Swimming pools are a luxury item. Like any luxury item, they require preservation, work and care. These things all cost time and money. Keeping our swimming pools clean is not an option. There are many things one must do to keep his swimming pool sparkly and, most importantly, safe. Let’s take a look at some of the things you will be spending money on.
You’ll need the equipment to clean and brush your swimming pool. You will need a telescopic pole, which typically comes in 8’-16” adjustable. All of your other attachments will connect easily to this pole. You will need a brush as your pool must be brushed once a week to avoid algae spores from taking a foothold. You may also want to get a wire brush, which is commonly referred to as an algae brush. This is not to be used everyday like your nylon brush, but for stubborn stains and algae.
You’ll want a leaf rake and a pool skimmer. A leaf rake is the attachment with a deep basket. This allows you to get to the dirt and debris at the bottom of the pool. You may also want a skimmer. This is the flat net that is perfect for skimming junk off of the surface.
You will need to vacuum your swimming pool. You can go with an automatic pool cleaner which can come in suction, pressure side (which requires a separate pump and a designated line) or robotic cleaners. Prefer to do it yourself? Great! You will need a vacuum hose long enough to reach the furthest end of your pool from the skimmer, without being too long so that it gets twisted and tangled. You will need a vacuum head. Get one that is designed for the surface of your pool. You will also be using the same telescopic pole you net and brush with.
We cannot have an algae free, safe swimming pool without circulating the water. This means running your pool pump for enough time during the day. This can be an “ouch” if you are a single speed pump owner because they cost a fortune to run. Variable speed pumps are energy efficient and cost way less money to operate. Did you know you can get a name brand, American made Black & Decker Variable Speed pump for about half what those other guys are charging? Check them out here.
We also need to clean our filter regularly. We need to replace the grids or cartridges if they become old or damaged. This can be a time consuming task. Especially for diatomaceous earth filter owners.
You will need a sanitizer. If you opted for a salt pool, you still have a chlorine pool; You are just making your own. For traditionally chlorinated pools you will need with liquid or granular chlorine. You will need dry or muriatic acid if the pH is ever high. You will need alkalinity up or soda ash if the pH is ever low. You may want a metal chelating agent, stain and scale prevention and a weekly phosphate treatment. It all depends on how much work you will want to prevent in the future. Your pool will need cyanuric acid (conditioner, stabilizer) to prevent your sanitizer from burning off in the sun’s rays. This, like salt, typically only needs to be added once or twice a year as it does not evaporate. In a traditionally chlorinated pool, during Summer, you will need chlorine tablets and a floater to put them in. Once the water gets below 70 degrees we remove the floater so that the cyanuric acid doesn’t go higher than it needs to.
Equipment Maintenance and Repairs
Things need regular servicing. A filter needs to be cleaned approximately every 6 months. A salt cell needs to be cleaned every 3. A heater should have a tune up/Clean out every 1-2 years. What if something breaks or dies? Then you have the added cost of repairing or replacing the item in question. This can run a couple hundred to several thousand dollars.
Pool Surface and Decking
Every so many years we need to drain our pool. The water just gets too old and chemicals become less efficient. When you do this, you may want to think about having the pool’s surface redone, especially if it is chipping or cracking. The gooey stuff around your pool is called mastic. That needs to be replaced when missing or worn. Your main drain, by law, is supposed to be replaced every 5 years. Not that anyone is checking. We just wanted you to be aware.
Sometimes when the lights go out it is as simple as a new bulb and gasket. Sometimes water gets into the fixture and the whole canister needs to be replaced. I suggest replacing the canister with an LED light. They not only last 10 times longer, but save you on energy costs. Keep in mind someone has to pull the new light through the conduit. This could be you and a buddy or a pool professional.
Odds and Ends
There are some various things that need to periodically be replaced on your swimming pool, but they are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. Such things can include: o-rings, skimmer and pump baskets, weir blades and skimmer lids. If you have an automatic pool cleaner, it may need parts or hoses from time to time.
Does this sound like too much to worry about? You can always hire a professional pool cleaner. They will balance the water, brush and vacuum the pool, empty your baskets and make note of any obvious equipment issues. The price varies from region to region. Some rates include chemicals and some do not so be sure to ask what the monthly service rate includes. Most professionals have a service agreement that goes over all of this.
So there you have it. Pools cost money. But in the middle of July they are so worth it. Right? See you poolside!