When you’re living in one of the hottest states in the U.S., owning a swimming pool can be a huge blessing.
Unsurprisingly, swimming is a favorite activity in the Lone Star State, where many areas regularly log temps in the 80s and 90s over half of the year. But it’s also a popular recreational choice nationwide. Some 10.4 million American residences have their own pools, reports TheSpruce.com, with swimming the fourth most popular sport or activity nationwide — the No. 1 most popular for youth 7 to 17.
One of the few downsides to owning a pool is the necessity to clean and maintain it on a daily basis. But that chore doesn't have to overshadow the joy of being able to jump into a sparkling blue oasis on a hot summer’s day. Consider how these tips can help make your pool maintenance a cool breeze.
Reading is fundamental: When testing water, aim for pH levels of 7.2 to 7.8 on a scale of 14. When scores fall outside that range, determine which chemicals must be added to ensure optimal water health and cleanliness.
Don’t skip the skimming: At least every few days, use a long-handled net to gather and remove bugs, leaves, sticks and other debris from the surface of the water. Then remove, dump out and rinse the strainer baskets that catch additional debris. Taking obvious refuse out of the equation allows your pool’s circulation and chemical systems to be more efficient.
Suck it up: You’ll need to thoroughly vacuum the floor of your pool at least weekly. Fortunately, many of the vacuums now available are ergonomic and/or automated to make that process easier. Remember to empty your strainer after vacuuming.
Brush it off: Using the kind of bristle brush, pumice stone or putty knife appropriate to your pool material, scrub the walls and tile surrounding your pool at least weekly to ward off the algae and calcium deposits that can accumulate.
Stay on kilter with your filter: Oddly, it’s best not to clean your filter until it gathers a substantial amount of dirt, since a little standing dirt helps the system trap even more dirt particles. At the same time, you shouldn’t wait until it’s filthy. In general, wait until you see an increase in flow between the pressure gauge and flow meter; the difference should reach 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 6.8 kilograms) per square inch.
Have a heart for your heater: Follow instructions in your pool’s manual for maintaining its heating unit. One possible issue is that calcium could accumulate inside the tubes, restricting flow and reducing heat capacity. In that case, a professional may need to disassemble and clean the unit.
Do your level best: A surprising amount of water can be lost from evaporation, splashing and swimmers leaving the pool. Maintaining too little H2O could damage your pumps, so monitor levels and add more H2O with a hose when necessary.
Sneak peek for leaks: Too much water loss could be due to a leak instead of evaporation, in which case your pool surface or liner may need professional patching.
Off-season’s greetings: If you live in a region of the Lone Star State that gets below freezing, you’ll want to winterize your pool. Though you’ll want to leave in some standing water to counter the effects of pressure from the surrounding earth, the water level should lie below the plumbing system for the winter, about approximately 18 inches below the coping and super chlorinate. Drain as much water as you can from your plumbing, filter and heater and use an air compressor to blow out the remainder. Add nontoxic antifreeze to your plumbing, then disconnect your heater and pump and remove, clean and store your chemical feeders. Give the pool a final cleaning before covering it up by skimming the surface, brushing the walls, vacuuming the floors, emptying skimmers and shutting the skimmer line valve.
With regular maintenance, your pool should be a haven of refreshment even on the hottest Texas day.