from Pool & Spa Outdoor

Pool maintenance is an important part of pool ownership. To keep your pool clean and sparkling, you have to test the water regularly and keep it clean.

We spoke to BioGuard®, one of the leading manufacturers of pool and spa products, to get their expert advice on some frequently asked questions about water care, how to prevent algae in pools, energy saving tips, and routine pool maintenance.

1. How long should I run my pool filter?

The best time to circulate the water is during the day, for 10 hours or more. Pool water must be circulated for maximum sanitizer effectiveness. The more your water is in motion, the harder it is for bacteria and algae to take hold.

2. How often should I clean or vacuum my pool?

The walls and floor should be brushed and vacuumed at least once a week to remove debris missed by the filter.

3. How often should I test the chemical levels in my pool?

Test your pool water for sanitizer and pH two or three times per week. Also, take a sample to your dealer every four to six weeks during the season. This will help you maintain proper water balance and greatly reduce the potential for problems.

4. How do I prevent algae in my pool?

BioGuard recommends the following steps to prevent algae:

– Add a weekly preventative algaecide such as BioGuard Back Up® or Smart Algicide, using the dosage recommended on the product label

– Weekly shock routine to eliminate unwanted contaminants

– Maintain a sanitizer residual in the range of 1 – 4 ppm

– Brush your pool once a week

– Maintain a filter run time of a minimum of 10 hours daily, during daylight hours, to help keep algae from adhering to surfaces and beginning to grow.

5. I have algae in my pool currently. How do I get rid of it?

While it is always easier to prevent algae than to treat an algae problem, using an EPA registered algicide, such as BioGuard Banish, along with shocking the pool can be very effective at killing algae. An often overlooked element to treating and preventing algae is ensuring the filtration and circulation system are running effectively. Addressing these areas of pool care will help solve your existing issue, as well as help prevent future algae problems.

6. How often should I backwash my sand or D.E. filter?

Generally, a sand or D.E. filter should be backwashed when the water pressure in the filter reaches 8 to 10 psi above normal (check manufacturer’s guidelines). Because backwashing does not remove oils and deeply embedded debris, every filter needs to be chemically cleaned regularly (twice a season) using BioGuard Strip Kwik® and Kleen It®.

7. How often should I clean my cartridge filter?

If a pressure gauge is installed, you can follow the same guidelines that you follow for a sand or D.E. filter. You should remove and flush the cartridge with a strong spray of water when the operating pressure is 8 – 10 psi above normal or “clean” operating pressure.

If no pressure gauge is installed, you should remove and rinse the cartridge when you see a noticeable decline in the pressure of the water being returned to the pool through your jets.

As stated above, cartridge filters also need to be chemically cleaned at least twice a season to ensure the buildup of oils and debris is effectively removed.

8. What conditions might require a chlorine shock treatment? How long after shocking is the pool water safe to swim in?

Shocking the pool is a vital and often overlooked part of weekly pool care and maintenance. In addition to weekly maintenance to help keep the pool clean and clear, shocking is also great for troubleshooting problems such as cloudy water, low chlorine residual, and algae. Chlorine shock treatment is always a necessary component to treat chlorine demand.

Swimming can resume when the chlorine residual is 1 – 4 parts per million. The amount of time it takes for chlorine to drop to the acceptable level after shocking varies in different pools.

9. How should pool chemicals be stored?

Here are some general storage guidelines for pool chemicals:

– Store chemicals in a cool, dry, well-ventilated space.

– Keep chemicals away from heaters or open flames.

– Store chemicals on shelves or pallets whenever possible, but particularly anytime water is used for cleanup of floors; use caution during cleaning to avoid wetting of any dry chemicals.

– Store chemicals away from doors and windows.

– Do not store pool chemicals with incompatible or flammable materials, such as gasoline, oil, grease, fertilizer, herbicides, paint, solvents (for example, turpentine), oily rags, and alcohol.

– No smoking in storage areas or when handling chemicals.

10. What are some energy-saving tips for my pool?

Covering your pool can make a big difference in energy efficiency and maintenance cost. A covered pool will stay warmer than an uncovered pool, reducing heating costs when using a heater to warm the water. Covering the pool also decreases evaporation, which decreases the amount of new water you have to put in the pool. Saving water saves valuable energy and resources.

Pool covers also keep out dirt and debris, reducing the work done by the pump and filter. Less debris leads to shorter pump run times and increasing energy efficiency. Coupled with that, proper pool maintenance helps keep water clean and clear, also reducing the amount of filtration needed to maintain water clarity. In addition, make sure your pump and filter are properly sized and in good working order. This will maximize efficiency when they are running.