Keeping your pool healthy is a year-round affair
Installing a backyard pool means summers filled with lounging and splashing, but having your very own private oasis comes with a little bit of know-how. Along with keeping up regular pool maintenance, there are some care practices you might overlook as you soak the days away.
To make sure your summer fun isn’t short-lived, avoid these five pool care mistakes.
1. Throwing Parties Without Prepping
There’s no use in having a swimming pool if you’re not going to enjoy it, right? But if you want to ensure your backyard oasis lasts for years to come, your pool needs a little TLC to keep it looking beautiful and feeling fresh. This means doing some prep work when you’re planning a big party with lots of swimmers.
If you use a local service to help maintain your pool, then you might want to notify them of the party ahead of time so that they can adjust your chlorine, check your filters, and confirm your water levels. If you’re maintaining your pool yourself, you can also do this bit of prep work. An inline chlorinator or chlorine floater can help you get the right chemical levels for the added demand.
But prepping the pool isn’t enough—you’ll also need to do some freshening up the day after the pool party. At the very least, clean your filters, skim, and brush, and adjust your chemicals, too. In addition to chlorine, using calcium-hypochlorite shock after heavy use helps clean the pool and prevent algae growth.
2. Letting the Fur Fly
A backyard swimming pool doesn’t just mean fun for the two-legged family members. Odds are, your fur baby also enjoys a refreshing dip. But while the sight of Fido or Fifi making a splash might be adorable, it’s not exactly ideal for your pool water or filtration system.
But that doesn’t mean you have to exile your four-legged best friend from the family pool (who could resist those eyes, after all?). All it means is you’ll need to do an extra bit of maintenance after your furry companion’s swim.
After your pet’s warm and dry, net the pool to clear excessive debris. It’s best to do this quickly, before larger contaminates reach the filtration system. The next day, thoroughly clear the pool’s skimmer basket and filter. This not only helps keep the water clean, but also prevents bigger problems, such as clogging or damage to the impeller.
3. Forgetting the Chemistry
Whether you’re enlisting the services of a pool professional or taking care of maintenance yourself, it’s important to stay on top of every task. That includes cleaning your pool, testing your water chemistry, and adding the necessary chemicals at least once a week—and more if your water has started to turn from pristine blue to a funky green.
Maintaining the proper chemical balance in your water is especially important for keeping your pool clean and crystalline. Algaecides, such as the well-known Yellow Treat, treat different types of algae present in pool water. Most algaecides will greatly reduce your chlorine level upon application. It’s important that you counteract this effort by ensuring you have a high level of chlorine in the pool prior to applying the treatment.
Low levels of chlorine in conjunction with the algaecide can turn a green pool even greener! Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and be sure to keep your pool pump on to allow the algaecide to reach all corners of your pool.
4. Ignoring a Crack-Up
Resurfacing your pool can be a complicated and costly affair, so not tending to your pool’s surface can be an expensive mistake. You’ll want to watch out for signs of breakdown, including chipping, flaking, broken tiles, cement, or plaster, rusting, or discoloration.
You will also want to monitor the condition of your pool liner. If you notice a rapid or unexplained drop in your water levels, or if you notice puckering or wrinkling, then your liner may be failing. Pay particular attention to “weaker” and more vulnerable parts of your liner, including around any steps, lights, filters, drains, and corners. Tears and separations generally start there.
5. Taking a Winter Hiatus
Regularly cleaning and maintaining your pool during the winter months when no one’s using it can feel like a waste of time, effort, and money. But giving your pool a little love year-round can not only significantly increase its life, but also prevent costly repairs and make it far easier to get your pool up and running when swimming season returns.
During the winter, you won’t need to put in as much sweat as in the heavy-use months. Instead of weekly maintenance, you will probably be able to cut back to bi-monthly care. But this bit of maintenance can help protect your pool from algae growth and prevent debris from collecting in your filtration system. Running the filters and the heater periodically can also keep your pool’s vital components from freezing and, potentially, from cracking, bursting, or breaking.
Because your pool’s maintenance needs will vary in the winter, it’s a good idea to chat with a technician if you’re planning to close your pool down for the winter. They can provide tips to ensure that, when spring comes again, your pool is as ready as you are.