Pool Maintenance For Beginners: There are three rules for maintaining any type of smaller above-ground pool.
One, the right water chemistry.
Two, good circulation.
And three, a simple cleaning routine.
Once you’ve mastered these three basic rules, you’ll be able to keep your pool clean and clear all season long.
So we’re going to cover everything that you need to know about water chemistry, circulation, and cleaning your Intex,
Coleman, Quick Set, Easy Set,
or any type of smaller above ground pool.
Let’s dive in.
But everything we cover applies to any type of smaller above-ground pool with a filter pump system.
Your pump and filter capture contaminants and help circulate chemicals throughout your pool.
Pool Maintenance For Beginners
If you don’t have a filter pump system yet, we highly recommend that you get one if you plan on keeping your pool up throughout the season.
Intex pools have a lot of the same needs as larger sized pools, but because they hold less water, they have some specific equipment and chemical requirements.
So you’ll need to know how many gallons of water your pool holds.
You can find this in your owner’s manual or with a quick Google search.
All right, let’s break down three rules of Intex pool maintenance.
One, balancing your water chemistry.
This means knowing what chemicals you need to have on hand and when to add them to your pool.
Two, maintaining good pool circulation, like how often to run your pump and filter, and how to keep your system clean.
And three, sticking to a simple pool cleaning routine.
This includes how often to vacuum and brush, and what types of cleaning supplies work best for smaller pools.
First up, rule number one, the right water chemistry.
So let’s talk about how to keep your water balanced.
As we said, Intex pools have a lot less water which means they’re more susceptible to chemical fluctuations.
That’s why it’s so important to test and balance your water often during the pool season, especially if your pool was getting a lot of use, or there’s lots of debris or rain getting into your pool.
You’ll want to have plenty of test strips on hand.
Ideally, you’ll want to test and adjust your water twice a week,but definitely at least once a week.
You’ll also want to shock your water once a week, but we’ll cover shock in a little bit.
Now here are the chemicals you’ll need to have on hand to keep your pool water balanced.
Alkalinity increaser, pH increaser, pH decreaser, sanitizer, like chlorine granules or one-inch chlorine pucks, cyanuric acid, also known as CYA or chlorine stabilizer, non-chlorine shock, and as always when adding chemicals, be sure you have protective
gear like gloves and goggles.
Remember, safety first.
You’ll also want a garden hose filter.
This removes any excess chlorine, calcium, and metals from your water before they get into your pool.
Now first, let’s talk about balancing your alkalinity and pH.
Balancing these two chemicals helps your pool sanitizer do its job more effectively.
And alkalinity and pH work hand in hand.
Alkalinity helps buffer and prevent fluctuations with pH, so we want to adjust your alkalinity levels first.
Aim for an alkalinity level between 100 and 150 parts per million.
If you need to raise your alkalinity, you can use an alkalinity increaser or baking soda.
Now just know that your pH levels may go up when you raise your alkalinity.
If you need to decrease your alkalinity levels, there’s actually no such thing as an alkalinity decrease.
Instead, you’ll use a pH decrease to lower these levels.
Next, it’s time to adjust your pH.
The ideal pH range for a swimming pool is 7.4 to 7.6.
You can lower your pH with a pH decreaser, or if you need to raise the pH, you can use a pH increaser or soda ash.
After your alkalinity and pH, it’s time to adjust your cyanuric acid or CYA levels if needed.
Your CYA levels should be between 30 and 50 parts per million.
CYA helps to stabilize the sanitizer you’ll add later to your pool.
This is especially important if your pool is in the sun.
Your sanitizer will burn off quickly if it’s not stabilized.
However, most chlorine sanitizer is already stabilized.
And that means you’re usually getting a steady dose of CYA when you add chlorine to your pool.
You’ll need to add CYA to your pool at the beginning of the swim season, or if your water is diluted with heavy amounts of rain.
CYA is also acid, so many manufacturers recommend dissolving it in a bucket of water before adding it to your pool.
Now, remember, never pour chemicals directly into your skimmer and through your pump and filter system.
Now it’s time to add sanitizer.
For Intex pools, we recommend using granular chlorine or smaller one-inch chlorine pucks.
Granular chlorine works well for smaller pools because you can broadcast the chlorine evenly around the water and just add enough based on your pool size.
Chlorine tablets are very convenient, but they can get stuck in one spot of your pool if you’re using a chlorine floater.
If you use a chlorine floater, be sure to use the smaller one-inch tablets, and pay attention to the dial on your floater.
There are lots of automatic chemical feeder options out there, just be sure to keep your pool filter system on and circulating when you use them.
Your chlorine levels should be between one and three parts per million.
We also recommend using a mineral system to help sanitize your pool.
Minerals like silver and copper kill bacteria.
And if your chlorine levels ever drop too low, a mineral system ensures that there’s always something fighting contaminants, and you’ll need less chlorine with a mineral system, only 0.5 to one part per million.
So how long do you need to wait after you add chemicals?
You want to wait 20 minutes to an hour after you adjust your alkalinity and pH.
It needs to fully mix into the water with your system running before testing again.
Then you want to retest your water and add CYA if needed, and chlorine sanitizer.
Wait another 20 minutes to an hour,keeping the filter system running.
The last piece you need to know about water chemistry is shock.
You’ll want to shock your pool once a week.
The chlorine level should be between one and three parts per million.
But as chlorine combines with contaminants, there’s less free chlorine to actively sanitize your water.
This also produces chloramines that off-gas into the air and make that chlorine-like smell.
Shocking is the process of adding chemicals to your pool, AKA shock, to break apart those chloramines.
Now for Intex pools, we recommend shocking once a week using a non-chlorine shock.
Adding weekly nonchlorine shock speeds up the process of oxidizing chloramines, keeps your water sanitized, and helps to fight algae.
If you use a chlorine shock, you’ll run the risk of your chlorine levels getting too high.
You’ll also have to wait a lot longer to test your water and swim in your pool after a chlorine shock.
You only have to wait about an hour after adding nonchlorine shock.
Now make sure that your pH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels are always in the right ranges before you shock your pool.
You’ll also want to broadcast your shock around the pool so it’s evenly distributed.
Once you shock your pool with a non-chlorine shock, test your levels and bring your chlorine sanitizer levels back into the normal range of one to three parts per million.
So how much shock do you need to add?
Well, you need to add a one pound bag of shock to shock 10,000 gallons of water.
And most Intex pools are a lot smaller than that.
So for example, if your pool holds 2,000 gallons, you’ll only need one-fifth of that bag.
So look for non chlorine shock sold in plastic containers with sealable lids.
That way you’re not opening loose bags of shock and leaving chemicals exposed to the air.
Non chlorine shock for hot tubs usually comes in smaller containers and is perfectly fine to use in your pool.
Now if you have a major pool problem like algae or bodily waste, you’ll want to use a chlorine shock because it’s way more potent.
Be sure to check out our other video all about removing algae.
But wait, what about calcium hardness levels?
Well, you may see this reading in your testing kit, you don’t need to worry about adjusting your calcium hardness with an Intex pool.
This level really only affects pools made of concrete and plaster, not vinyl.
So to summarize rule number one and water chemistry, test and balance your water one to two times a week.
Adjust your alkalinity, pH, CYA, and sanitizer levels in that order.
Use granular chlorine or one-inch chlorine pucks to avoid high chlorine levels.
Use a mineral system to keep your water sanitized.
Shock with a non-chlorine shock once a week.
Always keep your filter system running when adding chemicals.
And use a hose filter when filling up your pool.
Next up is rule number two, good pool circulation.
Now it’s time to talk about your pump and filter system.
The better your pools water circulation,the better your chemicals can go to work.
Your pump sucks water into your filter system and then returns it to your pool after it’s been cleaned.
It also helps to evenly distribute sanitizer and other chemicals throughout your water.
This is why you want to run your filter pump at least eight hours a day every day during the season.
You’ll also want to make sure that your return jets are pointing at a 45-degree angle down towards the bottom of your pool.
This helps circulate the water and prevent stagnant areas or dead zones where algae can grow.
If you only have one return jet, you’ll want to brush any dead zones to help break up that algae.
Now let’s talk about your filter pump system.
Your filter pump is likely cartridge or sand.
It either has a filter basket or just an intake and an outtake.
If you have a cartridge filter, they’re relatively easy to clean.
Just unscrew the lid, take out the filter and spray it down with the hose getting in between all the pleats.
You’ll want to spray it down once a week.
And once a month, you’ll want to soak it in a filter cleaning solution for that deep clean.
It’s smart to always have two cartridges on hand to change out.
So you can spray and rinse one,while you keep your filter system running.
You may also want to consider upgrading the standard filter cartridge that comes with your pool.
It’s perfectly functional, but you might see improved performance with a different model that has better filtration materials.
You’ll need to replace the cartridge filter at least once a year, usually when you open or close your pool for the season.
You’ll also want to replace it when it’s worn out and can no longer be cleaned.
If you have a sand filter, you’ll need to backwash it to keep it clean.
Backwashing sends pool water backward through the filter and removes contaminants that have built up over time.
The dirty water leaves your filter hose and pours out onto the ground.
When you’re using the backwash, rinse, and waste setting, you’ll lose pool water.
That means you’ll need to refill the pool and retest and adjust your chemicals.
You should backwash your filter a few times every pool season when your filter pressure rises about 10 PSI above normal running pressure, or when you notice poor water flow coming from your return jet.
Intex pressure gauges tend to fail over time, so don’t rely on just the pressure gauge to know when it’s time to backwash.
For a smaller or Intex sand filter, backwash for one minute and then rinse for one minute.
Repeat the cycle for about three rounds to avoid blowing any dirty water back into your pool.
You’ll also want to change out the sand in your filter every four to five years.
Finally, you may or may not have a skimmer basket in your pool.
It’s an affordable investment and easy to install.
Skimmer baskets help catch leaves and debris as water flows into your filter pump.
Be sure to empty the skimmer basket if you have one, and your pump basket every week.
So to summarize rule number two and circulation.
Run your filter pump at least eight hours a day.
Point your return jets at a 45-degree angle If you have a cartridge filter, spray it every week and soak it once a month.
Keep two on hand to rotate in and out.
If you have a sand filter, backwash it a few times each season when the PSI is too high or when the water flow is low.
Replace the sand every four to five years.
And empty your skimmer and pump baskets every week.
Finally, rule number three, maintaining a simple pool cleaning routine.
We’re going to talk about how often to clean your pool and what equipment you need.
A simple regular cleaning schedule will help prevent leaves, sand, dirt, and other debris from clogging your filter system and throwing off your water chemistry.
First, here are the cleaning tools that every pool owner should have on hand.
A telescopic pole, a skimmer net, a pool vacuum, and nylon bristled pool brush.
Now here’s how often you should be cleaning your pool.
One, use the skimmer net to remove debris every other day.
You do not want to let debris fall to the bottom of your pool because this causes pool stains.
And, if you want to save yourself from a lot of skimming, you can cover your pool at night.
Two, brush your pool every other day during peak pool season.
This helps to get algae out of crevices and into your water where it can be sanitized and filtered.
Make sure that you use a pool brush with nylon bristles so that you don’t scratch or tear your vinyl liner.
And three, vacuum once a week.
Now there are several types of vacuums to consider.
Intex makes a filter line vacuum that you can attach to your filter pump system.
The water is vacuumed through your filter and out the waistline onto the ground.
However, if you want something a little bit easier for weekly pool cleaning, you may want to consider a rechargeable manual vacuum.
It uses internal power instead of your pool’s filter system to clean.
The debris gets sucked up into a filter bag inside the cleaner as you push it along the bottom of your pool.
It’s basically a dust buster for your pool.
For bigger jobs like algae, you may want to have a vacuum that connects to the filter pump to get good suction.
But for smaller weekly maintenance, the pool dustbuster is a really handy and easy tool.
Finally, you should wipe down the surfaces of your pool every week with diluted vinegar or a mild surface cleaner made for pools.
If you notice a scum line or ring around the waterline of your pool, you wipe it away with diluted white vinegar and a soft cloth or towel.
Now to recap rule number three and pool cleaning, skim and brush your pool every other day during the peak of pool season.
Cover your pool at night when you’re not using it.
Vacuum your pool once a week,and wipe down your pool surfaces and the waterline once a week.