Guide written by:
Patrick, Handyman, Bath
Pool robots, vacuum brushes, water brushes and skimming nets are all essential pool cleaning kit. From the liner to the pool floor, skimmers to poolside paving: pool water must be cleaned and disinfected along with the liner and filtration system. Tools at the ready!
How to maintain your pool?
Regular pool maintenance includes maintaining water quality as well as cleaning the pool liner, concrete, or tile. This maintenance must be gentle enough to avoid degrading the liner surface, and of course avoid inconvenience to pool users. The waterline, where the water meets the air, must be monitored with special care as this is where the most stubborn dirt collects.
In addition to regular maintenance, specific problems such as cloudy water, algae etc. must be treated as and when they arise. These issues can be due to a number of causes. Here are just a few: lack of maintenance, heatwaves, high footfall etc. In addition, there are specific problems associated with each season - such as flies in summer, autumn leaves etc.
How to preserve the quality of the water?
Whether you disinfect your pool with chlorine or salt, it's essential that you regularly check these indicators of water quality:disinfectant level, pH value, stabilizer level and alkalinity.
Careful monitoring of these indicators by means of a control kit and visual inspection of the appearance of the pool should allow you to avoid the inconvenience of so-called "shock treatment" products.
All the above indicators should conform to the standard values noted in your test kit. Any discrepancies must be corrected with the appropriate pool treatment products. A single value out of balance will ultimately lead to the others becoming imbalanced as well, resulting in poor water conditions overall.
These products, whether they be pH correctors or chlorine shock treatments, come in the form of either pellets, granules or liquid. Each of these forms is geared towards a particular context of use.
Even regular maintenance won't protect you against unavoidable algae growth or the presence of floating particles in your pool water. Every complaint has its specific antidote - anti-algae treatment, flocculant or clarifier.
How to clean the pool floor and walls?
The lining of a swimming pool, usually formed by a purpose-made liner, requires regular maintenance, ideally on a daily basis: removing debris, insects etc.
To preserve your pool lining, regularlysweep the bottom of the pool and brush the walls.
With bigger pools you really see the benefit of a mechanized cleaning system.
Though you might still rely on a skimming net and brush to rake the pool surface and brush away the more stubborn dirt deposits, most impurities can be removed by equipment connected to the pool filtration system.
What types of pool filtration system are there?
Your pool filtration can either be achieved by a vacuum brush or a pool robot. Then there's manual or automatic, hydraulic or electric...
- A vacuum brush is the simplest system. Connected to the suction head is a brush that you guide along the sides and floor of your pool;
- Pool robots are automatic and don't require any input from you! Robots can be hydraulic or electric. The hydraulic type are connected to the filtration system, which provides them with the power to move around and absorb dirt; electric pool robots operate either on batteries or mains power, brushing and vacuuming as above.
Electric pool robots
How to clean the pool waterline?
In order to keep your pool lining clean, sponge-clean regularly with a specialized waterline product. The point where air meets water is where dirt builds up from swimmers, along with debris carried by the wind - leaves, dead insects etc. This is especially true for skimmers.
Use specially formulated products because pool liners are fragile. These products come in gel or liquid form. The gel has the advantage of diffusing less into the surrounding water during use.
One alternative to the sponge treatment, waterline brushes are specially designed for the purpose - soft and easy to handle. You can even get gloves with built-in sponges. These kill two birds with one stone while still keeping your skin out of contact with cleaning products. If the waterline of your pool doesn't collect a lot of dirt, a quick once-over with a magic sponge can be sufficient.
Swimming pools: how to avoid cloudy water and liner stains?
Specific products can be bought to deal with issues of water quality.
Whatever the issue - cloudy water, stains on the liner, algae growth - you should only treat it after checking that the water quality indicators are correct.
It all starts with an analysis of your water!
And if you want to save time pool-skimming with a net, go ahead and cover your pool. Using a swimming pool cover can both preserve water temperature and help exclude environmental pollutants from the surface of the water.
Analysis of your water
Pool maintenance kits: are they effective?
So you're fully prepared at the start of the swimming season, why not go for a maintenance kit? For a reasonable price, these kits usually supply you with a brush, a vacuum cleaner, a skimming net and a floating thermometer.
Make sure that the vacuum cleaner hose diameter matches the vacuum point in your pool, otherwise you'll need an adaptor. Vacuum cleaners often have a pre-filter, a bottom brush and side brushes. Vacuum cleaners work thanks to the Venturi effect.
And to minimize cleaning: think about protecting your pool with a cover!
Chlorine, bromine, clarifying greenish water... A little on pool care products?
There are many and varied pool maintenance products - so here's a 'quick' reminder of what does what!...
- Chlorine is a disinfectant that eliminates bacteria, prevents algae growth and tackles microorganisms in general.
- Chlorine shock treatments are used in the case of green water - effectively a super-high dose of treatment all in one go.
- Slow chlorine keeps your water crystal clear and prevents algae growth.
- Green water clarifiers are often chlorine-based products with additives to remove microorganisms and algae (you can also get chlorine-free pool clarifiers).
- Multi-purpose pellets disinfect and destroy algae and microorganisms while clarifying your water. Chlorine plus additives.
- Bromine is a powerful disinfectant that can be used in place of chlorine.
- PHMB is a robust and powerful disinfectant which also allows you to avoid chlorine.
- Anti-limescale products are used in the maintenance of hard water swimming pools.
- Active oxygen removes organic matter and provides chlorine-free cleaning.
- pH boosters are designed to raise the pH level of your pool.
- pH reducers will lower the pH of your pool water.
- Wintering products is a kind of shock treatment that treats algae, bacteria and limescale all in one.
- Magic gum lets you clean your waterline without damaging the liner material.
- Cleaning gel has the same role as magic gum except that it is in the form of gel (also exists in spray form).
- Filter cleaner degreases and de-limes to improve filter performance.
- Testing kits are designed to keep you from playing the sorcerer's apprentice and mixing everything and anything. They can be used to analyze your water, depending on the result you make the necessary corrections. You can get testers in the form of colour-coded tabs or even with a digital display.
As a final tip, be vigilant - take advantage of your swims to keep an eye on conditions in your pool. If in any doubt, analyze your water using a testing kit.
...And don't forget to regularly rinse your filter and check your skimmers!
Learn more about pool maintenance...
To find out more about pool maintenance, follow our editors' advice and discover their other guides:
How to choose your pool cover?
How to choose your pool?
How to choose your swimming pool liner?How to choose your pool maintenance products? How to choose your pool robot?
How to choose your pool shelter? How to choose your pool filtration system?
How to choose your pool heat pump?
How to choose your pool pump?
How to choose your pool heat exchanger?
How to choose your pool alarm?
How to clean your pool?How to filter your pool?
How to cover your pool? How to heat your pool? How to secure your pool?
Guide written by:
Patrick, Handyman, Bath, 12 guides
Professional maintenance and electronics training. I don’t ask to use my tools on the weekend. The car, the boat, the house with its electric appliances, the garden and its swimming pool, they all remind me that they need my attention. In the absence of an unlimited budget, I try to expand my areas of expertise. There’s nothing I like quite as much as being in the weekend workshop with my buddies. Everyone benefits from his experience which ends up being more-or-less successful, it must be said. But that’s part of the charm of DIY, helping each other and realizing a project in a pleasant way. So, if I can help you, it would be a pleasure.