Having one of those homes that come with small swimming pools could make you feel like the most fortunate person in the world. But you should know that with the privilege of owning an indoor pool comes the responsibility of managing and maintaining it. This article outlines some tips which, when followed, could surely eliminate the hassle of maintaining these pools.
What Is Considered a Small Pool?
The shape of the pool notwithstanding, the area of small swimming pools typically hover anywhere between 200 square feet to 600 square feet. This size is generally ideal for people who wish to accommodate a pool within their own backyard. These small swimming pools are generally only suitable for relaxation and for some aquatic games, and they're usually not too deep to accommodate diving.
Equipment to Help Clean Pools
It is best to put together a pool cleaning toolkit that you'll always have handy whenever it is time to clean out your pool. Some of the essentials that you'll need to include in this kit are listed below.
10 Tips to Maintain Small Swimming Pools
Here are some tips you can follow to keep your pool in top shape all through the year.
Skim the Debris Regularly
Even if you find yourself being very careful around your pool, there are certain things that are beyond your control, such as wayward leaves, twigs, and bugs that could fall into it. Skimming is the most basic tip for maintaining small swimming pools, and doing it regularly will help you clear out any contaminants from staying in the water for too long and polluting it.
Another reason why you should skim regularly is that removing stuff that is floating on the surface of the water is much easier than removing stuff that has sunk to the floor of the pool. Once you are done with skimming, you need to clean the skimming and straining baskets as soon as possible, because leaving the debris inside can cause it to degrade and decompose.
Monitor the Pool's Chemical Balance
This task is so easy to do that even your kids can partake in it, and the best part is that it only takes seconds to complete. Monitoring the pH level of small swimming pools is as simple as dipping a pH test strip into the water for a few seconds. The pH test strip changes color, and you can then use a color chart to match with the color on the strip and determine the pH level of the water in your pool.
Typically, the pH value of small swimming pools should hover around 7.2 to 7.8. This range indicates the neutrality of the water. If the value is higher, the effectiveness of chlorine and other chemicals plummet. In this case, you can use a pH reducer to bring the pH down to the recommended values. Failure to monitor the chemistry of the pool will lead to the haziness of the water and growth of bacteria.
Vacuum the Pool
No matter how quickly you manage to skim debris off the surface of the water, sometimes you just cannot avoid the debris sinking to the bottom of the pool. This is where vacuuming comes in. Depending on your budget and on the amount of time that you can invest, you could either use a manual vacuum or a robot vacuum. Manual vacuums work best for small swimming pools as you do not have much surface area to work with, thereby reducing the time needed to clean. Manual vacuums also guarantee a more thorough cleaning of the pool than robot vacuums. Once you are done vacuuming your pool, clean the vacuum heads and the filters immediately to ensure a long life for the equipment.
Scrub the Walls and Tiles
Vacuuming and skimming aren't the only two activities that are to be done at regular intervals. Scrubbing the walls and tiles of small swimming pools once every two weeks helps keep the buildup of algae, moss, and calcium deposits at bay. Scrubbing also prevents the walls and tiles from staining, which is sure to keep your pool looking new. It is recommended that you use soft brushes to prevent the walls and tiles from getting scratched. Also, using hard brushes will degrade the grouting between your tiles quickly, requiring you to spend a lot on repairing your pool.
Clean the Pool Filter
There are different types of filters for small swimming pools. Irrespective of the type of filter, all of them have to be cleaned out at periodic intervals to maintain their efficiency. There is a catch here though; they do not recommend frequent cleaning of the filters due to the fact that overly clean filters are less efficient than filters with mild debris and dirt. This is due to the fact that mild dirt and debris help capture other contaminants. However, going too long without cleaning out the filters is foolhardy as it is bound to hurt your pool filtration. Striking a balance between the two is of the utmost importance to keep your pool fresh and clean. The ideal interval for cleaning pool filters can be capped at around once every month.
Your job of keeping small swimming pools clean should not stop with just the methods explained above. In order to kill and prevent the growth of bacteria and algae, you will have to use a sanitizer in your pool. Chlorine is the most readily available and the most commonly used sanitizer. It usually comes in the form of compressed tablets, although it can be manufactured in other forms as well, such as chlorine granules or chlorine sticks. These tablets, when placed in water, dissolve slowly and release chlorine steadily into it. You can either place them directly in the water, or in your skimmer, or even in an automatic feeder if you have one. The sun's rays are known to reduce the effect of chlorine, so be sure to use stabilized chlorine to make it last longer.
Maintain the Water Level
This might seem a little unimportant for the owners of most small swimming pools, but it couldn't be farther from the truth. The water levels in the pool tend to fluctuate a lot, especially during the summer, partly due to evaporation and partly due to the splashing of water outside the pool. If the water level drops too low, it can damage the pump as the chances of the pump running dry are high. The solution to this is simple; you can simply use your garden hose to top the pool up with some more water to keep the level in check.
Shock Treat the Pool
As you frequently use the pool, contaminants such as ammonia, nitrogen, sweat, oil, urine, and chemicals such as hairspray and suntan slowly build up in the water. These contaminants then react with the chlorine in the water and give out a strong smell of the chemical. To counteract the strong odor, you should add large amounts of more chlorine into the water. The excess amount of chlorine oxidizes the contaminants and kills bacteria and algae. This process is called shocking or super-chlorination. It is recommended that small swimming pools be shocked at least once a week during the swimming season to keep the water fresh and clean.
Find and Repair Leaks
You know by now that it is natural for your pool to lose some of its water. But if you find that your swimming pool is constantly losing water, requiring you to top it up frequently, then you may have a leak in your pool. The first step is to identify properly the leak by checking for any tears, splices, or cracks on the walls or the floor of the pool. You should also check the pool equipment just to make sure that they're not responsible for the leak. If the leak is from the walls or the flooring, it is advisable that you use clear silicone sealant to seal properly. If the source of the leak is from the pool equipment, you can either change the leaky part or patch it up.
Winterize the Pool
The place where you live and its weather patterns and conditions determine whether you should winterize the pool. If the temperatures during winter drop considerably, you will have to take extra steps to ensure that there is no damage to the pool. Any water that is left in the pipes and plumbing has to be sucked out as it can freeze during winter and cause the plumbing to crack. While you are at it, you should also drain water from the filters and heaters. Lastly, you should remove all the equipment from the pool, clean them, tidy up the pool, and bring the water level down to 18 or 20 inches. Also, keep your pool covered using a winter cover to protect it from debris.
These tips, when followed yearly, can help your pool last in good shape for longer. Now that you know how to maintain properly small swimming pools, you can go ahead with confidence and set your pool up for a season full of fun and frolic.