As the wintertime comes to a close and those spring flowers begin to bloom, you might be staring out your back window with dread. You can see your swimming pool there, with its captivating canvas cover, and you know underneath it there is nothing good.
It can cost an arm and a leg to get your pool appropriately cleaned. However, if you take the chore on yourself, you run the risk of not doing it correctly, and the pool can get dirty again quickly or even worse.
Many pool owners know a lot about pool maintenance but very little about thorough cleaning. This article can teach pool owners how to get their pools spotless without having to nag the pool guy every spring. Use the information below, and you’ll be ready for a swim in no time.
Why Cleaning Your Swimming Pool is Important
Having a dirty pool is the same as having no pool at all. You definitely will not want to go swimming in it. The consequences of swimming in a dirty pool can range from accidents to serious health concerns. Some of the microbes that live in a dirty pool include e. Coli, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia. These microscopic creatures are the opposite of what you want in your body.
Beyond the health risks, a dirty pool is also very unattractive in your backyard. Pools that you don’t regularly maintain will almost certainly grow algae and become green and hard to look at. Green algae can sprout up in your pool and be fully grown within 24 hours. That’s why regular weekly maintenance is so essential.
It might seem like a lot of work, but I would recommend doing the following with your pool every week to make sure it’s properly maintained:
- Check the PH levels (between 7 and 7.6)
- Adjust the PH levels to match this measurement
- Test and adjust the chlorine levels (should be 1 – 3 parts per million)
- Do a shock treatment
- Add algae preventative
- Clean your pool tile and pool walls
- Vacuum the pool
- Skim your pool water surface for insects and debris
If you perform all of these tasks once per week, then you shouldn’t have to worry about your pool ever becoming dirty. However, you should also use a filter cleaner/degreaser for your filter every two or three months and give your pool a dose of metal remover, letting it sit for two to three days, then vacuum again.
Equipment You Need to Clean Your Pool and How to Use It
Now that you know what you need to do to your pool every week and why, let’s look at some of the tools you can use to help maintain their cleanliness.
The telescopic pole is a long (one to three meters) pole that will help you clean those hard to reach places in your pool without having to get wet. They are usually lightweight and made from aluminum. You can buy many attachments for the pole, but the most common is a brush or a skimmer net.
Your pole will probably be adjustable in length (for easy transportation and storage), and most work on a twist mechanism to collapse and expand it. The length of the pole you buy should be based on your swimming pool’s size and depth. On average, they are closer to three meters to make them completely flexible. Make sure to keep two hands and a firm grip on the pole when you’re using it to reach something far away, as it’s easier to drop it at maximum length.
The skimmer net is a pool maintainer’s best friend and will probably be the tool you use the most often. When your pool is open to the elements all day long, it provides a lot of opportunities for leaves or water bugs to fall inside, and you should probably skim every evening before closing down the pool for the day.
Skimmer nets can come at various lengths. They can be attached to your telescopic pole to reach the middle of the pool or be fitted onto a shorter rod and worked around the edges. The most significant difference in skimmer designs is net depth.
You can either get a shallow skimmer that is easy to clean but fills quickly or a deep skimmer that catches more contents but requires more thorough cleaning after the work is done. The type of skimmer you choose should depend on how much debris you find in your pool daily.
Whenever I skim a pool, I start at the edges and go around twice. Then I work the middle for anything still floating around by pulling the stuff towards the edges and scooping it out. Finally, you’ll want to get the things that have sunk to the bottom and bounce the net to get anything that starts floating up. It’s important to double-check everything as some debris can be small and evade the net on the first pass.
The primary purpose of a pool brush is to scrape away mud build up as well as algae. There are many different lengths for brushes, but the most common range from a small brush specifically for algae to large brushes (up to 24 inches) for doing entire walls at one time.
The method for pool brushing is a lot like skimming. You’ll start at the edges of the pool and work your way towards the middle. The main difference is that sometimes brushing will be spot-specific. If you have a part of your pool that often builds up with dirt or algae, you’ll want to brush that spot more thoroughly and more often than other parts of the pool.
When brushing your pool’s walls, you should always work the brush downwards in one direction. Brushing both ways just creates more work and tired arms. Also, try to brush at an angle to cause less friction between the water and the brush.
Automatic Pool Cleaner
Despite what you might be hoping for, automatic pool cleaners do not do your entire job for you. They can help. They will glide across flat surfaces in your pool and collect debris or algae as they move. They usually require both a hose and an electricity source to filter through the water and deposit the trash they collect into independent storage.
You have to ask yourself when buying an automatic pool cleaner if you want it to be robotic or not. Robots will allow you to walk away from the pool for a while, get a drink, and collect them when their work is done. Hand-operated cleaners will be more throughout, but you’ll have to be doing the work yourself.
Robotic Pool Cleaners, Suction Side and Pressure Side
Here are the three options for autonomous pool vacuums:
Robotic cleaners are the most effective and least time-consuming option, but they are also the most expensive. If you’re looking for a cheaper model, then you might want to try a suction side or pressure side vacuum.
Pressure side vacuums attach to your filter pump and use the pump’s pressure to move them around the sides of your pool. Most of them have a big bag protruding from the top for collecting debris. They relieve stress on your filter by picking up excess waste that would usually be pumped into it.
Suction side vacuums also use the filter pump to operate, using the filter’s suction to remove debris. They are the cheapest option. However, the trash they collect will go directly into your filter, which will cause extra strain on the mechanism.
Why You Should Use an Automatic Pool Cleaner vs. a Manual Pool Vacuum
Manual pool vacuums take a long time to do a complete job, and you’ll have to be present and guiding the vacuum the whole time. With all the weekly maintenance you need to do on your pool, why add an extra chore to the calendar? You’re better off with an autonomous vacuum so you can pack up your tools and relax after all the hard work.
How to Clean your Pool Deck
The best way to clean a pool deck is with a pressure washer. You can go old school with a bucket and a mop, but they will not get the stubborn dirt that has been collecting into the surface for months. You would also need to sweep with a flat bottom broom before mopping. It would take a lot longer.
With a pressure washer, you can get everything out in a few seconds and methodically work your way up and down the deck from the pool edge outwards. Before you take out the pressure washer, you’ll want to give the entire deck a spray with the hose to remove any surface dirt in the way.
Don’t Forget to Clean your Pool Filter
You’ll find more information about filter cleaning here. In the meantime, just keep in mind that a clean filter means a clean pool. The filter is the last line of defense against debris, mud, and algae trying desperately to collect in your pristine waters.
Every two to three months, you should clean the filter with a proper filter cleaner and degreaser to avoid breaking or leaking back into the pool every two to three months.
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If you remain diligent and keep up with the weekly tasks mentioned above, then you will keep your pool clean year round.
Follow the techniques like brushing at an angle, working the skimmer from the middle to the edge of the pool, and these chores will be much easier. When that filter cleaning time comes make sure you do it right away.
Overall, your swimming pool is meant to be enjoyed and a clean one is even easier to appreciate.
Questions about pool cleaning? Let us know, happy to help.