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10 Must-Know Tips on How to Keep a Small Pool Clean [2022]

How to keep a small pool clean and not harm your wallet: 10 must-know tips on how to take care of it. Bonus: how to keep it clean without chemicals or tools.
How to keep a small pool clean

The long-awaited purchase of a swimming pool is certainly a milestone event. However, it can have some pitfalls. Maintenance and care are just some of them.

At first glance, it may seem that the smaller the pool โ€“ the fewer means of care it requires because the area of contamination is also smaller. However, it is not so simple. If you don’t want to use certain chemicals or equipment, you will need to compensate for it with something else. 

Therefore, we’ve analyzed all the maintenance tools and found out how to keep a small pool clean, what chemicals are needed and which ones can be eliminated, whether you can keep a pool without a filter or pump, and estimated how much it will cost to take care of your backyard swimming spot every month.

Why Should I Keep My Small Pool Clean?

Small Pool Clean

Care of the pool is an integral part of its maintenance. The reason behind can be explained with a simple example. Imagine you have two lakes in front of you. The first with clear water, and the second with a green one and a bad smell. You would not want to swim in the second one. 99% of the time you would choose the first one because it is safer.

Below we list two of perhaps the most necessary factors that make you keep your small pool clean.

  • Safe environment

By filling the pool with water that is warmed up by sunlight we create the perfect environment for bacteria and algae. Any debris that falls into the water from time to time will cause it to become food for bacteria. You should clean it at least once a week during the bathing season not to turn your small pool into a breeding ground for infections.

  • Extend the life of your pool

Debris and algae clog filters, pumps, and damage pool surfaces. It is enough to disinfect the water and clean the pool at least once a week to avoid the expense of buying new equipment.

๐Ÿ’ก Note:
If you also want to know more about the hot tubs maintenance you can read this material.

5 Useful Chemicals for Keeping a Small Pool Clean

Useful Chemicals for Keeping a Small Pool Clean

As we bathe, micro pieces of skin, mucus, and other things remain in the water. All these things feed bacteria and subsequently, they multiply more actively.

We previously said that swimming in a polluted environment could lead to unpleasant consequences like various diseases and infections. To avoid this, you need to fight the bacteria with a variety of chemicals.

โ—โ— Important:
The small pool size does not exempt it from chemical use. You just should use less of them than in larger ones. The required amount is indicated on the product package.

Below, we will tell you 5 useful chemicals that will help make the water in your small pool crystal clear.

Chlorine

Swimming-Pool-Chlorine-3-Inch-Tablet-Chlorine-Tablet-for-Swimming-Pool

Chlorine is used to kill bacteria and algae in the pool which cause the water to turn green.

You can use any chlorine-containing substance to clean your pool:

  • Bleach;
  • Liquid or granular pool chlorine. 

These products differ in chlorine concentration. Because of this, you will need different amounts of each substance. 

Below is a chart that tells you how much chlorine each product contains, how much it costs, and how much it should be added per gallon of water. 

Chemical typeBleach
Liquid chlorine
Chlorine tablets
Chlorine concentration5-6%10-12%50-70%
How much to add per 1,000 gallons15 oz.10.2 oz.1.6 oz.
Cost$15.5 โ€“ 1 gallon$30 โ€“ 1 gallon$285 โ€“ 50 pounds

Our expert Peter Rossi recommends chlorinating your pool water once a week in constant use. In case of severe contamination, you can do shock chlorination. You will need to increase the dosage two to three times to kill large amounts of bacteria and algae at one time.

โ—โ—  Important:
Besides chlorine, you can use bromine to sanitize your pool. You will need to add about 17 tablets per 10,000 gallons of water.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda

Baking soda is added to a swimming pool to raise the pH level. It ranges from 0 to 14, where 7 is the distilled water we drink. A low pH makes the water more acidic, and a high pH makes the water more alkaline. The normal level for a swimming pool is 7.2-7.8.
In our case, high acidity threatens to corrode the surface and cause irritation on the swimmer’s skin. To avoid this, we can use baking soda, which effectively raises the pH.

๐Ÿ’ก Note:
An advantage of using baking soda is the fact that it will not raise the pH above 8 even if overdosed whereas potassium bicarbonate (another pH booster) can cause pH to rise to 8.2 when overdosed. So if you add too much baking soda to the water, the pH will be only 0.2 more than the maximum allowed at 7.8. So you have no problem lowering it while with another chemical you will have to drop 0.4 levels.

Below we’ll tell you how much baking soda you’ll need to raise the pH level.

pH level rise0.2
How much to add per 1,000 gallons2 oz.
Cost$0.67 โ€“ 8 oz.

Stabilizer

Stabilizer

Chlorine is not protected from sunlight. Chlorine molecules begin to break down when exposed to sunlight. For example, 90 minutes after adding the substance, its concentration in the water will drop to 25% and pool cleaning from bacteria and algae will be ineffective. 

A stabilizer is used to protect chlorine from rapid decomposition. It contains cyanuric acid, which strengthens chlorine. If 10 ppm of stabilizer is added to the pool, after an hour and a half, the concentration will be 87%.

โ—โ— Important:
If you are using chlorine tablets, read the instructions carefully. In most cases, it already contains a stabilizer.

The optimal level for private pools is 30 ppm of stabilizer so that the chlorine concentration does not drop below 98% for an hour and a half. Below we will indicate exactly how much stabilizer you need to add and how much it will cost.

How much to add per 1,000 gallons0.25 pounds
Cost$21 โ€“ 4 pounds

Algaecide

Algaecide

Perhaps every pool owner has experienced slippery sludge on the walls. It is caused by algae. Slippery scum increases the likelihood of injury because you can easily slip on the floor. Also, algae can appear as more bacteria in the water.

To combat them it is customary to use algaecides, which in this case are even more effective than chlorine.

The dosage of the algicide varies not only with the amount of water but also with how dirty it is. If you have a lot of algae in your pool, you need to apply a shock dose. Then you can reduce it and add it to the pool regularly once a week. Below we will indicate how much algaecide you need to add and how much it will cost.

A shock dose per 1,000 gallons1.2 oz.
Regular dosage per 1,000 gallons0.3 oz.
Price$19.05 โ€“ 32 oz.

Salt

Salt

Salt in swimming pools is used for salt electrolysis, which is an alternative to conventional water chlorination. Salt is added to a special electrolysis machine, and under the influence of a safe current, it releases chlorine gas, which immediately dissolves in the water.

It is much safer than regular chlorine because its pH is equal to that of your tears, so it will not irritate your eyes or even your skin. To do salt electrolysis you will need special equipment. It will automatically actuate when the salt water gets into it. Such a device will cost about $330-$700

Below we will show you how much salt you need to add and how much it will cost.

How much to add per 1,000 gallons20 pounds
Price$10-$25 โ€“ 40 pounds

5 Must-Know Tips for Making the Pool Water Crystal Clear

Special equipment for the pool and procedures like water draining will greatly simplify the care and cleaning of the swimming place. Below we have gathered for you 5 tips related to maintaining that will help you make your pool water crystal clear.

Buy a Pump

Salt

Pool pumps have built-in filters. They ensure constant water circulation and purification. Due to this, the water will not stagnate and the probability of bacteria due to debris is reduced.

Pumps can have sand and cartridge filters. They have several differences:

  • Purification. Sand filters are capable of holding more fine debris than cartridge filters. However, the degree of water purification is not much different. Either way, you need to use chemicals for better care.
  • Price. Sand filters are 2-3 times more expensive than cartridge filters. 
  • Durability. For one bathing season, you will need 2-4 cartridge filters. Sand filters last for 1-2 years.
Verdict: If you use your pool regularly, it is better to consider sand filters as they last longer and clean finer debris. Cartridge filters are more suitable if you use your pool a few times a season.

Update a Filter

Update a Filter

Cartridge and sand cartridges lose their effective filtration properties over time. For example, the first type is polyester folded in an accordion and laid in the form of a cylinder. Over time, it deforms and begins to let the particles and, more likely, large debris through. The sand filters begin to wash out the sand and form gaps, through which also leaked debris. It can lead to 2 consequences:

  • Pump failure. Debris can deform the walls of the pump and create a blockage that will cause the water not to circulate. The pressure inside the pump will build up. It can cause water leakage.
  • Contaminated media. Bacteria that feed on small debris will begin to multiply in the pool. It will cause the water to turn green and have an unpleasant odor.

Therefore, you should periodically rinse (use water to remove debris that remains on the filter) or change the filter. You will be informed about this by the indicator on the pump.

Green
Pressure in the pump is normal โ€“ the filter is not clogged.
Yellow
Pressure is building up in the pump โ€“ the filter needs to be rinsed of debris.
Red
Pressure is critical โ€“ the filter needs to be replaced.
๐Ÿ’ก Note:
You should change cartridge filters every week. However, if you flush them every few days, its lifespan can be increased 2-3 times. Sand filters can last 1-2 years.

Draining a Pool

Draining a Pool

Draining a pool is an extremely difficult and risky measure. You should not leave it without water for more than 1-2 days as its walls can become deformed. The water pressure balances the external one of the earth. But when you leave the pool empty, the structure’s integrity can be damaged because of unbalanced pressure. It is important to note that it only applies to in-ground pools, as other pools are installed on the ground.

However, draining the pool is the only effective way to lower the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) level. Its rise is caused by heavy soluble substances like sodium, potassium, lead, arsenic, and nitrates. The last three are especially dangerous because they can poison your body.

Our expert Peter Rossi recommends draining your pool every 3 to 5 years, but before you do so you need to measure your TDS levels with a test kit. It should not exceed 2,000 ppm. 

Use Vacuum Cleaner

Use Vacuum Cleaner

An underwater pool vacuum allows you to extend the life of your filter and pump. You can use it to clean accumulations of dirt, hair, leaves, and other debris that accumulate on the pool floor. Consequently, this debris will not get into the filter and it will work more effectively.

The principle of the vacuum cleaner is simple. You move it across the floor and it sucks up the dirt and filters the water from it. The clean water goes back into the pool. 

What is more, you can fully automate the process of cleaning debris from the floor and buy a robot vacuum cleaner, which will move on the surface of the pool without any physical effort.

Below we provide a table with approximate prices for different types of pool vacuum cleaners.

Manual Pool Vacuum CleanersAutomatic Pool Vacuum CleanersRobotic Pool Vacuum Cleaners
$20โ€“$300$300-$700$600-$1,500

Use Pool Cover 

Buying cover is the easiest way to reduce the ongoing costs of maintaining your pool. There are several reasons for this.  Prevents water from evaporating. The water will not evaporate from the pool so you will have to refill it much less often. It will collect as condensation on the inside of the cover and drip back.  Protects against debris. The amount of debris that goes into the pool will also decrease many times over. It will allow you to minimize the use of procedures such as shock chlorination.  Keeps it warm. Your electric bill will also decrease because you will have to turn on the pool heating less often.  Prevents unwanted falls. Fiberglass mesh Covers can withstand an adult's fall.

Buying cover is the easiest way to reduce the ongoing costs of maintaining your pool. There are several reasons for this.

  • Prevents water from evaporating. The water will not evaporate from the pool so you will have to refill it much less often. It will collect as condensation on the inside of the cover and drip back.
  1. Protects against debris. The amount of debris that goes into the pool will also decrease many times over. It will allow you to minimize the use of procedures such as shock chlorination.
  • Keeps it warm. Your electric bill will also decrease because you will have to turn on the pool heating less often.
  • Prevents unwanted falls. Fiberglass mesh Covers can withstand an adult’s fall.
๐Ÿ’ก Note:
A hard vinyl cover that can withstand a human fall will cost you $1,000-$3,000.

Is It Possible to Maintain a Pool Without a Filter or Pump?

A pump with a filter sifts dirt from the water, which prevents the development of bacteria and algae. Therefore, if you build a small pool without them you will need to use more chlorine-containing chemicals and algaecides.

In this case, you will need to increase the concentration of chlorine in the water from 1-3 ppm to 3-4 ppm to avoid green water and an unpleasant odor.

๐Ÿ’ก Note:
You can measure the chlorine concentration with a test kit.

How Much Does It Cost to Keep the Pool Clean?

Maintaining a swimming pool is quite expensive. On average, you’ll need to budget an additional $900-$1,800 per year for chemicals, filter changes, and other expenses, depending on the cost of the items. Also, be prepared to pay $3,000-$5,000 extra for electricity, water, and possible repairs. 

 Verdict: For pool maintenance, be prepared to budget $3,900-$6,800 per year.

Summary

Keeping your pool clean

Keeping your pool clean is a very important aspect of pool ownership. Bacteria, algae, and dirt are bound to grow from debris in the pool. It negatively affects the pool surface and the water, which can make you seriously ill.

As for keeping a small pool here, everything is almost the same as with the big one. However, the difference is present, so in our article, we pointed out how many and what chemicals should be added, gave you 5 must-know tips on maintenance, pointed out if and how to keep a clean small pool without a filter and pump, and calculated how much it will cost to keep the pool a year.

FAQ

โ“ Do small pools need chlorine?

Kiddie and inflatable pools are small enough to avoid chlorine usage by draining the pool. For in- or above-ground pools, it is better to use chlorine since their volume is larger than others.

โฐ How long can you leave water in the kiddie pool?

You should change the water in the pool at least once every two weeks to avoid danger for children.

๐Ÿ†š Can you use bleach instead of chlorine in a pool?

Yes, because both chemicals contain chlorine. However, you will need to add more bleach than chlorine because it has half the chlorine concentration.

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