Having a pool is something that many people consider to be a key element of the perfect home. However, just like anything else, there are pros and cons to pool ownership. One of the cons is the effort it takes to maintain a pool. But you can minimize the burden, both financially as well as in time and work, by being proactive and ensuring that your pool is set up properly to begin with.
Whether you just have a basic pool setup or have invested in an AOP pool system and all the other top-of-the-line tools, here’s how you can get things started:
Checking the Conditions
One of the key areas that everyone needs to start with when it comes to pool care is taking care of the pool chemical makeup. Generally, you need to do this once a week or so in the spring or fall, but more frequently in the summer months. At the peak of summer, you should be looking at your pool chemistry roughly one to two times each week.
Ideally, you’re going to want to keep things at a general pH range of 7.2 to 7.8, with the lower it gets at this range, the less chlorine you need. For example, chlorine at 7.0 pH will generally run active about 50 percent active, versus only 10 percent active at 8.0. If you keep your pH under control, you’ll be able to save on chlorine costs.
Cleaning the Skimmer Basket
Another step that you want to do regularly is cleaning out the skimmer basket weekly or even more frequently depending on the conditions. The job of this tool is to skim the surface of the pool and capture any debris and contaminants before they get saturated and sink to the bottom of the pool. Of course, like anything else, you need to invest maintenance into this as well. It’s relatively easy to do so, though, simply open up the access panel and dump the contents of the basket as needed. If you’re tired of constantly having to go through this with the skimmer, it may be a sign that you need to invest in a pool cleaning system.
Hair and Lint Strainer Pot
Another thing that you should be looking to clean out regularly is the hair and lint strainer pot that many pools have in front of the pool pump. Generally, this is something you need to do every couple of weeks or as needed, based on your situation. To do this, start by turning off the pump and releasing pressure on the system.
Check the Water Level
Every now and then, especially during the summer, take a look at the pool’s water level. Is it too high, or is it too low? In order to get an accurate reading, make sure it is around the center level of your pool skimmer or pool tile. This is important for reasons beyond just your comfort in the pool. If the water gets too low, it could lead to your pump running dry or even burning out. If it’s too high, it may keep your pool skimmer from doing its job properly.
Clean and/or Change the Filter
Another important thing you want to do for your pools is to regularly keep the filter clean and replaced as need. There are a variety of different filters to work with for these purposes, but one good option is investing in cartridge filters. These help keep your water clean and only need cleaning a few times a year, with the exception of after a heavy storm or strange conditions in your pool.
If you’re not exactly sure whether or not you need to change your filter, take a look for things like weak returns from the sidewall of the pool, bad water clarity, abnormal odors or an obstructed drain at the bottom. A dirty pool filter can cause all of these issues. Along with cleaning the filters, you may want to give yourself added peace of mind by investing in a spa disinfection system, especially if there are multiple people using the pools at any given time.
UV and Ozone Systems
Some people may want to cut down on the amount of chlorine that they use because they are sensitive to it, or because of the ongoing costs of adding it to their pool. However, you need to make sure that your tools for this purpose are doing their job. A UV pool system can help in this regard, but only if it is functioning properly. For these and ozonators, make sure that its light is on and that it is working properly.
One thing that’s becoming a lot more popular is saltwater pools, also marketed as chlorine-free pools, although this is a bit of a misnomer. All of these systems have a component called a chlorine generator that helps produce chlorine so that you don’t have to buy or store it. This comes with some added maintenance work. Make sure that you keep a close eye on your pool chemistry to keep the cell clean.
In addition, you don’t want to add too much salt to these pools, especially if you can taste it. This is because salt systems cause an artificial rise in pH, and make you use more acid.
Hydroxyl-Based AOP Systems
The best option is Advanced Oxidation, or AOP sanitation systems. These use a natural process to create “hydroxyl radicals“, which are the most powerful oxidizing agents available for pool use – much more oxidative then chlorine or ozone. AOP systems rapidly oxidize unwanted contaminants in the pool water without leaving any toxic byproducts or residuals behind. They allow pool owners to reduce their chlorine levels to the amount found in drinking water, or even lower. AOP systems are the ultimate way to disinfect your pool water in 2019.
As a final note, you always want to keep pool safety in the back of your mind. Make sure that you always have a barrier to keep out children and animals, not just for their safety, but for your pool care. Certain chemicals and animal waste have nitrates in them that are food for algae, meaning that you have to do a lot more cleaning if there is a way for them to easily get in.
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