Swimming pools add value to and increase the fun factor of your home exponentially. It's no secret that they also require a lot of maintenance in order to be functional and safe. If you're curious what your pool would experience in a year of being neglected and misused, read on. It may just give you a new found appreciation for everything your pool goes through, and motivate you to better care for it.
A neglected pool makes its springtime debut with mold, mildew, rot, and leaks. As the weather warms, bacteria proliferate, and can cause quite a stench, especially if you neglected to cover the pool properly. Badly balanced pool water allows all sorts of awful things to grow in your pool, and during the winter you won't even realize it's happening. If you leave it like that, you're not only risking water contamination, but also staining, damaged components, and serious clogs, all of which require the attention of a professional.
Ah, summer. A time of late nights, parties with friends and... algae blooms? Algae can grow in residential swimming pools. It fares best in stagnant, warm water, and that's just what your unattended, lonely old pool provides. Algae itself is not usually toxic, but the slime it creates can be a slip hazard, and it's just plain disgusting to dive into a slimy pool.
Unlike bacteria, algae are multicellular aquatic plants. They reproduce with spores, like mold, and can be introduced at any time with wind or even clinging unseen to a guest's skin. If you don't want to have to call a repairman to come and spray your pool with powerful chemicals to kill the algae, you have to get ahead of the game, and keep your pool water well balanced at all times. If you give algae an inch it will take a mile.
Everyone loves autumn. The risks of algae are subsiding, and you're using your pool less, so there's less likely to be E. coli floating around in it. Early autumn is one of the safest times for pools, but by November the risk is climbing again. Water is one of the only substances known to man that increases its volume as it freezes. Your pool contains too much water to freeze all at once, but the pipes are vulnerable. It is important not to wait until too late in the year to finish closing your pool. Which brings this year's journey to...
During winter, your pool, even if it's empty, is enduring microscopic changes in its size due to the expansion and contraction processes that happen with temperature changes. Because the materials used to make pools are not usually very malleable, those microscopic changes in size inevitably cause cracks.
The freeze-thaw process that erodes entire mountains gets to work, and eventually, without proper maintenance, the pool is basically a huge, expensive leech field for your yard. Not to mention all the damage that can be done to the components by cold weather negligence.
If you want to do your pool a favor, winterize it. Pick a date a couple of weeks before the expected first freeze of the season, and follow these steps.
- Make sure your water chemistry is totally balanced.
- Drain enough of the water from the pool to reduce the water level below the mouths of the skimmers. The mechanisms in those skimmers are delicate, and easily damaged by freezing water.
- Remove the water from your pool's plumbing to prevent the pipes from bursting.
Neglect your pool at your own risk. A great pool is an asset, but a run down pool that doesn't hold water is a liability, both financially and legally. Don't take those chances; take good care of your pool! Continue for more information.