What do you need to know about pool maintenance?

Pool maintenance requires a little effort on your part, but much of it can be managed without professional help. Most of these jobs need to be carried out on a regular basis, and doing so will ensure that your pool is clean and safe for use throughout the swimming season.

  • Remove surface dirt with a skimmer every few days. Dirt that sinks to the bottom is much harder to deal with.
  • Empty the strainer baskets at least once a week.
  • Use your pool vacuum at least once a week to keep the floor (and the water) clean.
  • Scrub or brush the walls and tiles weekly to minimize buildup of calcium or algae before they become hard to remove.
  • Keep your pool filter clean. Read the manufacturer's instructions on how and how often to clean -- over-cleaning can be damaging too.
  • Keep the water level steady; during the swimming season, evaporation, splashing and the like will lower the level, so you'll need to top it up regularly.
  • If low water levels can't be explained by usual use, check for leaks and repair them (with professional help, if necessary) as soon as possible.
  • Regularly check the water's pH level. It should be between 7.2 and 7.8. Add chemicals as necessary to maintain the correct level.
  • Super-chlorinate or "shock" the pool regularly to keep the water clean.
  • Maintenance and repairs on your pool heater should be carried out by a professional.

During the winter, or when your pool will not be in use, it can be drained so you can carry out more extensive cleaning and repairs; however, it's best to leave some water in the pool during the off-season. If your area gets below-freezing temperatures, you should remove as much water as possible from the pipes, filter and heater, and disconnect the chemical feeders, pump and heater. These steps can help you keep your pool in good shape for years of watery enjoyment.