Hello ePoolSupply supporters! I wanted to give the ultimate guide to pool maintenance. I want to give as much information as I can give to help you get started on your pool.
Read on to learn the different pool types, types of chemicals, maintenance on the pool pumps, when to clean your filter, and the best tools to have for everyday maintenance. If you have any specific questions that are not covered in this article, please contact a pool professional to help answer all your questions.
Swimming Pool Types and Cost Considerations
An above-ground pool is less expensive, simple to install, and easy to disassemble and move. An in-ground pool is a water-filled fixture built permanently into the ground with the top sitting flush with the lawn. It is also a more lasting design element in your landscape than an above-ground pool.
When choosing an in-ground pool, you will have a choice of three main pool types including gunite, fiberglass, and vinyl. Each type of material has its pros and cons.
Concrete and Plaster
Concrete with plaster or aggregate finish is best for a permanent in-ground pool. It is made of steel-reinforced concrete that forms a shell. Concrete and plaster are the most common pool-building materials. Concrete is durable and porous, which allows the plaster-coasted shell to hold water, provide stability, and be replastered when needed, adding to its longevity and durability.
Some pros of concrete and plaster are:
- most durable
- becomes stronger over time
- does not corrode or oxidize
- easily customizable
Some cons of concrete and plaster are:
- longer installation time
- higher maintenance costs
- can be expensive to install and maintain
Concrete and Tile or Stone
Another type is concrete and tile or stone. This option is best for decorative in-ground pools. While it's great to have a beautiful, extravagant backyard, it is very costly to build and manage.
Here are some pros of concrete and tile or stone:
- adds beautiful designs
- has a long-lasting design
- stands up to moisture and pool chemicals
Here are some cons of concrete and tile or stone:
- can be difficult to repair or replace the tiles or stone
- professionals are required for even small fixtures
- requires precise chemical balance to avoid costly repairs
Another type of pool is fiberglass, which is best for low maintenance. A swimming pool made of fiberglass will be sold as a large piece of shell that arrives at your home by truck and then is positioned in the excavated hole. This will have high upfront costs but it has lower maintenance costs over time. Fiberglass pools are ready-made, making it difficult to request a customized design.
Some pros of fiberglass are:
- no deep surface refinishing is necessary
- is not prone to algae growth
Some cons of fiberglass are:
- limited shapes and sizes
- fiberglass deteriorates over time
- slick surface feel
- recoating will be difficult
The last type of pool is a vinyl pool, which is used for the least expensive pools. These pools are built with metal or plastic frames above ground or set into the excavated hole. Prefab-supporting walls or panels made of plastic, steel, or aluminum are joined to the frame, making a form that is then lined with heavy vinyl to create the pool shell.
Some pros of vinyl pools are:
- least expensive type of installation
- any size or shape available
- can opt for fungus or UV inhibitors
Some cons of vinyl pools are:
- vinyl deteriorates
- liner replacement is costly
- water chemicals need precise balancing to slow down deterioration
What Chemicals Do I Need For My Pool?
The most important thing to remember while using chemicals is to NEVER mix pool chemicals. Chemical reactions can produce toxic fumes and can even cause small-scale explosions. Always add one pool chemical at a time.
Before adding any chemical, be sure to test your water using a test kit and make any adjustments to the parameters that require them. The following chemicals should all be at the standard ranges:
- pH = 7.2 to 7.4
- alkalinity = 80-150 parts/million (this depends on pool type)
- cyanuric acid = 30-50 ppm
- calcium hardness = 180 ppm or higher
A pool balancer will adjust water parameters such as pH, alkalinity, hardness, and stabilizer to protect pool surfaces and equipment, as well as maintain swimmer comfort.
Chlorine kills bacteria and prevents pool algae. Adding chlorine tablets or granules weekly will help maintain a clean and clear pool. For saltwater pools, add high-purity pool salt as well as chlorine products and always maintain 1-4 ppm of free chlorine.
Pool shock can be used for maintenance or treatment of common pool problems. This multi-use product injects a boost of sanitizer into your pool water to kill bacteria and algae and destroys organic contaminants. Use shock to clear cloudy water and algae.
Algaecides prevent and treat pool algae. Before applying an algaecide, identify your type of pool algae. If you are unsure which chemicals to use, please contact a pool professional to help you get the proper chemicals you will need. At ePoolSupply, we carry Bio-Dex which offers a variety of chemicals to treat your pool. Browse Bio-Dex pool chemicals here.
What Maintenance Does a Pool Pump Need?
Maintaining a pool pump does require year-round servicing. Moisture and lubrication are important for a fully functioning pump. Moisture leaks from seals or pipe joints need to be repaired to prevent bearing failure and external damage.
Ensure your bearings are permanently lubricated to avoid the motor overheating. Air circulation around the motor is essential for optimal operation, this will cool the motor. Clean the vents with a clean paintbrush or dust broom to brush away the buildup from the vents. For the surface, use a damp cloth to wipe all the dirt away on the outside. Clean the basket and filter regularly to avoid debris buildup.
Doing a yearly checkup by a professional would be beneficial to make sure everything is in order and running as it should be. Check out all of the pool pumps we carry here. To check the availability and if you have any questions about any pump, give us a call.
How Often Should a Pool Filter be Cleaned?
There are a few different types of pool filters: cartridge, D.E., and sand. If any of them becomes clogged with debris, the back pressure on the filter system rises and the overall flow rate of the swimming pool circulation drops.
For cartridge filters, they need to be cleaned every 2-6 weeks. You can use a garden hose to rinse all of the large debris off. At least once a year you should soak the cartridge in a cleaning solution to aid in removing some of the build-ups.
Most D.E. filters should be back-washed after 1-3 months of use or after the filter has built up 5-10 pSI of pressure. You should also dismantle and clean the D.E. filter at least once a year.
Most sand filters should be back-washed after building up 5-10 PSI of pressure, usually every 1-4 weeks. You should remove and replace the sand and check the filter every 4-5 years.
If you have any questions about cleaning your filters, please contact a pool professional. You can browse our pool filters here. Please call to check the availability or if you have any questions about the filter.
Best Tools to Make Life Easier When Maintaining a Pool
There are a few supplies that every pool owner should have. One main thing to have is a water testing kit. Keeping your water clean starts with maintaining a healthy balance of chemicals in your pool water. Chlorine and other basic chemicals are a must. The most common chemical added to your pool will be chlorine and other balancing chemicals.
A skimmer will be used every other day to help remove any debris floating around in your pool. Buying a telescoping pole will be beneficial to attach to your skimmer to help remove any debris on the bottom of your pool.
A pool brush helps knock off any scum or algae that may be taking hold. Using a vacuum will also help get to the algae and scum a lot faster than your filter.
A solar cover will also help keep from the debris getting into your pool, helps keep the water from evaporating, and will also help keep the pool warm and not getting cold too fast. Even a safety cover will help keep heavier items from falling through including pets, children, and even adults.
Just having these few things will help keep your pool maintained for a while before having to fully clean and replace everything. There are many equipment and other decisions that go into owning a pool. Before making any decisions, it is always best to do your research and look at all the pros and cons. If you have any questions, please contact us!