Owning a pool comes with new responsibilities and a significant learning curve! There are plenty of opportunities to make mistakes- some pricier or more time consuming than others. As in life, mistakes are opportunities to grow and learn and education is key. Let’s look at 10 of the most common pool maintenance mistakes so that you can learn from other people’s mistakes!
Mistake #1: Adding Shock Directly into the Pool Water
Pool shock is a highly concentrated chlorine. Such a high strength of chlorine can bring some drastic circumstances, such as bleaching fabrics. Maybe even worse than a new hue can be the disaster that comes from granules sinking and settling on the bottom of the pool liner, causing it to bleach out and become brittle. This can lead to leaks in the liner, a very costly mistake!
Use a bucket of water to dissolve the shock chemicals in BEFORE you add the treatment to the pool water. This will allow the chemicals to mix in and treat the water more efficiently while protecting the liner of your pool.
Always add chemicals to a small amount of water first and you will avoid a lot of mistakes in caring for your pool! Fill the bucket with pool water (NEVER use hot water as this creates a very toxic and dangerous chlorinated steam). It is advised to wear goggles, gloves, and a chemical mask to protect yourself from such a high concentration of chlorine.
Mistake #2: Not Brushing your Pool
Vacuuming your pool is important, but brushing your pool is, too. Vacuuming prevents gunk and debris from settling in your pool. Brushing your pool prevents algae and other scum and slime from being able to grow and create an invasion! First, vacuum. Then, brush!
Get a pool brush and get to work on those sneaky spaces, such as corners, steps, the water line, and behind the ladder. This simple step can make a world of a difference in keeping up good pool water hygiene.
Mistake #3: Using Automatic Cleaners for Algae Problems
Pool algae is the worst! Using a robotic cleaner to sweep up the mess may seem very tempting, however… Algae can clog filters and liners. Automatic pool cleaners also push the algae and debris around but don’t remove it from the pool. Once the algae settles again, you are left right back where you started.
Get ready to do a little bit of grunt work for this one. You will need to manually vacuum your pool and switch your pool pump to “waste” so the algae can flush away. You will lose some water, but it will take the invasive, problematic, pool party ruining algae with it.
Mistake #4: Ignoring Chemical Levels
pH and Alkalinity levels are two very important to the ecosystem of your pool. Maintaining a healthy balance of these two creates an inviting atmosphere for you to enjoy. Ignoring pH and alkalinity can create a habitat that invites damage to your pool pump, pool filter, liner, heater, automatic cleaner, chemical feeder, maintenance equipment, and solar blanket.
Learn your chemistry and keep balance! Test your water regularly to ensure stabilized pH and alkalinity levels. Adjust as needed by using pH increaser or decreaser and alkalinity increaser or decreaser. You’ll keep your pool in party mode 24/7!
Mistake #5: Backwashing Your Pool Filter Too Often
Filters catch the gunk and junk, like sand and diatomaceous earth (D.E.), from inside your filter. Backwashing is uses pool water to flush out the filter, release the media and clean the filter through a separate valve. This is important for the health of your pool and pump, but too much of a good thing can be bad!
Watch your pressure gauge. After backwashing, note the pressure gauge. It should stay between 10 and 15 PSI for optimal performance. More debris can help the pump run with better pressure levels. It can also help trap finer particles of debris and keep your pool water clearer. Once the PSI has been raised to 20-25, those benefits are gone and problems can arise. If your pressure reads 10 PSI over its normal, it’s time to backwash and let some of that nastiness wash away.
Mistake #6: Adding Pool Shock Through your Skimmer
CAUTION! DO NOT DO THIS!!! While some mistakes are small and recoverable, adding pool shock through your skimmer will literally blow up your pool’s filter system! The gasses created from the mixture of dichlor and chlorine chemicals in such a small chamber create a deadly explosion.
Keep pool shock away from your skimmer and always add shock according to manufacturer’s directions while wearing protective eye wear, gloves, and a chemical grade mask.
Mistake #7: Adding Shock During the Day
Chlorine is added to water so that it will attach to particles that it can kill. This process leaves a compound called chloramines behind. This can irritate the eyes and skin. Chloramines should not be in your pool water. Shock gets rid of the chloramines and balances chlorine levels, but this process takes time.
Using shock at night allows sufficient time for the chemical to do its job without causing chloramines to be present and cause irritation to your swimmers.
Mistake #8: Ignoring Calcium Hardness of your Pool Water
A balance of calcium hardness is critical for clear, clean, and safe water. You don’t want too much hardness, but a little bit will extend the life of vinyl liners, concrete, plaster, fiberglass, and filters.
Keep a calcium hardness level of 175-225 ppm for vinyl and 200-275 ppm for plaster and concrete pools. You can add a calcium hardness increaser to maintain these levels. If you use calcium hypochlorite shock, you are adding a bit of calcium each time you shock your pool! Two jobs with one chemical!
Mistake #9: Time your Pool Filter System Runs
Plain and simple. It can’t do it’s job if it’s not running. If you aren’t running your filter for long enough, you may experience and increase of contaminants, including bugs and insects.
Pool filters should run for at least 8 hours each day. Set a timer and make it happen!
Mistake #10: Not Testing Pool Water Weekly
Testing your pool water is an essential part of pool care because it communicates the health and balance of your water.
Test water at least once a week with test strips, a liquid test kit, or by taking a water sample to your local pool supply store.
Aaron’s Pools and Spa
Learning from your mistakes is an important part of life! It’s always best to learn from the experts as well. At Aaron’s Pool and Spas we love to help improve the quality time that families spend together at home. Let us partner with you and help you learn from your mistakes. Better yet, let us partner with you so you don’t make those common mistakes! With more than 400 years of combined experience, we have installed more than 2,000 pools and hot tubs. We know how to solve your problems and prevent mistakes before they happen! Call 508.784.1160 or contact us today.