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10 DIY Swimming Pool Maintenance Hacks

John walked into his backyard and noticed it was time to skim the pool. A fine layer of pollen, leaves, dead bugs and other forms of debris left quite a mess.

John begrudgingly walked over to his shed to grab his pool skimmer, but to his surprise the skimmer net had been destroyed! The netting was dry-rotted, torn and rendered completely useless.

John was a resourceful man, and he wasn’t about to let this stop him from enjoying a clean pool. His eyes lit up as he starred at the windows on the back of the house.

He walked over to a window on the first floor, removed the screen and cleaned his entire pool with it in under 5 minutes. John never bought another skimmer net, but instead, invested in more window screens.

I’ve put together this list of pool maintenance hacks that you can employ to keep your swimming pool water clean, clear (and warm) and as resourceful as John’s window screen pool skimmer.

DIY Swimming Pool Maintenance Hacks

1. Use your vacuum as a main drain

Inground pools have drains at the bottom of the deep end that pull water into the filter. Above ground pools, however, lack this technology and don’t get to experience the benefits of having one, including the ability to clear the water faster by drawing water in from the deep end into your filter.

If you have a manual vacuum (and you absolutely should), you can hook it up and place the vacuum in the middle of your pool UPSIDE DOWN to act as a main drain in order to clear you water faster if you’re experiencing cloudiness.

How to Vacuum a Pool Manually

If you don't own an automatic cleaner, or having water issues, you need to learn how to vacuum a pool manually with this easy-to-follow VIDEO tutorial.

2. Use pantyhose to collect debris

101219B_LOld panty hose work great for filtering out debris before entering your pool’s filter system. Just take an old pair and wrap them around your skimmer baskets. They will help collect finer and more debris that with just a plain skimmer basket.

You can also wrap pantyhose around your skimmer net (or window screen). When they get full, throw them out and start with a fresh, old pair.

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3. Add D.E. powder to your sand filter

de powderSand filters can have a hard time filtering out fine particles in your water. It usually takes longer to filter out cloudy water with a sand filter than with a D.E. filter. However, you can use a small cup of D.E. Powder with your sand filter to boost the effectiveness of your filter.

Just add a cup of D.E. powder to your skimmer and let it run through your system. The D.E. will aid your sand filter in picking up finer particles from your water.

How to Fix Cloudy Pool Water

Got cloudy pool water? We'll teach you a few methods on how to clear your cloudy swimming pool as quickly as possible.

4. Use a tennis ball to remove oils from the surface of the water

MTO_Tennis_BallThe tennis ball will absorb oils left behind by swimmers, including natural body oil, suntan lotions, makeup and hair products.

Just place a couple of tennis balls in your pool and let them float around. Or you can drop them into your skimmers as long as your skimmer basket is in place.

This will also work in your hot tub…

10 Easy Hot Tub Maintenance Tips

I've put together a video of the best hot tub maintenance tips to get you started, or help you continue on the path to excellent hot tub care.

5. Clean pool tile with a baking soda paste

Mix together baking soda and a little bit of water to form a paste. You can use a sponge or a brush, with a little bit of paste to scrub the tiles around your pool clean. The baking soda won’t negatively affect the water.

Here’s a video from my friend Melissa Maker of CleanYourSpace.com where she demonstrates how to clean tile and grout using baking soda:

6. Use baking soda to increase pH and alkalinity

image001Baking soda or soda ash is used to increase the alkalinity of your pool water, which will also increase the pH.

Alkalinity is a pH buffer and I like to think of it as pH’s bodyguard. Since pretty much anything can affect your pool’s pH, especially rain water, the alkalinity will take the blow allowing your pH to remain relatively stable. You should keep your alkalinity reading between 100 and 150 ppm (parts per million).

Basic Pool Chemistry 101

Practicing proper pool chemistry and important and easy. In this guide, I'll provide you everything you need to know to keep your pool clean and clear.

7. Clean off your winter cover with a leaf blower

indexDuring the winter, your cover will become littered with leaves and debris. It’s good practice to keep your cover as clean as possible in order to preserve it so you can use it again and again each winter. However, cleaning a cover can be challenging, but not if you own a leaf blower.

On a dry day, you can fire up your leaf blower to remove all the dirt and debris off your cover. Just be careful not to cause any damage to the cover in the process.

8. Dryer sheets and lemongrass to keep bees and other insects away

atla-040108-dryersheets01Avoiding bugs and bees can be a bitch because to safely get away, you have to go underwater — and you can’t hold your breath that long unless your David Blaine.

Try placing dryer sheets around your pool. You can do this without making it look like you just hung a bunch of dry sheets up by using them as decorative basket liners around your pool. Problem solved!

Stuff a brown paper bag with three to four crumpled plastic bags. Gather, tie and hang the paper bag where wasps congregate. They will think it is another wasp’s nest and keep their distance.

If you live in an area prone to mosquitoes, lemongrass is a must-have for your herb garden or deck. The skin of the plant contains citronella, which is widely used in outdoor candles to ward off disease-carrying mosquitoes. Both quotes courtesy of SpryLiving.com

9. Make your own solar rings to keep your pool warm

There are many things you can buy to keep your pool warm, including: a solar cover, a gas heater or a heat pump, but why not just make your own solar heating technology by creating solar rings?

Check out this video:

10. Remove liner stains with pH decreaser and a sock

If you have a stain on your liner, you can quickly figure out the cause and remove it by using pH decreaser. Just pour some granulated pH decreaser in an old sock and tie it to your telescopic pole. Let the filled sock rest on the stain for about 2 minutes.

If the stain lifts, then it’s most likely a stain caused by metals. You will need to remove the metals from your water using a chemical that removes metals from the water. This chemical works by coating the metal ions in your water so that they won’t stain. It also allows your filter to filter-out these metal ions from your water.

If the stain doesn’t lift, you might have an organic stain which can be removed with a high dosage of chlorine and plenty of brushing.

How to Identify and Remove Pool Stains

To address this problem, the source of pool stains must be identified, and the appropriate solution introduced as soon as possible. Follow along here.

Hack and Save Money

If you enjoyed this article, I recommend you check out my FREE ebook: 25 Money Saving Ideas for You Swimming Pool. All you have to do is enter your email address and I’ll send it right to your inbox.

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Happy Swimming!

DIY Swimming Pool Maintenance Hacks

The Art of Pool Care

Spend Less Time Cleaning and More Time Swimming

We cut out all the fluff and confusion of pool maintenance and stripped it down to the bare bones in this easy-to-read illustrated digital guide.

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Last Updated: Friday, September 13th, 2013