Refilling your pool water on a budget can be an overwhelming and stressful task. One wrong purchase or insufficient cleaning can lead to costly and potentially damaging problems. Fortunately, refilling your pool water on the cheap does not have to be a difficult undertaking. With some careful planning, you can easily refill your pool water inexpensively and safely, saving you time and money. In this article, we will cover how to refill your pool water on a budget in 10 simple, easy to understand steps.
1. Assess The Depth, Volume, and Quality of Water
The first step when looking to refill your pool water with a low-cost solution is assessing the depth, volume, and quality of water you currently have. Get measurements of total measured gallons (TMG) as well as your pool volume in gallons. Doing this assessment will help you determine how much fresh water you will really need, and help keep costs down by only paying for what you need.
A. Determine the Depth of Your Pool
You can determine the depth of your pool simply by measuring the deepest part. Depth of most private pools range around 4 to 9 feet. If you have an in ground pool, finding out the depth of the pool will be much easier because you can use a flexible measuring tape. To measure an above ground pool, use a depth gauge rod or other straight-edge tool.
B. Determine Pool Volume
Once you know the depth of the pool, you can find the overall capacity of water your pool needs by multiplying the depth by width, height and a constant for a specific shape of pool. This equation will give you the total capacity of water needed for your pool in gallons.
C. Test the Quality of Current Water
It is important to test the current water in your pool to measure the chlorine or bromine levels and alkalinity. Also examine PH levels, as this will decide the amount of supplies you will need to purchase when filling up with fresh water. You can purchase a pool test kit at most local pool and home improvement stores that will help accurately measure the pool contents.
2. Calculate the Cost of Supplies
After measuring the pool conditions, the next step is to calculate the overall cost of supplies needed for the refilling process. Depending on the current pH level and chlorine content, you might need to buy special supplies. Chlorine stands, additives and more may add to the cost of refilling. Do your research and find the best products for the lowest cost.
Chlorine is an important chemical for keeping pools clean and free of bacteria. It is usually sold in 1 pound or 3-pound containers and should cost around $5-$15. Calculate the amount of chlorine needed in your pool and the associated cost.
B. Alkalinity Balancer
Alkalinity measures the pH balance and helps maintain chlorine levels. Alkalinity balancers come in all shapes and sizes, so make sure to purchase a size that meets your pool water needs. Depending on the volume of water in the pool, alkalinity balancers can range anywhere from $10-$25.
C. Water Testing Kit
A water testing kit is an inexpensive and important addition to your pool refilling project. Most kits come with supplies to test chlorine, pH, alkalinity, and more. Quality kits come at a reasonable price, usually around $25-$50.
3. Scout for Cheap Water Sources
After calculating the cost of supplies, the next step is scouting for cheap water sources. Searching for a local water supply that meets all the criteria for a safe refilling experience can go a long way to saving you money. Here are some of the most popular and most affordable water sources for refilling your pool.
A. Local Water Station
For larger pools, you may have to hire a water truck or a local water station to provide water. Local water stations are great options as you will generally get high quality water while avoiding hauling costs. In most cases, the cost is low because they often have to move large quantities of water in order to make a profit.
B. Rainwater Collection
Rainwater can be a great source for pool refilling, as it is free of charge and very low in mineral content. Although rainwater may be slightly acidic and may carry some pollutants, it can be safely used to refill your pool. Use a well-maintained container to store rainwater and use it in your pool.
C. Well Water
Well water may be a good option if you have access to a private well. This water is usually low in mineral content, but it is important to get the water tested first before using it. Well water with too high phosphorus or iron content can make the water too murky, leading to costly repairs. Make sure to have the water tested first before proceeding.
4. Refill Pool Water
Once you have found a reliable source of water, you can now begin refilling your pool. Before you start, make sure to use the appropriate supplies that you have already bought. Once you have all your supplies ready to go, you can now begin refilling your pool in the following steps:
A. Turn off Pump and Filter Systems
Turn off the power supply to the pump and filter systems so that the pool water does not begin circulating as you fill it up. Doing so will ensure that contaminants from the incoming water are not distributed around the pool.
B. Start Filling the Pool
Start filling the pool with the fresh water source, using the appropriate hoses and pipes that you have all set up. Start the process slowly, allowing the water to gradually fill up. This will give you more time to add the appropriate chemicals and adjust the pH levels of the water.
C. Run the Pump and Filter Systems
Once the pool has been adequately filled, turn on the pump and filter systems and begin to circulate the water. Make sure all the chemical levels are correct and adjust accordingly if needs be.
5. Clean Out the Waste
Once the pool has been refilled with fresh water, it is necessary to clean out any waste which has built up in the pool during the refilling process. As debris and sediment fill up the pool, it can cause your filter systems to run slower, reducing the amount of water that can be filtered. To avoid this, make sure to thoroughly clean the pool before turning on the filter systems.
A. Skim The Pool
With a leaf skimmer, skimmer net, or vacuum, start to remove any leaves, twigs, dirt, or other debris that have surrounded the pool. Make sure to move around the edge of the pool before moving to the center. This will give you an easier time skimming.
B. Vacuum the Floors
Using a pool-specific vacuum, begin to vacuum the pool floor, sucking up all dirt, debris, and sediment. Depending on the size of your pool, this can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour or more.
C. Clean the Pool Steps and Walls
Using a special-designed wall scraper, and a brush, begin to scrub the walls of your pool, focusing on tile grout lines and mildew. Be sure to use the appropriate brush for the walls of your pool (concrete, fiberglass, or vinyl). Once finished with the walls, repeat the process for the pool steps as well.
6. Test the Pool Water
Finally, use the same pool test kit that you used previously to test the chlorine, pH, alkalinity, and other mineral levels. If the levels are too high or too low, then use the appropriate supplies to adjust them. Once the levels are optimal, your pool should be ready to use.
7. Balance the Water with Chemicals
After refilling your pool with fresh water, it is important to add chemicals to balance the pool water. Chemicals such as chlorine, alkalinity balance, pH balance, and other clarifiers help maintain clean and healthy pool water. Depending on the quality of in-coming water and the size of your pool, the amount of chemicals needed to balance the water can range.
Chlorine acts as a sanitizer that kills bacteria, algae, and other unwanted particles in the water. Chlorine is usually sold in 1-pound or 3-pound containers and will cost around $5-$15 per container.
B. Alkalinity Balance
Alkalinity balance helps maintain pH levels, making the water more comfortable to swim in. Low alkalinity levels can result in dry and itchy skin, as well as eye irritation. Alkalinity balance usually comes in 1-pound or 3-pound containers and will cost around $10-$20.
C. pH Balance
Having an appropriate pH balance in your pool water is important for the comfort of both your skin and swimming pools in general. Test the pH levels of the water and add pH balance to raise or lower the level if needed. Generally, pH balance comes in liquid form and costs around $10-$20 per container.
8. Shock The Pool Water
As you add all of the necessary chemicals, you may need to shock the water as well. This is done to kill any bacteria that may still be lingering in the water after the refilling process. You can purchase pool shock at any home improvement store and it usually comes in 1lb or 2lb containers.
A. Calculate The Amount of Pool Shock
To correctly shock the pool, you will need to calculate the amount of shock per gallon of water. Generally, it is best to add 1lb of shock for every 10,000 gallons of water in the pool.
B. Add The Pool Shock
Mix up the shock in a bucket of water and add it to the pool carefully. As you add the shock, make sure to circulate the water with the pump and filter systems to prevent clumping.
C. Testing for Chlorine Levels
After all the shock has been added, test the chlorine levels of the pool with a water test kit. Chlorine levels should be between 1 and 3 ppm. Adjust with additional chlorine if levels are too low or too high.
9. Lower Water Level
Depending on the size of your pool, you may have to lower the water level to make sure all of the new water is evenly distributed throughout the pool. To lower the water level, make sure the pump and filter systems are off and use a submersible pool pump to gradually lower the water level.
A. Adjust The Skimmer Adjustment Valve
Before you start to lower the water level, adjust the skimmer adjustment valve to lower the water level. This will help prevent splashing and will ensure a safe and efficient water lowering process.
B. Connect The Pool Pump
After the skimmer adjustment is done, connect the pool pump to the pool wall skimmer and turn on the pump. As the pool pump runs, the water level will begin to lower. Run the pump until the desired water level is achieved.
C. Turn Off The Pump And Filter Systems
Once the desired water level is achieved, turn off the pump and filter systems and give the pool time to settle. This will help the new water get evenly distributed and circulate throughout the pool.
10. Maintain Proper Pool Levels