Pool maintenance tips and tricks

When the weather is warm, who can resist the allure of an in-ground pool, the water shining like a jewel in the sunshine of your yard? It beckons, accompanied by thoughts of cool drinks and stretching out on a chaise lounge on the deck to soak up some sun.

Pools also provide a wonderful opportunity for socializing; your friends will be delighted by the invitation to a pool party. Dancing to the strains of your favorite music on the deck as lanterns shimmer in the dusk, playing volleyball with a net strung across the water or floating on an inflatable lounger will tempt any adult. Meanwhile, your children’s friends will flock to the backyard for games of Marco Polo or underwater tag.

Pool cleaning

Person cleaning on-ground pool with a skimmer

Scrub-a-dub-dub. Build skimming and scrubbing into your regular chores routine. Skimming leaves and debris off the water’s surface should be done daily. Investing in a robot vacuum to clean the pool’s floor is also worth considering. Scrubbing, which prevents algae build-up on the sides of the pool, should be done every other week using a scrub brush.

Your pool skimmer removes much of the surface debris from the water, but they miss fine dirt, such as hair and sand. Get more mileage out of your skimmer by taking a pair of pantyhose and wrapping them around the baskets. The minuscule holes in the fabric will filter out much of this detritus.

Tennis ball in the pool

Follow the floating ball. Whenever people use a pool, they leave a trail of oils and chemicals behind. Sunscreen, makeup and body oils help build up grime in the water. The solution? Drop a tennis ball into your pool. The tennis ball’s fibres will absorb these greasy substances.

Inground pools

Enjoying an in-ground pool isn’t all play, however. To ensure that your pool is clean, functioning properly and safe for swimming, you’ll need to do some work. You should be diligent in caring for your pool, but it needn’t be painful. Get in the swim of things with these tips and tricks for maintaining your pool properly.

Call the doctor. Just like humans, pools do best if they have an annual check-up by a professional. Before the service professional arrives, make a list of any irregularities you notice, using all of your senses. Are there any odd smells? Loud sounds from equipment? Holes in your pool liner?

You may not have the expertise to fix these problems, so let a professional take a look. It may seem like a waste of time and money, but fixing small problems now can save you a lot of aggravation down the road.

Pool filters

Don’t forget the filter. The filter is like your pool’s kidneys, removing impurities from the water. Clean the filter basket weekly by following these simple steps:

  • Turn off the filter
  • Remove the filter cap
  • Take out the basket and clean it

The pipes in your filter system should be cleaned monthly by turning your filter controls to the backwash setting, removing and cleaning the leaf basket, then turning on the pump and allowing it to run until clear water comes out of the waste pipe.

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Pool chemicals

Check the chemicals. A key task in maintaining your pool is monitoring the chemicals to ensure they are properly balanced. If not, the mixture may irritate your skin and eyes and allow bacteria to set up a breeding program in your pool!

Testing kits are available at any pool store to evaluate the various chemical levels: cyanuric acid, free chlorine, pH balance, total alkalinity and calcium hardness. Adjust the levels accordingly to achieve proper balance. The water should be clear, have no scent and leave a little residue on the skin.

Baking soda’s best. If your pool needs its pH level adjusted, try baking soda rather than an expensive chemical solution. Baking soda is much cheaper than standard alkalinity products and can be substituted gram for gram.

Solar cover

How cool! Keeping the water in your pool warm takes power and you’ll see the impact on your hydro bill. Combat the higher costs by using a solar cover for your pool. The greatest heat loss comes from evaporation that cools the pool water; a solar cover minimizes the evaporation.

Pool swimwear

Father and daughter jump into swimming pool together

Bathing suits, not shorts. One advantage that bathing suits have over khakis or other clothing in the pool is that they don’t shed or bleed. Fabrics fray, leaving fibres behind, and dyes can bleed into the water, requiring more cleaning for your pool. Institute a bathing suits-only rule to keep your pool cleaner.

Try these hints and tricks and you’ll find the end of pool season to be even more enjoyable than the beginning.

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