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How to Clean a Swimming Pool

Roger Diez | Improvement Center Columnist | December 13, 2011

A swimming pool is a wonderful thing - refreshing on a summer's day, great for exercise and for outdoor summer parties. But to keep your pool clean and sparkling requires a bit of work. Whether it is an in-ground or above-ground pool, the water must be kept in chemical balance and the bottom needs to be cleaned of dirt and debris on a frequent basis.

Cleaning equipment options

Whether your pool is in-ground or above-ground, there are two basic types of cleaners: suction and pressure. Suction cleaners attach to your pool's pump and filter system to suck dirt and debris from the pool floor. Pressure cleaners use the pool's return line to blast dirt and debris off the bottom and sweep it into a filter bag. If you want to do away with hoses and spending a Saturday morning cleaning your pool, robotic cleaners can do the job for you.

Equipment costs

An above-ground pool is usually much less expensive than in in-ground pool, but has a shorter lifetime. Above-ground pool cleaning equipment is also less expensive than the equipment required to maintain an in-ground pool. Here are some price ranges:

  1. Suction cleaners: $100 to $150 above-ground, $150 to $500 in-ground
  2. Pressure cleaners: $200 to $250 above-ground, $250 to $900 in-ground
  3. Robotic cleaners: $250 to $400 above-ground, $500 to $2000 in-ground

There are also battery-powered cleaners as low as $50 for those quick clean-ups around pool steps and small areas. In addition, you will want to have a brush and cleaning solvent to periodically clean the tile around the pool at the surface, as it collects washed-off suntan lotion and body oils.

Using a swimming pool service

If you want to enjoy your pool without the hassle of cleaning it, consider hiring a professional swimming pool service to take care of routine cleaning and maintenance. A weekly service usually consists of these chores:

  1. Chemical and water test
  2. Vacuum and skim
  3. Brush wall and steps
  4. Empty leaf catcher
  5. Visually inspect equipment
  6. Backwash if necessary

The cost for this service varies widely depending on pool size, whether it is in-ground or above-ground, and which area of the country you live in. Get references from other pool owners, and get quotes from at least three pool-service companies. Even if you do not use a service for routine maintenance, you may want to hire one when you first begin using your pool in the spring. Many service companies also have technicians that can troubleshoot and repair problems with pump, filter, heater and other pool equipment.