CLEANING YOUR POOL STEP BY STEP:
In this article, I go over the Step by Step procedure I take when I service a swimming pool. This is a basic video guide on how to maintain a swimming pool for either a homeowner or pool service professional. I walk you thru the steps I take on a pool from beginning to end.
The very first thing I do is a scan of the pool for anything unusual. A dead Gopher on the pool floor would be something noteworthy. I also can assess the pools clarity level by just eyeballing it and can pretty much tell if there is a chemistry issue – like no Chlorine or Combined Chlorine.
I do all these steps in order so not to forget to do something. Doing this over and over on a pool route puts your brain in robot mode and you can't think back two stops previous and try to remember if you added chemicals or not. So, if you do the steps in order chances are you won't forget anything.
Step One: Check the Chemicals
The first thing I do is check the water chemistry. There are several test factors that you need to be aware of and not all of them need to be done weekly. Each week you do need to check the Chlorine level – if you have the right test kit you can also check for Total Chlorine. But at a minimum, you need to get the Free Chlorine level. You should also check the pH each week, or how acidic or alkaline the water is. If the pH is too low or too high it can have some significant effects on the pool water quality and the pool surface itself.
I check the Alkalinity level once a month as a rule. Since the Alkalinity level is tied into the pH it normally does not move dramatically in one direction or the other. For a new pool plaster, it can move more so, in that case, I check it every week for the first three months. But once the plaster cures or if you have another surface type like Vinyl or Fiberglass the Alkalinity is stable.
The Calcium Hardness level also does not move much so I check that every three months. Again, for a new pool plaster, you will need to check it more often but for an established pool, it is stable.
I check the CYA or Cyanuric Acid level at the beginning of the season – here that is in April and maybe again if I notice any water issues like low chlorine each week.
If you have a Salt Water Pool I check the salt level also at the beginning of the season and then again if problems arise. Since the salt in the water does not evaporate it stays stable all season long
Here are the Ideal Ranges for the Test Factors:
FC – Free Chlorine 1.5-3 ppm
CC – Combined Chlorine 0.5 <
BR – Bromine 4-6 ppm
PH – Acidity/Alkalinity 7.4-7.8
TA – Total Alkalinity 80-120
CH – Calcium Hardness 220-350 *
CYA – Cyanuric Acid 30-80 ppm
SALT 2800- 3100 ppm > **
* Levels may be lower in a Vinyl or Fiberglass Pool
** Depending on the salt system brand
Step Two: Check the Equipment & Empty the Baskets
Keeping the pump basket and skimmer basket clean and empty each week is the most critical thing you can do for water circulation purposes. You can have a clean filter but still, have a cloudy pool or a pool with algae because of a clogged pump basket.
So, it is essential to empty both the pump basket and skimmer basket each week of service. I also do a general check of the equipment including checking the filter pressure and listening for any motor noises that will indicate a problem. I also check the timer or automated system for any issues. Last, I scan for any water leaks around the equipment area. Part of the job is making sure everything is running well each week.
Step Three: Clean the pool
Keeping the pool clean each week helps to make the pool look good and reduces chemical use and prevents equipment failure. So, weekly cleaning is important. If you are pressed for time you can also invest in a good automatic cleaner to help with weekly maintenance. But manual cleaning still works well. Basically, you want to skim all of the leaves off of the top and bottom, clean the tiles, vacuum the bottom and brush the walls and step areas. All of this will keep the pool looking good as well as prevent algae and possibly staining of the pool.
Step Four: Add Chemicals
It is important to do these steps in order. You can add chemicals if you want after testing the water but keep the same routine at each pool. That way later in the day, you won't be trying to think back and ask yourself, “Did I add acid twice at that account?” Or, “I think I added some chlorine at the Smith residents, right?” I can't remember what I had for breakfast on a good day, so do yourself a favor and do things in order.
Basically, you add chlorine in some form to sanitize the water, add Muriatic Acid to lower the pH, add Borax or Soda Ash to raise the pH and you add Baking Soda to raise the Alkalinity. This is all you need in most cases. Pretty simple.
I don't spend a lot of time on treating algae as I have several videos on my YouTube Channel that goes over that in detail.
Here is the video that shows all these steps for you. I also have a list of other videos that you can refer to in more detail below. So, if you follow these simple steps each week at your own pool or on a service route, you should be good to go.