The novel coronavirus—and the disease it can cause, COVID-19—is on everyone’s minds, and for good reason. We’re all balancing concerns as the virus continues to spread throughout the country about the health of our family and friends, and perhaps the health of ourselves—and it’s unclear just how long we’ll be dealing with this pandemic. Sigh.
The health crisis is real, and certainly life-altering for now, but it doesn’t have to touch every part of our day. Some activities that are still safe, and swimming in your pool can be one of them. By understanding how the virus spreads and following guidelines in three simple areas—operating, maintaining, and disinfecting—you can keep swimming, and without stress. We don’t need it.
What is COVID-19?
Many coronaviruses have existed throughout time, and chances are that you’ve had some of them—we know some of them as the flu. Though also a coronavirus, this COVID-19 virus is particularly dangerous to humans because it’s novel, meaning that we haven’t previously come into contact with it—which also means there’s no vaccine, and we have no resistance to it. There’s a reason why it’s uprooted many of our lives.
People who contract COVID-19 (officially named SARS-CoV-2) usually have a fever, a dry cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms reported included some we would associate with the common cold. However, if someone with COVID-19 has difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or the inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face, they might not be getting enough oxygen. This can be fatal, and it’s imperative that they go to the hospital immediately.
How Does COVID-19 Virus Transmit?
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus does spread from person to person. Here’s how:
- When people are in close contact with each other—within about six feet.
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths and noses of nearby people, or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
- Though not considered the main way the virus spreads, it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.
For the most thorough circulation of pathogenic-killing sanitizing chemicals, look no further than the 2 HP Energy Star Variable Speed In Ground Blue Torrent Cyclone Swimming Pool Pump. It comes with a lifetime warranty and pays itself off in energy saved in under two years.
Can the Coronavirus Spread through My Pool and Hot Tubs?
No, the coronavirus cannot spread through your pool and hot tub. Though it’s well documented that some illnesses can be water-bourne, this virus, as determined from the CDC, is not among them. Here are their words:
“There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfections (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.”
According to the CDC, in order to ensure you’ve removed or inactivated the COVID-19 virus, you need to properly operate, maintain, and disinfect your pool and hot tub. It’s easy, and totally worth it.
How to Operate Your Pool and Hot Tub Properly
Proper operation means you’re running your pool pump for the proper amount of time everyday—generally, this is around eight hours, though it can vary depending on the size of your pool, the size of your pump, and your pump’s horsepower.
For the most consistent filtration, my recommendation is a variable-speed pump, which allows you to control the speed of the motor. Lower speeds allow water to be cycled more thoroughly, and with quieter performance. While more of an investment than single-speed models, variable-speed pumps pay themselves off in energy saved over time—typically in under two years. Due to the slower speed, you might need to run your pump longer. Even then, you’ll still save significantly.
How to Properly Maintain Your Pool and Hot Tub
Proper maintenance involves checking that your pool’s cleaning system is in complete working order, such as routinely cleaning equipment, unclogging debris that’s accumulated, and troubleshooting if your pump goes awry—or starts making odd noises.
Make sure you’re consistently cleaning out your pump’s basket. You can do this by turning off the filter, unplug the pump, and open the pump basket lid. You might see leaves, dirt, small rocks, and any other sediment that might’ve found its way in. Clean out the basket with a hose and you’re good to go.
Debris can also build before the water even gets to your pump. Check your skimmer basket, which sits inside your pool skimmer, as well as the pipes that connect your skimmer to your pump.
The job of maintaining your pool properly isn’t seasonal. The Pumps Away 350 GPH Pool Cover Pump works fast to keep your pool safe from the elements, saves big on energy costs, and is ultra-versatile in its use. Customer Vincent Braun: “I purchased this pump… to pump the water out of the bed of my pickup truck. The pump will pump out 3” to 4” of water in a matter of minutes. Good product!!!!”
How to Properly Disinfect Your Pool and Hot Tub
Perhaps the most essential route to ensuring your pool is safe from the COVID-19 virus is disinfecting and sanitizing—otherwise, you’re just cycling dirty water through your system.
Chlorine is the most popular pool sanitizer and is exceptionally safe—in lower doses, it’s used for drinking water, too. It’s also both effective and inexpensive. All types of chlorine will either kill or inactivate the virus—as long as the proper amount of chlorine is distributed to your pool.
The ideal chlorine combination of your pool should be between 1 and 3 parts per million (ppm). In order to kill COVID-19 and other pathogenic viruses, you’ll want to make sure your chlorine concentration doesn’t fall below 1 ppm (though the World Health Organization recommends as little as .5 ppm). Go above 3 ppm and while you’re sure to wipe out the virus, you’re also vulnerable to irritation on your skin, as well as your eyes, nose, lungs, and throat.
And What About Superchlorination?
If you don’t know about pool shock already, now is the time to learn. After a chlorine particle attacks and kills bacteria or another organic material in your wall, it creates what we call a chloramine. In addition to giving your pool a bad smell, too many chloramines can irritate your eyes, skin—and worst of all, your respiratory system, which is the part of the body most affected by severe cases of COVID-19.
A chloramine is an inactive particle that exists in your water until it can be broken apart by pool shock—a process often referred to as superchlorination. With pool shock, you can have yet another weapon in your arsenal to wipe out the COVID-19 virus. You don’t need to use it as continuously as you do chlorine, but I recommend at least once a week. Just remember to add it at dusk or at night. Otherwise the sun will burn out the compound that makes it effective.
Did you know that debris has the potential to quickly exhaust your sanitizer? Keep your above-ground pool clean—and safe—with the Blue Torrent Stinger Automatic Cleaner. It’s the most economical, high-performance above-ground pool cleaner on the market, and the junk that enters into your pool doesn’t stand a chance against it.
And What About Cleaning Surfaces?
The CDC did mention that it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. It’s time to get diligent about sanitizing surfaces with which they’ve come into contact. Although your pool water is safe if properly chlorinated, wipe down your pool rails and other dry surfaces that are frequently touched with an EPA-approved disinfectant—just as you would the high-use interiors of your house.
What About When I’m Sick?
Nobody should swim when they’re sick, especially in the company of others. Your pool water is definitely safe to swim in, but respiratory droplets can likely pass from person to person above pool water. If you’re sick, you could pass on the virus to someone else in the pool—not through water, but through the air. Besides, anyone who is sick should be resting, and giving their body the strength it needs to fight off this serious disease.
If you’re looking for high-powered and reliable circulation of your chlorine, you might want to try the 2 HP Maxiforce In Ground Swimming Pool Pump. According to customer Sean McIntosh, “Once plumbed and wired it fired right up, pushes the same amount of water that my Hayward pump did for a fraction of the cost, and the motor is quieter.”
Keep Calm and Swim On—Safely.
If this uncertainty can teach us anything, it’s the importance of enjoying every moment, and taking nothing for granted. Be sure that while we’re all concerned about physical health, your mental health doesn’t fall by the wayside. As long as you’re educated about how to correctly operate, maintain, and disinfect your pool, among your activities in self-isolation can be a relaxing swim. Take care, and enjoy as much as you can. It’s the little moments that make all the difference.