Did you know there are five keys to proper pool care?
Only one of them is adding chemicals. Many people forget they can save money on chemicals by making sure they are maintaining their pool using these other methods.
Pool water must be circulated for maximum sanitizer effectiveness. The best time to circulate the water is during the day, for 10 hours or more.
It can be difficult to tell if filtration is the culprit of bad water, but if your chemistry is testing fine but the water is still cloudy likely filtration is the issue. Sometimes people can see particles actually coming back into the water through return jets; this is a sure sign your filtration needs help. First check how long the filter is running. Whether using a DE, Cartridge, or Sand Filter, make sure it is in good repair and is on at least ten hours a day for best maintenance. If the filter is undersized for the pool, it should run 24 hours or as long as possible without voiding the warranty.
- Sand Filter – Replace the sand every three years. Sand lets through the largest particles, so a clarifier may help. Sand filters should be backwashed when the water pressure in the filter reaches 8 to 10 psi above normal. The most common problem we see with sand filters is the pressure gauge is broken (replace it – it’s a lot cheaper and easier than guessing). The second most common problem is the sand hasn’t been changed. Again a cheap fix if you want to change it yourself. Make sure to use the right grade of sand – not playground or beach sand!
- Diatomaceous Earth – Generally, a DE filter should be backwashed when the water pressure in the filter reaches 8 to 10 psi above normal. Make sure to add DE after each backwash. The most common problem we see with DE filters is the pressure gauge is broken (replace it – it’s a lot cheaper and easier than guessing). Also make sure there are no holes or tears in the filter grids.
- Cartridge Filter – If the pressure is high, try chemically cleaning the filters. If the pressure does not go back down after cleaning, they likely need to be replaced.
- Every filter needs to be chemically cleaned regularly (twice a season) as well.
The walls and floor should be brushed and vacuumed at least once a week to remove debris that the filter misses. To cut back on maintenance, use an automatic pool cleaner that brushes both walls and floor as well as vacuums.
Test your pool water for sanitizer and pH once a week. Remember the most common three test strips (pH, alkalinity, and free chlorine) will not test for total or combined chlorine, salt level, phosphates, CYA or Stabilizer, or total dissolved solids, so you will want to get these tested about once a month or anytime you have issues. To test these, you can take a sample to your local dealer or check out our extended test strips and kits. This will help you maintain proper water balance and greatly reduce the potential for problems.
The last step in a total pool maintenance system is applying the right products to your pool water at the right time.