Swimming Pool Maintenance Basics
Proper maintenance is a key part of pool ownership. If you’re a new pool owner or you’re just looking for a maintenance refresher during the busy pool season, you’ve come to the right place. The main aspects of pool maintenance are circulation, chemistry, and cleaning. If you focus on those three areas, your pool will stay in tip-top shape. Let’s take a look at some pool maintenance basics to get you started.
Proper circulation is crucial to your swimming pool because stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria and algae. Keeping your pump and filter system in good working order is going to be a key part of your ongoing maintenance. The two main things to focus on here are your pool pump and filter system.
Run Your Pool Pump
We often get asked, “How long should I run my pool pump?” Our answer is to always run your pump as often as feasibly possible. Ideally, you want to run it long enough to make sure the water is filtered through at least once a day and the system is working properly. This will keep the water constantly moving.
Backwashing Your Pool Filter
Dirt, oil, and other debris get caught in your filter system when you swim, so cleaning and backwashing the pool filter also needs to be a regular part of your maintenance plan. Backwashing your pool filter basically means reversing the flow of water through the filter system so that debris and contaminants are pushed out.
The backwashing process varies slightly depending on your pool’s filter type (sand, D.E., etc.). Follow the instructions laid out by your pool filter manufacturer or check out this filter backwashing guide for more details. Generally, you’ll need to backwash when the flow rate is significantly reduced and/or the pressure gauge indicates a pressure rise of 8-10 lbs. above the clean/start-up pressure.
Generally, you’ll want to backwash your pool filter system every week or so. It should be part of your ongoing pool maintenance routine.
Cleaning Your Swimming Pool
Once you’ve made sure your circulation is good to go, you’ll naturally have a cleaner pool. However, swimmers and Mother Nature are constantly bringing leaves, dirt, and other debris into your pool, so ongoing cleaning is necessary to keep the water clean and clear!
Ongoing Pool Cleaning Tasks
Here are a few cleaning tasks all pool owners need to do regularly. Most can be done weekly or more frequently depending on how often you use your swimming pool.
- Sweep and hose down your deck/patio. This helps keep dirt and leaves from getting into the water. Depending on how much traffic your patio sees and what the weather is like, you may need to do this on a daily or weekly basis.
- Skim leaves and debris out of the water. You’ll want to do this daily as you notice floaters in the water. Bugs, leaves, twigs, and other large debris can cause staining and damage to your liner, so you want to get them out before they have a chance to sink to the bottom of the pool or get caught in your filter system.
- Brush and scrub the pool walls. Pay special attention to the waterline and external pool accessories like ladder/stairs and skimmer boxes as bacteria tends to collect and build up around these places.
- Vacuum your pool. Be sure to vacuum up all the sediment that has made its way to the bottom of your pool to avoid any staining or clogging in the filter system.
- Clean your toys and floats. Germs can easily build up on plastic inflatables, pool toys, and floats, so it’s important to keep them clean and sanitized. Follow manufacturer instructions, but generally, a bleach and water mixture will get the job done. Scrub your toys and floats with a rag or soft sponge.
Of course, water chemistry is another key portion of your ongoing pool maintenance. Proper chemical balance is how your water stays clear, clean, and sanitary. Overall, it’s best to test your water chemistry regularly, at least weekly.
Overusing chemicals can cause stains and fading on your liner, make the liner brittle, cause corrosion to your pool pump and other accessories, and potentially create health concerns for swimmers. However, not keeping your water clean and balanced can also lead to issues, including algae and bacteria growth.
When dealing with chemicals, be sure you follow all instructions, wear proper protective equipment, and add chemicals slowly and carefully to avoid risk to you, swimmers, and your pool liner and accessories.
Proper Swimming Pool Water Chemistry
- Chlorine: 1.0-2.0 ppm
- pH: 7.2-7.8
- Calcium Hardness: 180-220 ppm
- Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
- Dissolved solids: below 5000 ppm
- Cyanuric Acid: 40-80 ppm
- Chloramine: Below 0.4 ppm
General Swimming Pool Maintenance Tips
Now that you know the basics of pool maintenance, we wanted to share some handy tips that will hopefully help make caring for your swimming pool quick and easy!
- Create a maintenance schedule. There’s a lot to do so this will help you keep track of your to-do’s throughout the summer months. There are also handy pool apps that can help you track this.
- Read and follow instructions carefully. By following instructions, you minimize the risk of potential damage or injury. Save all manufacturer information for easy access.
- Don’t cover your pool after adding chemicals. Wait approximately 24 hours so the chemicals are able to diffuse as needed before creating a closed environment.
- Cover your pool when not in use. This helps keep pests and debris out of the water and keeps the pool warmer.
- Only use tools and cleaners intended for your pool. Abrasive scrubbers and at-home cleaners can damage your pool liner and equipment.
- Avoid sharp objects around the pool. Anything from buttons on your pants to keys left in your pocket can rip or puncture your liner. Use extra caution and remove sharp objects when swimming or maintaining your pool.
- Work with a pool professional. Pool experts, like AAA Liner Replacements, are able to give you knowledgeable insights, help you troubleshoot problems, and even handle things like new liner installation and opening your pool for you!
From liner installations and repairs to opening and closing pools, we’ve been a trusted pool resource in the Chicago area for more than 25 years. If you’ve got questions about swimming pool maintenance, liner installations, and more, we’re here to help.