By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
If you’re maintaining a frame pool for your family, try these tips for easier pool care all summer long.
• Set it up in the ideal location. Choose a place that’s level. That’s very important to avoid undue wear on one side of the frame. The ground should be free of rocks and other debris. Select an area where the pool will get lots of sun to warm the water. An area near trees will mean much more pool care all summer. Consider the proximity of your garden hose for filling the pool, too.
• Check the liner. Even if it’s a new pool, you should examine the liner for leaks before going through all the effort of assembling the frame and filling it.
• Lay a tarp on the ground. This will help protect your pool’s vinyl from weeds poking through it. It will also make mowing easier, as the tarp prevents weeds and grass from growing alongside the pool. As you mow near the pool, make sure the grass shoots away from the pool to reduce pool maintenance.
• Keep the pool covered when not in use. This reduces pool maintenance by keeping debris out, such as leaves and insects. The clear cover allows sunlight in the pool to warm the water and the tiedown cover is better for time periods when you won’t be using the pool for a while, as it’s more secure and it prevents rainwater from affecting the pool’s water.
• Skim the pool. In addition to strategic placement and using covers, skimming will remove the debris that will break down and foul the water.
• Watch the chemicals. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for treating the pool’s water. You’ll need to keep the right level of chlorine. Automatic dispensers that float in the water may not do the job alone. You’ll also need to use pool shock in the water. Weekly algaecide treatments also help keep the water clean and clear. Use a pool chemical kit to test the water after adding chemicals and each time after it rains. Testing frequently will keep your pool’s water clean.
• Use the ladder. Stepping over the side or otherwise climbing into the pool is risky—both for the user and the structural integrity of the pool.
• Get a pool filter and vacuum. These tools will help reduce skimming and chemical use.
• Keep cosmetics out. Use only waterproof sunscreen before entering the pool, but allow it to dry first. Remove any makeup before entering the pool.
• Keep feet clean. Offer a basin of water near the pool for rinsing off feet before getting in. This reduces the amount of grass and leaves tracked in the pool.
• Remove pool toys and the ladder after use. If you leave them in all night, they provide another surface for scum to build up. Drain out the water and allow them to air dry. Removing the toys and ladder also reduce motivation and access for young children.
• Put it up for fall and winter. Frame pools can provide hours of cool fun all summer, but if you want yours to last for years—and not just a season or two—you need to store it for winter. Drain the pool, clean the liner and pump equipment and store all the parts out of direct sunlight once they’re dry.