All you need to know
Whether you are a first time owner of a swimming pool or trying to figure out how to keep the pool cleaner, Pools By You can help you find the answers you need to maintain that sparkling swimming pool year round. This section of our website we’re calling Pools 101 is dedicated to answering some of the most often asked questions we receive from our clients and providing some tips to make pool ownership more enjoyable and hassle free. Whenever, you have a question, contact us.
Winter cover usage in Southern California is pretty much a lost concept. After all, how much of a “winter” do we actually experience out here? However, the use of solar covers is very popular. The main reason solar covers were developed was to enhance the atmosphere’s solar rays and help increase the water temperature without the use of natural gas heaters. This simple form of technology has never been more useful to California residents due to the heavy drought we are experiencing. A solar blanket heavily reduces evaporation from occurring, traps the heat under the solar cover and, therefore, increases the water temperature. So, not only do you extend your swimming season, you also save the water you would be using to refill your pool on a regular basis. Pools By You has a variety of sizes and reels at reasonable prices to help you start saving.
Regular pool maintenance is essential for the overall comfort of those using the pool and it helps protect your equipment. Lack of regular maintenance will promote the occurrence of preventable problems, which will create a much greater expense for the homeowner. Pools By You can assist you in setting up a maintenance schedule with all of the necessary chemicals and testing required to ensure your pool experience is enjoyable and worry free. We encourage all of our customers to bring a water sample in a clean container for a free water analysis so that Pools By You can give the best possible recommendations for your swimming pool.
Although it may seem challenging at first, cleaning and maintaining a swimming pool is fairly easy, when you have the right equipment, chemicals, and advice. Our Pools By You staff has a combined 50-plus years of experience to share with you to help keep it simple, yet, effective.
While covering the pool would seem like the most logical way to keep debris out of the swimming pool, it is actually rather challenging to not allow that debris to fall in when removing the cover. Since the use of winter covers is not nearly as common in modern times, nor are they in use during the swimming season, keeping debris out of the pool can be challenging; especially in high wind areas and backyards with heavy vegetation. Running the filtration system an adequate amount of time during the swimming season not only helps to skim the surface of the water, but also provides optimal filtration to help keep your water clear. Pools By You offers the most state of the art cleaning equipment such as leaf rakes, telescopic poles, brushes, and automatic cleaners to keep your pool clean, clear, and enjoyable…the way it should be.
Tile cleansing agents are effective, but you should also treat your pool with an anti-algae solution to maintain sparkling pool tiles. But more so, the proper balance of water chemistry, such as alkalinity levels, plays a large role in preventing calcium and scale build up. If you are experiencing such build up on your tiles, Pools By You can assist you in determining the appropriate treatment and recommend other procedures for removing dirt and debris from your pool on an ongoing basis.
The pH level in your pool measures the level of acid or base solution of the pool water. The ideal measure is a neutral range of between 7.2 and 7.6. Pools By You can help you select a pH testing kit and we can run free testing for you if you bring in a water sample to the store in San Fernando, CA. One thing a pool owner should always remember when testing the pH level of the swimming pool is that a high pH reading means it requires the addition of acid, while a low pH means you have too much acid and soda ash is required to help neutralize the acid levels in the water.
The pH level of the pool water has to be checked at least once a week to make sure that this level is maintained between 7.2 and 7.6. Pools By You can show you how to keep everything in balance. It is always recommended that you bring a sample of your pool water to Pools By You for a free water analysis so that the experienced and knowledgeable staff can give you the best recommendations possible to balance your water chemistry.
Different times of the year require different amounts of chlorine on a regular basis. Many factors play a role in determining how much chlorine needs to be added such as the level of swimming pool use, the temperature outside, the temperature of the water, as well as the cyanuric acid levels (also known as conditioner). Chlorine comes in many different forms such as liquid chlorine, chlorine tablets, granulated chlorine, and even salt system chlorine generators. To determine the proper amount of chlorine for your swimming pool, as well as the best form of chlorine, it is recommended that the pool owner have a water analysis performed by the professionals at Pools By You.
The two most important parts of above ground pool maintenance is the pool’s pump that keeps the pool clean and helps prevent bacteria growth, as well as water chemistry balance. During summer months and when the pool is being used, run the pump at least 8 to 10 hours each day for optimal performance. You should also clean the filter regularly. Most above ground pools have small cartridge filters that don’t do an effective cleaning job. You may need to upgrade the above ground filtration system to a larger size for best clarity results. The concept of water chemistry balance is the same for both in ground and above ground pools. However, there are different versions of the chemicals used for vinyl liner pools versus plaster-surfaced pools. Pools By You can provide you with the maintenance supplies and appropriate care schedules.
Testing the pH level, chlorine residual, and alkalinity should at least be done weekly. During the peak of the summer, we recommend testing your water twice a week. Chemical treatments vary based on the amount the swimming pool is in use. During the summer time, it is also recommended that the pool is “shocked,” which is a highly concentrated form of chlorinating the pool. This changes the water’s environment so that bacteria and algae cannot adapt to the constant sanitization levels and grow. It is recommended to add algaecide as a preventative, once a week. On a weekly basis, it’s a good idea to scrub all the sides of the pool. Pools By You can provide you will all of the supplies, equipment and instruction necessary to keep your swimming pool clean and enjoyable.
The first piece of equipment that is essential in keeping your swimming pool clean is a telescopic pole. The industry standard is an 8’ pole that extends to 16’. There are various attachment tools that have a standard size connection fitting so that you can interchange the different tools on the same pole. At a minimum, each pool owner should have the following for cleaning their own pool:
- Wall scrubbing brush
- Leaf rake (also known as a skimming net)
- Vacuum head
- Vacuum hose
- Water test kit
Pools By You can help you with all of the necessary equipment and guidance to ensure a clean, sparkling pool.
In order for the pool pump to circulate the swimming pool water, it needs to establish a prime. This is when most or all of the air is removed from the plumbing lines and equipment and a constant flow of water is established. If you do not have a constant flow of water, then it is possible that you have not established a prime. The first thing to check is the water level of the pool. The water line should be half way up the tile bordering the swimming pool. If your water level is high enough then turn off the system and remove the lid of the pump. Fill the pot of the pump with water and replace the lid. Turn on the system. If prime is still not established, contact Pools By You for further assistance.
Even when a pool is neglected for a long period of time and it turns to a “swamp” like state, there are appropriate steps to be taken and the pool can be turned back to swimmable condition. The appropriate chemicals, filter cleanings, and debris removal is in order, but the key to the quickest turnaround is to stay on top of the task at hand. Contact Pools By You for advice on the appropriate steps for your specific clean up situation.
If I don’t want to maintain my swimming pool, can I just drain the water out and leave it empty or fill it with dirt?
There are multiple reasons for not leaving a pool empty any longer than absolutely necessary. Most importantly, the number one reason is safety. It is deemed extremely unsafe to have an empty swimming pool on any property due to the risk of someone falling into the empty structure and potentially injuring him or herself. In addition, the weight of the water is what holds a swimming pool structure in the ground. There is potential for the structure to lift out of the ground without the water weight. This would cause a major reconstruction of the structure, which is very costly. A pool owner cannot simply fill a swimming pool with dirt. The pool would have to be properly removed, which is very costly and requires permits from the city.
Whatever do-it-yourself questions you may have on the care of your swimming pool to ensure it is properly maintained, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Pools By You. If you want help on a regular basis at your home, our sister company Pat’s Pool Service stands ready to give you a hand.