Maintaining your pool during the fall
As the weather starts to change, leaves start to fall, and pool temperatures drop, it’s time to start adjusting your pool and the water chemistry. The majority of fluctuations happen with the pH, Alkalinity, and Phosphates. It’s critical to control the chemical levels in your pool during this time. As the winds pick up and the debris starts blowing into the pool, you’ll have to make sure and keep up on the weekly maintenance.
- Net and brush the pool regularly throughout the week
- Vacuum the pool bottom when you see debris
- Keep your pump and skimmer basket emptied
- Test the water chemistry often and balance the LSI
- Test for phosphates in the water
- Backwash/Clean your filter once per month
- Maintain proper chlorine levels to prevent algae blooms
Netting and brushing
Keeping the pool brushed, skimming the surface and pool bottom is ideal for preventing algae blooms. Some of the debris that falls in your pool can contain phosphates, so it is important to get these items out of your pool.
When brushing, please make sure you are using the proper brush for your pool. We recommend using a nylon/soft bristle brush for routine maintenance. If you have a vinyl or fiberglass pool, you should never use a metal brush. Brush downward in a diagonal line from the top of the tile to the bottom of the pool, repeat this until you’ve brushed the entire pool. When brushing your steps try and brush the walls and the top of the steps into the pool. Always try and brush towards the main drain of the pool.
To net the pool properly you can use a homemade solution of 10% dawn dish soap and 90% water. Squirt this into your pool and it will clear up the surface tension so you can see the pool bottom. Net the bottom of the pool first to try and get all the large debris. Then make your way to the surface and skim all the debris off the top. We typically recommend using a fine-mesh net to get the large and small particles floating on the surface.
Vacuuming the pool can be tedious, especially if you don’t have an auto cleaner. When vacuuming your pool bottom make sure to flush any air out of the vacuum hose. You do this by immersing the hose into water and pushing it through until you reach the end of the hose. If you did it correctly water will start coming through the end of the hose. Connect your vacuum, isolate your skimmer, or vacuum line if you have multiple. Either turn the valves or you can use a plug to isolate the line. Begin vacuuming your pool slowly moving forward and backward. This is important because there may be debris that you can’t see sitting at the bottom of the pool that is too big to go into the main drain.
Emptying your pump and skimmer baskets
This is a very important task that often gets missed. Just because the baskets are not completely full, doesn’t mean they don’t need to be emptied. One of the most common reasons a pump motor seizes, or an impeller gets jammed is because the basket is too full. Pump and skimmer baskets should be emptied weekly at minimum, and more often if you have a good amount of foliage falling into the pool. To empty the skimmer basket, simply open the skimmer lid, pull out the basket, and discard the contents of the basket. To empty the pump basket requires you to shut your pump off. If your pool is higher than the equipment do not forget to turn the valves so the water doesn’t come rushing out. Once your pump is off and your valves are turned, go ahead, and open the pump lid, pull up the basket and discard the contents. When replacing your basket make sure to line it up with the pump inlet hole. If this is not in the proper position, water will not flow through the pump properly.
Focus on pH and alkalinity
Balancing your pH and Alkalinity is very important during these months. With all the debris and dirt blowing into your pool and the fluctuating water temperatures, the water becomes ideal breeding ground for algae. Keeping chlorine in your pool as well as the pH and Alkalinity balanced will ensure you’ll have an easy transition into the winter months with minimal algae growth.
Test the pH and Alkalinity frequently, use caution when adding muriatic acid to the system, move the water around in the area that you add muriatic acid because the acid is heavier than the water and it will sit on the plaster, turn equipment off before adding acid to a pool you don’t want the acid getting suctioned into the line and moving through the equipment, best practice is to add water to a 5-gallon bucket and mix in your acid then pour it into the pool.
Never add more than 1 gallon of muriatic acid into the system, never add acid to a vinyl lined pool, don’t let the acid sit on the plaster or bottom of the pool, don’t touch the acid with your hands, never add water to acid always acid to water, don’t breathe in the fumes of the acid when pouring it into your bucket.
Although the weather will be cooling, it is very important that you keep your pool timer running between 6 and 8 hours. Due to the increased bio-load, the pool will still need the water to turn multiple times through the filter. We typically recommend keeping your pool filtration for 6-8 hours from Late October to Mid-April. During the off-season months of November to March running the equipment between 5-6 hours is usually okay.
On the same note, keeping your filter grids or cartridges clean will help ensure proper filtration. We typically recommend backwashing every month and a full clean every other month. During the fall period, we recommend at least one backwash and one filter clean. This will keep your pool clean and healthy as the weather changes.