No school? Time to get in the pool! But there are few maintenance techniques and developments in the pool industry (dare we say – “smart pools”) that can help you take better care of your backyard oasis.
That’s why Host (and vipHomeLink Founder and CEO) Alfred Bentley recently welcomed Jeremy Johnson from America’s Swimming Pool Company of the Greater Charleston Area to the vipHome Podcast. Read on to find out what you need to know to keep your pool (and divers) healthy all season long.
#1 – You’re probably missing a fifth chemical in your pool treatment
“Part of the training America’s Swimming Pool Company technicians focuses on a fifth and often neglected chemical that is very important,” says Jeremy, owner of the Charleston, South Carolina franchise. “That’s a cyanuric acid or stabilizer.”
Cyanuric acid acts like a sunblock for your chlorine. On a hot day, the sun beats down upon a pool and burns off the chlorine. Adding cyanuric acid to your pool chemicals helps the water to maintain a safe, sanitizing chlorine level.
“There are some products in the market that call themselves chlorine blankets or sun blankets,” says Jeremy,” but basically it’s a sunblock for your chlorine. It prevents the chlorine from gassing off into the atmosphere quickly.”
#2 – Smart pools are becoming a thing
New technology helps homeowners and pool technicians to keep a pool sanitized.
Constant chemical feed monitors – which has two probes, a PH probe and an ORP probe – works through automation. The probes tell the system the pool water needs more acid or if the salt cell needs to be turned on to produce more chlorine.
“Innovations such as this have made the swimming pool industry so much easier for the consumer and honestly, for us as well,” says Jeremy. “Instead of adding those chemicals directly to the pool, we’re adding them to a holding cell or a barrel. Then this system is responsible for monitoring and delivering the proper dosing of chemicals.”
#3 – Get salty about your pools (in a good way!)
Saltwater pools have become the go-to swimming experience. They are much more pleasant, and the chlorine is a byproduct of salt systems.
The salt-water molecule runs through a low-voltage cell which separates the sodium from the chloride molecule. When the chlorine is added to the pool, it’s rendered neutral and rejoins with the available sodium molecule in the pool to recycle itself.
“It’s by far the best innovation,” says Jeremy. “Not only does it feel better, but it’s a more constant and reliable source of chlorination and sanitation.”
This system can also help to extend the life of the pool – whether it be gunite, fiberglass, or a lined pool.
Though prices vary, the average cost of a saltwater conversion is between $1,500 and $2,500.
#4 – You might need a new speed pump
The single speed pumps are being phased out, and new variable speed pumps will be the new norm. Though homeowners may need to install a new pump, this upgrade will most likely save money and help conserve energy.
“Your standard single speed pump runs at 3,450 RPM,” says Jeremy, “but you can program a variable speed pump to run at different speeds throughout the day.”
Jeremy explains that at eight o’clock in the morning, a variable speed pump may be set on at 3,450 RPM. This turns the water over as fast as possible and recirculates the chemicals since the water’s been sitting stagnant all night long. However, for the next eight hours, the pump can continue to run but not at top speed. (These pumps can run as low as 600 RPMs).
“I explain it to homeowners as, ‘When you’re on a long drive, it’d be great to just put the gas pedal down to the floor and get there at 120 miles per hour. Not realistic. Why should our pool pumps be doing the same thing all day long?'”
Homeowners can find energy calculators on the major manufacturers’ websites where they can see what the energy consumption savings would be by switching to a variable speed pump. Most times, this pump will save money on energy costs and pay for themselves in about 12 months.
#5 – You might not have to close your pool
“It really depends on the market you’re in,” says Jeremy. “Here in South Carolina, we don’t recommend closing pools. Of the 350-plus stops we make each week, I can count on one hand how many of our customers actually cover their pools. They don’t winterize them, either.”
Jeremy, a Pennsylvania native, remembers the Memorial Day Weekend openings and Labor Day Weekend closings, but there are still maintenance tasks to do seasonally no matter where you live. A homeowner must inspect the pool equipment, check for any visible leaks with the pump, filter, salt cell, or chlorinator. They should also see if all the gaskets are still present and if not, replace them.
“It’s extremely important from a seasonal perspective that you’re monitoring this very closely at the beginning of the season,” says Jeremy. “The last thing you want is to fight your pool all summer long because you’re adding chemicals and there’s a leaking seal. Or your pump isn’t running as efficiently or for as long as it should.”
Homeowners should also inspect the filter, making sure they are in good shape and cleaned at least twice a year.
“Proper maintenance is so key,” says Jeremy.
Speaking of which…
#6 – You should know your pool
“The more information and the more comfortable you are with your pool – the better,” says Jeremey. “Even our maintenance customers, they should know how a pool runs. When it’s not running that way, they know there’s a problem, and they can contact us.”
While some customers take a more “hands-off” approach, homeowners who want to be proactive with their pool maintenance and improvement can clean the filter, check chemicals, etc.
America’s Swimming Pool Company offers free pool inspections as part of their pool maintenance service. Their technicians ask very specific questions, like the last time a filter was changed or a cartridge cleaned. From there, the technician helps customers to take the best course of action for their pool maintenance.
Keep track of your pool maintenance
When taking care of a pool, you’ll need a place to record your pool information and completed maintenance tasks. That’s where vipHomeLink can help. Our home management app gives your pool (and house) a home and provides you with additional swimming pool maintenance tips in our vipTIPS. The app will also send you personalized reminders when you need to complete pool and home maintenance tasks, so you can stay safe this summer – and all year long.
Subscribe today with a monthly or annual membership.
America’s Swimming Pools Company go above and beyond to help their clients enjoy pleasant pool experiences. Check out all the pool services they offer homeowners, including pool cleaning, repairs, and more!