If you have a pool, it’s important to keep it clean and safe. Algae, insects, and other debris can make it unsanitary. Keeping your home pool clean and well-maintained is safer for your family and guests. A dirty pool not only looks bad, it can also lead to a whole host of issues.
Whether you’ve hired a professional or not, you should be familiar with your own home pool equipment and maintenance. Here are some tips on keeping your home pool safe and clean.
Keep your home pool’s water level about 4 inches below the edge of the pool. This reduces water loss from splashing. However, don’t let the water level fall below intakes for the skimmer. If the pump has to run dry, it’s much more likely to sustain damage from wear.
Test the water twice weekly during the summer or after heavy rains. The pH should be below 8.0, and the alkalinity between 80 and 120 ppm (parts per million).
Check the calcium hardness monthly. This indicates the TDS, or total dissolved solids, in your pool. You can buy water hardness testing kits at most pool supply centers. Follow the directions provided by the manufacturer. High TDS will throw off the pH balance.
If you have poor water clarity, sluggish pump flow, or the water smells odd, it’s probably time to clean the filter. Cartridge-type filters can usually be cleaned well with muriatic acid or trisodium phosphate.
There are many kinds of filters, from sand to a variety of cartridge filters. Always use the recommended filter for your pool. Don’t rely on backwashing (reversing water flow) to clean your filter. Warm, humid air is perfect for algae. On hot nights, run your pump for an hour for every 10 degrees of temperature above normal.
Also clean the skimmer basket once a week. Its purpose is to remove any floating debris while it’s still at the surface, before it becomes saturated and settles to the bottom where it’s harder to get rid of.
Replace missing or broken covers on drains or suction devices as soon as possible.
Put some kind of gated barrier around pools and spas, even if local ordinances don’t require it. Panel fences or thick hedges will not only deter children, wild animals, and pets, but they’ll act as a windbreak to reduce evaporation and dust.
Be sure to use rubber gloves, goggles, and exercise caution when using any caustic pool chemicals. Add acid directly to the water; never add water to acid as this could cause a potentially harmful reaction.
Every couple of weeks, turn off the pool pump and release the pressure to clean out the hair and lint trap. This should be in a clear glass container at the front of the pump. Some models will have a leaf or debris trap. This should also be cleaned out regularly.
If you have a chlorine-free pool such as a salt system, note that the chlorine is actually provided by the salt (sodium chloride), so you shouldn’t have to add any to the water. Over-salting will tend to drive up pH levels, and you’ll have to add acidic chemicals to bring it down again. Salt pools require paying special attention to the chemistry of your pool water.
If all this seems a bit much, consult a professional pool technician. Pool services can keep the water balanced, the pool clean, and point out any small problems like cracking, pitting, or peeling on the pool’s lining that could become a major repair if not handled in time.
A pool can be a sizeable investment, so some proactive management is important. A clean and safe pool is a source of joy over a long, hot summer.
Guest Author Bio: Anica Oaks is a Freelance writer and web enthusiast. She recommends Robert Allen Pools and Spas for your home pool needs.