Home Maintenance Tips: How To Clean A Pool After Neglect

Find out how you can clean and sanitize a neglected pool. This will extend the pool's life, ensure peak performance and create a healthy water environment.

Pools that have been neglected require special servicing to restore their performance level. If you have a pool that needs more than general maintenance, here are some solutions to the problem.

The very first step is to check and test the main systems that keep the pool clean. These are the filtration system, (which includes the pump and filter), the skimmer and basket, and the vacuum. The filtration system should be checked according to the manufacturer's manual to determine proper functioning and the procedure for cleaning and backwashing. Since the filtration system traps small insoluble particles, it is important that it operates efficiently.

The skimmer and pump basket's function is to catch large debris before they reach the filter. The skimmer and pump basket should be emptied daily and cleaned thoroughly of all accumulated debris. If clogging occurs, it will decrease the water circulation and reduce effective filtration. Also check for signs of wear and tear, i.e., holes, thinning etc. The vacuum hose should be examined for cracks and the headpiece should be checked for worn out bristles.



After you are satisfied that all the cleaning systems are functioning properly, your next step is to test the pool water. You can do this by taking a sample of the water to a pool supply store or by purchasing a self test kit. The water test will tell you the pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer level of the water. This test will also determine what products you need to purchase in order to restore the water to its sparkling, clear, color.

Begin the actual cleaning process by first removing any large leaves, insects, frogs etc. with a leaf skimmer. This reduces further pollution and staining of the pool bottom and makes the work of the filtration system easier. Next, sanitize the pool with a shock treatment. Shockers are designed to sanitize the pool water quickly and rapidly raise the chlorine level. Shockers usually contain chemicals such as chlorine. They disinfect the water and destroy harmful bacteria while inhibiting the growth of viruses. Extra strength shockers are especially useful for neglected pools that have a build-up of contaminants. Sprinkle the granules over the water during the evening hours to prevent chemical loss due to evaporation. If you choose to use chlorinating tablets, they should be placed in a floating chlorinator, or dropped in the skimmer basket. The shock treatment must be repeated on a weekly basis and it should always be added to the water when the pool filter is running.

If the water is green, cloudy, and scummy looking with the resemblance of a murky pond, then algae is present. These aquatic plants can be green, pink, black or yellow colored. They thrive in water that is contaminated and low in sanitizing agents. You can remove the algae by adding an algaecide, which is designed to kill the plants and prevent their growth. If the water continues to have a cloudy appearance, you can add a clarifier to trap microscopic particles that do not get filtered. The clarifier binds these particles together to make them large enough for filtration or vacuuming.

The water in a pool that has not been cleaned for a long time can also contain pollen, body oil, dirt, and other pollutants. Applying an enzyme product will eliminate this problem. Enzyme cleaners break down these organic materials and eliminate scum on the surface water and around the water line of the pool.

If you notice white deposits on the pool walls, equipment, and floors then the water is probably contaminated with metals. Pool supply stores sell special cleaners to correct this condition and remove stain, residue, and white spots.

When the water has been restored to a sparkling, transparent quality, you can proceed with vacuuming the pool floor. Vacuuming will remove debris from the bottom of the floor and pass it through to the filtration system. Brush the pool wall and bottom with a cleaning solution. Use a hand or foot scrubbing brush or a brush attachment for the telescoping pole of the vacuum. If the stains remain persistent after scrubbing, purchase either a tile or vinyl cleaner and pour into the water according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the particles settle to the pool floor, vacuum again.

After the initial cleaning to restore the pool's appearance and water quality, test the sanitizer level, pH, and alkalinity again. The test results will determine if any additional cleaning products are needed. Continue a weekly maintenance program of vacuuming, adding shocker, algaecide, and any other cleaning agents as needed. Weekly maintenance will extend the pool's life, ensure peak performance, and create a healthy water environment.

© High Speed Ventures 2011