Autumn! At long last, the sizzling days of summer are relenting, giving way to shorter days and cooler temperatures. While the Mississippi gulf coast area may not experience fall as soon as much of the rest of the country, eventually leaves do begin to fall. Many plants die back for the winter and grass passes into its dormant stage. Unfortunately, this welcome break from the heat can wreak havoc on your pool. Whether you are a new pool owner or you have had your pool for years, here are some pool maintenance tips you need to know to keep your pool clean, safe and functioning well through the fall and winter months.
In addition to being outright unsightly, plant matter in the pool can cause a host of problems. Chief among these is that as plant matter decays, it releases nitrogen. What is the primary thing that algae needs to grow and thrive? You guessed it. Nitrogen. Don’t feed algae! Starve it by redoubling your efforts to keep your pool consistently debris-free.
Second, plant matter left in the water will eventually settle to the bottom where, in very little time, it can cause staining of your pool’s liner. (Some of the worst staining culprits are acorns. Remove these immediately!) Finally, greater amounts of debris mean that your skimmer baskets are filling up much more quickly, making your filter pump strain to suck water through this accumulated muck. This can cause unnecessary wear and tear on the motor and shorten the lifespan of this vital piece of equipment.
Daily Debris Removal
While effective fall pool maintenance may require a little more time, it doesn’t have to be difficult. We recommend starting the day with a clean slate. Since most of us run our pool filters during the day, emptying skimmer baskets every morning literally clears the path, allowing the filter pump to easily and efficiently do it its job free from obstructions. (Always be sure to stop the filter before emptying skimmer baskets to prevent debris from being sucked into the filter lines while baskets are out of place.) Next, give the water a quick skim with a leaf net to remove as much surface detritus as possible.
Weekly Water Testing
Aim to test pool water every 4-5 days to ensure that the chlorine level and pH balance are correctly maintained. Add chemicals as needed. As you become more familiar with your pool’s chemistry and the frequency with which it requires chemical adjustments, you should be able to decrease this to just once a week.
Now may be a good time to perform a cleaning of your pool’s filter. After a season of pool use, everything from dead algae to skin cells, body oils, sunscreen and debris particulates can gunk up a filter, making it less effective at cleaning pool water. Give it a leg up on dealing with fall debris by performing a good cleaning. This is done through various methods depending on the type of your filter, and the manufacturer’s instructions must be carefully followed.
You may benefit from covering your pool while it is not in use. If your pool has trees growing nearby, or if you have a number of trees on your property, it may be worthwhile to purchase a pool cover. Covers are available in a wide variety of styles and price points. The simplest (and cheapest) are those designed just to keep the pool clean. Others are made of more specialized materials such as solar covers that help keep pool water warmer (useful for extending your pool season), or safety covers that help prevent drowning accidents!
Finally, invest in a good pool cleaner. There are a variety of options to choose between from those that use your pool’s filter pump to suck up debris, to robotic pool cleaners powered by electricity. The experts here at AquaPoolCo can help explain the differences and benefits of each and recommend the cleaner that is right for you. We can even teach you how to use it!
For other useful information on caring for your above-ground pool and spa, follow our blog, like us on Facebook, or stop by AquaPoolCo anytime. You won’t find a friendlier or more knowledgeable staff anywhere else!