Having a family swimming pool is somewhat like your family car – you need to keep it tuned up and well maintained to have it perform effectively.

While you have to let your mechanic check out the car, pool maintenance is something you can handle yourself.

It’s just a matter of spending the time on it.

Swimming pool maintenance

Preparing for summer.

Since your swimming pool will be used most in the summer, spring is the time to make sure that it is ready to go. According to Ehow.com, the first thing to do is check the equipment. If there is a cover on the pool filter that was used to keep it warm in winter that must be removed. Then make sure all the hoses from the pump to the pool are connected.

Get the debris out.

Either with a wet/dry vacuum or a skimmer, remove the bugs and leaves that have landed in the pool over the winter. Make sure the larger debris is removed before starting up the pump. This keeps the filter from getting clogged. If algae has built up over the winter, use a chlorine shock treatment to get rid of it. Check the filter to empty out pollen and hair which might have built up.

Check the water.

Test the pH and chlorine levels in the water. The pH should be just above neutral – between 7.2 and 7.6 parts per million (ppm). The chlorine level should be at 1 to 3 ppm, and maintained at that level throughout summer season. Has there been a heavy rain recently? If so, it’s time to use a metal decreaser and algaecide, as the water levels will have fluctuated due to the rains. Use an algaecide every week during normal times as a preventative. Is it a saltwater pool? If so, check regularly for calcium levels to keep the proper salt content.

Backwash the pump as needed.

Backwashing means reversing the direction of the pool pump to clean out dirt and any particles which might have built up. This doesn’t have to be a frequent item – backwashing too often can actually decrease the effectiveness of the pool filter. Watch the pressure gauge, and if it rises 8 to 10 psi above the level when clean, it’s time to backwash.

While on vacation.

It’s easy to get all excited about going on summer vacation, and forget the pool. No one wants to be sitting on the beach and realize the pool at home is unattended. Arrange to have a neighbor or pool service provider check on the pool unit to make sure everything is in working order while you’re away. They can perform the regular maintenance items while you’re gone. It will make sure you don’t return from vacation to a messy pool.

Attend to maintenance regularly.

The chemistry of the pool water be checked at least twice a week. As needed, make minor adjustments to keep the chemistry of the water in proper balance. Its amazing how quickly leaves and debris will settle in the pool. This results in poor circulation, and the pump can’t function as well. Cleaning the skimmer basket in the pool pump often will be a very effective way to make sure the pool works properly. If you live in an area of high winds, or have a lot of trees around, check often. If you skip a couple of days and the basket is really full, it may be worth the time to check it daily.

Attend to repairs.

If there is a broken or missing drain, that can be a very dangerous hazard, so make sure that if something needs repair, it is fixed on a timely basis. Particularly if you have pets, check the fence around the pool frequently, to make sure no one has tried to burrow under the fence. Fix the fence as needed. Chipped tiles around the pool could lead to a cut needing stitches, so check them often, as well as the decking.