Have a swimming pool? Here’s how to best keep it clean and healthy

H&H Custom Pools

Q: I saw your previous column regarding installing a pool. I have a pool, and I was wondering what maintenance tips you recommend?

A: Here are some tips on maintaining your pool year-round.

Blair Looney

Start by using a skimmer net to pick up any debris left in the pool. Skimming will not only remove debris, but it also will increase the efficiency of the circulation system.

To keep your pool clean longer, it’s recommended that you use a vacuum that runs regularly on top of regular skimming. This will keep the water clean and may reduce the amount of chemicals needed to keep the water clean and clear.

Your pool will lose water due to basic activities such as splashing and evaporation. Always keep an eye on the water level to ensure it doesn’t fall below the level of the skimmer. If it does fall below and your pump runs, damage may occur. You can just grab a garden hose and fill it back up.

Pool filters also need to be cleaned, but over cleaning can actually do more harm than good. There are three types of filters (cartridge, sand and diatomaceous), and they all require different specific maintenance procedures. Typically, your filter will be cleaned once your pressure gauge rises more than 10 psi over the original marking. It’s best to check with your specific filter’s manual first.

Along with cleaning the pool filter, you will need to be sure the pH level is maintained properly, or else you may end up with a green pool. The pH scale is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity that runs from 0 to 14. A pH at 7 indicates a neutral state, above 7 indicates the water is alkaline, and a pH below 7 indicates acidity. There are kits to test the pH level.

Your pool should have a pH level of around 7.4. It’s best to test the pool water regularly to be sure your pool is healthy and clean.

If your pool does end up turning green, you can shock it. Shocking is known as super chlorinating, and it’s the process of adding chlorine or non-chlorine chemicals to your pool in order to raise the “free chlorine” level to a point where contaminants are destroyed.

You may need to shock the pool after a large pool party, as guests with various perfumes and makeup can upset the pH level.

If you would rather hire someone to clean your pool, check with one of our accredited businesses at

Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or