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How to maintain a pool

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How to maintain a pool without too much hassle so you spend more time in it

During the sweltering summer heat, a dive into your backyard watering hole can be a welcome and refreshing respite. But bugs, leaves, and poor water quality can be detriments to not only your swimming experience but also the overall health and safety of your swimming area. In order to keep everything up and running at its optimal level, you'll need to understand a few basic facts about proper maintenance.

Below, lets take a look  at a few quick and easy ways for how to maintain a pool in order to keep the water perfect, the kids diving, and the adults relaxing. Keep reading to learn everything you'd ever want to know about maintaining your prized backyard possession!

Advice from the Pros

William Sodergreen, a chief technician for Shoreline Pools Service Inc., knows a thing or two about water quality and pool maintenance. Writers Nancy Lackman and Jordan Reed interviewed Sodergreen for their "This Old House" piece and he provided some top-notch tips for novices and pros alike looking to keep their backyard investment cool, clean, and fully functional.

Get Rid of Accumulated Debris

It's easy: Simply skim the surface of the water -- with a handheld leaf net or skimmer -- for any accumulated debris from plants, trees, bushes, or other sources. Also, remove any items located in your skimmer basket and make sure to throw detritus far away from the water source as it can blow right back into the swimming area if it's discarded nearby. As an added deterrent, you may want to cut back bushes or trees which reside in your backyard to limit the amount of debris which ends up floating in your swimming area.

Vacuuming Ideas

"You have to vacuum a swimming pool? Now you tell me! Thanks! More work for me!" When the watery floor begins to build up with too many twigs, leaves, grass, mulch, bugs, and other such undesirable items, it's time to take action.

According to Sodergreen, the average swimming area will require approximately 30 minutes of vacuuming. For more detailed information on techniques, options for vacuums, and more, head over to ThisOldHouse. In essence, you'll have the option of using your skimmer vacuum system -- which takes some time to set up and operate manually -- or you can choose to purchase an automatic vacuum which does much of the work for you as you reside by the water, soaking up the sun's rays. It comes down to personal preference, ease of use, and time available during your day.

Proper Chemistry

"I also have to know chemistry? No one ever told me this when I was looking to buy! I better get studying!" First, don't sweat it. Second, you'll need to test -- and correct -- water chemistry weekly. To do so, you'll have to know about proper pH balance, chlorine levels, alkalinity, cyanuric acid, and more. While this may sound like rocket science to some there's an easy way to go about this: Head over to your local pool supply store and purchase test strips which will test for the aforementioned items -- chlorine, pH, cyanuric acid, and alkaline.

Be sure to test away from the skimmer; submerge your test strip approximately 18 inches into the water for a time of about 10 seconds, according to the pros. As you remove, don't shake off the water. Wait, and the colors will fill on the strip. You'll want to compare and contrast your colors to what's found on the color range on the product bottle. And always read the instructions which came with the test kit because procedures do vary depending upon which product you purchased.

For specific ranges for each, check out Sodergreen's tips to create a perfect chemistry for your swimmers.

Additional Resources

For more information on how to maintain a pool, head over to "Routine Maintenance." There, you'll find out quick ways to remove stains, grime, and even repair vinyl lines. If you're interested in learning more about your pump filter and some other helpful tips, be sure to head to ThisOldHouse for useful techniques from the pros.

So, get out and enjoy the waning summer months by frolicking in your newly updated watering hole. But understand that it's an investment worth keeping up on. That next dip during a scorching one hundred plus degree day and you'll remember why it's so important to keep things working at their optimal levels!


This Old House: How to Maintain A Pool.

Maintain Your Pool: How to Maintain Swimming Pool Water.

Above photo attributed to twicepix

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