Maintaining a Pool when not in use

Summer is almost here and in a lot of homes, the swimming season is already in full blast! This year, if for any reason, you decide not to open your pool (or any pool) for the season then there are some things that you need to keep in mind. Before you say, I’m not going to use it anyway, so why bother? Well, the simple answer would be the regular maintenance regimen takes less time, effort, and money than dealing with a totally abandoned pool down the line.

Possible reasons for not opening the pool

Here are just some of the reasons why people are considering not opening their pool this summer season.

  • Planning Major Renovations - If this is the case, then you can skip this article all together, since you’re going to be draining the pool and doing repairs down the line.
  • No one staying at the house - Due to the pandemic, some houses are staying empty because of travel restrictions or just basically no one is there to use the pool.
  • Financial Reasons - if you think that constant pool maintenance is expensive, then you really should consider the costs of getting the pool back in shape after a long period of neglect. Don’t worry though, we’ll try and go over the absolute minimum maintenance tasks in order to prevent excessive expenses down the line.

Keep the pool water moving

The last thing you want is a big pool of stagnant water. Stagnant pool water can be home to algae, bugs, and other critters that thrive in stagnant water. Not only that, but once your pool water starts to turn green, you’ll also have staining to think about. Algae growing in between cracks can dig in deep, causing the cracks to widen and algae taking a more permanent residence in your pool that no amount of scrubbing can take away. Algae that has “rooted” in your pool surfaces may look like they’re gone after a good scrubbing but they’re still there, causing more frequent algae blooms down the line.

So even if you’re not opening the pool this summer season, keep your water moving for the absolute minimum time needed to circulate all of the water at least once. Don’t know the minimum number of hours needed to run your pump? Check out our post on how to determine your pool pump run times here.

Algaecide and Chlorine Floaters are your friends

If you have a salt water chlorinator, then you can simply set your salt water chlorinator to run on its normal schedule along with your pool pump and that should be more than enough to keep your pool from degrading completely. But if you are still doing manual chlorination then Algaecide and chlorine floats are your best friends

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Dose your pool once a month with algaecide to kill off any lingering algae spores and drop in a chlorine floater in your pool at the same time. Don’t set the baffles wide open, maybe a third of the way through to ensure that your chlorine tablets will last for a month. While this isn’t the best (or safest) way to keep your pool water reasonably clean, it’s enough to prevent the water from turning into thick pea soup overnight. If your situation doesn’t allow you to visit the pool on a monthly basis, you can hire a neighborhood kid to do it for you. Once a month, just pay them to broadcast a bottle of algaecide all around the pool and add chlorine pills into your floater.

Keep the water level up

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If you’re leaving your pool pump on a timer, then you’ll also need an automatic water levelling device to keep the water levels from dropping below your skimmer lines. A drop in water levels can cause your pump to run dry and can cause it to burn out. With an automatic water levelling device, you can just attach it to your garden hose, set the desired level and it will prevent your pool water level from dropping.

Get a Good Pool Cover

Daisy Pool Cover 400B-Mr Pool Man

If you still don’t have a pool cover, then now is the time to get one, especially if you’re not planning on swimming in the pool for extended periods of time. A pool cover reduces water evaporation, extends the life of your pool chemicals, keeps debris away from the pool and so much more. So yeah, a good pool cover like the ones from Daisy is very helpful when thinking about not using the pool for extended periods of time.

Need help in fitting a Daisy pool cover for your pool? Send us a message or check out our ultimate pool covers guide for more information on how to measure your pool for a pool cover.

Test and Balance your pool water once a month

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Even if you’re not going to be using the pool, it’s still a great idea to test and balance your pool water at least once a month (from weekly) to make sure that your algaecide and chlorine floaters will stay efficient. Check your pH levels to ensure your chlorine is effective, check if your stabiliser/cyanuric acid levels are up to level, and of course, your calcium levels to prevent staining and calcium deposits especially now that your pool water won’t be moving around from the movement from swimmers.

Keep the Status Quo

Now the final piece of advice (which a lot of people will scoff at) is to just maintain your pool as you usually do. Why? There are a couple of reasons why you should treat your pool like you would in the regular swimming season.

  • The first reason is to keep yourself in the right pool ownership mindset. Maintaining the pool becomes easier over time. If you stop maintaining your pool for an extended period of time then you’ll start to think of it as a chore if and when you decide to fully open the pool the next time, you'll have much harder time of getting back into the (pool) groove. By continuing your regular pool cleaning regimen, you’re just going forth like normal.
  • The second reason is that your pool equipment is designed to be used. Your pool pump, filter media, and cleaning tools are all designed to be wet. Leaving them unused for extended periods of times will lead to them drying out and getting damaged.
  • The third reason is well, since you already have a pool, then keeping it ready for use is always a good idea. We never know when we’ll need to use it at a moment’s notice!

Warning: Never Drain your pool

It's a mantra for many pool guys and it should be yours as well. "Never Drain your Pool". Draining your pool without a set plan in place. Leaving a pool drained for extended periods of time can cause your pool floor to lift up and your walls to fall due to the lack of water pressure, or even cause your pool to "pop" out of the ground.

The only time you should fully drain your pool is when there is some high-level maintenance planned for your pool like acid washing, repainting, re-tiling and the like. These types of renovations must be performed by a licensed (and bonded!) contractor to make sure that if anything goes wrong, it's covered by insurance.

Conclusion

So even if you don’t plan on fully opening your pool this coming summer season, a certain level of maintenance is still needed to keep your pool from deteriorating to the point of needing thousands of dollars in maintenance and renovation costs.

Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Happy swimming :)

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Post author:

Tom Hintze

Head of eCommerce & Operations at Mr Pool Man,
Co-Founder at Water TechniX

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