Are you new to owning a home with a pool or even dream of owning a home with a pool? A pool is one of the most requested items from a potential buyer when looking for a home. So it's good to know how to maintain your pool for your own enjoyment and peace of mind and for when you want to sell your home with a beautifully maintained pool!
Below are seven tips that will help avoid unexpected costs, downtime and pool headaches:
1.) Skim and scrub regularly
One of the biggest traps any homeowner can fall into with their pool is believing their filter will do the heavy lifting for them. While that's certainly the case for some debris that inevitably ends up in the water, skimming the leaves and other yard waste off the surface is a must, as is scrubbing the bottom and sides to keep the whole thing clean and in good working order. Do you have that mineral deposit ring around your pool at the water level? Scrub that down or once a year hire a professional to do it for you before peak pool season.
2.) Keep an eye on the filter
If you're not cleaning out the filter basket on a regular basis and generally checking to make sure the filter itself is in good working order, you might be doing more damage than you expect. Experts recommend cleaning out the basket once a week, and flushing out the pipes (backwash) in the filter itself once a month. This maintenance will be imperative during our monsoon seasons so check basket every storm and backwash multiple times per week. And don't forget to clean your filters periodically.
3.) Monitor your gaskets and seals
Gaskets and seals break down. Especially here in Arizona where the hot sun constantly beats down on them. This is not an expensive repair even if you need your pool person to do it. Don't wait for it to get worse or all them to break. You will leak water and pressure and you need that to keep your filter happy and healthy.
4.) Test water at least weekly
Testing the various chemical levels in your pool water is a must. Most testing sets you buy for your pool will explain exactly what levels you're supposed to be looking for given the various chemicals you're testing for, and someone at the pool supply store will be able to give you more information. Best part of this is your local pool supply stores will test your water for you at no cost. Find a trusted one though...some will try and sell you a lot of expensive chemicals versus just the things you need. So trust but verify.
5.) Check the water level
During the summer, there are plenty of natural events that can impact your water level. Generally speaking, you want the water level of your pool to be right in the middle of your skimmer; going too high or too low can make the whole system run less effectively. Rain may make the level rise above what's ideal, while lots of direct sunlight can evaporate water. You can adjust your float to adjust the water level. If your water level is too low, your filter motor will burn up so make sure your water level stays where it should be. Once you have this adjusted properly, you really shouldn't have to touch this again.
6.) Spot imperfections early and something about it
It's also a good idea to make sure you're checking the sides of the pool on a regular basis to guarantee no cracks or other fissures are developing. Plaster and pebble-tec surfaces generally need replacement every 6-10 years. Most pebble-tec starts to chip at the stairs. You can extend its life by fixing this quickly or water gets under the pebble-tec and continues to erode the surface. Plaster will start to chip or rust will start showing through. If your pool surface looks bad and unmaintained, it will affect the sale of your home and your home inspection when you get a buyer. Essentially, you will pay either for you to enjoy a well maintained pool or someone else to. The issues that crop up if you want to deal with it in a sale, is the buyer is unfamiliar with your pool. So when it looks bad, they get the impression the entire pool and equipment is bad and that impression can be costly. They may buy your home but not without a steep concession to deal with your deferred maintenance.
7.) Plan Proper Landscaping
So many times we see people plant trees that are prone to dropping a lot of leaves and debris. Don't plant these trees near your pool. It will cause you more maintenance issues with your filter and ability to keep the pool clean. Sometimes the trees nearby don't drop a lot of leaves or debris but you may notice a lot of roots spreading out form the tree. Is this close to the pool? If so, beware because those roots could compromise the pool and cause your concrete to crack.
We have owned pools in the majority of our homes. Initially it may seem overwhelming on what to do, if you are not use to pool maintenance. When we first got our pool, we went to the pool supply store every weekend to test our water. We learned through trial, error and education of what they would try to sell was needed or not. You can also hire a pool company to get your pool started and spend six months or a year, but definitely a summer watching what they do. They will teach you how to use your system, tell you when you need to backwash. show you how to clean your pool and filters and so on. Trust me, after a short while, it will all become second nature to you. Lastly USE YOUR POOL! You are paying for it so enjoy it! If you find you are not using your pool then maybe it's time to find a home with other amenities and no pool. After all, why maintain and have the expense when you could put that money towards a garden, larger garage, more square footage, hobby room, or so on that will give you more enjoyment than an unused pool.