trees, its been very windy, or there is extra trash and debris in the pool for any other reason, you’ll need to clean them more often.
For cartridge filters, you can either wait for them to fill, but we recommend that you just clean them once a week when you do your normal pool cleaning. If you have a sand filter, you’ll backwash it for three to five minutes and then rinse it for one minute.
Some chlorinators are self-cleaning, but many have a cell that needs weekly cleaning. Check on which type you have and make sure that you clean it at this time if it’s not self-cleaning.
Finally, to make your filter’s job easier, to avoid potential maintenance problems, and to make your swimming experience more enjoyable, go ahead and skim the top of the pool with a pool cleaning net to get rid of leaves and other larger pieces of dirt and debris that collect on the surface of the water.
You should test your pool’s water weekly, as well. It’s a good idea to do this at the same time that you clean your pool, as no one should be swimming while you’re cleaning, anyway. Make sure that your chlorine level is between 1.5 and 3.0 ppm (parts per million). You should also make sure that your pool’s pH is between 7.0 and 7.6.
Once a month you should take a sample of your pool water to your pool shop to have them do a more accurate test in their lab. This will ensure that everything is in balance and nothing is going to be damaged. It’s a good measure to take to make sure your pool stays properly maintained.
When your chlorine level gets too low, you’re going to have to add more. This is called “shocking” the pool and involves adding a large amount of chlorine to get your levels back up to normal. You’ll need to shock your pool about once a week. Make sure no one uses the pool for 24 hours after you add chlorine, as this can be dangerous until the chlorine level balances out again.
That’s about it! It’s really not a whole lot to do when you think about how much fun you’ll have in the sun this summer (and next summer, too).