Restoring a Neglected Swimming Pool

Have you just bought a pre-owned house with a swimming pool that was clearly not maintained well? Alternatively, have you just not kept up to date on caring for your own swimming pool? Regardless of why your pool is now green and disgusting, it’s important that you clean it up quickly to prevent further damage and keep your family from getting sick.

Restoring a neglected swimming pool takes significantly more work and time than simple pool maintenance. However, with the right tools and cleaning supplies, you’ll have a sparkling pool again in no time. Here’s how to restore your pool and get started swimming again.

A neglected swimming pool quickly becomes a hotbed of algae and potential sickness. Here’s how to reverse the process. Click To Tweet

Decide Whether or Not to Drain the Pool

For a severely neglected swimming pool, the best way to clean it is to drain all the water, sanitize the pool shell to kill the algae, and refill the pool. However, about the only type of swimming pool that can be completely drained safely is a gunite pool. A pool with a fiberglass shell will likely “float” out of the ground, especially if your area has a high water table. Double-check to make sure that your pool can be safely drained before you begin cleaning. 

Clean the Pool Shell

Although it’s certainly easier to clean the pool shell when the water has been drained, regardless of whether you drain the water or not, you’ll need to clean the shell very thoroughly. Start by vacuuming the bottom of the pool. Once you’re done, scrub the entire shell with a rough algae brush to knock as much algae off as you can. Don’t try to vacuum up the algae–your goal is to kill the growth, not merely make it appear to go away.

Restore the Water

Once you’re done scrubbing the shell, note the pH of the water for later reference so you can balance it properly. Shock your pool at least twice with chlorine shock, refill the pool to its proper level, and turn the filter on. Leave the filter running constantly for up to five days and monitor the water to make sure it’s becoming clearer. Once the water appears clean enough, balance the pH as necessary. You’re finally ready to start swimming again!

Pro Tip: When you shock your pool to kill the algae, the pool shock you use MUST contain at least 70% chlorine. Any less will not be nearly as effective in killing the algae permanently.

Get Your Sparkling Clean Pool Back

Not only is a neglected swimming pool gross, but it also could make you or your family sick if you attempt to use it or even leave it alone for too long. Additionally, if algae and bacteria have plenty of time to grow, irreversible damage may occur. Your best course of action is to clean your pool as quickly and as thoroughly as possible and maintain that same level of cleanliness.

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