Things You Should Keep Out Of Your Pool
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Holy crap you had no idea how much stuff you needed to learn about when you decided to become a pool owner! Sure you knew that there was some stuff to know but now that the pool is open and you are in charge of the day to day maintenance you are feeling overwhelmed. First time pool ownership can be stressful. There is a lot to know and failure to know any number of things can result in down time, or worse, damage to the pool. Through this website I have created a number of helpful resources for pool owners such as this article about being a brand new pool owner as well as this important article about how to make your pool last as long as possible.
While those articles are undoubtedly helpful for new pool owners, and a great place for you to start if you are feeling like you are lost and don't where to begin, however some people may find the technical information contained within to be too dry to hold their attention. I can appreciate that learning technical details about pools and spas can be boring, despite how important it is to do, and so I have created this abbreviated list to help you understand some important things about your pool in a more palatable format. This list might not include everything you need to know about owning a pool but these are definitely some good lessons that experienced pool owners would agree need to be learned earlier as opposed to later. Better that you find out about these now while you can do something about these before they become a problem for you and your pool.
CYA - Cyanuric Acid
Something that you need to have in your pool is Cyanuric acid, also called water stabilizer or water conditioner. The purpose of this chemical is to help your chlorine to not be burned off by the UV light from the sun. If you did not use stabilizer in your water then no matter how much chlorine you used it would likely all be consumed by the sun on a daily basis. This is why it is important to maintain 30pmm to 50ppm of CYA in your water at all times. What is important to understand is that once CYA increases to 80ppm or 100ppm or more, your chlorine will no longer be able to work properly. It is important to keep CYA out of your water because if you add too much then the only way to lower that number is to partially drain and fill your pool with clean water. CYA is found in chlorine pucks and stabilized chlorine powder and regular use of these products is sure to result in CYA levels which are eventually too high. You need CYA in your pool but too much is guaranteed to be a problem.
If you are new to owning a pool then it might not have occurred to you yet just how dangerous, and problematic, broken glass in a pool can be. With concrete and stone decking, as well as hard / slippery surfaces everywhere, it would be all too easy to slip or drop and break a glass in or near your pool. This is a disaster for pool owners due to the difficulty in being able to find all of the broken glass in the pool, and obviously failure to find all of it could easily expose a swimmer to a grievous injury. Quite often the only solution to broken glass in a pool is to drain and clean the pool completely, and since most pools should not be drained, or should only be drained by a professional, having glass around you pool could really end up costing you. Plastic glasses are where it's at when it comes to pool parties. Never allow glass in or around your swimming pool.
Soaps & Lotions
Did you know that you should always shower before getting into your swimming pool? This is to help reduce bacteria and debris that is introduced to the water, with one of the most important things being soaps and lotions. Soaps and lotions also includes make up, sun screen, hair spray or other hair products, deodorant...the list goes on and on. All of these are bad for your pool water chemistry and oils in specific can be harmful. Oils will sit on top of the pool water which makes them specifically noticeable, and they will also gum up your filter such that you will need filter cleaning service sooner than you might normally need it. It is much easier to eliminate soaps and oils from being introduced to your pool than it is to try to remove them with filtration and the addition of other chemicals. One of the best ways to help enforce this rule for your pool is to install an outdoor shower adjacent to the pool for quick rinsing. This can also be useful for helping to rinse chlorine from your skin and hair once you are finished swimming.
Ducks & Wildlife
Swimming pool owners often get a kick out of seeing ducks hanging out in their swimming pool. As much as you might enjoy watching wildlife it is very important to keep ducks out of your pool. Ducks will poop in your pool, and just like with other wildlife using your pool as a toilet, this will introduce some nasty stuff that you most certainly want to avoid in your water. Chlorine is effective at killing almost any parasite or pathogen that might be in your pool water...except cryptosporidium. Crypto has a hard shell-like outer layer which chlorine has difficulty getting past. Sustained levels of free chlorine in excess of 10ppm is the most common way to eliminate crypto from pools using chemicals however supplemental items like UV lights are typically regarded as being more effective for this particular parasite than chlorine. Even better would be to eliminate as much animal poop from your pool as possible in the first place. Something that pool owners do to deter ducks and other animals from the pool is to leave a floating alligator in the water.
Leaves & Organic Debris
One of the best, most proactive things that pool owners can do, is spend time every day scooping leaves, sticks and organic debris that ends up in the pool. Any leaves or debris that falls into the pool will eventually become saturated and sink to the bottom of the pool. During this whole process chlorine is being depleted by this foreign contaminant in the water. It is an advantage to you to physically remove this debris from the water as soon as possible as this will reduce the amount of organic debris that your sanitizer needs to sanitize and oxidize. In addition to scooping leaves form the surface of the pool it is equally as important to clean the skimmer strainer baskets of leaves as these will be limiting the performance and efficiency of your pump and plumbing system, as well as depleting the free chlorine levels in your pool until you remove them from the water. Getting a deep leaf net will help you to scoop leaves like a pool pro and make this job a lot easier and a lot faster.
It used to be that pool owners would wake up early on hot summer mornings to find children in bathing suits lined up by the dozen at the backyard gate. While some pool owners still choose to be the host for all of the neighborhood kids it is worth considering that many pool owners choose to avoid this due to liability. What would be the result if something terrible happened and a child was hurt, or worse? Too many pool owners have learned the hard way that swimming pools can be dangerous, and as the owner of the pool it is likely that the onus of liability will fall on the shoulders of the pool owner if an accident were to happen. For this reason many pool owners now require parents of neighborhood kids to sign a liability waiver before allowing their kids in the pool...but many more pool owners just avoid this liability by only allowing family and close friends to use the pool.
Drunk Uncles are the bane of swimming pool owners. They do not follow any of the established pool rules like no drinking, and no running, and are very likely to exclaim "hold my beer" before doing something extremely reckless or dangerous. Drunk Uncles, if left in the water too long, will become saturated and sink to the bottom of the pool. It will take a substantial amount of free chlorine to sanitize and oxidize your drunk Uncle, and most vacuum cleaners lack the suction power required to clean a mess of this magnitude from your pool. The best method to keep drunk Uncles out of your pool is to have a BBQ running that is fully loaded with ribs and wings. This should keep them distracted enough to stay out of your pool. If this still is not enough to keep your drunk Uncle out of your pool then at least be sure to get a video of him "just sending it".
More funny articles from Steve:
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Customer profiles you will encounter while working in the pool industry
Common personalities that work for every pool company
Famous people who could have been great pool builders
Common mistakes that pool owners tend to make
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- Swimming Pool Steve