Don’t Forget These Pool Maintenance Tips!
When we first had a family swimming pool in our back yard, it was like the first time you get a puppy for the kids. You have to ask yourself “Alright, now we have it, who is going to take care of it?” We have discovered that pool maintenance is like cleaning up after a messy puppy – nobody really wants the job. All the kids love using our pool and inviting their friends over to play, but when it comes to pool maintenance, we’ve learned a few things. Here are 6 helpful tips:
1) Have the kids do what they can.
We assign chores like cleaning up after a meal and loading the dishwasher. Assigning the kids tasks for the swimming pool seems reasonable. But we quickly figured out there were limitations. First, we don’t want the kids messing around with pool chemicals. So we do that pool maintenance task when they’re not even around. But the kids can certainly clean leaves out of the pool, rake the leaves in the pool area, and wash down any spills on the pool deck. So we assign those tasks to them. If they don’t complete their task, they have to finish before using the pool.
2) Use pool chemicals safely.
I watch my husband Ed when he mixes and administers pool chemicals. From the time he checks the pH of the water, to the time the chemicals have been put in the pool, I watch the area. I make sure there are no hazards like a sudden wind that could blow dust into his eyes. I also make sure he uses goggles and gloves when he’s working with the chemicals, and that a sudden phone call from the office doesn’t distract him in the middle of the task. Leaving chemicals out by the pool is not a good idea, so Ed and I team up to make sure that doesn’t happen.
3) Use pool chemicals when the kids aren’t home.
Ed and I have set up a schedule on our Google calendar to remind us when it’s time to renew the pool chemicals. I carefully check to make sure none of the kids will be home any time we’re doing that job. I also do a pet check before we start – I count animals and make sure they’re all inside, so they don’t wander through and disrupt the process, or get hurt by sniffing around where they shouldn’t.
4) Check the equipment.
We regularly check the drains, by having Ed push an old towel against one of the drains, to make sure the vacuum release function is working properly. We walk the fences, to make sure none of the dogs has tried to burrow underneath and created an extra entrance point. We check the safety equipment at poolside – the life rings and the life preserver we set up to help a dog in trouble – to make sure they are all in working order. We even check pool toys to make sure they all work properly, haven’t developed leaks, and don’t have any nicks that could lead to a cut.
5) Regularly pay attention to the details.
In addition to other pool maintenance, we take time to clean leaves out of the pool area. We check the sides of the pool for signs of algae developing. We check the anti-slip surfaces around the pool to make sure there isn’t a frayed spot that could lead to a cut foot. We make sure our water safety skills are current, and if not, update our CPR certification.
6) Have a checklist.
One day I got tired of Ed and I looking at each other and saying “Did we check the pool filter?” I made a list of all our pool maintenance items, then went to the copy store and had that list made up into a pad. We date a page, and make sure we go through all the maintenance items and check them off before we call our pool ready for use. Now we don’t wonder if we’ve forgotten anything. The checklist has made the whole pool maintenance process a lot more stress free.
We love to spend fun family time out by our family swimming pool, either soaking on a water lounger, swimming and playing, or just watching the kids and dogs try to splash all the water out of the pool. Having a regular maintenance process means we can just kick back and enjoy pool time!
Becky Flanigan writes freelance articles for InTheSwim.com. She has 3 kids with her wonderful husband – two boys and a girl – and two lovely golden retrievers. When she’s not managing chlorine tablets and pool chemicals, she spends hours at her family swimming pool, watching the kids and dogs play and have fun. She is also a dedicated runner, and diligently training for her first half marathon.