On a hot summer afternoon, a plunge into the pool feels refreshing if not heavenly. That’s the primary reason for having a pool in my backyard. The other being cultivating my tan by the poolside during lazy days. Amid all the luxuries, there is a crucial element that keeps me on my toes. And that’s pool maintenance. It is what separates a limpid pool from a backyard swamp! You can, of course, hire a handyman (like handymandir.com, to name one example) to help with this, or you can do it yourself. Here are maintenance tips I have learned through the years.
Check the Water Levels
During my early years as a pool owner, I often forgot to check on the physical water levels. Due to this, my pump broke down regularly. It turns out that low water levels interfere with the pool’s skimmer. As a result, debris and leaves accumulate, clog hoses, and in some instances find their way to the pump.
The ideal water level should be half of the pool’s skimmer. During high precipitations or whenever there’s a heavy downpour, I drain excess water from the pool. However, when temperatures are high and the pool’s water level drops, I add water using a hose.
Balance the Chemical Levels
Maintaining the required chemical levels in a pool is a perilous task. Chemically imbalanced pool water irritates the skin, affects the eyes, makes the water murky, and is ideal for bacteria.
The chemical aspects I pay attention to are total alkalinity (80-110 ppm), free chlorine, calcium hardness (220-300), Cyanuric Acid (30-50 ppm), and pH levels (7.5-7.8). Testing the water is straightforward. I source the required testing kits from a pool store, then collect samples from my pool using vials. What follows is a color comparison between the tested water and colors on the kit.
Shock Whenever Murky
A common issue among homeowners is when should they shock their pools. From years of maintaining my pool, I have learned to use the water’s color as a determinant for shocking. A murky pool is a clear indicator that my pool needs to be shocked. My pool tends to get cloudy whenever my kid holds a bash and invites lots of friends.
The pool’s murkiness is caused by a surge in the number of bacteria, and shocking remedies this problem. Shocking implies using an excess dose of chlorine to kill pool bacteria within a short period. I usually pour five times the normal chlorine level to the return line, allow it to filter through, then refill the pool. I also avoid shocking too often since it degrades the pool’s sidings.
Regular Scrubbing and Skimming
Every pool demands skimming off debris and leaves, but a pristine pool requires this service regularly. Luckily, I own a skimmer basket for such functions. I clean out this basket daily to prevent the build-up of undesirable material. Besides, a cleaner skimmer basket improves the lifespan of the pump.
When it comes to scrubbing, I perform this action every week. Scrubbing mainly prevents the growth and build-up of algae on the pool’s walls. My main focus is usually on growth spots, where I scrub using a brush and some chlorine. I start at the top of the pool, working my way down while employing steady brush strokes.
Maintain the Filters
The number of times a pool filter should be cleaned varies depending on the type of filter. The quickest way of judging a problem is when the filter pressure gauge points to a drop in pressure. I clean my filter by first turning it off, eliminating the filter cap, then emptying the filter basket.
I perform this task weekly when free or contract a handyman whenever I am busy. I also backwash my filter system monthly. This removes any built-up contaminants in the filter pipes.
Yearly Service Appointment
Similar to most home appliances and tools, a backyard pool needs an annual check from pool experts. This is because most of us have limited knowledge of equipment like heating systems, pumps, and filters, to name a few. Each year, I have had a professional come and inspect my pool.
I ensure every aspect of my pool is checked with each visit, and mention any underlying issue to my serviceperson. The small problems the serviceperson detects averts astronomical calamities that I might encounter in the future.