When hot weather approaches, that backyard pool looks enticing. It might also look dirty after the fall and winter ─ and dated if it’s more than a decade old. Caring for a pool requires time and expense. But once you know what you’re doing, you can open your pool for the season and keep it in prime operating shape without breaking the bank – all summer long.
Here are six steps to keep your pool in order.
1. Cover – don’t drain – the pool
Do this in the offseason, because it’s better to cover a pool than empty it completely. You risk drying out and damaging the liner by draining a pool. Afraid of freezing water? Winterizing chemicals can prevent this. If you live in an area with a high groundwater table, you definitely don’t want to let the water run out. A drained pool could pop up from the ground when there’s no water weight to keep it in place.
Tip: Maintaining the cover and keeping it clean allows you reuse it for many summers to come.
2. Keep the filtration system clean
This includes all the baskets and the cartridge. Replace any parts that are cracked or broken. Make sure the system is running properly. If you put in plugs for the offseason, remove them at this time.
3. Test the chemicals
Take a water sample to your favorite swimming pool store for tests. The staff will let you know which products to use to keep the pH, mineral, chlorine, and alkalinity levels balanced.
Here’s a guide, courtesy of Popular Mechanics:
- The pH level should be between 7.2 and 7.4.
- The alkalinity level should be between 80 and 120.
- Calcium hardness should be between 150 ppm and 250 ppm.
- Chlorine should be between 1 ppm and 3 ppm.
Clean out the filter daily while the pool water is reaching the right level; that should take about a week. You’ll be able to see the pool’s bottom, and the water will be a pretty blue when complete. During this time, keep the pool covered to prevent debris from getting in the water.
You’ll need to vacuum the leaves and other debris that has settled on the pool bottom once you remove the cover.
Tip: Save money by storing the vacuum head upside down and in a protected area. This helps keep the brushes intact.
5. Shock your pool weekly
When your pool looks crystal clear and sparkling, you might be tempted to skip the weekly chlorine treatments. Don’t do it, especially in the summer during heavy use. Missing one week could result in a green pool, necessitating even more shocking and having the filter run more than usual.
6. Keep up with maintenance
You’ve brought your pool back to life. Now you need to keep it that way for the season. Every week, you’ll need to shock the pool, clean the filter and vacuum. You should test the chemicals daily. It’s a good idea to take a water sample to the pool store once a month while the pool is in use. Take steps to remove hard water stains from tile. That’s an ongoing job, but if you commit to doing a few feet a week, you can keep on top of it.
A swimming pool can be a wonderful addition to your home, enhancing the quality of life and creating lasting memories for you, your family and friends.
Published July 14, 2017