By keeping your pool clean, not only will it be a safer swimming hole, it will last longer and retain its value. You’ll also prevent unsightly green algae and other, more dangerous bacteria from growing in your pool. To properly care for your pool, it’s generally necessary to use various chemicals. Always use caution when handling these chemicals.
Install a safety fence. In many areas, a safety fence around your pool is required by law. Even if it isn’t, you should install a fence and latched gate anyway to prevent small kids and pets from entering the pool area unattended.
Install and/or test your GFCI outlets. Any outlets near the pool should be protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). This type of plug will immediately cut off the flow of electricity if the current changes drastically, which prevents electrocution. If you don’t have GFCIs, install them immediately. To learn how to test your outlets, read: Test Your Ground Fault Interrupter Outlets (GFCI).
Test your water. You can purchase a kit that allows you to test pH and alkalinity levels for anywhere from $6-$20 at your local hardware store. Follow the instructions on the kit to perform your test. You want an alkalinity level that is between 80 and 120 parts per million and a pH level that is between 7.2 and 7.6. If your levels fall outside of this range, adjust your pools alkalinity or pH (or both) according to your manufacturer’s instructions. It’s a good idea to test your pool water once a month and make adjustments as necessary.
“Shock” your pool once a week. This process involves adding a strong round of chemicals to your pool to kill algae and bacteria. There are a number of different products you can use for this, so consult your owner’s manual or ask your pool manufacturer for details on the best practices for your pool.
Brush away algae once a week. Even with regular “shock” treatments of chlorine, algae will build up around your pool if you don’t manually scrub it off. Purchase a swimming pool brush, and brush the walls of your pool at least once a week. It’s also a good idea to purchase a robotic pool vacuum to better clean the floor of your pool. These can cost $200-$300, but it will save you a lot of time and effort!
Empty your skimmer baskets 1-2 times per week. Debris such as leaves and insects will collect in these baskets. Clean them out at least once a week, or twice a week if there are any trees near your pool that are dropping a large number of leaves. This is also a good time to skim the surface of your pool with a net to remove any leaves or insects.
Clean your pool filter regularly. Different pools have different filters, but cartridge filters are the most common. Generally, you should clean your filter about once a month while your pool is operational, but consult your owner’s manual for exact recommendations and specific instructions on the how to clean your pool filter.