Having a pool in your backyard means endless hours of fun with your family. Your first priority should be to keep your pool safe. Once you’ve secured your pool area with proper safety equipment, it’s time to talk about pool water. Before you jump in and enjoy the summer, there are a few essential tips to make sure your pool water is safe, clean, and ready for use.
Test the Water Chemistry Regularly
One of the keys to avoiding contaminants like algae and bacteria is to regularly test your water’s chemical balance. If you use your pool frequently during the summer, test the water at least twice per week.
A chemical balance that’s too high or too low could both cause skin irritation or sickness, so the proper balance of chemicals in your pool for safe water can’t be overstated.
- Proper pH balance: This is the measure of how base or acidic your pool water is. If it’s too acidic, it can corrode equipment like rails, releasing rust into the water. If it’s too base, the water may become cloudy. Make sure the pH is within the parameters set by your pool’s size.
- Alkalinity: Balanced alkalinity helps maintain proper pH levels, with similar consequences for imbalance. Avoid rust and cloudy water by checking alkalinity.
- Chemicals and sanitizers: For safe pool water, check the chemicals. Make sure you have enough sanitizers like chlorine, bromine, cyanuric acid, etc. to help prevent algae growth and other unhealthy bacteria from contaminating your water.
Dangerous Poolwater Germs
There are some germs, like cryptosporidium, that are chlorine-resistant. This hardy germ causes diarrhea and requires a special hyper-chlorination procedure to kill. Practice the healthy habits outlined later in the post to help avoid contamination.
Regularly Clean the Filter
Another key way to help prevent your family from getting sick from pool water and keep it safe is through the care and maintenance of your pump and filtration system. Using these systems for too long between backwashing the filter or changing the filter cartridge will reduce their effectiveness. That can invite the water to become home to bugs, mold, and other unpleasant organisms. Keeping the water flowing will help reduce these contaminants.
As you’re running the pump, also check the water levels. If the water is too low, it might not reach the pool skimmer and filter properly, potentially burning out your pump. If it’s too high, the skimmer door won’t work correctly and it will let in leaves and debris.
Keep a Routine Cleaning Schedule
Especially important for safe pool water is to maintain a routine cleaning schedule. While the chemicals and filtration system will do a lot of the work for you, you’ll still need to regularly skim larger debris like leaves out of the pool.
Utilizing an automatic pool vacuum will save you time and add convenience. Though if you don’t have an automatic, you should still vacuum the bottom of your pool at least once per week by hand.
The filters in your system need consistent attention as well. Depending on the type of filter, whether you use sand, cartridge, or diatomaceous, you should remove it for deep cleaning at least once per season. Do this more often if you notice your water gains an unpleasant odor or seems dirtier than usual.
Also, don’t forget about your skimmer baskets and other parts of the pump system. Empty skimmer baskets at least once per week, and especially after a storm or heavy pool usage, to ensure your pool water remains safe.
Lastly, once a week you should shock your pool by adding three pounds of calcium hypochlorite shock to the water. This helps prevent the chlorine from becoming inactive by combining with other chemicals like ammonia and nitrogen.
Practice Healthy Habits
If you’ve done all you can with chemical balance, filtration, and regular cleaning to keep your pool water safe and sparkling, it’s time to make sure your family practices healthy pool habits.
The CDC has a set of four steps to make sure your family doesn’t get sick from pool water:
- Shower before entering the pool. It’s not just for after a swim! Even a few minutes in the shower beforehand can remove oils, dirt, and other contaminants from your body and thus keep them out of the pool.
- Don’t swallow the water. Children who are very active in the pool and constantly submerging their heads might struggle with this one, but it’s important. While hopefully, the chemicals are doing their job to make your pool water safe, you don’t really want to swallow them, and there could still be bacteria present (like the cryptosporidium mentioned above.)
- Don’t use the bathroom in the pool. Very young children may find this a challenge and have accidents, but the majority of the family should follow a strict rule of using the bathroom inside the house. Also, be sure to change diapers well away from the pool’s edge.
- Don’t swim if you’re sick. Whether it’s gastrointestinal or a different illness, swimming while sick can spread those germs to the water and infect other family members.
Trust All-Safe Pool Fence & Covers
For advice on everything from keeping your pool water safe and clean to securing your pool area with a fence, net, or cover, trust All-Safe Pool Fence & Covers. We were founded to protect the lives of children, and it continues to guide every decision we make.
Contact us for a free estimate of your pool area and your local dealer will provide recommendations for the best safety equipment for your family.