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—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 you use fewer chemicals to maintain a proper balance, 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 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 keep out leaves, sticks, grass clippings, and other debris when the collection is unused.

Pool Shade

Plan your pool's location so that it has parts almost always in sunlight and features almost always in the shade. You should also have sunny and shady terrace areas. The pool shade is a fantastic place to cool off and take a break from the sun.

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, running your pump at night is cheaper. 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 need to pay more attention to the amount of oil they add 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. Try tossing a tennis ball or two into the water to counteract the effects. They'll act as floating sponges, soaking up the excess oils—and they can always be safely left in the pool.

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 clog the filter, you could face 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 adjust based on size and starting level, but this is a good rule of thumb.

Use a gym sock to disperse the 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. You can get around it using a gym sock you already have. Simply pour the stabilizer into the sock, tie the top of the hose 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.

Use hydrogen peroxide

But 30 – 40 ppm hydrogen peroxide is required. If someone is allergic or sensitive to chlorine, hydrogen peroxide should be used. However, many pool owners base their decision to get away from all chlorine on a bad experience with water chemistry or misinformation. A low dosage of chlorine is safe and effective. Hydrogen peroxide prevents your pool from being stained and makes your water more hygienic. Click here to learn where to buy hydrogen peroxide online.

Clean your pool filter monthly.

Regarding 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 periodic 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 avoid this fate. By cleaning the filter every month, you'll also be able to monitor which parts of the filter media might need to be repaired or replaced.

In Conclusion

Keeping a few inexpensive household items on hand can reap the benefits of a clean, inviting swimming pool all season long. The hacks outlined above are cheap and easy to follow, and the rewards will be well worth the effort. Remember—the collection is only a container, and the cleaner you keep the container, the cleaner the water will stay.

Post brought to you by Pool Service Modesto - pool cleaning and maintenance service.