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Budget friendly pool care tips that make swimming fun again




Owning a swimming pool can be a pricey venture, but there are plenty of ways to maintain your investment without breaking the bank. By following these guidelines, you'll boost the quality and overall lifespan of your pool, mainly using household items that you had lying around to begin with. Best of all, they'll help you cut down on pricey maintenance bills in the long run. Here's our basic primer on how to get the most enjoyment out of your swimming pool this season.

Balance your water twice a week
If you own a pool, you probably already know that the pH should be kept at a neutral level—that is, between 7.4 and 7.6. Similarly, the alkalinity should fall within the 80-120 parts per million (ppm) range; calcium levels should be between 200 and 400 ppm; chlorine should make up a minimum of 1 and no more than 3 ppm; and the total dissolved solids should be no greater than 2,000 ppm. Checking the levels regularly will ensure that you use fewer chemicals to maintain a proper balance, thereby saving money on maintenance bills.

Use a solar pool cover
By investing in a solar pool cover, you'll do more than just keep the water warm—although that would be a solid enough reason in itself, as studies show that one of these covers can help pool water retain up to 70 percent of its warmth. A solar cover will also reduce evaporation, meaning you won't have to add water to the pool as frequently. Another bonus? They'll help to keep out leaves, sticks, grass clippings, and other debris when the pool is not in use.

Use vinegar to polish tiles
This inexpensive hack has its roots in the science experiments you may have engaged in as a kid, and can be performed using a single household staple.

To remove built-up calcium from your pool tiles, heat a decent quantity of white vinegar in the microwave or on the stovetop, then use a towel or rag to apply the warm solution to the pool tiles. The molecules in the vinegar will react with the calcium, causing the built-up calcium deposits to loosen themselves from the tile. Note that this process takes time—the results won't be instantaneous, but they will be worth it.

Run the pump at night
As peak utility-rate hours generally occur during the day, it's cheaper to run your pump at night. Running it at night will also help to boost chlorine production so the level will be just where you want it the next day. This is especially useful if you prefer to do your chemical treatments in the evening when pool time is over for the day.

Use tennis balls to filter oils out
Pool users tend to underestimate the amount of oil they're adding to the water simply by diving in. Not only are sunscreens chock-full of additives, but our bodies also have natural oils that get left behind in the pool as well. To counteract the effects, try tossing a tennis ball or two into the water. They'll act as floating sponges, soaking up the excess oils—and they can be safely left in the pool at all times.

Put pantyhose in your skimmer basket

Using pantyhose as a liner for your skimmer basket will help to filter out the smaller particles that the wider holes might miss. The more debris you collect with the skimmer, the better—if too many particles are clogging the filter, you could be facing a hefty maintenance bill. Even if you don't usually keep pantyhose on hand, invest in a few inexpensive pairs—it'll be cheaper than replacing the pool filter.

Add baking soda to your pool water

Baking soda increases the alkalinity levels of your pool water for a fraction of the cost of the "alkalinity increases" that the pool stores will attempt to sell you. It's also a great cleaning agent for removing build up from pool tiles. To discern how much baking soda you'll need for your pool, use this basic formula: One and a half pounds of baking soda will increase the alkalinity level of 10,000 gallons of water by about 10 ppm. You'll need to make adjustments based on size and starting level, but this is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Use a gym sock to disperse stabilizer

If you've ever tried to add stabilizer all in one go, you've likely noticed that it can make the water turn milky, even opaque in places. This is unappealing, to say the least. Fortunately, you can get around it by using something you probably already have on hand—a gym sock. Simply pour the stabilizer into the sock, tie the top of the sock off with a string, and place the stuffed sock in your skimmer. Then drag the skimmer around in the water until the stabilizer has dissolved. This will help the solution to disperse more evenly.

Clean your pool filter monthly

When it comes to cleanliness, there's no such thing as staying too far ahead of the game. This is doubly true in the case of pool maintenance, as infrequent cleaning can lead to issues with the pump and filtration systems.

If the filter isn't kept clean, the water becomes increasingly contaminated, which can cause the filter and the pump to shut down altogether. An hour or so of monthly maintenance is a small price to pay to avoid this fate. By cleaning the filter every month, you'll also be able to keep an eye on which parts of the filter media might need to be repaired or replaced.

In Conclusion


By keeping a few inexpensive household items on hand, you can reap the benefits of a clean, inviting swimming pool all season long. The hacks outlined above are neither exceptionally costly nor difficult to follow, and the rewards will be well worth the effort. Remember—the pool is only a container, and the cleaner you keep the container, the cleaner the water will stay.

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