Pool Cleaning and Maintenance
Keeping your pool clean is an important step in maintaining water clarity and protecting your investment. Brushing the pool, scrubbing the waterline, cleaning inside skimmer boxes, vacuuming and backwashing when necessary are important steps in maintaining and cleaning your pool. Below we have included daily and weekly checklists for maintaining your pool. Following this, we will outline the individual steps for performing several of these tasks.
NEW SUMMER TIP: With the hot weather comes pool problems, often algae! Keep the pool shocked and add algicide weekly. The sanitizer level for chlorine or salt pools should be 1.0 ppm or slightly above. Make sure the shock does not have stabilizer or conditioner. This is often in sodium dichlor shock! We recommend a 3-step system for pools. A once a month water test is a great way to keep a check on your water and to prevent future problems.
- Empty skimmer baskets.
- Check the pool water level. (The water level should be at the middle of your skimmer.)
- Check your pool system. (Give your pump and filter a glance to make sure that it is operating properly.)
- Clean skimmer(s) by scrubbing the basket(s) inside the skimmer as well as the skimmer weir.
- Clean the pump basket.
- Scrub above the waterline. (When cleaning the liner above the waterline, we recommend using a surface cleaner such as “Off The Wall” to aid in breaking up oils and grime that can build up over time.)
- Brush the straight walls of the pool using your pole and 18” brush. (When brushing the pool, it is best to use full strokes from the waterline all the way down the slope and bottom of the pool to ensure that all debris is knocked off the liner surface.)
- Manually vacuum the pool. (Even if you have an automatic cleaner, vacuuming once a week helps prevent algae.)
- Check the pressure gauge on your filter. (The pressure gauge is key to determining when you need to backwash your filter. Only backwash when the pressure (psi) increases 10 lbs. from the normal reading. If you are not sure what your gauge normally reads, check it immediately after backwashing. This should be your normal reading.)
- Backwash if necessary.
Helpful Maintenance Tips:
Good cleaning equipment is a must. If your brush bristles are worn out, they will not do a good job and might tear your liner.
When cleaning the baskets and above the waterline, use a soft bristle brush or scrubbing pad. Using abrasive cleaners will not only ruin your pool’s surface but will also change your pool’s chemistry. We recommend BioGuard’s “Off The Wall” or Baquacil’s “Surface Cleaner”.
Do not store your vacuum head with the brushes facing down.
When using an automatic vacuum, run it for several hours (4 to 8 hrs depending on your pool’s size) and then remove it from your pool. Store the cleaner out of the sun and in a clean place. Storing the automatic vacuum properly keeps it running properly and keeping it clean helps prevent algae.
For a cleaner pool, we recommend chemically cleaning your filter both at the beginning and end of the season.
Steps to Cleaning Pump Basket:
- Turn pump motor off.
- Place ball valves in the off position (skimmer valve and main drain valve).
- Place filter valve in “Closed” position.
- Remove pump basket lid.
- Remove basket from pump.
- Empty debris and hose off basket.
- Replace basket back into pump.
- Replace pump basket lid.
- Place filter valve in “Filter” position.
- Open ball valves.
- Turn pump on.
Steps to Manually Vacuuming your Pool:
Note: You will need your telescopic pole, vacuum hose, vacuum head and vacuum plate adapter (round plate that sits over your skimmer basket).
- Close the main drain ball valve. (If your pool has more than one skimmer, you may vacuum off of any one you choose and close the ball valve to the other.)
- Attach your vacuum head to the pole.
- Attach the swivel end of the vacuum hose to the vacuum head.
- Place the vacuum head into the pool and prop the pole against the side of your pool.
- Prime the vacuum hose with water. To do so, place the other end of the vacuum hose against one of the return lines (where the water comes back into your pool) and let the hose fill with water (wait for all the air bubbles to stop coming out of the vacuum head).
- Attach the vacuum plate adapter to the end of the hose and place it in the skimmer directly over the basket.
- Proceed to vacuum.
With your vacuum cleaning kit set up in this way, water that would normally be drawn through the skimmer mouth is now being drawn from the bottom of the pool through the vacuum head. Since your Multi-Port Valve is still in the “Filter” position, you will not lose any water during this process. The filtered water will return to your pool as in the normal filter cycle.
Helpful Vacuuming Tips:
If your pool is equipped with more than one skimmer and a main drain, you will gain more suction through the vacuum head by closing the ball valve controlling the other outlets, leaving only the skimmer to which your vacuum is connected completely open.
If, during vacuuming, you notice a loss in suction, this may be an indication that your filter has collected a large amount of dirt during the vacuuming process or that your skimmer basket, pump basket or vacuum hose are clogged. Stop Vacuuming. Check and clean the various baskets and then open all ball valves and backwash the filter.
In the extraordinary circumstance of a very dirty pool (such as a pool left uncovered all winter), it will be to your advantage to vacuum to “Waste.” To do so, connect your vacuum as outlined above. Just prior to vacuuming, rotate the Multi-Port Valve to the “Waste” position. By doing this, the excessive amount of dirt you will be picking up from your pool floor will bypass the filter and go directly out the waste line. In this cycle you will, of course, be pumping water out of the pool. However, it will be to your advantage if the pool is in an extraordinarily dirty condition. During and after vacuuming to “Waste,” check the pool water and raise it to the proper level if necessary.
Note: To maintain maximum suction through the vacuum, it is important that the pool water level be at the middle of your skimmer. There are two screws on the skimmer faceplate that can serve as a marker. A water level below the mouth of the skimmer will cause a drastic loss of suction and possible loss of prime at your pump.
Always inspect your vacuum head and handle before each use. A damaged cleaning tool can result in damage to your pool. Be sure that the mounting screws on your vacuum head are turned completely in so that their heads are below the brush surface.
Do not store your vacuum head on the brush bristles. Do not drag vacuum head over a concrete deck or other rough surfaces. This will cause undue wear and tear on the unit.
Check the wear of the vacuum brush. The brush assembly can be replaced if necessary.
Steps to Backwashing:
Your sand filter system is equipped with a pressure gauge to indicate when backwashing is necessary. This task is required only when the pressure builds up 8-10 psi above normal operating pressure. Take the normal pressure gauge reading after backwashing. If the pressure gauge reads 10, then backwashing is required at 20. Too much backwashing washes the fines from the sand, which makes your pool cloudy.
* If the pool water is low, raise the water level to mid-skimmer.
- Turn off your pool pump. (The pressure gauge should read zero when the pump is off.)
- Close the ball valves to the skimmer(s) and main drain.
- Rotate Multi-Port Valve handle clockwise to “Closed” position.
- Remove pump lid and clean out the pump basket if it is dirty or contains debris.
- If your pump sits above the water level of your pool, refill the strainer pot with water to prime the pump.
- Replace the pump lid.
- Rotate Multi-Port Valve handle clockwise to “Backwash” position.
- Open the ball valves for the skimmer(s) and main drain.
- Turn pump on.
- Backwash for approximately 2-3 minutes or until water appears clear through the sight glass on Multi-Port Valve.
- Turn pump off.
- Rotate Multi-Port Valve handle clockwise to the “Rinse” position.
- Turn pump on.
- Watch the sight glass until the water clears.
- Turn pump off.
- Rotate the Multi-Port Valve handle clockwise to the “Filter” position.
- Turn pump on. The pressure gauge should now read your normal operating psi.