Any homeowner with a swimming pool can attest to the endless hours of fun and socialization the pool can provide. However, the same homeowner can also tell you about the maintenance and periodic repairs the pool requires. If you’re considering having a pool installed, maintenance should be a serious consideration before you get started. What can you do yourself and what will you need to hire someone to do for you?
There’s no easy answer to the question of when to perform DIY maintenance and when to hire a pro. While some tasks are easily handled by the homeowner, others may require a more expert touch. Let’s take a look at the different types of pool maintenance and which you can easily handle yourself.
When DIY Pool Maintenance is Fine
A lot of standard pool maintenance is easy enough to do and doesn’t require a lot of time or expertise. If you’re willing and able to do a little of the work yourself, you can probably take care of your pool with these simple methods:
- Weekly testing your pool water’s pH levels and adding chemicals as needed
- Scooping out small, floating debris with a pool net
- Inspecting the pool filters and pumps
Hiring a Pool Maintenance Specialist
Some homeowners simply don’t have the time or knowledge required to maintain their pool by themselves. Maybe you don’t know how to use a water testing kit or you’re just away from home so much you can’t afford the time. In that case, it may be time to hire someone to perform these basic maintenance tasks for you. The small monetary investment is more than worth the saved money in expensive restoration if you neglect basic work.
Hiring a Professional Pool Contractor
Finally, there will be times when you simply can’t do the repairs or required maintenance yourself. Even a hired maintenance specialist might not be able to help you. If you notice a leak in your pool, chips or cracks in the pool shell, or a severe malfunction in the pump mechanism, it’s time to call an expert. Don’t make the damage worse or hurt yourself trying to fix something you don’t fully understand.
Pro Tip: Trying to fix a broken pool pump could lead to pretty severe consequences if done incorrectly. It’s best to leave this job to a professional.
Maintaining Your Pool for the Long Term
Swimming pool maintenance is a rather unpleasant but necessary part of owning your own private pool. However, don’t feel like you need to carry the entire burden of maintenance yourself. With a sufficient blend of DIY work and professional help, you can keep your pool clean and pleasant to use.
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Does your pool have a leak? If you’ve noticed your water level is lowering and you know you’re not losing water to evaporation, it’s quite possible there’s a leak somewhere in your pool. For rather obvious reasons, this is not a good arrangement for your pool or your backyard. You’ll want to find and fix the leak as quickly as possible.
There are three primary methods of pool leak detection: the ink test, the bucket test, and checking the piping. These tests are designed to help you determine if a leak is present and to give you an idea of where it might be located. Try performing all three of these tests before calling an expert to fix the leak.
The Bucket Test
This should be your first step in leak testing. Set a bucket in the pool on the first stair and fill it with water until it matches your pool water level. Leave it there for a few hours to a day and watch the water levels change. If both go down at about the same speed, don’t worry about a leak–you most likely just have a lot of evaporation happening. However, if the pool water is lower than the bucket when you check, there’s a leak somewhere and it’s time to move on to the next method to find it.
Check the Pipes
The most likely place for a leak to occur is in your pool’s pipe system. Check your pipes for leaks or weak points, and inspect the ground near your pool for any signs of excessive moisture. If you find the leak in your pipes, patch it up temporarily and call a professional to fix the leak. However, if your pipes are just fine, the leak is somewhere in your pool shell and it’s time to employ the final leak detection test.
Pro Tip: Don’t try to repair your pool pumps on your own. Without a good knowledge of the machinery, you may just make a leak worse or create a new one.
The Ink Test
Use the ink test if you know your pool shell is leaking but you aren’t sure where. Find the wettest point in the ground outside your pool–this is where the water is escaping. Once you’ve found it, get into the pool with a little bottle of dye or dark food coloring. Moving slowly to avoid stirring up the water, squirt a few drops of dye into the water near where you suspect the leak might be. Watch where the dye drains and make a note of it. You’ve found the leak! Now it’s time to get a professional patch job done.
Keep Your Houston Pool Usable
A swimming pool leak can cost you a surprising amount of money in wasted water, not to mention the damage the excess water can do to your backyard. Detecting and patching pool leaks quickly is essential to maintaining an enjoyable backyard for the foreseeable future. With these pool leak detection techniques, you’ll never have to go long without a properly maintained swimming pool!
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Generally, maintaining a healthy pH of pool chemicals will keep your swimming pool from becoming an algae habitat. However, sometimes you’ll find yourself facing a pool green with algae growth and other unpleasant surprises. Whether you’re restoring an abandoned pool or simply forgot to perform regular maintenance, you’ll need to clean this green swimming pool thoroughly before it’s safe or pleasant to use again.
Steps to a Clear Pool
The most important part of cleaning a green swimming pool is killing the algae and removing all traces of it from your pool. While there are several ways to do this, the most effective is vacuum residue out of the pool, brush the algae off, and use a special combination of pool chemicals to make sure it’s all dead. This tried-and-true method will keep your pool fresh for the foreseeable future as long as you keep up with the maintenance. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Vacuum the pool
- Scrub the pool shell
- Shock the water
- Filter the pool
- Test and balance the chemicals
1) Vacuum the Pool
Start by running your pool vacuum across the entire bottom of the pool. Remove as much dirt and residue as possible this way before proceeding. Don’t try to suck up the algae–it still needs to be in the pool so you can kill it with the shock later. For now, just target dirt, leaves, twigs, dead bugs, and other debris.
2) Scrub the Pool Shell
With a stiff algae brush, scrub the entire pool shell vigorously to dislodge the algae. This will make killing the growth much easier. Just make sure you use a heavy-duty brush for this part since a soft brush won’t really do much other than just shove the algae around.
3) Shock the Water
Now comes the step where you kill the algae: shock your pool. Using a pool shock that contains a high level of chlorine, shock your pool at least twice. The darker green your pool water is, the more times you should shock it to get every last remnant of the algae.
Pro Tip: Even if you don’t normally use chlorine shock, you must use chlorine to kill algae growth in this case. Other shocks only do a temporary job.
4) Filter the Pool
After you’re satisfied that your pool has been shocked enough, turn on the filter and leave it running constantly until the pool is crystal clear. This will take several days at the very least. Just be patient and keep a close eye on the pool to ensure it’s actually improving. You can add pool clarifier to help the water grow clear faster, but even then, you must continue running the filter for at least 24 hours after adding the clarifier.
5) Test & Balance the Chemicals
Once your pool is clear again, test the pH and sanitizer levels. After all, the cocktail of chemicals you added during the cleaning process probably imbalanced a few things. Add more chemicals as necessary to restore your pool’s original condition. Once you’re satisfied with the rest results, you can start using your pool again!
Restoring a Green Swimming Pool
Regardless of how your swimming pool turned green and disgusting, you’ll want to get it clean as quickly as possible. Fortunately, with a little care and dedicated time, you can restore your pool to its former glory and keep the algae from ever returning. Keep your pool pleasant and safe for everyone to enjoy!
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A swimming pool provides the final touch of elegance and fun that your backyard needs. Of course, your pool can’t clean itself. Every so often, you’ll need to dedicate a certain amount of time to swimming pool cleaning to keep the water fresh and enjoyable to swim in.
Basic pool maintenance is an important part of installing and enjoying a swimming pool. While replacing parts or fixing major damage requires expert intervention, most pool cleaning tasks are simple enough for you to do on your own. If you take the time to maintain your pool water’s pH, clean the filters, keep leaves out of the pool, and maintain the overall setting, your pool is sure to stay clean and ready to use for quite some time.
Clear Fallen Debris
Leaves, dead bugs, twigs, and other debris will inevitably find their way into your pool from time to time, especially if you have a garden nearby. Make sure to regularly skim the top of the water with a pool net to remove these floating debris and keep them from clogging your pool filter. If your plants tend to shed a lot, you may have to do this almost daily. This quick cleaning solution just takes a few minutes, however, and involves a lot less time and money than replacing a damaged filtration system.
Clean the Pool Shell
Balancing your pool water’s pH and keeping debris out of the pool will go a long way toward keeping it clean. However, grime or minor algae growth will occasionally show itself. When you notice this happening, use an automatic cleaner in your pool to remove the grime and keep the shell clean. Ideally, you’ll only have to do this monthly.
Clean or Replace the Filters
Even if you do your best to keep leaves and bugs out of the water, your pool filters still pick up a lot of debris and grime. At least once a month, perhaps more often if your pool gets dirty quickly, make sure to remove and thoroughly clean your pool filters. Your owner’s manual has all the instructions you need to safely access the filters.
Maintain the Water Itself
An alkaline swimming pool allows for easier algae growth, while a slightly acidic pool may be uncomfortable to swim in. Fortunately, it’s easy to find pool pH kits that provide you with the exact pH of the water. Once you know if your water is too acidic or alkaline, consult a professional to see which chemicals to buy and restore balance.
Pro Tip: Makeup, sunscreen, and skin oils may leave a sheen on the top of your pool. Leave a clean tennis ball floating in the pool overnight to absorb the worst of the oil.
Stay on Top of Swimming Pool Maintenance
To keep your swimming pool usable and clean for as long as possible, make sure to perform regular maintenance checkups and clean the entire pool thoroughly. The work may be time-consuming, but once you’re finished, your pool will be much more pleasant and safe to use. It’s always worth the extra investment of time and effort into swimming pool cleaning to keep your pool looking good.
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