If you’re like most people, chances are you’ve found yourself dreaming of having your own pool. Maybe you picture lazy afternoons with a cold drink on a raft. You might imagine getting in shape by swimming laps, or maybe you dream of big family barbecues with lots of splashing and laughter. Whatever the reason, don’t be put off by the idea of a lot of maintenance. Here are the essential pool supplies you’ll need to keep your water sparkling.
During the off season, you’ll definitely want a cover to protect your pool from falling debris. Not only will you avoid falling leaves in autumn, the cover will also help keep out pollen during the spring and may help insulate any standing water during winter.
2. Pump and Filter
A good filtration system is one of the most important pool supplies you will need. The pump circulates the water, while the filter removes any debris. There are three main types of filters, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. A sand filter is the most basic, pulling water through a sand bed. This kind of filter is cleaned through backwashing. It is the most affordable filter. A cartridge filter has a larger filtration area and does not require backwashing, but replacement filters may be costly or hard to find. Diatomaceous earth (DE) filters are the most effective at removing particles but are also the most expensive. Pick the one that best fits your needs.
3. Test Strips and Chemicals
Testing your water regularly and adjusting chemical levels accordingly is an important part of pool maintenance. Some experts recommend taking your test strips (or a water sample) to the place where you purchase your pool supplies so they can tell what which chemicals you should buy. Others advocate educating yourself by monitoring your levels and recording the results as you adjust your chemicals.
There are many types of chemicals available. Obviously you will need to purchase chlorine, available in tabs or liquid. Chlorine levels should remain between 1-4 ppm for safety.
You will also need to monitor the pH balance in your pool. A low pH balance indicates acidity, which can cause irritation to swimmers and can damage your equipment. A high pH level will allow calcium and scale build-up.
You may also need to include algaecide, to kill algae, as well as shock, a highly concentrated chlorine added to kill bacteria and remove contaminants that keep chlorine from working.
Finally, you will need cleaning tools to properly maintain your pool. The most basic tools are a skimmer, a brush, and a vacuum. The skimmer is a net on a long pole that removes leaves and insects from the surface of the water. The brush is used on the sides of the pool to remove any built up deposits. The vacuum is a lot like your regular house vacuum, except it is made for use in water. It is worth splurging for an automatic one, which cleans while you sleep!
With these basic supplies, you will be swimming all season long in crystal-clear, perfectly balanced water.