So you’ve got a new fiberglass pool in your backyard. All you’ve got to do is add chlorine and you’re good, right? Wrong. A pool is a big responsibility that requires regular maintenance. Think of a pool like a new pet. You’ve got to feed it, walk it, monitor its health, bathe it, even give it some treats from time to time.
This article will walk you through some common pool maintenance problems and their solutions, as well as tell you precisely how often you’ll need to perform maintenance for your fiberglass pool. Let’s jump in!
Common Pool Maintenance Problems
Pool maintenance isn’t always easy. While proper care will minimize the likelihood of these problems, mistakes happen. Sometimes, we’re late with our cleaning or forget it altogether. Other times, mother nature intervenes – excess rainfall or a storm bringing lots of leaves and debris in your pool can easily cause a chemical imbalance.
Some of the most common issues that pop up include:
Algae can grow rapidly in a pool if the chemical balance is not properly maintained or there are too many leaves in the pool for too long. Leaves break down into phosphates, which is food for algae. Algae makes your pool water look cloudy and green, and it can be difficult to get rid of once it takes hold. To get rid of pool algae, many pool owners mistakenly apply lots of algaecide. It’s a very understandable course of action – it’s in the name, after all – but algaecide is best used as a preventative measure or to treat very early stage growth. To get rid of a big algae problem, you’ll need to perform lots of vacuuming, shocking, and filtering, depending on the color and amount of algae.
Cracks or leaks
Cracks are extremely difficult costly to fix, but vitally important. Cracks and leaks can lead to water loss and difficulty in maintaining the proper chemical balance – the chemicals you add will leak right out and your pump won’t move the water as easily. You’ve got to first find the source of the leak. Then, you’ll want to find a patch kit from a pool or hardware store. Make sure the material of the patch matches that of your pool. If the crack is too big, you might have to replace the liner.
The pH level of the pool water should be between 7.2 and 7.8. If it’s too high or too low, it can cause problems with the water chemistry and lead to issues like corrosion or scaling. An imbalanced pH may also be harmful to your health, causing skin and eye irritation, reduced effectiveness of chorine, and ultimately the growth of harmful bacteria which can get you and your family sick. Get a testing kit or bring a clean sample of your pool water into a pool store to get an accurate reading of your pH level. If it’s too low, you’ll need to add sodium carbonate (sometimes sold as “soda ash”) or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). If it’s too high, you’ll need to add an acid such as muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate.
Unfortunately, sometimes too much of a good thing is bad. In the case of swimming, overuse of your pool – including having too many people in the pool or using it too frequently – can lead to a buildup of contaminants and make it difficult to maintain the chemical balance of the water. Dead skin, sweat, oil from hair and bodies, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, hairsprays, cologne, and much, much more all accumulates in your pool over time. This is natural and expected – nothing to gross out over. Your pool chemicals and filter break it all down and filters it out over time. However, too much of this human gunk at once can overwhelm your pool, causing a chemical imbalance. If you’re struggling with this, consider implementing a “shower-before-pool” policy in your household. This will help ensure swimmers are clean and don’t bring too much oils and gunk into the pool with them. Clean your pool regularly and especially after big parties and long uses.
How Often Do You Need to Perform Maintenance on a Fiberglass Pool?
Fiberglass pool maintenance is generally quite easy compared to other types of pools, such as concrete or vinyl liner pools. However, it’s important to be diligent, vigilant, and on top of all your maintenance to keep the pool in good condition and prevent problems from arising. People often ask how often you need to perform pool maintenance. The fact is, different task need to be done at different intervals. For the sake of convenience, the list we assembled splits maintenance tasks into frequency categories: once a day, every few days, once a week, and monthly.
Once a day
- Check Water Level – Take a quick glance at your water level. It shouldn’t be too high or too low, or your skimmer will have problems.
- Run Filter – You should run your filter for a few hours every day. A general recommendation is 6 hours per day during peak swim season.
- Clear Surface Debris – Take a leaf rake and remove leaves and debris from the surface of your pool.
- Check Pump & Filter Gauge – Pressure should be normal. If it’s too low, it’s a filter or basket problem (it’s likely full). If it’s too high, it’s typically a valve issue.
Every few days
- Vacuum – Run manual or automatic vacuum along the floor of your pool.
- Surface cleaning – With a damp rag and pool cleaner, scrub dirt and grime from your pool walls.
- Chemical Balancing – Check and adjust your chemical levels at least twice a week during peak season to ensure your pool is safe to swim in. For best results, take a sample of your water to a local pool store so they can perform a free professional test and give you on-the-spot recommendations.
Once a week
- Empty Filter – Empty your filter basket at least once a week and always immediately after large gatherings. All the debris that get into your pool will accumulate here. If they linger in your water for too long, you’ll risk affecting the chemical balance.
- Shock – Typically, manual chlorination is administered weekly. Whether in the form of tablets, powder, or liquid, chlorine is critical to keep your pool free of bacteria.
- Clean Deck – Scrub pool tiles and blow leaves and twigs off your deck so they don’t get in the water.
- Clean Filter System – Typically, pools have either cartridge filters, sand filters, or DE (diatomaceous earth) filters. Clean your filter and backwash your pipe once a month. If it’s time, replace your filters.
- Crack Inspection – Perform a visual inspection for cracks and leaks or any discoloration in your liner.
Owning a pool is a huge responsibility that requires a good deal of work. While you could hire a pool cleaning service, with just a little solid planning and knowledge you can take care of it yourself and save a lot of money. Use this pool maintenance checklist to make sure you take care of everything when it needs to be done so your pool is always ready for a safe swim.
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