Clean Pool 101
A clean and well-maintained pool keeps swimmers safe and promotes a long life for the pool. There are several steps to cleaning and maintaining a pool. This is meant as a basic overview for the best practices to a clean pool. Each practice contributes to the three main components to proper care of the: pool water, pool interior, the pool filter system. Keeping these components maintained keep the pool functioning properly and create a safe and clean environment. By maintaining a consistent schedule of removing debris, proper maintenance and checking chemical balance, the pool remains clean and healthy.
1. Removing Debris
Remove debris as often as possible. Doing so will prevent the debris from breaking down and cause problems with filter efficiency. Also, it will enhance the appearance of the pool by removing debris like hair, bugs and leaves.
Removing Debris on the Surface
Use a leaf skimmer to remove any kind of floating debris in the water. This will prevent the debris from floating to the bottom of the pool and causing more potential problems. Skim the top of the pool as often as possible. In addition to keeping your water free from debris and improving functionality, this will greatly improve the aesthetic appeal of you pool.
Brushing the Walls
Brushing the walls improves overall health of the pool. Keeping surfaces clean, preventing algae, preventing biofilm and blending your disinfectant are ways that it contributes to a clean pool. The best way to promote proper brushing is brushing once a week.
Vacuuming the Floor
Using an automatic cleaner or a pool vacuum is a great way to keeping out unwanted debris such as mud, algae and hair. Thus, improving your filter helping promote better water circulation. When considering vacuum schedule consider vacuuming as needed, ideally once a week unless there is excessive pool usage.
Cleaning the Skimmer
Removing debris from the skimmer as often as possible keeps the pool functioning properly. Debris in the skimmer can break down overtime and can enter the filter. Once the debris enters the filter, it can lead to improper water flow and prevent your filter from working correctly over time. Skimmer cleanliness allows the pool to function and extends the pools life.
2. Check and Clean the Filter
A clean, well-maintained filter promotes efficient filtration, prolonged life span and better water quality. The filter helps purify the pool water and keep it safe for swimmers to use. When the filter becomes dirty the ability of proper water circulation declines. Proper water circulation is necessary for filtration, maintaining water temperature, chemical balance and sanitation. In addition to the water health benefits, a clean filter reduces the cost of running the pool. A dirty filter can cause extra strain on the pump causing it to work harder and consumer more energy. Therefore, maintaining the pool filter is an essential part of proper pool maintenance and cleaning.
The process of cleaning and maintaining the filtration system depends on what type of filtration system is being used. By cleaning the filter on a regular basis, it promotes good water circulation and efficient filtration. Once a month is a good schedule to check and clean the filter; in addition, when the pressure gauge is 10 psi above normal operating level. Another indicator is cloudy water, but if cloudy water persists there may be another underlying cause.
3. Check and Adjust Chemical Balance
Balancing the water chemistry is essential to proper pool maintenance and water care. Consistently checking the chemical levels with water testing is the first step to maintaining proper chemical levels. The main chemical levels are alkalinity, pH, sanitizer, cyanuric acid and calcium hardness. These chemical levels, when kept balanced, keep the water clean and safe for swimmers.
Alkalinity helps control the pH level; it acts like a buffer to prevent spikes in pH level. The ideal range is 100 parts per million – 150 parts per million. When the alkalinity is too low or too, the pH levels can spike effecting the power of the sanitizer and cause equipment issues.
pH levels refer to how acidic or basic the pool water is. The ideal range is 7.4 – 7.6 on the pH scale. Maintaining the pH in this range increases the effectiveness of the sanitizer and strongly contributes to swimmer safety. In addition, proper pH promotes the longevity of pool equipment, reducing corrosion and strain on pool system.
The sanitizer level is in control of keeping the pool free from harmful contaminants. The ideal range depends on what chemical is being used to sanitize. Regardless, maintaining proper chemical balance is needed to maintain water care and keeping swimmers safe. If the level gets too low the sanitizer is not performing well enough and the water does not get clean. However, when the level gets too high it can harm swimmers or cause chemical build up.
Cyanuric Acid (CYA):
Cyanuric Acid (CYA) helps stabilize chlorine. Stabilizing the chlorine prevents ultraviolet evaporation cause by the sun, increasing the longevity of the chlorine. Some chlorine products contain cyanuric acid to help stabilize the chlorine. The ideal range is between 40ppm – 50ppm, the reason being when there is too much cyanuric acid it will have a reverse effect, causing the chlorine to be less effective. Whereas, if there is not enough, it does not stabilize the chlorine enough, again causing chlorine to be less effective.
Calcium Hardness Level:
Finally, the calcium hardness level refers to how “hard” or “soft” the pool water is. In particular, is measures the amount of calcium is in the water. When the calcium hardness gets too high it can lead to pool equipment damage and scale on pool surfaces. If the calcium gets too low, the pool water will start to self-adjust pulling calcium from pool plaster or metal fittings depending on what type of pool it is. The ideal range for calcium hardness depends on what type of pool, concrete, vinyl or fiberglass.