Every pool owner must engage in what the pool industry calls a routine pool maintenance schedule. The industry isn’t wrong. But let it be clear that there is nothing routine about pool maintenance.
The Best Advice
Be proactive rather than reactive. Just remember that it is always much easier, much less time-consuming, and much less expensive to prevent potential problems than it is to treat actual problems. And the best way to prevent problems is to maintain your pool.
Pool Maintenance Overview
Many pool companies will advise you to “do this daily” or “do that weekly” when discussing pool maintenance. This almost compels you to pick – and stick with – a specific day of the week to do something. If your pool needs a task completed to maintain its water clarity and cleanliness, then do that task today, regardless of when it was last done and regardless of when it is supposed to be done next. Do it now. For example, if your pool needs to be vacuumed on a Thursday, do not wait until Sunday to vacuum the pool just because Sunday is the day you arbitrarily chose to vacuum your pool. If your pool needs it now, do it now.
We understand that the term routine insinuates consistency. But with pools, the only thing that is consistent is change. Water is volatile in nature, which means it can change – in terms of its chemistry or and/clarity – without notice. So you must engage in a routine maintenance schedule without locking yourself into “doing this daily” or “doing that weekly” throughout the pool season. Do it consistently – do it routinely – but don’t always do it the same day each and every week for the entire pool season.
The main point to remember is not to engage in a routine maintenance schedule as dictated by the calendar. Rather, engage in a routine maintenance schedule as dictated by the current condition of your pool. And be able to adjust your schedule when needed.
Variables of Pool Maintenance
It is important to remember too that the climate (temperature, humidity, sunlight, rain, and wind) can hinder water chemistry and clarity. So too can your personal and individualized pool use. Therefore, you will need to adjust your routine maintenance schedule to compensate for the current weather conditions and your current pool use.
Pool Maintenance Tips
- Make sure the water level in the pool is at the standard operating level, which is half way into the skimmer opening.
- Make sure the pool equipment is all working and operating as it should be working and operating and that it is allowed to operate long enough to sufficiently circulate and filter the water.
- Test the chemicals on a consistent basis. A good rule of thumb is to test the chemicals:
- twice per week during average climate factors and normal use.
- 3-4 times per week during periods of sunny, hot, and humid temperatures, as well as after heavy use.
- daily during periods when the overall water clarity has been compromised until proper water clarity is re-established.
- Check and empty the skimmer basket(s) daily.
- Check and empty the pump basket daily.
- Brush the entire pool 2-3 times per week.
- Use your nets to remove leaves and other debris from the pool whenever you see leaves and other debris in the pool.
- Vacuum the pool whenever you see leaves, dirt, or other debris in the pool. Or better yet, allow your automatic pool cleaner to vacuum your pool.
- Clean the filter when the pressure gauge is at or near 8-10 psi above the standard operating pressure level.
- Ensure proper sanitizer levels on a daily basis.
- Ensure proper water balance on a daily basis.
- Shock the pool on a regular basis.
- Add a maintenance dose of an Algistat, Sequesterant, Clarifier, and Enzyme weekly. Read the label instructions on the chemical bottle for the required amount to add.
- Test for phosphate levels in the water weekly (or at least twice each month)…if phosphate levels are high, then add the required amount of Phosphate Remover. Read the label instructions on the chemical bottle for the required amount to add.
- Compensate for hot, humid and sunny weather, as well as rain or wind.
- Compensate for additional and heavy use, such as weekends, holidays, or any reason for a pool party.
While this may seem like a lot, it’s really not. And, if followed, you will have a much easier time maintaining your pool.
Pool Maintenance Equipment
The best way to clean and maintain your pool is to have the required maintenance equipment, to include a:
- reliable chemical tester:
- a test kit – recommended.
- test strips.
- surface skimmer net.
- deep leaf net.
- vacuum hose.
While test strips are fine, fine isn’t really good enough. Chemical testing has to be accurate. Use a good test kit. They show the most accurate results. Plus they allow more test variables. And they really are simple to use.
Make sure all of your maintenance equipment is in good working condition.
While its not mandatory, you should also have a garden hose operated leaf vacuum. They are great all season. And they are really great in the fall months when leaves are falling. It’s much quicker and easier to set-up and use a leaf vacuum than it is to use the traditional pool vacuum assembly when an abundance of leaves have settled to the pool floor.
Just by having all of the manual maintenance equipment – and ensuring it’s all in good working condition – you will easily be able to maintain your pool.
There are ways to help with pool maintenance.
Do not believe claims for a “maintenance-free” pool. While pools can now be equipped to reduce maintenance requirements, they will always require some maintenance. While there is nothing available to get you a “maintenance-free pool, there is some pool equipment that will surely simplify your maintenance requirements.
Pump and Filter
Every pool must have a pump and filter, which are often collectively known as the equipment since they are both mandatory equipment for any pool. Overall circulation and filtration are crucial for pool water to be clean and clear. While pool chemicals are often given sole credit for maintaining optimal water clarity (and sole blame when water clarify suffers), the absolute reality is that proper circulation [via the pump] and filtration [via the filter] are the real solution to maintaining water clarity.
All pools have a pump and filter, but most pools do not have a properly-sized pump and filter. Too many times, the pump (in terms of its Horsepower) is too big and/or the filter (in terms of its Effective Filtration Area) is too small.
We recommend that you pair a variable speed pump (which is always properly-sized) with a properly-sized (somewhat over-sized) filter. This alone will really help simplify maintenance.
It is not enough to just properly size the pump and filter to work together. Plumbing the pool correctly, with properly-sized pipes, proper fixtures, proper spacing, and proper schematics will also really help simply maintenance. And it will also make your pool a safer pool. This is known as properly engineering the pool.
Every pool should be sanitized with an automatic sanitizer. As the name states, an automatic sanitizer will automatically send and disperse your chosen sanitizer into the pool for you, which will help simplify maintenance. Some examples of automatic sanitizers include:
- Chlorinator, for those of you that use chlorine tablets.
- Salt Generator, for those of you with a saltwater pool.
- Brominator, for those of you that use bromine tablets.
- Mineralizer, for those of you that combine minerals with trace amounts of chlorine.
- UV-Sterilizer, for those of you that combine UV light with trace amounts of chlorine.
NOTE: some mineralizers and all UV sterilizers will also require a chlorinator too (unless you opt for granular chlorine instead of chlorine tablets).
Automatic Pool Cleaner
If you really want to simplify pool maintenance by lessening the time it takes to vacuum and clean the pool, then you need an automatic pool cleaner. As the name states, an automatic pool cleaner will automatically vacuum – and literally clean – the pool for you. If you’re going to buy an automatic pool cleaner, opt for either a pressure-side cleaner or a robotic cleaner. While a suction-side cleaner is technically “better than nothing” it isn’t that much better, so save your money until you can buy a significantly better pressure-side cleaner or a robotic cleaner.
An automation system will control pool equipment, operations, and some maintenance tasks. An automation system can be very basic or it can be very sophisticated, depending on how your pool is equipped.
Automatic Pool Cover
Safety is the primary reason for an automatic pool cover (often called an auto cover). But there are other benefits to owning one.
A major benefit is savings. You can save money, water, chemicals, heat, and electricity. The actual federal Department of Energy concluded that auto covers do in fact save pool owners money be reducing the amount of water, chemicals, heat, and electricity that are required to operate the pool. Having an auto cover will not only save you money, but it will also save you time. When the auto cover is closed, leaves and other wind-blown debris will remain out of the pool, which will help minimize your maintenance requirements.
Pool Maintenance Simplified
While some of the recommendations can seem expensive upfront, these are not expenses. They are investments, all of which will make pool care, maintenance and cleaning so much easier and less time-consuming (which will ultimately allow you more time to relax and enjoy your pool) as well as less expensive (providing you with a solid monetary return on your investment).
A variable speed pump (which is always properly-sized), a properly-sized filter, an automatic sanitizer, and an automatic pool cleaner should be owned by every pool owner. And if its in the budget, an automation system and an automatic pool cover should be under serious consideration.
You can also contact a pool service provider (also called a maintenance provider) and pay for professional pool maintenance.
Any – and certainly all – of this will really help simplify pool maintenance. This will allow you more time to actually enjoy your pool or relax poolside.
We hope this helps.
If you properly chemically-treat, clean and maintain your pool, then you will have clean and clear water. You will also protect your pool structure. This will result in less repairs and resurfacing.
Even with the best maintenance plan, though, you will need repairs and resurfacing. When you do need this, or any other contractor-based pool work, we can help you.