15 Tips For Keeping Your Home Swimming Pool Sparkling Clean and Healthy To Use
If you are lucky enough to live in the Valley of the Sun and own a swimming pool, here are some pool maintenance tips for keeping your pool sparkling clean, inviting, refreshing and ready for use every day. The key is just staying on top of it. This will save you from making mistakes that could cost you a great deal of money. Routine pool maintenance may also prevent frustration and will minimize the need to make emergency runs to the pool store for chemicals or other additives.
1.Check pool chemistry 2-3 times per week during the summer and once per week in the winter.
2.Clean out skimmer basket(s) weekly, or as needed if conditions exist.
3.Clean hair and lint pot in the pump every couple of weeks or as needed. Turn off pump to do this.
4.Check and monitor water level at least once per month, adjust as needed. Water level should be at the center of the tile or skimmer.
5.Check Deck-Chlor/Inline Chlorinator at least once per week for proper adjustment. Check flow as needed while you check chlorine readings. Make sure chlorine tablets are in the Deck-Chlor or Inline Unit, adjust as necessary to maintain adequate chlorine levels.
6.Make sure light is on in the ozone unit, if you have one. Crack valve only slightly at the pump. Be careful not to break any of the connections -- they are fragile. Check flow-meter often to ensure adjustment is within range.
7.Add catalyst tabs if you have one as needed following instructions for the gallons of water in your pool. Keep them in a cool dry place or they will turn into block form.
8.Clean your filters. This may be necessary after a heavy storm or once every few months depending on conditions in your pool. It would be best to clean them about every 4-6 months. Just remind yourself to do it each time you come back from the dentist, or each time you change the air filters in your home, which should be about the same frequency. If you have an extra set of elements it is a much easier and quicker job. Soak dirty filters in a 10% solution of muriatic acid or a solution of TSP (trisodium phosphate). Use a rubber trash can. Wear gloves and eye protection. Be careful! Always add acid to water, NOT water to acid. Rinse until clean and let them dry. Put your supplies away until your next swap-out.
9.As you are monitoring your pool, take note:
are your returns very weak?
is the in-floor cleaning system not working very well?
is the water clarity starting to look bad?
If any of these conditions exist, it is likely time to clean the filters. Most pools should only need this done a couple of times a year. There are exceptions though based on bather load (pool usage).
10.Wipe/clean tile line weekly. This will reduce build-up.
11.If you have a salt water chlorine generator than you will need to check and clean the blades in the unit about every 30 days. If the red flow light or flow meter is on or reading less than normal, then the blades are likely calcified and producing little to zero chlorine. Turn the pump off, bleed off any pressure, undo the unions and clean the blades per the manufacturer's recommendations.
12.Always keep chemicals stored out of direct sunlight. Keep them in a cool dry place. Do NOT store acid and chlorine right next to each other.
13.Your pool should not need to be shocked on any regular basis if you have an ozone system. If you need to do it, do it at night. Use non-chorine based shock if you plan on swimming any time soon. Another way to shock your pool would be to run your pump for 24 hours using your ozone system. This works great! If you are on 24 hour circulation (2-speed or variable speed pump) than you should be just fine.
14.If you start seeing any cracks around the perimeter of your pool between your deck and your tile, caulk it with a small bead of clear silicon. Do not allow the water to migrate from inside the pool in and under the deck through cracks at this joint.
15.Keep vegetation, animals, chemicals (like fertilizers and ironite) away from and out of the pool. Nitrates from bird droppings and waste from animals and people are food for algae. Don't feed the algae!
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5 Secrets Most Pool Service Companies Won't Tell You
If you need pool service, check out these secrets some companies don’t want you to know.
There are many different types of swimming pool companies. From the mom and pop provider to the multimillion dollar pinch-a-penny, it can be hard to determine which is best for you. Just make sure you know the five secrets most pool service companies won’t tell you.
1. Skipped pool cleaning
The more pools your technician has on his service schedule, the more likely they are to skip your pool. Yes, pool technicians (not the good ones) will skip an account here and there to make up for lost time. When swimming pool companies are in the growing stage of their business, they often have too many pools and not enough employees to accommodate them.
Don’t just assume a technician skipped your pool; always give the service company the benefit of the doubt. However, if you think your weekly pool-cleaning service may have been overlooked, ask the service technician for a drop ticket. Any reputable company should have tickets they can leave on your door that detail the time they were there, chemicals used, condition of pool and services rendered.
2. National pool companies vs. local pool service
One huge downfall to large national swimming pool service companies are high turnover rates. Additionally, many of these pool companies hire inexperienced employees and provide minimal training. Pool technicians are chemists, engineers, plumbers and more, especially when repairs are necessary.
RELATED: Watch the Lowest Bid When Building a Home Swimming Pool
Monthly pool service rates are relatively low compared to many other home services; therefore, the pay they offer new employees is often low as well. This results in unqualified employees. It takes time to build a relationship, so look for an experienced professional that’s willing to do your pool service for a long period of time.
3. Charging more for pool chemicals
I've been astonished to hear a few friends complaining that their swimming pool company was charging a high flat rate and charging them for additional chemicals on their monthly bill. The majority of pool service companies charge one flat rate regardless of the amount of chemicals used.
RELATED: Don't Make These 5 Common Pool Care Mistakes
Service charges may increase due to seasonal changes or gas prices, but you should still be paying one flat rate that you have approved beforehand. In other words, you shouldn't be paying extra for acid or chlorine. However, it’s standard to charge more if a special chemical was purchased specifically for your pool.
4. Used parts for pool repairs
One of the biggest income providers for pool service companies is repairs. Just like an automobile shop, pool companies receive their parts for less than it would cost you to purchase them. They mark them up slightly and charge you for their time spent doing the pool repair.
Beware of dishonest repair technicians who may opt for used parts instead of new ones to do your repair. These parts could be from a customer who just put in new equipment or even from a dumpster dive. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but if you're undergoing a $500 repair, I suggest you view the equipment before it’s installed.
RELATED: How Much Does It Cost to Resurface a Swimming Pool?
5. How to hire the right pool service company
Licensing in the swimming pool industry can be a confusing concept, and depends highly on the state in which you reside. In Tampa, Fla., for example, in order to provide pool cleaning services to residential swimming pools, you simply need to register with your tax collector and establish an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for tax purposes.
Here’s where it gets tricky. Major repairs to your pool equipment or to a commercial property may require a contractor’s license. Many smaller pool companies will sub out their repairs to companies that specialize in your type of repair. If you have any questions, talk to your pool technician to make sure he or she is properly licensed for the types of services or repairs requested.