Owning a swimming pool, whether in-ground, above ground, or portable, is a summertime luxury, but is also a responsibility in terms of maintenance and cleaning. It is imperative to clean a pool on a regular basis to maintain water stability and avoid common pool problems like algae growth, cloudy water, and bacteria. There are several steps involved in cleaning a pool, most of which are performed routinely.
As a rule of thumb, water clarity is a good indicator of proper chemical balance. The bottom of the pool should be visible, regardless of depth. Cloudy or murky water can be an indicator of improper chemical balance or dirty water, an improperly functioning pump, may be the result of dead algae after treatment, or may be caused by a chemical reaction or other condition. In order to clean a pool efficiently, a properly working pump with a clean filter should be run at all times and the following routine steps should be taken.
Skim the surface of the water regularly to remove leaves, insects, and other debris that will eventually float to the bottom, falling apart and creating smaller particles of debris along the way. An automatic skimmer system ran in conjunction with the pool’s pump helps to reduce the frequency of skimming and are usually part of all in-ground and most above ground pools. Smaller, portable pools typically have no automatic skimmer system, but one may be available as an accessory for some models.
Other tasks that should be done to clean a pool and maintain cleanliness include vacuuming the bottom of the pool on a regular basis to remove sunken debris, periodically cleaning the sides of the pool with a swimming pool brush, and checking and maintaining skimmer baskets and pool filters.
In addition to regular cleaning for debris removal, regularly testing the pool’s chemicals is essential to water quality. Chlorine and pH levels must be maintained at the proper levels to clean a pool properly. Chlorine acts as a germ-killing agent, but must be kept at approximately 1.0 to 3.0 parts per million (ppm) to be effective. The pH levels should be kept between 7.2 and 7.8 in order to help the chlorine maintain effective disinfecting properties while still avoiding skin and eye irritation.
Careful chemical monitoring is necessary because air temperature, frequency of use, and other factors can impact chlorine and pH levels. In addition, other chemicals may be necessary to clean a pool and keep it clean, such as algaecide, water clarifier, and enzymes. Specific cleaning guidelines as it pertains to water quality should be researched according to your area and environmental conditions and can best be learned by talking to a swimming pool expert at a supply retailer.