Pool Cleaning Basics 101  

by Pool Builders on 04-11-2011 in Articles

Pool Cleaning Basics 101
Having a swimming pool at your back door can provide hours of entertainment, but for maximum enjoyment, you must spend time maintaining the pool. Failing to keep a pool clean can cause swimmer's become ill due to high amounts of bacteria or algae in the water, and can also damage the pool's surface over time. When cared for properly, an in-ground pool will last for years and, when used often, it will return an investment of relaxation and fun higher than the amount of time, energy and resources it takes to clean.

Balance Chemical Levels
The most important aspect of keeping a swimming pool clean is preventing algae build-up. By taking care to ensure that your water's chemistry is correct, you will save yourself time and energy in the long run. Keeping a swimming pool's water at the appropriate chemical level requires a sufficient amount of chlorine to be in the water and a balanced pH level. Test the water twice a week with a pool testing kit and add the necessary amount of chemicals to balance the water. Also, be sure to run the filter at least six hours per day to prevent stagnant water and to circulate the chemicals. Once a month, take a water sample to a pool supply store for more in-depth testing, which usually includes things like water hardness.
Vacuum the Floor
Vacuuming the bottom of the floor regularly will keep your pool in top condition. Vacuum the pool floor at least once a week, but cleaned it more often if the water temperature is high, as algae will grow more quickly on the bottom of the pool. If you're using a manual vacuum cleaner, vacuuming can be the most labor-intensive part of caring for a swimming pool. Fortunately, there are automatic and robotic cleaners that can do the job on their own. Many non-manual vacuum cleaners do not do as thorough a job as manual machines, as they cannot easily get into and around corners. For this reason, it is usually most efficient to run an automatic vacuum first over the entire surface of the pool and then follow-up with a manual cleaner to reach any hard-to-navigate corners. If you notice that your vacuum cleaner is not cleaning as well as it should, check the bag and filter for debris. Removing the debris should help increase the suction.
Scrub the Walls
The final part of maintaining an in-ground swimming pool is cleaning the walls. As this is an intensive process, it only needs to be performed once a season. If the water temperature is kept above 90 degrees, you may need to scrub the walls more often because of a higher incidence of algae in warmer waters. Although you can use a regular nylon-bristle brush on concrete walls, the process is most effective with a stainless steel brush. The stainless steel bristles will not harm the concrete walls, but will penetrate the small pores to remove algae. For a tiled-pool, use a special tile brush, available at pool supply stores. Most pool owners opt for brushes with telescoping handles that can be used at short or long range. Telescoping handles allow you to clean the pool walls from outside of the water. Because the algae will fall to the bottom of the pool when you remove it, scrub the walls before vacuuming.
Clean the Surface
Just as removing dirt, debris and algae build-up from the bottom of a pool will go a long way in keeping the water clean, keeping the top of the water clean also will prevent dirt from building up on the pool floor. This can be done using a pool skimmer. At least once a day, strain the debris, such as leaves, from the top of the pool. Also, clean out the pool filter where the debris collects each day. By cleaning out the filter, you will free it to collect more foreign objects, such as bugs and leaves. To prevent objects from falling into the water, use a pool cover. These not only will help keep the pool clean, but also have the additional benefit of warming the water temperature.

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