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Home » How-Tos » Pool For Dummies – An In-Depth Maintenance Guide

Pool For Dummies – An In-Depth Maintenance Guide

Owning a swimming pool is more than just swimming every day. To keep it clean and clear, regular maintenance must be done. Despite the goggles and foam noodles you own, a dirty swimming pool will be such a waste of space at home.

So, how to maintain a pool for dummies?

To answer that question, here are the three (3) things to cover:

  • Knowing your swimming pool
  • Doing the proper swimming pool maintenance
  • Creating a maintenance schedule and then sticking to it

By relying on these things above, first-time swimming pool owners will know what to do. Of course, once you get to do the first, the rest will become easier. You will just have to do the second on a regular basis.

To do the second part on a regular basis, you have to do the third part. Make sure that you are sticking to it. After all, consistency is the key.

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If you do this right, owning a swimming pool is just like owning other properties. There is regular maintenance instead of just using them without purpose. This is all about the fulltime commitment.

Let’s start with the basics.

Knowing Your Swimming Pool

Before getting started, start with knowing your swimming pool characteristics

The very first thing you need is the strong, basic understanding of the essentials needed for the pool maintenance. Knowing all about your swimming pool, from how it is built to where it is placed, is very important.

So, here are the basic parts of your swimming pool:

1. The water

The water is the main focus of all parts of a swimming pool. If it is clean and clear, then it is all good. Everybody wants to swim. If it gets cloudy or milky, then it is a major turn-off. To keep the water clean, clear, and well-balanced, remove contaminants and pollutants. 

The regular maintenance also avoids having corrosion and mineral build-up on the pool’s hardware. That way, your swimming pool gets to last longer.

2. The interior wall or liner

Keep the pool’s surfaces in good repair. This means getting rid of algae, mold, and debris whenever possible. That way, your swimming pool is clean and safe for a dip or dive in.

3. The filter system

A cartridge pool filter (instructables.com)

Consider this part of your swimming pool like both a pumping heart and a liver to a human body. To keep the water circulating, the pool pump needs to work well. The filter’s role here is to clear dirt and other contaminants off the water.

Otherwise, the swimming pool water will get dirty, all cloudy and milky. Nobody sane enough will want to swim in your swimming pool, no matter how large it is.

This thing depends on the setting up. There might be a cartridge filter, a sand filter, and a D.E. (diatomaceous earth) filter. If your swimming pool has a salt water system, you might also have a salt water chlorinator.

These three (3) types of a filter system in the swimming pool are needed for regular maintenance:

Sand filter

When the pressure gauge indicates between 7 to 10 lbs., this filter needs to be backwashed. Clean this filter at least every season if you live in a four-seasoned country.

Cartridge filters

Remove the dirt when the pressure gauge also indicates between 7 to 10 lbs. Change the cartridges from the filter and hose off all the unwanted particles.

D.E. filters

This is just like the sand filter, backwashed when the pressure gauge indicates between 7 to 10 lbs. The new DE must be applied to coat the filter’s grids.

4. The system of skimmers and returns

A pool skimmer

Again, we may compare parts of a swimming pool like organs in the human body. If the filter system is the heart and liver of the pool, then consider skimmers as veins. The returns are the arteries. 

A little note: skimmers are not the same as the net skimmer. A net skimmer is a cleaning tool at a telescoping pole. It pulls water into the filter for cleaning. The returns’ role is to push water right back into the swimming pool.

These two things work together well as long as there is no obstruction that hinders their roles. That is right, just like a human heart that pumps and flows blood back into your entire body.

Additional Stuff That You Need to Do Besides the Regular Maintenance

If you are a first-time, swimming pool owner, there are other additional stuff to consider. Some of these things include:

Owning a swimming pool cover (especially if your swimming pool is outdoor)

A swimming pool cover is the necessity to protect your pool water from outside influence, especially when not being used for a swim for a long time. This is also very important if your swimming pool is placed outdoor.

From falling objects like debris to keeping little kids and pets safe, this cover is handy. There will not be tragic stories such as kids accidentally drowning in the swimming pool at their own homes.

Earlier, we have discussed the parts of a swimming pool and additional stuff to consider in how to maintain pool for dummies.

Now, let’s carry on with the regular maintenance and the schedule to stick to.

The Proper Swimming Pool Maintenance

For starters, you need three (3) Cs to have a successful, swimming pool maintenance. They are:

Circulation

Stagnant, still water means maximum grodyness. This is just like people who do not move a lot; they tend to store more unhealthy fats and other toxins inside their bodies. This is also the same thing with water. Cleaner, clearer, and safer water is when it is circulated properly.

A good circulation for your swimming pool results in cleaner, clearer, and safer water to swim in. The water will not be cloudy and infested with algae. By keeping your pump and filter system running on a daily basis, the circulation is maximized.

The ideal circulation is 24/7. Due to a tight budget, 10 to 12 hours a day is also enough. Do not forget to frequently backwash your filter. If there is a sand filter in your pool, add a cup of DE filter as a booster for the filtering power.

Pool Cleaning

When it comes to cleaning your swimming pool, you need these three (3) things:

  • Net skimmer
  • Pool brush
  • Pool vacuum

When it comes to falling objects into the pool, there is only so much you can do. Especially a swimming pool outdoor, you can get a lot of unwanted particles into the water. For example: fallen leaves, dirt, shampoo or sunscreen residues from swimmers. You name them.

Skim, brush, and vacuum your swimming pool on a weekly basis, at least. Not only keeping your water clean and debris-free, but the walls are also squeaky clean. Baking soda paste helps in this matter.

An alternative approach is to use an automatic pool cleaner. This works wonders if you are busy and almost have no time to clean so many things around at home. Still, you would like to keep your swimming pool clean and safe to swim in.

If your swimming pool is inground, use the drains built into the bottom of the deep end to pull water into the filter. A flocculant can also be used to clear cloudy pool fast, but this thing only works temporarily. It only works to treat the symptoms, not the actual cause.

Chemistry

You do not need a degree in AP Chemistry for this. Just by researching, practicing, and consulting with the pool expert when needed, you are all good to go.

First, own a water testing kit. Second, you need to know these three (3) important parts when it comes to water chemistry:

pH Level

To measure the acidity in your swimming pool water, make sure that the ideal range of your pH level is between 7.4 to 7.6. Higher than that means it gets too acidic. Lower than that, the water is just basic.

Alkalinity

This pH buffer helps to avoid huge spikes in both spectrums – acidity or basicity. Make sure that the ideal range of alkaline stays between 100 to 150 ppm (parts per million).

Sanitizer Level

The sanitizer level depends on the type of sanitizer that you choose. It should contain the right amount of chlorine, bromine, and etc. in your swimming pool water.

Remember, since you are dealing with chemicals, you need to do this carefully. When adding chemicals to tweak the balance, make sure that you follow each step right and know how each chemical will affect the pool water and the swimmers.

Last but not least, do not forget the shock. Adding a pool shock on a regular basis will give extra help to keep your swimming pool clean, even when you also use the sanitizer. Do this in the early morning or at night. This way, the ultraviolet will not consume chlorine before it starts doing their job in the pool.

Once you add the shock into your swimming pool water, run the pump for eight hours minimum. This is to keep the water properly circulated.

The Swimming Pool Maintenance Schedule

Now you know what you need to know, it is time to start scheduling on the regular maintenance part.

Creating a swimming pool maintenance schedule is easy once you have learned all the ropes. What matters more is sticking to it. Surely, once in a while it feels like drudge work.

Make a clear schedule on your pool maintenance

However, it will be more than just a drudge work if you or other people get sick from swimming in contaminated water. Plus, the pool property might be seriously damaged with heavy corrosion if not maintained properly.

Keeping it simple is the key. Write the schedule and then tape it on the wall, refrigerator, or anywhere around the perimeter of your swimming pool. You can even set the schedule up on your phone.

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