Pool Maintenance Tips and Hints for Pool Owners
Proper Water Chemistry is essential:
A balanced pool is required for safety, comfort, and for the durability of your pool surfaces. If the chlorine levels are not high enough then you may be risking the presence of germs and bacteria. If too high, it can irritate you skin and eyes. Lastly, improper levels can cause corrosion on liners, ladders, and other equipment. The best way to keep your chemistry in check is to keep your pool as clean as possible by removing debris frequently from the skimmer and pump baskets, using a skimming net to remove the leaves and dirt on the top of the pool, and using a vacuum as needed. Some of the proper levels include:
Free Chlorine: 1-3 ppm
Total Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
Calcium Hardness 180-220 ppm
Stabilizer (CYA): 30-100 ppm
To keep your pool looking its best, make skimming and brushing a part of your life:
Skimming leaves off of the top should be done daily as organic matter will quickly reduce the effectiveness of your chlorine. Brushing your pool walls will help prevent algae buildup and keep stains from forming. A good guide for wall brushing is about every 1 or 2 weeks. Pushing any possible microscopic algae into the pool will make the chlorine more effective in killing it. If you would rather not brush so often, an automatic pool cleaner would go a long way to take care of much of this work.
Keep your filter running efficiently:
Your filter is what takes most of the impurities out of your water. Periodic filter cleanings are essential. You will normally want to record the level of your filter's psi level immediately after it is cleaned. Then when it goes up by 10 or 15 psi, it is time to clean the filter again. Besides removing and cleaning the pump and skimmer baskets, you will want to rinse out the the filter itself or clean the media inside. A sand or "DE" filter will require you to "backwash" the filter. A cartridge filter can normally be lifted out of the tank, and hosed off which can usually be done in about 10 minutes.
Keep your Water level in check:
If the water level falls below the level of the skimmer it could damage the pump or filter. If it's too high, it won't clean the leaves and debris off of the top of the pool properly. After adding water to your pool you may want to test the chemical levels again as they will obviously be diluted. If you need to add water frequently, it may be possible that your pool is leaking, which will cause you to spend more money on chemicals to keep it in balance. It may be necessary to get a leak test performed by a professional- or you can do your own "bucket test". This consists of filling a bucket with the same amount of water that's on your first pool step, and leaving it sit in the pool for a few days and then compare the level of evaporation in the bucket against the level of evaporation in the pool. If the pool is lower than the water in the bucket, then there is a leak- if it's basically the same drop in both, it is just due to evaporation.