04 April 2018
Strangest pool care questions we've ever been asked
Owning a pool comes with responsibilities, like maintenance and care. From ensuring the right chemical mix and the water levels to cleaning filters and emptying skimmer baskets, there's plenty to remember. You should never hesitate to ask your pool technician for advice. However, every so often engineers get asked questions that take them completely by surprise. In this post, we take a look at the strangest pool care questions we've ever been asked – some are stranger than others!
1. How often do I need to drain and clean the pool?
If you look after your pool properly, it's unlikely you'll ever need to drain and clean your pool. It might seem tempting to “start again” if the water turns cloudy or mould appears, but it can actually cause deeper problems. Draining your pool of water will alter the hydrostatic pressure on the pool. Without the weight of the water, a pool can be forced out of place by high ground water level. It can permanently damage a vinyl liner, which may tear or shrink, especially if it's an older liner.
2. Can I turn the air heating system off?
Unless you have large doors that can be open to let in outside air, you cannot turn your air heating system off. The AHU will keep the air temperature and humidity constant all year round. If you have concerns about energy efficiency or leakage, the solution is usually to ensure a great insulation package.
3. Will the pool be warm by tomorrow?
We hear this question (or a variation of it) fairly regularly. The truth is that it depends on the size of your pool, the efficiency of your insulation and what pool heating system you have in place. Are you using a heat pump alongside your conventional heater? Heat pumps work best when the ambient temperature is above at least 10ºC. The higher it is, the more heat can be repurposed for your pool and the faster you can bring it up to temperature. It may be that after 12 hours your pool is comfortable for swimming, it may be several days.
4. Do we need chlorine in our pool?
Some people are wary of adding chemicals to water. We all know the side effects of chlorine on our bodies, particularly our eyes. However, it is the most popular solution for a very good reason. Chlorine breaks into two component parts when it reacts with water – the first kills bacteria instantly, and the second part remains working in the water, preventing any subsequent build ups. It is this second element that makes chlorine slightly more efficient than its alternatives, like ozonation - although the latter is still very effective too.
If you find that you are experiencing skin irritation or reddened eyes, it is likely that your chlorine level is too high or the pH is incorrect. Consult with a pool engineer to get the level just right. Also, make sure that you wash off any cosmetics or lotions before you get in the pool, as these can react negatively with the chlorine in water.
5. Will it be okay for my dog to swim in the pool?
This is a more complicated question than owners realise. In short, the answer is “probably yes”, but there are caveats. Writing for TripSavvy, Kevin Woodhurst points out:
“The fact is, a dog will introduce fecal matter to the pool pretty regularly, along with insects, body oils, dirt and who knows what else. This is especially true if they are primarily outside dogs. Animals may have small particles of fecal matter stuck in their fur. This fecal matter will contaminate the pool's water, potentially aiding in the transmission of Recreational Water Illnesses (RWI), such as E. Coli, Giardia, Hepatitis A and Cryptosporidium.”
We wouldn’t recommend it, but if you're keen for Fido to enjoy the pool, remember to prepare in advance. Try to keep your dog's hair shorter and well-brushed, and rinse your dog off before and after a swim. You'll need to test the water more often, and check the filters and baskets for hair.
If you haven't built your pool yet and want your dog to be able to use it, make sure there's an easy way for it to get out – it won't be able to use the ladder steps.
6. Does it need all of the pool plant to be working?
We aren't sure why a pool owner would want to disable some of the pool plant. The plant room is the central hub that keeps a pool running properly. The pump keeps the water flowing through the system, and this is usually where the filters will be accessible for backwashing. Many plant rooms also have sampling stations for water testing, to make sure chemical levels are right. If you're looking to save energy, start with your heating solutions and insulation rather than trying to shut down your plant room which could cause all manner of problems!
At London Swimming Pool Company we specialise in swimming pool maintenance, servicing and refurbishment, so if you have a pool that’s in need of regular maintenance or a facelift, contact us for an initial discussion – there’s no substitute for expert advice. If you have an older swimming pool that needs upgrading, we suggest planning your refurbishment for the autumn, so all the work is done and dusted before the next swimming season.