There's nothing better than a clear, sparkling pool on a hot summer day. With proper maintenance and the right set of pool supplies, the task of keeping your pool clean and, more importantly, safe becomes a much simpler task. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that roughly 15 percent of public pools have a health concern that could be eliminated with proper maintenance and sanitization. Home swimming pools are a perfect host to a wide array of bacteria, many of which can cause illness or disease, and traces urine or fecal matter are often found in pools. Chlorine alone is often not enough to rid your pool of toxicity, since components in urine, sweat and suntan lotions can render chlorine ineffective against bacteria. Understanding and implementing proper pool maintenance and sanitization is the only way to ensure your pool is as clean as appears.
Pool Treatment Chemicals
The most common pool chemical is chlorine, which is available in a variety of forms (tablet, granular or liquid). Chlorine is used to disinfect and kill bacteria, waterborne pathogens and algae, and many pool owners use automated dispensers that ensure a consistent chlorine distribution. Regular testing of residual chlorine to make sure levels stay between one and three parts per million is highly recommended. Shock treatment packages may be used when chlorine destabilizes pool water, a result of the pool's exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. Stabilizing agents can be used, but often result in hypochlorous acid, which can cause irritation to the skin and eyes and cause the water to have a musty odor. Shock treatments will eliminate hypochlorous acid and maintain safe levels of chlorine.
In addition to chlorine and shock treatments, algaecides and clarifiers may be used, as well. Algaecides can be added to the pool once a week to control algae and related contaminates, and may be used alongside shock treatments. Clarifiers take on the task of cleaning up small debris and dirt left behind by the pool filter system. Most clarifiers work by combining smaller dirt particles into larger ones big enough to be caught in the pool's filter. Monitoring pH levels in the pool is also important, regardless of chemicals used. pH test strips make testing acidity and alkaline levels simple, with testing recommended at least twice per week.
Pool Cleaning Supplies
Aside from pool treatment chemicals, pool cleaning supplies allow you to keep your pool sparkling. Investing in a good filter for your pool is at the top of the list, and is generally not a good place to cut corners or budget shop. In addition, tele poles (extendable poles used for various cleaning attachments), leaf traps and baggers, a skimmer net and a vacuum hose and head are bare minimum supplies for any pool owner who wants to properly clean and maintain a pool. Other essentials may include a tile brush for cleaning dirt and grime from tile areas, a pool brush to keep the concrete or vinyl areas of the pool clean, and a pumice stone for removing any stubborn stains.
Other pool cleaning supplies can make the task of maintaining your pool easier and less of a chore. Automated pool cleaners, for example, allow you to simply deploy a robotic cleaner into the pool for automatic cleaning while you relax in the sunshine. Some automatic pool cleaners come equipped with their own pump and filter system, saving wear and tear on your pool pump and filter. Pressure cleaners can also be purchased to make cleaning the sides of your pool easy and quick. Automatic cleaners and pressure washers can be expensive when compared to manual vacuums and scrubbers, however, so if you decide to go with automated equipment, make sure to do some research on various brands and styles before you buy.
Pool Covers, Liners and Other Accessories
Having a good pool cover, especially a solar cover, can reduce water evaporation by up to 90 percent, while reducing the loss of heat, saving you money in the long run. Pool covers are also the best way to keep debris out of the pool, especially during the off season, making maintenance easier. Pool liners are another great investment, which protect your above-ground pool from leaks and tears, as well as the floors and walls of an in-ground pool. Most pool liners are made of vinyl that can be easily fitted around existing structures, such as ladders, for a perfect fit. In-ground pool liners typically require professional installation.
Other accessories may include ladders, special lighting, diving boards or other items that enhance the look and functionality of your pool. Thermometers, floating chlorine dispensers, depth markers, bouy ropes and other accessories may also be used to enhance your pool. Always opt for high-quality covers, liners and other pool supplies to ensure years of enjoyment.
Choosing The Best Pool Supplies
When shopping for pool supplies, quality is key, especially when buying cleaning supplies and chemicals. Opt for trusted brands that have a history of providing good products at reasonable prices, and when in doubt, talk to the experts at your local pool store. When purchasing pool chemicals, the importance of knowing what you need and following proper use guidelines is especially important. Using too much or too little chlorine can result in an unsafe or unsanitary pool environment.
If you're shopping online for pool supplies, always research the brands and look for consumer reviews, when possible. Buying pool supplies online can save you plenty of money, but lacks the advantage of sales staff who can help you choose the correct brands and products for your needs. If in doubt, visit your local pool store for advice on which products you need before making your online purchase. Keeping your pool looking beautiful is easy when you have the know-how and the right products to work with!