Beginner Pool Maintenance and Safety

Updated May 20, 2019
in-ground pool maintenance
Routine maintenance can help extend your pool’s lifespan. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Lauren D. of St. Petersburg, Fla.)

A pool can be a great addition to a property, but it is important that it is properly cleaned, maintained, and kept safe.

Regular maintenance and safety checks on a pool can keep it in work properly and help to avoid dangerous situations and minimizes any pool repair costs. Understanding how your pool works can also empower you to fix minor issues as they arise and to know when a professional is needed.  

Parts of a swimming pool

Like many other home improvement projects, a pool can be customized to meet the needs and preferences of the homeowner. There are though several functional elements that are a must for most, if not all, residential pools:

Pool water

Clean and balanced water help protect swimmers from infection and pollutants. It can also reduce corrosion of pool parts, extending the life of the pool and minimizing necessary repairs.

Interior wall or lining

The interior walls or pool liner should be cleaned and free of algae and mold. Remember that the interior wall comes into contact with the water you swim in and an unclean wall or liner eventually leads to an unclean pool.

Filtration system

The pool filtration system usually includes a pump and a filter that work together to draw out the circulating pool water and clean out contaminants before the water is filtered back into the pool.

Skimmer and returns

Skimmers pull pool water into the filtration system to be cleaned, they are different from net skimmers, which may also be used to remove debris from a pool. Returns release filtered water back into the pool once it has passed through the filtration system. It is important to keep skimmers and returns free of debris and obstruction.

Optional elements that may be added onto a pool include:

Pool lighting

A heating system

A speaker system

Specialized pool cover

Concepts of pool maintenance

Circulation is essential in the maintenance of a pool, as moving water is cleaner and safer than stagnant water. The pool filtration system should, ideally, be kept running 24/7 during the swimming season in order to avoid murky water and the growth of contaminants. But running a pool filter can be costly, many homeowners find it is okay and more affordable if the system runs 10-12 hours a day. Backwashing your pool filter is also another way to ensure adequate pool circulation as it gets rid of all built-up contaminants and the dirty water.

Cleaning the pool is another important part of pool maintenance and should be done at least once a week, more depending on the amount of debris introduced. To clean the pool thoroughly, you need:

a pool brush

a vacuum

a net-skimmer

Cleaning the pool entails manually skimming, vacuuming and brushing the interior. You can use an automatic pool cleaner or baking soda depending on your preference. You can find professional pool cleaners by searching "pool cleaners" to help keep your pool clean and hygienic.

Chemistry is an important part of pool maintenance. Understanding the chemistry of your pool carefully monitoring and adjusting the alkalinity, the sanitizer and the PH levels of your pool thus enables you to safely treat your pool without posing risk to swimmers. Adding a calcium-hypochlorite shock treatment following heavy use or a period of heavy rainfall is also advised.

Essential rules and tools for pool safety

Pool safety includes the equipment used around and in the pool to keep swimmers safe. It also includes the behavior and actions of those in and around the pool. In order to avoid serious and sometimes fatal accidents, it's important to practice safety and caution in and near a pool. Proper barriers should be installed around the pool's parameter and the entrance of the pool should include a locking mechanism.

Supervision around the pool: It is essential to keep an eye on people, children and adults alike, using the pool. If you are hosting a pool party, make sure you are on the lookout for any intoxicated adults who might wander into the pool area and into the water. If children should be supervised at all times when enjoying the pool and should be properly suited with fitted life jackets or similar floaties. You can never emphasize the importance of personal safety in the pool. As such, taking swim and pool safety is recommended.

No one knows when and how accidents can happen and so, it is essential to have somebody on hand that knows how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation. There is not enough time to learn how to do CPR when an accident occurs so knowing how to do it is recommended to prepare for such a time. Taking an online class is as good.

Pool safety equipment

Having a pool fence is an excellent way to maintain safety around the pool. Installation of pool gates and fences keeps children from wandering into the pool unsupervised and helps to prevent slips and falls into the pool.

Installation of a pool gate and door alarm is also a good idea. Whenever the connection between the gate and the fence breaks, a pool alarm sounds. Install a door alarm on the door that leads to the backyard or opens to the pool area to allow you enough time to reach a child before they get to the pool. In case the child makes it past the door and the gate without your knowledge, a pool alarm can still help you keep them safe. A partial submersion of the pool alarm into the water makes it sound when there is movement in the pool.

Safety covers and float lines are also beneficial. A pool cover acts as a barrier to keep unwanted things and animals outside the pool when there is no one around. Float lines in the pool help a person to stay afloat till help arrives in case they are struggling to swim.

A life preserver is tossed to someone in the pool to help them stay afloat while you reach them. This is important because it is much easier to help someone who's floating on the water than someone who's already sinking. A pool safety hook is much like the life preserver as it gives the person in the water something to hold on to. The safety hook, however, does not require you to go into the water. You extend the hook to the person in the pool and once they have grabbed it you pull them towards you.

A first aid kit should also be kept in the pool area. In cases of injuries, there should be bandages, painkillers, and disinfectants to minimize infections and pain. A poolside kit should also have a pool blanket to cover anyone who drowns. There are many pool services nearby that can be accessed to your convenience by simply searching for "pool services near me."

Maintaining your pool at home

Keeping your pool water crystal clear

Pool safety equipment

Health and safety in swimming pools

Barrier safety standards

Swimming pool safety and maintenance resources

Aquatic safety

Water and pool safety for children

Tips for swimming pools safety

Risk assessment in the pool(PDF)

Maintaining a swimming pool(PDF)

Significance of pool maintenance services

Pool safety and insurance

Importance of water safety