A backyard pool can provide a private retreat to unwind or serve as the entertainment center of the neighborhood – or both. Although most people associate owning their own pool with fun and frivolity, the truth is that there is an awful lot of maintenance required to keep your pool sparkling and ready for action.

While many people prefer to take care of their own pool maintenance, others prefer to hire a professional pool service. To determine which option is best for you, it will help to understand what is involved in pool maintenance. Once you know what is involved in taking care of your pool, be realistic about how much time you have to spare. Your precious time may be worth far more than the cost of hiring a pool service.

How should I care for my pool?

Many of us dream about having our own backyard pool. We imagine the countless afternoons spent swimming, lounging, and watching the kids frolic with their friends. What’s missing in those sweet dreams of paradise is pool maintenance: cleaning, scrubbing, skimming, and maintaining the chemical balance of the water. Unfortunately, real life is not a dream, and pool maintenance is a reality you’re going to have to face when you own a swimming pool.

There are four main categories of pool maintenance:

Pool Chemicals

Monitor the pH and chlorine levels twice a week. It’s important to keep these at the proper levels to protect your pool and your health.

The pH is a measure of how acidic/alkaline your pool water is. The ideal pH is the same as your eyes, which is 7.2. A pH that is too low or too high can cause a host of problems, including damage to the surface of the pool, dark stains on the floor and walls, lower chlorine effectiveness, and a burning sensation in your eyes.

Chlorine works as a sanitizing agent, providing protection from bacteria. Some people prefer to use bromine to sanitize their pools, as it is less likely to cause irritation for people with sensitive skin. Its major drawback is its cost, which is higher than the cost of chlorine. Every two weeks, you should “shock” your pool. This process eliminates all leftover debris in the water, such as suntan lotion, sweat, cosmetics, skin cells, bird droppings, and other foreign matter. By clearing the pool of these external invaders, the chlorine is able to perform its normal sanitizing routine. Pool shock products are available at your local outdoor retailer.

To ensure that your pool water is being maintained properly, it’s a good idea to take a sample of your pool water into a professional pool cleaner for testing every month.

Pool Cleaning

Vacuum the pool floor and skim the water’s surface to remove any debris at least once a week. If there are a lot of trees near the pool, you’ll need to do this every 2-3 days. Empty the skimmer baskets twice a week. Don’t neglect the pool walls and steps – scrub these areas regularly. Cleaning your pool on a regular basis will also help eliminate algae growth.

Pool Equipment

Water pumps, filtration systems, and skimmers should be checked frequently to make sure they are working properly. Filters should be changed regularly – the exact schedule will be determined by the amount of usage and external environment factors. Check handrails, ladders and diving boards for rusted bolts and cracks.

Closing & Opening the Pool

If you don’t live in an area where you can enjoy your pool year round, you will need to close the pool during the winter months and open it again in the spring. To close the pool, you must drain the water below freezing level, drain water lines, add anti-freeze to the pipes, and cover the pool with a heavy pool cover. To open the pool in the spring, simply remove the cover, remove the antifreeze from the water lines, and refill the pool to the proper level. Check your filtration and your circulation systems to make sure they are in good working order. You can then resume your regular maintenance tasks.

Article from Kudzo.com

What does a pool service do?

A professional pool maintenance company will perform these duties on a weekly or bi-weekly basis:

  • Skim debris off water’s surface.
  • Vacuum the pool’s floor.
  • Scrub the pool walls and steps.
  • Empty the skimmer baskets.
  • Make sure all equipment is in working order.
  • Balance the chemicals in the pool.
  • Monitor water level.
  • Change pool filter (when needed).
  • Shock the pool (every 2 weeks).

For an additional fee, the pool service company will open the pool in the spring and close it in the winter.

How much does a pool service charge?

Professional pool services charge an average of $100 per month, but there are several factors that will determine your actual costs:

Size of pool: A very large pool will likely drive up the cost of pool maintenance. A larger pool will require more chemicals to maintain pH and chlorine levels and it will take longer to vacuum the floor and scrub the walls and steps than a smaller pool.

Usage: If you use your pool for an after-work swim and the occasional weekend dip your pool will require less maintenance than a pool that plays host to the neighborhood kids every day.

Location: If you live close to a densely wooded area your pool will collect a lot more debris than a home situated near an open field. Similarly, if you live in a area of the country that receives a great deal of rain and/or wind, you’ll need more frequent service calls.

Pool Equipment: The type of filter, skimmer, and vacuum that you have will also play a role in how often you need to have your pool serviced. If your pool is heated or has lighting, it may require more service/repair calls.

Professional pool services can also perform the seasonal tasks involved in opening and closing your pool. These services will be an extra charge, usually in the $100-$200 range.

What questions should you ask a pool service company?

Things to Ask A Pool Service Company

  • Are you insured?
  • Do you have a business license?
  • What does the maintenance agreement include? The contract should list all the services to be included, as well as the frequency.
  • How much experience do you have?
  • Can I call some of your clients for references?


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