What Maintenance Does a Fiberglass Pool Need?
No one wants to be labeled “high-maintenance”—and we don’t particularly want to live with someone or something high-maintenance either. Well, you’re in luck! Your fiberglass pool is as low-maintenance as they come.
Fiberglass pools need less maintenance than for a concrete or vinyl liner pool. And not only is there less to do, but it’s easier to do. You can choose to hire a cleaning service if you want—do what you’re comfortable with—but you don’t have to shell out that money.
You have the option to clean your pool yourself instead of paying someone else!
“Cleaning?” you demand. “I thought half the purpose of a fiberglass pool was that they don’t require so much cleaning. You bamboozled me, Holly!”
Before you break out the torches and pitchforks, hear me out.
Remember, River Pools manufactures and installs fiberglass pools. We’re all about the benefits of these things. And this really is a benefit.
- Cleaning services can cost around $500 a year. You probably wouldn’t be pulling that out from under the couch cushions.
- As long as your body is in decent working order, cleaning the pool yourself won’t be difficult.
So what would you be signing up for?
Basic maintenance for a fiberglass pool:
- Clean regularly, with products made specifically for fiberglass pools
- Check water chemistry
- Run the pool filter
- Keep water level above the skimmer
This is pretty much standard pool maintenance across the board. Intensity and frequency are where your fiberglass pool helps you out.
Cleaning your pool
First of all, we recommend you use a pool cover to save yourself some effort.
The gelcoat surface of a fiberglass pool is smooth and nonporous, leaving little room for unwanted guests like algae. Because of that, it requires less brushing and less overall work.
If algae does rear its irritating little head, just shock the pool with the SLAM method. A fiberglass pool will be good to go in only 24 hours. (A vinyl liner pool will take 3–4 days, and a concrete pool a week or more. Sorry.)
If you notice leaves, bugs, and other unsightly floaties, you can swipe them up with a skimming net and telescopic pole. You might also use a pool vacuum to suck up dirt from the pool bottom. No expensive cleaning service necessary.
Quick comparison: the plaster finish on concrete pools is porous, which calls to algae like nachos call to me. You have to steel brush the surface every week, acid wash every 3–5 years, and resurface every 10–15 years.
Cleaning products for fiberglass pools
Fiberglass pools require a gentler touch in terms of cleaning products and tools.
Harsh cleaners can damage the gelcoat and even change the water chemistry.
Use a damp rag and a simple pool cleaner to remove dirt and grime without damaging your pool.
Quick comparison: maintenance for a concrete pool includes steel brushing and acid washing. It’s as hardcore as it sounds.
Checking your water chemistry
All pools need the proper levels:
- Free chlorine
- Calcium hardness
- Cyanuric acid (CYA)
- Total alkalinity
(If you want to learn the specifics of free chlorine, check out our A+ explanation of how pool chlorine works.)
Fiberglass pools require less adjustment because the surface is inert—they don’t affect the water chemistry.
Quick comparison: concrete pools are alkaline-based and constantly increase the pH of the water, so you have to add acid every day to balance it out. Many pool owners pay a weekly service company to check and adjust the chemicals in the water.
Running your pool filter
All pools need a filter system. But how long does it need to run?
Fiberglass pools only need one circulation per day to keep your water clean and clear. This saves you electrical energy and, by extension, money.
You can calculate the necessary time using this formula:
pool volume ÷ filtration rate = hours to run the filter
Let’s say a 17,000-gallon pool like our C40 pool model uses a filter that circulates 2,400 gallons per hour. Using this formula, the filter should run for about 7 hours per day.
Quick comparison: Concrete pools generally require two full circulations (also called turnovers) per day to maintain clean water. That’s twice the electrical energy required for a fiberglass pool.
Maintaining your water level
We recommend you keep your pool water above the skimmer at all times. This maintains enough weight to balance out the upward pressure of any groundwater.
(If you want to learn more about the science behind this, take a look at our fun and understandable explanation of how hydrostatic pressure works.)
If you feel that you absolutely have to drain your pool, don’t do it yourself. Consult a pool professional, and have them do it if necessary.
Quick comparison: all pools need a certain amount of water in them so that they don’t pop up out of the ground. Concrete pools are the most likely to pop up.
Want more info about fiberglass pools?
All year round, River Pools manufactures and installs fiberglass pools in Virginia and Maryland. We also operate in other areas of the country through our nationwide dealers.
Get in touch with us, and we’ll be happy to help you on your pool journey!
You can also check out all our blog articles about maintenance for any other issues you may encounter. We want to help you make the most of your pool!
Editor's note: This blog article was updated on November 6, 2018.