Owners of pools and spas know how much value and comfort they add to a home, but they also require some upkeep to keep them in good condition and functioning well. Much of the care involved revolves around maintaining water quality and safety, as well as performing routine maintenance as the seasons’ change.
To help you get the most out of your pool or spa, we’ve prepared a guide to maintain optimum water quality year-round, as well as the basics of seasonal maintenance. Here’s what you need to know.
Getting Through the Winter
Of all of the seasons, winter is by far the hardest on pools and spas. Although it doesn’t stay cold for very long here in Louisiana, it doesn’t take much more than a few dips below freezing to cause significant harm.
To avoid an unpleasant surprise come springtime, you’ll need to get your pool or spa ready before the cold sets in. This is the time of year where it’s consistently 65 degrees and under, and there won’t be any more swimmers for the year. The process is known as winterizing, and it’s easy to do once you know-how. Here are the steps to take.
- Vacuum your pool and backwash your filter using 8 to 10 ounces of liquid filter cleaner through the skimmer. Clean all surfaces of the pool thoroughly, including filters, liner, and skimmer.
- Test the water’s pH, alkalinity, and chlorine to make sure they’re at acceptable levels. Balance the water, if needed, to achieve:
- pH Range – 7.2 – 7.8
- Alkalinity – 80 – 120 PPM
- Chlorine – 2 – 3 PPM
- Discontinue the use of chlorine tablets and clean out the Auto Chlorinator if you have one.
- Add the recommended amount of Blue 2000 or Combat 60 (18 ounces per 10,000 gallons of pool water.)
- Add the recommended winter chemical kit(s) for your pool, keeping in mind 1 bucket will be enough for 10,000 gallons of water.
- Run the pool filter for 12 hours.
- Raise the pool’s water to the maximum level.
If you have an above-ground pool, cover it, ensuring the ratchet is by the return of the pool, making for easy mid-winter chemical additions. A cover siphon is a great option to easily keep winter precipitation from collecting on the pool cover. We recommend an optional winter cover for inground pools because it makes winter maintenance easier.
On a monthly basis throughout the winter, you’ll need to perform some routine chemical maintenance. Never use chlorine tablets during the winter: you’ll want to opt for Assault 73 Shock or Quick Shock granular chlorine once a month (1 pound per 10,000 gallons.) After shocking, run the filter for 12 hours, then shut off.
It’s always a good idea to run the pump for 1-2 hours every day during the winter – this will keep the pipes clean and in working order. Installing a timer on your pump is a great option for this. During freezing temperatures (32 degrees) you’ll want to run your pump continuously. Moving water doesn’t freeze!
Springtime is Pool Time
When springtime rolls around, it’s time to open your pool back up and get it ready for use as the temperatures rise. Once your pool water’s temperature is consistently over 65 degrees, you’ll need to resume regular treatment and filtration, which can be done with the cover still on.
When you’re ready to dive back in for spring, you should first begin by cleaning and draining your pool’s cover, and then removing and storing it. Once that’s done, you will need to treat the water and balance it immediately with the proper seasonal chemicals. After testing the pump and filtration systems to make sure they’re still operating correctly, you should bring All Seasons a sample of your pool water for free water testing, to make sure all of the chemicals are properly balanced. Then add pool shock to completely sanitize your water and get it ready for swimming.
It’s important to remember that you should let your pool’s filtration system run for at least 24 hours after you shock the water to make sure that the water is clean and safe. Also, make sure to add the pool shock at dusk or later to prevent the sunlight from burning off the chemicals and preventing them from doing their job.
If your pool has a liner, it’s also a good idea to dissolve the shock chemicals in a bucket of warm water and add the contents to the pool rather than adding them directly. That will prevent any bleaching or liner damage from the high chlorine content of the shock.
Summertime Pool Care
The summer months are when you will be using your pool most often, and it’s also when you should be performing some weekly maintenance on it. To begin with, get into the habit of testing the water at least once a week, to make sure that your pool remains balanced and free of bacteria or algae.
Nothing will ruin your summertime fun faster than unsafe pool water, so the more you stay on top of things, the better off you’ll be. Take care to keep your pool’s chlorine levels between 1 and 3 PPM throughout the summer, and try to keep your pool’s pH towards the low end of the spectrum, between 7.2 and 7.6 for best results, ensuring pH never goes lower than 7.2.
In addition to keeping your water balanced and safe, you’ll also want to skim off any debris that gets into the pool on a regular basis, and vacuum as often as necessary. That, and keeping your pool’s filtration system running for a minimum of 12 hours a day, 24 hours a day being ideal.
This will keep your pool’s water crystal clear and ready for use. If you’re not sure that your pool’s water is in the kind of condition it should be, don’t fret. Bring us a sample and we’ll test it for free and let you know what to do.
Winding Down For Fall
If you’re planning to keep using your pool through the fall (and with average temperatures in the 70s and 80s, who wouldn’t), your maintenance routine will remain mostly the same as it was in the summer. The big exception is that you’ll need to increase the frequency of your skimming and cleaning routine since falling leaves have a habit of making their way into pools as though drawn in by a magnet.
If you’re not going to use the pool as often as you had in the summer months, you’ll probably find that you need to adjust the pool’s chemistry far less often, although you should still test it regularly to be sure. For the same reason, you can also scale back the time that you leave your pump and filtration system running to between 4 and 8 hours per day. Obviously, the more you plan to use the pool, the closer to your summer routine you should hew.
If you’ve done everything required to keep your pool or spa in top shape through the seasons, you should be able to have full enjoyment of them for years to come. There’s no better feeling than relaxing in the water in the comfort of your own backyard, and that feeling is well worth the effort. Of course, the steps we’ve listed here are by no means exhaustive, and there’s always more to learn.
If you have any questions or need help caring for your pool or spa, don’t hesitate to contact us and our knowledgeable staff will help you with whatever you need. Until then, go enjoy a swim or a soak. You’ve earned it!