Pool Maintenance Kit: How To Use and Buyer’s Guide
A pool makes for a wonderful addition to any home. It’s the perfect place for you to hang out with your family and friends, it offers plenty of opportunities to exercise, and it’s simply relaxing and fun to spend time in. However, as any pool owner will tell you, a pool is also quite a lot of work.
No one likes to swim in murky waters, filled with leaves and other debris. Your pool should be the centerpiece of your yard, shiny and sparkly, with clean, fresh water that everyone will be eager to take a dip in on a hot summer day. How do you achieve that without spending hours on cleaning? The answer is simple: regular maintenance is the key to a clean pool.
There are several steps that you can take, some more frequent than others, to ensure that your pool is the best it can possibly be. Once you get yourself into a good routine and pick up the required gear, you’ll find that keeping your pool clean and tidy is not a problem at all.
Our aim with this article is to be as informative as we can be. Read on below for a full guide on pool maintenance & a few pool maintenance kit recommendations.
Pool maintenance — where to start?
Whether you’re just about to become a pool owner or you’ve already had one for a while, it’s never a bad time to begin regular maintenance. After all, it has a whole lot of benefits.
Keeping your pool water pristine will ensure that it’s pleasant to swim in, but there’s more to it than just that. Without frequent cleaning, your pool will eventually grow full of germs — you don’t want any of that anywhere near your mouth!
When it comes to pool maintenance, it takes more than just to do a thorough clean now and then. There are many steps involving opening the pool, closing it when the season ends, and regular upkeep in-season. Let’s take a quick look at what lies ahead.
Cleaning the pool
Regardless of the time of the year, if your pool is currently open, it’s probably high-time to give it a bit of a wash. Depending on how often you use it, some of the tasks should be performed as often as three times a week. However, even if your pool stands unused, regular maintenance is still needed — especially for outside pools.
If this is the first time you clean your pool in a while, you should reserve a bit of time for it. Once you’ve gotten past the initial complete cleaning session, you’ll find that the weekly upkeep is no trouble at all.
Below, we will cover the main steps needed in regular pool maintenance. In most cases, we recommend performing some basic steps every single week.
Keep in mind that if you have the right set of tools, the whole process will be much smoother. For that reason, we’ll share a few of our favorite recommendations to save you time and help you speed it all up!
Clean the bottom of the pool
If you have an outdoor pool, chances are that over the week, a fair amount of debris has accumulated. Leaves, sand, dirt, even feathers — all manner of unwanted things will find their way into your pool. Begin the cleaning process by scooping them out with a leaf scoop.
Inspect the pool
Take a long, hard look around the pool and inside it. Check for any possible contaminants. Inspect the drains, filters, ladders, lights, and more. Pay a great deal of attention to the color and clarity of the water.
Add chlorine or other sanitizers
If this is automated, you won’t have to worry about it too much, but if it’s not — remember about it. It’s important to re-fill the chlorine levels every so often.
Check water levels
Make sure that there is enough water in your pool for the pump to operate without any issues. If needed, add some more water.
Test the water
You may not need to do this every single week, but you should do it often enough. Test the levels of different chemicals that are found in your water. This can be done with the help of a pool water testing kit. The things you need to test are:
What are the recommended levels of chlorine and other substances?
As there is quite a lot that you need to test regularly when you own a pool, it’s a bit of a hassle to keep track of. To make it easier, here are some guidelines for chlorine, pH, and other levels.
- Chlorine: free chlorine levels should fall in the 1-3 ppm range
- Bromine: free bromine levels should be a bit higher, in the 3-5 ppm range
- pH in a pool with a vinyl or tile finish: 7.4-7.7
- pH in a pool with a gunite finish: 7.4-7.6
- Total alkalinity should be between 120-150 ppm
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t correct your pH more than once a week. Doing so every seven to ten days is the optimal way to go about it.
What should I use to test pool water?
You can hire a pool water professional to come and inspect the water in your pool, but you can also do it by yourself with a pool water testing kit. This makes for an easier, quicker option that saves you both time and money. We have a favorite testing kit that we’d like to show you below.
Poolmaster Essential Collection 5-Way Swimming Pool Water Test
This testing kit looks a bit like a toy chemistry lab, but it actually does the job of testing your pool’s water each and every way you need to. We enjoy it for the versatility and how quickly it gets the job done.
This testing pool maintenance kit will help you test the pool water for chlorine, bromine, pH, acid demand, and alkalinity. It covers most, if not all, the things you need to test in one simple package.
It comes with a clear-view test block with attached color chips. This will help you accurately match colors as you perform the test.
All of the components can be neatly organized and stored in the included polyethylene case. Make sure that you store them in a cool, dry place out of range of sunlight.
Testing the water is a necessity. If you’d like to make it a bit easier for yourself, we recommend this testing kit.
What are the best tools to clean the pool with?
There are many ways in which to clean your pool, and as such, there are also many tools to help you with that task. We’re here to recommend you two possible options that might make it easier for you.
Intex Deluxe Pool Maintenance Kit for Above Ground Pools
- Requires an Intex filter pump with a minimum flow rate of 800 gph
- Vacuum sucks debris off the pool floor and through the filter
Instead of shopping around in different stores and spending more money than necessary, consider picking up a full pool maintenance kit. This set of tools will have you covered throughout the year with no extra purchases necessary.
It’s good for pools with a diameter of 18′ and above. It comes with a 110″ telescoping aluminum shaft that makes it really simple to reach every bit of the pool. However, the main part here is the vacuum — your ultimate timesaver.
The vacuum efficiently sucks in all the debris from the pool floor and then runs it through a filter. It helps you clean much more than you would without it, as it’s next to impossible to gather up all the debris with just a leaf scoop.
In the set, you’ll also receive two different vacuum heads, a mesh skimmer net, and a wall brush. All of the accessories find their own uses in regular pool maintenance.
If you want to sort out your cleaning for many months or even years to come, you can probably halt your search. This set has everything you need to keep your pool clean all throughout the year.
Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Automatic Robot Pool Cleaner
- Hello, free time! Let the Nautilus CC Plus take over your pool cleaning duties for good. Ideal for swimming pools up to 50 feet, this cleaner will leave your pool sparkling clean in just 2 hours....
- The clean you need without the hassle. The Nautilus CC Plus was designed to clean your pool, effortlessly. With dual scrubbing brushes and superior filtering capabilities, you can relax knowing your...
If you liked the above pool maintenance kit, you might like this automatic pool cleaner even more. It does all of your work for you in a time-efficient manner.
Suited for swimming pools up to 50 feet, Dolphin Nautilus takes over nearly all of your regular pool maintenance duties. In the short span of two hours, this cleaner is capable of restoring your pool back to perfection.
It includes dual scrubbing brushes and does not require a pump or a hose. It’s an independent cleaning machine, so you do not need any extra gear for it to run. All you need is to apply the settings you want and set the schedule with a few simple buttons.
You can schedule this cleaner to run every day, every other day, or every 3rd day. Once the schedule has been set, all you need to do is sit back and watch as it cleans your entire pool automatically.
Thanks to the, frankly quite fantastic, filter, this cleaner is able to pick up all of the debris from your pool. Nothing will get stuck and nothing will get past it.
It is a bit of an investment, but it will save you hours every single month. Save yourself both time and elbow grease — check out the Dolphin Nautilus.
Opening the pool
Most of us aren’t blessed with living in places where the pool can remain open all-year-round. At least one season out of the year, your pool will be closed and hidden underneath a pool cover. When the warmer months come around, it will be time to re-open the pool and dust off all the cobwebs before letting the kids in.
Starting out right will go a long way in ensuring that your pool is clean and ready to begin the next season of fun. Try to follow all of the steps below to ensure you prepare the pool well when you open it.
Remove the pool cover
The obvious first step is to get rid of the cover. Make sure that you clean it before putting it away in a safe spot, preferably one with limited moisture and exposure to the elements.
Drain any remaining water and clean the pool
If there is some water left in your pool at the beginning of the season, you may want to consider draining it all and cleaning the pool. If the water is in good condition, you don’t need to drain it, but the pool still needs to be thoroughly cleaned.
The same should be done with the pool deck. Don’t forget to also backwash the filter. The tiles and the skimmer should both be washed with a professional cleaning solution.
Inspect the pool
Run a thorough inspection of the electrical service, drains, ladders, filters, plugs, and all the other parts of your pool that require regular check-ups.
Test the water
This is something that has to be done every so often. Test the pool for water balance, calcium, water hardness, alkalinity, and pH. This can be done using a professional pool testing kit.
Shock pool water
Shock the pool water to meet breakpoint levels.
Set a schedule
Once your pool is ready to be used, set yourself a regular schedule for cleaning it. We recommend quick maintenance two to three times a week and thorough cleaning at least once a month.
How to get rid of calcium stains in the pool?
It’s possible that over time, the tiles in your pool will build up nasty looking calcium deposits. Unhygienic and unpleasant to look at, these deposits simply need to go! If you want to get rid of them easily, we recommend using a hard water stain remover. Here’s an example of what to look for when shopping.
Bio-Clean Eco-Friendly Hard Water Stain Remover
This is a very strong calcium stain remover. Happy users tend to say that if this can’t remove it, nothing can, and we’re inclined to agree.
You can use this cleaner on tiles, sinks, showers, and many more. It’s also safe for granite and stone. You will find several uses for it in your household, but most importantly, it will clean the limescale that built up on your pool tiles.
This tile cleaner is very simple to use: apply it to the surface with a wet cloth and rub it in vigorously. It may take a bit of time, but your pool should soon be good as new again!
Closing the pool
When the temperatures drop and the season comes to an end, it’s time to call it quits for the year and close your pool. This is a crucial step in pool upkeep and if you are diligent, you will save yourself a whole lot of work for the future.
Follow the below steps to make sure your pool stays safe throughout the winter.
Balance the pH in the water
Before the season ends, adjust the pH, calcium hardness, and total alkalinity. Our recommendations are as follows:
- pH: 7.2-7.6
- Calcium hardness: 180-220 ppm
- Total alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
Once that is done, please run your pool’s filter for up to 48 hours without breaks.
Remove some parts
Remove the ladders, cleaners, skimmer baskets, wall fittings, solar blankets, and other loose components from the pool.
Lower the water level & prepare the pool for winter
You shouldn’t close the pool when the water level is high. Drain water until it’s at around 6″ below the skimmer level. Don’t do it too quickly — around 1″ per hour is the general rule of thumb.
While you do this, make sure to drain all filters, heating, pumping, and sanitizing equipment. As the temperatures may drop in the winter, you don’t want your pool’s most important parts to freeze.
Remember to protect the plumbing. This is done by blowing out the lines and plugging them with expansion plugs. You should also lubricate the plugs, as well as valves and o-rings, to speed up to pool opening process in a few months’ time.
Clean and vacuum the pool
Using our tips above, give your pool a thorough clean. Scoop up all the leaves and debris that you can. Afterward, consider using the professional pool maintenance kit we recommended above or the automatic pool cleaner. You want your pool to be perfectly pristine for the end of the season.
Once everything is clean, add winterizing algaecide to further protect the pool.
Cover your pool
Using a solid, tightly fitting cover, protect your pool for the year by covering it up.
What type of cover should I use for my pool?
It’s very important to protect the pool during the off-season months. This is because exposure to the elements may seriously damage some parts of the pool. Repairs are expensive, so they are best avoided. Luckily, with the right security measures, your pool is going to be just fine all-year-round.
We’ve tried and tested a few options and prepared two of our favorite recommendations. Check them out!
Robelle Super Winter Pool Cover
- High Quality 8 x 8 scrim
- Heavy-duty polyethylene weighs 2.36 oz./yd2
For all the in-ground swimming pools owners out there, we recommend Robelle. We’ve found no better solution when it comes to keeping your pool 100% protected regardless of the water.
This pool cover comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, meaning that you should be able to find one to match your needs. It’s also manufactured in many different colors, so the aesthetic of your yard will not be compromised throughout the winter.
It’s made out of heavy-duty polyethylene and weighs 2.36 oz per square yard. As it is a reinforced cover, it can withstand many unwelcome weather effects without a scratch.
You should know that the pool cover you buy must never be the exact same size as your pool. You want to have a little room for error. This is why Robelle makes all their covers with an included 5-foot overlap. Thanks to that, you get 5 extra feet of material, which makes the tarp easier to secure.
Intex Round Metal Frame Pool Cover
- Easy-to-use, durable small round pool cover. Dimensions- 15 feet by 10 inches
- Drain holes at the center of the cover to prevent water accumulation.
Standalone pools require protection just as their in-ground counterparts do. Fortunately, Intex makes some really great pool covers, and their sole focus is the durability of their products.
This particular model is suited for smaller pools up to 15 feet, but other sizes are also manufactured, and they all have the same properties.
Intex covers the pool not just from the very top, but also all the way down the sides with a 10″ overhang. It comes with a rope tie that helps to keep it in place even on windy days.
If you choose to pick up this pool cover, you should do your best to tighten it snugly before leaving it for the winter. Standalone pools require a different kind of protection than in-ground ones do. It’s important to not only protect the top of your pool, but also the sides. With this cover, it’s easily done as long as you are careful during the installation.
We hope that our guide on pool maintenance kit and our tips on all-year-round maintenance have been helpful. Pool maintenance can be time-consuming, but with the right set of gear and a little bit of patience, you won’t need to pay professionals to help you with the task.
The more regular you are, the better the condition of your pool for years to come. Keep that in mind, set a schedule, and try out our tips. Soon enough, you’ll be able to enjoy a crystal-clear pool daily.