Inground Pool Maintenance Tips
It doesn’t have to be hard – easy pool maintenance is totally possible when equipped with the right info. Follow our top tips for easy pool maintenance for beginners to set you on the right path when it comes to looking after your pool.
Skim pool surface debris
To give your pool a proper clean and keep it in good shape, the first step is to remove all the debris that’s collected in your pool water. Using a net with a long-handle, aka a hand skimmer, catch and remove any leaves, bugs and other litter every few days. We suggest doing this few days to ensure you can catch any debris while it is still floating on the surface, as leaving it too long will cause it to eventually sink and make it more difficult to remove. It also means that less pressure will be placed on your strainer baskets and circulation system to pick up the slack, meaning they can do their jobs more efficiently and you can maximise their longevity. Clean out your strainer baskets on at least a weekly basis to keep any build-up of waste at bay, as well as minimise the amount of chlorine you need to put in your pool water to keep it clean.
Summertime’s Tip: You’ll want to take note of the finer debris that escapes the clutches of the strainer basket and skimmer, like hair and dirt. Use an old pair of stockings over your skimmer will help to catch these and keep your pool water sparkling. No skimmer? An old window screen will do in a pinch.
Clean pool filters
A clean pool won’t matter much if it’s filters are dirty, so your next step should be cleaning those out. You should do this weekly after turning off your pool system, removing the filter cap and then throwing out all of the waste collected in the basket. Your pump filter is also something you should be cleaning, and the instructions and frequency for cleaning the pump filter will depend on which type you have – cartridge, sand, or diatomaceous earth (also known as DE). While cartridge filters require rinsing or eventual replacement, sand or DE filters require you to “backwash” the system.
Summertime’s Tip: The secret is to not clean your pool filters too regularly, or at least leave a tiny bit of debris behind when you do periodically clean them – this makes them slightly more effective, as the existing dirt can help trap other particles and overall keep your water cleaner. Just make sure you don’t let it get too dirty between cleans! You’ll know it’s time for a clean when there’s a significant increase in the flow between the pressure gauge and flow meter – look for a 4.5 to 6.8kg per square inch difference between the two to know when the time is right for a clean.
Vacuum, brush, clean and scrub your pool
Now that your debris has been removed and your filters cleared out, it’s time to deep-clean the pool itself. Vacuuming is the first step; this should take roughly half an hour depending on the size of your pool, meaning you’ll want to be taking it slow to ensure you’re doing a comprehensive job. Doing this once a week will mean keeping your water clean and reducing the amount of chemicals necessary to balance your pool water later. After vacuuming, scrub and brush down your pool walls and floor to dislodge and remove any dirt build-up, calcium deposits or algae growth – these are important to target as neglecting them can cause them to grow into much larger and much more difficult to tackle problems later. When it comes to what you should be using to clean your pool walls and tiles, it will depend on the pool itself; concrete pools may require a stiffer brush while vinyl or fibreglass walls will warrant a softer brush to prevent scratching them up or damaging the grout.
Summertime’s Tip: You likely have a few kitchen cupboard ingredients that can help you keep your pool clean on the cheap. Vitamin C tablets or lemon slices are great for getting rid of metal stains – simply wrap either up in a cloth and use it to scrub away at any stains that collect in the hidden corners of your pool. Water scales can be removed with a vinegar solution and a sponge if you don’t happen to have a decalcifying chemical lying around, and this is particularly important as scales will otherwise damage parts of your pump, heater and filter. Baking soda can help you to more effectively scrub away at pool tiles and keep them sparkling clean, as well as any other nooks and crannies like lights and ladder fittings, and prevent algae from growing if you’re able to keep up the habit a couple times a week. Just remember that baking soda will increase alkalinity and pH levels in your pool water!
Balance your pool water chemistry
Checking your pool water chemistry is also something that should be done weekly, not only for the cleanliness of your pool but also to keep it a healthy and safe pool to use. There are a number of ways you can do this with testing kits, including using a testing strip in your pool, or reagent kit. A testing strip simply needs to be dipped into your pool water and monitored for colour-change – depending on the colour it turns, match it to the colour chart it comes with to determine your pool’s pH level. Adjust your pool chemistry by adding chemicals accordingly, and retest until you get the right pH level. A reagent kit uses the same fundamental logic with a colour-changing system, just applied differently; after taking a sample of pool water, add the required liquids or tablets to it from your kit. Monitor the colour the water changes to in order to determine its chemical balance and adjust accordingly. It’s easy to think of your chemical balance in terms of three different categories; your pH levels, your alkalinity, and your sanitiser levels. The ideal safe pH range for swimming in should generally be between 7.2 and 7.8, and it will allow your sanitisers to work more efficiently. Chlorine concentration should be 1 part per million (ppm).
Summertime’s Tip:Another water contaminant that’s easy to forget about is oils, whether that’s oils from our skin and hair, products like suntan lotions or sunscreens, and so on. Throw an old tennis ball – yes, really – into your pool to absorb these oils. The wool and nylon fibres on the tennis ball are perfect for sucking up any excess oil in the water and get rid of any strange oily sheen that coats your pool surface.
Maintain pool water level
Ever wondered how those infinity pools keep their water levels at the perfect height for that incredible optical illusion? Luckily, maintaining your pool water level isn’t overly complicated. It’s important to account for things like evaporation during the warmer months and splashing about in the pool as major ways your pool can lose water over time, so remember to keep an eye on it and top it up with the garden hose where necessary. It’s important not to let water levels get too low as this can damage your pool’s pump system.
Summertime’s Tip: Whether you need to drain your pool to do heavy duty maintenance on it or are thinking about draining it while it’s not in use during the winter months, it’s actually important to make sure it doesn’t sit empty for too long. The weight of the water in the pool is crucial, as it counteracts the upwards pressure of the ground underneath the pool – so avoid damage by ensuring your pool is full as much as possible.
Shock your pool
A pool shock is basically a big dose of chlorine that clears out your pool, so you’ll often hear shocking your pool referred to as “superchlorinating” it. While most of the time sanitiser does the job, it’s necessary to do a pool shock on a regular basis for maximum cleanliness and to stave off any unwanted smells or murky-coloured water. Always check your pool manual or with your pool manufacturer how frequently your particular pool should undergo a pool shock, but generally speaking you should be shocking on a schedule of 1-2 weeks. A pool shock may be necessary after events that introduce a lot of contaminants to your pool water, such as a rainstorm or even just a big pool party where a lot of people have been in the water. When bacteria and contaminants like ammonia or nitrogen build up in your pool for too long, it can cause ‘chloramines’, which is that strong chlorine smell you might associate with public swimming pools. Funnily enough, the way to get rid of this odour is by super chlorinating to balance your pool water back to regular chlorine levels.
Summertime’s Tip: Always try to shock your pool at night before going to bed rather than during the day. Pool shock’s efficiency is greatly reduced when exposed to UV rays, so by doing your shock at night, you allow the chlorine to do its job at maximum efficiency. We recommend running the pump for a good 8 hours to ensure the shock does its job properly.
Feeling armed and ready with your newfound knowledge of how easy pool maintenance can be? Dive right in and take a look at our range to find your dream pool.