Pool Tips From Your Home Inspector

It’s warming up and my kids are already getting in the pool.

If you have a pool here are some simple pool tips that I hope will help you maintain your pool and keep your family happy and safe.

ROUTINE SWIMMING POOL MAINTENANCE:

TWICE A WEEK:
1. Check and maintain your Pool Chemicals Such as keep your ph. levels at 7.4 – 7.6.
2. Test and maintain the free available chlorine level at 1.0 – 3.0 ppm.
3. Empty the skimmer baskets and clean tile or pool water at water line with Pool Surface Cleaner, and skim leaves, insects and other floating debris from the pool surface.

ONCE A WEEK:
1. Shock the pool by adding one bag of Shock per 10,000 gallons. Additional shock may be needed after a rain storm, heavy bather load, or exceptionally hot weather.
2. Add a maintenance dose of Algae Preventative or to prevent algae growth.
3. Brush walls and use a pool vacuum to clean floors.

MONTHLY:
Take a water sample to your professional Water Testing Service or take a sample to your local pool supply store for a complete Swimming Pool Chemicals analysis. (Most swimming pool supply companies will do this for free)

MID-SEASON:
Clean your filter with Filter Cleaner Degreaser to remove any oils and grease that may have accumulated on your filter.
After using a Flock or Metal Remover wait 24 to 36 hrs. then use your Pool Vacuum to clean pool floor before swimming.
On Rainy or Windy Days Never Test your Pool Water using test Strips, or any test kit.

TEST THE WATER REGULARLY

The best time for testing your swimming pool water is at dusk. Remember if you are using test strips, when you open the container and get your strip do not dripped any water in the container or it will contaminate. Selects an area of the pool where there is no water coming back to the pool from the filter. You should dip the strip at elbow depth, wait 30 seconds and then compare the colors. If you’re using reagent type of a test kit selects a suitable area in the pool, and dip the tester elbow depth, put in the proper amount of drops and compare to the chart.

The next steps are very important to pay attention to. First wait at least four hours after swimmers have left the pool to perform your test. Try to test the water at least four times a week, you should wait at least 8 to 12 hours after a rain storm or a windstorm. Usually weekends are not a good time as your neighbors are mowing the lawn, fertilizing or other summer activities in which the contents of could get in your pool and affect the reading.
Should you get a pH reading of normal for three weeks or more and then suddenly you’re pH reading is either low are high, take no action until you can check it again in 24 hours. If you’re getting the same reading 24 hours later then make your adjustments. Remember small adjustments do not overdo it. Make your adjustments and test in six hours, and then repeat if necessary. Do not test immediately after putting chemicals in your pool, you should wait at least six to eight hours before testing.

Always keep safety in mind when installing chemicals, never put chemicals in all at the same time. Chemicals should be installed four to six hours apart. Never put calcium hydrochloride in a chlorinator especially with other chemicals such as Tricor or other types of chlorine tablets, this could cause an explosion. Never put chlorine shock in a skimmer as this will damage the internal parts of your filter.

It is best to shock your pool late on Sunday as it is most likely nobody will be swimming for at least 24 hours which is the recommended time to swim after shocking. Shocking your pool should only be done at dusk, this will give the shock time to take affect before the sun comes out. Install any algae inhibitors at least four hours before shocking this will give you the greatest affect.

LOOK FOR LEAKS

▪ Loose tiles or cracks in the pool deck may be an indication of a leaking pool.
▪ Cracks and gaps in the bond beam may be an indication that your pool is leaking. If you notice water-saturated soils in the area around the pool, pool pumps or plumbing, your pool may be leaking.
▪ If you see bubbles in the return water when the pool’s pump is running, it’s likely there’s a leak in the suction side of the filtration system.

If you have leaks contact you pool professional.

FILTERS
Cartridge Filters – When cleaning cartridge filters, soak them in a cleaning solution for 24 hours, then hose them off before reinstalling.

D.E. Filters should be disassembled and cleaned at least once per season.

Sand Filters – Is your sand filter 3-5 years old? If so, ask your pool professional if it’s time to replace the sand. If your filter pressure gauge indicates that pressure has dropped below the normal reading for a clean filter, check to see if you have a clogged pump or skimmer basket.

GASKETS, O-RINGS, & RUBBER FITTINGS
If your pool has a deck-mounted junction box, check the condition of the gaskets regularly–and replace as needed–to make sure the box cannot be penetrated by water.
When closing your pool for the season, coat all accessible o-rings, rubber fittings, and gaskets with a silicone O-ring lube to keep them from drying out.

HEATERS
To maintain your heater’s heating efficiency, follow a regular program of preventive maintenance, including annual inspection and de-liming of the heat exchanger when necessary.

LIGHTING
Check the lights for proper operation. Don’t forget to check the GFCI for the underwater pool light to make sure it is functioning properly

PUMPS
Turn the pool pump off before operating the multiport valve. If your pump starts running louder or making unusual noises, shut it off and contact your pool professional. If your pump motor hums but will not start, turn off the power and check to see if the impeller is clogged with debris.
Make a habit of checking and emptying skimmer and pump baskets regularly.

SKIMMERS
To prevent your skimmer basket from tipping over when the pump switches on or off, place a small weight or rock in the bottom (the weight must be larger than the suction pipe below the basket). Check to make sure the skimmer weir is in place and is moving freely. Make a habit of checking and emptying skimmer and pump baskets regularly.

POOL  SAFETY

Install barriers to make the pool or spa area safer and delay entry of unsupervised children. Fences should be at least four feet high with self-closing, self-latching gates, which are kept in good working order. Power safety covers or doors equipped with an alarm system or self-closing and self-latching devices are other effective safety features. While these measures do not replace supervision, they can prevent or detect access by young children to the pool. Use these barriers in “layers,” with each layer adding to the safety of the pool.

Don’t leave toys in the water: Toys could lure a child back when a parent is not present.

Enroll in a water safety course with your child: Your decision to provide your child with an early aquatic experience is a gift that will have infinite rewards.

Watch the weather: Know local weather conditions and prepare for electrical storms. Because water conducts electricity, stop swimming as soon as you see or hear a storm.

I hope these tips are helpful for you and I hope you have a safe and happy summer, If you have any questions about your pool or any other component of your home considering hiring a professional home inspector to check things out and provide you with recommendations for maintenance or repair.

For more information about Arizona home inspections or our other services please visit the Phoenix Home Inspection Web site

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