Unfortunately, the work doesn’t stop once your pool is up and running. Proper maintenance is a must to keep your pool is tip-top shape.
Step one: Keep debris in check
While automatic surface skimmers and overflow gutters can go a long way to keeping your pool clean, they don’t catch everything. Use a leaf net or handheld skimmer to gather up any leftovers. Some leaf nets even come equipped with a magnet, to help collect metal objects. To keep debris to a minimum, make sure any nearby plants are pruned regularly and remove grass cuttings immediately.
Step two: Check your skimmers
No matter how diligent you are with your leaf net, material can still pile up in the pool skimmer basket. Check it once a week to avoid operational issues. Also inspect the strainer basket on your pool pump and remove any lint or hair that may have accumulated.
Step three: Keep it clean
Deck and patio surfaces should be washed regularly. Use a garden hose (pointed away from the pool) to get rid of larger debris and brush pool surfaces regularly to remove dirt and algae. Use a non-abrasive pool cleanser to remove grease, stains and scale deposits. Avoid household cleansers, which may contain foam-causing additives and alter the pool’s water chemistry. There are also specially formulated filter cleansers that can help prevent clogging caused by oils, algae and other organic waste.
Step four: Monitor water quality
If pool water appears cloudy, shock it with three to five times the amount of your normal chlorine or bromine dosage. This process will also attack algae and built-up non-filterable waste (e.g. ammonia). Under normal operating conditions, pool water should be shocked every seven to 10 days. More frequent treatment is required if you experience heavy bather loads, use the pool during rainy or humid conditions or keep water temperature at 26 C (80 F) or higher.
If water turns green or greenish-blue, use special sequestering agents designed to clear up dissolved metals such as ion, copper and manganese. Grey, white or brown scaly patches can be corrected using sequestering agents that target calcium.
Step five: Eliminate algae
Algae growth appears as yellow-green blotches, black spots and green patches and can be removed by brushing and scrubbing affected areas and applying algaecide directly to the water or near the algae growth. You can prevent algae growth with proper water balance, regular shocking and the addition of algae preventatives.
Step six: Get the balance right
Properly balanced water keeps your pool safe, improves water appearance, prevents surface damage, keeps plumbing clear and extends the life of pool equipment. To keep your pool running optimally, test for the following:
Chlorine- and bromine-based products are effective sanitizers that reduce harmful micro-organisms, bacteria and organic matter. Sanitizer levels should be maintained at 1-3 parts per million (ppm).
Ideally, pool water should have a pH of 7.4 to 7.6. If pH is too low (below 7.2), sanitizer dissipates more rapidly, leaving surfaces and metal components unprotected. If pH is too high (above 7.8), sanitizer is less efficient, leading to scale and cloudy water.
Total alkalinity (TA)
This measures the amount of alkaline salts in the water, which has an affect on pH. Ideally, TA levels should range from 80 to 120 ppm. If the TA is under 80 ppm, pH can swing rapidly back and forth from high to low levels, damaging pool surfaces and corroding metal fittings. TA levels above 120 ppm make it difficult to adjust pH , leading to cloudy water.
The ideal calcium hardness level is 200 to 240 ppm. Low calcium hardness levels can lead to damage of concrete surfaces, while high levels can lead to scale formation.