DIY Pool Maintenance: What You Can Do Yourself vs. When to Call a Pro

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Maintaining your pool can seem like a daunting task, but with a little knowledge and the right tools, many aspects of pool care are perfectly manageable for the average homeowner. However, some tasks are best left to the professionals. In this post, we’ll break down the maintenance tasks you can do yourself, the signs that indicate it’s time to call in a pro, and the cost comparison between DIY and professional services.

Maintenance Tasks You Can Do Yourself

1. Skimming and Cleaning the Pool Surface

  • Frequency: Daily to weekly
  • What to Do: Use a skimmer net to remove leaves, insects, and other debris from the surface of the water. This simple task can significantly improve the cleanliness and appearance of your pool.

2. Vacuuming the Pool

  • Frequency: Weekly
  • What to Do: Use a manual or automatic pool vacuum to clean the pool floor and walls. This helps remove dirt, algae, and other particles that the filter may miss.

3. Cleaning the Pool Filter

  • Frequency: Monthly
  • What to Do: Depending on your filter type (cartridge, sand, or diatomaceous earth), clean or replace the filter media. A clean filter is essential for effective water circulation and cleanliness.

4. Testing and Balancing Pool Water Chemistry

  • Frequency: Weekly
  • What to Do: Use test strips or a liquid testing kit to check levels of chlorine, pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Adjust the chemical levels as needed to ensure balanced water, which prevents algae growth and equipment damage.

5. Brushing the Pool Walls and Floor

  • Frequency: Weekly
  • What to Do: Use a pool brush to scrub the walls and floor, particularly in areas with poor circulation. This prevents algae buildup and helps maintain a clean pool surface.

6. Checking and Emptying the Skimmer and Pump Baskets

  • Frequency: Weekly
  • What to Do: Remove and empty the baskets to ensure proper water flow and prevent clogging. This simple task helps maintain the efficiency of your pool’s circulation system.

Signs You Need Professional Help

1. Persistent Water Chemistry Issues

If you find it difficult to maintain balanced water chemistry despite regular testing and adjustments, it might be time to call a professional. Persistent issues can lead to cloudy water, algae growth, and even damage to pool equipment.

2. Major Pool Equipment Repairs

Issues with the pool pump, heater, or filter often require professional expertise. Attempting to repair these components without proper knowledge can lead to further damage and increased costs.

3. Structural Damage to the Pool

Cracks in the pool walls or floor, leaks, and other structural issues are best handled by professionals. These problems can worsen if not addressed promptly and correctly.

4. Complex Pool Cleaning Tasks

Tasks such as acid washing, tile cleaning, or extensive algae removal require specialized equipment and knowledge. A professional can ensure these tasks are done safely and effectively.

Cost Comparison: DIY vs. Professional Services

DIY Maintenance Costs:

  • Skimming and Brushing: Minimal cost for basic tools (skimmer net, brush).
  • Vacuuming: $100-$300 for a manual vacuum; $300-$1,000 for an automatic vacuum.
  • Filter Cleaning: $20-$100 for filter media; minimal cost for cleaning supplies.
  • Water Testing and Chemicals: $15-$50 per month for test kits and chemicals.

Professional Maintenance Costs:

  • Routine Cleaning and Water Testing: $75-$200 per visit, depending on pool size and frequency.
  • Filter Maintenance: $75-$200 per visit, plus cost of replacement parts if needed.
  • Equipment Repairs: $100-$500+ depending on the complexity of the repair and parts required.
  • Structural Repairs: Varies widely based on the extent of the damage, but can range from $500 to several thousand dollars.


While many pool maintenance tasks are manageable for the average homeowner, recognizing when to call in a professional can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run. Regular DIY maintenance can keep your pool in good condition, but don't hesitate to seek professional help for persistent issues or major repairs. By understanding the cost differences and knowing your limits, you can ensure your pool remains a clean, safe, and enjoyable space for everyone.