Tips for maintaining a swimming pool

July 28, 2015

No pool is maintenance-free. Many pool owners use advanced pool-cleaning systems, such as automatic underwater vacuums, pumps and filters these days. But as swimming pool experts like to say, these automated systems are meant to keep a clean pool clean. If you let algae and pool grim really build up, you'll end up spending hours scrubbing by hand. So the trick to keeping pool cleaning to a minimum is to stay on top of it, even if you have an automated system.

Tips for maintaining a swimming pool

1. Spend at least 5 minutes every day with your pool

  • Walk around it, picking up debris near the edge and making sure the water is clear and not cloudy — a sign of improper pH levels.
  • Any time you see more than five or six leaves or sticks, use a long pole and net to scoop them up.
  • Although an automatic vacuum system will pick up the occasional leaf or twig, its main job is cleaning dirt. Too many leaves can clog the system.

2. Keep up the chemical regimen

  • Maintain your pool with the manufacturer's recommended dosage of chlorine, which kills bacteria and germs.
  • Use an algicide — not chlorine — to reduce algae.
  • After a period of rain, watch for algae blooms, especially mustard algae, which are present in the air.
  • If you have a Gunite pool (a type of sprayed-on concrete finish), be careful about using a copper-based algicide, which can stain the Gunite. Read the label — algicides containing suspended copper are typically okay to use on Gunite.

3. Clean skimmers and filters regularly

Do it once a week, and more often if needed.

4. Periodically 'sweep' the surface

  • Walk around the pool's edge, scooping up debris with the pole and net as you go.
  • Empty the net occasionally to keep leaves from falling back into the pool.
  • When you've finished the edges, net the middle by stretching the net out, letting it fall upside down in the water, and dragging it back towards you.
  • Repeat this while making your way around the pool.
  • Do this once a week or as needed.

5. Clean the sides using a long-handled pool brush

  • Starting at the top of the pool wall, make one smooth motion downwards with the brush.
  • When you reach the bottom, bring the pool brush back to the top, move over one brush width and clean this next section in the same manner.
  • Continue until you've circled the pool once.
  • Do this once a week or as needed.

6. Once a week, scrub the tile

  • Use a pool-tile cleaner and a tile brush, available at pool supply stores.
  • Use as little cleaner as possible to keep the product from filling your pool with suds.
  • To avoid damaging the tiles, use a soft nylon pool brush, and only use a harsher brush if there's a real problem, such as black mould.

7. Vacuum the pool floor

  • Do this to remove dirt and debris. (Make sure all sediment has settled.)
  • Begin by netting up large debris.
  • Then attach your vacuum head and hose to your extended pole.
  • Work your way around the pool, vacuuming towards the main drain.
  • To fill your vacuum hose with water (which you must do before vacuuming), hold the end up to your pool's return water jet until it is full. This way, you won't have to laboriously dip and raise the hose to fill it.
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