As a homeowner, getting a pool is a major decision that can totally change your home and its value. Installing a swimming pool goes far beyond just picking out what type of pool you want. Whether you have an above ground pool, an in-ground pool or anything in between, your swimming pool will change your home forever. Simply having a pool will increase your home’s value but up to 7%.
One of the biggest headaches for homeowners with swimming pools is all the maintenance required to keep their pool safe and in good working order. That maintenance is crucial to getting to enjoy your pool for many years to come, however.
Swimming pool maintenance can change from season to season and year to year. Depending on the time of year and type of pool, the tasks associated with keeping it running well will change. Read on to learn how to maintain your swimming pool and keep it in good working order year-round.
What Type of Pool Do You Have?
If you don’t yet have a pool but want one, start looking for local contractors and see what is available. You might be surprised at the variety of offerings out there. You will need to narrow down your choices, as well as the type of contractor you want to work with. You can go with anything from a big company to a local contractor to a local Amish builder to get your swimming pool installed.
The type of pool you end up with can change your safety and maintenance needs. For example, an in-ground swimming pool may require a fence or gate because it is so easy to access, whereas an above ground pool is easier to keep inaccessible to small children. Understand your specific needs before you settle on the type of pool you want.
Develop a Pool Safety Checklist
Safety goes hand in hand with maintenance when it comes to owning a swimming pool. You may want to develop a pool safety checklist that is specific for your home near your swimming pool that contains the supplies you need for weekly maintenance tasks. This will make these frequently recurring chores a little less odious. You may want to develop a pool safety checklist that is specific for your home and pool.
However, the following list is a good, all-purpose starting point for swimming pool owners:
- Get a swimming pool cover to keep people out of the pool when no one is around to supervise them.
- Place a fence around your pool. Work a fence into your landscape design for your pool area so you can secure the pool. Make sure it is at least four feet tall.
- Remove toys from the pool after people are done swimming as these can tempt children to try to get back in the pool unsupervised.
- Install a lock. Whether you have a fence, a gate or both, make sure it locks.
- When no one is in the pool, remove stairs or ladders. This is particular to above ground pools.
- Install a pool alarm so you know any time someone gets into the pool.
Your specific needs will vary, but the above list is a good starting point for making sure your swimming pool is safe.
Weekly Pool Maintenance
Some maintenance tasks will be necessary every week, especially during the swimming season. For this reason, it can be useful to have a pool house
First, always check your water levels. It’s easy for water to splash out of pools or get evaporated away by the sun during hot summer days. It’s a good practice to check your water levels a few times a week and ensure they’re still where you expect them to be. A rapidly decreasing water level could be a sign of a leak in your swimming pool. If your water level is going down too quickly, check carefully for leaks. The sooner you can identify and stop them the less headache you’ll suffer in the end.
You will also want to run your pump and filter a few times a week to ensure that the pool stays clean. In this same vein, checking your pool cleaner and skimmer baskets can help you see if your swimming pool is getting dirtier than you expect. Perhaps it is in need of a more thorough cleaning.
Finally, while you are checking other things, do a quick check of your chlorine and pH levels every week, or even every few days. You want to make sure your pool is staying clean and a simple check of these levels can give that information quickly.
Bi-weekly Pool Maintenance
Swimming pools will typically be in need of more thorough cleaning every other week or so. You should skim the surface of the pool to remove debris like leaves and hair every week or two. When the pool is in frequent use, as in the summertime, you may find you need to do this chore a bit more frequently. You can combine chores and take care of your swimming pool as well as the rest of your backyard all in one swoop.
Remember that pool house we mentioned above? This is a great place to keep a thing like a skimmer, as well as your landscape materials. You can
You should also vacuum your pool every week or so. Some pool vacuums just need to be turned on and left to do the work themselves, but others you will have to guide. Either way, you do it, vacuuming can get debris on the floor of the pool that you may not necessarily be able to see.
And finally, brush the walls and floors of the pool. This might seem redundant, but it’s important to do this extra step to keep things like algae and bacteria at bay. You may not even be able to see these things before they’ve gotten ahold of your swimming pool and started to cause damage.
For an extra layer of protection, you can use things like algaecide, clarifier, enzymes and other substances that help keep algae from growing in your swimming pool.
Monthly Pool Maintenance
Once a month you will need to do some deeper cleaner. This includes shocking the pool, which prevents people from getting to swim in it, but kills off anything sneaky that may be trying to grow or take hold. Generally, you can use your test kits to see if your pool is in need of a shock. Sometimes, you can push this task a bit past the month mark, but it will depend on your specific pool, how it’s being used and where you live.
Additionally, your monthly tasks may include cleaning the things you clean with. If you are skimming the pool regularly, take a look at your skimmer once a month and clean it out. It’s easy for junk to build upon this tool since it is used so frequently.
You will also want to do things like backwash the filter, adjust calcium and acid levels and scrub the waterline. The water line, in particular, can build up with junk and may require some close attention once a month or so. Water damage can also occur at that water line, so do a quick check to make sure your pool liner looks like it’s still in good condition.
Seasonal Pool Maintenance
Pool maintenance changed drastically from season to season. Some tasks are specific to what season you’re in and how the pool is being used. These swimming pool maintenance tasks will be performed far less frequently than the maintenance tasks described above.
For example, before closing up the pool for the season, you should take a look at the cover. You might also want to do this at the start of the season when the cover comes off after possibly sitting over the pool for months at a time.
Like any other part of the pool, the cover can attract dirt and grime. Clean it off at least once a season. And while you’re there, check for tears, rips and other damage that might allow small critters to get under the cover when it’s on your swimming pool.
The mechanical aspects of your pool may also require maintenance once a season. This could include things like the O-rings, which might need to be lubricated. But all the mechanicals should get inspected. Make sure they aren’t rusting and still function well.
Finally, clean or change out your filters once a season. A swimming pool filter works hard when that pool is in use. At the end of the season, it could be seriously gunked up. If you can clean the filter, great, but sometimes it will be necessary to change out the filter entirely.
Don’t Forget the Area Around the Pool
We’ve put a lot of emphasis on the swimming pool itself, but the area around the pool is just as important when it comes to maintenance. Lawn care should be part of your swimming pool maintenance routine. The pool is part of your yard and lawn, not simply an addition to it.
If you are planning out your swimming pool but don’t yet have one, take lawn care into consideration. Will the pool be difficult to mow around? How will it change the layout of your yard? Will there be stone or grass or even hydro grass surrounding the pool?
Hydrograss is one solution folks are turning to when it comes to swimming pools and yards. This type of grass is better when it comes to erosion and sediment control. It may also weather being splashed on by swimming pool water a little better than conventional grass. See if hydrograss might be a good solution for you if you are contemplating installing a swimming pool at your home.
What to Do When Something Goes Wrong
Despite all of our careful planning and preparation, accidents do still sometimes happen. Not every accident will require an emergency room visit, but you should be aware that that is a possibility. Swimming pools come with certain risks no matter how diligent you are about safety and maintenance.
Children should always be supervised while swimming. Even so, many children, especially very young children, can end up in a swimming pool unsupervised. Even if they are supervised, children can experience dangers that we as adults might not have thought of.
For example, the drains in a swimming pool are just large enough to grab a child’s smaller limbs or their hair. A child who gets trapped by a drain could end up underwater when they don’t mean to.
The dangers aren’t just there for children, though. Anyone can slip and fall, especially in the area around a pool. It is a good idea to keep some waterproof bandages for swimming somewhere near your pool. This ensures that if a slip does happen, it can be addressed quickly without blood getting into the pool.
Sometimes a fall is more serious than a simple scrape, however. There are even times when a fall near a swimming pool can be so bad that someone needs CPR.
If you own a pool, it would be a good idea to know CPR. Falls can result in a need for CPR, but so could many other things that might happen in or around a pool. If someone gets hurt and needs CPR, time is of the essence. Someone trained in CPR should start delivering it as soon as possible when the need arises.
Enjoy Your Pool to the Fullest
Hopefully, an accident never occurs. But if one does, it’s best to be prepared. Part of swimming pool maintenance is simply knowing the dangers associated with your swimming pool and how best to manage them. Proper maintenance, knowing CPR and ensuring children get swimming lessons as early as possible are all good ways to make sure your swimming pool is fun and not hazardous. And remember, if an accident does happen, time is critical. Act quickly and you can prevent further harm.