Swimming pools are the ultimate backyard feature. Not only are they good for spending time with friends and family, they’re also great for sneaking in some exercise (or, let’s be honest, pool-side sun naps!). If you’re a pool owner or interested in becoming one, this article will detail a step-by-step guide for maintaining your pool all year long.
1. Know your pool
Pools come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re going to properly maintain yours, you must first have a general understanding of how it works. All in-ground concrete pools have four main components that require regular upkeep:
Water: contains specific cleaning chemicals (typically chlorine) to ensure it is healthy and safe to use.
Filtration system: keeps the pool water clean by sifting out any stray objects or debris.
Interior wall or liner: the inside structure of the pool (or what contains the water).
Skimmer baskets and returns: work with the filtration system to capture unwanted objects or debris before it can settle on the bottom of the pool.
If you want to learn more about your specific pool model and how it works, consult your pool manual to learn everything you need to know. Here are some essential pool safety tips to get you started.
2. Keep water circulating
One way to ensure your pool water remains clean and healthy is to keep it circulating for at least 8 hours each day. This will help reduce the likelihood of algae and bacteria growth (which can negatively impact water chemistry) while also promoting the dispersion of chlorine and other essential chemicals throughout the pool. Increased water circulation also limits the existence of still water and increases the likelihood of contaminants and other particles getting trapped in your pool’s filter system.
3. Perform water tests regularly
Landing within the ideal range of chemicals in your pool water is essential for your pool to function properly. In fact, most in-ground pools should be fully cleaned and thoroughly assessed on a weekly basis. It is essential that you use pool chemicals exactly as specified, as they could potentially cause harmful side effects if not used properly. The four most common water tests include:
pH balance: Assess the pH levels of your pool. To complete, dip a test strip in the water and wait for it to change color to indicate pH range. Pool water pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6. Depending on the result of the test, you may need to add a pH increaser or decreaser to balance the pH.
Algaecide: If frequently exposed to the sun and heat, your swimming pool may be at increased risk for algae growth. Algaecide keeps algae and other related plants away from your pool by killing existing infestations and slowing future growth.
Sanitizer levels: Assessing your swimming pool’s sanitizer levels is one of the most effective ways to keep it safe and healthy. While most pools rely on chlorine, salt and bromine are also commonly used alternatives that require their own unique levels and maintenance plans.
Shock treatments: If your swimming pool water looks different or is beginning to negatively impact your skin and/or eyes, you should consider “shocking” your pool. Shocking entails raising the levels of chlorine and other chemicals in your pool to kill off any existing algae, bacteria, or other harmful pathogens. You may need a shock treatment if you are experiencing:
- Algae and other plant growth
- Dirty, cloudy, or murky water
- Extreme temperatures
- Foul or musty smelling water
- Heavy rains and windstorms
- Red eyes and/or irritated skin after swimming
4. Keep the pool interior clean
Now that you have mastered the more complex components of pool maintenance, you can finally conquer what is right in front of you: the swimming pool itself. In order to keep this area clean, you should scrub down the walls with a pool brush, skim the water with a skimmer, and periodically backwash your pool filter to let out any built-up debris. Additionally, you must always drain and winterize your pool in the colder months to keep the foundation free from cracks and other related damages.
5. Get your pool checked when you need it
As one of the most complex plumbing systems in your home, your swimming pool can become damaged in ways that are hard to anticipate. If you think there’s something amiss with your pool, you should contact a professional as soon as possible to make sure the issues are handled by someone who has the proper education and expertise to resolve them quickly and properly.
Interested in purchasing homeowners insurance coverage for your pool? Learn how adding a swimming pool to your policy will impact your rates.