Pools 101 - The Basics Of Pool Ownership
Once you have owned a pool for a while you will develop a system that works for your pool maintenance needs. It is the initial adjustment period that provides the greatest cause for concern with new pool owners as there seems to be so much that could potentially go wrong. Without a doubt the best method to resolve these concerns is to improve your knowledge about your swimming pool which will increase your overall pool confidence. Take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions by new pool owners:
How To Calculate Pool Volume
Calculating your pool volume is useful for sizing the filtration system as well as determining the chemical correction requirements for your pool. It is important to note that a rough estimate is going to be close enough so a general calculation is traditionally employed.
Rectangle pools - Pool Length x Pool Width x Pool Depth x 7.5 = Pool volume in gallons
Round Pools - 3.14 x Pool Radius x Pool Radius x Pool Depth x 7.5 = Pool volume in gallons
Kidney Pools - Average Pool Length x Average Pool Width x Average Pool Depth x 7.0 = Pool Volume in gallons
**To convert from US gallons to liters multiply the pool volume in gallons by 3.78
How To Calculate Pump Flow Rate Requirements (pump sizing)
Now that you know the volume of your swimming pool you can use this information to determine the amount of flow you need for your filtration system to keep your pool clean and clear.
The filtration requirements for residential swimming pools requires that the volume of the pool passes through the filter three times every 24 hour period as a minimum value. A pool with a 20,000 gallon volume will need to have a pump that moves a minimum of 60,000 gallons through the filter every 24 hours. 60,000 divided by 24 equals 2500 (which means the pump must move a minimum of 2500 gallons per hour). 2500 divided by 60 equals 41.6 gallons per minute that the pump must be capable of providing. If you only run your pump part of the day instead of 24 hours per day then the pump must be capable of providing the minimum flow requirements in this reduced running schedule.
How To Calculate Filter Sizing Requirements (matching pump & filter size)
The filter that you choose for your pool will need to be able to handle the flow rate that your pump provides. The rating that you need to be concerned with is the maximum flow rate as exceeding this value will compromise the ability for the filter to clean the water as well as potentially damaging the filter. Using the example from above you would need a filter that has a maximum GPM rating higher than 42 GPM. Typically sand filters have lower max GPM ratings than cartridge filters of similar size.
What Is The Difference Between Concrete vs Vinyl Liner vs Fiberglass Pools?
Many pool owners do not understand that there are fundamentally different kinds of swimming pools and how to tell these apart. At the high end of the spectrum concrete swimming pools are entirely constructed of concrete and rebar and have an interior surface that is tile, plaster (marbelite) or painted concrete. A vinyl liner swimming pool can also sometimes have a concrete floor (or sand) however the waterproof layer of the interior surface of the pool is a vinyl liner that hangs from a track around the top edge of the pool.
A vinyl liner pool can sometimes have concrete walls under the liner however much more common is modular galvanized steel panels for walls combined with a grout concrete floor and covered with a vinyl liner. The final common type of residential pools are fiberglass pools which are one piece drop-in-place swimming pool solutions where both the structural wall and interior waterproof surface is made from fiberglass.
Basic Swimming Pool Maintenance
-Skim all debris from pool surface to keep it free of floating leaves, bugs and organic matter
-Vacuum all debris from the floor of the pool (failure to do this will impair your ability to maintain chemical balance)
-Keep skimmer strainer basket and pump strainer basket free of leaves and debris at all times
-Maintain 1-3ppm of free chlorine levels in the water at all times
-Backwash sand filters as needed (weekly typically) and clean cartridge filters every six months on average
-Do not drain your pool without speaking with a professional first as this can potentially break your swimming pool
-Fix leaks and deficient items like old liners or broken tiles to prevent further damage to more expensive pool components
These key items are not a comprehensive list of how to care for your pool but instead a few key highlights of regular pool maintenance and upkeep. The maintenance aspect of your pool is likely going to be less challenging than the chemical upkeep and water balancing for most new pool owners. Swimming Pool Steve has written a very simple pool water chemistry crash course to help get you started.