Summertime Pool Maintenance
Summertime is the perfect time for swimming in your backyard pool. So, start the season with a clean pool and maintain it all summer long with a few quick and easy steps.
At the beginning of each season, check for pool leaks by conducting the bucket test. Weight a bucket with a brick or rock, fill it 75% full of water, and mark the inside water line with a permanent marker. Then set it in the pool (on the steps) and mark the outside water line on the bucket. After a few days, check the water levels. If both drops in level are the same, it’s just evaporation—which typically accounts for about a quarter inch of water loss daily. But if the water loss outside the bucket is more than inside, it means you likely have a leak in your pool. And, that means it’s time to call a pro—sooner rather than later.
Regularly cleaning your pool makes the work easier. For instance, skim the water surface at least daily and use a larger leaf net or vacuum weekly or if you see dirt and leaves settling on the pool floor. Check and clear out the skimmer basket regularly so that debris isn’t interfering with circulation or setting the stage for algae growth. Try using a nylon brush to scrub algae or other stubborn debris that sticks to pool and poolside surfaces. Clean along the water line and tile border area to keep calcium build-up at bay. Hose off the deck and walkways around the pool daily to wash away extra dirt that could make its way into your pool.
It’s also important to “back wash” your pool’s filter system regularly. Follow the manufacturer’s directions to ensure your filter continues to deliver peak performance. Also, be sure to give the pool’s filter enough run time each day to cycle through all of the water.
Longer days, warmer weather and increasing pool traffic bring with them the need for extra sanitization. Work with your pool professional to determine what the proper chlorine and pH levels should be for your pool. Test your pool’s water pH 2–3 times per week or daily, depending on use. Remember, consistency is key!
Swimmers can throw off the delicate balance of your water by wearing sunscreen, lotions, bug spray or hair products while swimming. To combat these oils, try this clever trick; throw a plain tennis ball into you pool. Its fuzzy surface will absorb some of the oils swimmers left behind!
Shock or “super chlorinate” your pool as often as needed. This could be weekly based on use or when levels get low, the water looks cloudy or you experience an increase in algae. Basic shock products kill bacteria, break down residues that aren’t filtered out well, cut down on chlorine odor and eye irritation and keep the water crystal clear. There are enhanced shock products that do the work of basic ones but also balance pH levels, enhance filtration and fight algae growth. Talk with your pool professional to decide what products are best for your pool.
With this list approach, pool maintenance will quickly become second nature. Then the best steps you take will be right into the pool!