6 Things You Should NEVER Say To Your Pool Guy
As a pool and spa professional you learn very quickly that people are "funny" about their swimming pools. Perhaps it is due to the relatively high cost of pools, or
perhaps it is due to the tenuous operational understanding that most pool owners have, but you must choose your words wisely when speaking to people about their
beloved swimming pools. When I say "it looks like there might be some damage to the pool" some pool owners hear "your pool is broken and you're going to go bankrupt
and lose the house". As a result swimming pool pros know that there are certain things that we can say but certain things that we should avoid saying. Pool owners on
the other hand know no bounds. There are some things that pool owners say that just drive me (and presumably all pool professionals) crazy. Let's shine a light at the
underbelly of the pool pro lifestyle with 6 things you should never say to your pool guy.
1) I have A pool party this weekend...
Really, you don't say. This list could not possibly exist without this gem of a stinkbomb that every pool pro has heard 1000 times before. Let me guess, the party is
so important to you that you are willing to be completely unreasonable and demanding that your timeline is met despite you have waited so long to contact me that it is
not scientifically possible to achieve the results you are requesting? Please tell me more about your pool party...
Pool owners take note - If you have an important event coming up and you plan to use your pool for this function you should be testing and preparing the pool weeks in advance. It is certainly understandable that your water can suddenly take a turn for the worse 24 hours before the party, but more commonly the pool is not currently balanced or clear, or requires extensive repairs. Leaving your pool to the last minute is a big mistake. If your pool is currently requiring repair then do not book a party until after it is fixed. If you want to have a pool party first thing in the year plan to open your pool and begin to balance the water a minimum of two weeks before the event. This will give you ample time to deal with any potential repairs that may have come up from a long winter season. If you suspect you will need a service technician be sure to call as early in the season as possible to schedule an appointment. During peak periods many pool professionals will be working sun up to sun down every day so you can end up waiting if you are too far down on the list.
2) I can tell by looking at the water whether it is balanced or not
BEHOLD the mighty water wizard! That is amazing...would you be willing to share your secrets with me? I only know how to interact with water balance through science and the physical world. It would make my job a lot easier if I had your ability to ignore every conventional wisdom and known fact about water chemistry, and balance water with X-ray vision and osmosis, presumably.
Pool owners take note - It is not scientifically possible to tell whether pool or spa water is balanced by eye. Our eyes are useful for all kinds of great stuff like looking at loved ones, or swimming pools, but as far as advanced water chemistry analysis goes the human eye leaves much to be desired. The lack of understanding of proper water chemistry values is the number 1 cause of premature swimming pool component failure. While it is possible that you have been lucky enough to own a pool for 10 years without balancing your water properly, adopting this attitude towards water chemistry is going to cost you one day. It might cost you a new liner 5 years early, or it might cost you a bacterial infection, but rest assured if you rely on visual inspection of your pool and spa water you are going to have a bad time. At the very least you need to test the water for total alkalinity, calcium hardness and pH in addition to the sanitizer levels. To do this you will need a reliable pool test kit, which are not expensive like the TAYLOR K-2006. You do not need a fancy digital pool water tester to get the job done but this Taylor test kit is a reliable way to test your water, better than with test strips, and this will go a long way to protecting your pool investment - and preventing me from revoking your pool ownership license and lighting your pool on fire as a quarantine measure.
3) Can you just patch it - We want to get one more season out of it
You want one more season out of your broken pool? I want to go ice skating on a rainbow...so now what is the procedure?
Pool owners take note - When you see deficiencies with your swimming pool have them fixed right away. Just like with a car if you ignore the smaller things when they break you will eventually end up needing to replace something that is much more expensive down the road. You would be shocked to know how few pool problems can actually be resolved with duct tape, silicone and epoxy. If you have holes everywhere in your liner and the corners have not been in the coping track for as long as you can remember then you are overdue. Concrete pool tiles falling off - Can't you just put them back on? Sure, but there is a reason they fell off right?
Of course nobody wants to spend thousands of dollars to fix something they already have but to put a swimming pool in context against other luxury items ask yourself this question - how many yacht owners patch up their problems with duct tape for "one more year". Owning a pool is a financial responsibility with a steep learning curve for pool owners that have a tendency to let things go longer than they should. Bite the bullet and get the work done and in the long term you will be rewarded for this.
4) I knew you would be coming so I went ahead and drained the pool for you
Pardon me? You did what? There are a hundred reasons why we do not want to hear you say this about your pool starting with the most important which is that draining
the pool can break it permanently. From an installers perspective it actually works against us when pool owners "help out" like this. For example as you drain a
vinyl liner pool you rinse it and cut into strips as you go and roll up. If you do not do this the vinyl is covered in disgusting slime, algae, bugs etc and even
worse if left to dry out for a few days the vinyl become brittle like glass. You easily could end up with hundreds of razor sharp vinyl shards on the bottom of the
pool which is a pain to clean up - especially in sand bottom pools. Put your submersible pump back in the garage and go cut your grass instead.
Pool owners take note - A vinyl pool requires water to keep the liner in place but if you are getting the liner replaced who cares right? Wrong. The water helps to protect the slopes and floors quite a bit and you could very likely buy yourself some additional floor repairs from draining early. Concrete pools should not be drained unless the ground water around the pool is controlled and you typically pull the hydrostatic relief valves during the course of the repair. Fiberglass pools should not ever be drained by the pool owner and doing so can cause permanent failure - yikes!
5) Watch your step in the backyard!
Ok, will do! I will just balance this 75lb toolbox on my shoulders and wander back on in there. Oh ya, dog poop here, landmines there...you do know I need to take
about a hundred trips back and forth to my truck right? Listen, I am a huge dog lover, but walking in fresh dog turds in the same boots you have to wear all day makes
me fantasize about filling your pool with cement. I have to roll my hoses through your entire yard so please make an effort. It makes the work
truck stink and everything basically becomes unsanitary - as if being a pool guy was not one of the least sanitary jobs you can imagine already.
Pool owners take note - Having dog crap everywhere in your backyard is pretty rude when you are hiring workers who will need to navigate that area. Spend a few minutes prior to our arrival and make a sweep of the area and this will go a long way towards improving the attitude of your pool service worker. There is no stronger signal for "nobody gives a crap about this place" than dog poop all over your yard. Accidents happen and I can find the pile that you missed and we can accept that - but if I can fill half a garbage bag with rotting canine (hopefully) excrement, you are a terrible human being and you don't deserve to go swimming.
6) I hope you don't mind if my kids / my dogs are in the backyard while you are working
You must be joking. You are not joking. Ok, I am not a baby sitting service and I do not require any more assistants than I brought with me, thank you. Swimming
pools are extremely dangerous when they are all full and safe. When the deck is broken out and there are trenches dug into the ground, heavy tools, electrical cords
stretching everywhere...does it look like a good place for children to hang out? Also you very, very casually mentioned that Thor is super friendly and everything but
he is looking at me like I am a pork chop every time you walk away.
Pool owners take note - As bright as your dog is I do not want his assistance with your pool renovation project until he has at least three years of pool experience. Children are cute but a huge liability on a construction site. Every part of working on and with swimming pools involves using something that is dangerous to curious little hands and we are too busy trying to complete your project in a timely fashion to devote the proper amount of attention to your children - better that they just stay inside until we get the pool up and running again. Most of the time your pool professional is just too nice to say anything, to avoid confrontation, when you let the dogs and kids into the backyard but rest assured they would prefer a more controlled working environment. We want to be able to devote our attention completely on your pool problem and we certainly do not want to assume any liability for someone getting hurt. This is why we are all so careful about closing and locking the gate when we leave!
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