Swimming Pool Maintenance, Part 2: What Not to Do

This blog is Part Two of our two-part series discussing the importance of maintaining a swimming pool and how best to care for your pool. Read Part One here.

Now that you’ve read and understood the basics of maintaining a swimming pool, it’s just as important that you know what not to do when it comes to pool care. What may seem like a beneficial maintenance step at first can very quickly become a problem if using the incorrect swimming pool equipment, not testing the water properly, or even adding chemicals at the wrong time of day.

We’ve covered some of the most common examples of what not to do, and provided expert tips on what to do instead!

Don’t Directly Add Pool Shock to the Water

For vinyl pools, never put pool shock directly into the water, as the concentrated granules of chlorine will sink to the bottom, causing bleaching. Though this will not hurt the water, it will eventually cause the pool to leak.

Prevention: Instead, dissolve the pool shock into a bucket of water to allow it to disperse more evenly.

Expert Tips:

  • Add chemicals to water rather than water to chemicals to avoid splashing on clothes, skin or other vulnerable body parts.
  • Chemicals should be put into the pool when the filter pump is running and during cooler evening hours.
  • Empty the entire contents of the pool shock bag to prevent chemicals from spilling and causing damage or harm.
  • Put chemicals into warm water, as chlorine dissolves more readily.
  • Should any granules settle on the bottom, use a pool brush to disperse them.
  • Use protective eyewear, a chemical mask, and gloves that resist chemicals.

Trying to Solve Algae Problem with Automatic Pool Cleaner

Using pressurized automatic pool cleaners might sound like an efficient and quick way to remove algae from pools. Instead, it simply breaks up and pushes algae, along with other debris, into the robotic pool cleaner’s mesh bag, inevitably clogging it. This simply spreads the muck around the pool, introducing the algae to new spots where it can grow.

Prevention: Though more labor-intensive, use a manual vacuum to remove algae.

Expert Tips:

  • Either switch the filter to gather waste or remove the drain plug.
    Though vacuuming will cause significant water loss, it will also remove nearly all the algae.

Not Checking Pool pH and Alkalinity

A low pH indicates acidic water, while high levels indicate alkalinity. While low pH water keeps algae from growing, it can damage swimming pool maintenance equipment and other pool parts, including liners, heaters, robotic pool cleaners and chemical feeders.

Prevention: Test pool water regularly to ensure the pH is stable.

Expert Tip: Adjust pH levels using PH increaser, alkalinity increaser and other essential chemicals until the balance is back.

Too Much Backwashing

Flushing the detritus inside the pool’s filter may be important, but overdoing it wastes water. Constant backwashing can lower the pool’s water level below the filter line, which can cause the filter’s motor to blow prematurely. Also, a certain amount of pressure buildup can actually keep the pool cleaner.

Prevention: Monitor the filter tank’s pressure gauge, keeping it between 10-15 pounds per square inch (PSI), a level at which the filter performs optimally.

Expert Tip: Allow extra debris to build up in order to trap smaller particles, though keep the levels at about 10 PSI over normal in order to get the most benefit.

Using Skimmer to Add Pool Shock

This mistake can easily destroy a pool’s filter system, and possibly create a cloud of poisonous chlorine gas. If the pool has an automatic chlorinator affixed to the filtering system, mixing either calcium hypochlorite or dichlor pool shock into the skimmer will cause the chemicals to combine om a small space, resulting in an explosion.

Prevention: Just. Don’t. Do. This.

Expert Tips:

  • Always wear protective gear and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when working with pool chemicals.
  • Keep your pool shock and your skimmer far, far away from one another. Always add your shock following the manufacturer’s directions, while wearing appropriate safety gear.
  • Store pool shock chemicals far away from the skimmer, and chlorine.

Adding Pool Shock in Daytime

Chlorine cleans pool water by attaching to contaminants, leaving behind chloramines, which can irritate swimmers’ eyes and skin. Adding pool shock reduces chloramines to around 3 parts per million (ppm). However, adding pool shock while the sun is shining will burn about 1 ppm per hour of pool shock, reducing the effectiveness of the chemicals.

Prevention: Put pool shock in at night.

Expert Tips:

  • Shock pool once per week.
  • Use about 1 lb. (about .454 kg) of pool shock for every 10,000 gallons (about 37,854 L) until chloramines are reduced to 3 ppm.

Failing to Maintain Calcium Hardness

Balancing calcium hardness, like balancing pH, in pool water is essential to keep pools clear and clean. It helps lengthen the lifespan of certain swimming pool wall elements, including fiberglass, vinyl liners, and filters. Too much, however, will cloud the water.

Prevention: Add calcium hardness increaser to keep levels between 175-225 ppm, or between 200-275 ppm for plaster and concrete pools.

Expert Tips:

  • Add at the beginning of swimming season.
  • Check levels throughout the swimming season to ensure calcium hardness levels do not dip too low.
  • Using calcium hypochlorite shock will also add calcium hardener, prolonging the life of swimming pool maintenance equipment.

Not Testing Pool Water Once Per Week

Weekly water tests are an important part of maintaining a swimming pool. Monitoring a pool’s chemistry keeps minor problems from becoming major ones.

Prevention: Use a liquid test kit or test strips to test water at least once per week, taking a sample into a local pool supply company at least once per month.

Expert Tips:

  • More comprehensive testing can be done less often for metals like copper and iron, calcium hardness, cyanuric acid, salt, and other dissolved solids.
  • Test for pH, alkalinity, and free chlorine levels once per week, as these are core components.

Contact the Experts at Halogen Supply

Understanding the basics of maintaining a swimming pool is essential for keeping your pool safe and clean for all who use it. Save yourself time, money, and headaches by following the helpful tips above! For more information about maintaining a swimming pool and necessary pool supplies, please contact us at Halogen Supply today.