What pool maintenance is needed to keep an above-ground vinyl pool clean? What chemicals should be added to a pool?

When you fill your pool for the first time, have a pool dealer analyze a quart of water taken from about 18 inches below the surface; he’ll recommend an initial stabilizing treatment and the correct long-range treatment to keep the pool water chemically stabilzed and balanced. Have the water analyzed again at the start of each swimming season and whenever water problems occur.

Use stabilized organic chlorine to sanitize the pool water. The most effective form of chlorine is solid pellets fed continuously into the water from a dispenser; powdered chlorine must be added by hand every 1 or 2 days.

Buy a chlorine and pH test kit; test the water daily for the first 2 weeks of the season: twice a week thereafter is probably often enough. Maintain a chlorine residual level of 1 to 2 parts per million (ppm) and a pH (acidity/ lalkalinity balance) of 7.4 to 7.6. An incorrect pH reduces chlorine’s efficiency and can damage the pool liner. Follow label directions when adding pH adjusters or any chemicals to a pool.

To neutralize organic wastes, superchlorinate the pool every 2 weeks, preferably in the evening. Add a commercial oxidizer or 5 to 10 times the normal daily dose of powdered chlorine (the residual level should be 10 ppm), then run the pump overnight. Keep out of the pool for 12 hours. Add an algae inhibitor to the pool every 2 weeks, preferably the morning after the oxidizing treatment.

To filter out sand, dirt, and other solids, run the pump as often and for as long as it takes to clarify the water (experience and your pool dealer will help you determine how long is necessary). Check the pressure gauge daily. If pressure in a sand filter exceeds the level recommended by the filter manufacturer, back flush the filter following the manufacturer’s instructions.

For routine cleaning, make sure everyone showers before entering the pool; ban food and drink from it. Clean the pool surface with a leaf net. Brush down the liner once a week: vacuum as needed. Periodically clean the skimmer’s catch basket; with the pump off, remove and clean the hair and lint filter. Repair chipped paint or rust spots on steel was or frames. Fix liner leaks with a pool-patching kit.

At the end of the swimming season, treat the water in the pool with a winterizing kit. Clean the pool and back-flush the filter. Drain the pool to about 4 inches below the skimmer. Drain water from the pump and filter; store them indoors. Cover the pool with a mesh or solid cover.