If you've finally given in to the demands of your child or children to have a swimming pool installed on your property, you are no doubt relieved to no longer hear their constant requests and pleas. However, buying a pool doesn't mark the end of your concerns with that pool. For all the joy it will bring your family, it could bring you just as much stress if it is not properly cared for. This post is dedicated to providing you with an insightful guide to help care for your above-ground swimming pool.
In-Season Care Routines
The first routine you need to become familiar with is testing the water. Your pool's pH and chlorine levels should be checked twice each week. The ideal pH range is between 7.4 and 7.6, with a chlorine level of 1.0 to 3.0 parts per millions (ppm). The best time of day to check the pool water's pH and chlorine levels is at dusk, with a few caveats to keep in mind:
- Ensure no one has been in the pool in the last four hours.
- Don't test water within eight hours of rain or wind storms.
Next, you'll want to clean the pool once each week, at a minimum. Common cleaning tasks include emptying the skimmer baskets along the side of the pool, and skim leaves and debris from the top of the water with the help of a skimmer net. If the bottom of your pool is filthy, it's probably time to invest in a pool broom at the very least, or a robot vacuum if you want the job done thoroughly.
Consider adding two types of chemicals to your pool to clean it off. Apply a pool surface cleaner to the waterline along your pool walls to eliminate stains along the side, and rub it in with a brush to reach deeper spots. Add a large dose of chlorine, known as shocking the water, to eliminate algae and other contaminants. Do this step no more than once a week, or the water could develop a chlorine level that is too high.
Last but not least, run your filtration system on a regular basis during the summer. If you keep the water running constantly, you are less likely to see dust, dirt, and environmental pollutants ruin the quality and appearance of your pool.
Prepare the water in your pool for the winter by cleaning it as you would during the summer months. Remove all the objects from your pool, including ladders, diving boards, slides, and any other accessories that might be submerged underwater. Drain the water from your pool's pump, filter, heater, and associated tubing. If water freezes in these pipes, tubes, and systems, it could severely damage your pool.
Now that it is prepared, you can lower the pool water level. Do not drain your pool all the way, but rather, lower it down to a level just below the lowest pool return. If you have decorative tiles on your pool that are below the lowest return, you should further lower the level below those tiles.
With the water drained to lower levels, take time to inspect your pool. Look for cracks, leaks, or other types of damage that need to be addressed. Allowing these issues to persist through harsh winter temperatures may only exacerbate the issue. Cover the pool for safety, both of the pool's fixtures and those who might be in your yard during the winter.
If you cannot find the tools, equipment, and chemicals you need to care for your pool during the summer and winter, you'll find all the pool chemicals and cleaners you need here.