Helpful Tips to Maintain Your Swimming Pool This Summer
By: Barb Evans
Summer is here, and most of us will be finding relief from the heat by dipping our toes (and everything else) into the refreshing, calm waters of our backyard pool. But keeping your pool looking clean and clear instead of dirty and cloudy requires more work than just scooping out the debris with a net. To help you maintain your back yard oasis, we asked pool pro James Julian, owner of Blue Dot Pools, for his advice.
1. Maintain the triad of flow, filtration and water chemistry.
According to Julian this triad is the triple threat to wasted time, money and aggravation, and is critical to keeping a pool clean and clear. This formula is also the starting point he uses for troubled pools in the field.
2. Repair equipment and remove debris.
In order for treatment to be most effective, Julian says it is important to complete all equipment repairs and remove debris from the pool before beginning the triad approach.
3. Sustain flow.
Gaining maximum flow is a great start to the triad, says Julian. “Without flow it is difficult to get the water to cycle through the filter to clear the pool or to get the cleaner to perform properly.” To get the best flow, Julian recommends to:
• Empty the pump’s trap basket.
• Empty the poolside’s skimmer basket(s).
• Remove all heavy debris from the pool.
• Turn off the cleaner to maximize flow for clarity if the pool is cloudy.
• Make sure the suction valves and return valves are positioned to maximize flow.
• Run the pump one hour for every 10 degrees of weather.
4. Maintain filtration.
The filter is just as important as flow and water chemistry in the triad because it captures dirt and fine particles to keep the pool clear. “Clean the filters per the manufacturer’s directions,” suggests Julian. “Cartridge filter elements may need to be replaced if they are more than three to five years old, or if regular cleanings weren’t done.” For optimal performance, complete the following tasks depending upon your type of filter:
• Cartridge filters: Clean and inspect elements for excessive wear and any cracks in the plastic ends.
• Diatomaceous filters: Clean grids, replace any broken or cracked parts, and install new diatomaceous earth.
• Sand filters: Back wash filter until the waste line water turns clear. Check, replace, or lube back wash valve o-rings. Multiport valves should not leak. Change sand in the filter if it is over five years old.
5. Check your chemical levels and know your pool’s number.
Chemicals are the last critical part. Julian recommends checking chlorine, phosphate, conditioner, and pH levels weekly. Every pool has its own number based on the Langelier Saturation Index (LSI) which shows how acidic, neutral, or alkaline your water is. Neutral water chemistry is the goal; being acidic or alkaline can cause expensive damage to your pool. Aim for the following ranges:
• Chlorine: 1 – 3 ppm
• pH: 7.4 – 7.6
• Total Alkalinity: 80-120
• Calcium Hardness: 200-400
• CYA or Conditioner: 30-50
• Phosphates: 0-125
For additional tips and service, or to find your pool’s number, contact Julian and his courteous staff at 480-577-9464 or bluedotpools.com.
James Julian is a second-generation pool pro who is passionate about his profession of almost 24 years. As owner and operator of Blue Dot Pools in Phoenix, he specializes in pool renovation, construction, equipment repair and installation, weekly pool service, and back yard hardscapes.