What Should I Know About My New In-Ground Pool?
July 8, 2013 6:58 AM   Subscribe

So we just bought a house with an in-ground chlorine pool. And we know basically NOTHING about pool maintenance. Can you help school us?

We are looking for general maintenance info, good online resources (if available), and pro-tips on pool safety (we have two small children aged 2 and 5) or any other aspect of pool life we may not have considered. Bonus points for any information on whether a conversion to a salt-water pool is a good thing to consider down the road.

Details: Pool is 14 ft deep at the deep end. We live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, so the pool will be in use from like June to early September each year. The pool is virtually all of the backyard, so is not individually fenced, but the backyard itself is fenced. Basically, we will be treating the entire backyard (pool and patio area) as the pool, and the kids will not have access without a parent for any reason for the forseeable future. Both kids have been in swimming lessons since they were about 7 months old, and will continue to take lessons. They wear lifejackets when enjoying supervised swims.
posted by joelhunt to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Make sure you maintain your water level to the point marked where it should be. If you let it get too low, your filter is going to work way too hard, and probably burn out.

People might try to get you to move to something like Baquacil. Do not use this. Chlorine is reliable, and much easier to use.

When it's really sunny for a long time, you have to spend a lot more time, energy and money on maintaining your water's balance. Also, when it rains. Test regularly, and get to know your pool supply store staff really well.
posted by xingcat at 7:04 AM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

With a little bit of research, you can save money by purchasing some commonly-used pool chemicals at the grocery store.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:30 AM on July 8, 2013

Your pool care will vary depending on what your pool is made of. Is it a plaster pool? Tile floor?

Plaster pools tend to have a higher base and are prone to calcification in some pockets, so being aware of the issue/scrubbing away growths is important.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 7:31 AM on July 8, 2013

Salt vs. chlorine, previously.
posted by jquinby at 7:45 AM on July 8, 2013

Make DARN sure that there's no way the kids can get to the pool without you. Put a padlock on the fence if you have to.

Here's a You Tube that discusses how to Open, Close and maintain your pool.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:46 AM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Given your location, I'd get as much information as I could on winterizing the pool and plan accordingly.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:22 AM on July 8, 2013

My parents did the same thing last summer, and I became their pool-person because they were simply overwhelmed. Find a reliable, quality company to open and close your pool each season. Mine were a HUGE resource for me any time I had questions about maintenance or repairs and they walked me through everything! Make sure to run your filter at least 8-12 hours each day. My father likes to "save energy" and turn the filter off whenever nobody is using the pool, so we ended up with a big old algae growth. Don't do this!
Make friends with the people at the pool supply store, don't be afraid to shop around for a place you feel comfortable with because you'll be there often. I use their water testing because it's simple and free, but I do have the strips for Dad to do random checks if he feels like it. My supply place gives me a printout of the chemicals I need and they walk around with me to show me what I can choose from and how everything works.
If the old owners didn't leave you one and you can afford it, I'd get a robot. It will vacuum and clean the pool for you so you don't have to spend a couple hours doing it yourself, but some people enjoy that. YMMV. Also, a pool alarm for just in case. Enjoy!
posted by notaninja at 8:34 AM on July 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

I have a new pool too. Pools are stagnant bodies of water. It takes a lot of maintenance and money to keep them clean. If I were you I'd hire a pool company to come out weekly and maintain chemical balance, clean filters and traps, etc. They know a lot about keeping a pool working right and you can use the help.

Filter pumps use a lot of electricity; a couple hundred bucks a month for me. Newer variable speed pumps are much more efficient both because a newer motor is more efficiently designed and because you can set the speed lower to save power when you don't need a lot of flow. That's particularly useful in winter when freeze protection kicks in.

If it were me I'd want the kids to be able to swim (or at least float) without the lifejackets. If you're really concerned about safety you can get a motorized pool cover that will hold a person's weight. They cost several thousand dollars.
posted by Nelson at 9:35 AM on July 8, 2013

I don't know about your area, but around here, pool supply stores offer brief 'pool school' classes. I can't speak to its quality, but that search term turned up a YouTube intro to the topic.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:41 AM on July 8, 2013

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