Here’s a quick guide about pool maintenance.
Every week, a few chemicals should be checked. First is your chlorine. It should be kept between about 1 – 3 ppm. Most pool owners will use tablets and shock to maintain this level. Some may have salt systems and need to adjust the production percentage to raise or lower the level. Secondly, pH should be checked and adjusted weekly. Muriatic acid is used to lower the pH, while soda ash is used to raise it. Sodium bicarbonate will also raise pH, as will most chlorine shocks, so if your alkalinity is low, you might only add the bicarb and not the soda ash. If you are using a salt system, you should check your salt every week also. Add salt directly to the pool if needed. In addition to checking these chemical levels, you should always empty skimmer baskets, check the filter to see if it is dirty, brush the walls, vacuum if necessary, and check over the system in general, looking for leaks or signs of trouble. Pool maintenance begins with these frequent tasks, but continues with less frequent, equally important duties.
One chemical in particular should be checked every couple of weeks. It is alkalinity and its purpose is to keep the pH from fluctuating wildly. If it is low, you can raise it with sodium bicarbonate or baking soda. When high, it can be lowered with muriatic acid. The pH will adjust slightly when making changes to the alkalinity, so be ready to compensate for this.
Every month you should check your calcium hardness and cyanuric acid. Calcium hardness is most important to gunite pool owners. It actually helps to protect the surface of the pool from the water’s ability to absorb calcium. If not maintained correctly, a plaster surface will begin to look etched and dirty. Calcium chloride is used to adjust the calcium hardness level and it is usually required in large quantities, such as 50 lbs. Cyanuric acid is also referred to as stabilizer or conditioner. Its purpose is to prevent the sun from depleting the chlorine from the pool. At the right level (around 30 ppm), it works very well. If allowed to get too high, it will actually hinder the performance of the chlorine, resulting in cloudy slightly green water with a high chlorine level. Cyanuric acid is built into some shock and all tablets, so it is possible to add large amounts of it and not even realize it.
Every year, the area around the pump and filter should be cleaned up. Piles of leaves, mud, and other debris should be removed. Most equipment areas have a concrete pad or slab that everything sits on. This should be exposed and not covered by mulch or gravel. These products retain moisture and accelerate the process of corrosion and rusting. Do not allow soil to build up around your heater. It will cause the cabinet to rust and deteriorate quickly.
As always, we can assist with any of your pool maintenance needs. We perform all of the above services, as well as many others, when we are hired to maintain a pool.