Swimming Pool Maintenance 101 - To Cover or Not to Cover
Before I owned a pool I always thought that pool maintenance was going to be a real pain and troublesome. I had heard many horror stories from friends and acquaintances about all the problems they had in keeping their pools clean and balanced Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that after our inground pool was installed, that maintenance of it really wasn't a problem. How did I achieve this? I don't know -- but this is what I do. First we never invested in a pool cover. Since we live in SC we have a few months of 'cold' temperatures but the remainder of the winter isn't too bad. We don't swim much from October to March but we don't cover it either. We simply leave the pump and filter running. If the temperature drops below about 40 deg F, the pump automatically comes on to keep things from freezing. So, the first thing we don't have to do is to cover the pool. By not covering the pool, you save hundreds of dollars by not having to buy a pool cover every couple of years. But, in the long run, you might potentially pay more for electricity to run the pump all year than a new cover would have cost. By not covering the pool you also save the hassle of 'opening the pool' every spring. First, you don't have to mess with the debris of leaves and the murky water that accumulates on the top of the cover. (On the flip side, if you do cover the pool, do yourself a favor and skim the debris off the cover every so often.) To combat the problem of debris (in an uncovered pool), we have a Polaris automatic pool cleaner which runs at least 2 to 3 hours a day. This keeps the pool clean of leaves, worms, bugs, and other similar yuck. By not covering the pool but running the pump all winter long, you don't have to contend with the stagnant green algae infested water that develops when it sits idle for months at a time. Thankfully this is not a problem when you run the pump throughout the winter. By not covering the pool, you can take a quick dip anytime you please since the water is always pretty darn clean. While few people would ever take a quick dip in the winter, the point here is that the cleanliness and clarity of the pool stays so good that you could swim in it, but more importantly, getting it balanced is as simple as taking a sample to be tested and learning what chemicals to add. In other words you can be swimming in a day without any serious effort or exhaustion. The only other things that I do are
1.) Keep the chlorine reservoir full (or nearly full) with chlorine sticks and
2.) Clean the Polaris and filter trap every week.
3.) Watch the water level. If it gets too high, the skimmer does not work properly Please keep in mind that we live in South Carolina. This type of pool care may not be appropriate for much colder climates. If you live in the north and have an inground pool, please contact your local pool company and they will be able to recommend something appropriate for your colder climate. To read about the next steps I take in getting the pool ready please go to www.keepyourpoolclean.com/Swimming_Pool_Covers_.html
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