There are different aspects of maintaining a swimming pool. Different pool systems—saltwater and chlorine are the most popular—require different maintenance demands. In this case, let’s focus solely on the traditional chlorine pool system.
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When maintaining a traditional chlorine pool, you have to consider these important factors:
- Water chemistry
- Regular maintenance
- Occasional inspections
Water Chemistry Balance: Weekly
Having a balanced chemical count in your pool is extremely important. Otherwise, maintaining a swimming pool will be extra tedious if you don’t know your water chemistry.
When dealing with pool chemicals, always keep the big 3 in check:
pH stands for ‘potential of Hydrogen,’ which measures your swimming pool’s acidity (with 7 being the neutral level). The recommended pH levels for swimming pools range from 7.4 – 7.6.
High pH levels can cause scaling on the surface and plumbing. Conversely, low pH levels make your pool acidic. This can cause corrosion on metals and etching on the sides of your pool.
Helps stabilize your pH levels. The recommended alkalinity level for your pool is 100 – 150 parts per million (ppm)
Presents how much calcium is in your water. If your pool water has low calcium levels, that means it has soft water. Having soft water can cause your pool water to be aggressive and corrosive.
On the other hand, hard water (high calcium levels) can cause calcium carbonates to cling on pool surfaces. The recommended calcium hardness for swimming pools is 200 – 400 ppm.
Of course, let’s not forget the most important sanitizing agent, chlorine. As of date, chlorine is the most effective chemical for managing pool cleanliness. It’s recommended you keep chlorine levels around 2.0 – 4.0 ppm.
How To Balance Water Chemistry
Knowing a bit of basic science is definitely a requirement if you want to balance your pool chemistry successfully. This is the reason why many new pool owners find this bit a little confusing.
However, the process is fairly simple as long as you know the appropriate levels for your pool chemicals.
Have a pool kit on hand and follow the instructions written on it. All you have to do is dip a strip into your pool, then wait for about 3 minutes for the results to come in. Your pool kit will indicate through a color swatch if your levels are right.
If you need to do some adjusting with the chemicals, do so in this order: chlorine, alkalinity, pH, stabilizer, calcium hardness, then metals.
Aside from chemical checks, don’t forget that your weekly pool cleaning. This means doing your scrubbing, spot-checking for algae, and cleaning your pool equipment.
Removing debris. Your swimming pool attracts different kinds of elements on the surface. You’ll see floating leaves, bugs, and even small animals! It’ll only take you less than 5 minutes to clean them all off with your skimmer basket.
Add algaecide. Imbalanced water chemistry isn’t the only cause for algae. Sometimes, factors that can cause algae, such as heat, can be way beyond your control. As such, a preventive dose of algaecide is recommended.
Pool shocks. As much as possible, you would want to shock your pool weekly, especially if you use your pool frequently. A pool shock is basically adding high amounts of chlorine in your pool for some massive cleaning.
It kills chloramines, algae, and other contaminants like urine. Apart from weekly pool shocks, there are also some instances where a pool shock is in order. Usually, you would want to shock after or when these instances occur:
- Heavy rainfall
- Pool parties
- Foul odor in pool
- Extreme temperatures
- Overwhelming algae presence
Cleaning pool surface. Use your pool brush to clean the areas of your pool. Vacuum every nook and cranny of your pool. Don’t forget to vacuum the areas with little circulation, as these areas are common breeding grounds for algae.
Check total dissolved solids (TDS). Your pool water stays with you for at least a few months to a few years. As time goes on, it will naturally accumulate dissolved elements. This is essentially what TDS is. Every year, your TDS ppm adds up to about a thousand.
You can check your TDS count with a digital test meter. Experts say that 1500 ppm is too high, while some pools can still operate properly to 5000 ppm.
Inspect the pool structure. It’s important to have a keen eye when it comes to checking for cracks or tears on your liner or pool walls. If not attended to immediately, your pool will leak and will incur even more damages over time. Check out this quick video below on how to detect a pool leak:
Monitor safety accessories. If you have pool ladders or stairs, which you normally should, don’t forget to check on them as well. See if you find anything that needs working on, like corrosion or molds.
If you’re not a fan of swimming in the winter, closing your pool for the season might be a good idea. It will protect your pool equipment from the freezing temperature, and you get to cut back on electricity as well, with the filter off for the whole season and all.
Closing your pool for the winter also means fewer responsibilities. This means not having to do maintenance duties like cleaning the filter or balancing your water chemistry.
Instead, when closing your pool, what you’ll need is a pool winterizing kit to keep your pool water clean, at least for the rest of the season.
What Happens If You Neglect Proper Pool Care?
Failing to see the importance of regular pool maintenance is a big no-no. Many new pool owners do not realize that owning a pool is like owning a pet—you need to take care of it and dedicate your time to it.
If we’re talking about algae themselves, they don’t necessarily pose a risk to swimmers. However, it’s still important to keep them at bay because a strong algae presence means a high chance of encountering e.coli.
Fluctuating pool chemistry isn’t the only thing that can cause serious algae growth. If you neglect cleaning your filters and let them sit dirty for too long, don’t be surprised if you see algae forming in the crevices of your pool. What’s even worse? Your pool will turn all green and yucky!
Expensive Damage Repairs
The algae growth can even lead to serious problems such as damaging the interiors and even your pool’s structure. If you happen to have a crack on your pool surface, algae can enter that cavity and can weaken the foundations of your pool. You’ll end up spending on expensive pool repairs in no time.
Decrease In Resale Value
Remember how a swimming pool can help spike up a property’s price? That only works if your pool is clean and swimmable. It can increase your resale value by up to 15%.
However, if it’s not, don’t think you can get away with putting a higher price tag on your property. Having a dirty pool becomes a liability instead of an investment.
There is no clear-cut timeline for pool maintenance. It depends on your location, frequency of usage, type of pool, and many other factors.
However, keep in mind that the key to successful pool maintenance is knowing the importance of balanced pool chemistry paired with regular maintenance.
If you have both of these taken care of, you wouldn’t even have to worry about pricey pool repairs and services.