Category Archives: Pool Maintenance

Remove leaves from pool cover

How to Remove Leaves from Pool Cover

Is your pool cover full of leaves?  Are the leaves wet or dry?  Either way, we have some helpful tips and tools on how to remove leaves from your pool cover.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost, but Running A Household will receive a commission.

Dry Leaves

If your pool cover is full of dry leaves that just fell from the trees, try removing them with a leaf blower. The process is simple, but you’ll need to clean up the leaves once they are off your cover.  Otherwise, you’ll find them right back on the pool cover. You can use a blower like this one: Black & Decker High Performance Blower which is also helpful around the yard when you need to blow or mulch your leaves.

Wet Leaves

More than likely, you’re dealing wet leaves on your pool cover.  It’s difficult to keep all of the dry leaves off the cover, and before you know it the rains comes.

We use a leaf rake, which is a larger version of a pool net, similar to this one:

Pool Skimmer Leaf Net

Just attach the leaf rake to a standard pool pole, and start scooping out the wet leaves.  You can make a pile on the ground and let them dry out.  Another option is to put them in a large plastic trash barrel. Just make sure it’s an old one with a few holes at the bottom.  The holes will let the water drain out, and make the barrel lighter to carry.

Draining the Water from Pool Cover

Once the leaves are off of your cover, you’ll want to drain the water.  One of the easiest ways to drain water from your pool cover is with a small pump.  The one we use is called a Little Giant Submersible Pump and it was made especially for draining water from pool covers.

We love the Little Giant.  It seems to have enough horsepower to get the job done.
We’ve tried other pumps, but this one seems the quickest.

Just attach it to a hose, and plug it in.  Be sure that the hose is attached.  If not, the hose could pop off underwater and slow or stop the draining process.

If there’s just a little water, you can let it drain on the grass.  If there’s a lot of water, you may want the hose to drain in the driveway.

You can use a regular garden hose.  We prefer to use non-kink hoses like this one:
Neverkink Garden Hose

Remove Leaves from Pool Cover with a Leaf Net

Aside from cutting the leaf-producing trees down, there is a product designed especially for leaves on a pool cover.  It is a called a leaf cover, and it is a large net that sits right on top of your pool cover to catch all of the leaves.  Once the leaves are done falling, remove the net, along with all of the leaves.  We haven’t tried it, but it looks like a great idea, and it comes in most above-ground and in-ground pool sizes.  For more details:

Leaf Net for Pools

You may also enjoy the following articles on our website:

It’s Time to Clean Out Your Gutters

Do it yourself: How to clean up fall leaves

Silver Maple Trees: It’s a Love-Hate Relationship

Pool Cleaning Checklist

Pool Chemical Checklist

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Can’t Keep Chlorine in Your Pool? Tips to Remove Phosphates

Does it feel like you keep adding chlorine to your pool?  Or does it seem like you can’t keep chlorine in your pool?  If so, your pool may contain a high level of phosphates.  We’re here to explain phosphates as well as tips to remove phosphates from your pool water.

What are Phosphates and Where Do They Come From?

Phosphates are an ingredient found in fertilizer.  Phosphates can also come from organic matter, such as decayed leaves in your pool.  Another source of phosphates is cosmetic products from bathers.  Some pool products meant to descale your pool even contain phosphates.

Can’t Keep Chlorine in Your Pool?
Signs of high phosphate level in pool water

  • Slimy walls
  • Cloudy water
  • Algae grows back quickly
  • Chlorine seems to disappear from pool instantly
  • Water testing shows high level phosphates

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost to you, but Running A Household will receive a commission.

How to Remove Phosphates From Your Pool

Step 1: Have the phosphate level in your pool water tested. 

Phosphate levels should be below 100 ppb (parts per billion) or 0.100 ppm (parts per million).  You can have your local pool store run a test, or you can purchase your own Phosphate Test Kit.

If phosphate levels are higher than 100 ppb, a phosphate remover called Phos Free Pool Cleaner can be purchased.  This comes in a three liter bottle.


Read the application instructions to determine how much phosphate remover you need.  Our pool is 16 x 36, and our phosphate level required us to use 32 ounces.

Step 2: Balance Your Pool Water

We made sure that our pool water was balanced first, with the exception of the chlorine level.  So that means our alkalinity, ph, and calcium hardness were at the correct levels.  We also added our three-month algaeside to prevent any further issues.

Our pool store representative recommended holding off on shocking the pool until our phosphate levels were reduced to close to 0.  Otherwise, it’s like throwing money away.  All of the shock you put into your pool will simply disappear.  To drive the point home, he told us to just give him $20 if we felt like shocking the pool!

Step 3: Pour the Phosphate Remover around the entire pool.

The instructions on our phosphate remover product recommended that we pour the phosphate remover around the edge of the entire pool.

Also note that the filter will need to run for 24 hours, so plan accordingly.  You will want to be around while the filter runs, so that you can bump it when the pressure rises.

Step 4: Vacuum up any phosphate remainder

Phosphate remnants look like gray or white matter floating at the bottom of the pool.  You will need to vacuum this matter and remove it from your pool.

Can't keep chlorine in your pool

Gray matter in pool after phosphates removed

Step 5: Backwash the pool filter

It is important to backwash the pool filter after vacuuming, and install fresh Dichotomous Earth (D.E.)  Backwashing will remove the phosphates from your pool, and prevent them from reentering the water.  We even took the opportunity to crack open our filter to clean the fingers.

Step 6: Re-Test the Phosphate Levels

Next, have the phosphate levels tested again.  If the levels are above 500, repeat the steps again.  Otherwise, your pool will not hold chlorine.  Since removing phosphates requires you to test multiple times, you may want to save a few trips to the pool store and purchase your own Phosphate Test Kit.  We like this kit because it provides you with a color coded strip so that you can see the phosphate level:

Clear test results means there are no phosphates in your pool.  The higher up on the blue scale you go, the more phosphates you have in your pool water. This kit also allows you to test up to 100 times. Hopefully you won’t need to test that many times, but it will certainly save you a few trips back and forth to the pool store.

Step 7: Shock Your Pool

Once your phosphate levels are close to zero, it’s time to shock the pool.  As you now know, if the phosphate levels are too high, your chlorine will disappear.

Still having water issues?  You may want to work with your local pool store to test the water.  They have the technology to perform tests beyond the standard homeowner tests.

Happy swimming!

How to drain water from a pool cover

Tips on How to Drain Water from a Pool Cover

Do you have excess water on your pool cover?  We’ve put together some tips on how to drain water from a pool cover.

Draining Water from a Pool Cover with a Pool Pump

The first option for draining water off of your pool cover is to use a pool pump (sump pump) and a garden hose.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means that if you make a purchase, there is no extra cost, but Running A Household will receive a commission.

Step 1: Connect garden hose to pool pump.

Tip: Confirm that the hose is attached.  If not, the hose could pop off underwater and slow or stop the draining process.

We love the Little Giant Pump.  It seems to have enough horsepower to get the job done.
We’ve tried other pumps, but this one seems the quickest, and has lasted for years.

This pumps gets a lot of use.  During the swimming season, it comes in handy
to drain the excess pool water after a heavy rain.

 

Step 2: Determine where you want the pool cover water to drain.  Stretch out your garden hose so that the water can drain freely from the end of the hose that is not attached to the pool pump.

Step 3: Drop the pool pump into the water on top of your pool cover.

Tip: Our local pool company suggests placing the pool pump on top of a garbage can lid.  Most pool covers are made of a mesh material.  Therefore, it is possible to actually drain the water from underneath your cover, unless you put the pump on a lid.

Step 4: Plug pool pump into grounded outlet.

Tip: Find an electrician and have an outdoor grounded outlet installed in a central location.  Most have GFI outlets, so that the outlet will trip of any moisture is detected.  Plus, using extension cords can increase the risk for a fire. 

Step 5: Confirm that the pool water is draining.

Tip #1: This part seems basic, but it is especially very important.  If there is a kink in your garden hose, and the water is not draining, or draining slowly, you can burn out your pump.

Tip #2: Did you leave your garden hose outside for the winter?  If you are doing this project on a warm day in the winter, or very early in the spring, it is possible to have ice build-up within your garden hose.  Again, this would prevent the water from moving freely through your hose, and can burn out your pool pump.

For more details about the pool pump, click here:

Little Giant 505005 5-MSP 1/6 HP Submersible Utility Pump, 1200GPH

Removing Water from a Pool Cover with a Garden Hose

If you have an above ground pool, it is possible to remove the water with just a garden hose.  Here’s the trick:

  1. Connect your hose to the faucet.
  2. Place the other end of the hose on top of the pool cover.  Make sure it is underwater, and placed in such a way that it will stay under water.
  3. Turn on the water and let it run for a minute.
  4. Turn off the water and quickly disconnect the hose from the faucet.  The water from your pool cover will now start to drain.

We prefer to use non-kink hoses like this one:
Neverkink Garden Hose

Advantages:

  • You don’t need to invest in a pool pump, which can range in price from $50-150.
  • It’s simple and quick.

Disadvantages

  • The hose in the pool can move around, causing the draining process to stop.
  • You are limited to where you can drain your pool water.  Once you detach the hose from the faucet, it’s tricky to move the hose.  Just plan ahead and know where you want the water to drain.

What is an elephant cover?

One other option for getting water off of your pool cover is to prevent the water from ever building up.  This can be solved with an elephant cover.

So what is an elephant cover?  Surely you’ve seen the ads.  The cover stretches over your in-ground pool and the water (and fall leaves) fall off to the side.  The cover is so strong that an elephant can stand on it.

Advantages

  • Safety: If you have pets and/or small children, this is a great way to ensure that no one falls through your pool cover.
  • Low maintenance: Water and leaves cannot collect on top of the cover, so you can avoid the maintenance.

Disadvantages

  • Appearance: In order to install the cover, it is necessary to drill holes into the surface surrounding the pool.  This means drilling holes into the concrete.  We have pavers around our pool, and did not want to risk drilling into the pavers.  We were also concerned about having open holes when the cover is off.
  • Price: We just looked that the prices again, and they are steep.  The cost of a cover to fit a popular 16 x 36 in-ground pool is $700-1500.  We found one for $1200 with a 12-year warranty.  A standard mesh cover is $90-200, and can last from 3-10 years.  We found one for $199 that came with a 16-year warranty.

So as you can see, there are several options for removing water from a pool cover.  Happy swimming! 🙂

Do you need more pool tips?  You may find the following articles on our website helpful:

How to Remove Leaves from Pool Cover

Pool Cleaning Checklist

Pool Chemical Checklist

Want to keep your home running smoothly?

Be sure to enter your email address (on the right side of our home page) to receive our free Monthly Household Checklists and tips for Running a Household.

 

Pool Cleaning Checklist - Running a Household

Pool Cleaning Checklist

Need a checklist to track your pool maintenance?  Look no further.  We have a printable worksheet for you.  Just click and print the link below:

Pool Cleaning Checklist

How to Use the Pool Cleaning Checklist

Once you complete a task, just enter the date in the column.  This way you know exactly when you completed the task last.  The checklist is separated by months, so you can easily track your pool maintenance.

Regular Pool Maintenance

Here are some items you’ll want to take care of on a regular basis:

Vacuum

Change DE or Sand

Add

  • Algaecide
  • Chlorine
  • Clarifier

Shock your pool with a higher dose of chlorine

Do you have trouble keeping your pool clean?  Try these tips:

  • Check your chlorine and Ph levels daily; add chemicals as needed.
  • Chlorinate daily with tabs, or fill your automatic chlorinator on a weekly basis.
  • Add algaecide every week.  Or, add a bottle of three-month bottle of algaecide at the beginning of the season.
  • Get into the habit of vacuuming your pool on a weekly basis.
  • After it rains, drain your pool back to its normal level, add chlorine (or shock) and algaecide.
  • Run your pool filter 8 hours each day.  Consider having an electrician install a timer so that your filter turns on and off automatically.
  • Try to pick the same day every week to maintain your pool.  For example: Every Wednesday vacuum your pool, brush walls and floor, fill your automatic chlorinator, and add algaecide.

Now you can enjoy your clean pool.  Happy swimming!

You may also enjoy the following article:  Pool Chemical Checklist

 

Pool Chemical Checklist

It’s time to open the pool.  To make sure you’re ready for the season, here’s a checklist to help you.

Pool Chemical Checklist

Track the leftover supplied from last year, and make a shopping list for supplies to purchase.  Usually the pool companies have a spring sale.  So it’s cheaper to buy everything up front, not to mention you can float around in the pool instead of running to the pool store for supplies.  Here are some of the pool chemicals you will need:

To Balance Your Pool Water

  • Calcium hardness increaser
  • Ph increaser
  • Ph reducer
  • Alkalinity increaser

To Maintain Your Pool Water

  • Diatomaceous Earth (DE) or Sand
  • Chlorine (sticks or tabs)
  • Algae side
  • Clarifier
  • Bags of shock
  • Chlorine and Ph Testing kit

So take inventory and stock up so that you can enjoy your time in the pool. 🙂