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Pool Maintenance 101: The Basics

Updated: May 15

Thanks for choosing us for your pool installation in Birmingham, AL! Maybe it’s your first summer with an inground pool, if so, you’re probably realizing that pools are a lot of fun and a lot of work. We think that once you get the basics down and get used to the cleaning and maintenance schedule, it’ll become second nature. So what are the basics? We’re glad you asked.  Cleaning Frequent, practically daily, cleaning of your pool is important if you want to keep it looking pristine, keep it enjoyable to swim in, and keep the system functioning properly. This includes cleaning out the skimmer, vacuuming the bottom and sides of the pool, and skimming leaves and debris off the top. There are a few options when it comes to vacuuming your pool. Many opt for an automatic underwater “vacuum cleaner” (like the Polaris) that runs continuously or on a timer. But if you’re wanting a less expensive option, you can vacuum it yourself. Just be aware that it can be time-consuming depending on the size of your pool. The easiest way of course, is to hire someone to come clean your pool!   Tip: to prevent the kids (or adults) from tracking grass into the pool as they jump in and out, place small tubs of water or even a few mats around the pool so that they can clean off their feet before the next cannonball!  Testing your water  This is a crucial part, if not the most important part of maintaining your pool throughout the summer months. You’ll need to check the pool’s pH levels, chlorine levels, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness (at a minimum). You might be thinking “I’m not a chemist!” (unless you are a chemist of course). No need to worry. Here are the most common ways to test your water:

  1. Test stripsThis is probably the simplest, but least accurate way to test the levels in your water. All you have to do is swirl the strip around in the water, then compare the results to the colors on the side of the bottle. 

  2. Reagent test kitsThis method will make you feel like a chemist. You’ll get a water sample then add different drops to it to change the color of the water and see where the pH levels (and other levels) line up on the scale. This will give you a more accurate result, but can be slightly off because it’s relying on your eyesight. 

  3. Digital test kitsThis is the most accurate equipment, yet the most expensive. It’s what most professionals use.  TIP: Take a water sample to your local pool store to get it tested if you’re looking for the presence of certain chemicals or have a water issue that you can’t seem to balance out.  Maintenance schedule There are things that must be done weekly, and others that only need to be done a couple of times a year, like when you are closing or opening the pool. What you should do weekly:

  4. Check the water levels to ensure that the pump can work efficiently

  5. Test the water 

  6. Adjust the pH, chlorine, alkalinity if needed

  7. Check for clarity and algae growth

  8. Empty skimmer basket, run the vacuum or do it yourself, and remove leaves and debris from the surface.

  9. Add the appropriate amounts of weekly chlorine

  10. Check the filter pressure and backwash if necessaryTIP: You can “shock” your pool every couple of weeks for ultimate water clarity or if you’re having algae issues.

What you should do monthly:

  1. Test the calcium hardness and adjust accordingly

  2. Test the total alkalinity

  3. Clean the filter

  4. Inspect equipment such as pump and filter for proper functioning

  5. Check for any cracks, tears, or other damage

  6. Inspect all components of the pool- railings, ladders, slides, diving boards, jets, etc. for any wear or tearGetting out ahead of any major issues with your pool or filtration system will save you money and spare you some headaches. Regular pool cleaning and maintenance can ensure that you, your family, friends, and neighbors can safely enjoy a summer of outdoor fun! If you’re on the outside looking in, wishing you had a pool to enjoy this summer, contact us! We are your pool installation partner ready to install a Desjoyaux pool for you right here in the Birmingham, AL area! We go beyond pool installation to bring your whole yard to life, so you can have a pool to enjoy in a stunning oasis right in your backyard. 

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