Summer is officially over, but routine pool maintenance remains important year-round. While your pool usage may decrease as the cooler weather moves in, there are important steps you can take to prevent excess debris, bacterial growth and algae buildup that can create costly and unsightly damages. Here are some tips to help you keep your pool in pristine condition during the off-season months.
- Skim and Scrub: Skimming leaves and other debris from the surface of the water is a no-brainer, but you should repeat the process daily. For faster and more efficient debris removal from the bottom of your pool, consider buying equipment that will clean your pool for you. In addition to skimming, you need to scrub the sides of the pool to prevent algae buildup. Scrubbing does not have to be done as often as skimming; this process can be done every other week.
- Remember the Skimmer and Filter: Your pool’s skimmer and filter are responsible for removing impurities from the water, such as dirt, leaves and even small objects such as toys. Most of the time, your skimmer can be cleaned by turning off the filter, removing the cap, taking out the skimmer bag and basket, and removing any debris before replacing everything. It is best to clean out the skimmers at least once a week. Once a month, you will also want to backwash your filter. To backwash, turn your system off, remove the skimmer basket, and clean it out. Then, switch from filter to backwash mode, turn your system back on and let it run until the waste pipe ejects clear water. Then put your system back into filter mode.
- Keep Consistent Chemical Levels: Chemical levels are one of the most important factors of pool maintenance. If the chemicals in your pool are not properly balanced, it can result in murky water and an increase in bacteria. Ideally, you want to test the water once a week. You can buy testing kits from Keith Zars Pools in San Antonio. You can order online, and one of our professionals can help you test your water. There are six chemicals that should be considered:
o Cyanuric Acid: protects chlorine from sunlight. An ideal reading for pools is 30 – 50.
o Free Chlorine: a sanitizer that keeps your pool water safe and free of bacteria.
o Acidity (also known as the PH level). PH needs to be kept between 7.4 and 7.8 to prevent irritation and protect pool equipment.
o Total Alkalinity: helps keep the PH in balance. Levels should range between 80 -120.
o Calcium hardness: correct levels help prevent plaster damage. Aim for 220 – 350.
- Watch the Water Level: The water level is just as important as the chemical levels. Water levels may change due to different weather conditions or pool activities. You want to maintain a level that is halfway up the opening of your skimmer. If the water is too low, simply use a garden hose and add the necessary amount of water. If it is too high, drain the excess. When you have reached the appropriate water level, remember to check the chemicals because sometimes water level fluctuations can throw off the chemical balance in your pool.
- Schedule a Service Appointment: Sometimes you need to trust the experts. At Keith Zars Pools in San Antonio, we offer weekly pool cleaning. This service includes brushing, vacuuming, skimming, cleaning the main filter and baskets, backwashing, testing chemicals, and adding the proper amount of chemicals.
If you want to learn more about getting professional pool maintenance, visit the Keith Zars Pools website.