It’s summer, the weather is great, and between family, friends, and parties, your swimming pool is getting a lot of use. Here are a few of our best tips for keeping it in great shape.
Cleaning the Pool Filter
Your pool’s filter is one of the most important components of the entire system. It’s vital to the quality of your pool water that the filter be kept clean so that all of the dust, dirt, and debris gets removed from your pool. We suggest that you design a schedule and keep it in your trusted reminder system. Depending on how heavy the pool use is and other environmental factors, it’s a good idea to clean the filter regularly. One of the easiest ways to check how your filter is doing is to look at the pressure gauge. If it reads eight- to 10- PSI above recommended baseline, then you’ll want to backwash it if it’s a diatomaceous earth (D.E.) or sand filter. If it’s a cartridge filter, then simply remove the cartridge and wash it off.
The recommended normal PSI for the filter (its baseline) is unique to your pool’s plumbing – it is what the PSI reads when the filter has been fully cleaned. If you don’t know what your filter’s normal PSI is, it might be a good idea to go ahead and clean it and then take note of your filter’s resulting pressure (PSI) for the future. Be sure to follow all instructions in filter manual or on the manufacturer’s web site.
Keeping Pool Water Chemistry Balanced
Our daily interaction with pool owners from all across the USA has taught us that each pool is unique. Whether it’s the local water, amount of sunlight, ambient temperatures, the amount of use the pool gets, or the impurities that find their way into your pool, every pool owner needs to get to know the chemistry behind getting and keeping a pool sparkling clean and sanitary.
Some pool owners have had pools for years, and already have a routine that they use to maintain the quality of the water. A new pool owner, on the other hand, may want to check the pool chemistry at least every other day for a few weeks until they get a “feel” for how the pool water reacts to things like rainfall, a lot of sun, or heavy usage. We have even had hospitality industry and municipal pool operators tell us they check pool chemistry more than once a day during peak swimming pool season.
To make keeping the pool water chemistry balanced as easy and convenient as possible, we recommend that pool owners get a high-quality water testing kit and make it a habit to test the water regularly and adjust the system as needed. An automated salt pool chlorine generator can make this job even easier by eliminating the need to buy and add chlorine – which is the majority of pool maintenance and expense.
When you buy or replace pool equipment such as salt pool systems and filters, it’s a good idea to get products with a maximum capacity much larger than your pool’s actual size. Having that extra power and capacity assures you that the pool’s overall health will be terrific even under heavy loads like pool parties, extended periods of extra sunny weather, or even a few days of rain. The exception to this rule is the pool pump.
Ideally, you want a pump that will match the filter’s flow rate and plumbing fittings. It needs to be able to circulate all of the water in the pool approximately every eight to 10 hours. Our Variable Speed Pumps are tailor made and can be adjusted to match various flow rates. In fact, VSPs get more circulation while running at lower RPMs and saving up to $1500/year on electricity. We’ll post some formulas for calculating pool pump capacities in another article.
Speaking of filters, we recommend that you use one that is bigger than you absolutely need. A large filter means less maintenance, less frequent cleanings, and not as many replacements. If the filter is too small then keeping the pool water clear and sparkling is going to be extremely difficult.
If you move into an existing property that has a pool make sure that the equipment is in good shape, that it can handle the load, and that the manuals exist or can be found online. If the home has an existing salt system, ask about the age of the cell and its model size.
Salt Cell Maintenance
Over time, the special metal plates in a salt cell can become encrusted with a build-up of minerals and calcium. This build-up can affect the efficiency of the cell, making your system “work harder” than it should to keep the pool water sparkling. We suggest that the cell be visually checked periodically to see if it needs to be cleaned. Many cells are mounted in transparent housings to make inspection easy. If your cell is inside an opaque tube, then unscrew the end of the tube according to the manufacturer’s instructions to view the cell. Cleaning methods vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and typically consist of mechanical or chemical methods, or a combination of the two.
The mineral build-up will look whitish and flaky, much like the deposits that faucets or shower heads get from time to time. If you don’t see any deposits on the cell, then set a reminder on your calendar to check the cell again in a month.
We’ll post a thorough set-by-step guide on how to clean a salt cell soon!
Like all machines, pumps need a little TLC to keep on doing their job right 24/7. Adhering to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule will ensure long pump life and a gorgeous pool. If water is the lifeblood of a pool, then the pump is literally its heart. If the pump isn’t working right, the pool is just a short while away from a turning green.
If you hear high-pitched mechanical squeals or screeches coming from the pool pump motor, it’s a pretty good bet that it’s time to replace a shaft seal – water is getting into the motor. Once the pump is open and you’re already in there, take a look at things like the ‘O’ rings and gaskets. If the look worn or cracked, then go ahead replace them too.
Keep in mind that ‘O’ rings, gaskets, and seals are small, inexpensive but critical parts in the pool pump. They keep water flowing where it should go, and out of places where it should not be. A shaft seal is especially important: If it’s exceeded its service life and begins to leak it can let water into the motor, causing damage that will eventually force you to replace this pricey component.
If your old pump has reached the end of its service life, it’s time to upgrade to the latest generation of variable speed programmable (VSP) pumps. These technological marvels offer amazing performance and terrific energy savings. Our next-gen VSPs can provide 85- to 90% utility savings compared to older fixed-speed models. Our variable speed pumps feature Permanent Magnet TEFC Motors, cool and quiet operation, and longer lifespans.