Mike the Poolman

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Pool Care Tips – Secrets & Tips from a Pool Pro, part 2

February 25, 2018

part 1 of this 2 part article can be found here

Pool Service is all about consistency

Every one of our weekly pool service customers’ in Folsom & El Dorado Hills are smart enough to care for their own pool. Do you know why they hire us?
Time.
98% of our customers don’t have time to regularly care for their pools- the other 2% are rich and don’t want to :). Servicing a pool isn’t difficult, its all about being consistent. When you pay for pool service, you pay for peace of mind and reliability. When you first get your pool, you might be great about religiously testing your water every week. But then the novelty starts to wear off, you have business and family trips, you forget one week, and suddenly you find yourself testing sporadically. Then one day you wake up, decide to take a dip, and find that your pool has become unusable. Not only does this massively hinder your afternoon plans, but bad water chemistry will damage you equipment and you end up having to purchase extra chemicals just to get the the pool clean again.

Pools don’t like inconsistency. We provide value by servicing the pool the same day every week and keeping the pools functioning well and saving them money on equipment and new plaster in the long run.

We do more than just add chlorine tablets to your pool each week !

If your Folsom or El Dorado Hills pool service company does nothing more than add tablets to your pool they are cheating you. Anyone can add tablets. We do not have some secret style of adding a tablet so that they work magic. Your local pool store carries many of the same chemicals we use. Chlorine tablets are most effective at long-term chlorine release, hence the reason why we only use them in the summer to provide a chlorine residual throughout the week. But, chlorine tabs have side effects so we only use them when they are a necessity. We use liquid chlorine throughout the year for best results and chlorine tablets in the heat of the summer. Its time to switch pool service companies if all they do is add tablets.

Another tip on pool chemicals: Most “eco” and “green” products don’t work as well as chlorine and, in fact, may leave the water murky or turn the pool green. When in doubt, use liquid chlorine, that’s what we use.

Saltwater pools DON’T take care of themselves

Saltwater pools… ask your pool tech if he has one on his pool! Somehow the rumor got started that saltwater pools take care of themselves. This is false. You still have to add acid to keep the pH balanced. Just because it seems natural like the ocean — it’s not. In fact, saltwater pools have 10% the salt of the ocean, so they’re more like a tear drop than a good salt soak. While you may think that since salt is natural and it’s environmentally friendly — it’s not. The salt breaks down into various components including hyrdrochloric acid and chlorine gas. “Freshwater” traditional pools really don’t have that much chlorine (0-8 parts per million). If you drain regular balanced pool water into your yard, it usually wont harm anything. With saltwater, you have to get a truck to suck the water out. Draining it to your yard affects the ecosystem it flows to- no one talks about it but it does.

Saltwater also rusts metal conduit and heaters on your equipment pad. If you ever have a rebar corrosion issue you will find that the saltwater drastically accelerates the rust process. Saltwater pools aren’t bad — you should just know the facts and how to properly maintain one before you invest in them. Salt pools DO NOT make your pool easier to maintain. In fact, they complicate things. Most pool techs I know prefer not to have them- they fail at worst time, they complicate water chemistry and they increase corrosion. Do I have one? Nope.

* Dump and Run… Splash and Dash…

Working in the rain is as much a part of pool service as working in the scorching hot summer- we don’t enjoy it but we do it anyway because it comes with the satisfying experience of working outdoors. MANY pool service companies just skip the pool on cold, rainy days but quality pool service companies still visit and perform a limited service to make sure things are running smoothly. Pool tech’s call it “Dump and Run” or “Splash and Dash”. We show up, add chemicals without testing, empty the skimmer basket (if it’s full) and live for better weather next week. Adding chemicals without testing, especially when we already have an excellent understanding of what the pool needs– (see part 1 of this two part article) isn’t doomsday for your swimming pool- especially in the winter when the water is 48 degrees. And, it’s difficult to get accurate test results when rainwater is diluting our test vial! But, what happens when you’re on the Wednesday route and it rains four Wednesdays in a row? That’s a different story. Unfortunately when it rains on the same day week after week we have no choice but to suck it up and test the water the best we can and adjust as test results dictate. We can get by for a week, maybe even two but the water has to be tested regularly to keep it properly balanced to protect equipment, plaster and bathers.

Reliable Pool Service Companies are harder and harder to come by

Have you called a contractor, roofer, plumber, etc. lately? Have you noticed how difficult is to hire anyone to work on your home?  There is a SERIOUS labor shortage across the United States and certainly in our expanding area. Our high schools push graduates towards college and encourage few to become tradesmen. While I think its great that so many people are going to college, the trades are suffering and as a result, consumers struggle to hire contractors to work on their homes and swimming pools. The pool service industry is greatly effected by the labor shortage. We have more and more techs retiring but few young people entering our industry. The result is less supply and more demand for weekly pool service and repair. Every pool service company I’ve spoken to in California is struggling to find good help (don’t even get me started on the Millennials…!) As a result, dependable employees are difficult and expensive to find. Reliable and honest pool care companies are in demand and harder and harder to come by!

What’s my point?
If you find a good pool service, keep them! Consumers regularly share with me that finding another quality service (us!) was an adventure (and are you really going to eat crow and call the service you fired when you cant find anyone better?)

The Bottom Line

I hope I’ve provided some insight by sharing my tips and industry secrets about pool maintenance. There are many myths about managing a swimming pool but a basic swimming pool can be cared for by you the homeowner if you are unfailingly consistent. There’s a lot to it but if you’re willing to take the time to learn water chemistry and how pool equipment functions you can care for you little paradise by yourself.

Sincerely,
Mike the Poolman

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