Having a pool in your backyard is in itself a luxury, but it also entails a little bit of responsibility. Pools, like other forms of investments, need some kind of maintenance. But are you maintaining your pool the right way? Check out these 5 pool maintenance mistakes pool owners make.
- Not maintaining the proper pool water level.
In maintaining your pool, keeping the water level in check is important. The right water level is critical to the function of your pool pump, so it’s imperative that you maintain the pool water to a proper level to allow the pool pump to function properly. Here’s why.
Your pool pump is the heart of your pool and is responsible for water circulation. It works by sucking water from the pool and passing the water through various equipment systems like the heater and the filter. If your pool does not have the ideal water level, the pool pump will suck in air instead of water. You could risk overheating the motor in your pool pump resulting in a costly problem if the motor burns out. This is commonly known as a dry pool pump. The consequential increase in temperature can also shrink the threads on your PVC fittings and can also cause the shaft seals to blow out. The high-temperature levels in the pump may also melt the pump baskets and may even cause the pump volume to deform. The resulting high-temperature levels can cause air leaks, which is another cause of concern.
Too low of a water level also means your pool will experience poor water circulation. Poor water circulation leads to a slew of problems including algae development and degradation of the pool interior’s surface.
It’s easy to make this mistake because it’s normal for your pool to lose water – roughly an inch of water a week. This can be caused by natural phenomena like hot climates and strong gusts of wind. You can consider investing in automatic pool water leveling devices that can detect the pool water level and automatically refill your pool should it reach critical levels. Otherwise, you can closely monitor your pool’s water level and fill it using a hose as necessary.
- Not cleaning the pool filter.
In all fairness, it’s going to be hard to gauge when to clean your pool’s filter because in most cases, the filter is hidden deep inside the pool pump. Especially if you’re a new pool owner, you’ll have to learn how to work your pool pump because getting to the filter might require disassembly depending on your equipment’s make and model. That’s why some pool owners trust professional pool companies to service their pool pumps and clean their filters. Also, while this mistake is easy to make, like the aforementioned low water level, the consequences are definitely unforgiving.
A dirty pool filter can cause poor water circulation. As we’ve covered above, poor water circulation makes your pool prone to algae bloom and infestation. This means that your pool water can be a breeding ground for algae, as well as other harmful pathogens and microorganisms. Exposure to algae when swimming can lead to anything from skin irritations to stomach problems. Furthermore, algae will not only make the water dark and murky, it can also damage your pool equipment. It can clog the pipes which will result in a slew of mechanical issues you’ll end up dealing with.
Different pool pumps will have different pool filters; here are a few examples.
- Sand filters.
- Cartridge filters.
- DE “diatomaceous earth” filters.
Among the three cartridge filters are the easiest to clean and maintain. They typically use paper-type filters that you’ll have to remove from the pool pump and clean using a detergent and a garden hose. On the other hand, sand filters use specially-graded sand to filter the pool water. You’ll have to backwash the filter as opposed to removing it from the pool pump. You will also have to apply sand filter cleaners to thoroughly clean the sand filter. DE filters will entail the same amount of work as sand filters as you will have to backwash them and apply cleaning agents.
Some tell-tale signs that your filter needs cleaning are slow water circulation and cloudiness to the dirty pool water.
- Not regularly checking the pool water chemistry.
Testing the pool water’s chemistry is an integral part of pool maintenance. That’s why pool professionals check the pool water’s balance after major pool projects like pool plastering or pool resurfacing. Some pool companies, like Stanton Pools, offer pool services that check the pool water’s balance on a weekly basis. Knowing the pool water’s chemistry allows you to adjust the pool’s alkalinity and acidity as a pool with too high of acid and alkaline levels can affect the efficacy of the chlorine in the pool. This is important because chlorine sanitizes the pool water and keeps it clean.
If you’re checking the pool water’s chemistry on your own, you can use pool water test strips and test kits that you can buy at your local pool store. You might need to bring in some water samples so they can recommend the right pool chlorine solution for you. Typically, you just add the specified amount of chlorine in the pool water and test it afterward. You can also hire pool professionals to test the pool water on-site; they can also adjust the pool water’s chemistry right then and there.
It’s recommended that you check your pool water’s chemical balance at least twice a week during summer and once a week during winter. If you’re working with a pool professional, you can adjust your pool appointments accordingly to have your pool water’s chemistry checked and adjusted as necessary. There’s no reason why you should skip on checking your pool water’s chemical balance. A pool left with poor water chemistry can experience different kinds of problems like scaling, spalling, cloudy pool water, and even corrosion of pool equipment.
- Not cleaning the pool after a party (or after your pets swim in it).
We know, that’s a lot of work – and nobody likes cleaning after a party. However, cleaning up is necessary to maintain pool water chemistry. As we’ve covered above, keeping your pool water’s chemistry in the right balance can help maintain the efficacy of the chlorine which works to keep your pool water clean.
There’s a ton of things your friends and family can bring into the pool that can alter the pool water’s chemistry. Some of the most common things include lotions, sunscreens, and perfumes. Your friends may wear these products on them and may not shower before jumping in the pool. The chemical composition of these products can wreak havoc on your pool water. Just imagine hosting a party and having people jump in wearing these products significantly impact your pool’s water’s overall pH balance. Your guests may even carry algae spores on their swimsuits and a slew of other harmful microorganisms they never knew was on their clothes. On that note, cleaning the pool right after the party can bring the water chemistry back to normal levels and keep your pool in good condition.
You can start by checking the pool water chemistry by using a test strip or a test kit. After you know what the current chemical balance is, add the necessary chemicals to keep the pool water chemistry in check. You may follow it up by brushing the walls and the floor of the pool the next day. You can also shock the pool or add an algaecide to keep the pool water clean.
The same goes if you’ve had your pets jump in on your pool if you have a pet-friendly pool. Chances are, your pet will leave hair that can clog filters and alter the pool water’s pH levels. Remove pet hair by checking the skimmer baskets and clean the filters. Follow it up with testing the pool water and add the necessary chemicals.
- Not running the pool pump.
Why run the pool pump when you’re not using the pool? said no pool professional ever! Your pool pump is responsible for keeping proper pool water circulation which helps in filtering the pool water and heating it. As we’ve briefly covered above, the pool pump sucks water in and allows it to pass on filters and heaters; with the pool pump off, none of this happens. That means that your water doesn’t get filtered, the water is impacted by the climate, and all hell breaks loose. You’re to expect deep green waters with cracked and blistered pool interior due to climate damage.
It’s true that many pool owners consider turning their pool pumps off to save money from electricity bills. However, there are new pool pumps with variable-speed settings which means they still do all the stuff they’re supposed to but they run in different speed settings so they never suck up all the power and have you end up with an expensive bill. They may have an expensive upfront cost, but they sure can be a practical option.