Whether you’ve just moved into a new house with a pool, or just got a pool installed in your backyard, owning a pool can be both exciting and a little overwhelming at first. That’s why we’ve come up with this list of quick tips to help you get the most out of your new pool!
Regularly Test & Maintain Your Water
Our first tip is also the most crucial to your long-term enjoyment of your pool; don’t forget to regularly test and treat your pool water! Unbalanced water can cause a host of issues over the long term; from cloudy or green water to scale buildup and corrosion. To ensure that your pool water stays clear and comfortable to use you’ll want to test it every 2-3 days using a home test kit.
Based on the results of your tests, you may need to add in some small amounts of balancing or sanitizing chemicals. If you’re unsure about what to add, or how much of it to add, consult your local pool retailer for more info. If you notice that your pool is consistently out of balance, regardless of what you add, bring a sample of your water to your retailer for a free professional test and a more in-depth water care consultation.
Even if everything looks good on your home tests, we recommend getting your pool water professionally tested around once per month. This is because the professional tests are both more accurate and test for more things; giving you a more complete look at the overall health of your pool while catching some potential issues that your home tests might miss.
Take Your Water Samples The Right Way
When taking a water sample for testing, ensure that you take the sample from water that is at least elbow deep. This is because water at or near the surface of the pool interacts with the air and UV radiation from the Sun; both of which can subtly affect the balance of the water and lead to inaccurate test results.
You should also avoid taking water samples from water near the return jets of the pool as the chlorine levels in that water will typically be much higher than it is in the rest of the pool.
Add Your Chemicals Correctly
Believe it or not, how you add chemicals to your pool can make a big difference in how effectively they do their job. To ensure the chemicals you add to your pool water are working at peak efficiency you will need to do 2 things:
- Add your chemicals by the return jets. Adding your chemicals at or near the return jets helps to ensure that they’re properly incorporated into the water, rather than simply gathering together on the bottom of the pool.
- If adding multiple chemicals, add each one at least 15 minutes apart. Spacing out your chemicals by at least 15 minutes give each chemical the opportunity to fully incorporate into the water before the next chemical is added. This prevents the chemicals interacting with each other in ways that can reduce their effectiveness and negatively affect the water balance of your pool.
Brush The Surface Of The Pool
Next to regularly adding algaecide and chlorine to the water, the best way to avoid algae problems in your pool is to regularly brush its surface.
All pools have areas with poor circulation, known as “dead spots”. Algae love still water, so these dead spots are particularly prone to algae growth. Without fresh, chlorinated water being introduced, once these algae blooms start to grow, they can quickly turn the whole pool green.
Brushing the liner breaks up any small algae blooms that have started to grow. These smaller pieces of algae are then quickly killed off with the combination of chlorine and algaecide that you added earlier.
Brushing also stirs up the water, letting fresh, chlorinated water into areas with poor circulation, which inhibits the growth of new algae. For best results, brush your liner once per week, right after you add your weekly chemicals.
Store Your Pool Chemicals and Test Kits Indoors
To keep your chemicals and test kits working at peak efficiency you’ll want to store them in a dry space that isn’t too hot or too cold. High heat and humidity can negatively affect the performance of both powder based chemicals and test strips. Extreme cold can also freeze liquid based chemicals, which can degrade their effectiveness once thawed back out.
Maintain A Proper Water Level
The water in your pool should cover around 1/2 to 2/3 of the skimmer hole. Any higher than this and floating debris won’t be skimmed off the surface of the water. Any lower and the pumps might not get enough water flowing through them, which can reduce their lifespan. Once per week, check the water level in your pool and add more if needed.
Backwash Your Pool Less
Most pool owners are backwashing their pool too often. This is because many new pool owners are taught to backwash their pools at regular intervals; typically, once every 2-4 weeks. This is simply too often for most pools.
“Backwashing” is the process of moving water backwards through your filter to clean out all of the trapped dirt and debris within it. The process also wastes quite a bit of water, however, so backwashing more than is needed will end up increasing your pool maintenance costs unnecessarily. On top of that, clean pool filters are actually less efficient than dirty filters which can lead to an increase in potential water clarity issues.
So how often should you backwash your filter? We recommend waiting until your filter’s pressure gauge reads 10 PSI above the starting (“clean”) level. For example, if after backwashing your pool you see that the pressure gauge is reading 20 PSI, you’ll want to wait to backwash until the pressure gauge reaches 30 PSI.
Note: Your actual starting level will vary depending on a number of factors like your filter, pool size, pumps and plumbing layout, but if you stick to the 10 above starting rule, you’ll be completely fine.
Replace Your Pressure Gauge Once Per Year
Pool filter pressure gauges are notorious for breaking over the winter. Fortunately, they’re also quite inexpensive to replace. For this reason, we recommend buying and installing a new pressure gauge every spring to ensure that you can properly backwash your filter.
Use A Solar Blanket To Keep Heat In Your Pool Water
Solar blankets are great tools for keeping your water warm, when used properly. Many pool owners, however, aren’t using their solar blankets properly. This is because solar blankets are essentially insulation for your pool and as such are used to keep heat trapped in the water, rather than heating it up.
Leaving your solar blanket on during hot, sunny days will actually reduce the heat in your pool water as the solar blanket essentially shields the water from direct sunlight and doesn’t allow it to properly absorb into the water.
To get the most out of your solar blanket, you’ll want to remove it on warm, sunny days to allow as much of the Sun’s energy to absorb into the pool water as possible. You should then cover the water with the solar blanket overnight or on cooler, cloudy days to keep that heat trapped.
Consider A Variable-Speed Pool Pump
Variable speed pumps are pool pumps that are able to change their flow rate on command by changing the speed of their impeller. Variable speed pool pumps have several advantages over traditional single speed pumps, most notably:
- Energy Efficiency. The slower the impeller is spinning, the less power the pump will consume. In fact, variable speed pumps consume up to 90% less than single speed pool pumps; saving the average pool owner anywhere from $300-$500 per year!
- Programmability. Variable speed pumps can be programmed to change their speed over the course of the day; allowing you to save more money by running the pump more during off-peak energy times and less during on-peak times.
- Noise Level. Variable speed pumps run much quieter than single speed pumps.
- Lifespan. Variable speed pumps also typically last much longer than single speed pumps as they rarely run at full speed, which means less wear and tear on the components of the pump.
While pools can have a steep learning curve, once you master a few basics you’ll find that they’re typically quite easy to maintain. Following these tips will help you to get cleaner, clearer water with less effort, and can save you some money at the same time!