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Matt Gohlke: Don't forget to keep your pool maintained throughout summer season

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Matt Gohlke

With the school year coming to a close and with temperatures continuing to heat up, swimming pool use will continue to increase with the temperatures.

In order for pools to remain clean and clear, pools require weekly maintenance. When it comes to weekly pool maintenance, there are basically two options:

1. Hire someone to maintain the pool for you. There are several Denton area pool companies who do a quality job on weekly service.

2. Maintain the pool yourself, or teach your kids to do it. I have always maintained my own pool, but a few years ago I decided to teach my teenaged sons to maintain it. It worked out great until they left home to attend college.

As far as what age is recommended for maintaining a pool, it really depends on the complexity of the pool and also on the maturity of the youngster. With proper training and supervision, I feel that most teenagers can perform most of the tasks listed below. The exception is adding chemicals — that should really be left to adults, as it can be dangerous.

If you are interested in maintaining the pool yourself, following a checklist if often helpful. Following is a checklist similar to what most area pool companies use in order to keep their pools maintained on a weekly basis:

Perform a water analysis on a weekly basis. The following are the ranges that we recommend for this region when testing in residential pools:

— Chlorine, 2-4 ppm (parts per million)

— pH, 7.2 to 7.6

Total alkalinity:

— 80 to 100 for calcium hypochlorite, salt and liquid chlorine pools

— 100 to 120 for dichlor and trichlor pools

Test the following monthly:

— Salt level in a salt pool, 2,700 to 3,500

— Calcium hardness, 200 to 400 ppm

— Cyanuric acid, 30 to 50 ppm

— Total dissolved solids, less than 1,000 on non-salt pools

It is a good idea to wait to add chemicals until after the pool has been cleaned. Follow these steps when cleaning:

— Skim leaves and debris off of the pool surface with a leaf net.

— Clean out the skimmer baskets if needed.

— Brush the tile line. If needed, use a pool tile cleaner.

— Clean the pool using a vacuum or leaf vacuum.

— Brush the walls and floor of the pool, primarily focusing on the steps and benches of the pool.

— Clean out the pump basket if needed.

— Clean the automatic cleaner bag and inline screen (if applicable).

— Backwash or clean the filter if needed.

— Add chemicals as necessary (do not forget to super chlorinate as needed).

— Clean the coping and the deck--if not, the debris on the coping or the deck will find its way into your pool.

— Check the water level in the pool and add water as needed.

— Do a safety check on the pool; be sure that gates latch and are in working order, etc.

It is very unlikely that these steps will be followed precisely.  You can tailor these procedures to fit the needs of your swimming pool.  And remember to be sure you are on the right track with your water chemistry by occasionally taking your pool water to a swimming pool store to have it analyzed.

Have a great summer!

MATT GOHLKE owns Gohlke Pools, which has earned national awards, certifications and recognition in the pool industry. He can be reached at 940-387-7521 or matt@gohlkepools.com.