The Basics of Swimming Pool Care

Having fun in the summer is a lot easier when you have your own pool; but that doesn’t mean that owning a pool is all parties and unicorn-shaped floats! Pool care is an important part of pool ownership and ensures that your water is clean, clear, and safe for swimming. 

The most basic part of pool care and pool maintenance is circulation. 

Make sure that your pool pump runs for at least 12 hours a day to ensure that your water is not stagnant and has the chance to run through your filter at least a few times every day. Cloudy pools usually don’t have very good circulation. 

Pool Filters:

Cleaning your pool means making sure that your pool filter is doing its job. There are several kinds of filters available for pools including sand filters, saltwater chlorinators, cartridge filters, and diatomaceous earth filters. No matter what kind your pool uses, they all have the same job: to remove dirt and debris—from the biggest leaves to the smallest particles—from your water before it is returned back into your pool. Everything from leaves and pollen to sand and sunscreen ends up in your pool water, so running the pump and ensuring that water flows through your filter is key to keeping your water clean, clear, and healthy. 

Pool Skimming:

In addition to using your filter to circulate the water you’ll want to manually skim the surface of your pool and brush your pool walls regularly so debris that builds up there can fall to the bottom where, if you have an in-ground pool, it will be sucked into the drains in the bottom of the deep end. If you have an above ground pool you’ll want to attach your pool vacuum to your filter system and put the vacuum upside down in the middle of the pool at the bottom. When you turn it on it will act in the same way as the main drain in an in-ground pool. An automatic pool cleaner can help to take care of these tasks, but you’ll still want to manually skim and brush a bit to make sure the job is complete. 

Pool Care Chemicals:

Finally, in order to maintain water balance, it is important to use the proper pool chemicals and water testing kit. You can find all of these at your local Brinkmann’s hardware store, including pool salt for those with salt water pools. There are three main components you’ll want to test for when testing the water with your test strips: pH levels, alkalinity, and your sanitizer levels.  

The ideal pH range for your pool is from 7.4-7.6. Alkalinity serves as a buffer for your pH, helping to keep it from swinging from basic to acidic and vice versa. The ideal range for your alkalinity levels is from 100 to 150 ppm. Finally, your sanitizer levels represent the chlorine level in your pool (unless your pool utilizes bromine or another type of sanitizer). Knowing your water testing results will guide you when it’s time to add chemicals to the water to adjust your water balance. Be careful when adding chemicals, read all of the directions, and if you have any questions call your chemical supplier. 

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