A Clean Pool is the Best Experience
I’m not satisfied with just having the swimming pool out in the back yard. I want a clean pool with clear water that my children can safely enjoy. I think of it like the carpet in the living room – I vacuum that regularly. The same applies with cleaning the family pool. Here are 6 tips – things I’ve learned from hard won experience in dealing with a family pool:
1) Check the pool chemistry often.
It doesn’t work to just check the chemical balance in the pool “when I get around to it.” That leads to a lot of problems. My husband Ed used to gripe at how often I made him check the pH in our pool. Then we saw a pool that had been neglected – a green scum of algae on the water and all over the sides – and heard how much trouble it was to get rid of that. Now Ed takes the time to test the water and adjust the chemicals if needed, 2 or 3 times a week.
2) Clean out the pump.
It’s amazing how quickly the pump can collect hair, lint and debris in it. To clean it out, we just have to shut off the pump, and open up the basket. It doesn’t take long to do, but cleaning out the debris makes the pump system work a lot less. One pool professional I talked to said this was one of the easiest ways to make sure our pool stays clean. The last step in the process is to make sure the pump has “re-primed” and is circulating water again after we start it back up. We were told to make sure to check this after a cleaning, or the pump could burn out.
3) Clean the filters in the pool.
It has been suggested that we make sure the filters are cleaned out about every 4 to 6 months. A great way to remember – we clean out the pool filters when we change the air filters in the house. Once we remove the filters and clean the debris from them, we soak them in a 10% solution of muriatic acid, as recommended by our pool pro. I make sure Ed uses rubber gloves and eye protection for this one. We rinse, let them dry, and put them back, and that job is done.
4) Brush the walls and floor of the pool.
It was recommended that we use a brush on pool surfaces once a week, so we do that. It doesn’t really take that long, and Ed makes it part of his Saturday morning routine. I think the algae covered pool I mentioned earlier really made an impression on Ed – I rarely have to remind him to brush the pool. He gets out the telescopic pole, attaches the brush, and goes over the whole pool. By then he’s worked up a sweat, so when he’s finished, he jumps in the pool as a reward.
5) Use a leaf net to clean out debris.
We have a lot of trees in our back yard, and in the neighboring yards, and it’s just something we live with that leaves seem to congregate in the pool. So we regularly use a leaf net to clear out that debris. If we have a windy day, or in the fall when the leaves are falling – it can be a daily task. We went on a trip one time for 2 days in the fall, and when we got home we could hardly see the pool for the carpet of leaves. But most of the time, 2 to 3 times a week will take care of it. Like with the rest of our pool cleaning tasks, the key is to just be regular about it.
6) Backwash as needed.
I think of it like flushing the radiator on the car. It just keeps the system working better if you clean out the system occasionally. It’s a bit of a process, but Ed has got it down pat – turning valves to the right positions. Once he has it set up, he backwashes until clear water runs out of the waste line, usually about 3 minutes. What is the signal that we need to backwash? When the pump pressure rises about 15 to 20 PSI above the normal rate.
There are a number of components to a pool system, and they need to be cleaned out periodically. Since we handle that as a regular part of our schedule of chores, it isn’t a big time expenditure. In the long run, when not having to prematurely replace pumps, or clean algae from the pool, the effort pays off. I smile when I think of that, as I’m watching the kids frolicking in our pool – which looks so nice and clean!
Becky Flanigan is a freelance writer for PoolCenter.com. She has 3 kids with her wonderful husband – two boys and a girl – and two lovely golden retrievers. After studying things like pool pump motors to design their pool for maximum efficiency, she spends hours at the family’s pool, watching the kids and dogs splash and play. She is also an avid runner, and diligently training for her first half marathon. Follow her @Becky_Flanigan