It is common knowledge that swimming pools require regular maintenance. You need to maintain the water quality through regular testing by adding pool chemicals as required. It is crucial to keep the ideal levels of chlorine, salt (if it is a salt water pool), acidity, sanitizers, and water hardness. So, if you are thinking about having a pool constructed, you must know what to expect in terms of maintenance. Below are some basic items and tips you’ll need for a swimming pool.
Materials for Pool Maintenance:
- Chemical Test Strips
- Chlorine Shock (When Necessary)
- Chlorine Tablets or Salt
- Soda Ash
- Muriatic Acid
- Cyanuric Acid
- Salt Water Test Strips or Meter (for salt water pools)
The Cleaning Process
Cleaning the pool entails removing any floating leaves and debris on the surface of the water. As well, as removing all the debris and dirt that may have settled to the bottom of the pool, using a pool vacuum. Before vacuuming check to see if the sides of the pool needs to be brushed. Otherwise you need to vacuum twice since any dirt removed from the walls will setting to the bottom of the pool. Once you finish vacuum you will need to check and clean the filter baskets, pool skimmer, and pump filters for the dirt collected. Back washing the filter may also be required depending on how dirty the pool was or if it has been some time since it was done.
It is recommended that you develop a weekly or biweekly cleaning routine as required and it should be adjusted with the amount the pool is used. Keep in mind the level of maintaining your pool depends on its size and the abundance of nearby trees, wind and location. After all, dirt and leaves from nearby landscaping can make the pool become dirty faster.
The Chemical Balancing
It is essential to maintain the pH level of the pool water between 7.2 to 7.6, making it slightly alkaline. If the acidity/alkalinity level of the pool is out of this range, it will be difficult for you to keep the sufficient chlorine levels. It is worth noting that alkaline and acidic water can easily degrade hypochlorous acid, which is an agent responsible for sanitizing a chlorine pool. So, before you make any chemical adjustments to the water, you need to balance the pH levels first. You can lower the pH by using dry acid or muriatic acid. On the other hand, you can add soda ash or baking soda to raise the pH level.
Ideally, there should be between 1 and 3 parts per million of ‘free’ chlorine concentration. It is worth noting that as part of the sanitization process of chlorine, the chemical forms compounds with the contaminants. In this case, the chlorine is no longer available, which requires more chlorine.
Alkalinity and PH
The total alkalinity level may be a different measurement from the pH, but they are somewhat related. The water becomes corrosive when the total alkalinity is too low. On the other hand, it becomes more difficult to maintain the pH level when the total alkalinity becomes too high. Consequently, you will notice the water becoming cloudy. The ideal range of the total alkalinity should be between 80 and 120 ppm. You can raise its levels by adding baking soda. On the other hand, add muriatic acid to lower the total alkalinity.
Another essential parameter you need to consider is water hardness. You do not need to test it as often as other pool chemicals. However, you need to check it at least once or twice a season depending how much water is added to the pool. Ideally, water hardness should range between 200 and 400 ppm. The water will become more corrosive when its less than 200 ppm and if the reading is higher than 400 ppm, the water may become cloudy.
There are times when you need to ‘shock’ your pool water; after heavy rain, high levels of algae or on regular routine. The process entails quickly raising the free chlorine level to 10 ppm or higher. The strong smell of chlorine does not necessarily mean that its level is too high. In some cases, it means the level of the locked-up chlorine compounds (chloramines) is too high. That said, you need to check the chlorine level in your pool.
Maintaining the Pool Equipment
It is crucial to keep the pool equipment and pump functioning properly. One of the reasons why the water gets dirty quickly is faulty pool equipment. Over time, the pipes, filters, and tiles wear out or deteriorate from the exposure to the elements and pool chemicals. So, it is best that you contact a professional pool maintenance company to inspect these components from time to time.
Reduce Pool Maintenance with a Pool Enclosure
As you can see, having a backyard pool requires regular maintenance and work from time to time. However, there is a way to make the process easier and reduce the regular maintenance. You can install a retractable pool enclosure and enjoy several benefits. For instance, you do not need to worry about falling leaves, debris, sticks, and dirt, which means less cleaning, skimming, or vacuuming. You can keep the swimming pool area clean and neat and reduce the daily maintenance of skimming and cleaning. By reducing or eliminating the amount of debris falling into the pool helps maintain the pool chemistry there by reducing the chemicals required for water quality.
There are other benefits from a pool enclosure. For instance, the structure allows you to have better control over the air temperature above the pool. During cooler days and months, you can keep the air above the pool warmer reducing evaporation. Consequently, the water will be able to retain a good amount of chlorine, which saves you the effort and money needed to maintain the chemical levels in the pool.
A pool enclosure can also prolong the life of your pool equipment and components. In the summer when the pool enclosure is closed it eliminates the UV rays from the sun and prevents fading of patio furniture. As well, extends the life pool equipment and tools from becoming brittle. During the winter months, the water in your pool can start to freeze, which can damage the pool materials, including the pipes, tiles, and filters. Even if you drain your pool prior to the winter season, there will still be residual moisture which can affect the materials. On the other hand, when you have a pool enclosure, you can keep the water the same temperature year round. Consequently, you can save the equipment and components from damages caused by the frost.
Pool maintenance is required to keep your pool clean and inviting for a swim anytime. But with a regular schedule the efforts are reduced.