Pool cleaning and maintenance is easy, if you know how.
To many people, the thought of pool cleaning being ‘easy’ is an untruth. Chemicals, vacuum tools, hoses, testing kits and all that cloudy or green water is just too hard and complicated. It can become easy if you know what you’re doing.
‘I run my filter, add salt, chlorine, shock regularly, vacuum, test, etc., etc., etc., but my pool still looks cloudy and now and then turns green!”
If this is you, then it’s time to adjust your technique, and it can be just one small part of your activity that is creating the problem, because if you do everything right, your pool should be perfectly sparkling clean all the time.
Things you might be doing wrong and how you can fix them:
- Testing regularity.
Testing pH balance and chlorine is a routine, not an occasional step. If your pool is perfectly clear, you should be testing at least weekly. If your pool is even slightly cloudy, test, then first get your pH right. Test again after a few hours or the next day, then adjust the pH again. You need to have perfect pH before you can do anything else. When pH is bang on 7.4, it’s time to target the chlorine level. Adjust the chlorine to between 1 and 3 parts per million.If your pool has been neglected and is showing green water, it might be best to take a sample of water to a pool testing facility, or have your pool cleaner do a diagnosis. Salt, acid, calcium, pH, and chlorine might be totally out of balance and this is when you might want expert help. Especially if it’s been raining heavily, or your pool has had a long hot summer with evaporation and UV rays impacting your pool water.If you are testing often and your pool water is still cloudy, or you just can’t get the pH right, you may be over compensating by adding too much acid or alkaline, or reading your test to early. If your pool is small, like the size of a hot tub, test after a few hours. If it’s a large pool, test a day or so later before adjusting chemicals again.When your pool water and chemical balance is just right, only test weekly at the most and add tiny portions of chemicals at a time to avoid chasing chemical readings all over the scale.
- Leaves and dirt removal
Leaves from surrounding gardens decompose into a mushy slime. Dirt and blowing sand add silt, contributing to cloudy water when people swim in a pool and stir up any sediment on the pool floor.Your pool’s filtration and skimmer boxes will filter out suspended dirt, leaves and residue, but if sediment is covering your pool floor, it won’t be removed. Regular, even daily, skimming of the pool surface, ‘vacuuming’ of the pool floor, and brushing the pool walls is necessary to remove the hard dirt, residues, and algae from your pool. What’s left in the water will be collected by the pool’s filtration system.If you have a routine of daily, twice weekly, or at least weekly sweeping, vacuuming, and surface scooping, your pool will stay fresh and clean if the chemical balance is just right, and the filtration is working properly.
- Pool filter maintenance and filter running times
Pool filters screen out hard particles and residue from pool water. The water enters the pool skimmer box where larger particles like leaves are trapped in the skimmer basket. The water then passes through a sand filter or a filter element where tiny particles and grime are trapped. Clean water is then returned to the pool.If your pool filter is clogged with dirt, oils, and residue, then it’s highly possible the residues and oils will be returned to your pool. The rate of flow of water will also be restricted due to clogging, so it means not as much water will be processed and the pump motor will be stressed, consuming more power, waisting electricity, and potentially overheating your filter pump motor, at the very least causing undue wear on the pool pump motor components, bearings, capacitors, brushes.It’s necessary to firstly clear the skimmer box basket daily or weekly depending on the amount of leaves entering your pool’s water. If leaves and paper are left in the basket, clogging can strain the pool filter motor and the leaves break down slowly creating a greasy residue which can pass right through the filter and cloud your pool water.At least once a season, or four times a year, you need to clean your filter. If your filter is an element like in hot tubs and spas you will need to clean it weekly. Larger pools usually have sand filters and these require less maintenance, but a backwash is useful to remove the junk collected in the filter.Running times for filters is crucial. In the summer, your pool will be used more often. The evaporation is greatest, so your pool water will need to be circulated and filtered for longer periods. It’s common to run filters up to 10 hours a day in summer. With a timer you can run it for 2 to 3 hours at a time and make use of off-peak electric rates at certain times to save money.
- Gardens and trees
The clarity of your pool is directly proportionate to the amount of junk, leaves, and dirt falling into the water. If trees are overhanging and dropping leaves, or a particular tree drops a lot of leaves that are easily blown into the pool, then it’s time to either bump up the testing, chemicals, and filter running time, or prune or remove the tree.Some trees, like many palms don’t have leaves. Succulents too are useful around pools because their foliage lasts longer and rarely shed leaves or bark.You may have a patch of dirt or gravel near your pool. If children are running through this with wet feet, or the wind is blowing this dirt into your pool, you either need to have children step in a bucket or shower before entering the pool, and or cover the dirt patch with grass or pavers.
- Oily skin
In a hot tub, people perspire and the dissolved oils leave a cloudy effect in the water. The same effect is also evident if people enter a hot tub with oily suncreens and lotions. In a pool, the effect is not as noticeable, but it is present. Over a period of time these oils build up in a pool and it eventually becomes cloudy with a white milky appearance. Sometimes if you have a pool party and there are 20 people in the pool on a sunny day perspiring and oozing sunscreen, your pool will turn cloudy in hours.To reduce the oily skin effect, have people rinse under an outdoor shower before entering the pool. This is especially useful for hot tubs. It’s impossible to eliminate oily buildup, so if you do encounter this problem, a pool shock treatment may be necessary. At the same time, clean the filter, check the pH balance and chlorine levels for correct readings. The oil cloudiness will eventually be broken down by chorine and soon clear up with good filtering.
- Rain events
Heavy rain from an overnight thunderstorm will dilute your pool chlorine levels and upset pH. Rainwater is alkaline so a heavy rainfall of an inch or more will require you to test and adjust your pool’s chemical levels.Other effects from rain is drainage pouring mud or silted water from overflowing drains and gardens directly spilling into your pool, and flooding. These can be fixed by repairing drainage and channeling water away from your pool. If your pool becomes choked with dirty water or even mud, it might be time to call in a professional service.
Reflections Pool and Spa Cleaning Services are experienced in repairs and maintenance for pools, spas, hot tubs, filtration equipment, and chemical testing. We are continually training and relearning the new techniques in pool maintenance. We know the local area. We live in Menifee and have lived in the area for decades, so we understand the effects on pool water due to weather and the hot southern California climate.