Leaving your pool unattended for a long time is the quickest way to turn it into a breeding ground for mosquitoes and bacteria. What’s more, whether you have a saltwater or chlorine pool, if it is not properly cared for might suffer structural damage as well since the surface tends to deteriorate after long periods of neglect. With the structural integrity of your pool at risk, you’re often left with two options: to drain it, and not to drain it. There are reasons why each option would be preferable in certain cases. Below are six easy steps on how to clean a pool that has been sitting.
How to Clean A Pool That Has Been Sitting
When Should You Drain the Pool?
Gunite pools are safer to drain compared to vinyl and fiberglass pools. The reason for this is that vinyl liners tend to relax when the pool is drained, and if the liner is old, it may even crack or shrink. The same applies to fiberglass pools, which are lightweight enough to shift or pop out of the ground when the water is removed.
You can safely drain concrete (gunite) pools as they’re firm enough to retain their shape and position even when the water is drained. For best results, draining gunite pools should be followed by an acid washing.
As risky as it might be, draining the pool regardless of the material it’s made of becomes necessary once it becomes stained, or if it requires repairs. Typically, acid washing is used to strip the top layer to expose a fresh layer from underneath.
How to Drain the Pool
You can rent a pump for the day to completely drain your pool. These pumps, which are usually rented out along with suction and discharge hoses, have powerful suction that’s capable of sucking up debris as big as golf balls. They can drain a pool in less than an hour. If your pool isn’t full of huge chunks of debris, go for a cheaper, smaller submersible pump.
Once the pool is drained, it should be washed off to remove any stains that remain. Gunite pools should be acid washed or pressure washed, while fiberglass and vinyl pools can do with a low-pressure washer and some mild soap. Proper caution should be observed when dealing with pool cleaning chemicals like muriatic acid as well as to prevent slipping and falling into an empty pool.
Because draining vinyl and fiberglass pools might cause them to shift out of place or “float,” here are some measures you can take to ensure that doesn’t happen:
- Don’t drain immediately after heavy rains
- Determine the topography of the pool (whether it’s on an incline or a valley)
- Discard the bad water into a storm drain or downhill from the pool
- Refill the pool as fast as possible
Recovering Pool Water
If draining the pool isn’t a feasible option for your case, another alternative is to recover the green water. You can do this by:
- Using leaf baggers and leaf nets to remove organic debris—it is necessary to repeat this process until the nets come up clean
- Adjust the pH levels as well as the water hardness
- Use pool shock until the dark green water turns blue-grey
- Make sure the filter is running throughout until the water becomes clear
- Use a clarifier and flocculant to coagulate and drop particles to the bottom of the pool
- Fill and vacuum the pool
Recovering pool water can be a long and tedious process. Furthermore, even a pool that’s been cleaned may still develop future algae problems since it retains the dead organic matter as well as the cellular composition of the murky waters it once had. That is why maintaining your pool in necessary, and you can even add nice water features to keep the pool in use throughout the year.