Summertime is around the corner, which means the pool covers will be coming off. Odds are, what you find under there will be a leafy chemical soup that isn’t suited for leisurely swims. By following a few maintenance guidelines, you can have your swimming pool clean and ready for the hotter seasons in no time.
Hopefully, you kept your swimming pool filled during the winter months. The water table, which is the natural water level in the ground, can actually lift your pool out of the ground if it is empty. That would mean severe damage to the structure, likely resulting in a full replacement. Expensive, unfortunate, and unnecessary. Unless you’re explicitly aware of the water table level in your area, do not empty your pool in winter.
Replacing broken or misplaced drains and suction supplies can save you a lot of money in the long run. A leaky suction can pull air into the system, which can cause pumps to run dry then freeze. Suffice it to say, repairs/replacements are not cheap. In order to check if you have an air leak, run your equipment and look at the water coming from your return lines. An excess of air bubbles signal a leak, so you’ll know what to replace.
You may not feel as though you need a professional to check your pool’s water, but better safe than sorry. Chemical balance is a huge factor of pool safety. Take a sample of your pool water and bring it in to a local swimming pool store. They will test the mineral content, alkalinity, pH levels, and chlorine levels, then tell you which needs adjustment and by how much.
Here are the recommended levels:
- pH levels between 7.2 and 7.4. Your pool’s pH level controls how much chlorine will change into hypochlorous acid. Soda ash will increase the pH levels, while muriatic acid/sodium bisulfate will cause a decrease.
- Overall alkalinity between 80 and 120. Alkalinity affects the consistency of pH levels in your pool, so a regulated alkaninity will result in easier-to-manipulate pH levels. Apply sodium bicarbonate to increase alkalinity, and muriatic acid to decrease it.
- Calcium hardness between 150ppm to 250ppm. This depends heavily on the hardness of the water used. Softer water will absorb much more calcium from its environment. Without maintenance, it can absorb grout from tiles, marble dust, or even vinyl. Calcium chloride can be used to control the hardness levels.
- Chlorine from 1ppm to 3ppm. Cyanauric-based tablets can be placed in your pool to effectively dampen the sun’s ability to burn off chlorine. Pool sunscreen, in a manner of speaking.