We admittedly are not pool experts but we do know that taking care of a pool can be an expensive endeavor especially if you decide to hire a local pool company to maintain it for you.
We have put together this pool maintenance guide to help you become more knowledgeable so that you can take care of your own pool if that’s is what you decide to do.
Also, be sure to read all the way to the end of this post because we will share some additional resources to help you get the most out of maintaining your pool and making it sparkle like it’s brand new.
Table of Contents
- 1 Pool Care For Beginners
- 2 Swimming Pool Water Balance
- 3 Chlorinating Your Pool
- 4 Shocking Your Pool
- 5 Adding Algaecide To Your Pool
- 6 Brush and Sweep Your Pool
- 7 Conclusion
- 8 Pool Care Cheat Sheet
- 9 Additional Resource
Pool Care For Beginners
If you own a pool you want to get the most out of it all season long.
With just a little maintenance you can keep your pool operating at it’s very best and we’ll provide you will some very basic and practical pool cleaning tips that you can implement immediately.
Once your pool is open there’s nothing else you have to do for the rest of the season, right?
Well, not quite, the right maintenance will help keep your pool and equipment in good shape and most importantly help keep it healthy and clean.
When we talk about pool maintenance it can be divided into five simple parts.
- Pool Water Balance
- Chlorinating Pool
- Shocking the Pool
- Brush and Sweep.
We’ll discuss each of these parts in detail now.
Swimming Pool Water Balance
When we think of water balance we are concerned with the interrelation four major parts:
- Calcium Hardness
- TDS or Total Dissolved Solids
pH is the measure of acidity or basicity of the water. The pH scale runs from 0 to 14 with an ideal rating of 7.6 and an acceptable range of 7.2 to 7.8.
Maintaining your pH at this level will ensure a bather comfort, water balance and maximize the effectiveness of your sanitizer.
The type of sanitizer you use can affect your pH as will rain and body oils, requiring you to test and adjust your pH on a regular basis.
If the pH of your pool is below 7.2 your water is acidic. You can add a pH Increaser to raise your pH level to a range between 7.2 and 7.8.
Acidic pool water can cause damage to:
- Pool surfaces.
- Corrosion of metal components.
- Skin and eye irritation
If the pH of your pool is above 7.8 your pool water is too alkaline.
You should add a pH Decreaser to lower your pH level to a range between 7.2 and 7.8.
Alkaline water often looks hazy or dull and can cause:
- The sanitizer to work less effectively.
- Skin and eye irritation.
Total alkalinity is the measurement of the concentration of alkaline materials in your pool water that provides a pH buffering capacity – giving the water the ability to resist sudden changes in pH.
Although total alkalinity is not the same as pH it is instrumental in stabilizing the pH to prevent fluctuation.
The ideal range to maintain your total alkalinity level is 80 to 120 ppm (parts per million).
A total alkalinity below 80 ppm is too low. This generally will cause the pH to remain low as well.
This will cause your pool water to be corrosive and irritating to swimmers. You should raise your total alkalinity level to 80-120 ppm by adding a Total Alkalinity Increaser.
A Total Alkalinity level above 120 ppm is too high and can cause scaling and high pH.
You should add a pH Decreaser or Muriatic acid to lower your Total Alkalinity reading to 80 to 120 ppm.
Calcium Hardness Test
A calcium hardness test will determine the level of calcium mineral in your pool water.
Low calcium hardness levels can make the water corrosive.
When it’s too high, staining, scaling, and cloudy water can appear.
If you suspect that you may have “soft” or “hard” water on the initial fill of your pool, your pool dealer will be able to test your calcium hardness level and recommend any necessary adjustments to achieve the desired range of 200-400 ppm.
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
Total Dissolved Solids are the dissolved minerals and salts found in pool water.
Tap water generally contains a TDS level of 30-50 ppm.
High pool water temperatures lead to evaporation and increased perspiration, both of which help raise the TDS level.
Your pool dealer can test your TDS levels to be sure they are between 1,000 and 2,000 ppm.
Higher levels of TDS will decrease the efficiency of your sanitizer while lower levels accelerate corrosion.
TDS levels can be lowered by draining and refilling your pool with fresh water.
DO NOT drain your pool without first consulting your pool professional.
Remember that your pool dealer can test your pool for calcium hardness and TDS.
You should test your pool 2-3 times per week and maintain a pH between 7.2 and 7.8 and Total Alkalinity between 80 and 120 ppm.
Chlorinating Your Pool
Maintaining a free chlorine level of 1-4 ppm will help your pool fight off bacteria, viruses, and germs.
The advantages of chlorinated pools are it helps kill bacteria through a simple chemical reaction, it helps keep the pools safe to swim and it helps preserve swimming pools.
The disadvantages of chlorinated pools are it can fade swim suits, beach pool liners and affect other equipment.
It can also trigger allergies, eye, and skin irritations.
Maintaining 1-4 ppm is crucial in keeping your water clear and problem free without being too harsh to swim.
Never swim if your swimming pool exceeds 4 ppm.
Some pool and spa chlorinators contain built-in stabilizers to help protect the chlorine from sunlight degradation.
These products are available in daily use granules or weekly use tablets.
The tablets are slow-dissolving and work in skimmers, floaters, and feeders.
The granules are simply dispensed directly into the water or through a skimmer.
You can also buy chlorinated products that go the extra mile to soften your water and protect your equipment.
Always test your free chlorine level before you add any product and two hours after applying it.
If free chlorine drops to zero or if your total chlorine reading is higher than free chlorine you’ll need to shock your pool water.
Selecting the right product and application method while maintaining 1-4 ppm will help keep your water clear and problem free so that you can enjoy your backyard oasis.
Shocking Your Pool
Shocking the pool is a process whereby you add chlorine or non-chlorine chemicals to your pool in order to raise the “free chlorine” level to a point such that organisms like algae, chloramines, and bacteria are destroyed.
If your chlorine levels are really low or definitely after a heavy rain or heavy usage you will need to shock your water.
The best time for a shock treatment is in the morning or in the evening because UV rays destabilize chlorine.
To shock your pool you’ll need the following items:
- 5-gallon bucket
- Pool shock
- Protective eyewear (goggles)
- Rubber Gloves
- Stirring stick
When shocking your pool always practice safety first.
Pool shock has a high concentration amount of chlorine in it and if it splashes on your clothes it will ruin them.
- Put on your protective eyewear and gloves.
- Fill your 5-gallon bucket with water.
- Add 1 pound of pool shock to the water.
- Slowly stir in the pool shock to prevent splashing.
- Slowly pour the pre-dissolved shock around the entire pool to prevent splashing. (make sure your pool is running and let it run for at least 8 hours overnight)
You always want to pre-dissolve each bag in a bucket of water first before pouring it into your pool.
Remember, add the shock to water instead of adding the water to the shock. Mix well with a stick.
Do this with one pound of pool shock per 10,000 gallons of water and you want to do this early in the morning at dawn or late in the evening at dusk.
Adding Algaecide To Your Pool
If you use a preventative algaecide every week you shouldn’t have a problem with algae growth.
If your pool walls and floors feel slippery and oily that means you have algae build up.
If you do happen to get stubborn algae you should use an algaecide to eliminate the problem.
To get rid of stubborn algae use a curved wall brush and scrub the affected area to puncture the outer membrane of the algae.
Next, shock treat your pool and remember to wear protective eyewear and rubber gloves.
Apply the product directly to the affected area. If the algae growth is significant you may want to a double dose adding twice the amount you normally add to shock all at once.
This raises the free available chlorine and kills the algae.
Wait until the next morning and scrub the affected area with the brush again and add the appropriate amount of algaecide to make sure you prevent the growth from recurring.
Remember, never mix products with other products or dissolve before use. Let the pump run overnight.
Finally, you can safely reenter the pool once the available chlorine level is between 1 and 4 ppm.
Always remember to read the product label instructions.
Brush and Sweep Your Pool
Use a skimmer net on the top of the water to clear any debris.
Also, brush the walls and sweep your pool’s floor with a vacuum.
Make sure your skimmer baskets are clean too.
In this pool maintenance guide, we’ve talked about 5 things you need to do on a regular basis when taking care of a pool.
There are some additional things you can do to keep your pool water clean and clear.
Try adding a maintenance dose of water clarifier. It helps turn your cloudy and murky pool water crystal clear again.
It works with your filter to help trap tiny particles in the water such as dirt, oils, and other contaminants.
On top of that, you can add pool scale, metal and stain control. This can help prevent damage to your filter system from scale, which is a build up of heavy deposits from calcium.
With just some regular pool maintenance your pool is guaranteed to stay in great shape for the swimming season.