4 tips for proper pool maintenance

Owning a pool is major commitment. No wonder there are so many pool companies in business. But caring for the pool yourself can save you money and not having your enjoyment depending on others.

4 tips for proper pool maintenance

1. Protect from micro-organisms

  • You're not the only one enjoying your pool: It's also an excellent breeding ground for harmful bacteria and other micro-organisms.
  • Applying a sanitizer (usually chlorine) can keep them in check. Monitoring and adjusting the chemical levels regularly is essential — you have to make sure that the creepy-crawlies aren't thriving in your water! Two to three times a week, use a pool water test kit to test pH (the ideal range is 7.2–7.6) and chlorine levels (1.0–3.0 parts per million).
  • Thoroughly rinse vials and cells before filling them, and collect water samples from about 45 centimetres (18 inches) below the pool's surface. Additional testing for total alkalinity (80–120 ppm), calcium hardness (200–300 ppm), total dissolved solids (500–1,500 ppm), and, in the case of outdoor pools, stabilizer/cyanuric acid (20–50 ppm), should be done once a month. Always use caution when handling all pool chemicals, particularly acids.

2. Protect against winter ice damage

  • Protect your concrete pool against ice damage by filling several four litre (one gallon) jugs with a bit of water and placing them around your pool before closing it. In the event your pool ices over, the jugs will absorb the stress instead of your pool walls.
  • In vinyl pools, use large pieces of foam rubber instead of jugs.

3. Keep kids away

  • No pool task is more important than keeping young children away from the water during off-hours with either a pool fence, a pool cover, or a pool safety net. (This applies even if you don't have children in the home — kids from the neighbourhood still pose a risk.)

4. Closing the pool

  • The coming of fall signals the end of pool season in most areas. Close your pool when daytime temperatures hover between 15°to 21°C (60°to 70°F).
  • Three to five days before closing, balance the water, adjusting the pH to between 7.2 and 7.6.• Apply winter shock (a chlorine formulation for winterizing pools).
  • Clean and store all ladders, diving boards, skimmer baskets, ropes, and wall fittings.
  • Drain water to 8 to 15 centimetres (three to six inches) below the tile level for solid covers, 30 to 45 centimetres (12 to 18 inches) for mesh covers.
  • Disconnect and drain all pumps and filters according to manufacturers' instructions.
  • Clean, brush, and vacuum pool walls and floor, skimming off all debris.
  • Blow out pool plumbing with an air compressor, and plug return lines with expandable stoppers.
  • Add winterizing algicide and pool-grade antifreeze.
  • Shut off all electricity to the pool.
  • Coat any exposed metal with petroleum jelly to prevent rust.
  • Cover the pool.
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