Safe swimming pool maintenance is an important part of maintaining a safe, healthy pool environment for your family, friends, and pets. For some, the maintenance process can be confusing. Others just let it slip until there is an issue, dreading the eventual time and money lost to preventable conditions that maintenance would have avoided had it not seemed like such a daunting task. Learning how to properly maintain your pool area is pool care 101–a foundational skill set that’s necessary for you to get maximum enjoyment from your backyard oasis. Let’s take a look at the what, why, and how of your swimming pool’s basic maintenance needs.
More Than Just Water
If all it took to create a fun and safe area was clean water, we’d all have one in the form of our bathtubs. Your swimming pool may be a fun place to use the water, but it encompasses the pool, the deck around it, and the other structures and amenities that share space with your swimming area. Maintenance that begins and ends at the waterline isn’t sufficient if you want a swimming, sunning, or splashy playing area that is clean, healthy, and ready for fun in the sun while minimizing accidental drowning hazards and health risks.
Breaking Up The Big Jobs
The idea of swimming pool maintenance has discouraged more pool owners from keeping up their pool areas than actual swimming pool maintenance has. Done properly, maintenance is broken up into ongoing tasks that are regularly performed so they don’t pile up, the occasional more labor-intensive tasks that act to reset your pool area’s condition to a base level of cleanliness and repair, and the major projects that are undertaken once a season or only when dictated by certain conditions. The vast majority of your maintenance schedule will be the smaller, pool care 101 type tasks that are regularly performed.
The Three Cs.
Sure, your pool is more than just water, but it is definitely the most important part of the equation. Your pool’s water is kept in good shape by the three Cs: circulation, cleaning, and chemistry. Together, these three each play a role in making sure the water you and your family swim in is healthy.
Circulation – Bacteria and algae grow in still, stagnant water, and along with them come the bugs, pests, and illnesses that find it to be a ripe breeding ground. Your pool pump does more than just run the water through a filter. It also helps circulate the water, keeping it moving, so it’s harder for these contaminants to gain a foothold.
Cleaning – Cleaning your pool keeps it free of debris, dust, grime, and other contaminants. While some cleaning is performed by your pump’s filter or through automated pool cleaning tools, there’s still plenty for you to do with good, old-fashioned elbow grease.
Chemistry – Swimming pool maintenance involves checking and balancing the properties of your water by adding in the right chemicals in the right amount at the right time. You don’t need to have aced Chemistry 101 for pool care, however, as modern test kits and pool maintenance chemicals have made huge strides in consumer convenience.
All three Cs are vital to keeping your pool water healthy, but they are swimming pool maintenance tasks that are part of your regular upkeep. Your pool pump should be cycling water at least 8 hours a day–more if you’re in a warmer climate, your pool has seen frequent use, or if you have an efficient, variable speed pump that will allow for circulation 24/7. Jets should be angled away from the intakes to ensure they aren’t feeding filtered water directly back into the system before it can circulate, and your filter should have its cartridge changed monthly or whenever the pressure consistently runs ten psi higher than normal, indicating a clogged filter.
Pool cleaning is another ongoing part of swimming pool maintenance that should see you vacuuming the pool bottom weekly, brushing and skimming the pool daily when your swimming pool safety cover is removed, and the skimmer baskets cleaned out a few times a week to prevent pressure build-up in your pumping system. Brushing the walls helps prevent algae bloom and helps avoid discoloration from metals or chemicals, especially in zones that have poor water circulation. Skimming removes floating debris, such as leaves, twigs, and lightweight trash. Vacuuming helps keep the bottom of your pool clean for a better-looking and more pleasant swimming experience.
Twice a week, you should check your pool’s water chemistry, including the sanitizer level, alkalinity, pH, and hardness. Sanitizers actively break down bacteria that enter the water while maintaining the proper pH level, hardness, and alkalinity work to prevent pool damage, avoid algae growth, and control staining. Properly balanced pool chemistry maintains your water conditions between bi-weekly shock treatments, where a pound of shock per 10,000 gallons of water, administered in the evening and circulated overnight, oversaturates the water with sanitizer compounds to break down any organic material, including bacteria and other byproducts of people entering, exiting, and using the pool, contaminants carried in by a heavy storm, or a food/beverage spill that enters the water.
Inspect Your Pool Area Regularly
In addition to the water, the deck surrounding your pool and any pool-side structures or accessories also need some attention. Take the time weekly to clean your pool area, sweeping up dirt and debris, removing trash, and cleaning up any areas that are noticeably dirty. Once a season, get out the garden hose and go to town on your lounges, chairs, and tables with a light detergent. While cleaning, take the time to watch for any dangerous debris or hazards that may need repair. Loose boards, missing electrical plates, or other potential hazards can be spotted as part of your swimming pool maintenance and fixed before they cause a problem.
Check Your Safety Equipment
It’s part of pool care 101 that safety equipment, like removable mesh pool fences, swimming pool safety nets, and pool safety covers should be in place and in good repair when the pool is unsupervised. They help prevent unauthorized entry by children, pets, and adults, and can be instrumental in preventing your pool from becoming a tragic accidental drowning statistic. Gates should close freely and latch securely. Covers and nets should anchor firmly and maintain the tension necessary to keep them taut and hold a pet or person who is in danger up and out of the water. You should also check your water rescue accessories and first aid kit, making sure they are ready for action if an emergency occurs.
Be Ready For Family Fun
When you keep up on your swimming pool maintenance, you’re ensuring that your pool provides a safe environment for family fun, and that’s a passion we share. Your local All-Safe Pool installer is your community’s go-to source for water safety. They’re ready to help you build a safer pool area with professionally installed fences, nets, and covers that give you all the fun flexibility of a swimming pool and the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve protected your friends, family, and pets from accidental drownings.
When you request a no-cost, no-obligation estimate, a trained pool safety expert will talk to you about your pool needs, take some measurements of your area, and offer you a tailored plan designed for your pool’s unique concerns so you can make an informed decision about your pool’s safety. Schedule a free quote from your local All-Safe Pool installer today.