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How do I keep my pool clean?

Maintenance is a huge part of keeping any pool clean, healthy and fun. It might be a bit of work if you can’t hire a pool-boy to do it for you, but the results of your daily efforts can be rewarding! The key is staying on top of it.

Here’s how to maintain your pool:

1) Sanitation – Your sanitizer (whether salt, chlorine, or bromine) must be kept at the proper levels at all times. Make sure to shock your pool regularily, and shock it weekly during the month of August, when algae is most likely to grow. Using salt-chlorine generators is an easy way to regulate the sanitizer in the water, and the generator will keep a consistent level of chlorine in the pool.
2) Flow – moving water is less likely to have algae grow in it. Circulating the water in your pool allows the pool water to keep moving, and also allows particulate to be filtered out when it passes through the circulation system.
3) Regular Use – Swim in your pool as much as possible. Swimming will stir up particulate in the water and make it easier for the dirt and debris to enter the skimmer. Swimming also increases water movement, making it harder for algae to grow.
4) Filters – Keep an eye on the state of the filters and change filters as per the manufactureres instructions. This keep the water moving well and coming out clear!
5) Additional chemicals – A weekly algaecide, although not a necessity, will do wonders to help you keep the algae at bay!

Here’s a few extra tips to help you keep your pool looking it’s best:

1) Check the chemicals in the pool 1-2 times per week (summer) and every two weeks in the winter. You are checking for pH. pH is an indication of the acidity of the water. The lower the pH, the more acidic the water, and the less chlorine required. That being said, you don’t want too low a pH. The optimal levels are between 7.2 and 7.8 (on a scale of 1-14). As pH rises, the acidity drops, and the chlorine becomes less and less effective at sanitizing the pool, and as such you will need to add more chlorine to make up for it. For example a pool with a pH of 8 has only 10% chlorine activity. You will need to add 10 times as much chlorine as usual to achieve adequate sanitation. You can easily see that if you control pH properly, you will be able to save money on chlorine!
2) Clean the skimmer, leaf basket, filter, lint pot and anything else that is easily accessible, at least once a week. The skimmer takes in water from the surface and removes any floating debris before it gets a chance to sink to the bottom. Everything in the pool must enter through the surface, and the more effient the skimmer is, the more dirt you will be able to remove.
3) Check the water level everytime you are outside. This is a good habit to get into because the water level can fluctuate either up or down depending if last nights activities included a heavy rainfall or a vigorous cannonball competition. Your water needs to be at a height that intercepts the face of the skimmer. The skimmer is used to collect debris from the surface, and the water level must be as such that the surface water is always able to enter the skimmer. If the water is too low, the pump will overheat and burn out. If the water is too high, the skimmer door will close and, although the pump will likely not burn out, the debris from the surface will not be filtered out.
4) Check your inline- or deck-chlorinator for the appropriate amount of chlorine (tablets or pucks) and to ensure there is no clogging.
5) Make sure your Ozonator light is still on and the system is working. Ozone and UV together can reduce the requirement for chlorine in the pool. They are a worthwhile investment and produce great results. There are a few different types and have different installations and instructions, so be sure to research them before selecting the one that fits your pool best.
6) Clean your Chlorine Generator Cell (for salt-water pools). The function of the cell depends on the cleanliness of the pool as well as the pool chemistry. Extra tip: if you can taste the salt, then you’ve added too much, and the pH will be high.
7) Wipe the liner weekly where the surface of the water meets the liner. This is a place where algae and dirt can build up (think about the dirty ring you can sometimes get in your bathtub or toilet). Take a soft brush or cloth and wipe the liner all the way around the pool. This is an easy chore for kids to do!
8) Store your chemicals properly. This means: in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight, and of course out of reach of children. Keep other chemicals away from the pool. Organics from bird poop and other animal droppings can cause algael blooms, as the algae feed on organic matter.
9) Shock your pool appropriately. Shocking is the addition of extra chlorine. This doesn’t need to happen on any regular basis, and the pool should be left for at least 12 hours before being used again. If you have an ozone system, shock it by running the ozone pump for 24 hours.
10) Check gates and fences to keep your family and your neighbours safe. Every year in the US, 300 toddlers drown in swimming pools. Make sure that you latch the gate properly after using the pool, or install a functional self-latching mechanism.
11) Pay attention to your pool. Is the in-pool cleaning system working correctly? Is the bottom visible and the water clear? Are there any obstructions on the drain? Is the hose cleaner free of kinks and twists? Are there any funny smells? When was the last time the filter was cleaned? Are there any cracks in the perimter of the pool? (If yes, you can caulk it with silicon) Is the liner in good shape?