Ask the General: What Do I Need to Know About General Pool Maintenance?
We live in Kentucky and just got a new pool last year. It’s almost time to open our pool for the season, and we feel like we could use a refresher course on pool maintenance as spring approaches. Can you give us some general (no pun intended) pool maintenance tips to ensure we’ll be in good shape the whole season long?
Sincerely, New Pool Peeps in Petersburg
Dear New Peeps-
Thanks for writing, and go Wildcats! You didn’t say whether you have a vinyl, gunite or fiberglass pool, so I’ll cover a little bit of everything. Obviously, the first step is to get your pool open. If you are using a pool service company, ask what they need you to do before they arrive. Companies often have a “to do list” that will help them efficiently open your inground pool. For example, all your equipment (and parts and pieces that were removed at closing) should be accessible. Be sure to have power available to the equipment area. If you aren’t home when the technician arrives, and a breaker is off in a locked house, it will be a wasted trip. Being prepared when the pool service arrives will result in a quicker, more efficient opening (and possibly save you money on pool parts).
Also, thanks for the great set-up. Because now I can, at long last, create a list called:
The General’s General Pool Maintenance Tips
- Get on a schedule. Once it’s open, keeping your pool clean is one of the most important things you, as a pool owner, can do. Regular cleaning lengthens the life of the pool, and its auxiliary equipment. Set a pool maintenance schedule, and stick to it to protect your inground pool investment.
- Keep it debris-free. Use a dip net to remove anything that has settled on the bottom of the pool, and skim the surface to remove leaves, twigs and dead bugs. These items can clog your filter over time, so don’t let them accumulate. If you have an automatic pool cover, keep it closed when your pool is not in use. Auto covers are your best friend when it comes to keeping your pool clean and reducing chemical waste.
- One other thought while we’re on the subject of skimming. With vinyl pools, don’t be tempted to use your extension pole without the dip net to retrieve things from the pool. I’ve seen lots of “mysterious” half-moon rips in liners over the years, and this has most often been the culprit.
- Clean the tile and coping, and brush the walls and water line. No matter what type of pool you have, you’ll most likely start to see a “bathtub ring” develop along your water line. This is caused by suntan oils, chemical residues and other contaminants that stick to the pool above the water line. (Heads up: heavy scale along the water line on a gunite pool usually means a serious water chemistry problem.) Clean residue lines with a non-abrasive cleaner. Ask your pool builder/service what kind of cleaner they recommend for your pool type.
- Vacuum it. There are tons of pool vacuum options out there, and some great robotic pool cleaners on the market today that make this job a lot easier. I definitely recommend looking into these to minimize cleaning time. Because different pool types require different cleaning heads, just make sure you’re using the right cleaning head for your type of pool. For example, if you try to clean a vinyl pool with a vacuum that’s designed for gunite, you’re most likely going to end up with a damaged liner. Gunite cleaning heads have wheels that can dig into the liner and cause tears.
- Test and balance your water chemistry. If you’re a regular reader of my articles, this won’t be the first time you hear me preach about the importance of water chemistry. No matter what kind of pool you have, balanced water is balanced water. Remember, Low pH and over-chlorination are especially hard on all types of pools (and equipment as well.)
- Don’t neglect your equipment and accessories. While you’re thinking about your overall pool maintenance, don’t forget about your equipment–your filter, skimmer, and pump, and accessories (such as your auto cover, slide and diving board). If you have your local pool professional open your pool for you, they’ll check these things out for you. But don’t forget to wax that slide … you don’t want to get stuck halfway down. I could tell you a story about that, but I’ll leave it for another time.
So there you have it … The General’s General Pool Maintenance Tips. Time to get ready for swim season.
Until next time; The General
About Thursday Pools
Based in Fortville, Indiana, Thursday Pools is the leader in the fiberglass pool industry. We’re committed to education and support for fiberglass pool owners, so we invite The General to share his wealth of knowledge about inground pools with our readers monthly.
At Thursday Pools, we create beautifully crafted and extraordinarily durable fiberglass pool shells along with cutting-edge innovations. We have just announced the world’s first sunken living room fiberglass pool, which will be available to order in 2019. In addition to the sunken living room fiberglass pool, we are the creators of the world’s first beach entry fiberglass pools, which are now available in a rectangular design called Grace and a freeform design called Sandal.
At Thursday Pools, our mission is to create pools that help families and friends create fabulous experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. We’d love to help your family do the same.
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