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Easy-to-Follow Weekly Pool Maintenance Checklist

Swimming pools are a feature of many American homes, and for good reason – they are great places to play, entertain friends, or cool off after a working day. They also add to the aesthetic and visual appeal of any garden and to the value of your property. That’s the upside – the other side of the coin is that they take a lot of looking after, and it’s important to have a weekly maintenance checklist.

A weekly checklist should cover the three Cs of pool maintenance: Cleaning, Chemistry, and Circulation. Many of the maintenance tasks will be repeated during the week, and the checklist may even contain some items that appear each day rather than only once during the week.

All pools, regardless of size and construction, are in a unique setting, and your checklist will be geared accordingly. Yours may be in full sun, shaded by a tree that sheds its leaves, or affected by wind. Whatever the conditions, your weekly maintenance checklist must cover the aspects of the water, pool surfaces, and filtration system. Sounds daunting? It’s really very simple when you have a weekly checklist, so let’s createone.

Preparing A Weekly Pool Maintenance Checklist

The best way to prepare your checklist is to separate maintenance into cleaning (the water and the pool surfaces), the chemistry of the water, and circulation, including everything from the skimmer through the pump to the filter and back to the return outlet.

Clean The Pool Surfaces

  • Using a telescopic-handled pool brush, brush down the walls, tanning shelf, steps, and floor. You may have a lot of sediment built up during the week, and brushing it off the surfaces will make it possible for the vacuum to pick it up and the suspended sediment to be drawn into the filter.
  • If you don’t have an automatic or robotic vacuum cleaner, doing the job manually is the most time-consuming task on your checklist. I’d recommend getting an automatic cleaner – it works while the pump is running and does a fine job of removing algae, dust, and debris.

Clean The Water

  • There’s usually a collection of leaves, insects, and other debris floating on the surface, especially after a windy day. Most of this will find its way into the skimmer basket, but you can speed up the process by using a long-handled leaf skimmer to remove it and keep the pool filtration system from getting clogged.

Cleaning the pool surfaces and water should be done several times during the week, as the longer organic material is left in the water, the greater the risk of algae and bacteria affecting the pool.

Check The Chemistry Of The Water

After cleaning, the next step in our weekly maintenance checklist is to sort out the water chemistry. This entails checking the pH, the alkalinity, and the sanitizer levels, and the best way to do this is by using a quality test kit obtainable from your local pool store.

  • The ideal pH level for your pool is between 7.2 and 7.6. A pH below 7 indicates high acidity, which will cause skin irritation, red eyes, and may result in corrosion of metal parts in the pool. A high pH, which means the water has low acidity, means that the chemicals used for sanitizing the water, such as chlorine, bromine, or salt (in a saltwater pool), become inactive and unable to prevent the proliferation of algae and bacteria. As a result, your pool becomes a health hazard for those swimming in it.
  • The alkalinity of the water is closely linked to the pH level, but it’s not the same thing. pH measures how acidic or alkaline the water is, while total alkalinity is measured as an actual substance in parts per million (PPM) and acts as a buffer preventing rapid changes in acid levels. The recommended range for total alkalinity is 80-120 PPM.

Both pH and alkalinity are rather unstable, so checking them every few days rather than weekly, and making the necessary adjustments, will help to keep the water sparkling and healthy. You can increase alkalinity most easily by adding baking soda and decrease it using muriatic acid or dry acid.

  • Again, using your test kit, check sanitizer levels. Chlorine is the most commonly used sanitizer, but bromine is a popular alternative. More people are now choosing to convert their pools to saltwater, whereby chlorine is produced from sodium chloride, which is needed in smaller quantities than in a standard chlorine pool, giving the water a softer and gentler feel.

Check All Aspects Of Circulation

The last of our 3 Cs, and probably the most important, is the circulation of the water through the filtration system. Without it, all the cleaning and chemistry checking will not help keep your pool healthy. So, let’s start at the beginning, at the skimmer, where water is drawn from the pool.

Clean The Skimmer Basket

Water flows from the pool through the skimmer weir and through the skimmer basket, which then collects all the debris floating on the water’s surface, including leaves, twigs, and other larger items. The water flows from here directly to the pump, so it’s important to clean the skimmer basket often to avoid restricting that flow.

Empty And Clean The Pump Basket

Anything that gets through the skimmer basket will get picked up by the pump basket before the water flows through the impellers. Turn off the pump, close the outlet valves, remove the basket cover, and lift out the pump basket. Check that it’s not split, as this will allow debris to pass through, and clean it thoroughly. Replace the clean basket in its holder, and secure the lid, ensuring that the O-ring seal is also debris-free and in good condition.

Clean The Filter

If you have a sand filter, perform a backwash by reversing the water flow to clean sediment and dirt from the sand and emptying the dirty water into your drain. In the case of a cartridge filter, remove the cartridge and rinse it before replacing it.

Once you have completed this aspect of your checklist, your filtration system should be in pristine condition. Switch the pump back on, open the valves, and run the pump. You should see a strong flow from the return nozzles with no bubbles, indicating that everything has been tightly secured and working optimally.

Check And Adjust The Water Level

Having done a backwash to clean the filter, you may find the water level has dropped in addition to any loss of water, which has resulted from evaporation, activity in the pool, and heat from the sun. Top up the pool so the water level is halfway up the skimmer box.

The Final Check

You’ve checked the chemistry, the circulation, and done all the cleaning, and the checklist is completed. Lastly, do a quick inspection of your pool equipment, including the brushes, skimmer net, and automatic cleaner hoses, and do a stock count of your chemicals to ensure you have enough to cover all needs when you do the next check.

Conclusion

Adhering to a weekly pool maintenance checklist is the best way to keep your pool pristine, the water clean and healthy, and everything working as it should. While some items on your checklist only need attention weekly, others require it more often. Every pool has its own setting and characteristics, but the checklist we’ve discussed certainly covers the major tasks, so use it!