7 Tips for Building a Trouble Free Swimming Pool
October 26, 2021 Mark MacFarlane

7 Tips for Building a Trouble Free Swimming Pool

Posted in Home Maintenance, Home Services

7 Tips for Building a Trouble Free Swimming Pool

Summer is Calling

Congratulations, you have decided to take the plunge and build a backyard oasis with a swimming pool. Now the fun begins as you start to make 100s of different decisions that will affect the outcome of the pool, including how easy it will be to maintain. We have owned and operated different swimming pools over the last 20 years and have learned a lot in the process. We are not pool builders or sellers of equipment, so our recommendations are based upon real-world experience, with a few costly mistakes mixed in. Our goal is to pass on our experience so you spend your time swimming and playing in the pool, not maintaining it.

Let’s dive in and have a look at our top 8 tips for building a trouble-free swimming pool that will make maintaining your pool a breeze.

Auto Fill Line

The pool is used in the summer when it is hot and evaporation is at the greatest. Plus you will have family and guests who splash water all over the place, much of it landing outside the pool. Further, if you read almost every pool maintenance agreement, refilling the pool with water is not on the list of services a pool maintenance contractor performs, that one is on you. The simple solution is to get a pool water auto-fill line installed. This is a very inexpensive feature (one of the cheapest upgrades) but will ensure refilling the pool does not become a chore. You will fully appreciate this feature when you are on vacation and it prevents the pump from running dry.

Auto Drain Line

Like the auto-fill line, this is another very inexpensive feature that over the years you will appreciate having. Spring and summer rainstorms are common where I live and some of these are true downpours that fill the pool quickly. Without an automatic drain line, you have to manually set the pool pump to drain or risk erosion damage from water seeping between the tiles and coping. The auto drain line is simply a PVC drain pipe connected to a drain grate that is installed in the tile at the correct height. When the water rises to the level of the grate the water drains into the pipe. This is an invaluable feature, especially if you travel and will be away from the home for any length of time or just don’t want to worry about erosion problems from an overflowing pool.

Pool Vacuum/Cleaner

There are thousands of opinions concerning the various automatic pool vacuums/cleaners. I have bought and tried many types over the years and in my opinion, the best type of cleaner is a suction side cleaner. They do not require a separate pump and do a great job at the lowest cost. Of all the suction side cleaners I have tried, I like the Hayward Navigator the best. Couple this with a leaf canister that collects the debris from the cleaner so it does not end up in the pump basket and you have a simple but effective cleaning system. Plus maintenance and repair of the Navigator are simple and rather inexpensive.

On a side note, many pool guys like to push the Polaris, which is a good cleaner but you need an extra pump, upgraded controller, plus it cost more to operate. I have never seen it make sense when a suction side cleaner works just as well and costs less to buy and operate.

Pool Filter

Most pool builders will recommend either a DE or cartridge filter. Based on our experience, we recommend that you use an upsized cartridge filter that is 1.25 to 1.5 times greater than the size necessary for your pool. The pool guys will tell you that a DE filter will keep your pool cleaner (we’re talking micron filtration levels) but the cost and level of maintenance a DE filter requires is not worth the few microns of extra cleaning.

We recommend upsizing the cartridge filter because it allows for better filtration and the larger cartridges will extend the time between cleaning to once a year at startup. To keep the water as clean as possible you should add a few pounds of DE to the cartridge filter upon initial start-up or after cleaning the cartridges (many manufacturers recommend adding a little DE). This will ensure you have a crystal clear pool without the constant maintenance DE filters require.

Pool Skimmers

You should have two skimmers installed for any pool over 8,000 gallons. Believe me, one is not enough. The second skimmer allows for potential problems if one it gets clogged. Plus it will help keep the pool clean without any extra effort on your part.

PRO TIP:  If you use a suction side cleaner you need to make sure the connection port is far away from the skimmers. Otherwise, the pool cleaner hose and leaf basket tend to get in front of the skimmer and act like a dam (they float on top of the water) which can prevent water from flowing into the skimmer. This will cause the skimmer to be sucked dry, air enters the line, and the pump runs dry. This can destroy a pump quickly.

Return Jets

Since a pool cleaner cannot get on steps or benches you should add additional return jets that are strategically placed so the steps and benches are automatically kept clean by the flow of the return jets. A few extra return jets are not that expensive, make the pool operate at a lower pressure, and will keep the steps/benches clean without any effort on your part. The alternative is sweeping the stairs and benches regularly.


For chlorination, I like the simplicity and cost savings of a chlorine tab automatic chlorinator. It is very simple to maintain with no moving parts, can be repaired and replaced by most pool owners, and chlorine tablets are usually cheap and readily available. The tried and true KISS principle. This is more of a preference as many people like the saltwater system which is fine just be ready for more maintenance and cost associated with repairing a salt system.

We hope these tips allow you to spend most of your time this summer swimming and very little time maintaining your pool!


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7 Tips for Building a Trouble Free Swimming Pool | OutFactors – Dallas Fort Worth, Texas