Tips & Advice
What supplies are needed for pool cleaning?
Essential pool cleaning supplies include a skimmer, pool brushes, a telescopic pool pole, and a vacuum. A water test kit is also essential, as it allows you to gauge the water quality and add solutions/chemicals as needed to balance the water. If you have a saltwater pool, you won’t add compound chlorine, but it will still require chemicals, as well as needing to be super-chlorinated (aka “shocked”) once a week.
What are the benefits of a saltwater pool?
The primary benefits of a saltwater pool are that the water is less harsh/irritating to skin and eyes than a chlorine-treated pool--and free of the chemical chlorine smell. Also, saltwater pools are less expensive upfront at the time of installation. (However, saltwater pools tend to be more expensive to maintain.) Saltwater pool still require regular upkeep--daily skimming, but they require less complex routines in terms of chemical monitoring and balancing. Weekly monitoring is just for three things: free chlorine, cyanuric acid stabilizer, and pH.
What is an automatic pool cleaner?
An automatic pool cleaner vacuums debris and dirt from the pool and brushes the surfaces clean. The basic models have a suction nozzle and a hose, and connect to the pool’s strainer basket and filter. These are suction-side or pressure-side pool cleaners. Robotic pool cleaners, which are used to clean larger pools, are self-contained and much more expensive. The appeal of all automatic pool cleaners is that they work with little to no human supervision.
How much does it cost to maintain a residential swimming pool?
Maintaining a residential swimming pool typically costs $150-$250 per month for DIY maintenance/cleaning. The cost of running the filter pump is additional. This increases by around $100-$200 a month for professional cleaning, and $100-200 if you need to keep it heated. If you only use your pool during certain seasons, it costs a few-hundred dollars to “open” it for the swimming season (a heavy clean and professional water balance).
How often does a swimming pool need to be cleaned?
A swimming pool needs to be cleaned once a week. Some people maintain it much more painstakingly--skimming every other day, brushing algae-prone areas twice weekly, and vacuuming more than once weekly. Do not forget to clean the pool pumps thoroughly every couple months.
What is a saltwater pool?
A saltwater pool is still chlorinated, but without the highly concentrated chlorine chemicals in traditional chlorine pools. Instead, a saltwater generator is installed, which is a mechanism that converts salt into chlorine to sanitize the pool. But despite the name, a saltwater pool is not filled with ocean water. The water contains about 1/10 the salt concentration that ocean water does.
What is the best way to get rid of weeds?
There are many ways to get rid of weeds – the most extreme methods being yanking them out at the roots and spraying them with weed killer. People who don’t like to use chemical weed killers often use vinegar instead.
Some who don’t like to spray anything potentially harmful to their plants might use more targeted solutions, like burning them (just one pass with a weed scorcher will suffice; do not attempt to start a fire). Keep in mind the burning method is not recommended in dry and/or windy areas of the country. Other methods include scalding weeds with boiling water, or suffocating weed-overtaken areas with thick layers of paper weighed down by mulch, so the weeds can’t reach sunlight.
How deep should mulch be applied?
Apply about a 3-inch deep mulch layer the first time--keeping in mind that the depth might be less if you use a fine mulch. If replacing the mulch in planting beds, the mulch layer should be 2-3 inches deep if you apply it annually, or 3-5 inches if the mulch hasn’t been applied in two years or more.
What is the best type of landscaping for hot climates?
For hot climates, the best landscaping requires little water. Cacti and succulents are very popular. So is the “Mediterranean-style” garden, which features sun-tolerant flowering plants, shrubs, and ornamental grasses.
Many perennials can thrive in a hot, dry summer--for example, a rainbow of flowering Echinacea varieties, dwarf rhododendrons, acacia, hydrangea, and many kinds of roses. But for upkeep purposes and sustainability, it’s recommended that homeowners in very hot, dry climates design gardens with a nice balance of hardscaping and drought-resistant plants.
How often should plants be watered?
Outdoor plants should be watered every day in the summer, or whenever the temperature hovers more than 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Certain potted plants even need watering twice a day. In cooler seasons, watering frequency depends on how much rain the plants are getting. If they’re not getting 1 1/2-2 inches per week, make up the difference by watering them.
Indoor plants should always be watered a few times a week, although the exact schedule depends on how much sunlight the plant gets, the type of plant, and the conditions in your house (e.g. air conditioning).