DISCLAIMER: Before attempting to do anything contained within this post, make sure you fully understand the safety requirements and skills required. If in doubt, contact a licensed contractor or pool professional. Above all else, please be safe around chemicals and electricity.
Like everything else in life, tools and tricks make our lives easier and pool maintenance is no exception.
We talked to some of our customers about what their favorite gadgets or tricks are for maintaining their pools and wanted to pass along that knowledge to help others that may find them useful.
- When you need to add granular products like borates, stabilizer, or calcium hardness you can use an old pair of panty hose. Simply cut a leg off and fill with the product you’re adding, let it hang in front of a return jet and the stream of water will dissolve and distribute for you. You may have to refill the pantyhose a few times depending on how much product you need to add, but it dissolves pretty quickly so it shouldn’t take long to add what you need. Also be sure to not to mix chemicals in the same leg – it’s never advised to mix any pool chemicals due to the risk of dangerous reactions.
- Storing pool chemicals should be avoided to minimize the risk of reactions and also keep supplies fresh.
- Muriatic acid fumes can escape bottles even if the bottle isn’t open. It will damage anything metal such as automobile components, hinges and springs on cabinetry, overhead garage door springs, tools, et cetera. You should never store it in an enclosed place such as your garage. Look at the shelves in the pool store the next time you go, you will see damage from acid fumes. It’s recommended to buy as needed and not stockpile it. If you have to store bottles, it’s best to store them in an airtight container if possible, and even better if away from anything metal. It should also not be near chlorine as they will react violently if mixed.
- Chlorine will degrade over time due to heat and light so it should be kept in a controlled temperature and away from light if possible. It’s ok to store chlorine inside in smaller quantities (it’s the same as storing a bottle of bleach in the laundry room.) Make sure it’s in a location that children can’t reach it and also make sure it’s in a marked container.
- Powder chemicals should also be kept away from one another and stored in a dry location.
- All chemicals need to stay in their original containers, simply place the whole container in a larger container for storage.
- More info about chemical safety can be found here.
- When adding borate, consider using boric acid instead of borax. Boric acid doesn’t raise the pH like borax does so you do not have to counter the rise.
- Pro Tip – Borates help stabilize pH and also gives water an amazing shimmer and shine in the sunlight.
- Consider using automation solutions to help administer chlorine and muriatic acid. There are complete systems made by multiple larger pool equipment manufacturers such as Hayward and Pentair that can be installed at the time of the build or even potentially be added after the fact. There are also other solutions on the market that can work as well.
- HASA Liquidator for chlorine
- More advanced DIY solutions for acid and chlorine using pumping systems such Stenner pumps which are designed for chemical pumping.
- Skimmer socks trap a large percentage of debris that typically finds its way into the pump basket and eventually the filter.
- Regular hairnets like the ones used for food preparation can also be used as a cheaper alternative in the place of skimmer socks. These can be found at big box stores or online.
- Skimmer basket attachments like the SkimDoctor™ work by creating a swirling motion that increases suction through the Venturi effect. These can help increase the draw of the water and pull debris into the skimmer at a higher rate, and also allow the reduction of pump speed to save electricity.
- Keep your skimmer cleaned often as debris like leaves and other organic contaminants are a drain on your sanitizer.
Robotic Pool Cleaners
- Kinked pool cleaner hoses can be the worst. One trick that helps get them straightened out is to stretch them out and leave them in the sun from time to time to soften the hoses and make them more flexible.
- Silt bags will help robotic pool cleaners pick up more debris and can help keep your pool floor cleaner.
- Empty your cleaner often as debris like leaves and other organic contaminants are a drain on your sanitizer.
- Do not leave the cleaner in the pool when it’s being shocked. High chlorine levels aren’t good for the plastic and can prematurely age it and make the plastic brittle.
- When the wheels or other parts are worn, consider repairing or rebuilding the cleaner yourself. There are plenty of YouTube videos showing how to repair or rebuild and it can be a fun project. Rebuild kits are sold at pool stores and online.
- Robotic cleaners that have filters, like the Dolphin, should be cleaned when they are removed from the pool and not allowed to sit with debris in them. Plus it’s nice to know that your robot is ready to go when you need it.
- Removing a broken pool wall cleaner fitting without breaking it.
- If the head is already broken off and there is no way to get a pair of channel locks on it then you can insert the open end of a 13/16” wrench and use it to catch the tabs inside and unscrew it from the wall.
- A cartridge filter cleaning tool is a great for getting between the pleats in the cartridges and dislodging debris. It simply attaches to a water hose and uses water pressure to flush debris from between the pleats.
- Reassembling DE filter grids can be confusing, especially the first time. Take pictures before you start to disassemble it and along the way. You can also use something to tag each grid and its location on the floor plate – colored or marked up clothespins will also work.
Sealed LED lights
- Sealed LED light replacement is an advanced activity. If you aren’t proficient in electrical work it’s best to leave this to a professional as some pool panels have exposed electrical components that are easy to accidentally touch. You can easily hurt yourself and/or damage expensive circuitry and lights.
- Work safely
- Turn off the power at the break box and tag it to let others know you are working on that circuit – do not risk getting hurt!
- Test the circuits at the control panel to make sure that it is no longer energized.
- Consider testing the lights before installing, you don’t want to go through all of the trouble of installing a bad light.
- Be sure to have a helper as it is much easier with someone pushing and someone pulling the wire through the conduit.
- Consider using silicone gasket lube to help the wire traverse through the conduit.
- Pool light wires are run through conduit and they can sometimes have less than optimal runs that make them difficult to remove.
- Pro Tip, if you are building a pool then take pictures of all of the plumbing and wiring before the concrete is poured. Consider measuring from a point of reference at several spots so if you need ro repair anything you know where the runs are.
- You may need leverage to get the wire moving, consider using a frame stand with a come along (another reason to think about hiring a professional…
- Work safely
Non-sealed light bulbs
- Non-sealed bulb replacement on the other hand is a relatively easy activity.
- Use a new gasket every time you replace the bulb. There is no need to risk a leak after going through all of the effort to replace the bulb.
- Make sure you get the right voltage bulb, some are 12V and some are 120V.