At first glance a swimming pool appears simple enough it has a supply to transport inflow water and a drain for water outflow with a few additional mechanical pieces that people hardly even notice. Naturally, you might assume that the maintenance needed to sustain it would be simple too, but looks can be deceiving and pool maintenance can be a daunting task to anyone not equipped to deal with the job before them. Fear not, for within the words displayed before you, lay simple chores that can spare you barrels of burden and grant seasons of problem-free entertainment, simple chores like cleaning the pool baskets, filters and routine maintenance on the pump go a long way towards extending your pool life.

The primary enemy of your pool function is debris, which makes its way into the pool parts. Your water filter is your primary defense against this typically you will find one of three types of filters: sand, cartridge, or a diatomaceous earth filter. Each one requires various steps to clean properly.

A sand filter is just a large canister of special-purpose sand containing sharp edges that separate debris from the water. Cartridge filters use a pleated filter element which catches large particles of debris in pores covering the surface and use the larger debris to filter the finer particles like a screen. A diatomaceous earth (DE) filter contains a porous powder that traps debris as water passes through it, the particles in the powder act as a sponge to absorb the debris.

Before cleaning any filter you have to be able to determine the appropriate time to do so. Most manufacturers will list the various specifications that their filters have, but it is usually a good idea to clean the filter when the pressure gauge on it reads 10 psi over its normal operating level. If you use a sand filter or a DE filter backflush water through them as routine maintenance replacing sand filters every three to five years and DE filters every three to four months. Cartridge filters are my personal choice, simply flush the filter with a garden hose and soak it in a cleaning solution and you’re good to go but I like to keep a second cartridge so I can rotate them out and not lose pool time.

Keep the skimmer basket clean which is located underneath a cover on the pool deck. This basket is designed to capture floating debris preventing it from reaching other critical components, without routine cleaning which can mean daily during heavy use, the basket gets clogged causing the rest of the pool components to have a harder time maintaining their proper functions. A swimming pool pump is reminiscent of impeller-driven pumps which operate in a similar manner, the electric power motor spins an impeller disk mounted with curved vanes creating negative pressure in the lines as the vanes rotate drawing water from the intake source to the pool through the discharge port. When backflushing sand filters most of them will have instructions specific for that unit, look for a multiport valve on the top or body of the unit when it is present the various functions will be stated on the dial section, just turn the dial to “backwash,” and switch the pump on for about 10 minutes.

If you use a DE filter you want to disassemble the DE filter and clean the grids during the beginning of each season, to do this shut off the circuit breaker to the pump and bleed your system at the pressure relief valve before you remove the top of the unit once you do this remove the top of the filter grid.