Sure, you wish you could spend more time enjoying your pool than maintaining it. But like a home, a swimming pool requires regular maintenance to keep it in great condition. The good news is that just an hour of upkeep a week can maintain the pool so that when you’re ready to take the plunge, you won’t be spending most of your time cleaning first.
Here are some tips to keep your pool swim-ready:
1. Clean your skimmer basket of debris every couple of days. Depending on how messy the pool has become, run your hand skimmer through the water to remove any leaves, dirt, sticks, and creatures who may have found their way into the pool. Use a net to scoop larger items out of the pool.
2. Test your water at least weekly for proper chlorine levels, pH balance, and alkalinity. This will help prevent the pool from being infected by algae, turning the water color a sickly green, or worse, a black color. Keeping water balanced will also ensure when you do jump into the pool, that the water is pleasant, clean, and clear, and won’t burn your eyes.[RELATED: The Importance of Water Balance]
3. Brush and vacuum your pool weekly. An automatic pool cleaner is a wonderful assistant, and is designed to keep a clean pool clean, however it is still necessary to brush and vacuum regularly.
Scrub the sides of the pool with a brush to remove any algae build-up.[RELATED: How to Fix a Green Swimming Pool]
4. Check pool water levels. Evaporation, splash-out, and vacuuming will remove water out of the pool and can prevent the skimmer from working properly. The water level should be at least halfway up the skimmer weir door. If no water is entering, it can cause your pump to burn out. Likewise, if the water levels are too high, then the debris may not be effectively collected. Add water if it’s not high enough, but pump some out if it’s too high.
5. Backwash filters as needed. As a general rule watch for the filter pressure to be 8-10 PSI higher than clean filter running pressure. (Be sure to pay attention to the RPM reading when dealing with variable-speed pumps). Back-washing allows dirty water and dirt to be removed.
6. Clean out the debris caught in the pool pump’s debris filter basket. Turn off the pump, close the skimmer valve, and remove the basket and the debris inside.
Consider investing in a pool cover. It can help reduce the amount of debris in the pool and assist with evaporation and splash-out. A pool cover still also needs maintenance, so be sure to remove leaves and puddles that collect on top that can weigh down the middle of the cover.
Another way to prevent extra debris from entering the pool is to trim back any trees and bushes. In the fall, rake regularly to keep the leaves out of the yard and away from the pool.
If you have questions about how to maintain your pool, be sure to call a pool professional for help.