This is an excellent article by a friend of mine. We have built pools with no submerged suction for over a decade all because of a conversation I had with this man back in 2004 or so.....
Easy spring swimming pool start up can be achieved by using a yearly maintenance and inspection checklist. This checklist should systematically include areas in and around the pool and items used for the pool during the season. Having an early “to do” list will allow you to be enjoying your pool instead of working on it.
Most pool environments not only include the pool itself but the surrounding areas – also referred to as the poolscape. The deck and patio areas need to be inspected carefully for any repairs and focused cleaning. An early warm spring day is perfect for pressure washing and cleaning the walkway/patio areas and patio furniture. If there is an outdoor kitchen, now is the time to be sure it is in good working order. An early spring dinner prepared outside by the pool, even if it is too cold to swim, can be a memorable experience. This is a good time to add on that fire pit or the outside shower you have been wanting. Be sure to check your fence gates to ensure they are self-closing and latch securely.
De-winterize your pool equipment once the threat of freezing has passed to confirm that all your circulation equipment is working properly. The cover can remain on the pool until you are ready to swim. However, if you need your equipment serviced you can schedule a repair before the spring rush, which could delay a successful and prompt opening. Consider upgrading your pool equipment, especially if it is aging to an energy-efficient system. Many states offer rebates on newer equipment in addition to the money you save over time which can actually pay for the upgrade. Your pool professional can help consult on what your needs are and proper sizing of equipment.
At this time, take an inventory of your cleaning equipment and chemical supply. Brushes, hoses and nets left outside in the sunlight become brittle and may need to be replaced. Safety pool alarms need to have their batteries changed. If your winter pool cover was damaged, have a plan to either replace or repair it when you remove it. Safety covers that need repair will need the hardware removed before sending in for repair, and it’s much easier to remove the hardware now. Make a list of your chemical supplies and note your current inventory. This will be handy when you visit your local pool supply store. You can also mark each container with the level of product and take pictures to show your pool professional.
Give the filter a thorough cleaning per manufacturer recommendations. If you have a chlorine generator, be sure to clean and inspect the cell. The colder water may give error codes but these should subside as the water warms. Consult your owner’s manual to see what temperature your unit works properly at.
Clean the bathtub ring at the water edge, inside the skimmer throats and in the basket area. Brush under ladder steps and behind ladders. A thorough brushing of the pool will help lift any bio-film that may have developed during the winter. The last item to check off is the pool water quality. Have your pool water professionally checked so that you have the peace of mind that the water is safely sanitized for swimmers and properly balanced to protect your investment and give you many hours of enjoyment.
Once you’ve checked off all the cleaning, repairs and supply restocking, the only step you have left is to jump in and have fun!
Wendy Purser has more than 40 years of experience in the pool and spa industry. She holds an associate degree in Aquatic Engineering Technology, is a licensed NC Swimming Pool Contractor, NSPF Certified Instructor and APSP- Certified Building Professional
Hot Tub Demands More Than Pool
Imagine a sixteen by thirty two foot, home residential swimming pool with a family of four and their five friends in the pool of approximately twenty thousand gallons. Then imagine them all getting out and entering a five hundred gallon hot tub with heated water. You have the same amount of people and wastes in forty times less the amount of water.
When using a hot tub there are guidelines that should be observed to protect your health and safety. Due to the nature of the high temperature of the water, small area of vessel, lesser depth and the increased velocity of water and air the spa is much more demanding.
Water chemistry and sanitizer levels are more easily changed with the smaller volume of water in relation to the bodies entering the spa water. Sanitizers not only dissipate quicker in the warmer water but also have a larger demand due to the sweat and urine introduced. The pH can change with the introduction of air and bodies as well. This pH change can also have an effect on the rate of sanitizing kill time. A swimming pool generally requires lower sanitizer levels as sanitizer can be replaced in the normal turnover cycle. Also, the dilution of wastes in the larger amount of water along with cooler temperatures does not allow bacteria growth as quickly as a heated spa. However, if the pool is heated you will see an increase in the demand of sanitizer as well.
Filtration is a crucial part in water clarity and removal of wastes in both the spa and pool. Spas require a turnover of approximately once every thirty minutes as opposed to a commercial pool of one turnover every four hours. To accomplish the need for better filtration it is recommended to use a cartridge filter on a spa. Many commercial swimming pools use sand filters although depending on the facility this is becoming a thing of the past due to energy concerns and the quest for better water clarity. The cartridge filter allows a finer micron to be filtered out with one turnover. Also the square footage on a cartridge filter is much greater than a sand filter can offer to accommodate the increase in dirt removal. Even with the offering of glass media which would prevent the clay formation of sand in hot water, the square footage and large micron removal makes a sand filter unsuitable for spas.
Spas can build total dissolved solids quicker than a swimming pool. A spa should be drained and thoroughly cleaned often. This includes the filter to be chemically cleaned. Total dissolved solids can inhibit the way sanitizers work in the spa and also cause cloudy water. Swimming pools are rarely drained and can be diluted to help compensate for an increase of dissolved solids. Also a swimming pool can change the type of sanitizer being used to slow down the increase of solids.
Both swimming pools and hot tubs alike have the same need for submerged suction safety. Neither should be allowed to operate with a drain cover missing or broken. Inspection for entrapment is equally important.
With the hot water of the spa it is also important that the user’s health be taken into account. People with heart problem history, users of prescription drugs and people with high blood pressure need to consult with their doctor before using. It is not recommended for pregnant women or children to use hot water spas. Spas can be highly therapeutic for others. However, swimming is recommended for all people. It is one of the best forms of exercise and enjoyment for a wide range of people.