Did you just recently finish constructing your backyard pool? If so, you just made a huge leap towards fulfilling your ultimate weekend fantasy: a cool barbecue party with your colleagues or best buddies while relaxing on that invigorating pool water.
A new pool owner like you, typically, has all the energy and level of scrutiny required to properly maintain your pool. Why? Simply because it’s new!
However, like any other endeavor, you can succumb to complacency later on which can be detrimental to your pool’s welfare.
Below are 10 must-remember tips for pool maintenance newbies:
Newbie Tip #1: Pool Scanning and Cleanup Must Be Second Nature
I’m saying it as early as this, pool maintenance, whether for newbies like you or for long-time pool owners, is 70% will and 30% knowledge.
And it all starts by being consistent in removing agents that come in contact with your pool each day.
For agents that are visible in your pool’s surface (e.g., leaves, pet hair, debris, etc.), you need to remove such DAILY. We’ve already discussed on a separate article how algae feeds off organisms present in rubbishes.
Various pool skimmers and leaf rake nets are available online. Now if you have the money for your pool bottom, we’ve compiled a series of both budget-friendly and high-end vacuum cleaners in a separate article.
Now for the pool sides, there’s only one solution to prevent it from serving as home to algae– manual scrubbing. The good news is that you need not to do this daily, but at least 4 to 5 times a month. With a naked eye, it’s easy to distinguish what spots to hit (i.e., greenish and yellowish ones).
Try the sock trick.
Find an old, but not filthy sock in your cabinet. Pack its inside with chlorine, and use this to hit stubborn spots afterwards. Notice how those pesky algae crumble within a minute after application. Scrub it ordinarily once more, then rinse.
Make sure that the dead algae are properly removed or vacuumed.
Newbie Tip #2: Mind The Tiles
When calcium carbonate splits from the pool water, it can leave your tiles with gray, white or brown spots. This affects your pool’s overall aesthetics.
Typically, these calcium carbonate deposits in your pool tiles can be eliminated with the use of a pumice stone or stain eraser. However, if you don’t have any previous experience in using such, exercise caution by contacting a pool professional first.
Like any other undesirable pool conditions, scale buildup on tiles is caused by poor element levels on the water. For optimal pool tile condition, strive for the following levels:
Newbie Tip #3: Foil The Oils!
Oils – whether human produced or from artificial products – leave your pool looking abnormally shiny. Your guests may think twice about diving right into your slimy pool.
So who’s to blame?
Obviously, it’s your sweaty college friends who jumped immediately within a minute after applying their suntan lotions.
Know that hair products like gels and waxes, sunblock lotions, and human sweat will probably leave your pool water looking slathered and slimy.
To even make matters worse, your pool swimmers don’t even care even if a lot of lotion washes off into the pool.
The quick fix?
Ask them nicely to take light showers first. This is to wash off dirt and sweat accumulation in your guests’ bodies. Now, if they are to apply lotions and sunscreens, ask them to give at least 15 to 20 minutes of time allowance for it to soak into their skins.
Now that you know how to minimize oil contact in your pool, let’s tackle an old trick in the book of long-time pool owners.
What do you need? Just a $2 tennis ball from Walmart (or any other shops). Just casually throw it in the middle of the pool, and let its fibers do its magic. The fibers will absorb the oil to reduce that sheen from your pool water.
Newbie Tip #4: During Winter, Protect Your Pool Cover
Without a solid pool cover with safety attributes, your pool may look like a sewer after the winter strikes.
And even if you have one, failure to attend to your pool cover can force you to spend hundreds of bucks in replacing it due to destruction.
The key is attention.
For instance, make sure that you always remove rainwater and snow off it, whether after a light or heavy downfall. Ensure dryness.
Now, if weather conditions permit you, go out and wipe off leaves and debris sitting on top of your pool cover as much as possible.
After winter, you will thank yourself for a job well done. You not only allowed your cover to be re-used for next year; you also made removal of it much easier. You also saved money to better enjoy the spring season.
Just think of the massive trouble (and waste) a pool owner has to face had he not cleaned his cover? You don’t want any part of that.
Newbie Tip #5: Control Pool pH to Control Chlorine Needs
One glaring mistake of some pool owners is that when chlorine levels go down, they just keep adding it, without considering the root cause.
As a pool maintenance newbie, you need to know this truth: when pH level in your pool increases, chlorine becomes less effective.
Also, make it a habit to gauge pool chemistry at least once a week. This will enable you to assess if pool chemicals are on optimal levels. As a basic rule, pH should be kept at a 7.2 minimum, and 7.8 maximum.
If pH goes above that ceiling, your pool’s chlorine level and effectivity will plummet. This may prompt you to buy more chemicals as a superficial solution, but focus your attention more on properly controlling pH pool levels.
Newbie Tip #6: Turn Basic Sodas Into Magic Dusts
Why spend too much in branded alkalinity increasers if it possesses the exact core ingredient found in a mundane baking soda? Sodium bicarbonate.
But there’s still a reason why such increasers sold in pool stores cost a fortune. When applied, these do not severely bring down pH levels. On the contrary, when baking soda is applied generously, it can significantly alter both pH and alkalinity levels.
The best instance to use baking soda?
ONLY when a slight jolt of alkalinity is needed to fix your pool. Needless to say, if you only want to seldom use such pricy increasers, it will take a whole lot of effort and awareness to protect your pool chemical levels.
Take note that using baking soda can also make your pool appear misty. Another argument to apply baking soda in your pool sparingly.
Newbie Tip #7: Too Much Pool Water or Inadequacy Thereof Can Be Detrimental
Like pool chemicals, your pool water level is another factor you should keep an eye on.
If it’s too high, it can cause the skimmer door to malfunction. Meanwhile, a drought-like scenario can scorch and damage the pumps.
Water level fluctuations are often caused by heavy rains and children playing water games like cannonballs in an extended period of time.
If it’s below the optimal level, simply utilize a garden hose to fill it back up. If it’s way above the level, you can opt to afford a submergible pump from a neighbor or nearby store for a rental.
Newbie Tip #8: Accomplish a Daily Checklist
Oftentimes, your pool will give you telltale signs if something’s off about it. However, there’s a great chance that you may be too preoccupied during the day to take notice of it.
Create a checklist with related questions like the following:
- Is the water crystal clear and the pool bottom obvious?
- Is the in-floor spared from dirt and debris that may be wounding?
- Are sidewall returns relatively weaker then yesterday?
- Are there any suspecting odors?
- Are filters and drains functioning properly?
Newbie Tip #9: Always Keep the Pool Water Moving During Dog Days
Algae thrives on warm water brought upon by summer time or abnormally hot weathers. To combat this, it’s advised to keep your filter running for at least half of the day during these times.
Now when temperatures are much cooler, you can afford to be a little lenient in running your filter. It’s because algae finds it hard to multiply on colder weathers. You can save a portion of your usual energy costs during this stretch.
Putting money on a variable-speed pump is also another viable option besides manually controlling your pool filter energy consumption.
Newbie Tip #10: Always Mind the Figures
Pool chemical results won’t lie. It speaks of the underlying conditions that are present in your pool water.
Optimal pool chemical levels are as follows:
- Alkalinity – Up to 120 ppm, but not below 80
- PH: 7.2 – 7.8 (Strive to lock it in the minimum)
- Calcium Hardness: 275 – 450 ppm
- Cyanuric Acid: Between 30 to 50 ppm
Remember that temperature factors in when testing for chemical levels. So when you’ve basically done everything in your might and yet figures remain slightly below or above the recommended threshold, don’t fret!
Again, majority of pool maintenance boils down to effort. Have you done your share for today?