Routine maintenance - How to maintain your pool
Daily Pool Maintenance
On a daily basis, empty the skimmer basket and remove any bugs, twigs, grass, and leaves from top of the water with your hand skimmer. Also remove any frogs, moles, voles, chipmunks that may have found their way into the pool. Use your leaf net to remove any large objects that found its way to the floor of the pool.
In the morning, test the water with your test strips. If the chlorine level is low or the pH and alkalinity are out of range, then make any adjustments following the suggestions on the water quality page.
Check the pressure guage on the filter. Notice if the pressure is above the normal range. If so, then backwash or hose off the filters to remove the residue that has collected on the filter.
Occasional Pool Maintenance
If the floor of the pool is looking dirty with bugs, twigs, mulch, grass, worms, or anything you could not get to with the leaf net, then vacuum the pool. The Tigar Shark QC is an excellent automatic pool cleaner if you dread the hassel of dealing with the hose to the skimmer vacuum system that came with your pool. This pool cleaner also climbs and cleans the sides of the pool.
For more information on vacuuming your swimming pool click Vacuum Pool.
How to use the skimmer vacuum system
If you are not familiar with the skimmer vacuum system, then follow these tips. First, attach the vacuum head to the extention pole. Make sure hose is securely on both vacuum head end and on the skimmer connector end. Go to the water control valves and turn the value to the low floor suction off. Turn the valve to the deep floor suction, half way off. Turn the valve to the deep inlet off. Put head of vacuum in pool. Allow hose to float freely in the water. Fill hose by placing skimmer end of hose onto one of the side inlet jets until bubbles push through at the vacuum head end and until hose is no longer floating on top of water. Remove lid to skimmer. Attach skimmer end of the hose to the skimmer on top of the basket. With any luck, the suction begins. Try not to let the vacuum head come out of the water until you are done vacuuming the pool. Otherwise, you'll have to repeat the process above to acquire adequate suction. Also keep an eye on the pool pump to make sure the trap is at least half way full of water. You might need to open the deep suction valve a little more to allow the pool pump to get more water into the trap.
It's important to keep the water at near halfway up the skimmer opening in order for the skimmer to do its job. If you notice the water has dropped to where the water in not going into the skimmer, then add a few inches of water to your pool. If the water level has risen to near the top of the skimmer opening due to excess rain, then pump a few inches of water off of the pool.
Removing stains and grime
The skimmer box and the pool steps will occasionally need cleaned to remove stains and grime. Baking soda is an excellent choice for this task. It not only cleans the pool, but can increase the pH and alkalinity at the same time. Get a clean cloth and wet it in the pool. Add baking soda to the cloth and rub on the area that is stained. Repeat as needed to maintain a nice clean look.
Repairs to vinyl liners
For more infomation on swimming pool liner repairs click Liner Repairs.
Vinyl liners generally last 10 to 15 years. Typically, the first thing to go on a vinyl liner are the corners. Corners that are in direct sunlight are more likely to wear thin and tear. You can patch these tears with a vinyl patch kit. These kits contain a glue that adheres above or below water. If your tear is within the water, then these patch kits will work. The trick is to keep the glue folded in the patch until you apply it to the tear site. Beforehand, clean the area around the tear to remove any grime. Otherwise the patch won't adhere. Cut the vinyl patch to a size that is about 4 inches longer/wider than the tear so that about 2 inches of the patch extends beyond the tear on all sides. Cut the corners of the patch so that they are round. Apply the glue to the inside of the patch. Fold patch in half so that the glue smears around the entire inside of the patch. Then apply to the tear. Rub the patch from the center toward the ends to remove any air bubbles. Hold the patch in place for a few minutes until the patch adheres.
For a better look, apply a swatch that matches your liner design on top of this clear patch. Wait at least 20 minutes after the clear patch has been applied. To obtain a swatch, take a photo of your vinyl liner to your pool installer/supply store. With any luck they'll have a swatch that matches your liner. Cut the swatch about an inch or two bigger on all sides than the clear patch. Follow the same procedure for applying the clear patch.
The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.