Most people who can afford to have a pool can also pay for the cost of hiring a service to clean and maintain it. But if you’re the type who enjoys home maintenance or you don’t like to pay for things you can do on your own, then you may be keen to manage the cleaning and maintenance of your pool without hired help. Of course, even if you pay an outsider to do the job for you, it’s still important to have some basic knowledge of the cleaning and maintenance your pool requires, not to mention how often various tasks should be performed. As a consumer it’s your job to make sure you’re getting what you pay for and only paying for what you need. So here are a few general tips to help you better understand the upkeep needed for your swimming pool.
- Weekly cleaning and inspection. During the months when your pool is getting the most use (the summer, generally) you’ll want to make sure that it is cleaned and inspected at least weekly. This includes skimming the pool, checking skimmer baskets, checking chemicals and water level, wiping down the tile line, and looking for any developing problems like cracks, for example. If the pool is in heavy use, you might want to skim it and check levels a couple of times each week. And if you have the pool covered (say, during the winter) you can probably clean and examine it less frequently. These steps, however, are important to ensuring that your pool remains in top condition, free of algae, debris, and damage.
- Adjust water and pool chemistry. When you check your pool levels, including the water line and the chemical composition, you may find that they are off. This is especially common during the summer months when outdoor temperatures can cause water to evaporate more quickly and frequent usage can upset the pH balance. Adjusting the water level is simple enough; all you have to do is pull out the hose and add some water. As for pool chemistry, you’ll need some base knowledge before you just start throwing chemicals in willy-nilly. It’s important to understand, first and foremost, what kind of system you’re using. Do you have a salt water chlorine generator? How about an ozone unit? Knowing your pool could affect the products and amounts of chemicals you use. Next you need to know what the levels are supposed to be and what to add in order to adjust them accordingly. If you don’t want to learn these things, hire a pro to take care of it for you.
- Clean filters. You probably only need to clean your filters 2-3 times each year, provided you’re practicing a regular schedule of cleaning and maintenance. However, you may want to check them after major storms, even if you just cleaned them prior.
- Use a pool cover. One of the best ways to keep your pool clean and maintained when it’s not in use is to cover it. This will keep most dirt and debris out of the water, help to maintain the temperature if you heat it year-round, and reduce water evaporation.
- Get the right products. It’s important to have the right products when it comes to pool maintenance, and this list could include swimming pool chemicals, extra filters, and tools to skim and scrub the whole pool. If you hire a cleaning service, they can either provide these items and add them to your bill or tell you what to get. If you’re going it alone, simply ask at your local swimming pool and spa store or do some research and order online.