Having a pool in your backyard is a summer luxury that can make you the envy of many neighborhoods, and give you countless hours of relaxation and cooling exercise. But having a pool isn’t all fun and games. To keep your pool a healthy place for yourself, your family, and friends requires plenty of maintenance.

There’s far more to the pool equation than just water and sunshine. Not being mindful of your pool’s limits can lead to health issues or damage your pool. Here are a few common pool maintenance mistakes you should try to avoid this summer:

Properly Preparing Your Pool for Parties

If you’re going to have extra people using your pool, you’ll need to do some extra preparation and give your pool a little extra TLC when the party’s over. Consider hiring a pool service professional to get ready for whatever you are celebrating.

A pool professional can properly measure and adjust chlorine and pH levels for your pool, and make sure your small pool pump and small pool water pump are running efficiently to minimize any issues you may have due to an increased pool population. Talk to them about coming by after the party too, to see that your pool stays maintained for your own family’s regular use.

Managing Your Pet’s Pool Use

Swimming is great exercise for your dog as well as the humans in your household, but if your furry friend is going to be taking a regular dip, you’ll need to incorporate some additional guidelines for your pool use. Most pool filtration systems are not built to handle fur, so you’ll need some more heavy duty cleaning to be done if your pup uses the pool. Don’t count on the filtration system to do all the heavy lifting, as it is likely too much for a small pool filter. Be prepared for some manual cleaning with the pool’s skimmer basket in order to assure that excess debris and fur is removed as much as possible to prevent clogging.

Keeping the Right Chemical Balance

Having a healthy pool is not something that just happens when you add water. Whether your pool is the in ground variety or above ground it is important that the chemicals be tested at least weekly if you are using the pool regularly. If you see the blue of your pool start to look more green, there’s a sign that something is off. If your pool seems to be going green too quickly, there may be a problem with your pool pump. Visit Angi (formerly Angie’s List) to find a local pool pump repair company in your area.

Paying Attention to What’s On the Surface

Your pool isn’t all about the water; it’s important to pay attention to the pool’s surface too. Your pool’s surface and pool liner need proper maintenance to assure that your pool provides the many years of recreation you deserve. If you notice discoloration, cracks, rust, tile breakage, or other chips and flaking it is time to investigate further. Even if you don’t actively see these issues, larger fluctuations of pH levels, or an unusual decrease in water levels may be a red flag that it is time to call a pool professional for further investigation.

Remember Winter Maintenance

Not too many people keep their pool active in the winter months, but it is important not to just drain the pool and forget it. The upkeep of an unused winter pool is less work than a summer splash zone, but it still needs protection from potential freezing, which could lead to cracking or other damage to your pool’s components. By consulting with a pool professional, you can learn what steps you need to take in order to assure that you can get your pool back up and running without a hitch when the weather allows.