The 3 C’s of Pool Maintenance

Circulation

pool filtration pumpCirculation is the most important part of pool care.  Let’s take a look at this in detail.  The first thing we need to look at is running your pump and filter system. Ideally, if money was no object, it would be best to run your pump and filter system 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

But let’s be realistic.  In warmer or hot climates as we have here in north Texas, it’s best to run your pool system 8 to 12 hours a day.  As you know, pretty much all summer long, we are looking at some pretty high temperatures and especially in August when it might hit triple digits for several days in a row.

As fall and winter arrive, you can reduce this down to around 4 to 6 hours a day.  If you have a variable-speed pump, you might be able to run it for longer periods of time, especially in the colder months if you happen to use your pool year-round.

pool jetsNow, let’s talk about angling your jets.  If you have an inground swimming pool, it’s likely you have multiple jets.  I recommend angling them at 8 o’clock position.  The one closest to your skimmer should point away from your skimmer.  This will keep your circulation in a whirlpool setting pushing water down and in the same direction until it circulates back into the skimmer.

Speaking of skimmers, let’s dive into cleaning your skimmer and pump baskets.  If you have an inground pool, it is likely you might have more than one skimmer.  If you get in the habit of cleaning these out on a daily basis, it will certainly help with circulation.  You also want to check the pump basket for debris as these can accumulate leaves and various other objects that will impede the circulation of your pool water.  Your pump basket shouldn’t accumulate nearly as much debris as your skimmer baskets as your skimmers are the first line of defense.

Next, we have filter maintenance. This is the heart of your pool, and if it gets clogged, well, you know what happens.  If you have a sand filter, they’re great and easy to use, but you need to backwash them periodically as they can get clogged, and backwashing them is the way to get them flowing properly again.  You should see a pressure gauge on either the top or the side of the sand filter.  When you backwash, you will want to make note of where the pressure is so you will have a better understanding of when it needs to be back washed.  Normally, a clean filter will operate around 10-15 PSI or pounds per square inch.

If you have a cartridge filter rather than a sand filter, there is no backwashing.  You simply remove the filter and rinse it off with a garden hose or soak it overnight in a cleaning solution.  You shouldn’t have to do this as much as with a sand filter, but it is always good to make sure the filter is in good shape.  Again, the PSI of the operation of the cartridge filter is as important as the sand filter in that it needs to be in a normal operating range.

If you have a very clean filter, and your pressure is running around 10 to 15 PSI, you should be in great shape.  Once it reaches 20 to 25 PSI, it’s time to turn off your filter system, remove the cartridge and clean it, or even replace it.

And lastly, if you have a D.E. filter, they are very powerful at cleaning a pool. But, it does need to be back washed every once in a while.  When you do, you will need to replace the D.E. that you backwashed out of the pool.  D.E. stands for diatomaceous earth, which is a fine white powder.  You want to be careful when handling this because it is a carcinogen.  So, wear a mask and protective ear gear when working with this fine white powder.  This also has a pressure gauge and again, this will be your best indicator as to when you need to service this type of filter.

Cleaning

Skimmer netOkay, now that we have covered circulation and the cleaning of your baskets and filters, let’s move on to cleaning the actual pool itself.  First, let’s look at skimming.  Skimming is where you have a leaf net and it is attached to a long pole, or maybe you are handling the net with your hand, you want to skim the top of the pool every day.  This may not be practical for you and your busy schedule, but try to stay on top of this as a daily routine if you can.

You will appreciate what this will do for your overall maintenance as anything that collects on the top of the water in your pool will eventually end up at the bottom and then you have to vacuum it and then it becomes a much harder task.  If you can’t find time to do this every day, maybe every other day or at least three times a week, everything helps.  The more you can get the debris off the surface, the healthier your pool is going to be.

Brushing your pool is another component to maintaining a healthy pool.  Brushing the walls, steps, and ladders every day might be something you’ve been skipping in the past, but you need to brush your teeth, and you need to brush your pool.

Connect your brush to a telescopic pole and brush down the sides of the pool, any steps you might have, and the ladder.  If you have certain places where debris tends to collect, brush it out of there.  Once it is set free by the brush, it will begin to circulate and can be picked up by the skimmer or filter.  This is something that you should do every day, but if it is not practical, again, try to do it as often as possible.  The more often, the fewer problems you will have with algae and a cloudy pool.

Vacuuming can be done once a week or, you can invest in an automatic pool cleaner that will do it for you all the time.  Also, we have a regular, manually vacuumed pool.  If you don’t know how to do this, you can contact us.  If you skim and brush on a regular basis, you might not have to vacuum near as much.

If you don’t have time for manual vacuuming, I recommend you invest in some sort of automatic pool cleaner, whether it is a pressure-side, suction-side, or a robotic pool cleaner, which I really like because your pool is constantly being vacuumed by a robot instead of you.  It’s totally worth the investment.

Chemistry

Last but not least, we need to discuss pool chemistry.  Chemistry is probably the most confusing part of maintaining a healthy swimming pool.  Especially in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex where we can have blistering hot weather in the summer.

You will want to test the water one to two times a week.  It’s that simple.  You can use a home test kit or test strips, you can take it to your local pool dealer or wherever you get your water tested.  Just make sure your water is good to go.  This is something you need to do often.  The more you check your pool water, the better you will stay on top of your water chemistry and you won’t have problems with your pool.

bromine tabletsThe readings you’ll want to look at are pH and alkalinity.  Regardless of what sanitizer you use; salt, chlorine, Bromine, Biguanide, minerals, whatever you use.  Every pool owner has to deal with pH and alkalinity and, this is your balance.  You want to keep your pH between 7.2 and 7.6 and your alkalinity between 100 – 150 ppm or parts per million.

If you keep your pool balanced at all times, within these ranges, you are doing 90% of the work.  If you can maintain well-balanced water, all the other chemicals will simply work much better.

Now, let’s move on to the sanitizer.  I will go over all of them.  The first one is chlorine.  If you have a salt system, this applies to you as well.  You want to keep your chlorine at 1-3 ppm, more towards 3 parts per million if you can.  If your chlorine level dips down below this range, your pool is not being sanitized.  You will open yourself up to bacteria and algae growth and cloudy water.  Using a chlorine puck dispenser and maintaining that 3 ppm goal is the way to go!  It is important to keep your chlorine in check at all times.

If you have Bromine, you’ll want to keep it between 3 and 5 parts per million.  If you use Biguanide which is similar, you’ll want to maintain between 30 – 50 ppm.  And then, if you are using a mineral system, which uses chlorine as a backup, you’ll want to maintain 0.5 ppm.

Now, let’s talk about shocking.  Shocking has to be done in a chlorine pool, salt, or just regular chlorine pool.  You can do it with a bromine pool and definitely a mineral pool.  With Biguanide, you have your own version of shock, but basically you will want to shock weekly.  You may have heard of people shocking weekly or bi-weekly, but the hotter the weather; shock weekly.  Consider it an insurance policy.  Shocking is basically taking whatever sanitizer you use and just putting a very concentrated amount in the pool to wipe out everything, killing every bacteria and algae growth that might be in your pool.

Those are the 3 C’s of pool maintenance.  Depending on your schedule, you might be able to maintain a healthy, clear pool that you can enjoy all summer or possibly all year long.  If you enjoy having a pool but find maintaining it on a regular basis cuts into your leisure time, that’s where we can help.  We can perform routine tasks on your pool and come in when you simply can’t find the time.  We’re here to help.  Call us at (817) 559-2132 or contact us here.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sparkling Pools

P.O. Box 294463
Lewisville, TX  75029

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