A pool is fun but can also be a messy chore. Cleaning your pool regularly can help keep it clean and reduce the amount of chemicals you need to add to it.
You will need to have a few basic tools. A telescoping pole and a flat skimmer net will allow you to scoop leaves, twigs, hair ties, and other large debris.
The first step to keeping your pool clean is vacuuming the debris. This is especially important in the fall and spring when leaves can clog your pool’s filter, making it difficult for your sanitizers to do their job. Ideally, you should vacuum your pool weekly (or even daily if you have a large number of swimmers).
Start by turning off your pool pump and attaching the hose to your vacuum cleaner. Next, read your vacuum’s manual to find out where you need to hook up the other end of the hose. This will vary from pool to pool, but most vacuums hook up to the open skimmer or a return jet on your pool’s plumbing system. Some vacuums also have a special attachment for your vacuum cleaner’s hose that hooks up to the bottom of your pool and makes it easier to vacuum deep corners and other hard-to-reach areas.
Once you’re attached to your hose, lower it into the water and begin vacuuming the entire pool, starting at the shallow end and working toward the deep end. As you vacuum, be sure to keep the hose underwater to prevent air from entering the filter system. If your vacuum’s head becomes full of dirt, it’s a good idea to backwash your filter before continuing.
If your vacuum is clogged by a large amount of debris, it’s possible that you may need to unclog the impeller with a screwdriver or an impeller cleaning kit. This is a common issue that can cause your pool pump to not work properly.
Once the debris is gone, turn on your pump and reattach the hose to the filter. Check your pool’s pressure gauge to make sure it is in the normal range. If it isn’t, you can drain some of the water out of your pool to relieve the pressure on your filter before proceeding.
During the vacuuming process, remember to work in a grid pattern and slightly overlap each pass to avoid missing any spots. Also, if your pool water is cloudy, it’s a good idea to stop and allow the debris time to settle before you resume vacuuming.
Aside from vacuuming, brushing your pool should be an integral part of your cleaning routine. Aside from the obvious benefit of preventing stains, it also helps prevent algae and scale. Stains and algae are caused by a combination of minerals, oil, dirt and small metals that can build up on the surface of your pool. If left unattended, these substances can eventually cause etching, staining and even water discoloration. Brushing breaks up the protective layers of these particles and suspends them in the water so that chemicals can do their job.
A pool brush is a simple tool that will get the job done. It’s typically attached to a telescopic pole, making it easy for you to reach all areas of your pool. When brushing, start in the shallow end or at your stairs (if applicable). From there, work your way around the pool and brush all walls and floors, continuously pushing debris ad dust towards the main suction outlet (usually your deep end drain).
When brushing, be sure to cover every inch of the pool, including corners and tight spaces. A stiff bristled brush is ideal for plaster-lined pools; a soft brush is best for vinyl or fiberglass walls. When brushing your steps, be gentle and don’t scratch the grout. If you’re having trouble reaching the bottom of your pool, a skimmer net is also helpful for picking up leaves, twigs, bugs and other loose items that can easily clog your filter.
Once you’ve finished brushing, make sure that all of your valves are turned off and connect your backwash hose to the backwash port. Make sure that your pool filtration system is set to waste and then run the hose through the pump to backwash the filter. Depending on your pool chemistry, you may need to backwash more frequently, especially after heavy rain or bad weather.
While brushing is a key part of your pool maintenance, it’s not enough to remove all stains or prevent algae. Chemicals like chlorine, shock, algaecide and algae killer are still required. When necessary, a dose of muriatic acid can also be added to the water to help dissolve and remove any calcium deposits that are building up in your pool.
Backwashing, or reverse flow, is a regular part of cleaning your pool and a critical step for maintaining a clean pool. When you backwash your pool, you reverse the flow of water through your filter and lift up and flush out any contaminants that may be building up in the filter medium (sand or diatomaceous earth – DE).
You should backwash your pool when it is dirty, which means when the pressure gauge on your filter rises 8-10 psi above its normal reading. This will ensure that your filter is able to properly clean your pool’s water.
When you’re ready to backwash your pool, turn off the pump, hook up a hose to your backwash nozzle, and then position it where you’d like the water to discharge. You can either leave it to evaporate in the sun, or you can run it off of your property into areas where it won’t cause any damage. It’s important to be careful when disposing of backwash water because a few hundred gallons of water flooding onto your neighbors’ property will not be welcome.
If you’re not comfortable attempting to backwash your own pool, consider hiring a professional pool expert to do it for you. Backwashing a pool isn’t an easy task, and you’ll want to make sure it’s done correctly so that your pool remains safe for swimmers.
Keeping your pool in tip-top shape requires proper maintenance on a weekly basis. This includes skimming, brushing, vacuuming, emptying skimmer baskets, closing skimmer line valves and superchlorinating. You should also test your pool’s chemical levels frequently, adjusting as necessary. Remember, incorrect use of chemicals can result in long term damage to your pool and even physical harm to you and your family, so be sure to get a pro’s opinion on any chemical treatments before implementing them yourself.
4. Test the Water
If you’re serious about cleaning your pool regularly, you need to invest in a water testing kit. This will allow you to easily and accurately test the water chemistry in your pool. It’s a crucial tool for making the necessary changes to your pool chemicals in order to keep the water balanced and safe.
Test strips are the most common and popular way to test your pool’s water. They are inexpensive, easy to use, and provide quick results. They can also test for multiple chemicals at the same time. However, there are more accurate and comprehensive testing kits on the market as well.
Before using a test strip, always make sure to wash and dry your hands. This will eliminate any contamination that may skew the test results. After washing, remove the strip from its packaging and place it in a cup of your pool water. Then, shake the test strip and read the results.
It’s best to take your water sample from 18 inches below the surface, if possible. This will give you the most accurate reading and prevent contaminants from affecting the results. Additionally, you should try to collect the water away from any return jets, as they tend to have higher chlorine levels and salt content than other parts of the pool.
Whether you’re testing your pool for total alkalinity, pH, or chlorine levels, it’s important to follow the instructions on the package of your test kit. For example, if you’re measuring pH balance, it’s best to measure after shocking the pool and before adding any additional chemicals.
In addition to a vacuum, brush, and skimmer net, you should also have a professional-grade telescopic pole on hand for getting the hard-to-reach areas of your pool. You can purchase one of these online or at your local Poolwerx store.
These tips will help you keep your pool clean and sanitized all season long. Remember to vacuum regularly, brush often, and test the water frequently. This will ensure your pool is healthy and safe for you and your family to swim in.