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Pool Maintenance Schedule

A POOL SHOULD BE A TROUBLE FREE AND EASY ENDEAVOR to maintain and it will be if you follow a routine schedule and don’t deviate from it. Pools are peculiar beasts – most people don’t think they can undertake pool troubleshooting by themselves, but they really are misunderstood by most people. The key is regular maintenance. If you watch it regularly you’ll be on top of any events that unfold and be able to act upon them immediately, be they algae blooms or smelly water.


Assuming the pool has been started up correctly and contains a good startup chemical load, you’re all set to take over and keep the pool running. First thing you need to do is establish a test schedule. Most people initially want to know when to add chemicals next, but you need to train yourself to test first, add chemicals later!

Your pool troubleshooting begins with an appropriate test routine, and this routine needs to happen twice per week initially, so you can catch changes in the pool faster and familiarize yourself with its behavior. To do this, take a test strip and dip it into the water about 18” deep, holding it there for about 30 seconds. Take a test from somewhere opposite the skimmer. Look at the readings, paying close attention to the pH and total chlorine, with alkalinity and free chlorine being a close second.

What you’re looking for is a pH that is off from the range of 7.4-7.6 – either higher or lower than this. You want to correct this first by adding sodium bicarbonate or sodium bisulfate as required. You’ll find that your pool will have a tendency to drift one way with pH – i.e. it will always go low, or always go high, if it does drift at all. This is because of the city water in your area. Very seldom will the pH swing from too high to too low.

Start your routine off with adding chemicals on the same day that you test, twice per week. Add only small amounts, and then take a test reading the next day to see the effects of what you did. Your goal here is to work yourself up to a once per week test and chemical cycle once you get comfortable with the way the pool behaves. On this once per week schedule you’ll perform the following activities, usually in this order:

  • Brush the pool
  • Vacuum the pool and remove debris such as leaves
  • Take a water test sample
  • Add chemicals as required
  • Throw a maintenance squirt of algaecide in if the weather is warm

That’s really about it. Pool troubleshooting is a simple and easy task that will reward your diligence with crystal clean and sparkling water for years. As with anything, there are caveats with the above schedule. Warm weather will alter your once a week schedule if you live in a particularly hot part of the country. Once per week in places like Texas or Florida may not be enough and you may catch yourself chasing cloudy water or the slight green of algae. If this is the case, then stick with the twice per week initial schedule. Remember that adding more chlorine to cover a longer time span is never as effective as adding less chlorine more often, since chlorine breaks down in sunlight. Another pool troubleshooting tip to keep in mind is that adding a little algaecide to a pool on a regular basis when hot weather is expected is excellent preventative maintenance. Algae blooms exponentially once it catches, and letting it get so far that you see the water change color is already too late. You need to ensure the water always stays clear.

Once per week is all it takes to keep your pool looking crystal clear and pristine, and if you keep after it, it will treat you to years of perfect service.

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