Angie's List: 5 Tips for proper pool maintenance

Published: Aug. 14, 2015 at 3:05 PM EDT
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(ANGIE'S LIST) - When the Lowcountry heats up, there's nothing like a dip in the pool to cool off. But you need to make sure your pool is ready when you want to jump in. Keeping it clean and and maintaining your chemical levels is key. Angie's List has put together five easy tips to keep your pool ready to go.

5 Pool Maintenance Tips:

1. Pool treatment options
After decades of killing germs and eradicating algae, chlorine reigns as king of pool maintenance chemicals. Other options include salt chlorine generators, which use a mechanical system to create and distribute chlorine. These systems are winning the popularity contest in new pools, experts say, but a misconception exists that a saltwater pool eliminates chemicals and work. Salt pools use more acid because the chlorine that it generates produces a higher pH level than traditional chlorine. Pool companies also equate the feel of using salt generators versus straight chlorine like using hard versus soft water in your home. Less popular options for home pools include ozone, ultraviolet systems and oxidation reduction potential systems that use light or machines to balance pool sanitization levels.

2. Pool equipment drawbacks
Every pool-cleaning system has downsides, whether it's handling or measuring chemicals with a chlorine system, preventing salt's corrosive nature on pool decks, plants and furniture, or the lack of effective testing for ozone, UV systems and oxidation reduction potential systems. Because ozone is an invisible chemical and UV uses light, pool companies must rely on manufacturers' guidelines to make sure these type of machines operate properly, says Mike Ulibarri, owner of Leak Finders in Chino, California. He says few companies understand how to install, let alone maintain, these uncommon systems. Talk to an expert and make a list of pros and cons to help determine what's best for you.

3. Climate matters in pool care
To keep your pool properly balanced and the water sparkling clean, you'll need to add more chemicals and test it more often as the summer heats up and more people enjoy your pool, experts say.
What works in New Jersey for four months of the year won't cut it year-round in South Florida, so know your surroundings or make sure your pool-service company understands how the local climate affects your pool. Regularly test water to maintain proper pool chemical balance.

4. Pool maintenance cost concerns
More effective products, as well as those that are more environmentally friendly, cost more. Salt systems cost $1,000 to $2,000 to add to a pool. Every pool needs ongoing maintenance, so keep that in mind when deciding whether to purchase one.

5. Finding the best pool professional
Don't want to mess with upkeep but still want to enjoy a crystal-clear pool? Companies offer weekly service to vacuum, test, balance and add chemicals to the splash zone at your pad. Costs typically range from $70 to $200 a month, depending on where you live, what service you require, and the amount of chemicals added. If you don't want to pay someone to service your pool each week, companies recommend taking lessons and getting tips from experts at a local pool shop.

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