General Swimming Pool Maintenance:
by Guest Blogger Chris Miles, February 28, 2011
Pool maintenance is one of those tasks in life that we have to do, and it's essential to keep a regular maintenance schedule in order to keep your swimming pool water crystal clean.
It is one of those tasks that if you forget to do it for a few days, it can rapidly turn to greater work and expense. It is far easier to prevent algae growing in your pool in the first place than it is to try and get rid of it once it has taken over your pool. In extreme cases of neglected pools, you may well end up changing all of the water, and probably the internal pool surfaces will also have been effected.
The two main things you need to concentrate on in your pool are keeping the pool filtration system clean and ensuring that a good chemical balance of the water in the pool is maintained.
You will need to check the pool filter at least once a week, or ideally twice. Take a look at the pressure gauge, this gives an immediate view into how the water is flowing, and how clean the filter is. If the pressure gauge is 8-10 lbs over the clean reading, it is time to clean or backwash the pool filter. Also use your ears each time you check your system; over time you will recognize the sound of your pool pump - if it sounds different, you may have flow problems. Check for any water leakage on any of your pipes or equipment.
With regards to the chemicals you will need to check your pool weekly to ensure that the Chlorine, pH, Alkalinity, and the water hardness are all within the correct parameters. A liquid dropper style pool test kit gives more accurate readings than test strips, and can better help determine adjustment dosages for your pool.
The most important chemical level to maintain is the chlorine level - chlorine is responsible for killing organic matter and germs that otherwise will grow and gradually block the filter system. Left untreated this organic/algae growth can take over your whole pool, and in addition such growth may cause such a strain on the pump and filter, overloading them to an ineffective degree.
Also every now and again you will have to carry out what is called a “Shock” to your pool to super chlorinate the water and totally kill off bacteria. Some dealers recommend weekly shocking, but this can be too much for most residential pools. Shock the pool if:
- High pool usage
- After cleaning up from a bit of a storm
- Algae treatment in the pool
- Hazy, cloudy pool water
- If Chlorine level in pool reaches 0.0
Swimming Pool Maintenance Schedule:
In order to keep your pool in good condition you will need to establish a pool maintenance routine. At the start this may seem tiresome and you may wonder why you have to keep checking pH levels, Chlorine and Alkalinity. This is all done for good reason, as any one of these, left unchecked, and hence untreated for any short period of time can ruin the water quality of your pool, and in extreme cases, ruin the pool itself.
It is much easier to maintain a crystal clear pool than it is trying to clean up a dirty one. Prevention is far easier than cure, as the saying goes, and this is particularly true of a swimming pool.
The first thing I would say is that each pool will have its own demands and needs with regards to maintenance, as a pool that is in use daily by a large family will need more regular checks than one that is only used by one or two swimmers every few days. So you will need to “Get to know your pool” over a period of time, at the start this maybe daunting but with practice you will get a “Feel” for your pool's specific requirements.
Sample swimming pool maintenance schedule -
- Test water pH, Alkalinity, Chlorine
- Remove debris from surface of pool
- Remove debris from floor of pool
- Brush your pool, especially important for plaster pools.
- Empty skimmer and pump basket(s)
- Clean your main pool filter
The real schedule, for your pool, may vary. Seasonal variation is the most common. When it's very hot, or there are many summer storms, spring or fall tree debris, high rainfall. Also other conditions such as low chlorine, high pool usage ... many variables come into play that will require adjustment to your schedule. Over time, you will be able to simply look at the pool, and give the system a listen, and you will instinctively know what to do.
Pool maintenance, for the average pool, should take no more than 1hr per week. If it takes longer, look for scalability in your tools or methods.
Chris Miles is the Director at Splash and Relax, the leading supplier of swimming pools products in the UK.
Splash and Relax specialise in Above Ground Swimming Pools from major brands world wide.
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