Ask any child to draw their dream home, and alongside the unicorn pen or backyard roller coaster track, chances are you’ll see a swimming pool. For so many of us, a home with a swimming pool ticks off a box under the American Dream, a symbol of having “made it.”
An in-ground swimming pool could also be a solid investment, adding approximately 8% to the value of a home. But life with an in-ground pool isn’t always sunshine and pizza-shaped floaties. Like any part of your home, a swimming pool needs care and maintenance, which is something that can catch new owners and renters by surprise.
Know your Pool
Besides the obvious shape, depth, and parts, a new swimming pool owner also has to be familiar with the PH levels (acidity) and the levels of chemicals like chlorine and bromine the pool needs to stay happy and healthy. Make sure you have your water testing kit, and test for PH, Chlorine, Bromine, and alkalinity.
You’ll want to test at least twice a week in-season; much less frequently in the winter when the pool is covered and not in use. Dusk might be a good time to test the PH and chlorine levels, at least a few hours after any swimmers have left the pool. After testing, add components as necessary.
A healthy water PH level is neither basic (high) or acidic (low). Stick to a good neutral range of 7.4 to 7.6, to help maintain the pool and its fixtures, and the comfort of its users. If the PH is too high (too alkaline), this reduces the effectiveness of chlorine. Too low (too acidic), and it may cause skin irritation and burning eyes.
The best-known swimming pool chemical component, chlorine helps keep your water free of algae and bacteria. 1.0 to 3.0 ppm (parts per million) is a good range for chlorine, but this can depend on the type of sanitizer mix you are using. The balance here is important, as well: going above the safety threshold can cause chlorine poisoning, and insufficient chlorination means you can get algae and potentially harmful bacteria swimming around in the water.
Winter and Weekly Maintenance
A good pool maintenance schedule involves weekly cleaning. Apply surface cleaner to walls and floors, empty baskets and filters, and run a net over the surface to remove any debris. Swimming pool water also benefits from a weekly “shock:” this means adding a large dose of chlorine into the water, letting the filters run overnight to eliminate any algae or contaminants.
If you need help with getting the right balance of chemicals, it would be safest to consult a local company specializing in maintenance and swimming pool repair. Keller, TX might not be the coldest of areas, but even here, a swimming pool needs a rest for the winter. Professionals can help with winter and regular weekly maintenance, or with the less frequent tasks, like replacing filters (two to three times a year, ideally) and yearly inspection.
Before you close up your swimming pool for the winter, make sure to thoroughly inspect it: look for damage like cracks and broken tiles that could cause leaks. Because these issues get worse with freezing temperatures, you’ll want to make sure your pool is in perfect shape before you cover it up. Remove all accessories from the pool and reduce the water level, then cover with a pool-safe cover that secures tightly around the pool. Then, come summer, you can rinse, repeat and reap the rewards!