Swimming Pool Maintenance, Part 1: Understanding the Basics

This blog is Part One of our two-part series discussing swimming pool maintenance and upkeep. Read Part Two here!

For those who’ve just had a swimming pool installed or bought a home with a pool, understanding basic swimming pool maintenance is important to keep the pool clean and safe for swimmers. Learning about pool care as a new pool owner can seem daunting. Yet in this case, ignorance isn’t bliss, and it can lead to big headaches.

Though there’s a lot of conflicting information about maintaining a swimming pool, knowing what information to trust will keep pool users safe and healthy. Several different factors go into swimming pool maintenance, for which a reputable pool supplier can and will offer helpful information.

Water Circulation

Keeping pool water moving will ensure that it stays clean, clear, and safe. Stagnant water allows algae or cloudy water to develop. Running the swimming pool’s pump and filter system will generally keep this from occurring.

Algae, although not usually toxic in and of itself, can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Cloudy water results from particulates in the water, which can damage pool filters, present a drowning hazard, and indicate harmful bacteria.

While ideally running the pool pump 24/7 will keep the water healthiest, sometimes this doesn’t work with a person’s budget, or the pump’s motor may not be designed to handle it. Running the filtration system for 10-12 hours daily allows the water to cycle through a few times, keeping the water clean.

Frequently backwashing by reversing the flow of water through the filter will also help by removing dirty water and contaminants from the pool. Cleaning the pool filter is another very important part of maintaining a pool, and should be part of any regular swimming pool maintenance.

Regular Cleaning

Keeping the water circulating will help maintain a swimming pool, making the pool easier to clean. Creating a pool cleaning schedule can help with swimming pool maintenance, though it really just gets down to doing the work. But for this, some specialty pool parts make maintaining a pool easier, such as a pool brush, net skimmer, and pool vacuum.

Even with well-circulated water, bacterial contamination can still occur. All sorts of debris and other contaminants can also end up in pool water, like leaves, insects, and residue from skincare and hair products. At a minimum, swimming pool maintenance should include skimming, brushing, and vacuuming on a weekly basis. Though automatic pool cleaners can significantly reduce the amount of time and work needed to clean a pool, this shouldn’t replace regular cleaning.

Some inexpensive tips for keeping pools clean:

  • By attaching a swimming pool vacuum to the filtration system of above-ground pools, it acts as a drain to clear cloudy water quickly.
  • For inground pools, drains in the deep end make most detritus gather there, for which so pool skimmers with long poles are well-suited.
  • Nylon stockings wrapped around skimmer baskets can filter out finer particulates than a skimmer can on its own.
  • Paste made from baking soda used with a kitchen scouring pad can be used to clean vinyl liners and delicate tiles.
  • Tennis balls placed in skimmer baskets, or even in the pool itself, absorb oils left by skin and hair products, like suntan lotion, cosmetics, and shampoos.
  • Use flocculant to make particles clump in order to clear cloudy pool water, though this only treats the symptom and not the cause.
  • With above-ground pools, manual pool vacuums help keep the water clear.

Just like brushing teeth to keep them clean, vacuuming and brushing a pool will help keep the water cleaner. Regular scrubbing keeps algae and other buildups at bay. This includes difficult areas to reach like corners or crevices, steps, and stairs, along the waterline and behind ladders.

Balancing Chemistry

A key part of modern swimming pool maintenance involves keeping the chemicals in pool water balanced. This doesn’t require a chemistry degree, but just some basic knowledge about what’s necessary to test and alter the water’s chemical makeup.

These basics are key to maintaining a swimming pool:

  • Maintaining a swimming pool’s pH levels by measuring the presence of acids and bases, which ideally should be kept within a range between 7.4 to 7.6.
  • Buffer against low or high extremes in PH by adding a pH buffer like baking soda to increase the pool’s alkalinity.
  • Ensure sufficient sanitizing chemicals are in the water, such as chlorine or bromine.

Once levels of chemicals have been determined, it’s easy enough to tweak the balance by adding specific products to change the pool water’s chemistry. It’s important, however, to understand what each chemical does and how it affects the water, along with how it can affect swimmers.

Replacement of Pool Light Bulbs

One seemingly minor issue involves changing swimming pool light bulbs. While lowering pool water levels to replace underwater light bulbs might seem like the best way to change an underwater light bulb, this is not the case. Instead, it’s possible to remove the light housing and pull the fixture out of the pool to put in replacement pool light bulbs.

Because water and electricity don’t mix well, however, it’s a good idea to follow a few simple steps when putting in a replacement underwater light bulb:

  • Shut the power off at the circuit board.
  • Check the light by trying to switch it on to be certain that the power is off.
  • Use a Philips screwdriver to remove the screw lock, a single screw that holds the light housing in place.
  • Use a flathead screwdriver or other flat tool to remove the box containing the fixture.
  • Pull the lighting fixture up onto the side of the pool
  • Allow the coiled wiring to come with the fixture, but do not pull too hard so as not to break it.
  • Remove the fixture’s cover and lens.
  • Check the pool’s handbook or contact a local pool shop to determine the correct type of pool light bulbs.
  • Purchase the correct replacement pool light bulbs at a local pool shop or online.
  • Unscrew the old light bulb.
  • Use a towel or cloth to screw in the new light bulb, but don’t touch it with bare hands as oils on the skin can make it burn out more quickly.
  • Turn the power on and test the bulb to ensure it works, but only for a couple of seconds as it may otherwise burn out.

Swimming Pool Maintenance, Part 2: What Not to Do

Follow along with our two-part series on swimming pool maintenance. Now that we have covered the basics of pool upkeep, our next blog will discuss what not to do to keep your pool safe and healthy for swimmers!

To learn more about swimming pool maintenance or to inquire about our products, please contact us at Halogen Supply today.