Swimming Pool & Spa Maintenance Care & Safety Guide

This is a swimming pool maintenance care, pool safety, and chemical safety guide to assist you in the proper techniques of running and maintaining a sparkling and healthy swimming pool and spa. Various recommendations in this guide are intended for swimming pool owners that live in warmer climates, such as Florida. However, everyone should benefit from this exceptional swimming pool guide.

Swimming Pool and Spa Maintenance

Obtain a quality and reliable test kit that allows you to test for chlorine, pH, acid/base demand, alkalinity, calcium hardness, stabilizer, and carefully follow the directions that come with it.

Store the test kit out of the reach of children and pets in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight and replace the test kit reagents annually.

You should evaluate and adjust the chemical balance of swimming pool and/or spa water at least once per weak. Extreme temperature from the sun will require examination and adjustment of the chemical balance more frequently.

Before testing the water, all of the containers used for collecting and testing should be rinsed thoroughly with the water to be tested.

When collecting water for testing, reach beneath the water’s surface to collect the sample to obtain a more reliable and accurate reading.

The chlorine level should be within 1.0 to 4.0 parts per million to maintain a sparkling and healthy swimming pool.

The suitable pH level is approximately 7.2 to 7.6 ppm.

The total alkalinity level should be approximately 80 to 140 ppm.

If both alkalinity and pH levels need adjusting, always balance alkalinity first.

Stabilizer, also known as conditioner will significantly increase the lifespan of the chlorine and should be approximately 40 to 100 ppm.

The calcium hardness levels should be approximately 200 to 400 ppm.

A low pH level will cause the chlorine to dissipate much more rapidly and an excessively high pH level will cause the chlorine to become inactive.

When adding chemicals to your swimming pool or spa, make sure the pump is running so that there is adequate circulation of the water to disperse the chemicals throughout the pool and spa.

Never add chemicals to the swimming pool or spa while it is in operation as skin and eye irritations can occur. Only go swimming when the chemical balance has returned to the recommended levels.

After it rains, or after a heavy bather load, or if the sun is evaporating too much water you may need to retest the water and add more chemicals/water to your swimming pool and spa as necessary.

A solar pool cover can reduce the amount of water evaporating out of your swimming pool and spa while retaining heat from the sun and/or pool heater.

Utilize a skimming-net and a pool vacuum to clean all of the dirt, leaves and other debris floating in the swimming pool and spa on a regular basis.

Completely remove all of the debris from the skimming baskets at the swimming pool and pump regularly. If the skimming baskets are constantly full with leaves and other debris, it can damage the pump if it is not getting sufficient water circulation.

Screen enclosures are excellent structures that keep leaves and other debris from falling into and contaminating your swimming pool and spa. They also inhibit some of the sun's UV rays, which will reduce the amount of water evaporation, and increase the lifespan of the chlorine.

Brush the swimming pool and spa walls, steps, and swim-outs thoroughly and utilize a swimming pool vacuum to clean the floors of the pool and spa at least once a week.

The pump must be operated 8 to 12 hours per day throughout the hottest summer months, and 3 to 5 hours per day throughout the winter months to maintain a sparkling and healthy swimming pool. A two-speed pump can significantly lessen the electrical consumption, but will require longer periods of runtime when run at the lower speed.

Clean or backwash the filter every 4 to 6 weeks or when the normal clean pressure increases 8 to 10 psi, and replace the filter on a regular basis as recommended by the manufacturer. A dirty filter means your swimming pool or spa will not be as sanitary as it should be, and the pump motor will be under unnecessary strain.

Dangerous water pressure can build up within the entire pump and filter system. Seek advice from a professional or the equipment operations manual before you attempt any maintenance operation.

If your pump is making loud or unusual noises, have it serviced or replaced by a professional as necessary.

Have all leaks in your swimming pool, spa, and plumbing system inspected and repaired by a professional as soon as you become aware of them.

Swimming Pool and Spa Safety

Never swim alone. There should always be at least one other responsible individual present in or nearby the swimming pool or spa while someone is swimming. Children especially should always be under close adult supervision.

Never permit children or anybody to horseplay, run, or play dangerous water-games in or nearby the swimming pool or spa.

Teach your children proper swimming techniques or register them in a swimming instruction school and water safety classes. The YMCA is a great place for young children and adults to take swimming lessons.

Never be dependent upon arm floats or similar inflatable floatation devices to prevent small children from drowning; they are intended only to assist them in normal swimming activities.

It is an excellent idea to have a parent or guardian that knows how to perform CPR nearby the swimming pool and spa at all times while anyone is swimming.

Administer practice drills with everybody that goes swimming in your pool to educate them on the correct procedures to take in the event of an emergency.

Store a first-aid kit in close proximity to the swimming pool and keep it completely stocked and maintained with essential emergency supplies.

Rescue equipment such as life preserver rings and shepherd's crooks can be used to extract someone out of the water in the event of an emergency.

Keep a portable phone with emergency numbers nearby the swimming pool or spa while in use and instruct everyone including your children how to use them also.

Do not leave toys, balls, or floats in or nearby the swimming pool because small children can be tempted to reach for the toys or return for them when a parent or guardian is not present.

Make certain all fences, gates, doors, and windows that lead to the pool area are securely locked at all times while no one is in the surrounding area to supervise.

Install alarms on the swimming pool, spa and all fences, gates, doors and windows that lead to the pool area and ensure they are properly working at all times.

Keep the swimming pool and spa water clean of debris and sanitary at all times. Never allow anybody to swim in the pool or spa if the water is in an unhealthy condition.

Keep the entire deck and swimming pool area clean and clear of any objects that may cause someone to stumble and fall into the swimming pool.

Diving boards, platforms, and slides should always be inspected prior to use to verify that they are in proper working order.

Everyone should be aware of the depth of the water in the swimming pool prior to diving. Never dive into shallow water.

There should always be adequate lighting in the swimming pool, spa, and the entire pool area during nighttime operation.

Keep all electrical cords and devices such as pumps, radios and other appliances away from the swimming pool or spa water, especially while someone is swimming.

Never attempt to swim in your pool or perform swimming pool maintenance care during adverse weather conditions. If you observe any thunderstorms approaching, get away from the swimming pool and spa water and proceed to take shelter indoors as soon as possible.

Do not consume alcohol or take any drugs before or during any swimming activities in a pool or spa. People who regularly take medications should seek advice from their physician before they attempt any swimming in a pool or spa.

Chemical Safety

Always store the chemicals out of the reach of children and pets in a safe and secure storage area.

Store the chemicals in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight and keep the dry and liquid chemicals stored separately.

Never attempt to prepare chemicals in an area without adequate ventilation.

Never attempt to combine or add water to the chemicals. Add each of the chemicals to the swimming pool or spa separately.

Wear safety goggles, breathing masks, and protective gloves while handling, and preparing chemicals.

Never add excessive quantities of chemicals to the swimming pool or spa. Always follow the manufactures recommendations.

Read carefully and fully understand the directions for use on all labels before attempting to handle any chemicals.

Wash your hands and exposed skin immediately after handling any chemicals.

Never attempt to prepare chemicals in close proximity of heat sources or open flames.

Dispose of empty chemical containers properly. Do not reuse empty chemical containers for other purposes than what they were intended.