Just like your home or car, your swimming pool needs continual maintenance in order for it to function properly, and in order for you to enjoy it fully. The best way to learn how to maintain a pool is to familiarize yourself with pool maintenance essentials. It can also pay to brush up on the anatomy of your pool so you know what parts need regular cleaning and what parts don’t.

Pool Basics

  • Water

The water in your pool is a huge part of what keeps it running properly. Keeping the chemicals balanced and the water clean and clear can help you avoid costly repairs, corrosion and mineral build-up.

  • Interior

The inner walls of your pool liner come in constant contact with the pool water, along with everything that enters it. Keeping it clear of mold, debris, and algae will keep your pool clean and safe.

  • Filter system

Your pool’s filter clears contaminants and dirt from your water, protecting you and your pool from potential harm. If your filter system ever fails, your pool will become polluted and unswimmable.

  • System of skimmers and returns

A pool’s skimmers pull water into the pool filter for cleaning, while the returns push the cleaned water back into the pool. 

Keeping all of these systems and parts of your pool clean comes down to three basic concepts of pool maintenance: chemistry, cleaning, and circulation.

Chemistry

Step one of pool maintenance is to test and correct the chemistry of your pool on a weekly basis. Many pool cleaning services will do this for you, but you also do this yourself by checking the pH levels, alkalinity, and chlorine levels. 

  • pH levels

This is the measure of how basic or acidic your pool water is. Lower pH means more acidic, higher is more basic. The ideal range for your pool’s pH level is 7.4 to 7.6.

  • Alkalinity

This works as a pH buffer and helps to avoid huge spikes in acidity and basicity. The ideal range for your alkalinity is 100 to 150 parts per million (ppm).

  • Sanitizer levels 

Your sanitizer levels include your bromine and chlorine along with others. The right levels will vary depending on which type of sanitizer your use.

You can purchase a simple testing kit from Amazon or any pool-ware store to test your levels. Once you’ve measured the pool, you can adjust your chemicals as needed. Be sure to strictly follow all directions on each chemical. It’s also wise to understand how each chemical affects the water and the people who swim in it before you do add anything to the water.

Cleaning

If your pool has proper circulation, it will make cleaning your pool a whole lot easier. However, you’ll still need to use a few other tactics to keep your pool free of debris. Invest in a net skimmer, pool brush, and pool vacuum.

Every week, use your net skimmer to clean out any debris such as leaves, dead bugs, and even the odd frog or dead animal.

Along with your net skimmer, use your brush and pool vacuum weekly. Start with the brush to scrub down the walls and floor of your pool. You can use a baking soda paste on the brush to really clean the tile or a vinyl liner if your pool is above ground. After you’ve scrubbed, use the vacuum to get any pile of dirt that has accumulated from the brushing. Give the rest of the pool a good once over with the vacuum before you finish. Be sure to attach the vacuum to your filter system.

Circulation

Although cleaning can solve short-term problems, you’ll want to ensure your pool’s circulation is working for long term cleanliness. Stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and algae.

You should run your pool pump 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If this isn’t feasible for your budget or your equipment, try to run it at least 10 to 12 hours each day. This will help to turn the water over a few times.

Another key component of the circulation of your pool is backwashing the filter. Backwashing is the process of reversing the flow of water through your filter and shunting dirty water along with built-up contaminants to the waste port, riding them from your pool. If you don’t know how to clean out your pool filter, you should learn how to do so now, and make it a part of your regular pool maintenance routine.

Be sure to keep these three basic concepts in mind as you expand your knowledge of pool maintenance. In no time you’ll be a pool-cleaning expert. 

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