How to Keep Your Pool Clean and Safe
It’s no surprise that in Phoenix’s hot desert climate, 30 percent of single-family households have pools, according to the City of Phoenix. In fact, Arizona ranks fourth in the nation for construction of in-ground pools, according to The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP).
If you own a pool, it’s important to keep it clean, sanitary and free of algae, which means regularly adding chemicals and scrubbing off dirt and debris. Homeowners can either do it themselves or hire a service company, which charges an average of $100 a month, says Kevin Woodhurst, president of Precision Aquascapes in Phoenix. A pool professional can also inspect for leaks and resurfacing problems such as pitting, cracking, gouging or peeling plaster.
One way to choose a reliable professional is by contacting the Independent Pool and Spa Service Association, Woodhurst says. You can then check the company’s record at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Central, Northern and Western Arizona.
If you prefer to save money and do it yourself, you should get familiar with your pool equipment, says Bill Moore of Moore’s Pool Service in Scottsdale. Learn, for instance, whether you have a sand, D.E. (diatomaceous earth) or cartridge filter, he says. You can either search online for information, or pay a pool technician for his or her expertise, he says.
Whatever you decide, follow these pool-care tips:
- Keep water 4 inches below the edge of the pool to reduce “carryout” — the amount of water lost from splashing — in order to conserve water, advises the City of Phoenix.
- Ensure that your pool has the proper chemical balance by testing pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels twice a week in the summer and once a week in the winter, says Woodhurst. Keep the pH level below 8.0 and the alkalinity between 80 and 140 PPM, adding chemicals in the evening, he says.
- Check calcium hardness or total dissolved solids (TDS) once a month, says Woodhurst. Do so by adding drops of buffer solution, a chemical available at pool stores, to a pool-water sample and observe the color change. High TDS levels affect the water balance negatively, he says.
- Don’t backwash — cleaning the sand or D.E. filter by reversing the water flow — too often, Woodhurst says. Leslie Pool Supplies suggests doing so once your filter’s pressure gauge hits 8 to 10 psi.
- Clean the skimmer and filter baskets regularly, and brush the walls and tiles, Woodhurst says.
- Let your pump run one hour for every 10 degrees of air temperature (or at least eight hours) every night. For example, if it’s 100 degrees out, have your pump work 10 hours, Woodhurst suggests.
- Always replace broken or missing drains or suction devices, he says.
- Conserve water by landscaping with large plants that block the wind and reduce evaporation; run fountains or waterfalls on timers; and invest in a pool cover to protect from wind, evaporation and dust, suggests the APSP.
Follow these pool-care tips for a clean and sparkling pool all summer long.