Pool Maintenance: A Simple (But Complete) Guide
Pool Maintenance: A Simple (But Complete) Guide
Owning a private pool can be one of the best features of a home or one of the biggest hassles. In fact, if your pool maintenance falls behind, it could actually decrease the value of your home. You don't want to risk potential health problems from a pool with algae blooms, either.
Maintaining a pool is all about consistency and knowledge of equipment. Once you get into a set routine of daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance tasks, it gets a lot easier. To help make life a little easier, we're going to cover the ABCs of maintaining your cool and your pool.
Regular Pool Maintenance
People often groan at the thought of how much it takes to maintain a pool. Those who have never owned one just assume it means pouring a little chlorine in the water every week and scooping some leaves. There's a lot more involved, but an effective pool owner will be able to quickly tackle these chores.
If you stay on top of skimming your pool, you'll reduce the overall amount of maintenance needed. The longer that debris is allowed to float and collect in the water, the more debris and organic matter get introduced. Yes, you need to skip every day, but it should only take about ten minutes, tops.
Invest in a robot skimmer to make this task even more trivial. And if your pool goes through long periods of inactivity, make sure you use a cover.
Another important check you should be doing every day is on the water level. It should be filled high enough to reach the skimmer. It's not uncommon for really hot days to evaporate the pool enough to bring levels down in just a few days.
Poor covers will, again, save you a lot of time and effort maintaining water levels. As many as 1,000 gallons of water can evaporate every month in the summer. While you're at it, keep an eye out for any cracks forming in your pool.
If you're constantly refilling your pool, even during cooler months, you could have a leak somewhere.
This is something you should be doing about once a week. Vacuuming the bottom of the pool is another preventative maintenance that reduces the load on your filtration system.
Checking the Pump
Stillwater is deadly water, so your pool's pump is one of the most important components to maintain. It should be moving water efficiently enough to create one complete cycle in just under eight hours. That means your entire pool can be filtered overnight and be ready for a full day of use tomorrow.
There are some more energy efficient motors that do this with less power but take 12 hours to do it. You can also use a digital timer to control your pump's cycling. Then, you don't have to worry about turning it on before you go to sleep.
Pools that get a lot of debris can benefit from a timer that can activate the pump for many short periods throughout the day. In fact, running shorter cycles throughout the day is the most effective way to keep the pool clean.
Checking Chemical Levels
A pool is a sort of giant petri dish for all sorts of organic growth. Without chemical treatments, the pool's clarity suffers, bacteria take a foothold, and anyone swimming in it can become sick, get rashes, and etc. Imagine showing your home to someone and smelling that funky mildew smell once you step in the backyard.
You should be testing your pool every week for fluctuations in chemical levels. This can be done without the help of a professional, you just need to know what to check.
The chemicals you need to test for a healthy pool include cyanuric acid, chlorine, calcium, and pH levels. Cyanuric acid goes hand-in-hand with chlorine, it keeps it from being damaged by sunlight. You should aim for a level of 30-50ppm for optimum protection.
Calcium levels too high can form a thick film over the pool's surface. This can damage plaster and increase the need for scrubbing the surface. Having high pH levels can also cause lots of unnecessary damage.
You should stay under 350 ppm for calcium concentrations and between 60-120 pH levels in the water. Testing the water for these levels is easy. You can buy a few testing kits from your local pool store without being too expensive.
Contrary to popular belief, the filtration system of the pool isn't some catch-all for debris. It's at its most efficient when all the big stuff has already been taken care off. If the filtration baskets get full, the water doesn't get as clean.
Regular backwashing is important, but too often and you reduce the ideal pressure level for maximum filtering. It's a balancing act, but you'll get into the flow of things as you learn to recognize the limitations of your pool.
Hiring a pool expert to do these tasks for you may cost more upfront, but it could save you money in the long haul. Your water, electricity, and cost of replacing parts could be more than what a pool service will charge.
Enhancing Your Home's Best Asset
After going over this short guide, if you feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath. You don't need to perfect all aspects of pool maintenance overnight. It's a learning process and it is a big job for one person.
Enlisting help from family or professionals is smart and necessary if you are trying to boost your home's curb appeal. If you're one of the only or few homes in the neighborhood with a pool, you can really improve your chances of selling.
Pool maintenance is a cheap way to sell your home quickly. That is if you stay on top of things. Let us know if you have any tips or tricks for managing pools and selling your home by writing to us.