A Beginners Guide To Swimming Pool Maintenance

Today I am going to talk about how you can better maintain your swimming pool. I am going to give you some great tips on how to keep your swimming pool clean and clear all year long.

The most important aspects of basic pool maintenance are circulation, cleaning, and pool water chemistry. If you can master these three aspects of pool maintenance, you will have a crystal clear pool all year long which will be safe to swim in.

Let’s Begin With Circulation

Circulation is the most important part of pool care. The most important aspect here is running your pool pump and filter system. Ideally, I would recommend that you run your filter 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which is best but not viable.

I recommend that in the summer or when it’s hot, that you run the pool pump eight to twelve hours a day.
Closer to 12 hours a day would be better. If the weather is cooler, you can cut the running time down to about four to six hours a day.

If you have a variable-speed pump, you can set it to a lower speed and keep it running all the time, and still save some money.

Pool Return Water Jet Angle

Once the pool water gets sucked through the skimmer basket, then through the filter system, it then gets pushed out through the return jets. So what you need to do is angle some of the jets at about 8 o’clock, and the reason we do this is so that water can be pushed underneath to the bottom of the pool to loosen and bring the dirt to the surface where it can then be easily taken to the skimmer by the motion of the water.

if you have more than one jet, you must aim the second jet parallel with the surface water so the water keeps spinning in a clockwise motion. If your skimmer is right next to your return jet, your return jet should be facing away from your skimmer so that it creates a whirlpool effect (clockwise motion) to gets the water back into your skimmer.

And that will also help if you have any dead spots in your pool. You might have a corner or a crevice that just doesn’t get a lot of water movement. It will help with that which is super important.

Clean The Skimmer And Pump Baskets

If you have one or multiple skimmers it is important that you check these every single day and just empty them out. This will help the water go through your filter system quicker which will make the circulation better.
You also have a basket in your pump, and you must make sure that that’s also cleaned out.
That won’t be as filled with debris as your skimmer baskets, because your skimmer baskets are the first line of defense. Then it moves into your pump.

Pool Filter Maintenance

Sand Filter.

When a sand filter gets clogged it builds up pressure inside itself. This is when it needs to be back washed. There’s a pressure gauge on the top of your sand filter, or on the side, depending on which one you have. The pressure that your sand filter runs at when it is clean is between 10 to 15 PSI. If it goes 10 pounds over that, well, that means your filter’s clogged, and you need to backwash it.

It needs all the debris that the filter has been collecting pushed out of the backwash port. Right after you backwash, make sure the pressure is close to between 10 to 15 PSI as possible.

Cartridge Filter

There is no backwashing with a cartridge filter. If your cartridge filter is clean then the pressure will be about 10 to 15 PSI, great. Once it reaches 20 to 25 pounds pressure, it’s time to clean the cartridge filter or even replace it.

What you do here is, take the cartridge out of the filter system, and rinse it down with a hose or soak it overnight in a cleaning solution. This generally does not have to be done nearly as much as a sand filter, but just make sure that your cartridge is always cleaned.

DE filter

DE. stands for diatomaceous earth, which is a fine white powder (a carcinogen). I suggest wearing a mask and protective eye gear when you’re working with this fine white powder. And the pressure gauge, again, is your indication if you need to backwash or not.

When the DE filter is clean the pressure gauge will be between 10 to 15 PSI but 10 pounds over normal running pressure, it is time to backwash. When you backwash you need to replace the DE that you backwashed out of the pool.

How To Clean The Pool Itself

Skimming

You have a leaf net which you have attached to a pole, or maybe you’re just using your hand. What you need to do is skim the top of the pool water every day. If you can do it every single day, great. Consider it a break from your day.

Move the leaf skimmer around and pick up all the debris and dump it out of the pool. This will help a lot because the debris that collects on the top of the pool water eventually ends up at the bottom of the pool, and then you have to manually vacuum it, which is much harder than just skimming the top.

The more you skim, the healthier your pool is going to be.

Brushing

Brushing is something a lot of people skip because it’s hard work. Don’t be lazy now. You need to brush the walls, the steps, and the ladders. This should be done every day. if it’s not practical to do it every day then every second or third day.

Again, the more often you do it, the cleaner your pool is going to be in the long run. If you’re gonna skim, you might as well brush too especially if you have those hard to reach places in your pool where debris likes to collect, brush it out of there.

Then at least the debris gets circulated so your filter or vacuum will pick it up. You won’t have cloudy pool problems and algae problems if you just keep it clean.

Vacuuming

Manual vacuuming can be done once a week depending on how dirty the pool gets. If you skim and you brush all the time, you may not have to vacuum as often. But once a week should be good enough.

I suggest that you invest in some sort of automatic pool cleaner, whether it’s a pressure-side, suction-side, or a robotic pool cleaner. So in that way, your pool’s constantly being vacuumed by a robot instead of you. It’s totally worth the investment, I promise.

Pool Chemistry

The first thing you need to do is test the water one to two times a week. It’s that simple. You can use a home test kit or you can use test strips. You can take your sample to your local pool shop to get the water tested. Make sure that your pool water is in good condition.

The more often you test the pool water, the better you’ll stay on top of your water chemistry and you won’t have problems with your pool. The readings that you need to look out for are pH and Alkalinity.

No matter what sanitizer you use, salt, chlorine, bromine, BAQUACIL, or whatever you use. You still have to deal with pH and Alkalinity. You need to keep your pH between 7.2 and 7.6. And you need to keep your alkalinity between 100 and 150 parts per million.

If you keep your pool balanced at all times within these ranges, you are doing 90% of the work here. If you have well-balanced water, all the other chemicals will work much better.

Water Sanitizer

Let’s talk about is chlorine. If you have a saltwater system, this applies to you, too. Because salt systems are chlorine. In the saltwater system, the chlorine level should be between one and three parts per million, more towards three parts per million if you can. When the chlorine level drops below one part per million, your pool is not being sanitized.

Your pool water is open to bacteria, algae growth, and cloudy water. Therefore try to keep your chlorine levels at three parts per million all the time, which is much easier to do with a saltwater pool.

If you have a chlorine pool and have a chemical feeder like a chlorine puck dispenser, that is the way to go. Keep your chlorine levels correct at all times with balanced water.

If you have bromine, keep those levels between three and five parts per million. If you use biguanide, which is BAQUACIL, or Softswim levels should be between 30 and 50 parts per million.

If you’re using a mineral system, which uses chlorine as a backup keep your chlorine level at 0.5 parts per million. This is a back up in case the minerals fail. For whatever reason, or if you didn’t replace the cartridge the chlorine will go and kill what it has to kill.

Pool Shocking

Pool shocking is done in a chlorine pool, saltwater pool, mineral pool, and a bromine pool. But basically, you need to shock weekly. You may hear people talking about shocking weekly or bi-weekly. The higher the temperature the more frequently you need to shock.

Shocking is basically taking whatever sanitizer that you use and put a concentrated amount in your pool. This concentrated sanitizer will kill everything in your pool. This is what shock does. It’s an insurance policy to make sure that you’re not going to get bacteria, algae growth nor cloudy water forming, and all the problems that come with it.

Let’s Recap

Circulation is the most important. Good pool circulation is the first line of defense for everything because the filter system is there to keep the water clean. Cleaning regularly with a leaf skimmer, brushing, and vacuuming keeps your pool water clean.

Your sanitizer now does not need to do so much work which is fantastic. That will save you money in the long run.

Pool chemistry as you read is not too difficult. You’ll save a lot of money on chemicals if you do the basics right. You are going to save a lot of money by doing it yourself. It’s not that difficult.
As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. In this case a sparkling pool all year round. Happy swimming!