My pool has a bathtub ring…
Floating oils, dirt & waste can combine to form a scum line around the pool; this is why tile, an easily cleanable surface, is placed at water level around the perimeter of the pool. There are many tile cleanser products available which are applied with a scrubbing pad or brush and a little elbow grease. Abrasive cleaners work well, but should be avoided in vinyl lined pools, or pools using products such as Baquacil. On vinyl pools use a vinyl cleaner and on Baquacil treated pools, use a cleanser made without chlorine.
Cleaning the scum inside of the skimmer frequently will help to keep the tile cleaner, as scum sticks itself to clean plastic. Using enzyme products can reduce or eliminate the amount of attention to the scum line as the work to “eat” scum producing substances.
Using enzyme products can help prevent a bathtub ring around the tiles during summer, and on the walls during winter.
My pool is covered in leaves and debris…
Put on your back brace, heavy leaf removal can be hard work. At this stage, vacuuming through the skimmer or using automatic pool cleaners are very ineffective methods; both will clog up too quickly. The method of choice for the pool janitor is using a Leaf Rake attached to a telescopic pole. Slowly push the leaf rake along the floor, scooping up leaves into the bag. Work the pool in sections, trying not to create leaf-stirring currents. It takes practice and a strong back, but is the most effective way to remove large volumes of leaves.
Another method is the use of a Leaf Master, a product by Jandy. Attached to a telescopic pole and a garden hose, the Leaf Master, or its many copycat Leaf Eaters use venturi action to suck leaves up into a large attached bag as you roll the unit over the leaves. It’s slow going, but you won’t have to stop to empty the bag too often, and works faster with high water pressure from the garden hose. If you have a Polaris or other pressure side pool cleaner, with an adapter in the wall you can use the booster pump to power a Leaf Gulper or Leaf Bagger. There is also a jumbo sized, 5 ft tall leaf bag available, for those heavy jobs.
Lastly, you may need to trim some of those trees and bushes near the pool. My pool, for example, was specifically built with no vegetation anywhere within wind shot!
What about automatic pool cleaners?
Automatic cleaners are terrific time-savers, and they also help to distribute and circulate the water while (some of them) decreasing the work load required of the filter. There is a wide range of cleaners available, for all types of pools and budgets. Cleaners run from $99.99 to $2,999.99. The more expensive models will vacuum more debris, more efficiently and without compromising the filter system. Refer to the automatic swimming pool cleaner section for available cleaners from Poolcenter.com.
Do I need to brush my pool regularly?
Your pool brush attaches to the telescopic pole, and is most commonly used to brush algae off of the walls. To quote the Pool Janitor; “Plaster pools like to be brushed…” Brushing your pool will keep dirt from occupying the small pores and starting small organic farms. Steel bristled brushes, called algae brushes, are very effective on, you guessed it, algae. Do not use a steel brush on a vinyl lined pool.
Done regularly, brushing can also reduce the time spent vacuuming. Brush from the shallow end towards the deep end in overlapping strokes. Circle the pool towards the main drain, and much of the dirt will be swept up into the filter in this manner.
How do I vacuum my pool?
Unless you have an automatic cleaner, an in-floor cleaning system or an automatic cover, or sometimes even if you do…you’ll need to manually vacuum the debris. And here’s how…
Roll your vacuum hose straight along the length of the pool. Attach one of the cuffed ends onto your vacuum head which is attached to your telescopic pole. Extend the pole and place the head (with the hose attached) into the water so that it rests on the floor of the pool. Point the head across the pool so that it doesn’t roll down the slope towards the deep end and prop the pole up against the pool’s edge.
From the point where the hose surfaces, begin pushing the hose straight down into the water, hand over hand, until you reach the other end. This is filling the hose up with water so there is no air in it which may cause difficulties for the pump when you attach the hose to the skimmer. Another method of “priming the hose” is to hold the cuffed end firmly over a return fitting to force the air out of the end attached to the vacuum head.