Most of my life, I lived in the city and never had a pool. When I moved to Florida, I looked for a home that has a swimming pool. It was fun to have my own pool but I learned that it isn’t all fun and games.
It takes a lot of time and effort to keep a pool clean and blue. You need to check the drainage for unwanted guests, find the right tools, and use pool chemicals - this last part terrified me. I knew I could hire a Florida pool maintenance service but I’m a bit stubborn and I like doing things on my own. So I decided to learn how to maintain a Florida swimming pool on my own!
What did I learn? Well, I learned that even a dummy (that would be me) can maintain a Florida swimming pool - and it is not that difficult.
Here are my 7 top tips on maintaining a Florida swimming pool.
Invest in the right equipment
This seems like a given, doesn’t it? When I bought my house, the swimming pool net was old and the strainer basket was filled with holes. I immediately invested in a new long-handled net and bought a new strainer. Neither was expensive and both made a huge difference immediately. I clean the pool mid-morning and sometimes clean it again in the early evening. It helps to keep your pool free of debris, so clean it even if it’s just a few leaves. We all know a few leaves can easily turn into a ton the following day.
If you don’t know what pool equipment to get or which products to buy, I recommend these 11 pool tools so you can maintain your own pool.
Clean strainer baskets
During the first few months, I didn’t clean my strainer basket because it was new. I was surprised that I needed to use more chlorine than usual because I couldn’t keep my pool as clean as the first month. Then I learned that I could lower my pool’s chlorine need if I clean my strainer basket at least once a week. It was easier to maintain my pool after learning this trick. It also helped my pool’s overall circulation system.
Always use pool chemicals!
I sometimes slack off when it comes to testing my pool for their chemical levels, but this is an important process to follow to keep a pool looking blue and sparkling. If you have the levels right, you only need to test once a week. Don’t use outdated chemicals and if you're not sure what to use, here are my recommended pool chemicals and its uses. You can also ask a pool supply store, call the manufacturer, or do your own online research. I initially asked a pool service to come and do a thorough check (I paid for it, mind you, though my teeth) and to give me advice on how to keep my pool clean. I learned how to perfect the pH balance of my pool and maintain it weekly - and it costs me less than $30 a month.
Look after your swimming pool filter
So I just bought a new filter which means it’s pretty easy to look after, but you need to know how to take care of it. It’s easy for me since I kept the manual but if your filter is old, then you may have to ask the manufacturer on how to do it. You don’t want to wash your filter too often as this can actually damage it. It’s also a good idea to leave a small amount of dirt in your filter as this helps to trap other particles. As a general rule, you should clean your filter when there is about a 10 to 15-pound flow difference between the flow meter and the pressure gauge. Does it sound complicated? It isn’t if you read or have the manual. Keep those things so it’s easier for you to learn how to maintain a Florida swimming pool.
Here's a video on how to clean a pool cartridge filter:
Maintain a fairly high water level
You shouldn’t let your pool water run quite low in this Florida heat. Unless there are drought or water restrictions, keep the level of your water pretty high. BUT NOT FULL or your pumps won’t work, and not too empty since they won’t work either. You would see it if your pool is full and then you can use a gauge to determine if it’s low. The pool water level decreases from heat, evaporation, or splashing. If it gets low, fill it with a garden hose. If it doesn't seem to fill up or if it empties quickly, GET HELP because your pool may have a leak.
Use an Automated Pool Cleaner
Most pools have an automated pool cleaner which is often called a Kreepy Krauly. You should also use it since it vacuums, cleans, and scrubs the pool for you. Watch out because sometimes you will need to untangle it or it can drive you around the bend but you know what - it works! It does pretty much everything on its own, except for brushing the walls.
Manually Brush the Walls and Tiles
Since automated pool cleaners can’t brush walls, you will need to manually do it. Instead of buying a new brush, my pool cleaner came with attachments. Don’t throw the attachments away! You can use them to scrub the tiles and walls - and it’s a pretty good work out for you too!
I said that ‘even a dummy can do it’ because I didn’t know anything about pools until I moved to Florida. And now, I feel so good that I can maintain my pool on my own, save money each month, and swim whenever I want. Sometimes I have a dip at least once a day or even twice. That’s the beauty of Florida, too - it is swimming weather year-round. The swimming keeps me in good shape as well as cleaning my pool.
Of course, if you want to get a pool maintenance service, you should! I don’t because I quite like the challenge and I also enjoy saving some money (here is my estimated cost for maintaining a pool). But there are many Floridians who swear by their pool cleaning service. What do you think? Is it okay to employ someone and if so, how often do you do it? Once a week or once a month?
Because as much as I say I enjoy it, the time might come that I change my mind and get help!
Of course, when you choose a Florida pool maintenance service, don’t forget to read reviews, get references, and be careful not to get tied into a contract that may not work for you.
And now, I’m off for a swim.