Preventative maintenance, just like you would do on your automobile or home, will go a long way in reducing lifecycle cost on your swimming pool. Heed the advice below and save time, money and hassle. None of this is hard; it is just a matter of making it a habit.
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- Clean your filter regularly or as needed. The best filter for Arizona pools, in my opinion, are cartridge filters (there are exceptions though), they provide maximum flow rates, waste little valuable water (no backwashing), get the water crystal clean and only need to be cleaned a couple of times a year. Yes, they may need to be cleaned after a heavy storm or once every few months depending on conditions in your pool. It would be best to clean them about every 4-6 months. Just remind yourself to do it each time you come back from the dentist, or every other oil change in your car if you are a planner. If you have an extra set of elements — which is a great idea — it is a much easier and quicker job. Soak dirty filters in a 10% solution of muriatic acid or a solution of TSP (Trisodium phosphate). Use a rubber trash can. Wear gloves and eye protection. Be careful! Always add acid to water, NOT water to acid. Afterwards, rinse until clean and let them dry. Put your supplies away until your next swap-out.
- If you have an Ozonator make sure the light is on and it is actually working. Ozone as well as UV or a combination thereof can reduce the amount of chlorine your pool uses. They are worth the investment and I have used them for over 20 years with nothing less than great results. There are different types, and many have different installation and use instructions. Make a point to be familiar with the one installed on yours. There are also other products on the market such as the Pureion System that have amazing benefits and give great results.
- If you have a deck chlor or inline chlorinator these need to be regularly checked for proper chlorine tablet levels, loading or possible clogging. (In Arizona use quality Tri-Chlor Tablets). This unit depending on style and features has the ability to add a constant residual of needed chlorine.
- If you have a salt system, salt pool, or what some call a no-chlorine pool (a misconception) they are properly called a chlorine generator, then heed these tips. All this unit does is produce chlorine for you so you do not have to buy it, store it or handle it. This convenience comes at a cost and has some inherent risks. The cell must be kept clean and your pool chemistry becomes even more critical for its proper function. Do not add to much salt, if you can taste it, your pool is likely over salted. Salt systems artificially push pH up. You will use more acid as a result. These units will not bolt on and solve everything. In the end you have to pick your poison. They are great when used and understood properly. Can be costly to buy and maintain, but provide a wonderful experience in the water.
Optimal Swimming Pool Chemical Ranges for Desert Pools
Keep your pool’s chemical readings in these ranges:
- PH: 7.2 to 7.8 (I generally keep it on the LOW end)
- Alkalinity: 80 to 120 ppm
- Calcium Hardness: 250-450 ppm (The valley has high calcium; as a result, this is not always possible, so don’t drive yourself crazy over it.
- Cyanuric Acid or Conditioner: 30-50 ppm (Remember Tri-Chlor tablets already have conditioner built into it)
- Chorine residual: 1.0 to 1.5 ppm; up to 2.0 in the summer with ozone, 3.0 without
- Combined chlorine: 0 ppm. By managing pool chemistry right, you will substantially reduce the amount of chlorine needed. Much of it is wasted.