Here are some reasons why you might want to clean your own pool.
- Pool cleaning helps maintain your investment.
- Doing it on your own lets you understand your pool better.
- You can invest in pool cleaning equipment and materials.
- Saves you money.
Plus you get to brag about how you clean your own pool.
Kidding aside, cleaning your own pool has some practical benefits. Apart from having to call yourself a pool pro in front of your friends, it helps you understand your pool quite a bit better.
What do we mean by that?
Well, when you clean your pool yourself, you get to see firsthand just how beautiful your pool is. How seamless the tiles are placed, how flawless the pebbles are, and how smoothly your equipment runs. Not only that but you also get to see hairline cracks, rough patches, corroded components, and stained surfaces. Knowing all that, lets you understand your pool better and helps you decide what kind of, and when exactly to start repair and renovation projects.
It also saves you money from paying pool professionals, plus you get to stock up on some good quality pool cleaning equipment. And just exactly what kind of pool cleaning equipment do you need? Here are some essentials.
- Telescopic pole.
- Skimmer net.
- Pool brush.
- Vacuum hose and head.
- Some cleaning solutions.
- Garden hose.
Alright, now that you’re all set, let’s get to the steps on how to clean your pool.
Brush the Deck
While most how-to blogs start with skimming the pool, ours will start with brushing the deck (or at least the immediate area surrounding your pool). Especially if you have an in-ground pool or an above-ground pool with a deck built over it, cleaning the deck first makes more sense. You could spend hours cleaning the actual pool but it can take just seconds for the wind to blow dirt and debris back to the water.
To clean your deck, first, give it a quick sweep and collect trash or fallen leaves. Then, take your cleaning solution (detergent in a bucket of water would do) and dip your pool brush in it. Attached to a pole or not, scrub the deck to remove any dirt on it. You can hose it down but make sure to direct the water away from the pool. Depending on how big your deck is, this could take anywhere around 15 to 30 minutes.
Empty the Baskets
While you’re at it, check the skimmers near the deck. These should be emptied regularly as they tend to clog the waterways and promote poor water circulation. What’s more, if you keep dirt and debris in the baskets for long, they could harbor bacteria and microorganisms like algae. Take the collected debris out and give the baskets a quick brush. Using the same bucket filled with water and detergent, dip the basket and give it a brush. This will help ensure your pool has proper water circulation and that your pool pump works at maximum efficiency. Emptying and cleaning the baskets should take no more than 15 minutes.
Skimming the Surface
Get your telescopic pole and connect the skimmer net to it. We recommend a pole that extends to a full length so you can reach the far end of the pool when skimming for floating dirt and debris. Your net could be of any size but we suggest getting one with a thin mesh net. Just lightly pass through the surface of the water to collect leaves, twigs, bugs, and all kinds of trash that the wind might have blown into the pool. They can sink onto the bottom, decompose, and disturb the pool’s water balance. Moreover, some of them could carry algae spores that can cause algae bloom into your pool.
Check your net from time to time and empty it as it can get heavy with wet debris in it. It would also be handy to have a trash can or a trash bag beside you so the trash you’ve collected won’t get blown back to the pool. This should only take 15 to 30 minutes tops and even shorter if you regularly skim your pool’s surface.
Scrubbing the Walls
Once you’re done collecting dirt, take your pole and remove the skimmer net. Get your pool brush and connect it to the telescopic pole. Start by brushing the walls of the pool and make your way towards the pool floor. Give the steps of the pool a go and if you have a Baja shelf or a beach entry in your pool, make sure to give them a good scrubbing. Areas in your pool that have poor water circulation should be given more attention.
When scrubbing, especially when you’re doing the pool floor, do it in a slow and single motion preferably towards the deep end of the pool. If you do it like you’re scrubbing the deck, you’ll most likely disturb the dirt and the water which could take hours to settle. A slow and steady pace makes for a more efficient cleaning. Depending on how big your pool is and how often you clean it, scrubbing can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.
Vacuuming the Floor
Now that you’ve given the pool interior a good scrubbing, it’s time to collect the dirt on the floor. Using the same pole, replace the brush with a vacuum head and set up your pool vacuum. Slowly lower the pole with the vacuum head attached to it and vacuum the pool as you would your living room carpet. Remember to do it slowly but surely so as not to kick off the dirt. Steadily guide the vacuum head starting from the shallow end to the deeper end of the pool.
Vacuuming should take at the very least another 30 minutes of your time. But if you’re using an automatic pool vacuum, you shouldn’t have to bother how long it takes to vacuum the pool.
Cleaning the Filter
Another step to take to give your pool a good clean is to rinse your pool filter. Pool filters are often found inside the pool pump so you might need more than a little elbow grease to get it done. It’s also good to have your pool pump’s user manual with you or contact the manufacturer before you open up the pump. Nevertheless, the idea is to get inside the pump and get the filter out.
There are a lot of pool filters on the market today and yours might vary depending on the kind of pool pump you have. One of the most common filters on the market is the cartridge filter, so we’ll use that as an example.
First, get your filter out of the pool pump and gently set it aside. You can use cartridge filter cleaning solutions to clean the filter which may come in spray bottles, in tablet form, or in powder form. Just make sure that the filter is saturated and that you leave it soaked for several hours. Then hose the filter to clean the dirt and replace it back in the pool pump.
Because you’d have to soak the filter, this step can take several hours.
Checking the Water Chemistry
As complicated as it sounds, the basics of pool water chemistry is straightforward. Especially with the use of test kits and test strips, you can perform basic water testing and adjust the chemicals on your own. There are three factors you should watch out for, pH, alkalinity, and sanitizers.
Here’s how it’s done.
If you’re using a test strip, grab a cup and dip it in the pool about elbow deep. Flip the cup over and gently raise it to collect a water sample. Place your test strip on the cup and wait for a couple of seconds. The strip should show a change in color and you should be able to match the colors on the packaging that came with the test strip. This will tell you how much of an adjustment you need.
On the other hand, it’s best to follow the instructions on the packaging for your test kit. But basically, all you need to do is dip the test kit in the pool about elbow deep, flip the kit and gently raise it to collect a water sample. Most test kits come with solutions that you need to mix with the water sample to get a reading. Check the pool water chemistry and adjust as needed.
Most test strips and kits will give an accurate reading of pH and alkalinity as well as your sanitizers.
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