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Pool Maintenance 101: How to have a swimming good time this summer


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In the summer, your swimming pool is one of the most popular areas of your home, but it's not all sunshine and pool noodles. Pool regular maintenance is necessary on a daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal basis to keep the structure and swimmers healthy. Before you dive into your backyard oasis, get your pool ready for summer with our swimming pool maintenance checklist!

Opening day pool maintenance  

Get ready for the first swim of the season.

Before you even head out to the backyard, check that you have all the necessary pool chemicals – a testing kit for the pool's PH level, calcium hardness, total alkalinity, and chlorine levels; chlorine tablets, shock treatment, algaecide, and stain treatment. Replace any chemicals that are out of date or weren't stored properly.

Then remove the cover. Before putting it away from the season, clean it thoroughly with the help of a hose and shop vac. Store it in a cool, dry place for the season. 

Vacuum the pool after a long winter.

It was a long winter. Inspect your pool and check for any damage to the deck, fences, pumps, slides, ladders, and emergency equipment. Don't forget to inspect any outdoor furniture to make sure it's still functional and safe for swimmers to use.

Then, focus on the actual pool. Vacuum, skim, and brush to remove all debris and settled particles. (For tiny particles your skimmer can't get, try a pool flocculant, which will make the tiny items stick together.) Use a stain treatment as needed. 

Remove any plugs, and open the main drain and skimmer valves to your inground pool. Afterwards, balance the water chemistry by adding the necessary chemicals to fall within these recommended levels:

  • pH: 7.2-7.8
  • Alkalinity: 80-120 parts per million (ppm)
  • Calcium hardness: 100-400 ppm
  • Cyanuric acid: 20-50 ppm (definitely not over 100 ppm)
  • Chlorine: 1.0-2.5 ppm

Finish up your opening day maintenance by backwashing filter and shocking the pool. (Shocking the pool cleans up any cloudy water, kills bacteria, and stops algae and other organisms from making your pool their summer home.) 

How long do you have to wait to enjoy your pool after opening it?

Run the filter for at least 24 hours, but you don't have to wait that long to take your first dip. For non-chlorinating shocking, you need to wait a grand total of 15 minutes. For chlorine-based shocking, you can take your first dip after eight hours.

However, you'll probably end up waiting longer since you should shock your pool late in the evening or at night, as ultraviolet light reduced the chlorine levels. So a daytime shock isn't as effective as a nighttime one. 

Daily pool maintenance  

Go with the flow by keeping your filter running.

For good times and tan lines, skim the pool daily, and run the pump at least 10-12 hours. Of course, if you can run the pump longer, do so to keep the water flowing.

Weekly pool maintenance  

Test the water to make sure your pool and family stay healthy!

Brush and vacuum the pool, and check the pressure filter. Normal pool pressure should be somewhere between 10 psi and 25 psi, depending on your pool's size and type. If the pressure rises or falls, call a professional to investigate.

Every week, empty the skimmer and pump bucket as needed, and disinfect and sanitize with water treatments. Check the water level and add more as needed to maintain optimal pool pump function. Test water for pH, chlorine, and alkalinity levels, and adjust accordingly. 

Shock your pool at least twice a month.

Then, shock the pool. If your pool is popular or you swim daily, you may want to consider shocking it more frequently. If you haven't gone for a dip, you may be able to do so bi-monthly.

Finish up by backwashing your pool filter, or dislodging debris caught in the filter by sending water back through the filers and out the waste port. 

Monthly pool maintenance 

Inspect the pool for any damage.

​Are you having a splashing good time this season? Then keep it going by testing calcium hardness and total dissolved solids, and chemically cleaning the filter on a monthly basis. Inspect vinyl pools for holes and tears, and repair immediately. If you have a gunite, concrete, or fiberglass pool, check for cracks, and call a professional if you see any cracks greater than 1/4".

Make sure your motors and pumps are running smoothly. Finally, finish up the monthly pool care by fixing any outdoor elements around your pool, such as tiles, handrails, steps, and other safety equipment.

Closing time for your pool 

Take one last swim before closing the pool for the winter.

Where did the sea-sun go? Head for one last swim, and then balance the pool chemistry. The amounts should be within these areas:

  • pH: 7.2-7.6
  • Total alkalinity: 68-120 ppm
  • Calcium hardness: 200-400 ppm
  • Chlorine: 1.0-3.0 ppm

Don't forget to add a double dose or an extra strength dose of algaecide, and shock the pool. Then run the filter for a full 24-48 hours. Drain all pumps, filter system, and heating equipment, and sanitize as needed. Remove all the pool's accoutrements, such as the baskets, ladders, and solar pool blankets

Secure your pool for the winter months.

Clean the pool thoroughly and lower to the water level to approximately six inches below the skimmer. Lubricate the valve and plugs. Finally, retrieve that cover from storage and fit it over the pool tightly.

We would be remiss if we didn't mention that if you are uncomfortable or uncertain about your diy abilities regarding your pool, you should contact a professional. Pool safety and maintenance are important to keep your family and anyone on your property safe, and a professional pool maintenance service can help you keep your pool healthy in the summer and all year long. 

Go with the flow this summer 

Get pool reminders to your phone!

Now that your pool's ready for some summer fun, it's time to get your home in order. vipHomeLink can help! Our home management app helps you to keep track of all your home maintenance (like your weekly pool tasks). We can also help you improve your home with tips, such as seven awesome backyard upgrades and how to stay safe during summer storms!

Learn more ways to maintain and improve your home with vipHomeLink. Download the app on iOS and Android devices, and get three months free on us!

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