Updated November 2019
Here at Liberty Home Guard we’ve made it out mission to simplify home ownership. One of the best ways to avoid a lot of pain down the road is with a little preparation up front. Your pool is likely one of the biggest investments in your home, and one of the most significant leisure areas. We’ve come up with the 9 best ways to maintain your pool and prevent some of the most frequent pool break downs and headaches that are completely avoidable.
The chemical levels in your pool are one of the most important factors in your pools health (and swimmers for that matter). If the chemicals are not properly maintained it can become a health risk, allowing the pool water to get murky, bacteria to grow or those swimming in the pool to experience skin and eye irritation. The key chemical attributes in your pool are:
- Cyanuric Acid: Works with and maintains free chlorine in the pool
- Free Chlorine: Keep your pool bacteria free
- PH Level: Must be between 7.5 and 7.8 otherwise swimmers will experience irritation and pool equipment will erode
- Calcium Hardness: Prevents plater damage target range is 220-350, if your pool has vinyl siding it should between 90-120
Testing kits are inexpensive and testing your pool water is simple. Fill a vial from the kit with your pools water, add the solution from the kit, and after a few seconds the water will change color. Compare the color with the chart (provided in kit) to gauge your pools levels. The Center for Disease Control has a useful post you can find here.
If the chemical levels ever dip too low or too high shocking your pool is a good way to bring it back to normal. Every notice how a pool can become murky after an eventful day packed with swimmers. That murkiness is actually bacteria. To counteract these effects and bring your pool back to normal, raise the chlorine levels temporarily to a level 4 times higher than the normal free chlorine. You don’t want to shock your pool too often but doing so 2-3 times per season can help keep the pool clean and your family healthy.
Surface level cleaning: skimming, vacuuming, and scrubbing
Depending on the foliage in your environment you will want to skim your pool anywhere between once a day to every 3 days. Ideally you should also have a vacuum for your pool, the robotic ones that clean and maneuver automatically are definitely a good buy in our opinion – best automatic pool cleaners of 2019.
In addition to skimming and vacuuming, scrubbing is important both for the aesthetics of your pool and its function. The algae buildup that can occur on the side of your pool is unappealing to the eye, can spread to the pool itself, and cause buildups and backups that you do not want to deal with.
If there’s a spot around your pool that just won’t go away, fill an old sock with chlorine and lay it on the spot. After a few hours, try scrubbing the spot again, you should now be able to get it out.
Your pool filters are vital organs to pool maintenance. The filters are constantly on the job, ensuring that all the unwanted sediment, and impurities are removed from the water. Everything from leaves to dust gets removed from your pool through these key items. Once a week you should clean out the filter basket, ensuring all debris is removed before putting the basket back. You shouldn’t turn your filter on and off too often as that can cause cracking. We recommend using an automatic system such as a timer and leaving your filter on for no less than 6 hours a day.
Finally, once a month you should clean out the pipes that your filter system uses. The method to clean out those pipes is called “backwashing.” To backwash the system, set your filters to backwash, remove and clean out the leaf basket, and finally turn on your pump and let it run until you see clear water coming out of the waste pipe.
Stay on top of your water level. As your pool experiences use (and the elements), the water level will fluctuate. For example, a heavy rainstorm can cause your pool’s water level to rise. The ideal level is halfway up your skimmer. When it comes to water level, too little is a simpler solve (using your garden hose would suffice) than too much. If your pool’s water level goes too high you’ll need to rent a submergible pump but be careful, if your pool’s lining is fiberglass or vinyl the pumps weight may cause some damage. Once the water level is back to normal you should check the chemicals, as they’ve likely fluctuated in concentration with the changing amounts of water.
Getting rid of oils left behind by guests. People will leave behind oils from an assortment of products, ranging from sunscreen, tanning oil, and even certain hair products. The fix however is easy, simply throw a tennis ball in the pool as the fibers do a great job catching and absorbing oils, removing any sheen left behind on the surface on your pool due to these oils.
No pool is complete without a quality deck and deck maintenance is key. Power washing will get rid of any stains the accumulate over time, including rust. Before you begin the power wash you should sweep the pool and remove any debris such as dirt or leaves. Set the power washing machine on low to medium pressure.
Service appointments are a good thing to do once a season. You should have an expert look over your pool and pool area at least once per year and perhaps more if you’re in a warmer climate, using your pool more often. We suggest doing a review of your pool prior to your appointment so that you can right down and catalogue any issues, such as leaks or sounds, that you want to review with the expert.
With Liberty Home Guard’s Pool and Spa Coverage, the cost of such check-ups as well as many of the most common pool breakdowns are covered in your policy, all you need to pay is the trade service fee of $60.
Winterize it! Make sure you do your research before you winterize your pool. While not overly complicated, missing a step can lead to some serious pool issues that you’ll likely only uncover once the weather gets warmer. Make sure you invest in a good cover, test your chemicals, and remove any excess water out of your plumbing lines before winterizing your pool.
Maintaining a pool does require some effort however, it doesn’t need to rule your life. By thinking ahead, maintaining a schedule, and doing a little bit of research you can preempt 90% of issues that you would otherwise encounter. If you’d like to remove a substantial portion of the hassle that comes with owning a pool and add a layer of financial security protecting you from unforeseen expenses not only on your pool but also your home’s systems and appliances, you should consider a Liberty Home Guard Home Warranty Policy. You can give us a call at (833) 544-8273 read more about our policies here.