Swimming is one of the home-based, fun ways to exercise so having a swimming pool at home is not all about diving and getting wet. For a beginner, finally being able to have a swimming pool right in your backyard or front yard could be the ultimate fulfillment this year.
However, as a novice, you are obviously unsure about some of the swimming pool care and maintenance tips that you are supposed to practice for high-quality water.
You have desperately researched online and offline for the right information and, as is typical, you get mixed, contradicting and confusing results. You, therefore, do not know what exactly you should implement.
Now that you are finally here, be sure you are stepping out with the right information, not hearsay.
You’ll rest easy under the umbrella beside your pristine swimming pool water, enjoying your daydreams because you know how to carry out the vital requirements.
Once you learn the ropes concerning swimming pool care, nothing will stop you from hosting those poolside weekend parties because, after the party, you know what to do to reclaim the sparkle of your swimming pool.
Why Do I Need a Swimming Pool?
A swimming pool is simply for recreational purposes. You want to have fun while cooling your body, especially in the summer. Nobody in his right senses will want to swim in a foul-smelling pool whose floor is muddy. When it comes to mud, I should let you know that an outdoor swimming pool gathers dust quickly, so it needs regular care—no short cut.
It is easy to tell which swimming pool is suffering from neglect, or whose water circulation system is faulty therefore constant water refreshment is hampered.
But with preventive maintenance, you will prolong the life of your swimming pool and cut the repair costs.
As you will find out, you do not need to break the bank to maintain a sparkling clean swimming pool. It is easy, so you really do not need to always hire a service company to manage your swimming pool.
Now, these are the essential care and maintenance tips you need to learn as a beginner who has finally owned a swimming pool:
Your swimming pool filter cannot trap all the particles; it only catches the tiniest of the particles. Large ones such as metals, toys, debris, or leaves may not get into the filter system, and they gradually decompose, get slimy and cloud the pool so that you see a slick sheen on the water. The way out is skimming off the large particles. The skimming should be done on a basis if you are to yield better results.
That said, a tennis ball can also help absorb the oils shining on your pool water. Let the ball roll freely.
2. Active Inlet and Outlets
If you have a circulation system, ensure the inlets and outlets are always active for bright, freshwater.
3. Consistent Water Disinfection
However, if you do not have a circulation system for your swimming pool, the way out is to purify it regularly, depending on how many swimmers swim in it. The more swimmers you have, the more frequently you need to disinfect it.
Why? Swimmers leave behind urine, saliva, sweat, and other wastes. These accumulate over the days, and soon your water is contaminated. If your swimming pool turns greenish and cloudy, the level of these contaminants is high.
Your swimming pool will not be crystal clear if you do not maintain the right chemical balance. Let that point sink in. I have seen a swimming pool that is no different from a swamp, teeming with bacteria, mosquitoes, algae, frogs, and several other unusual guests. The place for recreation turns into a health risk.
After swimming in dirty swimming pool water, you’ll notice sticky residues are drying on your skin. Such murky water also irritates the eyes and skin, so nobody in his right senses would want to dive in. You have to balance the chemicals first to restore the lost glory.
Chlorine is the most common sanitizer used to neutralize a contaminated swimming pool. It renders your pool free of germs, if used correctly. Bromine can also be used instead of chlorine, but with bromine, your pool must be exposed to the sunlight. Bromine never easily breaks down under a shade. Again, for bromine to function effectively, you also have to install an automatic brominator.
If you find that the Ph level is reading between 7.1 to 7.5, it means the chlorine level is still acceptable.
The chlorine itself should always be reading 1.0 – 3.0 PPM (Parts per Million). When the chlorine levels drop lower than the set standard, it’s time to add more chlorine to the swimming pool to maintain the sparkling waters.
However, if the Ph levels shoot up, consider adding acid to neutralize it. One acid I’d recommend is Sodium Bisulphate. Remember that too acidic water corrodes your swimming pool walls and other equipment like the metal stairs.
You should also test the Calcium levels because too much calcium will damage the swimming pool plaster, so it should range between 225 – 340. However, if your swimming pool has vinyl siding, calcium hardness should be lower.
I have heard of people using baking powder to control the pool alkalinity. Usually, sodium bicarbonate from a local pool store is ideal, but then people on a budget see no sense buying the expensive ideal when the same sodium bicarbonate concentration exists in ordinary baking powder. It’s over to you.
4. Shocking the Swimming Pool
Now, regular water disinfection may not always give you the better results you expect. Let me elaborate. You like throwing big bashes, so lots of people visit your home. At the end of it, too many beers, soda and all end up in the swimming pool. You cannot always be in control of everyone. At the end of these parties, your pool is super-polluted. Too many bacteria quickly flock in it to feed on the rotting wastes.
On top of that, the disinfection procedure we have just discussed above is not always a guarantee that every resistant algae or bacteria are always eliminated. So the solution is to outrageously raise the chlorine levels once in a while to destroy all the bacteria and heavy chemicals.
This process of extra-ordinarily raising the chlorine levels in what is known as shocking the pool because the pool receives more chlorine than it is used to. It is also known as super-chlorinating a pool.
How to shock your swimming pool with chlorine or another sanitizing chemical:
To shock your swimming pool with chlorine or other sanitizing chemicals, you have to super-dilute or super-chlorinate the pool with 3-4 times the usual amount of chlorine or other sanitizer brands. This dilution is not poured directly into the pool, but slowly through the inlet line.
Pool shocking is common in the public swimming pools, but you also need it if your private pool attracts many swimmers. However, do not super-chlorinate your pool every day because it damages the pool’s siding. I’d recommend you shock it once or twice every four months.
After every pool shocking, you should add some algaecide to stop the algae from growing on the pool walls.
5. Caring for the pool filter
The swimming pool filter operates like your kidney; it removes the wastes from the swimming pool. For the filter to be more effective in trapping the leaves and other small debris, it needs to be well-maintained. So you should turn off the filter after a week, remove the cap at the pool deck, lift out the filter basket and empty it of all the trapped particles.
I dare add that your type of environment should determine how often you clean the filter. If the pool is near deciduous trees that shed many leaves, you need to do more filter cleaning in the dry season or winter.
It would help if you also backwashed the filter pipes like every three to four weeks. Backwashing a swimming pool filter means to make water flow through its system but in the opposite direction. You are shocking the filter. If the filter pressure gauge reads 5-7 pounds/square past regular reading, the filter should be shocked back into its senses.
To backwash or shock a swimming pool filter, turn on the pump after cleaning the wastebasket and let the water flow through the filter pipes until the water from the waste pipe is clear. Remember not to turn your filter on and off too often to avoid causing mechanical cracks in it.
6. Maintain a clean Pool Deck
So far, I have concentrated on the pool water, but caring for your swimming pool goes beyond the water, although that’s the center stage. You should always ensure your deck is clean and tidy. I will write about how to care for your deck in a later update.
Over to you. These basic swimming pool care and maintenance tips should guide you into owning the neighborhood’s most inviting pool. I should advise you to seek a certified swimming pool professional to help you mix the disinfection chemical products if you feel you may mess things.