If your recent garden landscaping project has led you to build a swimming pool in your backyard, or you've simply been tasked with looking after your neighbour's for the summer, it's time to get educated on at-home pool maintenance tips.
Some owners may choose to get the professionals in to look after their precious pools, but it's actually quite simple to perform basic maintenance at home. Here's how to do it.
Skim the surface regularly
Regular pool maintenance is essential to avoiding bigger problems down the track. A simple tip is to skim the surface of the water using your hand or a leaf skimmer every few days to avoid floating debris sinking and dirtying your pool.
Skimming also makes your pool's circulation system work more efficiently, reducing the amount of chlorine you'll need to add.
While you're at it, empty your strainer basket (also known as pool filter) at least weekly to keep things spic and span. All you need to do is remove the plastic basket and shake out the leaves and bugs that have gathered there, hose down the inside and put it back in the pool.
Check the pH and chlorine levels
You'll want your pool to be as safe and healthy to swim in as possible, and this can be achieved by regular checks of the pH water balance and chlorine levels, especially during swimming season.
Chlorine works in the water to kill contaminants and bacteria, either by automatically feeding into the pool or by being added manually on a regular basis.
The best pH level for your pool should be between 7.4 and 7.8. If yours is too low, you can raise it by checking your reagents and adding soda ash. If this doesn't do the trick, check your total alkalinity and add baking soda if levels are lower than 80 ppm.
Vacuum the pool
Just as you regularly vacuum your home, your pool should also get a weekly or fortnightly clean to ensure the water is kept clear and looking good. Some pools may have automatic vacuums, but if yours is manual all you'll need to do is work it back and forth over the pool's surface, just as you would when vacuuming carpet.
Minimise algae build up by brushing the walls and tiles. This will also reduce calcium deposits, improving both the health and appearance of your pool.