Pool & Spa
How to Take Care of a Pool
As a pool owner or a prospective one, you need to be well informed on all aspects of your pool. This will ensure you have an easy time maintaining it.
This article explains the basic parts of a swimming pool and discusses major pool maintenance practices. This will guide you on how to take care of your pool for a great experience for you and the swimmers.
The Basic Parts of Swimming Pool
1. Pool Water
Pool water is what most people can identify in a pool. It is contained in the pool interior. Depending on the type of pool, pool water contains chlorine which is an oxidizer that sanitizes it.
The water has to be well balanced for a good swimming experience. It should be clear of debris and should not be cloudy. Regular water testing is needed to ensure the pool is optimal for the swimmers.
While the water may seem stagnant in the pool, it is not. It has to undergo regular pumping and filtration to remove any debris and bacteria that may infest it.
2. Pool Interior
The pool interior is the part that holds pool water. It consists of the pool wall, the floor, and pool fixtures such as the main drains that are usually located at the lowest points on the pool floor. The pool walls have the skimmer system and return valves too.
The pool interior can be made from a variety of materials depending on your preference and the type of pool you have. Some of the materials include fiberglass, tiles, or the pool may be vinyl-lined.
3. Filter System
The pool filtration system is the main cleaning system of your pool. It consists of the pool pump and jets which ensure the water is in circulation and a filter.
Just before the water flows into the pump, it passes through a metal strainer basket that catches leaves and large debris that might clog up the pump. The pump impeller then drives the water from the various drains through the filter and back out to the water inlets.
When water flows into the pool filter, the small debris and dirt are removed and the water is returned to the pool. There are three types of pool filters: the sand filter, the cartridge filter and the diatomaceous earth filter. You can choose one depending on your preferences.
4. Skimmers and Return
Pool skimmers are small drains that are located on the pool walls and draw water the same way as the main drains. However, they suck water only from the very top of the pool. They aid in the removal of floating debris and leaves.
Once the water is pumped through the filtering system it is taken back to the pool through the returns. These are inlet valves that are typically located around the side of the pool. This skimmer and return system involve a lot of suction force.
However, with proper pool plumbing, skimmers and returns do not pose a danger of holding a swimmer to the pool wall through suction. They just aid in keeping the pool clean and also help in keeping the water circulation in check.
How to Maintain a Pool
1. Maintain Proper Pool Circulation
Maintaining proper pool circulation is very important. This is done to keep the water well aerated and in motion. Circulating water is a great deterrent for animals such as frogs and ducks. These can be a menace in your pool but keeping the water in circulation keeps them away.
Apart from that, circulating water helps to get rid of algae spores through the filter system, before they attach to the pool. It also reduces the chances of bacterial proliferation in your pool because some bacteria prefer still water.
In addition, circulating water ensures that the pool chemicals such as chlorine and muriatic acid are well distributed in the pool. This will help in keeping your pool sanitized.
To maintain pool circulation, run the pool pump for at least 8 hours in a day. You can also install pool fountains to enhance it.
2. Clean Your Pool Regularly
Pool cleaning should be done regularly. When pool usage is heavy, daily cleaning is ideal. It ensures that your pool is rid of small debris and also leaves. It also ensures that the water is clean and pleasant for the swimmers because no one likes a dirty pool.
Regular cleaning will save you a lot of effort because debris is not allowed to settle on the pool walls. It may also help get rid of algae spores that may have been introduced in your pool from natural water bodies before the algae multiply.
Cleaning involves brushing the pool walls and floor using a regular pool brush and using a filter basket to remove any large debris and leaves. Clean the pool filter too and pool accessories such as floaters and swimsuits regularly.
You can also purchase a robotic pool cleaner to save you the time and energy required during regular pool cleaning.
3. Maintain Proper Pool Chemistry
To maintain proper pool chemistry, you will need to test the pool pH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels using either a liquid test kit or a strip test which is easily available in local stores. This will guide you on the next action.
According to the Centre for Diseases Control, you should maintain your pool pH at the recommended range of between 7.2 and 7.8 and a free chlorine concentration of at least 3ppm.
If the pool pH is below 7.2, add an alkaline to balance it out. If the pH is above 7.8, it means the pool is alkaline. Add an acid such as muriatic acid to bring the pH down to the recommended range. If the chlorine levels drop below 3ppm, you should shock your pool.
Add a chlorine stabilizer like cyanuric acid, to ensure the longevity of chlorine action. This reduces the degradation of chlorine by the sun’s UV rays.
A pool with proper chemistry is comfortable to swim in because the water does not cause eye and skin irritation. It is also well sanitized and the chances of bacterial or algae infestation are minimal.
4. Shock Your Pool Regularly
Pool shocking should be done weekly. It involves adding granular chlorine to your pool to get rid of germs and algae spores. It helps to keep free chlorine levels at an optimum of at least 3ppm. For regular pool shocking, use 1lb. of shock per 10,000 gallons of pool water.
After the application of pool shock near the pool jets, you should run the pump for at least 24 hours to ensure the shock is well distributed in the pool. Wait at least 8 hours before using the pool after shocking, to avoid eye and skin irritation.
For maximum effectiveness, apply pool shock in the evening or on a cloudy day because the sun’s UV rays break down free chlorine. You should also take precautions while handling pool shock and follow the instructions on the shock package label before using it.
5. Create a Maintenance Schedule
To make pool maintenance easier for you, it is advisable to create a schedule. It will guide you on when a maintenance practice is due. While creating it, ensure you heed to best practices such as regular shocking.
You can even include the equipment and the reagents needed (and the amounts) in the schedule to make it even easier. The instructions should be easy to follow in case you delegate pool maintenance to other people.
While creating a schedule, you should factor in when the pool is used most so that maintenance does not coincide with the times the pool is in high demand.
In conclusion, as a pool owner, you need to take care of your pool regularly. To do this, you should make a schedule of all the maintenance practices and when they are due.
Some of the maintenance practices include maintaining pool circulation using the pool pump or fountains, regular pool cleaning, pool shocking, and regular pool chemistry balancing.
Proper pool care will save you from issues such as highly imbalanced water which causes swimmer irritation and bacterial and algae infestation in the long run.
- How Swimming Pools Work - HowStuffWorks