Pool Info: Pool Cleaning Equipment
Along with the joy, excitement and long lost relatives that come with pool ownership there are also the maintenance challenges. There are many tools and items available to make your pool owning experience less troublesome. Even if you have an automatic cleaner, you will need the basic equipment. Telescopic pole, skim nets, pool brushes and a test kit are a must for any pool owner. The following is a glossary with descriptions of swimming pool and spa cleaning equipment.
The first thing you need. Tele poles, as they are called, come in a variety of lengths and quality. The best ones are made from fiberglass, but most are aluminum. 2 or 3 nested poles extend and then twist lock in place. Most tele-poles have 2 holes at the end that are designed to accept the butterfly clip, used on a wide range of accessories discussed below.
The easiest way to make a dirty pool look good is a good vacuuming. All pools need to be vacuumed on a regular basis. The vacuum head attaches to the pole, and then a vacuum hose is attached to the vacuum head. The pole and vacuum head are then lowered into the pool. See “How to Vacuum My Pool” for more information. There are two different types of vacuum heads. One has wheels and is weighted for concrete pools (left). The other is designed for vinyl lined pools, and has brushes instead of wheels (right).
In order to vacuum debris from the pool walls and floor, you will need a vacuum hose. The vacuum hose connects to the vacuum head and telescoping pole (both above). Then, lowered into the pool. You fill the vacuum hose completely full of water, and then plug the hose end into the skimmer suction hole or a dedicated vacuum line in the wall. The water and debris are pulled into the filter pump basket thru the vacuum hose. Skim Vac plates or in-line strainers can prevent clogging small pump baskets. After you vacuum, clean the basket and backwash the filter.
The leaf trap is a canister that is placed at the end of the vacuum hose just before the pool skimmer. Inside the canister is a large basket that will trap the leaves and debris before the “pool trash” gets to the pump. Great for leaves, acorns, pebbles and palm tree debris.
The skimmer vacuum plate or Skim Vac is a plate that fits over your skim basket, with a raised center hose adapter. Connect it to the end of the hose after priming the hose with water and then place it quickly on top of the skimmer basket. Now, instead of vacuuming into the pump basket, the larger and easier to clean skimmer basket will catch most of the debris.
The most popular pieces of equipment around the pool are the skim net (left) and leaf rake (right). The skim net is a flat mesh net that attaches to the tele pole. It can be used to remove light debris floating on the pool surface before it can sink to the floor. The leaf rake is also a mesh net, but is much deeper. Great for scooping debris from the pool floor or to spot clean steps and spas, in addition to being more effective for surface skimming.
One of the most overlooked maintenance steps of pool care is brushing. Swimming pools should be brushed at least once per week. Weekly brushing removes algae and other films and dirt on pool walls and pool floors that can’t be removed by vacuuming. A weekly brushing will avoid “slimy” walls and slick film that is common with pools and spas. There are several types of pool brushes. Stainless steel is perfect for plaster or concrete pools, but should not be used on vinyl pools. Plastic bristle brushes can be used on any type of pools, and are ideal for above ground and vinyl pools. Combination steel / plastic bristle pool brushes are also recommended for plaster pools only. We have brushes designed for getting into pool corners and under ladder treads.
One of the best inventions for swimming pool cleaning since the telescopic pole is the Leaf Bagger. Originally called the Leaf Master, and sometimes called a leaf sucker or gulper, it is a jet style vacuum that uses water pressure from your garden hose to create a Venturi effect. The high pressure water pushes the debris into a large bag attached. The leaf bagger is ideal for a quick spot clean or cleaning a pool floor full of leaves. Available with a leaf bag, or a very fine mesh bag, or jumbo 60” bag for those big jobs.
The Stain Master is a siphon driven device that can siphon muriatic acid from a 1 gallon bottle on the pool deck to a stain on the pool surface. Sometimes called the Acid Wand. Perfect for small localized stains on plaster pools. Rust stains, or mineral deposits. Read directions on how to prime the hose, and follow all safety guidelines.
Another method for removing localized stains or deposits on concrete pools is the pumice stone. Pumice is a light porous glassy lava stone that can be rubbed over a pool stain to remove it by grinding it off the surface. You can get a pumice stone that can attach to your tele-pole or a pumice stone that has a handle you can swim with. Works great on cement stains, berry stains and calcium deposits on plaster or tile.
A clean tile band is a very important part of the way your pool looks. As part of your weekly maintenance schedule, busy commercial pools scrub the tile band with a chlorine based abrasive cleanser like Comet™ or Soft Scrub™ and an abrasive brush. Tile brushes come in a variety, or you can just use a clean textured kitchen sponge.
Though not normally thought of as a pool cleaning tool or piece of pool cleaning equipment, the skimmer weir plays an important role in the skimming action of your skimmer. Misaligned, broken or missing weirs cause a pool skimmer loses most of its effectiveness. Skimmer weirs are easily replaced with spring loaded generic replacements, or a new dual door skimmer weir can be installed.
Also not normally thought of as a pool cleaning tool or piece of pool cleaning equipment, but properly aimed and functioning return eyeball fittings help to direct the pool water in a circular fashion, and create a slight surface ripple to help transport floating leaves around in front of the skimmer. New venturi return fittings increase water volume and give more precise aim.