Swimming in and lounging around your inground pool is fun and relaxing. In contrast, keeping up with pool maintenance can be a real chore. Sometimes pool owners try to cut corners, or simply forget a step in pool maintenance. We’ve put together a list of 10 common pool maintenance mistakes that pool owners make to help you avoid making the same mistakes.
Ignoring Your pH and Alkalinity Levels
This is pool maintenance 101. Your pool Alkalinity keeps the pH in check. Water with a low pH (acidic level) prohibits algae growth and also looks crystal clear. But acidic water can also cause a lot of problems with your pool equipment, including:
- Damage to pool pump and heater
- Cause creasing in pool liners
- Destroy heat exchangers
- Damage your pool cover
Do yourself a favor and don’t make pool maintenance mistakes like this — check the levels regularly.
Not Paying Attention to Your Calcium Hardness Levels
Ignoring the calcium hardness levels is another one of the common pool maintenance mistakes. Most pool owners think this is something you only think about at the start of pool season. But you need to keep an eye on the levels to prevent problems such as cloudy water, water scale and corrosion of masonry.
Adding Any Chemical Via the Skimmers
If you avoid one pool maintenance mistake, let this be the one. You should not add any pool chemicals such as pH reducer, and more importantly, shock directly to your skimmers. Mixing pool shock (calcium hypochlorite) and standard chlorine (TriChlor or DiChlor) produces a deadly gas. If you your system has an automatic chlorinator, the two chemicals will mix in a small space. The chemical reaction can cause your chlorinator to literally explode.
Adding Shock Granules Directly to the Pool Water
When it’s time to shock your pool, you should fill a bucket with pool water, then slowly pour the shock granules into the bucket and stir until dissolved. Then dose the pool with what’s in the bucket by pouring the shock water slowly into the pool directly in front of a return line. The very high concentration of chlorine in shock will bleach anything it comes into contact with. Shock granules that touch your pool liner will bleach the pattern, as well as cause the liner to become thinner, more brittle and tear or leak. In addition, adding shock directly to your pool does not allow for even distribution, and you will end up with dead spots of cleanliness.
Shocking Your Pool During the Day
This is one of the easiest pool maintenance mistakes to avoid. Shocking your pool is generally a weekly part of pool maintenance. But you should do it in the evening hours. That’s because shock chlorine can burn off in the sun’s rays, before it has time to do its job.
Not Brushing Your Pool
Think about how you dust before you vacuum. It’s the same thing with brushing your pool. You need to make it a practice to brush the walls and floor of your pool, including tough to reach spots like behind ladders. This will loosen any calcium buildup, as well as dirt. Once everything has had a good brushing, go ahead and vacuum.
Using an Automatic Cleaner for Every Clean Up Job
An automatic pool cleaner is a great convenience and time saver, but it’s not the same as elbow grease. You can use the automatic cleaner for regular pool maintenance, but tough jobs, like algae and grime that accumulated over the winter — those require brushing, scrubbing and vacuuming from a human.
Not Backwashing Your Pool Filter Often Enough
The optimal interval for backwashing your pool filter is about once a week. A lot of pool owners don’t do it that often. Keep your pool filter operating in top form by paying attention to the pressure gauge. If it creeps up over 15 psi, it’s time to backwash it.
Running Your Pump for Less Than 8 Hours a Day
This seems like a smart move for the planet, but in reality, it can be one of the biggest pool maintenance mistakes. You may think you can save energy by only running your pool pump for 4 hours. In reality, you may end up paying more for pool chemicals to get rid of that green pool you caused by not running the pump. We recommend running your pool pump continuously if you want to keep it clean. If you’re trying to be energy conscious, think about upgrading to an energy efficient variable speed pool pump.
Neglecting Your Pool Between Service Visits
If you have a pool care company open and close your pool with only an occasional visit during the summer, you still have to do your own pool maintenance between visits. This includes weekly pool water testing, chemical adjustment, clearing the skimmer, backwashing the filter, and more.
Consider Hiring a Pro for Pool Maintenance
If you find yourself missing steps in your pool maintenance regimen, or resenting the time spent completing all of the various tasks, you may want to consider hiring a pool care company to do all of the work for you, or at least some of it. There are a variety of pool maintenance plans available.