Swimming Pool Essentials
Having a pool is fun, but keeping it clean and free of harmful bacteria is serious business. Regularly scheduled cleaning and maintenance is essential, as is having the right tools and equipment. The essentials for keeping debris out of your pool include pool poles, a pool cover and pool vacuum. You'll also need to install a pump and filter system to remove smaller particles and provide heat. Finally, chemicals play a critical role in pool maintenance as they disinfect the water and prevent algae growth.
A good pool vacuum is essential to keeping your pool free from debris such as dirt, grass clippings, leaves and twigs. The more trees there are near your pool, the more vacuuming you'll likely need to do. Vacuums also come in handy to remove algae and scum from the water after scrubbing sessions to clean your pool's walls and floor. If you leave your pool uncovered, you should expect to vacuum it at least once a week.
Pumps and Filter Systems
Combined pump and filter systems are commonly used with above ground pools. A 1 HP pump will suffice if your pool less than 24 feet round; larger pools may require a 1.5 HP pump. There are three main types of filters. Cartridge filters are a popular choice: they have a better filtering range (10 to 20 microns) than sand filters and can be easily removed and cleaned by pressure washing with a garden hose. Sand filters are the least expensive but only filter particles down to 20 to 40 microns in size. D.E. (Diatomaceous Earth) filters cost more but offer the best filtration (1 to 3 microns). D.E. and sand filters are cleaned by backwashing, but the D.E. variety require a fresh charge of D.E. after cleaning.
Pool poles are essential for a variety of cleaning tasks. You can attach your pool pole to a leaf rake to spot clean floating debris, or use it with your vacuum for more serious cleanings. Pool poles, the telescopic models in particular, are also great for getting at hard-to-reach areas in your pool. Your back will thank you for investing in lightweight pool poles, with lightweight attachments.
A pool cover is your best defence against debris getting into your pool. Problems with debris tend to be worse in pools located near trees or in areas that experience frequent storms. But pool covers serve other useful purposes besides keeping your pool clean. They also slow water evaporation (less refilling is required), lock in heat, and reduce the need for chemicals. The result is you save money while getting more enjoyment from your pool.
It can be difficult to determine the best pool chemicals to use to keep your family's pool clean. The most common options are chlorine and bromine. Both are effective disinfectants and will prevent algae growth, but you may prefer bromine as it's less harsh than chlorine. An alternative approach is to go with a saline pool, also known as a salt-water pool. Saline pool systems are more expensive than regular pools, but fewer chemicals are needed so you'll save money over time.
To ensure that your pool water is safe and clean you will need to test the water chemistry and add the appropriate water treatment products if necessary. You should check the water daily for sanitizer and pH levels. Total alkalinity should be tested once a week, and water hardness (amount of mineral content) should be tested once a month. There are several types of swimming pool water testers available. Test strips are the easiest and quickest way to test your water for chlorine & pH levels. Liquid Reagent kits require a bit more care to ensure the correct amount of reagent is added. Test tablet kits offer simple, accurate analysis at an affordable price.
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