Spring Cleaning and Summer Fun: Important Hacks for Every Pool Owner
Residential swimming pools can be an uphill battle for any family. Spring cleaning for pool owners means clearing out debris and working hard to open their pool in a way that promotes cleanliness throughout the pool season. Summer means constantly checking water levels because of evaporation and keeping a vigilant eye out for algae. Cleaning a pool correctly can quickly become costly, especially if you are constantly treating your water with chlorine and soda ash. While chemical treatment is at the center of any swimming pool maintenance plan, there are also simple steps you can take to make your pool a less costly and less time-consuming investment.
Clean out your pool before you open it. While your pool is still empty, clear out as much large debris as possible, especially leaves and trash. One of the first steps in pool water cleaning is always chlorine treatment. But remember that the oxidizing agents in chlorine don’t discriminate – they attack the cellular structures in living bacteria, but they also break down dead leaves, grass, dirt, and tree bark. So if you pour chlorine into a pool littered with debris, you’re wasting much of a costly chemical as it attacks the wrong things. Sweeping out leaves with a soft broom or using a leaf blower is a much less expensive approach.
Give your pool a break from sunlight. One of the leading culprits in cleaning pool water is green algae, which can appear as a green growth around your pool or as a discoloration in the water. By covering your pool during periods of non-use, you deprive algae of the sunlight that helps them thrive. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can also neutralize much of the chlorine in your pool. For this reason, many owners treat their pool at night. You should also consider adding cyanuric acid to your treatment mix, which forms a weak bond with chlorine that protects it from UV rays.
Be precise with your shock treatments. Remember what your high school chemistry teacher taught you – always add chemicals to water, not water to chemicals. Remember that warm water dissolves faster than cold water. Stir the bucket for at least one minute. Slowly walk and poor the shock around the edge of your pool, and never add shock directly to your skimmer. Know the specific chemical you’re using, and talk to your pool provider to know if it’s advantageous for you to use granular chlorine (which contains cyanuric acid) or lithium hypochlorite (which is made for homeowners who have high amounts of calcium in their water supply).
Don’t forget to clean your filter cartridges. Filters should be cleaned once every four to six months and after major events like storms. Have a pool professional show you how to disassemble your filter and safely remove the cartridges. Always spray down your cartridges with a regular garden hose, never a pressure washing wand or hard brush, which can damage the cartridge material. Many owners place their cartridges in muriatic acid to dissolve minerals that accumulate as water passes through the filter. When working with any acid, remember to use gloves and eye and mouth protection. Most experts recommend a mix of 10 parts water to 1 part acid. And again, pour the chemical into the water, not the other way around.
Test your water frequently to know if it needs treatment. Most pools should be tested two to three times a week and once per week during non-use in the winter. If you don’t have a home testing kit, take a sample into a professional pool store for analysis. All water should be tested for pH level (7.2 to 7.8), alkalinity (80 to 120 parts per million), chlorine levels (2.0 to 4.0 parts per million), and calcium hardness (250 to 450 parts per million).
Consider investing in a swimming pool enclosure. Most of the pathogens that take up residence in your pool come from the environment outside of your backyard. Wind consistently blows dirt, pollen, grass, and garbage into the pool environment, and storms can bring in muddy runoff. Rainwater can introduce algae spores, and bird droppings landing in your pool give them nitrate to feed on and grow. A screened-in aluminum pool enclosure protects your pool from debris and pathogens, which enables you to use far less of these pricey chemical treatments throughout the year. A screen pool enclosure also blocks UV rays, which adds to the life of chlorine you put in your pool. You can also house your pool equipment inside enclosures, preventing theft or encounters with animals.
Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how an aluminum screened pool enclosure can simplify your pool experience and save you money in the long run.