Swimming Pool Builder - Swimming Pool Contractor

Steps to Cleaning a Swimming Pool

Swimming pools are great additions to homes because they call families outdoors to play, swim, splash, and have lots of fun. Though being an owner of a pool comes with its responsibilities. One of these main responsibilities is cleaning the pool thoroughly and regularly. And, cleaning does not only encompass particle removing; one also must add chemicals to the pool so that it does not only look clean, but is microscopically.

The various steps to cleaning a swimming pool are not that difficult. As long as the owner maintains a schedule of cleaning and maintaining the pool throughout the week, especially during the summer, he/she will not be stuck doing a complete cleaning job. Therefore, maintenance is key; failing to regularly clean the pool will result in a toxic-looking mess that will spend hours to bring back to a normal level of cleanliness. To clean a pool, you will need the following materials:

Leaf Skimmer – This tool has a long handle with a net on the end to skim out particles.

Pool Vacuum – A pool specialized pool vacuum sucks up dirt from the pool floor.

Floor and Wall Brush – This brush is used to bust out caked on dirt on the sides and bottom of the pool.

Tile Brush – This is a smaller, hand-held brush that is used to get into small corners; it’s perfect for tile grout.

Algae Brush – Unlike a standard floor and wall brush, the algae brush is made of stainless steel to knock out algae from the sides of pools with walls made of plaster.

Outside of the aforementioned tools, the pool owner should have a clean filter, efficient pump, and adequate supply of water. Before attempting to clean the swimming pool, it is important to ensure all mechanisms are in place and clear of debris or any other obstructions. Although some, especially those cleaning the pool for the first time in a long time, empty the pool before cleaning it. Though this makes for adequate cleaning, it is not necessary. Emptying the pool makes sense only when it is extremely dirty and has not been cared for in a while. The simple steps to cleaning a swimming pool when it is full of water are:

1. Skim out all larger debris (or anything else that does not belong) with the Leaf Skimmer. Anything that is still on the surface must be scooped out before moving on to the proceeding steps. If there is any debris, leaves, or other sediments on the bottom, you should try and move them a little bit with the skimmer and see if they float up; if they do, scoop them up and remove them from the pool – it will make the rest of the steps easier.

2. Take whichever brush you choose to use, depending on the spots and type of pool, and scrub the side walls and bottom of the pool. If any debris has floated to the top during this process, scoop it out with the Leaf Skimmer.

3. Turn on and power the pool vacuum; most come with an attachment for the hose faucet. With this type of pool vacuum, simply attach a hose and turn the water on; the force of the water actually powers the vacuum. Before placing the vacuum down into the water and on the pool floor, make sure the net to catch the dirt is on all the way. Simple pass over the floor evenly with the pool vacuum moving slowly as to keep the vacuum head to the floor of the pool.

4. After you have vacuumed, it is time to recheck the filter and make sure there is no new debris that has collected while you were cleaning. If there is, remove it.

5. Now you will need to clean the pool chemically to ensure the proper PH levels are to be present before people swim. This is very important and the owner should make sure the mixture is correct. If the pool has a bad odor, it might be necessary to shock the pool by adding a larger than normal dose of chlorine. Whichever way you slice it, the pool levels must be as follows:

– Free chlorine, ppm = 2.0-4.0

– PH = 7.2-7.8

– Alkalinity, ppm = 80-100 (when using hypo lithium chlorine)
= 100-120 (when using gas, dichlor, trichlor, or bromide types)

– Calcium Hardness = 200-400

– Cyanuric Acid = 30-50

You can take these readers yourself as long as you have the right diagnostic tools. However, there are many stores that carry different chemical compounds to help you achieve the proper levels in a swimming pool; these stores can also test samples of your pool water and advise you on exactly what you need to add. The steps to Swimming Pool Cleaning are not difficult; anyone can do it. The key is always regular maintenance to avoid having to clean for longer periods of time.

The following is a basic guide to key concepts in swimming pool maintenance. In adhering to the general guidelines listed, owning and operating a home pool is easy, leaving you with plenty of time to relax and enjoy the benefits of a cared-for swimming pool.

The two main areas covered in this article will be structural maintenance of the pool — the filters and pumps; and secondly, water — addressing the frequent problems with algae and appropriate chemistry.

Think about the pump and filter as the heart of swimming pool maintenance. To insure the cleanliness of a home pool, careful attention should be paid to the workings and proper management of the pump. Closely follow the instructions on the specific pump installed in your pool. Don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer for trouble-shooting tips. The pump moves the water in the pool through a set of filters; these are often basket-shaped and installed at the periphery of the pool. The filters in turn trap all debris — leaves, water bugs, etc. As the debris can build up quickly, it is imperative the filters be emptied often. During the summer months when the pool is used most often, this is crucial. A rule-of-thumb for easy swimming pool maintenance is to stop any problem before it has a chance to develop. Emptying the filter is the first of these rules. Consider making this a part of a daily routine. As the filter fills with debris, the pressure in the pump increases, this could ultimately lead to a non-working pump. There are various types of filters — cartridge filters, which have filament in them to catch small particles; sand filters, here sand collects the debris; another filter type is diatomaceous earth, this is a more complex system which requires special attention. In addition to caring for the filter in swimming pool maintenance remember to insure the skimmer is working properly, and doesn’t become clogged.

Looking after the water pH balance is also a key step in swimming pool maintenance. This is not as complicated as one thinks, simply keep the water enjoyable. The cosmetics, dirt or natural oils on skin can rapidly change the over all pH balance of a swimming pool, which you want to remain alkaline — this will wards off algae and keeps the water safe. Simple test kits are available that measure the pH of the water instantly. By following the directions, a suitable mixture can be formulated and this easily sprinkled into the pool.

Getting to know Swimming Pool chemicals and learning the basics of water chemistry is tremendously important. One of the most crucial things I’ve found over the years is that for every action there truly is an equal or greater result. For example, when you add chlorine to your Swimming pool you’re also changing other chemical elements. This is not such a bad thing, but the important thing is that we always have to be conscious of “If I do this, what will be the end consequence and what else might be effected by this action?”  Let’s face it the only thing essential about a swimming pool is that the water be fresh and clean. Let’s face something else, too: Achieving this can involve more chemistry than you may have seen since junior year in high school. Here are all the essential concepts and terms you need to know to keep your swimming pool clean. Just be sure to follow all manufacturers’ instructions on the package of a chemical carefully.

Now are a few basic tips when it comes to pool chemicals and maintaining water “harmony”:

Some factors mentioned here are; pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness; all affect one another, so it will take some trial and error to get all three in the proper range at once. Also note that before you add any chemical–especially an acid–to the water, you need to first turn on the pool’s equipment. Make sure the water is circulating when adding chemicals!

I suggest using a drip or reagent based water testing kit. Make sure that your  testing kit can test for several different things (i.E.; total chlorine, free chlorine, bromine, pH, calcium hardness, iron contaminants, stabilizer, etc). Drip testing kits are more accurate than test strips. You’ll save time because you don’t have to take your water to a pool retail store for testing and you’ll only spend about .10 cents per week using a few “drops” of reagent.

Basic Steps To Ensure Your Water Is Chemically Balanced:

Here are the items I would suggest testing right away and in this order. You’ll notice that if these items are in “harmony” and where they should be not only will your chemical consumption be dramatically reduced, but also you’ll be well on your way to maintaining your pool in less than 5 minutes per week and using less than $12.00 per month in chemicals.

Test for total and free chlorine.

Free chlorine should be between 2.0 and 4.0 PPM. You’ll test this using your water test kit that I referenced above. Follow instructions on the testing package.

Test total alkalinity

Determine the water’s total alkalinity. This figure should be in the range of 80 to 150 ppm; 100 to 120 ppm is best. Adjust the total alkalinity by adding sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to raise it or sodium bisulfate (dry acid) to lower it. Test calcium hardness. This should be between 200-400 PPM. Following package instructions add calcium carbonate dehydrate to Increase calcium hardness; add sodium hexametaphosphate to decrease it. Carefully pour the chemical mixture into the pool at various spots a foot or two (about half a meter) away from the sides of the pool.

Test for pH. PH should be between 7.2 and 7.8.

If it’s lower that this you can cause equipment issues and also aggravate your skin. If it’s higher than this you will those nasty “rings” around the water line of your pool. To decrease the pH, add sodium bisulfate or liquid muriatic acid. To increase it, add soda ash (sodium carbonate).  Add more chemicals as considered necessary until the water is in balance.

Treating Water With Chlorine…

Put chlorine granules into water in a nonmetal container, following package directions. Always wear goggles and rubber gloves when handling chlorine, and always put the chlorine into the water–don’t pour the water over the chlorine. Mix for more or less 30 seconds, and leave for 30 minutes to settle. Turn on the filter. Getting as far into the middle of the pool as possible (perhaps by standing on a diving board), pour the chlorine into the pool. Discard any sediment left in the container.  Add chlorine three to four times a week for a swimming pool in heavy use. Always test your water before adding chlorine! Try and use liquid chlorine. It will penetrate the water quicker and will have an immediate impact!

Occasionally, no more than once a week you may need to super chlorinate (shock) the pool to burn any built up bacteria, algae and ammonia. Following chlorine package directions make a solution for super chlorination (it will be three to five times as strong as ordinary chlorine). Add the chlorine solution to the pool after sunset, if possible, as the sun’s ray’s break down chlorine. Before allowing someone to go in the pool, test the residual chlorine level to make sure it has deceased back down below 3.0 ppm.  Maintaining the water free of dirt and debris… Remove any leaves from the pool with a leaf net each time you go swimming. Clear out and rinse off the strainer basket of the skimmer once or twice a week, and as often as daily during falling-leaf season.

Make sure the deck clean by regularly sweeping and then rinsing it with a garden hose. Meticulously clean your pool filter at least monthly. Clean a sand filter by backwashing:  Reverse the flow of water through the filter for 2 to 3 minutes until the wastewater is clear.  For a cartridge filter, remove the filter cartridge and wash it with a hose with a high-pressure nozzle. Replace the cartridge.

Do not add harsh chemicals to the water through the pool skimmer, this could damage the equipment.
Take water samples for testing from at least a foot (30 cm) below the surface for a more accurate reading.  Chlorine also comes in a more expensive but handy liquid form, and in tablets and sticks that you place in dispensers to gradually dissolve.

Most individuals that decide to purchase a pool and have it installed, have no idea that they have options when it comes to the type of water that they put in their pool. Many just assume that chlorine is the way to go. However, nowadays more and more people are considering using salt water swimming pools. But, one may wonder, is having a salt water swimming pool really to your advantage? Well, the answer is, “it depends on you and your circumstances.” In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of salt water swimming pools. Let’s get started.

Pros of a salt water swimming pool:

1. Salt water swimming pools are cheaper overall.

2. Many people believe that swimming in salt water swimming pool feels more natural than traditional chlorinated pools.

3. By using a salt water swimming pool you can avoid the toxic smell associated with chemical created chlorine as well as the harmful effects of it in which some believe causes cancer. In addition, since your pool won’t have chloromine, you are likely not to experience eye stinging and skin irritations as well.

4. Chemical created chlorine is very hard on your skin and can cause allergic reactions in many people. However, salt in a salt water swimming pool is similar to that found in our bodies. In addition, it is easy to handle and store in comparison to chemical created chlorine.

5. Salt water swimming pools are lower maintenance than the traditional chlorine pool but you do have to perform some weekly maintenance for optimal performance. For instance, you have to remove excess calcium to avoid buildup.

Cons of salt water swimming pools:

1. To run a salt generator and produce enough chlorine, one has to run the generator all day long which can actually be quite expensive since you have to replace it often. In addition, quality generators cost between $500 to $1100 or more.

2. Although maintenance of a salt water swimming pool is lower, you do have to evaluate it more frequently. For instance, PH levels tend to elevate quickly which can be quite problematic.
You must keep your salt water swimming pools free of mineral deposits so that it works properly.

3. You must choose the right heat exchanger so that the natural chlorine from your salt water swimming pool doesn’t damage it.

4. Salt water swimming pools may lead to faster damage of the pool’s equipment. Replacement parts for a salt water swimming pool tend to be more expensive than traditional chlorinated pools.

In conclusion, there are many pros and cons when trying to decide between a traditional chlorinated swimming pool and a salt water swimming pool. To make the best decision, you must evaluate both sides of the issue and then decide upon the system that is best for your individual needs while taking into consideration health benefits, costs and maintenance. Once you do this, you’ll be able to quickly determine which system is better and can choose the one that will work the best for your needs.

Although having your own pool can be loads of fun, many people worry about the upkeep.  With a few basic pool chemicals and pool cleaning equipment, you’ll be on your way to hours of relaxation and entertainment.

Pool Chemistry

The first step in caring for your pool is making sure the pH level is correct.  You need to maintain an adequate balance of acid and alkali.  Having too much acid in your pool will result in corrosion to your pool equipment as well as skin irritations for the swimmers.  Too much alkaline will produce cloudy water.

A neutral pH is 7.0, and the target pH for swimming pools is between 7.2 and 7.8.  Sodium bicarbonate, an alkaline, and sodium bisulfate, an acid, are two products used to keep pool chemistry in check.  Balancing pool chemistry must be done continuously, because body oils and even debris such as leaves can alter the chemical balance.

Chlorine or Baquacil?

Pool owners have depended on chlorine as a pool disinfectant for many years.  Baquacil is a biguanide, or hydrogen peroxide-based oxidizer, that has become a popular substitute for chlorine.  Biguanides are sanitizers, rather than disinfectants.  Either chemical is effective, but they must never be mixed together.

Chlorine and Baquacil both have pros and cons.  Chlorine kills bacteria quickly but also irritates swimmers’ skin and eyes and can corrode pool equipment.  Baquacil is non-corrosive, but it shortens the life of pool filters and does not disinfect the water.

Swimming Pool Cleaning Tools

There is a large selection of pool cleaning equipment.  The following are some basic tools you will need to keep your pool clean.

  • Telescoping pole:  These poles are either aluminum or fiberglass and extend to various lengths.  The two holes at the end are used for attaching the different cleaning attachments.
  • Vacuum head and hose:  The vacuum head attaches to the end of the telescoping pole, and the vacuum hose attaches to the vacuum head.  You will need to vacuum your pool frequently in order to keep it clean.
  • Skimmer net:  Skimmer nets have a frame covered with a mesh netting.  They are attached to the end of a telescoping pole.  You need to use your skimmer net every day, and sometimes more than once a day, to remove any debris floating on the pool water.  Debris should be removed from the water before it has a chance to sink to the bottom of the pool.
  • Pool and tile brushes:  Brushes for cleaning the sides and bottom of a pool and brushes designed to clean the pool tile band are attached to a telescoping pole.  A weekly cleaning with brushes is recommended.

More Basics

If you have any questions about the care of your pool, ask a local pool service for advice.  You can even take water samples to some pool services for analysis.  And although swimming pool cleaning is important, keep in mind that pool safety should also be your first concern.