Keeping the water clean is a daily job when you have a swimming pool. It is always in danger of contamination from outside sources, including people, animals, insects, and precipitation. It is important to keep your pool’s water quality high.
These contaminants have microbes in them, like bacteria and viruses, that can make anyone swimming in the pool sick or cause a buildup of algae and mildew. Regular pool maintenance is essential if you want to keep your investment usable and safe. But it takes more than occasional skimming and a pump and filter to do the job.
To keep your pool’s water quality in tip-top shape, follow these 5 key takeaways as you design your maintenance strategy.
1. Check the Water Daily.
Many of the signs of contamination are invisible at first. You won’t see bacteria or protozoa when they first infect the water. But they’ll multiply and take over, so you must check the water daily to watch for early warning signs, such as cloudiness or discoloration. If you see anything that looks out of the ordinary, test the water and follow the instructions to get the pH level back to its optimal level.
2. Run the Filter
Any stagnant water, whether in a small fish tank or a large pool, requires a filter to keep it clean. Your filtration system pumps water through a filter. As the water is pushed through, any particles or debris are removed. Read the instructions that came with your filter system or talk to a professional to find out how often and how long you should run your filter.
3. Add Chlorine
Most pools use chlorine to disinfect the water and eliminate any microorganisms and debris building up. If you don’t want to use a lot of this chemical, run your filtration system longer. How much chlorine you need and how often you’ll want to add more depends on factors like the filtration system, contamination, water temperature, and water level.
4. Check the pH and Alkalinity
By nature, water is a neutral base. Contamination and other factors change the pH level from 7 (neutral) to a higher alkaline or lower acid. The ideal pH level for pool water is between 7 and 7.6. Any higher and swimmers can end up with skin damage, while lower levels cause stinging eyes.
Alkalinity depends on the total chemicals used. It’s similar to the pH level. As you shift the alkalinity, the pH level can change. This is why you need to monitor both at the same time.
Check your pH and chlorine levels regularly. The best time to do this is before swimming because those levels may have shifted overnight. When it’s very hot outside or has been raining, you will likely need to adjust the chemicals more frequently.
5. Reduce Contaminants
Finally, maintaining good water quality depends on how well you reduce contaminants. Make it a point to teach swimmers to shower before entering the pool and rinse their feet of sand and grass before getting in the water. Remove algae with a brush and garden hose, then vacuum it out and add chlorine.
If you know someone has contaminated the pool with something dangerous, such as bodily fluids, try to scoop as much as possible out and dose the water with a high level of concentrated chlorine (as instructed by the manufacturer). Small pools should be drained, cleaned, and refilled.
Consider covering the pool with a tarp to reduce outside contaminants. Keep in mind that dark, wet places are the ideal environment for mold, mildew, and algae to thrive, though, so you will have to watch carefully for signs of microorganism buildup.
With these five tips, you can enjoy a clean, well-maintained pool for years.