Basic Pool Care

by Pool Builders on 08-07-2009 in Articles

Once you have this down, you're going to be the envy of the neighborhood.

1. Check the levels of your swimming pool chlorine, pH, alkalinity, and hardness. Keep your pH levels between 7.6 and 7.8, not 7.2.  You'll use up too much acid to keep it that low.  Get your alkalinity in check, 80-100, then adjust your pH.

Try to not go over 8.0.   This will help with the water chemical balance and spa maintenance.

2. Test and maintain your chlorine between 1.0-3.0ppm. Most pool techs will tell you to keep your chlorine levels between 1.0-3.0ppm. This will help keep the pool algae away.

I choose to keep the chlorine at this level, 3.0ppm, because I want to have a buffer zone, especially when I'm expecting a large bather load.

Nothing eats up chlorine faster on a bright sunny day than having a large bather load with kids......who stay in the pool......for very long periods of time......and don't come out of the pool......for anything......and I mean ANYTHING.

3. Everyone needs to check their floaters with their chlorine tablets or swimming pool chemical feeders and keep it full at all times. NEVER put pool chlorine tablets in your skimmer.

When your pump turns off the tabs keep dissolving. When the pump turns back on your system will get a highly concentrated dose of acid and chlorinated water that will, over time, wreak havoc on your

If anyone tells you it's alright to put chlorine tablets in the swimming pool skimmer, just nod and smile, then walk away. They either don't know or understand proper swimming pool water maintenance, or they're trying to sell you something, like a new filtration system.

4. Use "No Mor Problems" from United Chemical Corp. I've seen its effectiveness and know how well it works. I like United Chemical's ideas on pool water maintenance and they have some really good swimming pool maintenance tips.

5. Empty the skimmer baskets and, using a wide-mouth and deep pocket leaf rake, remove leaves, insects and other debris from both the pool surface and the bottom. You'll need the right kinds of cleaning parts to pull this off. You may also want to invest in a brush that can easily remove the hard-to-reach debris that collects and sticks to the tile at the water line.

6. Brush the walls and steps weekly and vacuum the bottom when necessary. You may want to vacuum every other week but especially after a windy dust storm. Be sure to backwash your filter after you vacuum or after excessive sweeping of dirt and debris found on the bottom of the pool.

Vacuum as you would vacuum your carpet, beginning at the shallow end and work your way down.

Remember to go slowly as the dirt will seem to "fly up" and you'll get frustrated because more dirt is floating in the water than going into the filter.

7. Backwash once per month or when the pressure is too high, usually about 10-12psi.

8. Only use the water you need to keep your pool at its proper level, about 3" up from the bottom of the skimmer. You may want to invest in a automatic water-filler or just keep an eye on the hose while you're topping off the pool.

9. If you have an automatic pool cleaner, be sure it's in proper working condition. Check with your pool professional if there are signs of wear on your cleaner or it's simply not cleaning properly.

Now the big thing is the pH and alkalinity.  Without going into too much detail, I'll try to explain.

Most pool guys and pool shops will tell you to keep your pH around 7.2 and your alkalinity about 100-120ppm.  This is simply not right.  And here's why...

They get their information from an index call the "Langelier Index" which was originally used for public water systems and was introduced to pools in the mid 1950's because there simply was no other system.. 

It's a good system, but just the wrong application. 

The Hamilton Index was specifically designed for pools.  By using the Hamilton Index you will see an decrease in your chemical usage along with an increase in your wallett, and who couldn't use that?

I don't completely agree with the Hamilton Index, but it is closer to how a pool should be balanced than the other index. 

Having a great swimming pool your entire family can enjoy should be easy, once you know and understand basic pool care.  Remember not to over-think or over-complicate swimming pool care by adding this and that and the other thing.  Keep it simple, understand your chemicals, stick to the basics, and you're on your way to being the envy of the neighborhood.

Happy Swimming

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