How to Maintain a Pool: The Complete Guide

Maintain a Pool

Is there anything better than being able to swim in your very own backyard pool on a warm, sunny day? If you’re fortunate enough to have one, it’s important to keep it clean and maintain a pool for both the pool’s health–and yours.

Sure, you could hire a professional. But if you’re ready to dive into the world of DIY pool care, read on for some pool maintenance tips about how to maintain a pool.

Start with the Right Supplies to Maintain a Pool

Set yourself up for success by gathering everything you need to clean ahead of time. Round up your gloves, pool skimmer, pool vacuum, hose, pH test, and pool chemicals in advance so you won’t spend extra time in between steps hunting for the things that you need.

Then, create a system to track your cleanings and chemicals. You can go old-school, and write down your pool maintenance schedule on a calendar with a pen or pencil. Or download an app that will log everything from water test results to calculating how many chemicals to use.

Time to Test

Take the time to test the water–literally. A pH test will establish if the water is too acidic, or too alkaline. But how do you know?

An ideal pH level for pools falls somewhere between 7.2 and 7.8 on the pH scale. So if you get a reading of 3, the water is too acidic. On the other end of the spectrum, a score of 10 would mean that the water is too alkaline.

Bring Balance

So your pool is unbalanced. Now what? If it is too acidic, you’ll add alkalis, and if it’s too alkaline, it’s the reverse–add acids.

Why does this matter? If your pool is too acidic, it can irritate your eyes and skin. If it’s too alkaline, it can result in water that is too cloudy, and calcium carbonate deposits (often called “scaling”) at the waterline of your pool.

Take a Few Seconds to Skim

Grab your trusty net pool skimmer and give it a quick spin across the surface of your pool. And speaking of skimming, don’t forget to check your skimmer basket! That’s where the debris in your pool collects, so be sure to empty it regularly.

If you have a pool brush, it’s a good idea to give the sides of your pool a quick scrub if there’s gunk clinging to it. Collect and dispose of it before proceeding to the next task.

Ready, Set, Vacuum

Yes, you read that correctly: you can vacuum your pool. Assemble your manual vacuum, telescoping pole, and hose and submerge the device. As you work your way across the bottom of the pool, you can adjust the pole to a shorter length once you reach the steps.

Don’t want to mess with a manual vacuum? An automatic cleaner might be a better match, then. It does the hard work for you, even when you’re not home.

Flush that Filter

Another key task in keeping your pool sparkling clean is to backwash your pool filter. And how often should you do that? It depends, since each one is different–you’ll need to read your pool filter’s directions for the answer.

You’ll want to run your filter somewhere between three and five minutes, or until the sight glass water is clear. Whether you have a sand filter, D.I. filter, or cartridge filter, remember to clean it after use.

Pump it Up to Maintain a Pool

Like any body of water, your pool needs good circulation. Luckily, a pool pump can keep your water flowing cleanly. Make sure it’s going at least eight to twelve hours per day for optimum results.

The benefits? It’ll help keep those creepy algae from crawling up the walls of the pool and help push debris and other contaminants through the filter or into the pool skimmer basket where it belongs. Keep it on track by investing in a pool pump timer.


What is chlorine, anyways? Basically, it’s a chemical that kills bacteria and microorganisms in your pool. The bottom line: it’s a must-have for pool maintenance.

Chlorine comes in liquid, powder, and even tablet forms. Because it breaks down in sunlight (and makes it harmless to humans after a while) you’ll need to keep adding it on a regular basis. You can do this with an automatic dispenser, a pool-float type device, or simply put it in through your pool skimmer.

Shock the System to Maintain a Pool

Got a smelly pool? It might be time to give it a shock–a chemical one, that is.

Pool shock will help sanitize your pool, and rid it of any bacteria and algae, too. Make sure that all debris is removed from the pool first, and check that your pH balance sits somewhere between 7.1-7.3.

When that’s done, be sure to wait to shock your pool at night, so that the sun’s UV rays don’t break up the chlorine in it before it can really start to work. Check the instructions on your pool shock to know when it’s safe to go back in since most recommend not swimming for at least 24 hours after administering it.

Don’t Neglect the Pool Tiles

While it’s great to focus on the action items listed above, it’s equally important to pay attention to what’s happening out of the water, too. When your pool area starts to show wear and tear, deal with it as soon as possible. Things like cracked tiles can get hazardous quickly, and become costly to replace.

Don’t hesitate to invest in a good tile sealer to prevent damage, and keep your tiles looking their best. Applying a pool tile sealer is easier than you think, and worth it. It will extend the life of your tiles and protect your investment.

How to Maintain a Pool Answered

You’ve done all the work, now it’s time to play since you know how to maintain a pool! But when the fun is done and the pool is not in use, don’t forget to put on your pool cover. Pool covers cut down on cleaning time by keeping the majority of debris out.

And this may sound obvious, but pay attention to the water level of your pool. If it is too high, drain it a bit; if it’s too low, add more water with a garden hose. Finally, for optimum pool health, try to get into the groove of a regular cleaning routine.

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