Pool habits/routines - Swim, Eat, Repeat!

bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
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Central MD
So let's hear about your pool habits and how long it takes you on a day-to-day basis to keep your pool Trouble Free!

Note: This was originally written as a newsletter article - so excuse the more formal approach.

Summer has finally arrived for most of us now. What took you so long? For me summer is about spending as much time outside as possible. Whether it's tending to the landscape (a big hobby), hiking, having fun with the dogs or spending quality time poolside with family and friends, I'm always ready. Notice I didn't say maintaining the pool? My goal is to never lose a day of swimming to water quality issues. So I open early. For those of you in the south not familiar with the concept of "opening" - it's that day us northerners peel off the cover to hopefully see clear water that needs some vacuuming and a few chemicals to be ready to swim in. Early for my area is mid-April. That's before water temperature reaches 60 degrees. Usually it's in the mid-50's by then - you have to monitor it to be sure as every year is different.

Then, so long as my equipment all fires back up after reinstalling the pump from its winter slumber in the garage, my dogs are swimming by themselves for at least a month. Mid-May is my earliest swimming time since we don't have a heater. To assist with dog hair I use hair nets wrapped over the top of my skimmer baskets at all times. In the spring during pollen season, these pull double-duty as pollen pre-filters, keeping my filter much cleaner and allowing for longer cleaning cycles. I replace the hairnets daily during the peak pollen weeks and about weekly the rest of the season. I toss them and wrap a new one around the basket and it's ready for my shedding dogs again. We have a plaster finish which did get some scratches initially from the dogs, but that was mostly from their initial flailing in the pool while getting their sea legs. Since then we have no issues or even any noticeable increase in FC usage when they swim versus when they don't.

Now my water is in the upper 80's and life is good for the human users of my pool. Confession - I never shower immediately before entering. It's my pool and that's what filtration, my cleaning robot and chlorine are for. Our chlorine usage is about 2 ppm of FC per day in mid-season. This is on the low side as normal is considered 2-5 ppm of FC usage per day depending on your pool's usage and environmental conditions. Many days I do nothing to my pool. Other days I spend 10 minutes testing or tossing my robot in. I mostly try to swim or enjoy the view. Around July 4th I'll do my one in-season cartridge filter cleaning (because our filter is on the larger side which we recommend - it could be even bigger) and the final one will be at closing around November 1st. Fall is easy around here because we have an autocover. When the pool is not in use, its covered and no leaves or debris can get in.
 
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Leebo

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Jul 21, 2011
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Eastern Ohio
At our pool the majority of my time is spent tearing apart the robot and removing all the hair that my girls leave in the pool. We normally have to add a gallon of 10% once every three days however now that the temps are up and the pool is seeing more bodies I suspect that’ll increase. Because I’m not at our pool daily I never know just how many bodies have entered so I tend to test chlorine as often as possible even if it’s just a quick OTO test, just to make sure there’s enough chlorine to keep any cooties away.
 
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Arizonarob

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Mar 25, 2018
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I usually wander outside in my bunny slippers and cup-o-joe in the morning, stare at my far from glamorous reflection in the pool, then see how many pebbles I can count on the floor of the deep part. Anything less then 25, time to add MA. Then I add my chemicals for the day, test when needed, then return to my butt grove on the couch to watch the morning news.
 

HeyEng

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Nov 7, 2018
479
Oklahoma City, OK
This is my first season with a pool, so still getting "situated" with the routine. We moved into the house in December and the previous owner kept it open year round, so started learning the chemistry part pretty early on. So, what do I do?

Each morning around 9/9:30, I take a general look at how things look. Check filter pressure, equipment condition, pool temp. My filter runs twice a day (8:30-10:30 am and 5:30 to 7:30 pm) so when I get out there, it will have been running for at least 30 minutes. Right now, my chlorine use seems sporadic (some days 3 PPM, other days 5 or 6) so I am testing FC and PH in the AM daily. I also add chlorine after this test and check the skimmer/hair nets. Since we have a lot of trees and debris, I am changing the hairnets daily. They are cheap and work well, so I don't mind replacing them daily. All of this takes about 15 minutes. In the evening, I will check the skimmer again to see that there isn't anything especially egregious going on. Thanks to the suggestion of many members, our acquisition of a couple of "Frog Logs" has reduced the fatality rate to nearly zero...this makes the wife very happy. :)

I use the robot about every 3 days, but more if needed. It stays in the pool 24/7, so it's just a matter of removing the Frog Logs, the floating alarm and pushing the start button. I clean the filters about once a week unless there is a lot of debris on the floor. Also, when I use the robot, I will brush the sun ledge and steps since it can't access them. That is the only time that I brush. Time to put robot to work is about 10 minutes.

Once a week, I do a full chemistry test which takes about 20 minutes. I could probably do it faster, but I am very methodical about it and prefer to have accurate results over fast results. As a general rule, I have only had to add acid once every 2 or 3 weeks and that's about it.

Filters are oversized for the pool and pressure hasn't increased AT ALL (and pretty sure it's accurate since I have one of the nice glycerin gauges from the TFP store) since installing new in mid February, but will probably check them mid July just to be safe. Depending on how they look, I will probably not mess with them again until mid fall when the leaves are at peak falling. I haven't decided yet if we will close the pool, but leaning towards keeping it open. The NG heater works very well and since NG is fairly cheap here, I would guess we will extend the season quite a bit and maybe even "hot tub the pool" a couple time in the off season. :)

All in all, the maintenance has been less than what I thought it would be. For this, I have to thank TFP and its members. So many friends and family say pool ownership would be too much of a pain because of the time/effort/work involved but little do they know that keeping a beautiful pool is not that hard thanks to TFP.

An added benefit to working from home is that I can take a hop in the pool pretty much anytime. I was in there around 10 this AM and will take another dip here in about an hour. And then...probably float for a couple of hours this evening. All in all, it's our oasis and we love it!

Edit: I am also guilty of jumping in the pool when have just finished working in the yard. I have a LOT of grass to mow and it takes close to 4 hours to get it all done. As you might guess, I am pretty sweaty and nasty when I am done, but I figure that our big 'ole filter can handle it. I am not sure my wife appreciates me getting down to my skivvies and jumping in, but as long as *I* am mowing the grass, then I *am* doing it. ;)
 
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Arizonarob

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Mar 25, 2018
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An added benefit to working from home is that I can take a hop in the pool pretty much anytime. I was in there around 10 this AM and will take another dip here in about an hour. And then...probably float for a couple of hours this evening. All in all, it's our oasis and we love it!
I’ll just stash that info away from your boss for now. But you never know when it might cross his desk.
 
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gonfishin

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Jun 13, 2017
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Rochester, MN
I like to do my tests in the evening after the last swimmers are done for the day. Add chlorine and get the pool covered to prevent heat loss. The robot goes in first thing in the morning (around 7AM) so we’re ready to start swimming by 10. Never know who or when, but weather permitting, people in or by the pool is what it’s here for.
 
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pooldv

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Aug 10, 2012
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Nice post! Opening at my pool is walking outside one day in March and the sun is suddenly warmer and you can feel that spring is about to arrive. When that day arrives I stick my finger in the pool, hold it up to a south breeze and add just the right amount of CYA in a knee-high and some salt. Then a few weeks later we start swimming.
If we aren't swimming by April then life is bad. :kim:
 

TylerKee

Member
May 9, 2019
6
Houston TX
First, a thank you to the TFP forums, moderators, and content creators. Since implementing TFP 6 weeks ago, I've noticed a dramatic change in the overall quality and clarity of the water in my pool. My wife notices. My mother in law notices. My sister in law notices. My brother in law is going to fire their pool guy and start TFP in the next few weeks. I think my father in law is not far behind.

I usually test my chlorine and PH each evening before bed while I take the dog out to do his evening business. If PH is high, I add acid. That's usually 16-24 oz every 3 days. In the morning after I've made coffee, I add 10% bleach based on the previous evening's test result. When my CYA was high (70 ppm), I was adding a lot - sometimes almost a gallon a day. We got 5 inches of rain last week, and my CYA is now down at 45 and my chlorine demand has been cut in half.

When the dog wakes up, I take him out in the backyard and check my skimmer baskets while he does his business.

I have a Dolphin Triton PS that runs every morning thanks to the overhanging trees in our yard. About every 3 days, I dump the basket of the robot.

Other than that, it's mostly making my wife and son stare out the window and remark on how nice our pool looks. :)
 

djdonte

Well-known member
Mar 25, 2019
325
Houston, TX
Here in the south the sun is a bear. Once summer started I was using 4-5 FC at 40CYA. I bumped it up to 50 CYA and now I'm using 3-4 FC a day, which I am happy with because its right at one half gallon of 10 percent HD bleach a day. I run the pump 8 hours a day, from 10-6pm. I leave my pool cleaner in there pretty much full time, except when we swim, and empty the zodiac leaf canister as well as the skimmer baskets every 2-3 days. I use skimmer socks to lighten the load on my pump strainer and filters. I have seen my filter cleaning intervals greatly increase with the skimmer socks. I also run my waterfall for 10 minutes once a week if we don't swim to ensure it stays clean and algae free.
 

CentralMDpool

New member
Nov 25, 2018
4
Maryland
Our chlorine usage is about 2 ppm of FC per day in mid-season. This is on the low side as normal is considered 2-5 ppm of FC usage per day depending on your pool's usage and environmental conditions. Many days I do nothing to my pool.
How often are you adding chlorine (I assume bleach) to raise your FC up? and do you just add enough bleach to get to the minimum or maximum FC for your CYA level?
 

Tuckerclan

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2018
83
Kansas
Being that this is my first summer with our pool, I usually start the day looking outside to see what went wrong during the night. I'm just a worry wart I guess. After seeing the water is still in it and the trees aren't, I head out with a cup of coffee, clean the skimmer basket, a couple of swipes with a top water net, and then longingly look at the wonderful oasis we have created. Then I wonder what can go wrong next. :rolleyes: I check the chlorine level everyday and the cya every 2, because it is high. I like to brush the sides every couple of days (side note the Wall Whale I bought is excellent. Less strain) and spot vacuum the bottom everyday with my Pool Blaster handheld vacuum on a pole. I had a Polaris vacuum but I find I enjoy cleaning the pool myself. Then it's looking out the window or walking around it the rest of the day deciding when I will jump in with the dog. He gets more use out of the pool than anybody here.
 

Teald024

TFP Guide
I usually test my chlorine and PH each evening before bed while I take the dog out to do his evening business.
@TylerKee , at some point you’ll take a jug of bleach out there with you at night because you’ll know just how much chlorine your pool eats each day. I’ll get that easy. The testing will just confirm the chlorine was at the level you expected.
 
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awetzel

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May 29, 2019
9
Hazlet, NJ
This is really helpful to me! I have been starting my day by checking out the pool when I wake up and doing a quick pH and FC test. I am finding myself shocked at how much bleach I have been having to add and how fast the chlorine level is dropping despite what I am told is a good CYA level. After reading this, it sounds pretty normal, so I am relieved something isn't wrong. Though I may switch to a giant jug of liquid chlorine at some point because I am tired of making room in my recycling for 121 oz 6% bleach jugs despite how cheap I can get them at Lidl. :)
 

bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
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Central MD
How often are you adding chlorine (I assume bleach) to raise your FC up? and do you just add enough bleach to get to the minimum or maximum FC for your CYA level?
We have a salt water chlorine generator (SWCG) so the chlorine is produced during the pump run time by the device. If I were to use bleach, I suspect I would add it every two days. Many people add it every day but I know that I'd miss it sometimes, so dosing for 2 days at a time would be better for me). I'd dose up to Target level (we don't use the term maximum we use minimum, target and SLAM), or whatever level needed so I would never drop below the minimum before the next addition. The minimum is a hard minimum. Dropping below it is an invitation for an algae party.

That said, I can't recommend SWCG's enough. All you do is test and adjust the % or pump run time. No bleach hauling/storing. And vacations are a breeze. It's always ready for you to leave it alone for a while (vacations only - not suggesting ignoring the pool when you are home) so long as things are dialed in. Up front cost for a SWCG is similar to bleach cost over time, especially if your time and gas aren't free.
 
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MurrietaRob

Member
Mar 18, 2016
7
Murrieta, CA
Daily
1) hot coffee in hand
2) let dogs out with their morning treat
3) walk over to pool side and check skimmer to make sure nothing except water, vacuum in pool (found birds, lizards, etc in pool or pool skimmer)
4) perform basic PH, CL test - the acid demand in my pool is very high - in ground plaster but over 2 years opened and still needs 1/4 gal of 31% MA every few days to keep PH between 7.2 - 7.6 : CL test to ensure levels are roughly 3 ppm FC - salt pool with chlorinator...
5) check pool gear for pressure, leaks, etc.
6) get another cup of coffee

Weekly/Monthly
Do full chem tests including salt and CYA levels.

As needed
Change DE to maintain optimum operating pressure

Always
Relax and enjoy
 

Nutloaf

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Jun 7, 2016
17
Lake Balboa, CA
Life has been so nice since I installed our saltwater chlorine generator. Right now I'm sitting poolside with coffee, and will check the chlorine and pH before I head in. I'm still fiddling with the percentage, but it looks like getting the 60k generator for the 20k pool is going to allow it to sit around 25-30% of max output, which I'm thrilled about.

This is the first year we have tried a solar cover, which got us up to "August temps" in June... but bmoreswim, I am flabbergasted at your high 80s without a heater! I'm in SoCal and have been juuuust maintaining 80 if I put the cover back on every night. It might be our "June gloom" weather pattern... curious to see what it does once the mornings aren't grey next month. I'd love about 5 more degrees.

Acid demand is still pretty high, but that's the only jug I'm hauling around these days... 1-2 gallons a week, it seems. We have new pebble, so I'm focused on keeping the pH on the low end.

Thanks for the conversation topic... spending time on TFP for the past few years has turned me into quite the pool nerd, so it's fun to read about everyone's rituals. Speaking of, HeyEng's post made me realize I could look into a replacement gauge (ours was busted after an issue-filled remodel, and I'd half-resigned myself to blind filter cleaning)... off to the shop to poke around!
 
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