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Summer can go by quickly, so you want to make the best of the season and enjoy a fresh, clean swimming pool. The old saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" has a lot of meaning when maintaining a swimming pool. Staying ahead of any potential problems is far better than fixing a bad situation like a green pool!
The most important chemical for your pool is chlorine. You can purchase chlorine in a variety of forms and containers, including 3 inch tablets, granular and sticks. These can all be added in different ways from a floater with tablets, an automatic feeder by your filter or granular where you premix in a bucket and add directly to the pool water. A proven addition to chlorine is the use of mineral sanitizers like Frog or Nature 2 which will lower your overall usage of chlorine as well as allow you to operate your chlorine concentration at a much lower level. In the summer months, test your pool daily to ensure you have the correct levels of chlorine, and never let the reading go below 1.5 ppm.
Besides chlorine, there are other things you need to test for that will greatly affect your swimming pool experience and the ease of maintaining water quality. Testing the water\'s pH levels, calcium levels and the alkalinity a couple times a week are very important. You can test your pool either with a drop tester or utilize the easy to use test strips. Both are very accurate. Be sure to keep the test strips out of a damp environment and the bottles out of the sun when storing.
A regular shock treatment will kill any bacteria that is refusing to die from regular chlorination as well as rid pool water of chloramines that occur when chlorine becomes bound up by contaminants in the water like sun tan lotions, hairspray and normal body oils. You should shock your pool once a week by adding either a chlorine base shock or a non-chlorine base shock. Shock comes in a variety of forms, and some are stronger than others so read up on what you are buying.
If you haven\'t been shocking regularly or have people in the pool using a lot of suntan lotion, you may see a black ring form around the water line. This black, grimy ring occurs at the water line on both tile and vinyl pool surfaces and needs to be removed with a tile and vinyl cleaner. Sometimes this may even require a vinyl brush to agitate the oil slick to assist the cleaner in removing the grime from the pool wall. Also, sand and dirt settling on the floor of the pool should be removed with a pool vacuum or automatic swimming pool cleaner. These cleaners come in many different styles and all do a very good job of removing the sand and dirt from the bottom of the pool with minimal effort.
Check the pressure gauge on your filtration system often. The more use your swimming pool sees, the more chlorine will get consumed fighting bacteria, and the more debris the filter will be pulling out of the water. Run your filter a minimum of 8 hours a day during midsummer. The rule of thumb is more is better. Once the filter pressure gauge reads 5-10 pounds higher than when it was new, it\'s time to clean the filter. The filter will begin losing flow quickly after 10 pounds of pressure rise. To clean the filter, either backwash a sand system or pull the cartridge from a cartridge system and clean with filter cleaner.
Proactive maintenance is the key to an enjoyable summer by the pool.