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2024 Pool Maintenance Beginner's Guide

From Skimming to Shocking: Essential Pool Maintenance Tips Every Beginner Should Know

Children and a person swimming

If you're a proud pool owner, you know that it brings endless hours of fun and relaxation. However, owning a pool comes with the responsibility of proper pool maintenance to continue enjoying those lazy days around the pool and protecting your investment. From skimming the surface to shocking the water, there are a few essential tips that every beginner pool owner should know. Proper maintenance lets you keep your water looking crystal clear and safe for swimming. New to pool ownership? Fear not. In this article, we’ll cover everything needed to keep your pool sparkling clean and ready to be enjoyed all season long. So, grab your skimmer net, and let's dive into these essential pool maintenance tips from Rocky Mountain Outdoor Living.


Why Pool Maintenance Is Important

Did you know that a neglected pool can quickly become a breeding ground for microorganisms such as bacteria and algae? But it's not just about keeping your pool free of harmful organisms. A well-maintained pool also lasts longer and requires fewer repairs over time. This can save you a significant amount of money in the long run. Plus, a sparkling clean pool is much more inviting than a murky, algae-filled one.


4 Common Pool Maintenance Mistakes


Before we dive into the essential pool maintenance tips, let's look at some of the most common pool maintenance mistakes:


Mistake #1: Wrong Water Chemistry

Neglecting proper water chemistry can lead to bacterial growth and algae buildup. However, overusing pool chemicals can damage the pool's structure and irritate swimmers' skin and eyes.


Mistake #2: Low Cleaning Frequency

Failing to clean the pool regularly results in debris and dirt buildup. This can be hard on your filtration equipment and require more frequent replacement.


Mistake #3: Poor Water Circulation

Not running the pool pump and filter for the recommended amount of time each day leads to poor water circulation. Poor water circulation can increase the growth of bacteria.


Mistake #4: Inconsistent Shocking

Not shocking the pool regularly allows for the potential buildup of algae and bacteria.


Pool Maintenance Basics


Follow our easy maintenance basics to keep your pool looking and feeling great all season long.


Pool Skimming


One of the most critical aspects of pool maintenance is keeping the water clean and debris-free through pool skimming. Use a skimmer net to remove leaves, bugs, and other debris from the water’s surface. Be sure to skim the pool daily, especially during the summer months when the debris is more prevalent. If you want to decrease the amount of skimming needed, a pool cover can help when the pool is not in use, but some skimming will still be required. A pool vacuum can also be a helpful tool to help remove hard-to-reach debris from the bottom of the pool.


Pool Cleaning

While removing debris with a skimmer from the pool’s surface is important, and equally vital, you should clean the pool's walls and floor regularly to remove dirt and algae buildup. Use a pool brush to scrub the walls and floor. Use a scrub brush in a circular motion to scrub away the build-up. If a heavy build-up has occurred at the water line, start to remove the build-up over a matter of days to overwhelm your filter.


Balancing Pool Chemicals


Proper water chemistry is essential to keeping your pool clean and safe for swimmers. The three main chemical levels you need to monitor and balance are:


pH: The pH level measures the acidity or alkalinity of the water. The ideal pH level for a pool is between 7.2 and 7.8.


Chlorine: Chlorine is a powerful disinfectant that kills bacteria and other microorganisms. The ideal chlorine level for a pool is between 1 and 3 parts per million (ppm).


Alkalinity: Alkalinity measures the water's ability to resist changes in pH levels. The ideal alkalinity level for a pool is between 80 and 120 ppm.


You can test your pool's chemical levels using test strips or a liquid testing kit. Be sure to test the water regularly (at least once a week) and adjust the chemical levels as needed.


Add a Pool Cover

A pool cover helps keep debris out of the pool, reduces evaporation, conserves chemicals, and also prevents children and pets from accidentally falling into the pool.


Maintain Proper Water Level

The water level in the pool should be kept at the midpoint of the skimmer opening. If the water level is too low, the pump could run dry, and the skimmer won’t work properly if it's too high.


Pool Equipment Maintenance


Your pool's equipment, including the pump, filter, and heater, requires regular proper maintenance. Check the kit regularly for leaks, cracks, and other damage. Keep the pump and filter clean and replace the filter cartridge as needed. Additionally, you should backwash the filter regularly to remove built-up debris.


Shocking Your Pool


Even with regular maintenance, your pool can still develop bacteria and algae buildup. To remove this buildup, you should shock your pool. Shocking the pool involves adding chlorine to the water to kill bacteria and other microorganisms. Follow the instructions on your shock treatment product carefully, and be sure to test the water's chemical levels before allowing anyone to swim in the pool. Aim to shock your pool once a week.


Helpful Tip: Shock your pool at night and run your pump for 8 hours.


Troubleshooting Common Pool Problems


Even with regular maintenance, your pool may develop problems from time to time. Here are a few common pool problems and how to troubleshoot them:


Cloudy water: Cloudy pool water is often caused by poor water circulation or a chemical imbalance. Check the pump and filter to ensure they function correctly, and test the water's chemical levels.


Algae buildup: Algae can quickly take over a pool if left untreated. Shock the pool and brush the walls and floor to remove the algae buildup.


Green water: Green pool water is typically caused by an algae bloom. Shock the pool, run the pump, and filter continuously until the water clears up.


Stains: Pool stains can be caused by minerals or other substances in the water. Use a stain remover product to eliminate the stains and adjust the water's chemical levels as needed.


Pool Maintenance Schedule


Establishing a pool maintenance schedule ensures that your pool will be ready the next time you want to take a dip. Here's a sample schedule to follow:


Daily: Skim the pool and clean the pump and skimmer baskets.


Weekly: Test the water's chemical levels, clean the pool walls and floor, and backwash the filter. Shock your pool once a week at night and allow your pump to run for eight hours before swimming.


Monthly: Deep clean the pool, scrub the walls and floor and vacuum the debris.


The Bottom Line


Although the maintenance and upkeep of a pool take time and effort, it is well worth the enjoyment you receive from slipping into your very own pool.  Remember to test the water's chemical levels regularly, keep the pool clean and debris-free, and maintain the equipment properly. There is nothing like skipping the busy public pool for your own backyard retreat.

Looking for ways to keep your deck cool this summer? Follow our easy tips. 

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