A little daily and weekly maintenance goes a long way toward keeping your home’s pool in great shape. It’s essential that you follow some basic tips for inground pool care to be able to enjoy crisp, clear, sparkling water and a clean, safe swimming environment.
If you don’t properly maintain your pool, it can quickly become infested with bacteria and algae, the water may turn cloudy or slimy, buildup will appear on the pool structure, the pool surfaces and equipment may corrode, and the pumps and filtration system can get damaged. In addition to being unsightly, these problems can cause foul odors, red and stinging eyes, infections, illness, and other unpleasant pool experiences.
So, if you’re new to maintaining a pool at home, here are the most important tips for inground pool care. Don’t be lazy about the maintenance, and your pool will be a perpetual reward!
How to Maintain Your Inground Pool
- Establish a daily and weekly pool cleaning and maintenance routine and make it a habit
- Refer to the instruction manual and your pool professional to find out how long you should run your pool pump and filter; in general, the longer you run it, the better the circulation and the better the health of your water
- Consult the owner’s manual to learn when and how to backwash your pool filters, and how to properly clean sand, cartridge, or diatomaceous earth filters as applicable to your pool; typically, filters should be cleaned when the pressure gauge shows about a 10-pound increase over normal operations
- Skim the pool to remove debris every day
- Clean out all the skimmer baskets on a daily basis
- Brush the walls, floor, and ladders of your pool once or twice per week with a brush designed for your pool material; don’t neglect the corners
- Vacuum the floor and walls once per week with a manufacturer-approved vacuum and attachments
- Hose down the pool deck after vacuuming, taking care not to run water, dirt, or debris into the pool
- Check the total alkalinity and pH of the pool weekly, and twice per week during the summer; alkalinity should fall between 120 and 150 ppm and pH should fall between 7.2 and 7.6
- Add alkalinity or pH increasing or decreasing agents recommended by your owner’s manual or pool professional as needed
- Other things to check weekly (or twice weekly during the summer) include: free available chlorine, which should be from 1 to 3 ppm; free available bromine—if you use it—which should be from 3 to 5 ppm; calcium hardness, which should be 200 to 250 ppm for a concrete pool; and copper and iron, which should both be at 0 ppm
- Add chlorine tablets as needed to maintain the proper level
- Do a weekly chlorine shock treatment with a basic or multifunctional shock product; perform the treatment after sundown, with all pumps and filters turned off, and pay attention to how long you need to wait before getting back in the water
- Add an algaecide to the water following shock treatments
- Refer to your owner’s manual and pool professional to find out the best way to address other types of pool water imbalances
- Make sure your water level doesn’t drop below the level of the skimmer, or the pump can get damaged
- Generally, it’s best to leave your pool filled, even through the winter; refill it shortly after draining it for maintenance
- Learn how to winterize your pool if you live in a climate where it drops below freezing
- Check your manual for maintenance instructions for your water heater if you have one; these are usually fairly low-maintenance components, but don’t neglect the recommended care