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How To Do Your Own Swimming Pool Service:
A Maintenance Guide Written by Pool Experts

Swimming pools are a great way to beat the summer heat and have fun with friends and family. But, they also require consistent maintenance and care to keep them operating at their best.

Luckily, you don’t have to be an expert pool professional to keep your pool in great shape. If you want your pool to look its best all year round, then follow these simple guidelines for how to maintain your own swimming pool like the pros do! You will be a pool service professional in no-time!

What Pool Equipment do I Need to Maintain My Own Swimming Pool?

Here is the pool equipment cheat sheet below. Click on bolded text to navigate and find out more about what that item is and how it can help you maintain your swimming pool spotless clean!

  • Telescopic Pole
    • Skimmer Attachment
    • Pool Brush Attachment
    • Vacuum Head
    • Vacuum Hose
  • Pool Testing Kit
  • Pool Chemicals
    • Chlorine or Salt
    • Stabilizer
    • Pool Clarifier
    • Muriatic Acid
    • Optional: Caulk
    • Optional: Chemical Feeder
    • Optional: Automatic Pool Cleaner

Telescopic Pole

The telescopic pole is one of the first thing you need to make sure you have. You use the Telescopic scope for just about everything! It’s used for brushing, vacuuming, skimming, and more!

Telescopic poles can also extend and shrink in size, giving you tons of flexibility, reach, and maneuverability when cleaning the walls within your backyard pool. It is also the best tool to ensure you stay dry and don’t fall in while scrubbing 😉.

We recommend choosing a quality Telescopic pole, one that is thick, uses heavy duty aluminum, and is a minimum of 16 feet in length.

Average Telescopic Pole Pricing: $19.99 – $59.99

Skimmer Attachment: $12.99 – $26.99

Pool Brush Attachment: $9.99 – $19.99

Vacuum Head Attachment: $26.99 – $69.99

Vacuum Hose Attachment: $14.99 – $44.99

Pool Testing Kit

You will also need a pool testing kit. Without this, you will not be able to add the proper amount of chemicals to your pool water to maintain it pristine blue! Depending on the testing kit that you get, they will all essentially give you the below important insights on your pool water health:

Total Chlorine: Total Chlorine allows you to know how much chlorine is in your water. Most pool testing kits will tell you free available chlorine and combined chlorine. You should aim to keep your Total Chlorine between 1—4 ppm!

Total Hardness: Total Hardness measures the amount of calcium and other minerals in your pool water. Not maintaining your pool hardness properly can lead to pool calcification, damaged pool equipment, and more. You should aim to maintain Total Hardness between 175—275 ppm.

Free Chlorine: Free Chlorine measures the amount of chlorine freely available to sanitize your pool water, which is necessary to kill bacteria and control algae. Maintain Free Chlorine between 1—4 ppm.

NOTE: It is important to note the difference between free chlorine and combined chlorine. Combined chlorine is chlorine that has attached itself to any contaminants, while free chlorine is chlorine that has not attached itself to contaminants, which means that it is still available to sanitize pool water. Keep your combined chlorine under .5 PPM, if higher than .5 PPM, then it is time for some pool shock!

pH: The pH level of pool water is a measure of its acidity. This helps a pool cleaner know if a pool is too acidic or not. Having a pH that is too low or too high can decrease your pool equipment’s lifetime, irritate skin and cause rashes, and even cause circulation issues with costly repairs. Aim to maintain pH between 7.2 to 7.6!

Total Alkalinity: Total Alkalinity and pH are closely related. Having highly alkaline water reduces the effectiveness of the chlorine in your pool, which is why alkalinity is very important to monitor! Maintain Total Alkalinity between 80—150 ppm.

Stabilizer: Pool stabilizer, also known as pool conditioner, chlorine stabilizer, or Cyanuric Acid (CYA), is used to stabilize the chlorine in your pool water, so the sanitizer lasts longer. When UV rays from the sun hit the water, chlorine starts to evaporate, leaving very little free chlorine in your pool water.

Without stabilizer, your pool’s chlorine will evaporate rapidly. In a study done by North Carolina State University, ultraviolet rays can reduce chlorine by up to 90 percent in just two hours!

Average Kit Pricing: $16.99 – $99.99.

Pool Chemicals

Now that you have your testing kit, you will need to get some chemicals! Below are some of the most common chemicals we use to keep a pool blue:

Chlorine/Salt: If you have a saltwater system, you will be using salt to sanitize your pool. For non-salt pools, chlorine is the best option to keep your pool sanitized! 

Stabilizer: As mentioned above, stabilizer helps chlorine stay inside your pool water and not evaporate due to the sun rays. Use this periodically when your testing kit lets you know it’s time to add more! 

Pool Clarifier: Pool calcifier coagulate small particles. In other words, it allows for small particles to bundle up into bigger particles, which then are caught on the filter system of your swimming pool! 

Muriatic Acid: Helps balance a pool water’s PH levels. It also helps kill mold, get rid of calcium deposits, and keeps your pool wall clean.

NOTE: Do not add chlorine and Muriatic Acid together at the same time. Combined, it can cause a toxic chemical to the lungs. Add separately and at different times of day for safety. 

There are various other chemicals that you can use to keep your pool clean as well, such as bromine, tablets, ect, but these are the basic chemicals that you will need to keep your pool clean!

What are the Steps to Cleaning my Pool Properly?

1. Skim Off Debris Consistently

The debris that falls in your pool can make the water unclean and unhealthy, which means you should be sure to skim off any of it. You’ll want to use a skimmer net or vacuum cleaner for this purpose.

Another reason you need to ensure your pool is skimmed weekly is because the debris on your pool accelerates algae growth. That’s because algae prefers to grow in the shade, and waste provides a lot of shelter for them.

2. Brush Sediment from Pool Walls

Don’t forget that you should be brushing away the dirt and sediment from your pool walls as well. This is important because it will prevent erosion of the plaster lining, leading to crack, stains, or tears in the plaster finish.

You may want to use a long-handled brush for this job if you don’t have one already attached to your vacuum cleaner.

3. Clean the Skimmer Basket

Next, you’ll want to clean the skimmer basket. This is an essential task because it prevents debris from clogging up your filter and making a mess of things in there. 

Simply remove visible dirt and debris caught in the basket before adding any chemicals to your pool water.

4). Clean the Filter Pads

Next, you’ll want to clean your filter pads. You should do this periodically because they can become clogged and prevent water from flowing through them easily (which means more work for your pump). Aim to clean these every 4-6 weeks for pools with good circulations, and more often for very dirty pools.

First, clean the pads remove any visible dirt or debris with a vacuum cleaner. Next, you are going to want to place the filter pads in a bucket of water with chlorinating tablets and scrub them back-and-forth to ensure they’re clean on both sides before putting them back into their proper position.

And don’t forget: you should never put anything other than chlorine tablets into the bucket.

5). Vacuum the Pool Regularly

This is a task that most people know about but don’t always do, and it’s one of the most important things you can do to maintain your pool. Vacuuming the bottom will remove all those pesky tiny particles such as sand or dirt before they get stirred up by swimmers during their time in the water.

You’ll also want to run your vacuum cleaner on the floor of the pool, as well as along any ledges and sides.

Remember to first brush the walls, and then to vacuum the pool floors!

Aim to do this at least once a week.

6). Invest in an Automatic Pool Vacuum

Maintaining a swimming pool isn’t always easy. If you want to take the hassle out of vacuuming your pool, we recommend installing an automatic vacuum cleaner.

These cleaners are designed to clean on their own for up to two hours at a time and stop automatically when they detect something in their way.

Of course, you’ll still have to clean the pool walls from time to time in between using your automatic vacuum cleaner.

Be sure to invest in a good one if this is something that interests you. We recommend looking for an above-ground model because it will be more powerful and do the job quicker than an inground version.

It can be hard to find an automatic vacuum cleaner that’s powerful enough. We recommend looking for one with a horsepower rating of at least 600, which will ensure you get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Some cleaners also come with hoses, so you don’t have to worry about getting wet!

You’ll want to use your automatic vacuum cleaner at least once a week and preferably during the day.

7). Make Sure to Keep Your Pump Running

It’s essential to keep your pump running to circulate the water and prevent any bad stuff from sticking to the surface. Running your pump will also help maintain the pump itself, which can be a costly repair or replacement job if it breaks down.

To ensure that everything is working correctly, you’ll want to make sure your pump runs for at least 10 hours a day for smallers pools (around 10,000-15,000 gallons), or up to 12 hours a day for larger pools.

8). Test Pool Water and Add Chemicals

Finally, you will now want to test your pool water and add the necessary pool chemicals!

The first time you do this, it’s a good idea to add the bleach before you fill up your pool with water so that there is no question about how much should be added afterward.

You’ll also want to know what pH level is best for your type of swimming pool–some pools need more chlorine and others need more bromine, so be sure to find out what your pool needs before adding any chemicals.

Don’t forget about the pH level! Your swimming pool water should have a pH balance of around seven–if it’s not balanced, then you’ll want to adjust this with either an acid or base solution, depending on which type you need.

It’s crucial to balance your pool water because if you don’t, then the chlorine or bromine can start to evaporate and be ineffective, which leads to algae growth and other problems.

If you’re not sure how often you should check for these things, you can either call us to come by and service the pool for you, or take a sample to pinch-a-penny to have an expert let you know what to add!

To ensure that everything is working correctly, you’ll want to make sure your pump runs for at least 10 hours a day for smaller pools (around 10,000-15,000 gallons), or up to 12 hours a day for larger pools.

Should I Drain My Pool if it is Green?

One question we often receive is whether or not you should drain your pool. Draining your pool can have benefits like removing all the gunk on the bottom of your pool and refreshing it for a cleaner feel, as well as checking the pool for any cracks or loose material.

Draining the water will make it easier for you when it comes time to clean or inspect any areas of concern–it’s recommended that you drain at least every five years so that things are kept in good condition by a trained and licensed pool professional.

For green pools, some can be saved by adding tri-chlor or a very strong form of chlorine, for pools that have turned too green for shock treatments, it is best to drain the pool and acid wash or chlorine wash the walls. You can learn more on our Green Pool Restoration page!

Need an Expert Pool Service Company? Trust the Experts at Sublime Pools & Spa

Taking care of your pool can be an overwhelming task, even when you know all the proper steps in maintaining your pool water. While you can handle the daily and weekly maintenance of pools independently, sometimes it helps to have a professional step in.

If you’re unsure how to maintain your pool, then the team at Sublime Pools & Spa is here for you! Give us a call at 754-260-7193.

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