Top 5 Mistakes Pool Owners Make
When the weather heats up there is no better place to cool off and relax than your own swimming pool. However owning a pool is a little bit like owning a boat. They are a lot of fun to own, but they do require a little regular maintenance to keep running properly.
There are certain things every pool owner needs to do on a somewhat regular basis in order to keep your pool operating in tip-top condition. And while you may be tempted to skip a maintenance issue every once in awhile – sooner or later you may find your pool isn’t working properly. Or worse you may face a big repair bill to fix it!
Top 5 Most Common Mistakes Pool Owners Make:
- Not running your pump long enough. The operation of your pump is critical to the operation of just about everything else related to your pool Your filter, heater, automatic pool cleaner, and chlorinator will not work unless your pump is operating efficiently. A good pool pump has 2 speeds and we recommend that you run it 24 – 7.
- Not maintaining the proper water level in your pool. When the water level in your pool is at or near the bottom of your tile line in your pool, the pump begins to draw air (instead of water) into your circulating system. This causes your pump to lose its “prime.” When the pump loses its prime, water is no longer moving through the circulating system and none of your equipment is working.
CAUTION: The water inside of your pump housing can reach over 200 degrees if your pump runs for an extended period of time without a “prime.” The heat and the steam created can melt piping, fittings, and your pump. If you open the pump strainer, SCALDING WATER CAN SPRAY OUT WITH DISASTEROUS RESULTS!!! Never open the strainer housing on your pump if you even think that this condition might exist. Turn the pump off and wait for the water to cool before opening the pump strainer housing.
- Not adding pH adjustment chemicals to your pool water. Salt chlorination raises the pH of your water. If you don’t add enough muratic acid to your pool water on weekly basis, YOU WILL DEVELOP SCALE. Scale will appear as white streaks and encrustations on your pool plaster. This will be especially troublesome on colored plaster pools.
- Not Cleaning Your Filter and/or Strainer Baskets. As your filter gets dirtier, the pressure gauge on the top of your filter will register a higher and higher pressure (make sure that your gauge is operational and accurate). The filter should be cleaned before the gauge registers ten pounds higher than the “start-up” or “clean” filter pressure. As your filter gets dirtier, the flow to your pool is decreased, and it gets harder for your pump to push water through.
The result is higher operating cost, due to the increased resistance to flow that your pump experiences, and reduced filtration efficiency. In addition, less chlorine is added to your pool, there is less dispersion of chemicals, land less skimming action.
Left unattended, your filter will cease to function. In a “worse-case-scenario”, your pump may be damaged or destroyed and your filter elements may collapse, making them unusable. Your pump strainer basket, skimmer baskets, and your salt cell should be changed on a regular basis. Neglecting these items will also cause serious consequences.
- Not testing your water. This is one of the “golden rules” of pool ownership – you CANNOT determine the condition of your pool water simply by looking at it. Of course if your water is cloudy or green, it certainly needs attention. But did you know that your water can be hazardous to your health, even if it “looks” good?
Weekly testing of your water, followed up by monthly testing by your local pool chemical store, is the only way to keep your water up. A little time and money spent on adjustment chemicals can save you lots of money in the long run.
Charles Elfert is the President of Pleasure Pools – a New Orleans pool company since 1994. Pleasure Pools designs and builds custom pools as well as helping pool owners maintain their pools through education and teaching.