It’s tempting to give into daydreams of cultivating the perfect tan next to a shimmering pool, swimming laps of breaststroke or hosting weekend parties poolside.
But those daydreams often neglect one crucial element of pool ownership: pool filters and their maintenance.
Long, hot days of fussing over a tepid pool are hardly how you want to spend your summer vacation. But you think that behind a lovely sparkly pool lies a bunch of hard work and stress, so you hunker down for a long summer.
We’re here to take the sweat out of pool filter maintenance, streamlining the top ten tips for maintaining the perfect pool. If you want a summer filled with splashes and barbecues, keep reading.
Clean It Up
Sweep, skim, and scrub are all words that’ll become very important to you on this journey to pool paradise.
Whether you’re making use of a pool sweep or you are the pool sweep, maintaining your pool is critical for the preservation of the filter and for the pool’s general upkeep.
Robotic cleaners, or ‘creepy crawlies,’ suck up leaves, dirt, and bugs from your pool floor. Simply allow the creepy to run and clean the tray every few days.
In addition, leaf skimmers should be used every two days to scoop debris from the pool’s surface. All this skimming will take some pressure away from the pool filter system.
When you first acquire your pool filter, water easily passes through it. The pounds of pressure per square inch (psi) shown on the filter’s pressure gauge probably read around 10 to 14 psi, depending on your pool set up
As the filter system does its job, the debris in the water accumulates in the filter. The filter slowly gets clogged with debris and thus, the pressure rises. When the pressure rises by 25% over your initial starting pressure, it’s time to clean out the debris collected by the filter.
Failure to keep the pressure in the required range will greatly reduce your water flow, resulting in poor circulation, cloudy water and unnecessary wear on the pool equipment.
So, it’s essential to know the pressure of your filter when it’s clean, as this provides a base showing when to maintain it.
It’s all very simple: as soon as your filter pressure increases by 8 to 10 psi above the clean level, it’s time to backwash a DE or sand filter, or clean/replace a cartridge filter.
Seal Your Pool Filters
Always ensure the sealer around the pool cartridge filter is in good condition and properly clamped down. If the filter sealer is damaged, it’ll have debris floating in and out of it unnecessarily.
Along with this, make sure all the filter baskets in the pump line are intact and not broken, otherwise, small bits of leaves and bugs can get through and will end up in the filter.
If your filter sealer and baskets are damaged, you will have to deal with more serious issues later in the pool game. Instead of this, simply check up on the seals regularly.
Your Pool’s Kidneys
There are a few different kinds of pool filters on the market. Despite their differences, all swimming pool filters are consistently working to remove nasties from the water, just as your kidneys work to remove impurities from your system.
Think leaves, dirt, even small toys.
Usually, the best thing to do is to remove any debris from the filter basket. To do this, turn off the filter, remove the filter cap and take offending items out before replacing the basket. Do this once a week to avoid a build-up.
Once a month it’s a good idea to do a backwash to ensure the filter pipes are properly cleaned out. For this, you simply change your filter setting to ‘backwash’ and clean out the filter basket.
Allow your pump to run until the waste pump ejects clear water. It’s important not to turn the filter on and off too much, as it harms the mechanics. To avoid this, set the timer on the filter to run for at least six hours per day.
Remember to finish on the rinse cycle.
pH Level Goals
Always keep your chlorine and acid levels at the prescribed level to prevent algae and other growths in your swimming pool. Maintaining the right water balance is very important for the general upkeep of your cartridge filter.
The pH level is the measure of acidity or alkalinity and needs to be tested twice a week. The pH level in the pool water must be slightly alkaline, that is a pH of around 7.2 to 7.8 must be maintained.
In seasons of high temperatures and lots of sunlight, adjust chlorine levels accordingly – the sun kills the chlorine, so in summer you’ll need more of it.
Effective filter maintenance is essential throughout the whole year, but it’s even more needed as peak swimming season approaches. If possible, remember that emptying your pool totally is never a good idea, even in winter.
An empty pool can be very risky and is not advised by any in the pool industry.
Tennis Ball Trick
When people think about tennis balls in a pool, they think about playing catch or stingers. But, here’s a trick: tennis balls can do double duty.
Upon leaving the pool, swimmers may leave certain oils behind in the water. Sun cream, hair products, and natural skin oils can leave a yucky slick sheen on top of the water.
But there’s an easy solution, simply throw a tennis ball into the water. The fibers in the ball will help absorb oils and keep your pool oil-free. These oily products can cause extra strain on your pool filter system.
Alternatively, cute little absorbent scum ducks are available to do the same trick as tennis balls and they work for spa baths too.
Winter-Proof your Pool
Everyone knows how essential pool care is during summer, but it’s equally as important to ensure your pool is secure for the winter months.
After all, no one wants to remove a pool cover at the start of summer only to find out that their pool is full of nasty bacteria or even worse, that is has a leak.
Before closing up for business in the fall, get your hands on a water testing kit to ensure your chemicals are correctly balanced. Next, blow any excess water out of your plumbing lines, and finally invest in a cover to keep the pool free of debris.
Of course, keeping your pool filter and pool in good shape does require a certain level of work. But it does not need to become a burden.
As long as you engage in preventative measures, like a pool cover, you’ll always spend more time enjoying your pool than doing chores.
Water Level Woes
And lastly, as NB as the chemical composition of the water is, the actual water level in the pool is just as important. Often the levels will fluctuate naturally, due to weather or an excess of children doing cannonballs.
However, you always want to maintain a level close to halfway up the opening of the skimmer.
Use a hose to top the water up if it gets too low. After heavy rainfall, you may want to get your hands on a submersible pump to drain the excess.
Keep in mind the chemical balance once you’ve reached the appropriate water level. It’ll need to be rechecked, as water level fluctuations may throw the composition off.
The length of time you can go between cleaning your filter varies from pool to pool.
The size of your pool relative to your filter will have an impact on whether you should clean the filter weekly, monthly or even once a season. Despite this, it’s good practice to clean the filter at least once a year.
Cleaning your swimming pool filter media is important for a few reasons. Everyone can be lazy about cleaning the filter – and that’s ok. No judgment. But if you skip too many cleanings, the problems can add up and become quite difficult to deal with.
There are a number of reasons to keep your pool clean. For one thing, clean pools are safer.
The cleaner your pool water, the less likely it is to contain bacteria, parasites or waterborne illnesses that can make you sick. It’s possible that your pool may never come in contact with these contaminants, but it’s better to avoid the risk by keeping the pool filter media clean.
In addition, it’s better for the environment. If you allow your pool water to get too dirty or murky and then eventually flush it out – you’re letting that contaminated water out into the surrounding areas. This is one reason why groundwater in residential communities is very polluted.
Plus, it’s better for the pools themselves. When the pool water gets very dirty, it can stop the filter from working properly. This, in turn, prevents the pump from functioning optimally and may cause damage to the pipes throughout the pool. This can work out to be expensive and may mean months without a functioning pool.
Murky Pools are Out
Without a proper maintenance routine, your pool could succumb to a variety of less-than-ideal conditions – broken pool filters, green water, and algae build up are just a few.
No one wants to host barbecues around a murky pool.
But, no matter what kind of pool you have, these simple steps will ensure your pool and filter system is working swimmingly this summer.
Before your summer takes a dive, chat with us about how to best maintain your swimming pool filter on a budget.