So you think you want a House with a Pool?
What a wonderful way to spend a summer day – floating in your pool, cool bottle of water in hand, enjoying time with friends and family…. Pools allow an opportunity for exercise as well as relaxation. For those of us who are empty nesters, we often think of them as a “kid magnet”, a reason for the kids and grandkids to come visit and hang out.
Well, we know the pros – but what is involved in pool ownership? What do you need to consider before taking on the maintenance and safety issues involved with pool ownership?
Good News about COVID-19 & POOLS
First of all, according to the CDC there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of chlorinated pools or hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.
Another one for the plus side – we can social distance in a big enough pool!
How do pools WORK?
All swimming pools basically work in the same fashion. They use a combination of filtration and chemical treatment to constantly clean the water.
To maintain clean clear water, a swimming pool needs a basin, a motorized pump, a water filter, a chemical feeder, drains, returns, and PVC plastic plumbing connecting all of these elements.
The water continuously pumps from the pool through the filtering and chemical treatment systems and back to the pool again. This keeps the water in the pool free of dirt, debris and bacteria. You may also prefer to have a heater to keep the water at a certain temperature.
What MAINTENANCE is involved?
Weekly Pool Maintenance:
NOTE: Always follow label directions when adding any pool maintenance products to the pool. Never mix products together. If unsure how products are to be used, contact your local pool professional.
*Remove any large accumulation of debris on the bottom with a leaf scoop.
*Remove floating debris like leaves, grass, etc.
*Check the water level so it is high enough for the pump to properly operate. Adjust as necessary at the prescribed rate of 1” per hour
*Visually inspect pool water – it should be clear, have good color and no visible contaminants.
*Feed the pool with chlorine to satisfy its requirements. This can be done either manually or automatically. Test and adjust sanitizer level (may require more frequent testing depending upon bather load and environmental conditions)
Free chlorine levels should be between 1-3 ppm
Free bromine levels should be between 3-5 ppm
*Test and adjust total Alkalinity
*Test and adjust pH. The pH should be in the range 7.4 – 7.7 if the pool has a vinyl or tile finish. The range should be 7.3 -7.5 if the pool has a fiberglass finish. The range should be 7.4-7.6 for a gunite swimming pool.
If the level is too high, then adjust it down using pH decreaser. The correct dosage is located on the label.
If the pH is too low, then add pH increaser. Again see labels for dosage. If the pH has dropped possibly so has your total alkalinity.
Don’t correct your pH more than once a week.
*Test and adjust Oxidizer and Stabilizer levels
*Clean the tile at the water line
*Check filter pressure and backwash (if required)
*Add a preventative dose of algaecide as necessary
*Shock the pool as per label instructions. This treatment restores the sparkle to the pool water and destroys germs and organic contaminants (can be done once every 2 weeks)
Monthly Pool Maintenance:
*Test and adjust Calcium Hardness
*Test and adjust for Total Dissolved Solids
*Test the total alkalinity, which should be in the range of 120-150 ppm.
*Chemically clean the filter
*Visually inspect tile, grout, sealant, and other exposed elements of pool
*Conduct Langelier Saturation Index evaluation and adjust as necessary
*If you have a vinyl liner – check for holes and tears and make any needed repairs as soon as possible. If you have a concrete, gunite pool or fiberglass pool, check for cracks.
*Check the seals in your motor and pump.
*Check all handrails, steps and other safety equipment to be sure that it’s in proper working order.
Keep in mind there is an extra cost is incurred to annually open and close the pool.
What is recommended for Pool Safety?
Whether you are protecting your young children, older adults or even your pets, keep your backyard safe. Here are a few products that you may want to consider:
A locked childproof Pool Fence is the most common way to ensure safety. Alternatively, a temporary and removable pool fence can also be used to be set up only whenever children visit the household; though, a more permanent fence is recommended. Many insurance companies will require a pool to be fenced.
General Pool Safety Products
With the right swimming pool safety products, you can reduce the risks and dangers inherent to swimming pools and, at the same time, make your pool environment a more enjoyable place for everyone.
Swimming pool and hot tub handrails and stair rails provide an extra protection against slipping on stairs and steps.
Pool signs and depth markers are also extremely important to have in the pool area. These pool depth markers can be applied to vinyl, ceramic tile, and tempered glass overlays. Signs that should be in your pool area can include “No Jumping”, “No Diving, Shallow Water” and “Slippery When Wet”.
You should also have basic safety equipment available such as lifesaver rings and a Shepherd’s Crook.
Safety Pool Covers
One of the most crucial safety devices that a pool owner should have is a safety pool cover. Note that a winter pool cover and solar pool covers are NOT safety covers. To be a safety pool cover, it is required that a pool cover be able to hold a minimum of 485 pounds per five square feet. Safety covers come in two varieties – mesh and solid. Both types of safety covers are anchored to a deck with straps that pull the cover taut over the pool; the straps usually attach to stainless steel springs and are anchored to recessed brackets in a deck surface. When the cover is removed, deck brackets that are not already flush with the deck can be screwed down to prevent tripping or toe-stubbing. Because the straps need to be anchored down, mesh covers generally require at least two to three feet of decking all around the pool. There are a variety of deck anchors for all types of decking material including, but not limited to, concrete, brick, asphalt, earth, and wood.
There are many different types of pool alarms to consider depending on your budget, type of pool, and technical requirements. Pool alarms are a tool that will help to make your swimming area safer. Parental guidance and vigilance are primary in ensuring pool safety.
So, there is a lot to consider, as you will be spending time as well as money to keep your pool inviting. The decision is different for everyone. Pools generally do not add much value to homes in Central Ohio, because they cannot be used all year long. Some people will not consider buying a home that has a pool, and some people will only buy a home that has a pool. Some people want a “pool boy” or a “pool girl” (aka a maintenance company)
But if you are a pool person, you know what you want, and you can certainly have it and enjoy it!
I can help you find the right home, and the right maintenance company when you are ready.
Thanks for taking a look!