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    A Maintenance Free Swimming Pool?

    January 17, 2013

    When we were building our inground pool, my goal was to make my pool as maintenance free as possible. During the summer, I am here at the office all of the time and my wife takes care of the pool, so I purposely chose equipment to make the job easier for her.

    With a few of these "Easy Equipment" items, you can also enjoy your pool without maintenance worries.

    Easy Pool Filters

    There are three different types of filters that are available: Sand, DE and Cartridge filters. The pool filter I installed is a Cartridge filter. With a cartridge filter you do not have to add any additional media inside the filter like you do with a sand or De filter. Also, there is no valve for backwashing, so you do not have to waste water.

    With a cartridge filter, as long as you over-size it properly, you can go 4-6 months without having to clean the filters. Virtually no maintenance either, and mine only needs to be cleaned at the end of the season. Another benefit of a large cartridge filter is that it filters the pool water to a smaller micron size than a sand filter and almost as well as a DE filter.

    Easy Pool Pumps

    time clock for pool pump

    When it comes to your pool pump one of the things I would recommend that will make your life easier is a mechanical time clock, or an automated control system, which we talk about later in this article. Timeclocks make it possible to program your pool pump to turn on and off at a desired time. With a time clock you will not have to walk over to the pump and turn it on because it will do it automatically.

    Choose a pool pump with a large pump basket and a clear lid, so you can see if the basket needs cleaning, and you can quickly see the water volume moving through the pump. Install your pool pump close to the level of the water in the pool, but also try to make sure it would never be submerged by heavy rains or flooding. Pool equipment should be in a dry, sunny area, without mulch or overhanging plants.

    Easy Pool Cleaners

    Bandit the robot pool cleaner
    Bandit the Robot

    One product which I have on my own pool and strongly recommend would be a robotic pool cleaner. This is the easiest and best way to clean the pool. With a robot cleaner, you never have to vacuum your pool. While the cleaner is doing the work scrubbing the walls and floor of your pool you can sit back in your lounge chair with a cool refreshing drink. I hear to a lot of customers stress about the maintenance of their pool but, if you have the right pool cleaner you will not have to worry about it.

    Robotic pool cleaners are the simplest to operate, some even have remote controlled operation. My 8-yr old son sometimes runs ours for his mother when he gets home from school. He just wheels the caddy over to the pool, lifts the robot (we call him Bandit) into the pool, and then plugs the cord into the low voltage transformer. In about two hours, the cleaning cycle is complete, and Bandit stops cleaning, waiting for my son to come retrieve him.

    Easy Solar Blanket Reels

    Without a solar reel, removing and installing a solar blanket cover can be a real hassle. Instead of using a manual solar reel we have an Electric Powered Solar Reel. No manual hand cranking, we can remove cover which just the touch of a button; this reel is completely automated and does all of the work for you.

    We heat the pool all summer to a nice temperature, so to conserve energy and evaporation, we try to keep our pool covered when we are not using it. Automatic pool covers can also be installed for maximum heat retention, and they keep the pool clean too.

    Another easy method of solar, although more costly - is to use Cover Free, a liquid solar cover. It's not quite as effective as a solar blanket, but is certainly much more convenient - just pour in the liquid!

    Easy Water Level

    We do not lose too much water to evaporation, but I've seen it lose 1/2 in. during hot days with a lot of use. I had an automatic water leveler installed under the pool deck, to maintain the water level in the middle of the skimmer. We also have deck mounted water levelers that you can connect to a garden hose. It does give me an extra step to do when I winterize the pool, but at least I do not have to drag the hose out and in all season long, to fill up the pool. And, I've never over-flowed the pool, from forgetting the hose was on!

    Easy Pool Sanitation

    When it comes to sanitizing your pool, instead of using chlorine tablets, I would recommend a salt water chlorine generator. With a salt system you eliminate having to purchase not only chlorine tablets, but also pool shock to shock the pool - the salt system will do that for you, too. Having a salt chlorinator on my pool has made my pool sanitation e-a-s-y.

    After adding salt to the pool, my Hayward salt system creates all the chlorine I need to sanitize and shock the pool water. The Salt & Swim system has a replaceable salt cell, so it requires no cleaning. I no longer have to buy, transport, store, or handle chlorine tablets and also no longer have to breathe in chlorine gas when opening the bucket.

    Easy Water Balance

    Ahh-Some is really awesome!Another pool chemical product I strongly recommend when using either Chlorine tablets, granular chlorine or salt water chlorine generator is called Ahh-Some. This is a gel-like formula that you add to your pool - one container per 15,000 gallons every 30 days.

    This product stabilizes my water balance. Check your water chemistry and balance your pH and Alkalinity before you add Ahh-Some to your pool. It then maintains your PH and Alkalinity - balanced for for at least a month, so I do not have to worry about testing the pool water so often. I didn't believe it either, until I tried it - it really works! It also gives the water unbelievable clarity - it makes my pool water really sparkle!

    Easy Automation

    Automated controls make owning a pool or spa easier by automating all of the essential pool equipment, from a convenient location. An automated control system allows the homeowner to set filter schedules and also control pool lighting or landscape lighting.

    If you are building a pool and spa combo pool, you can get the spa hot and toasty from inside the house, or even from your smart phone. Pool and Spa controllers are available hard wired or wireless.

    Hayward Pro Logic Pool Controller

    This allows you to program the filter pump, adjust temperature on my pool heater, change the color of LED pool lights, and also control the salt chlorine generator. The automated controller shows you the temperature of the pool water, time of day and also outside ambient air temperature, no longer have to use thermometer to check water temperature. I didn't install this piece of convenience unfortunately, had to cut some costs somewhere!

    If I had installed it, I could control everything with a wireless hand held remote or even control it over the home Wi-Fi network, or from a Smartphone or Tablet. The available Aqua Connect Home Network allows you to turn on pool lights or a pool heater while you are in the car driving home or from any location; you have complete control of your pool and or spa anywhere in the world.

    GoldLine Solar Controller

    If you have solar heating on your pool, the Gold Line solar controller is recommended for maximum heat capture and convenience. This will allow you to set a temperature, and if the pump is running the valve will allow water to run through solar collectors and return back through the inlets of the swimming pool.

    Solar controllers have two sensors - one for the air and the other for the water temperature. The automated valve actuator will open and close the valve so when solar heating is available, you do not have to manually open and close the valve. If it becomes cloudy or rainy you do not have to worry about cooling the pool down by leaving the valve open, it will shut automatically for you.

    What Can't be Made Easier?

    Just about any maintenance item for a swimming pool can be automated or made easier, it all depends on how much money you can afford. One task I can think of that can't be automated are removing your skimmer basket to clean debris. We also have to clean out Bandit's debris bag once our robot friend has cleaned the pool.

    Another task that can't be automated would be cleaning of our cartridge pool filter. There are automatic backwashing systems, for sand filters, but they are not very common on residential pools. They use a sensor to monitor the tank pressure, and an automatically operate the backwash valve when the higher pressure indicates a need for cleaning.

    Now you can see - my pool is fairly easy to operate - and nearly maintenance free. I probably spend less than 10 hours working on it, all season long. If you want to discuss how to make your new or existing inground pool [more] maintenance free, give us a call!

    Take it Easy;

    Chris Low
    SPP Pool Expert

    Blog Author
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