5 Secrets Most Pool Service Companies Won't Tell You

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Comments

John Schmidt

Subject: pool motor burned out after maint corp. resurfaced bottom of pol

The filter pump burned out for the second time in four years. At the end of last year the Pool Maintenance Company resurfaced the bottom of the pool. This year, after running only three days, the bulkhead motor literally blew and blew a hole in the ceiling of the pump house. The next day the filter motor burned out. The PMC wants to charge us $ 6,800.00 to replace. I suspect the filter was not properly cleaned of debris after they resurface the pool bottom and this led to the blockage which caused the buldhead to blow and the pump motor to burn out. I am an electrical engineer with experience working on LA - 688 class nuke subs and radar systems in Arctic Circle.....but I know very little about pools other than being a certified Lifeguard and certified diver. Many thanks for your expertise

Jlira

Subject: Just to clarify the top of

Just to clarify the top of the filter blew off one day and the next the pump motor failed? When you say "bulkhead" do you mean the top of the filter or something else?

John Schmidt

Subject: pool motor replaced for second time in four years

Hello. Our Pool Maintenance company resurfaced the bottom of our pool at the end of last season. This week, after being open only three days, the pump motor burned out and the PMC told us it will cost $7,000.00 to replace. The same motor was replace four years ago with what we were told was a new motor. I suspect they did not clean the (sand) filter properly (they did do a backwash) after they resurfaced the pool and filled it, turned on the filter pump. I think what happened was the filter sucked in several pounds of debris from the resurfacing and they never cleaned it...this caused the pump motor to overheat and then burn out. The day before the pump burned out the bulkhead fittinng literally blew out and blew a hole in the ceiling of our pump house. Thank you for any expert advice you can give us.

Highly Experienced Pool Pro

Subject: Experienced pool guy

Experienced Pool Guy sounds like a respectable Pool professional. I too am an experienced pool guy with over 100,000 service calls under my belt. Over 100,000 seems impossibly but I will explain later. The writer Justin Pullara is Right. I use to be a service tech for a Mom & Pop Co. and I am now an Executive for a Corporate pool Co.

Skipped Service...What Young Inexperienced employee in any field is not taking short cuts? When it comes to pool service that means skipping tasks or skipping service completely thinking no one will ever know. I have witnessed personally in one year at a Corporately owned co. the same amount of employee turn over that I saw in over 5 years at a Mom & Pop. Young and Inexperienced means they are paid little and care little about their work.

Experienced pool guy also sounds like he is employed by a respectable co but there are crappy Pool companies out there. I like to think that any successful co. in any field is for the most part honest but with the collapse of the economy many out of work people thought it would be easy to start a pool cleaning business. This can be the downside of the Mom & Pop Co. Unfortunately everything Justin wrote about happens in our business.

Back to my Over 100,000 service calls. I have cleaned Pools, & filters and been a helping hand on installing Equipment. 18 Pool day? I have serviced over 90 pools in one day. Let me explain. The company I worked for offered No Cleaning. Just Chemicals so I spent an average of 3 minutes in a back yard testing the water turning on the equipment and adding the necessary chemicals. 50 pools a day was the norm. I worked for the company for over 9 years. Do the math.

Pool companies in different regions do things different. Where I am it is normal to charge Flat rates. The owner of the Mom & Pop co I worked for was very honest with his customers even letting them know that he profited more in the winter months due to the minimal amount of chemicals used. He runs a very successful pool company started in his garage in the early 80s. The going rate for a filter clean in my region is $80-$150.

I'm just trying to say that in my over 9 years as a service tech and 5 years behind a desk I have personally come across and worked with some horrible technicians and companies. I have worked for some Awesome pool companies and worked with some Super techs. Unfortunately Pool Service is one of those things where the customer might have to do some trial and error with different companies but like Justin said give them a chance to correct any issues.

Julio B

Subject: Experienced pool guy

Wow i just got from a day of cleaning 18 pools, i work as a pool technician in South Florida, the title of the article caught my eye and i have been laughing and facepalming reading all comments i could for the last hour. i will help a bit here.

CHEMISTRY
I understand that not everybody knows about pools but i notice most people really don't know anything about their pools. And i include the couple people i read that say they've been maintaining their pools with only chlorine and tablets, i would like to visit them and point out all the problems that they have and may have. Yes it is quite complicated to understand all the chemistry in your pool (i bare with the guy that said he cleaned pools for 40 years and would never own one, its a real pain in the ass but its not that bad) its not just chlorine and PH, the water must also have a correct level of alkalinity, calcium hardness, cyanuric acid and TDS (total disolved solids, this must be removed each 2 years maybe).
I invite you all to go to pinchi-a-penny or wherever and buy a Pool Test-Kit it comes with a detailed instruction on how to measure all the chemistry in your pool and also all the chemicals you need to do so. Some of the chemistry problems that your pool may have may not be visible but can be very bad for your health and the people that dives in it.
Note: If you have a pool cleaning service and the chemistry is not balanced you have a bad pool guy
Note 2: the balance of the chemistry above should NOT be extra charged on your monthly bill

There are circumstances where special chemicals may be needed and extra charged such as TDS removers, phosphates removers, stabilizer, algae remover, metals remover, etc. to put it in perspective and in the simplest form chlorine only kills the bacteria and the PH is balanced so that the water doesn't burn you, but what happens with your creams, make up, hair gel, sunscreen, saliva, sweat and in some cases kids piss, soda, beer, ashes.

Just like someone said before i advice you to talk a bit with your pool guy/girl, offer a drink, ask some questions and you will know if they know that they are doing or if they are just answering evasively

PRICING
There is no standard price for a once a week pool service but i think we all know it goes from $60-120, to get it out of the way if you pay less than $70 watch out, that is way too low unless you have a very small screened pool; less than $70 makes me thing they just use chlorine and acid, they hire inexperienced technicians to pay them less and they will disappear the first sing of trouble without even telling you. if you pay $100+ you must have a big pool with a spa and heater or your pool gets very dirty in a couple days due to environment circumstances, if not then its too high. the price should be given by size, weather or not the pool is outside or screened, it has a cleaner, type of filter (not even, just maybe), and environment like trees and bushes near it.

REPAIRS
Now for this i'd like to clarify a pool is a luxury, not only requires the cleaning service and the very occasional specific substance remover, it also has a motor, pump, timer, filter, valves, lights and a lots of plumbing; things that can be damaged with time and use and may need to be repaired once in a while.
Like the article says this is where most pool companies get more income, when talking about pumps, motors, filters, cartridges skimmers, cleaners and control panels, there are many brands that you should be able to chose from, they go from cheap and low quality to fancy and extra featured so ask your pool tech for options and a recommendation from them. remember they have options if they hide that from you that is not good.
Note: i offer this myself but if you are doubt if your pool tech is going to actually use a new product, ask them to leave the box or wrap (all parts except plumbing have one) and/or leave the old parts so you can see them. it should be no problem for them.

i saw the comment of the $175 filter cartridge change, and yeah that was a rip off. a filer cartridge depending on brand a size goes from $50-75 and an O-ring $3/6 and not only there no special trip since the change its done during the regular pool service day but the pool tech actually DOES NOT get paid any extra for doing it. I would say $90-120 to be more appropriate for a new cartridge,
note: the cartridge of a cartridge filter should be change maximum each 2 years (i recommend once a year depending)

i don't really know how to keep going but i invite anyone to ask me. if you really need help, advice or orientation.

Cynthia Wright

Subject: Pool Cleaning

When cleaning a pool and putting in the required chemicals.....is it wrong to let people in the pool right after applications?

Al

Subject: Pool maintenance cost

I live in central Florida and I have a 20,000 gal pool with a cartridge filter and chlorine sanitation chemistry . For comps, I pay $100 per month for weekly service with chemicals. I feel it is reasonable...what do you all pay?

mark ross

Subject: vinyl cover, roman tub

I have a roll up vinyl cover for roman tub, lots of build up from chemicals, water etc., believe it to be lime calcium ??. Any suggestions for getting this clean and then preventative measures so that it doesn't happen again.

thank you

Carole Ruth harris

Subject: table for swimming pool

I am looking for a table to go in the pool. Apparently there used to be one there as there is a hole for it and a ledge on the shallow end where people, including small children, can sit and enjoy a cool drink. I tried Amazon but the only one I found got really bad reviews. Any suggestions?

MIchael

Subject: the good and the bad

My pool is slightly larger than small, about 8800 gallons. 10 by 30 (approx). Perfect for floating. I bought the house 15 years ago and kept a pool man for about 5 years. And he was honest and smart and very reliable. Unfortunately I fell on hard times and had to cut expenses. So, I taught myself how to vacuum and maintain the water.
Because it is a smaller pool, the maintenance is rather simple. I do let the pump run 2 days on and then 1 day off. Word is that this is healthier for the pump, longer life span as opposed to shutting on and off ever day.
Two tablets a week in the skimmer and liquid bleach broadcast into the water twice a month.
Water has been perfectly blue for a decade now. The pool has been such a reward to me. Even in the off season, I find it to be such a gift to sit out next to it with a nice pit fire in the evenings.
The thing is, I love being near a body of water. And i do what I can to make it work. And, for those of you who have smaller pools, do know that, as best as I can tell, its just that much easier to maintain either on your own or through a professional.
I consider myself a lucky one, I guess. I enjoy maintaining my pool and, therefore, truly enjoy owning it!

Anita Flemister

Subject: pool filter cleaning

I’m a new home/pool owner. My pool guy has been cleaning this pool for 8 yrs. and I am happy with him. My question is how to get around the mess cleaning the filter leaves. My guy (and the one next door) sprays the filter off while it’s sitting on the ground, so all that gunk is all over. I tried cleaning up the soot when it was wet, that wasn’t working. So I let it dry, the dust from it chocked me. Is this how everyone does it? Or is there something I can buy that will catch the debris so I can throw it away in the trash? Lastly, is that debris from the filters dangerous?? I’m willing to do my part. Thank you

Ian Rush

Subject: Filter debris Cleaning

I'm assuming you have a diatomaceous earth filter(DE). I'm also assuming the pool guy/girl isn't taking the filter grids to the street to clean them. If he was it would cut down on 90% of the debris, some of which is unavoidable. I'm a pool guy in so cal, and cleaning in the street and then cleaning the street gutter has been a huge plus for me and my customers. Although it may take some extra time to settup its worth it for the customers quality of service.

Christina

Subject: Pool cover

I have a solar cover on my large in ground spa, the bubble kind. The pool guy pulls the cover off but won't put it back on because he says it would be liability that his insurance won't cover. I suspect he's lazy and just finds it extra work. Is this true?

JLira

Subject: It's a pretty standard policy

It's a pretty standard policy not to mess with solar covers. Most companies I know will unreel or drag off a solar cover if authorized by the owner but will almost never put it back on. Not because of laziness but because it takes too much time. Time possibly spent doing another pool.

joey

Subject: LazyPoolService

If he doesnt put it back on correctly, accidentally leaves it loose, and you or your children get hurt or drowns after he leaves, the first thing the home owner is going to think, the pool guy didnt tighten it right, next thing you know, your sueing him or the company he works for, i wouldn't go so far to call him lazy, he's careful, and possibly smart, give him a chance, u can get to know what type of person walks into your backyard on a weekly basis, if you go outside each time hes there and say hello, i know i'd go outside and say hello and offer drink to a person thats always working in my private property. Then u wouldnt have to ask if he's lying, or if its lazy or not, you'd already know your pool guy from face to face conversations almost every week.. Doesnt need to be long, just a simple hello, ya thirsty, hows the family, stuff like that, it will also make your pool guy, go that little extra inch on your pool, because that customer is nice, and i cant let such and such down.. It goes a long way for both sides of pool service/customers.. :)

benny

Subject: Solar cover

I find those types of covers to be a great source of algae spores.

benny

Subject: Solar cover

I find those types of covers to be a great source of algae spores.

Rich

Subject: Pool Cover

He leaves the pool cover off so there can be no question that he cleaned the pool. Dirt settles on top of the cover and any water going over the top will flush dirt back into the pool. If he recovers the pool, you may be convinced he skipped your cleaning because of dirt on the bottom of the pool. This guy is proud of his work and is not lazy, he just wants your pool to be clean also.

Patti

Subject: Pool filter

My pool service provider told me I needed a new filter. They installed a Haywood cylinder cartridge and replaced two rubber gaskets (o-rings?). I looked up the cost of the filter- $50 and the gaskets - another few dollars. My pool service charged me $175 for this service. That is a 300% mark-up. I understand about labor cost- but it literally took the guy five minutes to make the change and he did not make any special trip to my house as he did it when he came to do the weekly pool service. I feel I have been seriously ripped off.

William Buri

Subject: filter

Why if it is so cheap and easy do you even pay someone to do it. They have to order it,pay shipping and send someone on a minimum of a half hour labor(which is about $80-$100/hr.). A fair mark up on $65 would be $100. A half hour or more labor(the tech has to spend time to get there),even if hes only there ten minutes,would be very fair.
So with the $100 and $50 labor charge,they are slightly expensive. After paying the tech,tax,shipping,gas,insurance and the product,the company may make $50 profit on that. Would you think and hour of your time is worth $50? What would you expect them to make? It sounds like $20 is what you want. No one could sustain a business,especially seasonal,with that kind of profit. And what if there is a problem with the product? They dont get paid the second time they replace it,this is what you have not considered in the price.

You can always do it yourself and have no complaints.

Evan S Hunt

Subject: Confusion

I have been a licensed swimming pool builder and maintenance professional for over 40 years -- now semi-retired. After reading these posted comments I am glad I am not doing pools anymore. Wow but there is a lot of confusion out there and most all of you are just guessing, at best -- me included. Swimming pools have so many variables and quirks that it is almost impossible to keep a pool. I would not own one. I would rather play in the sprinklers on a hot day. But, unfortunately, many of you are stuck with houses that came with a pool and it's a millstone around your necks. Some of you get lucky and get a pool that is well built (a longshot), and somehow you manage it into a pretty nice little deal, but most of you rue the day you got a pool. I can be of no help except that if you own a house that has a pool, I recommend you sell your house. Have fun.

Gary Crayton CEO Pool Troopers

Subject: Solving Pool Confusion

I have been in the pool Industry since I was a 12 year old, working for the family business. That's over 40 years as well. I am a licensed pool contractor in the State of FL and can do anything to any pool in FL I choose to do. Since 1952, when our business began, we have made over 10 million back yard pool visits in Florida and Texas. If you are confused about your pool please find a qualified pool professional to help you.

I admit there have been one or two head scratchers in the 40 years I have been doing this, but I am not worried about taking care of any residential pool with proper circulation and functioning equipment. In my experience the toughest problems come from pools with initial design flaws, poorly functioning equipment and or odd outside factors (like the one homeowner who wouldn't fix his pool leak and was filling his pool daily with reclaimed water-yikes that was a mess).

Pools should be a source of family fun, activity and exercise, as well as a beautiful centerpiece to your backyard for family gatherings, simple piece of mind and relaxation. We provide this freedom to over 11,000 clients currently. Feel free to email me if you would like a specific blog topic discussed or check out our website for past blog topics that may answer your questions- there seems to be a lot of them on this page. Enjoy your pool - Gary

Donna Millican

Subject: Confusion

Thank you, Evan. I just bought a house in FL without a pool and was worrying I was making a mistake. I will stock up on sprinklers and save myself all that time, trouble and expense.

Laurie

Subject: Are you jk?

You were a pool tech for 40 years and still guessing? I have had my pool for 25 years and have never felt intimidated by taking care of it in the least.

J.K.Segal

Subject: scale

We had our pool replastered (Diamond Bright) and tiled 6 months ago and now there is a lot of scale build up, which I presume is from high calcium in the water. I have the same pool company doing a weekly clean and test. They now want $400 to get rid of the scale but shouldn't the testing have shown this problem and couldn't something have been done to prevent this build up?

Keith Hargrove

Subject: Your scale problem

Scaling of swimming pool usually indicates that you have had a pH problem for some time (too high). In some areas around the country your water will naturally; especially in South Texas. Your pool service company should be able to manage this and should have prevented that from happening. I would request your log records to see what your pH, Alkalinity and Calcium readings were during that period of time. If your pH has been high for extended periods of time with no adjustments or they used calcium based shocks and chemicals, that is the problem. Bad water chemistry management.

Dustin Taylor

Subject: Pool scale build up

Hi my name is Dustin, owner of Taylor Made Pool Service in Benton La. The scale is probably die to what the other person said in his reply, either lack of the calcium being checked or the saturation index being off. If you are having your water check or are doing it you self I would recommend a Taylor test kit. It has test in it to Check calcium hardness and the saturation index. It's fairly simple to check. Also if sat. index is off and you have a salt system specifically a pentair ic40 or ic20 then you will experience small flakes of calcium in the pool due to the cell cleaning itself and releasing the flakes. They will resemble instant potatoes flakes. Back to chemicals, also make sure you pH is checked pretty regular, hi pH will cause build up especially because of new plaster. Thanks

Dean mapes

Subject: scale build up

Testing your water on a daily basis should give the information you need to know if your water is balanced and if your saturation index is in line. A lot of things not known here. Is your water hard or have a high calcium level? Just because you have high calcium level doesn't mean that is the cause of your scale build up. If your Ph or your alkalinity is not in line with the hardness of your water this can cause your pool water to go scale or corosive

janet marshall wilson

Subject: re: 5 secrets, pool service

THIS IS WONDERFUL!! Although it involved much more PRINTING than I expected, it's fantastic information for my Homeowners' Assoc. and it's pool, and also for my brother-in-law for HIS private pool.

For the HOA pool, I am recently retired from the [very abusive] HOA Board and this info will provide me w/much leverage and information-sharing with the Board, manager, pool crew, etc. With my brother-in-law, I was JUST at the point where I was hoping for some method of "damage control." Again, THANK YOU!

Patrick

Subject: Perma Pool. Fiberglass is best.

We moved into this house 5 years ago, never having an inground pool before. It's the easiest maintenance I can imagine. We leave the pump running 24/7 and the auto cover is always closed unless we are in the pool. Maybe it's the motorized cover that makes all the difference, but as long as I keep the chlorine feeder loaded with tablets and keep the loosest of eye on the balances, all is good. Don't get me wrong, having a pool is not cheap, but it's not as bad as many people say.

Kyle

Subject: If all you're using is tabs

If all you're using is tabs you are running your cyanuric acid through the roof. Also your electricity bill must be through the roof. If you have never torn apart your filter this might explain why you need to run your equipment for 24 hours a day. It may seem simple but this doesn't sound like a properly cared for pool by any stretch of the imagination.

gabriel

Subject: Pump motor broken, water green

My pump motor is being repaired. Its been 4 days and the water is green and a bit slimy on top. What could I add to the water until I get my motor back. Thanks in advance for any replies.

jonathan lyerly cpo

Subject: pool recirculation pump out

If you're recirculation pump is out and its not filtering the water don't swim in it until its back on. Period. Your pool filtration and circulation is critical for sanitation. Once your pump is working again, shock the pool and bring your chlorine level up to 10ppm for 12 hours or so or more. After you shock it and clean your filters after 6 turn overs or so, test your chemicals and see where you stand with ph, chlorine, alkalinity, etc. You may need to dump acid to lower your ph, and bi carb for total alkalinity. Got a test kit? Lol

Eric

Subject: Keeping pool clear

Use regular unscented Clorox. How much depends on the size of your pool, but to start with I would add six gallons. Ideally if you have a small pump of any type, you would fill a bucket with the bleach, then put the pump in the bucket, then attach a long hose to the discharge side of the pump with a long piece of PVC pipe on the end of the hose. Then turn on the pump and use the pipe to distribute the bleach all around the pool, front to back and top to bottom. The put pump hose and all in the pool and let it run, occasionally repositioning the pump so you are circulating SOME water. Be careful with electricity around water. Follow pump manufacturers directions. OR, by pouring it while walking around the edge of the pool.

Brant Davis

Subject: On Call Pool Care Services - response to Pump motor broken.....

to keep your water clear and clean you need the following: Circulation, Filtration and Chlorination. You current situation does not allow these three services to take place. so unfortunately the water turns green. good news is the season is just beginning and with your new motor installed and a quick cleaning you will be in your pool in no time!

Best regards!

Henry

Subject: I am having an inground pool

I am having an inground pool put in. I have a well which feeds into a cistern. Right now my cistern is leaking and I have no water supply for a week or so until itis fixed. The pool company needs water for the mix used at the bottom of the pool. THey are saying they can not finish my pool until I have a water supply for them to use for the mix.
I will be getting water brought in to fill the pool once it is finished but it seems to me water for the mix is a supply they shoud be able and willing to supply since it is part of the pool constuction. Does anyone have any comment, experience or advise on this.

Jgabs

Subject: Actually...

I work for a large pool company in the state of NJ. Any reputable company will leave you a ticket at every service including cleanings. So it's doubtful they're going to drive there just to write a ticket and leave, because if they're spotted they're fired. If you get skipped it's most likely because it got overlooked, which isn't great, but it happens.

Every company charges for pool chemicals. It's absurd you think they wouldn't. All companies give you the option of buying your own chemicals. You pay an hourly rate for maintenance which includes vac time and servicing your system. Name one service field that doesn't charge you for materials?

Coconut Pool Care

Subject: Not Always

I worked for a large, family owned, pool service company for 7 years. Some of the employees (Most actually) would skip pools. Especially if they were covering for a sick/absent co worker. That, and a few other shady practices over the years made me want to leave and start my own company. Also, I do not know of a Pool Service company in the area that charges extra for regular chemicals. It is almost always included in the price.

Dennis

Subject: Wondering

Wondering from the pool contractors out there...if you didn't properly pressurize and anti-freeze an inground line then when opening you caused it to burst, and you are the contractor who has taken care of the pool, chems and all, are you responsible for its repair? I seem to be haggling a bit with my contractor over this exact issue.

kielh

Subject: RE: Wondering

Hi, Dennis. This is Kiel from Angie’s List. We talked to Bill Lambert of Perma Pools in Indianapolis. Here’s what he had to say: 

"To close a pool, the water in the lines is blown out so there is no water in the lines, or a line could be filled with antifreeze.  This is done to avoid the line freezing, expanding and cracking.  If the pool contractor did not do one of those, and a line cracked because of that failure, then he would probably be liable.  Some breaks from freezing are identifiable (long cracks in the pipe) but many others are not.   Pipes can also crack, and glue joints come undone, from the heaving of the ground when frozen which would not be the contractors fault.  You say the line burst at the opening—I presume this just means the break was discovered at the opening."

Kevin McGee

Subject: New pool

This great info...
Something to look into when I have mine installed!!!!

Beth Sager

Subject: pool guy quit

In January when we bought our house (Phoenix), we hired the pool guy who had been maintaining the pool for the three months while the house was on the market. He agreed to do it each month for a fixed rate, chemicals included. It was a verbal-handshake deal in which we promised to keep him year round and pay the same monthly rate year-round. And we got a small discount for referring my sister, who lives in the same community. He was supposed to be "off" on the week in which there are five Mondays in the month. A week ago I received a call from him, saying my pool and my sister's were not profitable enough to for him to "travel" to and was therefore quitting us. I paid for the entire month, but he was not returning on the 24th because it was a "five Monday month" (NOT!). My sister and I feel cheated. (No notice, swindled out of a week, breaking our contract, etc.) Anyone's thoughts on this?

Chris jones

Subject: 5th week

Every 3rd month there is 5th week for that service day. Billing is based on a 4 week month, the 5th week is used for sick days or vacation.

Casey Thornton

Subject: You get what you pay for, and

You get what you pay for, and it's to much of an exspencive business to with our charging per visit. He should have rolled up an average cost to charge you, or charge you weekly and bill you at the end of the month.

meadowlark37

Subject: best use of pool

I use my neighbor's pool. Right now they are in Mexico and they put me in charge of the pool. Best way to go!!!!

m. tomas

Subject: clean water

i use a water-clairafier to clean my pool along with a sand-filter.....works great for the last 12 years

James Hendrick

Subject: Rebar

No one has discussed cement or plaster problems.
I watched as the steel rebar was installed in my pool. The job looked good, and everything was ready for the cement (gunite.) That day came, and it was like a three ring circus, everything and everyone jumping around on the steel, pumping gunite into the rebar. Some of these people looked like they took a break from their moonshine business to do summer pools. Well, at the end of the day, with a few minor disasters, all seemed well. After completion of the pool, it was a few months when orange spots sprang up in one small area. It was rust of the rebar seeping through the shallow gunite and plaster. I'll refer to them as "blooms." I paid to have the one bloom repaired. Cost was under a hundred dollars. I watched carefully and thought I could do the job. I did, and removed three other blooms like a dentist chipping away at a tooth. I even covered them with an epoxy before using plaster to fill up the holes. Oh, by they way the original spot that I was charged for came back. Fixed that one too. No problems years later. Sometimes you just have to learn and do the job yourself if it is to be done right.

Jaya

Subject: Orange blooms

Hi James
I have the same problem but when I called the pool company to repair the problem...one guy came with a gallon of acid and took the spots out for a small period of time. Then they came back unfortunately. Do you have to empty the pool to fix each spot? Thank you and I look forward to hear back from you.
Jaya

asim

Subject: question re responsiblity

I am curious: Why did you not ask the contractor who built your pool to do the rebar stain repairs?
Is the pool contractor who built your pool not responsible?

jeff

Subject: pools

high in liability....maintenance...unwanted friends...reduces you property value....WHY HAVE ONE??

Dave

Subject: Honest truth

Here's the God's honest truth about pools and prices. I own a pool company and I charge a flat one price covers the cleaning and chemicals. I charge according to if there are trees, a spa connected or if the equipment is old. I charge very low prices. Now here is the untold so called truth. I DON'T MAKE ANY MONEY IN THE SUMMER TIME!!! I spend all the extra money I make on chemicals because of bather load...suntan oils, kids peeing in the pools, trees shedding and all the extra rain we get in the summer time. I make good money in the winter time because I don't have to do as much. But then I have super cheap customers that expect me to "cut back" cleanings in the winter or lower their rates. I flat out tell them...no way. I'd rather lose a cheap customer than put up with being broke all year round with them. The best customer I have is one that knows how much things cost and just understands the price of doing business. I will go to the ends of the earth to keep these customers. I sometimes even pay for things out of my own pocket to keep them. The best way to have a great pool guy is to never complain...pay on time and offer him a glass of cold water when it's 100 degrees out. Pretty simple....but nobody ever does it. In 10 years I've only been offered maybe 10 times a glass of cold water. Because I do such good work my customers reward me by paying later and later and I'm poorer and poorer now than I've ever been. I need to look into another line of work because apparently pool "boy's" are on the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to making money.

Eric

Subject: Pool Customers

AMEN! TELL IT, BROTHER DAVE, TELL IT!

I too have a pool company. About once a week or so I throw my hands up and say That Is Enough! Find a mirror and say, I QUIT!
I also repair spas and last week I had three jobs that were spread out all over hell's half acre. No. 1 was North and 65 miles away, no.2 was an other 75 miles Northwest of that one, and no. 3 was around 70 or 75 miles Northeast of no.2. Total driving time would be around 7 hours. That's driving only. I called customer no.1 with price estimate but they could not afford it. Dropped the price 10%. Still couldn't. Called no. 2 with est. No. 2 had just started a new job and couldn't afford it. Reduced price 8% still no-go. (They did call and ask if I could maybe talk them through the repair.) I asked no. 3 for the mileage in advance, ($1.50/mi) but they refused. What do people think when they call and ask you, "Do you come this far?" I'm gonna start telling them, YEAH! THANKS FOR THE OPPORTUNITY! MY VAN RUNS ON AIR AND I'M A TRUST FUND BABY, SO I JUST DO THIS FOR FUN!
I mostly only repair one brand of spa and I'm the ONLY person who repairs them. The manufacturer will repair it, but it takes them on average 6 - 7 months to get to the customer, and I charge 1/3 of what they charge. They would charge customer no. 3 around $1200.00 IF they show up next Oct. or Nov. That's if cust. no. 3 got REAL lucky.
And let's not forget the wintertime pool customer who signed a yearly contract but says," nobody's been swimming. The pool don't need cleaning this week." I'll start telling THEM, "GREAT! Pay me and I'll be on my way."
I'm really not one to bitch Dave, but you hit a nerve with me. And I thank you for it. I needed to vent.
But you know what makes it worthwhile? Those customers you mentioned. They always offer you something to drink, give you a Christmas bonus, not a lot, but something to show you are appreciated. For those customers, if they have a small mechanical issue, I'll try my damndest to repair it for free. I've changed pump seals for the price of the parts, gone to people's houses 3 times in one week for nothing extra because their grandchild is having a graduation party and they want everything perfect. I enjoy doing those things for those people. But those people are few and far between. Maybe a few will read our bitch session and snap. Like, "oh! your not supposed to treat them like they're the help." Or a shadow in the dark. And your right about the bottom of the totem pole, but if you get lonely just let a pool or two turn green, your phone will start ringing of the hook.
God Bless you and good luck to you. May all your pools stay crystal clear, all your customers be billionaire philanthropists with gorgeous nymphomaniac twin daughters and gas drop to fifty cents per gallon.

asim

Subject: rebar spot repair

Who is responsible to a rebar rust spot? the contractor who built the pool or the poolman who takes care of it?
The pool contractor who bulit the pool says it is the poolman who is taking care of the pool? Is that true?

Steve

Subject: Pool chemicals

I had a pool built in 2006 with rotating jets installed thru out the pool as recommend by the contractor. His comments about maintenance actua lily work! The pool needs to run everyday long enough to cycle the water twice, clean your pump filter every two to three weeks and replace at least every year. Then then most important part - 1 gal of liquid chlorine weekly (two if the temp is over 80) and add more if you see any green build up between dosages, this works great, only had a problem when I failed to do a visual inspection after rainy period or missed prompt chlorine dosage needs.

Dylan

Subject: you know....

ever since I was a kid we just treated our pool ourselves... its not hard to get a pH and chlorine tester, in fact they frequently come as a two purpose kit. the test chemicals too are available at pool supply stores as is chlorine, shock, pH dumps, algaecide, etc. etc. ad nauseam. all it takes is a little research and elbow grease.

Kathleen

Subject: How Best to Learn?

I'm in my 8th month of pool ownership, and I'm not having much luck figuring out how to maintain it well. The local store sold me a testing kit, chlorine, and a bunch of acid, so we test it weekly (or more), dump in the chlorine, and I still have clouds of orange stuff that brush off the sides.

What am I doing wrong, and can anyone recommend a book or website that will teach me once and for all how to take care of this thing?

davidpoll

Subject: how old is the water?

I had this same issue and the pool store only recommended more and more chemicals. Someone asked me how long it had been since the water was changed, and i didn't know. That made all the difference!

Pool School

Subject: Pool Companies = Car Mechanics

Pssst, pool stores and companies don't want you to know this but you can totally take care of your pool all by yourself. Learn what kind of filter you have, then google how to maintain it.

1. Unscented household bleach. Buy it in bulk. Don't believe them when they say you need lots of chems to keep your pool healthy. You don't. All you need is chlorine and that's what bleach is. They will yell at you, cuss you out but they're not making any money off of household bleach so do the math. You're not stupid. Don't be shy with it either. It won't hurt you and it just gasses out anyway (rather quickly unfortunately). NEVER USE PUCKS and fire anyone who puts them in your pool immediately. They are clueless and are harming your pool.

2. Buy a good test kit (Taylor, etc.). Not the kind with the color strips. Test at least once a week. If you're regularly putting in bleach you won't really need to fuss with anything but it's good to know your levels.

3. Buy a pool cover. Warms the pool, keeps debris out (mostly) and helps keep the chlorine from gassing out as quickly.

My last pool guy made the mistake of thinking I wasn't paying attention until I showed him the footage of him doing essentially nothing. He didn't even bother looking in the skimmer most of the time. Literally spent 4 mins every Tuesday at my pool. Got sick of paying him to dump expensive and unneeded chems in the pool and occasionally cleaning the filter so now I do it myself and my pool has never been cleaner. I admit I'm hard to please but I demand a clean pool!

It's amazing how much money you can save when you do a little homework and pay attention (daily) to the condition of your water.

pool uwner

Subject: bleach

Just wanted to say that some household bleach is a calcium base and liquid pool clhorine and tabs are (some)are a sodium base the two mixed together can cause a bad reaction.cheaper chems are a calcium base which makes the calcium levels climb making your water hard in turn ruining your cartridge or grids and plaster..they recommend not going over 500 ppm which is usually 5 years.water evaporates and minerals remain.

Mark

Subject: I'm a pool service tech

I'm a pool service tech (owner/operator). I'll disagree with a few items. 1. Never use pucks...clueless? Thats just not true. Pucks have their place in pool maintenance and theres nothing harmful so long as other chemistry is in balance. All types of chlorine alter other chemical balances such as pH, which brings us to...2. Bleach/liquid chlorine is very high in pH so one will need to add acid to keep pH in check. 3. Test strips are fine for checking water chemistry because pool chemistry is fine within ranges such as pH is fine within 7.2 - 7.8 etc.

Joe

Subject: Take care of your own pool.

Check chlorine and PH with the red/yellow kit, toss in chemicals as necessary. It takes me ten minutes per week to maintain a 21,000 gallon inground pool. Paying somebody to do exactly the same thing is ridiculous.

crystal

Subject: pool guy/girl

How do you go about finding someone to clean and help maintain your pool? I need help with my pool but don't want to just post something on say craigs list for fear of who I will get! My local pool company does not do it and their employees are honest about not being able to do it on the side. Any suggestions?

richard mckenzie

Subject: Home swimming pool service

Bought my home in 1984. A swimming pool was the first major addition and it has provided many hours of pleasure for family and friends. The kids are out of the nest now so I have a qualified and licensed swim teacher who uses the pool every summer for pre-school and up classes. Remarkable program. I also have good, reliable, licensed "small" company which has kept my pool clean, safe and up-to-date for many years. Would be willing to share info on both of the above ( 33406 area) if interested. bigcatwpb can be found at the "big A". Happy summer to all.

TJ

Subject: Enough already

I spent almost 30 years in the swimming pool industry from retail, to cleaning, to service, wholesale and have acted as a mfg. rep for safety covers, pool chemicals & liners, etc. I'm now retired but pools (chemicals) are still in my blood. I can't believe all the BS that people have written. It just shows what I've been preaching those 30 years. Pool people don't know as much as they think they do. Most companies (in the NE region) have employee problems because there is no work in the winter to keep good help. Each spring they hire who they can & hope for the best. It can't be helped. So no you're probably not getting experienced help. What the homeowner should be doing if they have weekly service is buy the basic chemicals from your service company (he's getting the same chemicals that are sold to your local pool retail store) and have your pool man check and add the chemicals needed that week. People, It's a no brainer - add the right amount of sanitizer (slow dissolving is better) for your size of pool every 7 days - shock your pool once a week (or more if a lot of water has been added, after a heavy rain, extreme heat or a heavier than normal bather load) with a quick dissolving sanitizer to boost up your free chlorine level - once a week check your Total Alkalinity and the PH level (kids usually get "burning eyes" not from too much chlorine but because the PH has dropped below 7.2, turning the water into an acid bath). One more note: To raise the PH, use Sodium Carbonate (this is NOT baking soda)....... To raise the Total Alkalinity, use Sodium Bicarbonate (yes, it's baking soda but the supermarket or container it's in won't tell you how much to use). With pool chemicals, using too much is just as bad as not using enough. An acid pool will look mighty crystal clear...... If you're not sure your pool is being tested correctly, buy yourself a kit or stop in at the local pool store a few times a year.

girlsaylor

Subject: the Florida rip-off

So, we are renting from friends, due to the prior renter stiffing them for thousands in rent and damages.
I took over the pool maintenance, having never owned a pool before, but with determination to do a good job. The pool maintenance company paid for by the landlord was totally ripped off by their pool company; the tools had been stolen when I got the key (landlords live out of state); the pool was green with algae in January, the dry season, which should not see algae unless severely neglected. The pins had been removed from the timer, so the tenants had not been running the pump. We scrubbed, shocked, chlorinated, and tested constantly for a couple of months, until the pool was clear and the tests were all at healthy levels. I use a local pool supply store to do my testing, and purchase some things from them, to be fair. But I keep my chlorine a tad on the lower end of safe, use algaecide, and regularly shock. I have the most beautiful pool in the neighborhood, and don't invest a lot of time in it. It's all about motivation and diligence. Got a robotic pool cleaner, so I hit the spots that our 'Wally' doesn't do well - brush steps, corners, and around the underwater light and hose fitting for the vac. Love having a pool, don't do the chemicals calculating, support the local store, and get to enjoy the pool. It's a win-win situation.

TehSpaz

Subject: no reason it should have

no reason it should have taken longer than a week to get it beautiful again.....Out of all the chemicals in a pool store, once pH is balanced, the only chemicals needed to keep it clean are chlorine, a cal-hypo based shock, and sodium bromide (an algaecide)

raykibb

Subject: Get Salt Water

My suggestion to all pool owners is to convert to salt water. I did so about three years ago and my eyes, skin and my costs are less painful. Just do it, the up-front cost is out weighed by the savings.

TehSpaz

Subject: With salt, yes, you do save

With salt, yes, you do save on not buying chlorine, but you're having to add in muriatic acid every week, the salt water is much more corrosive on any furniture around your pools, temperature changes cause the salt water to dissolve flagstone/moss rock around the pool...
Oh, and that nice lil $500 salt cell? yeah, it goes bad every 3-5 years.

the constantly higher pH and TA also increases the rate calcium scales out of the water at, dirtying up your tile line, waterfalls, and salt cell itself.

Don't get me wrong, salt pools are absolutely wonderful to swim in, and are much better for you as a swimmer, but I wouldn't say they are "less maintenance" or "cheaper" than a chlorine pool -- it's a common industry misconception.

Donna

Subject: before you open your pool

If you open your pool every season (as opposed to having it open year-round,) you should know that you are not going to get good free chlorine readings unless you first balance and stabilize your water. I once (at the recommendation of my pool supply store's computer analysis) added about 40 bags of shock on opening. The supplier never breathed a word about stabilizer.

Fred C. Birchmore, Sr

Subject: Solution for

Unwanted pool came with good house. Hard to maintain. Solution:
(1) Cut down all upwind trees. You can't fight flotsam every day.
(2) Drain, scrub, repair, repaint, retile. If you start from scratch, start well.
(3) Replace underpowered pump, filter, robovac. Don't skimp here.
(4) Maintain strict testing and treatment schedule. Disclipline matters.
(5) Use at least once a year
(6) When ducks arrive, stop using chemicals
(7) When Green Pool Notice arrives, install mosquito fish and water lilies to pacify the Vector Control helicopter.
(8) Enjoy your pond, fish, ducks, and eggs. On the hottest day of the year, dive in just once, like you used to do at the swimming hole where you grew up.
(9) With the maintenance money you save, buy a new boat for a bigger lake.
(10) If you have kids, buy them an above-ground pool that you can throw away when summer's over.

Dan Poole

Subject: pool DESIGN is a HUGE factor

This is a great story to get people thinking about maintaining a pool both efficiently and effectively. I'm aware that if you have an existing pool, there's not many options at this point regarding the design. But! For those of you considering the idea of building a pool...it's IMPORTANT that you have someone who knows what they're doing to design your pool for you! I'm talking about a gunite pool...it would be difficult to change the shape of a fiberglass pool and you're options are limited to sections with a liner pool.

Anyway, there are MANY factors that can make a HUGE difference in the cost of pool ownership. Consider this... Many people think, "the deeper, the better!" *You're using more electricity to turn your pool water twice daily, not to mention more chemicals with a deeper pool. Plus, most people aren't 8' tall so they tend to hang out in the 6' or less area of the pool. It's also really important to consider having a 'tanning ledge', also known as a 'kids step'. This is a shallow section, 18" or less, that gives people a place to relax and get some sun without having to worry about staying on top of a float. Also, if you own a pool, your children should be able to swim...but what about the kids that live up the street? You don't want to be in the news because a neighbor's kid couldn't swim...its a terrible thought, but it happens. I'm telling you, after many years of designing and selling pools (..and winning 2 national awards in the process), I've always gotten great feedback from people who weren't sure but took my advice on this.

There are many other important factors, such as equipment set-up, options with plastering and so on... I'm not trying to write a novel here, but if there's a pool builder in need of a good designer/salesman...DanPoole09 is how to find me, and that's at yahoo. I'm in the Atlanta area but would consider some new scenery. By the way, look at my last name. Now wouldn't you rather have a Poole guy designing your pool for you? It only makes sense!

Sam O'Hearn

Subject: Pool Chemicals

Forget about the toxic chemicals. Google natural pools, and you'll find many ways to create an all natural pool that is clean and will maintain itself. A natural pool is much healthier to swim in.

mike

Subject: yourself

And the biggest secret is that maintaining a pool is SIMPLE. I built and maintain our 20X40 in ground. It takes very little time, and very little chemicals.

Chemicals are cheap! If you buy the chemicals, not the "pool supplies". Liquid Chlorine? That is Sodium Hypochlorite - which is bleach. Total Alkalinity Increaser? That is Sodium Bicarbonate - yep, baking soda.

For algae, first off, if you maintain the proper chlorine levels, you will not have any. But as a standby, have 60% polyquat. Now this IS expensive. But, it contains zero copper - the worst thing you can put into your pool - like most cheap algaecides have.

And parts for pumps, etc are cheap and easy to replace too. I replace my main seal on my pump every year or two. It is a $5 part. For all the o-rings, I found an o-ring maker, and ordered some - again, not "pool" labeled, so they were cheap.

Pools are very much like boats. 95% of the items can be commonly sourced. But if you put the "pool" or for boats "marine" label on the item, it becomes 10 times as expensive. Know what you are actually getting, and you can save a ton.

Ginger

Subject: Pool maintenance

Educating yourself in pool maintenance will save you soooo much $$$. It doesn't require hoards of time or muscle, simply your input. Test your water often so "nip it in the bud" prevention saves you from costly repairs and extra chemical additions. Further more if you have teens that use your pool TEACH them and have them help out as well, smaller children enjoy helping skim out debris too. Families that work together stay together:) Make it part of the fun and enjoy!
God Bless

Keith Mahaffey

Subject: Swimming Pools

As a swimming pool contractor for over 30 years, I have seen my share of good, bad, and some downright terrible service and construction companies that represent our industry. However, swimming pool companies are no different from any other industry that services the consumer - you just need to find one that is reputable and one that fits your particular needs.
As for the owner with the negative view of swimming pools in general, I say "Hogwash!" You get out of a pool exactly what you put into it, whether it be enjoyment, prestige, or just plain fun for the kids. It's kind of like buying a car - some people buy the base model Chevy while others buy the fully loaded Cadillac. Again, you get out of something exactly what you put into it!
So enjoy your pool, and if you don't like one - then don't live in a house that has one. Move!

T kuhry

Subject: Pool service

I Disagree also on one flat fee. We've been doing pools for 17 years and we would lose are ass if we did not charge for chemicals. A service fee is to pay the pool man for HIS WORK , vac pool. Clean tile ck. chemicals ,netting
Ck baskets and salt mech. If have one . Also for gas in truck and pool net ect. So if you had lots of people in your pool u think the pool man should pay for that.? Cause that what we be doing if we paid for all the chemicals. And I'm not the dirtying one swimming or pee init or my dogs in your pool. So no people should pay . In Cal. People pay for there chemicals and. They don't bitch about. So I say no on flat fee. I sure know you would not work for free in100 deg. Weather for free so why you want the pool man to????

Alan

Subject: Pook Chemicals

I was a pool man for many many years - maintaining a large number of accounts weekly. The cost of pool chemicals has skyrocketed like gasoline has and needs to reflect into a reasonable and customary fee charge. I used to charge a flat fee. Once I had a customer who decided that she was going to have a licensed swim instructor to give lessons in her pool. Guidelines had to be followed with regard to a standard temp increase to meet, and the possibility for health dept visits to insure water quality and sanitary measures. She complained about the chemical surcharge, quit my service and eventually got what she deserved for being greedy when the health dept shut her down, and the cut-rate pool man she hired lost out because he undercut the professional. Hire a good pool man. It is a biosphere that needs to be maintained like the human body does, being chemically perfect, filters cleaned to insure the health of the pool - much as the kidneys should stay healthy to keep the blood filtered and clean. It is a very sensitive environment and needs to be monitored closely by a professional who understands water chemistry - not an idiot who can dump a gallon of chlorine once a week and call himself a poolman. Plenty of those...just like Personal Trainers - too many idiots out there too, certified thru fly-by-nite unaccredited agencies certifying "trainers" who have no idea what they are doing either. I am now a physician and specialized trainer, so I can stake claim to call it on the less than mediocre goons who claim to be professionals in both professions. They're out there. Pay the money for the real professionals people. You get what you pay for.

Imperial Gunite Pools

Subject: legal jargon

We have a flat rate for chemicals on winterizing and closing, not weekly. You have a flat rate for checking water and cleaning. Pools don't need the same chemicals every week. Having a flat rate for chemicals is stock piling your customer with chemicals they don't need. BTW do more research, you must be an upgraded General Contractor to sub out to other company's. We're a small company, a contractor and focus on larger work not service. That being said we install purification systems to drastically cut chemical use. Buying a new pool without the new systems is like buying a new car with a distributer and a carburetor!

john

Subject: not when there is a fire and

not when there is a fire and the fire dept loses city-main water pressure. they can toss a pump into the pool and have 10,000-ish gallons of fire fighting love.

seen it happen

Geo

Subject: Never Pay full price strike up a deal

Never owned a pool till i moved to Florida, if there is one place in America where one has to be on their toes it's Florida and the one thing Florida does not lack is pool companies and landscapers, and the large majority of them just feed off the retired citizens,I wasn't here a month when water was shooting out a pin leak, a part just before the motor, called a pool company they sent one of their pool people to come look at it and gave me a price, so here's what I did,when the man came back to install the part, I asked the Man doing the work if this is something he does on the side or would do on the side, (knowing that at some point the motor would also have to be changed) told him it gives you a chance to make some money and gives me a chance to save money, and as luck would have it the motor went, he came on his time looked at my motor came back two days later with a brand new motor, as I told him I didn't want a rebuilt or used, replaced it, he told me his wife takes care of pools cleaning and adding chemicals ect ect and for the ten dollars less, she is now our pool lady, she has removed stains that were on the bottom of the pool, the tiles are bright and clean and all for the same price, And you would think the story ends there but it don't, turns out my pool man had owned his own sprinkler company, I had sprinkler heads that needed attention well when he looked at my system and when he saw the wiring he was stunned said it was a mess all wrong, he rewired my whole system, told me how to change the heads and the heads I would need,and now all is well, now had I had to have a company come out, the two jobs would have cost me well over 2000 dollars, my cost was less than 550 including parts, all trades men and women would love to pick up extra cash on the side, and Florida being a right to work state they make nothing they get no over time pay no lunch breaks , My better half and I have become great friends with our pool people, same thing with our Kitchen, Lowes wanted close to 3000 plus for kitchen counter tops (not granite)just your basic, charged us 35 dollars for a man to come measure it, and would not give us the measurements in the end or our 35 dollars back , we found a company that did it for less than half the price and we GOT!!!! Granite!!! and a sink and when I asked the two men who came to put it in if they new anything about doing floors and back splashes one did, outside company wanted 1,600 for a bath room and Kitchen floor, along with a back splash for the Kitchen, the man who did the counter tops charged 800 not knowing what the other company was asking and he did a great job. and now all my neighbors know about My pool friend and Tile friend. Always ask if they do it on the side,

bob

Subject: cheaper is not always better

As a business owner, I would disagree with that tactic. I run an honest business who charges very reasonable prices for what I do. I would be offended if one of my employees was asked to do the job on the side instead of paying the business rate. This would also put the employees job in jeapordy. When a person does a job on the side, you risk poor workmanship and property damage and most people don't carry insurance for that sort of thing. Small business provide a lot of benefits for their local economy and sidestepping them isn't the best idea.

Ken

Subject: On the side!

You think you are saving money LOL you are hiring people that don't have liability insurance so when they do damage to your property you our screwed , they have no required workmans comp insurance so when they get hurt on your property you will be paying their medical expenses and more. they have no State license so they are working illegally , As a homeowner you can be charged with hiring an unlicensed contractor and be fined. Yes those of us that are state licensed charge more, we have to , we must pay for the insurance for all the above , we must take required classes to keep up with changes to the industry and state law , however if we fail to provide the services we contract for ,we are held accountable by the state. Lastly I will point our that most manufactures of pool equipment will not provide a warranty for the equipment unless installed by a licensed contractor.

Michael Lay

Subject: And you wonder why pool

And you wonder why pool companies are expensive. We spend our mony training and paying for them to come your house and you hire them "on the side". Those techs will lose their job if it is found out they are doing this. I'm not sure what business you're in or if you're in charge. Assuming you are in charge of people how would you like if they decided to do the work on the side and just take your customers.

Dan

Subject: That's a great way to rip off

That's a great way to rip off the pool company owner, the same guy who took the time to hire, screen, insure and fairly compensate the guy you are trying to pay on the side.

Jason

Subject: Cost

As a pool company owner i can assure you that companies that include chemicals in their price will always reward the company. The customer will not receive chemicals that are costly but needed from time to time. Every pool is different and therefor require different chemicals so you can assume the company will factor in the cost of chemicals on the worst case and use that number to charge everyone so you will lose time after time.

WillB

Subject: Pool Repairs & Maintenance

If you lack the knowledge to repair or maintain a pool, you can do 2 things (a) get the info on Youtube.com, or (2) don't own a pool to begin with...

lostcauzz

Subject: pool maintenance companies

As a pool "Mechanic" I and the company I work for recommend comparison shopping! Check the internet! Parts and chemicals are expensive, If we buy them locally, they cost us more as well. A fair company will give you a decent price for labor, and unless they are a retail store as well, only charge what they have to pay for the items requested or needed. I believe "all inclusive" is the better way to go. As an all inclusive customer, no matter what grade of chemical is used (IE: lowest cost or top line) you will get what you need of that chemical to make sure it does not cost your cleaners company excess money to correct under or over treating. Yes a lot of companies allow for the occasional "dip and skip" but when this happens, your pool should still look beautiful from the last visit. Have your water tested by a local pool retail store. But beware of the salesman. He will always try to make money and sell you something whether you need it or not. Better Yet, pick up some test strips from Ace or Lowes and test occasionally. And Never be afraid to call your company with issues.

Jim

Subject: Pool chemicals

It is fast becoming recognized that most pool chemicals are carcenogens and the more you use the pool the more you absorb. I have begun installing ionization to rid all chemicals from the pool and the results are a blessing.
The chemical people say no pool can exist without chemicals, that's a lie, don't believe it for a second !

Biofonze

Subject: It's not the chemical companies...

It's not the chemical companies that require that all public and residential swimming pools and spas be treated with chemicals, it's the EPA. While it may be possible to maintain a "natural pool" (see BioNova web site) the cost and complexities of construction and maintenance make it an unviable choice for the average person wanting to enjoy the cool water of a pool.
The EPA requires that, in all commercial pools, an EPA registered sanitizer (Chlorine, Bromine, or Biguanide) be maintained at an acceptable level (1-3 ppm Cl, 3-5ppm Br, 30-50ppm Biguanide). You can do whatever you want in your residential pool, but don't get suckered into believing that a non-EPA chemical or program is some panacea. Over 90% of all recreational water is treated with some form of Chlorine... Yes, that includes your "salt" pool.

As a pool industry and water chemistry veteran of over 40 years I understand the nuances of chemistries related to pool type, bather personality, weather conditions, and water treatment chemistries. There is NO "one size fits all" method of pool care. The average pool owner MUST build a relation ship with a trusted and reliable source of support and information. Visit APSP.org for guidance on selecting a reputable company in your area.

Don't take pool maintenance advise from another pool owner. What they are doing for pool care does not insure it'll work for you. Pool care is NOT difficult, but it does require a rare mix of talent and experience to full understand all the intricacies of maintenance. Once your reputable pool company gets you on an effective program of care for YOUR pool, all you need do is perform a few minutes (maybe a half hour) of weekly pool chores and enjoy your pool. Or, as this blog started out, hire someone to do it.

And for the record, I am TOTALLY in support of an additional charge for chemicals and chemical maintenance for pool service companies. There are 2 to 4 seasons of pool care depending on where you live and each season has its own challenges. A reputable service company will discuss this with you to determine the exact type of service that you need. The way for a pool owner to cut pool care cost is to take on some of the responsibility themselves. Like, brushing the walls and bottom, removing leaves and debris from the water and skimmer baskets. Chemically cleaning the filter is THE most important aspect of water care and THE most neglected. When done twice a year it'll prevent many late season problems.

The chemical application mantra of a reputable pool retail or service company SHOULD be "Right product, in the Right amount, at the Right time.

Enjoy.

Ken

Subject: Ionization

Your whole statement is misleading! You cannot remove all chemicals from a pool , any more than you can remove them from the city water that runs to your house!

Chad

Subject: Pool Chemicals

My secret to a perfectly clear pool is chlorine, chlorine and more chlorine. Keep the chlorine level high and nothing ( cloudiness, algae, etc.) will never occur.

B . I . G Will

Subject: Pool chemicals

There are inexpensive ways to buy chemicals . I found that Arm & Hammer baking soda eliminates huge cost. Check out their website for great cost saving detail,& pool guide that's printable. Enjoy the summer !

fran

Subject: salt corrosion

I've had to replace the motor for my salt water pool 4 times!! The tech can't figure out why it keeps corroding! can anyone help?

robert kunz

Subject: Motor Seal

I believe the corrosion is due from the incorrect motor seal ... salt systems require a hi performance motor seal.

Aloha Swimming Pools/Houston Tx. - Brian

Subject: Salt pools- corosion

What's happening is that a salt pool will over time eat at the pump seal behind the impeller more than chlorine. Not a major problem. Order a pump seal from Us Seal for your pump. For example: a Pentair challenger uses a Ps-200 seal. Salt pools are great in most cases though as they are way more cost efficient and more enjoyable to swim in.

jen

Subject: salt corrosion

Most pool motors are made in China. Warranties are 1-2 years depending on brand. Average lifespan is 2-3 years. If your motor is dying faster than that, you have a problem. First check the level of salt in your pool. (If you take a sample into the local pool store, they will often check it for you.) If it's excessively high, it may be causing corrosion. Check and double check. (The only way to reduce salt in the pool is to drain water.) If the salt is in operating range, check your sprinkler heads and drainage around the pump during heavy rain. If water from either of these sources makes direct contact with your motor it can cause premature death. Check to make sure your electrical conduit is watertight. (It runs from the timer to the motor). Make sure your pool tech is using new orings and seals when he does the repair. These both help keep water in the pump and out of the motor. Your tech may also need to use fine sandpaper to clean up the corrosion, esp important in the area where the seal is seated. You may have a warped seal plate -- this part is normally reused. If your slab is not wet or damp, it's probably ok. Note: If you have a stand-alone chlorine generation cell and salt is kept within the operating range, it's fine to use an existing pool pump and motor.

TehSpaz

Subject: In most any modern pool pump,

In most any modern pool pump, the salt water only contacts one metal part of the pump -- the mechanical shaft seal. Other than that, every other part of the wet end of the pump should be made of chemical-resistant plastic. Replace the seal, should cost anywhere from 10-20 dollars once a year and water will never touch the motor itself. Many pool stores in my area are willing to change the seal for no charge (other than the seal) if you bring the pump into the store. (simpler than you might think)

Geoffroy P Hilaire

Subject: Salt Water Pool Motor Replacement

As a Certified Pool Contractor (FL CPC-057355), I can offer some insight: The motor can generally only corrode when the salt water (essentially an electrolyte solution) seeps past the seal. Either the worn original seal is reused, a new one is installed improperly, or an incorrect seal is used. If any of these is the case, the leak usually manifests itself within moments of pump turning on. US Seal makes seals specifically for salt pools. The common ones are the 3867 to replace the 200, and 3868 to replace the 201. This means something to the repairman, and the pool store owner, who should also be able to cross-reference the original seal style for your pump with the new design for salt pools. Also, look for common-sense areas of leaking, like the threaded pressure fitting on the top of the pump, or even a cracked pump housing. There should never be any dripping from any components of your circulation system. Also, letting the pump run dry or overheat even once can ruin a brand new seal, which will start leaking in short order. Hope this helps

T Pitts

Subject: salt corrosion

If salt corrosion is a problem install a Tech Node. The metal anode will sacrifice its self to protect your other equipment. Installation is quick and easy.

Knud Hansen

Subject: galvanic corrosion

Sounds like you might be undergoing galvanic corrosion. This type corrosion is caused by an electrical charge. The charge can come from an electrical source or even different metals acting like a battery. Corrosion happens very fast, which sounds like what you are describing. You should get an electrician to look at it. Preferably one with a background with pumps and galvanic corrosion.

Kevin Bartel

Subject: Salt is a very corrosive item

Salt is a very corrosive item. The salt is killing your motors. It will ruins seals, bearings, and corrode all metal parts. Change to a regular pool and you will not have that problem.

Tony Ross

Subject: Salt Corrosion

Consider having a sacrificial zinc annode installed. The corrosive properties will be attracted to the annode and leave your equipment alone.

tim

Subject: motor corrosion

You should add zinc blocks to your system and keep them changed. You have a dissimialar metal problem in your system. Your system is acting a lot like a battery like a battery and one type of metal is getting dissolved and unfortunately it is the expensive motor housing. The zinc blocks will take one for the team as it were and take on the current and dissolve instead of the stainless in your system. Just search "sacrificial anode".

Tee

Subject: the motor corroding is due to

the motor corroding is due to having a salt water pool. When chlorine is made with the salt the by product is very high PH. If you do not keep your ph in line then the scaling and corrosion will continue to happen. There is a metal the pool co can put in your skimmer to help with that and there is an additive now to the pool that is suppose to help with the salt corrosion. Also, if you are storing any chemicals in the same location as the motor that could be the cause of corrosion.

joseph L

Subject: if i had to make a guess it

if i had to make a guess it would be that the tech is using pumps with steel or the wrong alloy in the components which will corrode when in contact with salt water just like a car will if you drive on salted winter roads and dont wash the salt off. the pumps for a salt water pool would need to be a specific alloy to resist corrosion.

okiedokie

Subject: salt water pumps

My guess is that they installed a pump designed for fresh water and not the "salt". What I would recommend to do is get the pump id-serial numbers, model numbers, and any other identifying information about the pump. With this information do some research to verify that this is the correct pump designed for 'salt" water. Also make sure you have read the service manuals that came with pump to verify that you are not using something that is corrosive to these pumps. DO NOT JUST TAKE THE SERVICE PERSONS WORD FOR IT. They may have used the incorrect stuff to begin with as most homes uses the fresh water pumps. Another thing I would recommend is contacting other swimming pool companies with your info to verify this is design for salt.

John Bettencourt

Subject: Pool service

Pool owners should pay separately for chemicals needed. These costs will increase and decrease as seasons change. Why should the pool tech eat the cost when chemical usage is high or make much more profit when chem usage is low? All pools do not use the same amount of chemical in any given time. Hire a State licenced contractor, with workers comp insurance, and one that withdraws payroll taxes from their employees, and pays by check!

1seashell

Subject: pool cleaners

Agree with last commenter as a consumer. Pool chemicals can be expensive and vary enormously depending on the size and materials of the pool, and they are unevenly used through pool season. I would rather pay on an as-needed basis for chemicals as a consumer and pay a flat fee for cleaning separately. Makes sense, doesn't it?

willie davis

Subject: i worked for a pool company,

i worked for a pool company, and the owner told me something i never forgot,i asked him if he owned a pool,he said heck no,and i said why? he said a pool is a hole in the ground where you throw good money in after bad.

mp

Subject: Pool

I agree with you with all the words you said. I have a salt water pool, the cost are very low compared to a regular pool, too. I do all the maintenance, no you don`t need to be a professional to keep it clean.

Jack

Subject: I used to think that way too.

I used to think that way too. We put in a pool about 3 years ago. It's great to be able to jump in and cool off on a hot Summer day. Yes, they can be a pain to maintain but they also bring some enjoyment. You can't put a dollar value on everything. A pool can be a lot of fun.

Hawker54

Subject: No, that's a boat. "A boat is

No, that's a boat. "A boat is a hole in the ocean you throw money into". I'll be swimming in my pool that I take care of myself and loving it. Just keep it safe people!

Pat

Subject: I highly disagree with not

I highly disagree with not charging a flat rate fee plus chemicals. I find that companies that include chemicals tend to add not only the cheapest chemicals but also the bare minimal and often times not add certain things at all. There are times when a customer needs nothing at all should i still charge them that rate and as anyone whos tried to do there own pool knows pool chemicals are expensive. Should I work for free when a salt generator stops working and all of a sudden a pool requires a good amount of chemicals. Charging all out flat rates might be great for joe working from his garage but not for a company with workers comp insurance paying taxes and actually offering decent wages, not to mention not trying to rip off there customers with repairs because they dont make money off servicing your pool.

Susie

Subject: Wanting too charge for chemicals every time

I have to disagree with you. The cost of routine chemical use should be included in the flat rate. I do agree that there should be an extra cost if the pool company has to use a lot of additional chemicals due to a party, having to replace all chemicals when a part has to be replaced, etc.

i wouldn't hired a company that routinely charges for regular use chemical maintenance..

TehSpaz

Subject: I don't see the need to

I don't see the need to charge over a flat rate for basic chemicals (chlorine, hCl, sodium bi/carbonate, etc), but having a small charge for shocking, algaecide, cal chloride, and CYA is fine. That way you can still use the most effective chemicals for the situation, but charge a fair amount for what needs to be done.

Jay

Subject: I agree with you, SC+Chems

If you include chemicals, then you (the service company) are paying the price for the customer not maintaining their yard such as tree trimming, etc. Organic waste such as tree droppings in the pool eat up chlorine like crazy and cause the need for other treatment chemicals. You are also paying for their pool parties (unless they invite you) by having to add extra chemicals. Also, if I pull three dead rabbits out of the pool, have dispose of them, then have to eat the cost of two gallons of liquid chlorine plus acid, to sanitize the pool after that; I'm not going to keep doing that pool for very long.

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My order of preference - first choice a jacuzzi/hot tub repairman (from a jacuzzi/hot tub/sauna distributor), second choice a plumber (many do not work on hot tubs, jacuzzi's and sauna because they cnanot afford to stock parts). An electrician might be able to fix it if it is a connection problem, but such motors are seldom repaired if the problem is internal, just replaced - which would be a jacuzzi repairman/plumber type job.
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You will have to find out what your model costs new - looks like they run from about $400 to 1700 depending on size. IF yours is at the lower end, might be just as cheap to replace it, with parts and labor. If not low end, then repair probably works. Typical pricing of components that might have gone out - switch $80, timer/control unit $130, heating element $100 (probably most likely to have failed) - so if only one of these went out, figuring $100-200 labor, probably cheaper to fix it. I would contact your dealer for a better idea.

BTW - here is a Saunatec instruction on maintenance on the heating element and rocks, failure to follow can shorten heating element life, if that is what went out (and probably the simplest to replace) - 

http://superiorsaunas.com/store/index.php?main_page=page&id=2