When we first installed our family pool, we weren’t regular about maintenance. We quickly discovered that things got handled very ineffectively, many times on a “we’ll get to that soon” basis that led to some problems – a bit of algae build up, the pump working harder than it needed to because of a clogged leaf basket, that sort of thing.
I am a big fan of checklists, which is a necessity when it comes to keeping the pool in shape, especially during the summer months when the pool is in use a lot. So here are the items I check off for weekly upkeep:
1) Test the water. Use a kit to test the water chemicals and make sure they are in balance. Check the pH to make sure it is at the proper level, just above neutral – between 7.2 and 7.6 parts per million (ppm). You also want to test the chlorine level, to make sure it stays between 1 and 3 ppm. This doesn’t take long at all, and it’s recommended that it be done 2 to 3 times a week. So we test as part of our weekly maintenance, and then again a couple more times during the week.
2) Adjust the chemicals. It doesn’t help to test the water and then not do anything about it. So when the kids aren’t around, if the chemicals need to be adjusted, we do that. We follow a very careful safety routine when we are working with pool chemicals – use safety goggles, heavy gloves, and never handle the chemicals on a windy day – that would just increase the possibility of an injury. If we tested the water and it needs adjustment, and it happens to be a windy day, we postpone – but it doesn’t get checked off the list.
3) Check the pool pump. Regularly check the pool pump to make sure it’s working properly, and take note of the pressure gauge. If it has risen to 8 to 10 psi above normal, it’s time to backwash the system. We make sure to do that as soon as we spot it, so it doesn’t get too bad before we have to handle it.
4) Clean out the pool pump. Once a week, we shut down the pump and open the basket to clean out hair, lint and debris. It’s amazing how quickly it has built up each week, and we decided to make this a weekly item for our checklist, because it’s less trouble than doing it later. Also, we found out the pump works more efficiently if there are no blockages.
5) Brush the pool. One of our favorite chores. I’m kidding, of course. We are not terribly fond of doing this, but it’s the easiest way to assure that no algae builds up on the walls and sides of the pool. We use one of those brushes on a long handle, and it really doesn’t take that long.
6) Clean out the leaves. After we brush the pool, we take a leaf net and manually get the leaves and debris out of the pool. It doesn’t take long, and it just means less time cleaning the pool pump leaf basket. It is well worth the regular effort.
Now that we do things regularly, we don’t worry about it. We just sit back and watch the kids play in the pool, at peace because we’ve provided them a clean pool to play in.
Becky Flanigan has 3 kids with her wonderful husband – two boys and a girl – and two lovely golden retrievers. She spends hours at her family swimming pool, watching the kids and dogs play and have fun.