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.
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.
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.