This just isn’t an easy time. We’re all navigating the new reality of living through a global pandemic—and the truth of the matter is, everyone has a different preference for the amount of preventive measures they’re willing to exercise. Thankfully, swimming in your pool doesn’t have to be a risk at all, and you don’t have to worry about cleaning it more regularly than is typically recommended. When it comes to maintaining your pool, it’s just not about frequency. It’s about doing it right. I’ll make sure we’re on the same page about COVID-19—thanks to the recognized health authorities—and lay out exactly what every pool owner should do to keep their pool safe from the virus. In this case, it’s about working smarter, not harder.
Explained By The Experts: The COVID-19 Virus
During a global pandemic, it makes sense that our family, friends, and neighbors have their own take on the virus. But since this is a matter of health, it’s best to cut out all that word-of-mouth speculation. Let’s turn to recognized health authorities to clean up exactly how COVID-19 functions. I’ll source the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for every fact here.
What Is COVID-19?
The COVID-19 virus is a coronavirus, but that’s just its virus type. In fact, many coronaviruses have existed throughout time, and I’d bet money you’ve had at least one—we know some as the common cold. That one’s called common for a reason.
Though also a coronavirus, this COVID-19 virus is significant because it’s novel, meaning that it hasn’t been previously identified—which also means there’s no vaccine, and we have no resistance to it. There’s a reason it’s uprooted our normal lives. (Source: CDC).
COVID-19 Symptoms—And When to Seek Help
People who contract the disease COVID-19 (officially named SARS-CoV-2) usually have a fever, a dry cough, and shortness of breath. 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. (Source: CDC).
We Know What COVID-19 Is. Now Let’s Prevent its Spread.
We all know that we don’t want this virus, and that it’s our civic duty to prevent its spread as much as possible. But in order to take preventative measures, we’ll need to remember just how this virus spreads.
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How You Can Catch COVID-19
According to the CDC, this virus spreads from person to person, and the possibility of infection is higher depending on a few factors. This is how the health authorities have found that COVID-19 spreads:
· 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. In some cases, these droplets remain in the air after the infected person has left.
· 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.
Staying Healthy During a Pandemic—Beyond Immunity
Believe it or not, the CDC has always been an important health authority—even before the pandemic made them one of the main household names in the country. One major recommendation for overall health that they’ve always upheld? That would be exercise—which, if done in a fun way, we might also call recreation.
According to the CDC, physical activity is essential, and “it’s possible—and important—to be physically active while social distancing.” Plus, it has a ton of benefits that might also be helpful during a global pandemic. According to the CDC again, “Physical activity reduces blood pressure and anxiety and helps you sleep better. It can also help to improve mood and energy level.” (Source: CDC.)
So we know that recreation is important for our moods, energy, and all the anxiety that might come along with a global pandemic at our door. And we also know that swimming in our own pools couldn’t be a safer activity during the pandemic—as long as we make sure our pools are maintained properly. So now let’s determine whether or not properly sanitizing our pools during the pandemic means we need to clean them more often.
Whatever sanitizing chemicals you add to your water don’t just spread evenly on their own. You’ll need a reliable, powerful, and energy-saving pump like the 2 HP Energy Star Variable Speed In Ground Blue Torrent Cyclone Pump to make sure all your water is treated. Plus, it comes with a free warranty, is eligible for rebates, and pays itself off in under a year. According to customer Dave Schmidt, “my pool has never looked cleaner!”
Pool Cleaning During COVID-19: Do It Right, Not More Regularly
Here’s the thing. When it comes to cleaning your pool during COVID-19—and always—it’s all about precision and consistency. For instance, when you are maintaining your chemical balance and notice that your balance is wonky after just a day or so, the solution isn’t to balance your chemicals every day for the rest of your pool’s life. That would be exhausting! The better fix would be to find the cause of what is upsetting your chemistry, so that when you do balance your chemicals, you do it properly. Instead of just upping your amount of work, it’s always better to maintain your pool the right way, the first time.
The best part of all this? Knowing that your pool couldn’t be more safe, thanks to the sanitizing powers of chlorine and the fact that you’re swimming with your household. We’ll take the win—but first, let’s visit exactly how to nail that sanitation.
Chlorine Can Take COVID-19 On
As of now, the CDC reports that there is no evidence that COVID-19 can transmit through water—which is significant, considering there have been many water-borne illnesses previously recorded. It’s possible that the COVID-19 virus just doesn’t survive and/or transmit from person to person in water. But, the CDC also emphasizes caution—since this coronavirus is new, there’s still so much we just don’t know. Sanitizing your pool is just as important as it ever was. As the old saying goes, better safe than sorry.
There’s a reason chlorine is commonly used to sterilize drinking water. It’s a tried and true killer of unwanted pathogens, and the right concentration is safe to interact with, and even ingest. Plus, it’s easy to find, inexpensive, and even comes in a few different forms to choose from. A healthy dose of chlorine is projected to remove all trace of active coronaviruses, including COVID-19. In fact, the recommended dose of chlorine in swimming pools kills most bacteria—and in under a minute.
So how can you properly chlorinate your pool to ensure that if the COVID-19 virus is introduced into your water, it meets its match? We’ll turn to the CDC again for this one. The ideal chlorine combination of your pool should be between 1 and 3 parts per million (ppm). It’s essential that you 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 in your eyes, nose, lungs, and throat.
As far as frequency, you can expect to check your chlorine levels every week. It’s best to aim toward that 3 ppm level, just in case your chlorine drops significantly in-between checks. If it’s falling below 1 ppm after just this time, you might have another problem on your hands. Algae blooms, large unfiltered debris, and a high total dissolved solids could all be culprits for a plummeting chlorine level. Better to fix the problem than keep dumping chlorine into your water and hoping it sticks—especially during a pandemic.
Your Pool’s Surfaces: Don’t Skip That Scrub
It might be tempting to stay on top of your sanitizer and consider the job well done. And while sanitizer is essential, it can’t just do the heavy lifting all on its own—besides, as great as chlorine is, it doesn’t know the first thing about prioritizing. When larger debris such as leaves, twigs, and dirt enter your pool, your chlorine will attack it just like it would any bacteria. But sanitizer is designed to neutralize microscopic bacteria, not large pieces of debris. Eventually, that seemingly harmless leaf in your pool will exhaust your chlorine—and that’s the last thing you want during a global pandemic.
Keep your sanitizer in top shape by skimming the surface of your pool, as well as brushing your pool’s walls and floors down to dislodge any debris that might be clinging—including microscopic algae spores that might otherwise bloom. After that, you’ll want to vacuum your pool floors to seal the deal.
You should be skimming your pool water once a day, brushing your pool’s walls and floors every few days, and vacuuming your pool—or just powering up that convenient robotic cleaner—once a week. It’s a good thing we don’t need to clean our pools more often during COVID-19. That would be a big job.
Keep your sanitizer working at its highest capacity by switching to a powerful automatic cleaner that works on its own to keep your pool sparkling clean, like the Blue Torrent MyBot Inground Robotic Cleaner, which works powerfully on its own to keep your walls and floor sparkling clean. As customer David Lain says, “Very pleased. My wife loves it.”
Wipe On, Wipe Off
We already know that touching surfaces isn’t the main way that the CDC reports COVID-19 is spread, but it is still considered a possibility. In some cases, it might make sense to wipe down the furniture, metal rails, and other surfaces around your pool. However, this isn’t a concern if only members of your household have come into contact with these surfaces, and none have been tested or are suspected to be COVID-19 positive. If a member of your household recently has contracted the virus or suspects they might have, or if you’ve had any guests over for a socially-distanced gathering in your backyard and one of them has contracted the virus or suspects they might have, it’s a good idea to clean and disinfect the surfaces with which they came into contact.
When you do wipe down these surfaces, make sure that you have a product that both cleans and disinfects, meaning it was formulated to kill germs. The CDC recommends an EPA-registered cleaner and/or disinfectant, and one that was intended for that particular surface. If you’re cleaning your metal pool rails, make sure that cleaner was intended for metal.
Social Distance Applies to Swimming
I get it. Total isolation can get lonely, depending on the size of your household. And if you have a pool, you’re probably used to having guests over for a barbeque and a swim. Ah, pool parties. Remember those days?
Unfortunately, it can be fairly risky to hold any kind of larger outdoor gathering where there’s swimming. This is because although your sanitizer can prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the water, the virus can still transmit from person to person through the air. As the CDC reports, the virus spreads mainly among people who are in close contact for a prolonged period of time.
Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it’s important to stay at least six feet away from others if possible, even if you—or they—do not have any symptoms.
If only air itself could be effectively chlorinated—we probably wouldn’t be in this situation today. But at least a solo swim in our own pool, which is good for our bodies and our minds, is also safe from the virus. It’s also safe to swim with members of your household—that is, unless they’re sick.
What If a Member of My Household Gets Sick?
If someone in your household is sick, it’s not the time for a family-wide swim. Why not? First of all, note that respiratory droplets can likely pass from person to person above water. If your family member has or thinks they might have COVID-19, they could pass it on to you or anyone else—through the air, not pool water.
Your pool is definitely safe, but it’s no miracle worker. In other words, it’s not going to heal someone of COVID-19. Nobody should swim when they’re fighting a virus—especially in the company of others (Source: CDC).
Looking to extend the swim season as much as you can, so that you can safely get out and have fun? A heat pump is the answer for you—but you’ll want a powerful unit that will save you on your energy bill every month, like the Energy-Saving ComforTemp Pool Heat Pump 95,000 BTU to heat 18,000 Gallons. According to customer Steve, “Simple install and simple set up. Heated my pool from 66 to 82 degrees in about 2 complete days.”
Stay Sanitizing. Stay Safe
Odds are we each have a long list of current worries related to the pandemic—but the safety of our pools doesn’t need to be one of them, and we don’t need to dedicate more time than is usually recommended to keeping them clean. Now that you know your pool is sanitized and cleaned properly, you can rest assured there’s at least one area that is untouched by the pandemic. Enjoy, and take care.