Pool Maintenance For Dummies - 101 - Guide - DIY

If you are Googling “Pool Maintenance For Dummies“, “Pool Maintenance 101” or “Pool Maintenance DIY”, this post should show you how to maintain your pool yourself.

In order to keep your water clean in your pool, there are a few basic maintenance steps that are needed. You can find all this information on products to use, how to care for, and how to test your water for easy pool maintenance.

Pool Pumps & Circulation

The main part of water circulation will be the pump. The pool pump will move water from the pool and send it through the filter to remove debris, dust, and dirt before sending it back into the pool.

How long should the pool pump run for?

The size of the pool, piping, size of the pump and the swimmer load will all be a part of determining just how long your pump needs to run. For the right amount of time, consult with a pool professional. They will be able to determine, based on your pool, the right amount of time that is needed to keep the pool water clear and clean. A really good rule of thumb is to run the pump for at least 1 hour ever 10 degrees of temperature.

If your pump isn’t running, the water in the pool isn’t being circulated properly or filtered right. Running the pump and circulating the water is going to be the best way for you to prevent any problems.

Pool Filtration System

The job of a filtration system is to remove undissolved debris and dirt from your water. While your skimmer basket and lint/hair basket in the pump will play a role in filtering your pool water, the main part of these systems will be the filter. If you happen to backwash your DE or sand filter too often, the filter will not be able to reach its cleaning potential and you will just be wasting water. Many filters will require backwashing whenever the pressure gauge hits 8 to 10 psi from its clean pressure. Check with a pool professional to understand the role that the pump and skimmer basket play in keeping your pool clean. Be sure that you are also consulting your owner’s manual for any type of specifics that are related to the filter type that you happen to have.

Types Of Pool Filters

There are going to be 3 types of filter that are normally used in swimming pools to help remove debris and dirt that enter into the water from the environment and swimmers.

  1. Sand Pool Filters: dirt will be removed from a sand filter by backwashing it or reversing your water flow. The filter will need to backwashed whenever the pressure gauge hits 7 to 10 pounds increase over your normal pressure reading. This is the pressure that is indicated on your pressure gauge whenever your filter has been cleaned. A sand filter is much more efficient whenever they are slightly dirty. However, they only need to be backwashed whenever it is required by the pressure increase. Sand filters need to be cleaned every season with filter cleaner.
  2. Cartridge Pool Filter: dirt will need to be removed from the cartridge filter whenever the pressure gauge shows an increase of 7 to 10 pounds over the normal pressure. Remove the cartridge from the filter and hose off the loose debris and dirt. Then soak them in filter cleaner for at least 12 hours. This will remove the grease and oil that is imbedded within the filter. Peak filter efficiency is reached when you allow the filter to dry before you reinstall it. To avoid the down time for filtration or circulation systems, it is best to purchase a second set of cartridges so that they can be changed on a regular basis with the first set.
  3. DE Pool Filters: similar to sand, a DE filter is able to be cleaned by simply backwashing your filter whenever the pressure increases by 7 to 10 pounds. However, once the filter has been backwashed, you will need to add new DE to coat the grids in the filter. This is done adding DE into the skimmer. In order to remove the oil that has built up within the water, your DE filter grid will need to be cleaned yearly using filter cleaner. It also needs to be disassembled yearly and cleaned thoroughly as well as inspected for any rips or tears in the grid.

Testing & Balancing Pool Chemicals

Testing your pool 2 to 3 times weekly during summer months and once a week during winter months is very important to help maintain adequate water balance and sanitizer levels as well as to help ensure swimmer comfort. A test strip will be the quickest way to test your pool water for right sanitizer levels and total alkalinity and pH levels. Proper testing will also help to make sure that your calcium levels are maintained and there aren’t any metals present in your water. These tests can be done by you or a pool professional. To be able to prevent scaling or any corrosive action and to help achieve maximum swimmer comfort, your pool water needs to be balanced to these levels:

pH Levels 7.2 to 7.6 pH
Alkalinity Levels 120 to 150 ppm
Calcium Levels (Concrete Pool) 200 to 250 ppm
Calcium Levels (Vinyl Pool) 175 to 225 ppm
Chlorine Levels 1 to 3 ppm
Bromine Levels 3 to 5 ppm
Metal Levels (Copper) 0 ppm
Metal Levels (Iron) 0 ppm

Balancing your pH Levels

pH is a measure of base and acid in your pool water. The pH of your pool needs to be tested and adjusted when needed on a weekly basis. If your pH drifts to being acidic, pool surface corrosion and equipment damage can happen. If the pH drifts to the base side, then cloudy water, scaling and deposits can happen. You will need to use a pH increase to increase your pH. On the pH scale 8.5, chlorine will only be 10% active while if it is a 7.0, the chlorine will be 73% active. If you are able to maintain a pH of 7.5, your chlorine will be between 50 to 60% active. Keeping your pH in check will help you to use the full potential of your chlorine that is in your pool already. In order to lower the pH, you will need to use a pH decreaser. Follow the instruction the label for the right amount of product to add based on your pool size and test results. Take a water sample to a pool professional every 2 to 3 weeks to get a complete test and analysis.

NOTE: Be sure that you are always following the label directions when you add any type of products for pool maintenance to your pool. You should never mix various types of products together. If you are unsure of how a product needs to be used, contact a pool professional.

Calcium Levels

The amount of dissolved calcium in the water will be your calcium hardness. Low calcium hardness levels can shorten the life of your vinyl linter and cause plaster finish etching. High calcium levels can cause calcium deposits on equipment and surfaces of your pool. The right range for your calcium hardness is between 200 and 250 ppm for a concrete pool and between 175 and 225 ppm for a vinyl pool. A pool professional can tell you the best method for treating your pool if you have calcium hardness. If tests show that you have extremely high calcium levels, take a water sample to a pool professional for an analysis for more information.

Chlorine Levels

A stabilized chlorine product will help to sanitize the water as well as kill bacteria. These chlorine products will be protected from sun light degrading and are best to use in order to keep your pool water clean and clear. Most stabilized chlorine products are available in different forms such as:

  • Multi-functional chlorinating granules
  • Skimmer sticks
  • 1 inch chlorinated tablets
  • 3 inch chlorinated tablets

A pool professional will be able to determine the best type and form for sanitizing your pool. A free chlorine level of 1 to 3ppm needs to be maintained in your pool water at all times.

NOTE: You will get more out of the chemicals you use if you add them after the sun has set.

Alkalinity Levels

In order to prevent your pH from going up and down, the right total alkalinity or amount of acid buffers needs to be maintained. Your pool water needs to be tested each week to have a total alkalinity of 120 to 150 ppm. Low alkalinity may cause pH bouncing and fluctuations, but staining and corrosion. High alkalinity can also cause pH to fluctuate and cause cloudy water with scaling. In order to lower alkalinity, follow the directions from a pool professional and to raise the alkalinity, use a booster.

Metal Levels

There shouldn’t be any metals within your water. Metals within your pool water can cause your pool to stain and cause it to also turn colors. A common type of metal that is found in pool water is manganese, copper and iron. If you find metals are in your pool water, a scale and stain remover will need to be used on a regular basis to keep staining from happening. You should also determine the source of the metals and then remove it if at all possible.

Bromine Santizer

Instead of chlorine, you may want to use bromine to sanitize your pool. Bromine tablets will help to provide a good method for killing off bacteria and keep your pool clean and clear. In order to use bromine tablets effectively, a brominator needs to be installed in your pool.

Prevent Green Pool Water

Shocking your pool on a regular basis is vital to keeping your pool clean and clear. Swimmers and the environment will add waste to your pool that will need to removed regularly to help to prevent any type of issues such as cloudy water and algae.

Adding Algaecide

Preventing algae is an important part to enjoying a pool. Algaecides will act as a backup to your normal sanitization programs and prevent any algae from starting and growing in your pool water. Algaecide needs to be added after every single shock treatment that you do.

Finding Professional Pool Maintenance In Arizona

Brian’s Pool Care offers professional pool maintenance in Ahwatukee, Arizona to help pool owners experience expert pool maintenance services for an affordable price.