As a swimming pool owner, you are aware that the pool water and the equipment need to be taken care of. Otherwise we end up with a swamp. Some people are DIY and take great pleasure in maintaining their swimming pool. Other people prefer to not have to worry (hopefully) and hire a professional pool cleaner. Let’s take a look at the comparison of each.
DIY: You are responsible for going to the pool supply store and buying your chemicals. You will need to know what to buy or else talk with a sales associate. Then you have to safely store the chemicals. Certain chemicals when in too close a proximity can actually be deadly. They have sheets called MDS sheets which will tell you all about safety and usage. You have to test your swimming pool water at least once a week and adjust accordingly using the chemicals you have. You may or may not know how much of what to put in. Always read the product labels before messing with any chemicals.
Pool Pro: They come out once a week and test your swimming pool water. They carry all the chemicals to make the adjustments on their trucks, or at least have easy access to them. They will safely add them to your pool water. If you are a salt pool owner, you may need acid added 2x a week. Since your pool guy is only there once you either end up with too high a pH for part of the week or are forced to do the additional doses yourself.
Brushing and Vacuuming
DIY: If you are going to take care of your swimming pool you will need to invest in cleaning equipment. This can include a telescopic pole, nets, brushes etc. A pool needs to be brushed at least once a week to keep algae spores from taking hold. You will need to net out all the leaves and other debris. You will either need to buy an automatic pool cleaner, or else a vacuum head and vacuum hose. You hook the hose up to your skimmer and vacuum using your pool pump. Everything goes into the filter. Here is a great kit to start out with.
Pool Pro: They carry the hose, pole and commercial grade vacuum heads with them. They will hook up the hose and vacuum your pool for you. They will also brush the pool and clean any tile you have with tile soap. Some pool companies use a pump cart, which saves you from the debris going into your own filter and into theirs instead. Make sure to ask.
DIY: Approximately every six months, or when the PSI gets to be 8-10 above YOUR clean starting pressure, your filter needs to be cleaned. I am primarily talking about DE and cartridge filters as sand filters get cleaned much less frequently. They get backwashed. Diatomaceous earth (DE) filters can also be backwashed between cleanings. This means you have to have the DE on hand as it needs to be replaced after backwashing or cleaning. Taking the filter completely apart and reassembling can be an arduous task. Many people clean their own pools, but hire a professional to do their filters
Pool Pro: Filter cleans may not be included in your monthly pool service price, but they are included as part of service. Your pool tech will take care of this headache for you–for a price, of course.
Baskets & O-Rings
DIY: At least once a week you will need to empty your pump and skimmer baskets. More often if you get a lot of debris in your pool. If these baskets become clogged, it can cause your pool pump to run dry and ruin it. Replace worn or broken baskets as well as lubing up and/or replacing any o-rings. There is an o-ring on your pump lid, inside any valves and around your filter tank. These need to be looked after as well.
Pool Pro: Most pool professionals carry the more common o-rings and baskets on their truck. This makes for easy replacement. They will also check and make sure your weir blade is intact. Even if they don’t have them on them, they can make a note to bring one the following week. Part of swimming pool service includes emptying the baskets and making sure everything is flowing as it should.
DIY: You are responsible for keeping an eye on your various pieces of pool equipment. You need to be aware if something isn’t running as it should. The risk with this is, if it goes on too long because you don’t notice it or know what to look for, you could ruin that piece of equipment.
Pool Pro: A pool tech will usually leave you a note or call you if they notice anything creaking, squeaking or leaking that shouldn’t be. He may not be able to do the repairs or he may be a repair tech as well. If your pump were to go out, for example, you could get an affordable variable speed pump and have them install it. This cursory glance at equipment is usually included in the monthly service.
So. To pool pro or not to pool pro? If you have an hour a week you can dedicate to your swimming pool and you actually enjoy it? Partner with a local pool supply store and tackle it yourself. If your time is too valuable or it is a horrendous chore, you may want to hire a pool cleaning company. See you poolside!