Maintaining your pool can be a tough task, especially if you do not have any experience in shocking, gauging and testing the pool’s water. For this reason, you will always be bound to make several blunders as far as cleaning your pool is concerned.
Nevertheless, knowing the most common pool maintenance mistakes can go a long way to ensure that your pool is clean and safe endless swimming throughout the seasons.
Here are the 13 most common pool maintenance mistakes that you should avoid
1. Shocking Your Pool Directly
Shocking your pool simply refers to the process of adding concentrated chlorine (shock) in granule form to your pool. However, it is important to note that the process can be very disastrous, since the granules may sink straight to the bottom and bleach the liner, making it less effective.
So, what’s the solution?
Well, you just need to dissolve the shock granules in a bucket of water before adding it to the pool. This will ensure that the chlorine will disperse evenly and effectively in the pool.
2. Disregarding Your Pool’s pH Levels
The pH levels are of utmost importance to the health of your swimming pool. If the pH levels are imbalanced, then chlorine won’t be able to work efficiently. On the other hand, low pH may prevent the growth of algae due to the high acidity, but at the same time damage your pool’s equipment.
How do I balance between alkalinity and acidity?
To attain stable pH levels, you have to test your pool’s water regularly using a pH tester. The ideal pH level should not be more than 7.5. This will allow the chlorine to work effectively in keeping your pool clean.
3. Ignoring Calcium Hardness
As with pH levels, you need to balance the calcium hardness in your pool’s water. Too much calcium will not only cloud the water in the pool, but also render the chlorine ineffective.
What’s the solution?
Add Neutral Seal or similar chemicals to balance your pool’s calcium hardness. Doing so will go a long way to extend the life of the liners, fiberglass, concrete and plaster. Most importantly, testing of calcium hardness should be done at least once every month.
4. Neglecting to Test the Pool’s Water Weekly
Besides checking pH levels and calcium hardness regularly, you need to test the pool water for salts, dissolved solids, copper, iron, and cyanuric acid, at least once every week. Unfortunately, many pool owners ignore this part, eventually ending up with a pool that is highly saturated with unwanted chemicals.
Here’s the solution
Testing the chemistry of your pool’s water does not have to be a complex task. All you have to do is to buy a liquid test kit or test strips to perform the necessary tests. Alternatively, you may take a sample to a pool supply store for extensive testing and analysis.
5. Failing to Clean Your Pool’s Filter
The pool’s filter does an incredible job of filtering your pool and keeping contaminants at bay. Failure to clean your pool filter can leave a devastating effect on the health of your pool. Firstly, it could lead to clogging or even cause excessive algae growth.
How do I know my pool’s filter requires cleaning?
You need to check out for signs such as increased PSI, contaminants flowing from the return jets and dirty filter cartridges.
To clean your pool’s filter, soak it in muriatic acid for a few minutes then rinse them carefully before placing them in the open to dry.
6. Not Vacuuming Your Pool
One of the most common mistakes pool owners make is not cleaning their pools. Over time, the floor and walls of the pool will develop slime, grime, and stains because of contaminants latching on the sides.
To make it worse, the dirty water will attract excessive growth of algae in the pool, which will, in turn, make the tiles highly calcified. Eventually, it will become almost impossible for you to enjoy a good, healthy swim.
The appropriate step is to buy a pool brush at your local supply store. Use this brush to clean the sides, floor, stairs, and corners, and along the waterline and behind ladders.
Frequently cleaning will save you a lot of money since you won’t have to buy chemicals to remove contaminants or hire a professional cleaner to vacuum the walls.
7. Regular Backwashing of Sand
Regular backwashing of sand for no reason is more or less the same as wastage of water. This is because the filter can never be too clean, and this may hinder the pool from attaining its cleaning potential.
The ideal solution:
Knowing when to backwash can help reduce wastage and protect your pool. Take note of the pressure gauge right after back washing your filter to know when to schedule the next backwash.
Backwash should only be done when the filter’s pressure gauge rises from 8 to 10 PSI from the last clean.
8. Not Cleaning the Pool After Your Pets Use It
It’s okay to allow your furry friends to have a swim occasionally. After all, pets require as much exercise and entertainment as humans do.
However, many pool owners often fail to clean the pools after their dogs swim in it, forgetting that these pets can introduce contaminants into the pool three times more than humans can. Pet dander and hairs can clog pool filters and alter the chemical levels of the pool
How do I go about it?
The best way to curb this shortcoming is by treating your pool with water clarifiers after your pet has finished using the pool. This will help by breaking down pollutants and other oils in the pool, making it easier to clean.
9. Wearing Non-Swim Suits
You might not know this, but it is not advisable to wear clothes made of cotton into the pool. This is because they usually hold pollutants such as oils and detergents.
The main reason as to why swimsuits are made of nylon or spandex is that they absorb little water. Moreover, they are very light and dry faster after a swim.
On the other hand, cotton clothes absorb more water and can be life-threatening, especially when they are soaked.
The solution to this is simple – Always Wear swimsuits when cleaning your pool
10. Shocking Your Pool during the Day
By now, you already know about shocking. However, you probably don’t know that you shouldn’t shock your pool during the day. Apparently, the sun will heat the water during the day causing the pool’s temperature to rise. Adding chlorine to hot or warm water will make it ineffective. In fact, you have to add twice as much chlorine to achieve the desired results.
In addition, chlorine forms hypochlorite ions when exposed to the sun. The resultant gas escapes into the atmosphere, making the entire process a waste of time and money.
So what’s the best time to shock my pool?
It is advisable to add chlorine into your pool in the evening when the sun has set or at night. This will help you get more from a small quantity of chlorine.
11. Running the Pump for Shorter Periods than Required
Let’s face it. Running a pool pump consistently can take a toll on your finances. The good news is that you don’t have to switch on the pump for 24 hours. You just need to switch it on for about 8 hours every day to keep your pool clean and safe.
All the same, many pool owners don’t follow this simple rule in a bid to save on energy costs. Nonetheless, failure to run the pump for the recommended period will only lead to clogging of your filters and accumulation of contaminants.
Here’s the solution
Run your pump and filter for at least eight hours every day.
12. Forgetting to Add Winterizing Chemicals
Another common mistake pool owners make is not adding the appropriate winterizing chemicals when it’s time to close the pool for the season. Forgetting to add these chemicals could be costly in the end, as you would have to deal with algae growth, pollen, and tough stains when it’s time to open in March.
Add the appropriate winterizing chemicals, including algaecide, metal sequestrant, and enzymes to prevent pool algae, metal buildup, and organic staining, respectively.
13. Leaving the Pool Uncovered When Not in Use
Leaving your pool uncovered when you are not using it might seem normal. All the shimmer and glow of the pristine waters is certainly charming and pleasant to see.
However, by leaving your pool open, you could just be inviting trouble, especially if you are not planning to swim in the next few weeks. After all, not covering the pool leaves it open to everything, including pollen, algae and other contaminants.
The simple solution is this:
Cover your pool whenever you are not using it.
If you are a pool owner or manager, you are bound to make a few common pool maintenance mistakes occasionally. However, how you respond to these mistakes is what really matters. Avoiding the above-mentioned blunders can go a long way to ensure that your pool remains safe and ideal for swimming.