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15 Pool Maintenance Tips for Swimming Pool Owners

Diligent Care Required for Extreme Summer Temperatures and Year-Round Pools

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15 Pool Maintenance Tips

Keep Your Swimming Pool Regularly Maintained

© Kevin Woodhurst

If you are lucky enough to live in the Valley of the Sun and own a swimming pool, here are some pool maintenance tips for keeping your pool sparkling clean, inviting, refreshing and ready for use every day. The key is just staying on top of it. This will save you from making mistakes that could cost you a great deal of money. Routine pool maintenance may also prevent frustration and will minimize the need to make emergency runs to the pool store for chemicals or other additives.

15 Tips For Keeping Your Home Swimming Pool Sparkling Clean and Healthy To Use

  1. Check pool chemistry 2-3 times per week during the summer and once per week in the winter.
  2. Clean out skimmer basket(s) weekly, or as needed if conditions exist.
  3. Clean hair and lint pot in the pump every couple of weeks or as needed. Turn off pump to do this.
  4. Check and monitor water level at least once per month, adjust as needed. Water level should be at the center of the tile or skimmer.
  5. Check Deck-Chlor/Inline Chlorinator at least once per week for proper adjustment. Check flow as needed while you check chlorine readings. Make sure chlorine tablets are in the Deck-Chlor or Inline Unit, adjust as necessary to maintain adequate chlorine levels.
  6. Make sure light is on in the ozone unit, if you have one. Crack valve only slightly at the pump. Be careful not to break any of the connections -- they are fragile. Check flow-meter often to ensure adjustment is within range.
  7. Add catalyst tabs if you have one as needed following instructions for the gallons of water in your pool. Keep them in a cool dry place or they will turn into block form.
  8. Clean your filters. This may be necessary after a heavy storm or once every few months depending on conditions in your pool. It would be best to clean them about every 4-6 months. Just remind yourself to do it each time you come back from the dentist, or each time you change the air filters in your home, which should be about the same frequency. If you have an extra set of elements it is a much easier and quicker job. Soak dirty filters in a 10% solution of muriatic acid or a solution of TSP (trisodium phosphate). Use a rubber trash can. Wear gloves and eye protection. Be careful! Always add acid to water, NOT water to acid. Rinse until clean and let them dry. Put your supplies away until your next swap-out.
  9. As you are monitoring your pool, take note:
    • are your returns very weak?
    • is the in-floor cleaning system not working very well?
    • is the water clarity starting to look bad?
    If any of these conditions exist, it is likely time to clean the filters. Most pools should only need this done a couple of times a year. There are exceptions though based on bather load (pool usage).
  10. Wipe/clean tile line weekly. This will reduce build-up.
  11. If you have a salt water chlorine generator than you will need to check and clean the blades in the unit about every 30 days. If the red flow light or flow meter is on or reading less than normal, then the blades are likely calcified and producing little to zero chlorine. Turn the pump off, bleed off any pressure, undo the unions and clean the blades per the manufacturer's recommendations.
  12. Always keep chemicals stored out of direct sunlight. Keep them in a cool dry place. Do NOT store acid and chlorine right next to each other.
  13. Your pool should not need to be shocked on any regular basis if you have an ozone system. If you need to do it, do it at night. Use non-chorine based shock if you plan on swimming any time soon. Another way to shock your pool would be to run your pump for 24 hours using your ozone system. This works great! If you are on 24 hour circulation (2-speed or variable speed pump) than you should be just fine.
  14. If you start seeing any cracks around the perimeter of your pool between your deck and your tile, caulk it with a small bead of clear silicon. Do not allow the water to migrate from inside the pool in and under the deck through cracks at this joint.
  15. Keep vegetation, animals, chemicals (like fertilizers and ironite) away from and out of the pool. Nitrates from bird droppings and waste from animals and people are food for algae. Don't feed the algae!

Optimal Swimming Pool Chemical Ranges

Keep your pool's chemical readings in these ranges:
  • PH: 7.2 to 7.8
  • Alkalinity: 80 to 120 ppm
  • Calcium Hardness: 250-450 ppm
  • Cyanuric Acid or Conditioner: 30-50 ppm
  • Chorine residual: 1.0 to 1.5 ppm; upt to 2.0 in the summer with ozone, 3.0 without
  • Combined chlorine: 0 ppm

Adjust down PH with muriatic acid. Never add more than a pint at a time. Re-test than add again as needed. As you add acid to adjust down the PH this should in turn cause the alkalinity reading to come down. Read your test kit guide; it has plenty of useful information and tips. Call your local pool store if you have any questions.

The temperature has a drastic affect on your swimming pool. In the Phoenix desert, the extreme summer temperatures mean that you might have to pay more attention to your water chemistry and the clarity of your swimming pool water. It should be crystal clear all the time and swim ready.

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