What are some common mistakes Florida homeowners make when preparing swimming pools for spring?
“If I don’t use the pool often, I don’t need to clean it as much.”
Outdoor swimming pools are the norm in Florida. Whether you use it or not, your pool is exposed to debris, bacteria, and other creatures on a daily basis. As dirt and grime accumulate, your pool becomes prone to waterborne germs, creating a hazardous environment for swimmers.
“I only need to brush the pool when it looks dirty.”
Don’t wait until your pool looks dirty to clean it. Brushing is an important step in maintaining your pool; it prevents the growth of algae and other bacteria that are harmful to the pool’s construction and swimmers. Brushing the walls and bottom of your pool at least once a week is recommended to keep it healthy.
“It doesn’t matter what time of day I shock my pool.”
Timing plays a major role in the effectiveness of pool chemicals. You should shock your pool in the evening, typically after dusk.
Why is this? Shock is un-stabilized chlorine. During the day, the sun burns 1ppm (part per million) every hour. For break-point oxidation to occur, the chlorine level must be at least 13 ppm. By shocking your pool in the evening, chlorine is able to do its job without the sun’s interruption.
“My kids know how to swim. I don’t need to install a safety fence around my pool.”
Even if everyone in your family knows how to swim, drowning is still a serious hazard, especially among younger children. Approximately 350 children under the age of 5 drown in pools every year, and most of these accidents occur in backyard pools.
If you own a pool, install a 4-feet high, self-locking fence around the pool to prevent the risk of slip-and-fall accidents.
“It’s okay to keep the water level low when the pool is not in use.”
While you may save a few bucks on your next water bill, this is not a wise idea. Proper water levels play a vital role in the operation of the skimmers and pump. When the water level gets too low, this equipment cannot properly function, and often results in excessive weathering of your pool.
“We can clean up pool toys later…”
While it’s often tempting to leave pool toys and rafts out after a long afternoon by the pool, this is not a safe idea. If you have children, they may be tempted to go and play with toys lying around, which is just an accident waiting to happen…
“It’s just a small crack. Nothing serious…”
Unfortunately small problems often turn into big, pricy problems down the road, not to mention the safety hazards that may arise. Cracks at the top of the pool may cause leaks, damaging your deck and surrounding areas, and broken drains may result in expensive repairs and swimming hazards.
“It’s okay to pour shock directly into the pool.”
When directly added to your swimming pool, shock can bleach out the vinyl pool liner, causing the area to become brittle and eventually leak. To protect your pool liner, walls and floor, pre-dissolve shock in a bucket of water beforehand.