A swimming pool in your back yard is not only a perfect way of getting refreshed and relaxed in hot summer months, but also an amazing setting for any outdoor event you want to organise. However, unless your pool water is crystal clear all season long, all bets are off. In a neglected pool, the water can become cloudy, hazy, and if algae start running wild, even green. Luckily, there are just a few regular maintenance tricks that, when performed regularly, can keep your pool sparkling clean and always ready for an invigorating plunge.
Monitor chemical levels
Maintaining the right chemical balance in your pool is the first step to keeping the water clear all-year round. What you need to monitor are the levels of chlorine and the pH levels. Chlorine is added to the pool water to kill germs and bacteria, while the pool’s pH indicates how acidic or alkaline the water is. The pH level, in return, influences how effective chlorine is in keeping the water clean.
There are water testing kits that measure chlorine and pH levels, and the recommendation is to measure them twice a week. The chlorine should measure between 1.0 and 3.0 parts per million, while the pH level should show between 7.2 and 7.6. If the chlorine level drops, you need to replenish your chlorine supply. If your pool water’s pH is too high, you need to add acid to lower it. The most common acids for lowering pool water pH are muriatic acid and sodium bisulphate. If you need to raise the pH level, add an alkali like sodium carbonate, which reduces acidity.
Add shock and algaecide
Once the chlorine and pH levels are in line, you are ready for the next step in keeping your pool water clean. Once a week, you should administer shock or super-chlorinate your pool to kill any remaining bacteria or algae that may survive the regular chlorine doses.
Most pool supply stores have shock treatment kits, and make sure you read the instructions on the package so you know how much shock to add to the water. This largely depends on the size of the pool. If you see algae growing on the sides of the pool you should also administer algaecide, which is designed specifically to kill algae. Algae are responsible for turning your pool water green, yellow or cloudy, so it is important to impede their growth.
Your pool filter plays a mechanical role in keeping the water clear by removing dirt and debris from it. However, if you want your filter to last longer and work properly, you need to keep it clean as well. The process of filter cleaning is called backwashing. The procedure involves water flowing through the filter system in the opposite direction, so it can clean it out.
Backwashing should be performed at the first sight of cloudy water. You can even prevent clouding by monitoring your pool pressure gauge reading and backwashing whenever the pressure exceeds the normal reading by 5 to 7 pounds per square inch.
Don’t forget to skim
Finally, you need to remove organic materials like leaves, insects and other debris that float on the surface. Your pool filter will readily remove smaller particles, but larger items cannot make it into the system. Instead, they can start to disintegrate, making the pool dirty and cloudy. Aside from high-end devices as robotic pool cleaners, pool supplies also include an array of manual leaf rakes and shovels. Depending on the surrounding landscape, skimming once or twice a day is usually enough.
Maintaining a crystal-clear swimming pool is not an impossible task. First you need to deal with the chemistry, by regulating the chlorine and pH levels. Second, deal with the biology and remove the pesky algae. Finally, it is up to you to remove individual pieces of debris before they break apart.