Proper Keeping And Care Of Pools - Hardness, Algae, Filters, And More

by Pool Builders on 05-18-2008 in Articles

Recently, I wrote an article about the proper keeping and care of pools in regard to their PH and chlorine levels. Of course, keeping up with your pool's care will take more than just testing and adjusting the PH and chlorine content. Those are just the basics. For a truly healthy pool, you need to know some of the other pool care steps.

You will need to check the hardness of your pool water once a year. This requires you to take a small container of water to your local pool store and have them test the water hardness for you. If the water is too hard, they will often recommend baking soda. Baking soda is pretty easy to find, but you will need several pounds of it. The pool store will instruct you to buy a certain amount of baking soda per gallon of pool water, depending on the water hardness, and you will need to purchase the right amounts and then add it to your pool. Give the pool a good stir with your pool skimmer and let it sit for a day.

After adding the baking soda, the PH of your pool will be changed. This is because baking soda is a base, which directly cancels out the acid in the water. Therefore, you will need to recheck your pool's PH level before use and most likely add quite a bit of increaser to cancel out the baking soda's affect on the water. This extra increaser will not change the water hardness, so do not worry about sending in more water to be tested.

Another thing to check for is algae. Algae will start to grow in any pool, though it's much less common in pools with a good chlorine balance. There are three types of bad algae, and a different chemical is required to kill each one. Red and yellow algae are fairly common, but black algae can be deadly, so be careful. Mustard algae, which will appear in your pool as green dust, is very difficult to kill. Often times, you will need to shock the water two or three times to truly remove it because normal chlorine will not kill it. Always test your pool for algae at least twice a year, especially if the sides of your pool are starting to look colorful. Pool service personnel will be able to advise you on the right type of chemicals for each algae, and you should be able to buy those chemicals at your local pool store.

Murky water is also pretty common in pools. Murky water is when the water looks like it has a white dust in it, almost like the water is made up of fine clouds. When this occurs, you will need to buy water clarifier. The clarifier, once added to the pool, will cause the clouds to clump together and fall to the bottom of the pool in little white balls. These balls will easily be sucked up by a Polaris or some other type of pool vacuum. These pool vacuums can be purchased at almost any pool store, and some can even live at the bottom of your pool for constant upkeep. Any mud or other small bits of debris will also be sucked up by the pool vacuum once the clarifier has been added.

Filters are also important to check, especially if you have a diatomaceous earth filter. These filers need to be refilled with dirt every week or so and require constant upkeep. However, they are probably the best filters that you can buy. Paper filters don't require as much checking, but they do require you to purchase many of them because they need to be changed out constantly. The most economical type of filter is probably a sand filter, because it requires far less checking and changing than the others.

You will get dead animals and insects in your pool. Do not be shocked. Animals and insects of all kinds will see your pool as their new watering hole, so often times you will get small critters floating about, especially if you have a pool cover and they get stuck underneath it. Flies, spiders, frogs, mice, and maybe even gopher or two (depending on where you live) will get stuck and drown, which is why having a long pool skimmer is important, as well as checking the filter baskets at least once a week.

If all of this seems overwhelming, remember that there is hope. Many pool companies charge very little to upkeep your pool, especially during the winter months. Often times, you will spend more money buying the filters, testing kits, chemicals, reagents, chlorine tablets, baking soda containers, clarifiers, and algaecides per year than it will cost you to have someone else do it for you. From one pool owner to another, if you have a pool company nearby, use them.

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