Fiberglass Pool Maintenance

A pool is not a “set it and forget it” affair, so some basic knowledge of maintenance and cleaning is essential to its long-term enjoyment. And fiberglass pool maintenance isn’t as hard as you may think. In fact, it’s rather easy if you follow the instructions of your dealer and read the manuals that accompany your pool filter equipment, pool chemistry kit and vacuum. In this post, we’ll explore the basics of maintaining a fiberglass pool.

Your Fiberglass Pool: Much more than a shell holding water

First things first. Give yourself a pat on the back for having made the choice of fiberglass. Not only does it look great, but it’s going to be a little easier to vacuum and maintain a fiberglass pool. It’s not maintenance-free, but it is one of the lower-maintenance pool options. If you’re in a seasonal/temperate location, you might think of pool maintenance in terms of opening, closing, and ongoing maintenance. They’re all equally important to the enjoyment and long-term integrity of your pool.

The amount of fiberglass pool maintenance you do may ebb and flow with the seasons and use, but you can make that maintenance schedule predictable by being consistent and detailed in your approach. As a starting place, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the attached or connected components of your pool, understand the basic tools involved in the maintenance of your fiberglass pool and filtration system, know the pool chemistry, and learn the ins and outs of pool vacuuming.

The Equipment

Take a moment to know the location of these three items:

  1. The Skimmer. This is the open “window” on your pool wall right about the water level. Your pool water will circulate (slowly, imperceptibly) toward the skimmer, and some of the larger surface particles will be removed before they have a chance to go to the bottom. A basket, usually accessible from a small cover on the deck, captures leaves and other floating items. It should be checked as a regular part of your fiberglass pool maintenance plan.
  2. The Strainer Pot. The strainer pot can be found at the front of your pump. It’s also a basket system and protects the impeller and pump. The strainer pot collects debris picked up by the vacuum if you are using a common suction side vacuum.
  3. The Filter. It’s what catches all the little stuff, like sand or tanning oil, that has moved past the skimmer basket or strainer pot. The filter should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Also, make sure you have these tools in your fiberglass pool maintenance arsenal:

  1. A Brush. Or brushes. One nice thing about fiberglass is its resistance to algae, but occasionally you might encounter debris of some sort on the pool wall. With the brush, you can usually just scrub it off with a quick stroke or two.
  2. The Skimmer Net. This is different from the skimmer that’s in your pool. Here, we are talking about the telescoping pole with a semi-taut net on the end. This is for the manual removal of surface-level debris like leaves, bugs, and flower petals (or whatever else may have blown into the pool).
  3. The Vacuum Head and Hose. This is the most common method for thorough cleaning/clearing of debris from the pool bottom and sides. The vacuum head has wheels, a connector for a telescoping pole, and a location to hook up to the suction hose.


A Word on Pool Chemistry

It’s important to note that proper pool chemistry will positively affect your fiberglass pool maintenance regimen. No matter how easy to maintain and environmentally friendly the pool is, a pool with water that is unbalanced is likely to create corrosion, scaling, or staining. Therefore, testing is essential. From simplest to most technical, testing usually comes in three flavors: (1) test strips, (2) liquid reagent kits, and (3) a digital water testing device. With these kits, you’ll be testing alkalinity, pH, and dissolved solids. The key regardless of which testing device you use, is getting to know your pool and getting to know the acceptable levels of alkalinity, pH, and dissolved solids. 

How big is my pool?

When you’re adding chemicals to your pool, you will have to do a little math. It’s helpful to know the volume of water in your pool to get the balance right. If you don’t know, here is the equation to calculate: length x width x depth x 7.5 (7.5 is the number of gallons in a cubic foot). 

Vacuuming the Pool

Ok. You have the equipment. You’re taking care of the water. Now, what about vacuuming? It’s relatively easy. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Unlock and lift the skimmer basket out.
  2. Connect the swiveling end of the hose to the vacuum head and connect the vacuum head to your telescoping pole.
  3. Prime the unraveled hose by letting it out into the pool to fill it with water (pool pumps don’t like air).
  4. Dunk the open end of the hose into the water to completely fill the hose and keep it primed. Navigate it through the skimmer window to the connector in the skimmer–a few feet away, accessible from the deck.

From there, just take care to keep the vacuum underwater. When it comes time to disconnect, follow the reverse order of operations, making sure to empty the hose of water and replace the skimmer basket. Lastly, you’ll want to check the strainer pot near your pump and filtration system for debris. This is where your vacuumed items are going. Shut off the pump and turn back the valves in this process.

We’ve discussed only “suction side” vacuums in this post. They are the most common, but not the only option. There are also “pressure side” vacuums–good for finer debris–which suck up debris into a bag or basket. And there are robotic vacuums that have their own motor and pump built-in. Robotic vacuums are more expensive, but they can be more efficient and will not require the use of the pool’s pump and suction equipment. 

As always, we advise you to follow any and all manufacturer’s recommendations and ask your dealer if you have any questions about fiberglass pool maintenance.