Swimming Pools

Pool cleaning

What's the secret to keeping the water sparkling blue instead of nasty green? Regular maintenance.

Follow these weekly guidelines to help keep your pool water crystal clear throughout the swimming season:

Once a week:

Add pool shock, which breaks down organic matter and disinfects the water. Both chlorine-based and non-chlorinated products are available, but it's important to add the chemical in the proper ratio to your pool's total water volume. Follow the label instructions or consult with a pool maintenance provider to determine the best ratio for your pool. Additional shock may be needed following rainstorms or excessively high temperatures.

Add a maintenance dose of algae prevention.

Brush the pool walls thoroughly.

Use a pool vacuum to clean the floor of debris.

Twice a week:

Use test strips to check and maintain pool chemical levels. The water's pH should measure between 7.4 and 7.6. Chlorine, if used, should measure between 1 to 3 parts per million. 

Empty the pool filter baskets.

If your pool has tile work, clean the tiles at the water line with a pool surface cleaner.

Use a skimming tool to remove leaves, insects and any other floating debris from the water’s surface.

Pool maintenance and repair

To serve your family properly on those hot summer days, many elements need to function properly. Be sure to check your pump, heater and thermostat regularly and contact your pool pro if you don't feel water at the jets or you notice temperature problems.

The most common issue you'll face is water loss, most of which occurs naturally through evaporation. You can reduce evaporation by turning your thermostat down and turning the heater off when the weather gets hot.

"If your pool level is dropping by more than a quarter inch per day, your problem may be more than simple evaporation –- you could have a leak," says Jason Scarborough of Aaron's Leak Detection in Orlando, Florida. "Leaks, even minor drips at the equipment, can have a massive impact on your water loss, costing you upwards of a thousand gallons of water per week."

man cleaning pool

Hiring a pool company to maintain your swimming pool will help ensure a proper balance of chemicals. (Photo by Tara Hauck)

Hiring a pool cleaner

Many pool and spa companies can also provide maintenance services to uphold the condition and quality of your pool.

A pool maintenance service has the primary responsibility of verifying that the pool is at the appropriate chlorine pH- level. If the water does not contain a sufficient amount of chlorine, bacteria can develop and spread through the water to contaminate the entire pool.

But, if your pool contains an excessive amount of chlorine, people swimming can suffer from skin rashes, respiratory problems and eye infections.

Thus, the experienced maintenance crews at most pool and spa companies understand the appropriate amount of chlorine that your pool should contain and can adjust the chemical balances of the water to achieve that optimal pH level.

Additionally, the maintenance crew can inspect your pool's electrical system, filtration devices and pump units to ensure that the sytem is operating effectively.

Maintenance crews also clean your pool to ensure that the condition of your water remains safe and sanitary for swimmers. An excessive amount of dirt and bacteria accumulating in your pool can contaminate the water and damage the electrical equipment.

To clean your pool, the maintenance crews usually remove insects and leaves from the pool and the equipment, replace dirty cartridges from the filters, scrub the walls and the floor, vacuum debris from the water and add chemicals to the water to prevent algae from developing.

Maintenance crews typically service your pool or hot tub once a week or once every month, and the average cost that companies charge to maintain and clean your pool usually ranges from $75 to $200 per month.

Nearby Local Resources: Pool Installers Near You | Pool Cleaners Near You | Pool Removal Near You | Pool Cover Repair Near You

Pool safety tips

Many homeowners dream of adding a swimming pool their backyard, but just like a new puppy, once you get one, you take on a lot of responsibility. Here are some safety tips to make sure your family gets the most enjoyment out of it.

Upgrade your drain covers. If you have the flat, old-fashioned drains on your pool, upgrade to the one that falls under the new federal standards. These drain covers are especially good at preventing hair from getting caught in the pool and will greatly reduce the risk of someone drowning in your pool from entrapment.

Don't get sucked in. Install an automatic suction cut-off device on your pool's pump. When the device detects an increase in pressure, which is what happens when the drain is blocked, it will automatically shut off the pump and release the pressure.

Having this device is always a faster way to release pressure than having an adult run over and turn off a pump. If you’re going to a friend’s house to swim, check out the suction on the drain before letting any children near it.

Fence your pool correctly. Your swimming pool should be enclosed with a fence at least 4-feet high. Pool gates should open away from the pool and should be self-closing and self-latching.

Get the right cover. A pool safety cover that meets the American Society for Testing and Materials specifications will provide an added layer of protection. The cover also reduces heat loss and water evaporation.

Be sure to secure the cover on all sides and corners so a child cannot slip under. Don’t let water accumulate on the cover.

Alarm your pool. In-pool motion detectors and alarms will let you know if someone is in the water. They are available for doors, fences, in pools and as a clip-on for children or pets.

Rope it off. Place a rope across the pool to alert swimmers to the separation of the deep end from the shallow end of the pool.

Add another drain. If you're building a new pool, install two drains. This will cut the pressure from each drain in half. Often the suction from a lone drain can hold down 400 to 500 pounds, which is too great a force for a young child, and many adults, to escape.

Post emergency instructions. Make sure you have CPR instructions, warning signs and emergency numbers, such as 911, posted near the pool. Have a telephone handy in case you need to summon help.

Lock up your chemicals. Store all pool chemicals in a locked location.

Practice active supervision. Never leave children unsupervised in the pool or outside the pool. Do not count on barriers to keep children from reaching the pool. No barrier is foolproof.

Learn how to swim. This seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how many homeowners with pools have family members who can't swim. If you have a pool, make sure everyone in your family knows how to swim.

Children are never too young to be enrolled in a swimming program.

In-ground pool installation

In-ground swimming pools enable the pool company to dig a hole in the ground and to construct a pool inside the hole.

The company usually sends one or more highly trained in-ground pool contractors near you to survey the property, analyze the area where you want the pool to be located and conduct measurements to determine the particular swimming pool options that can fulfill your desires.

The contractor often presents and recommends various options regarding the shape, size and materials of the pool, and you can often choose from among the many available options. You can also usually make unique adjustments and customized additions to the design of the pool.

Although the length of time it requires to install the pool and to set up the electrical equipment varies depending on the size and type of your pool, most companies can complete the project in around 3 to 4 months.

How much does a in-ground swimming pool cost?

The average price to have an in-ground pool built and installed ranges from about $20,000 to $60,000.

Above-ground pool installation

Rather than being installed into the ground, an above-ground pool consists of an elaborate container that can hold the water and that can be placed on top of the ground in your front or back yard.

Because the construction project for an above-ground pool is much less difficult and expensive than an in-ground project, the average price to have an above-ground pool installed is usually around $3,000 to $12,000.

You can also purchase a semi-in-ground pool from many pool and spa companies. Semi-in-ground pools are typically built so that the bottom portion of the pool is below the ground while the upper portion of the pool is above the ground. The price of a semi-in-ground pool often falls within the range of $10,000 to $20,000.

Local Above Ground Pool Resources: Above Ground Pool Installation Near You | Above Ground Pool Repair Near You

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