Pool maintenance

Local business teaches DIY enthusiasts how to save on pool maintenance – South Florida Sun Sentinel

A poorly maintained pool can lead to higher electricity bills, discomfort for bathers (red eyes, itchy skin) and even green hair. Yes, green hair.

Labor Day traditionally marks the end of the summer swimming season in many places, but in South and Central Florida, snorkeling, cannonballs, and sunbathing on floating loungers in swimming pools. the backyard and neighborhood can be an activity most of the year.

But if you have a swimming pool, there are tips you need to know to save money and time on maintenance, especially during the colder fall and winter months. Some pool service companies even offer classes and training to help DIY enthusiasts go it alone.

Conversely, a poorly maintained swimming pool can lead to higher electricity bills, discomfort for bathers (red eyes, irritated skin) or even green hair. Yes, green hair.

“It will certainly be cheaper for a consumer to take care of the pool themselves than to hire someone,” said Brian Wells, Orlando-based vice president and spokesperson for Leslie’s Swimming Pool Supplies, the one of the state’s largest retailers. “This is true wherever you are, even in a competitive area like Florida.”

Wells says it’s not uncommon for consumers to pay between $ 80 and $ 120 a month to hire someone to take care of a swimming pool. This is good if you can afford it, because peace of mind comes with such a service. But rolling up your sleeves, getting the job done, and buying your own chemicals can cost less than $ 34 a month on average.

Keep in mind that pool costs depend on the size of the pool: a general rule of thumb is that an owner of a 20,000 gallon pool can pay up to twice the amount someone with a pool. pool half that size.

Wells also says prevention is the best medicine for pool maintenance, especially in South and Central Florida, where heat, rain, and heavy pool use can quickly lead to problems – and higher bills.

Here’s a user-friendly guide to keeping your water sparkling and reducing your costs, all year round.

Keep the water clean: Regularly ensuring that it is sanitized and well balanced (chemically speaking) will reduce maintenance bills. “If something’s wrong with the water balance, fix it fast,” Wells said. “The cleaner your pools, the fewer problems you’ll have, and the fewer problems you’ll have, the more money you’ll save.” Clean up leaves and debris; do not allow cut grass, which may contain fertilizer and other contaminants, to enter the pool; and clean the filters and the skimmer at least once a week.

Test the water often: Do this weekly during the summer months, every few weeks in the winter when temperatures drop and pool usage is less. You can use test strips available at any pool store or have them tested at your local store, which will most likely provide the service for free. The strips will let you know if your chlorine, PH, phosphate and other chemicals are in balance. Tip: Too many metals in your water, such as copper, can lead to green hair or nails.

Use pumps correctly: Think of your pool pump as the heart that keeps the system flowing, clear and smooth. “Not using the pump enough can cause problems and using it too much will increase your electric bill,” Well said. Run the pump for 8-10 hours a day in summer and about 4-6 hours in winter.

Invest in an automatic cleaner: Think of them as underwater vacuums that work on their own to remove leaves, small branches, and other debris while you do other things. There are generally two types, random and scheduled. The former is vacuumed in circles and can eventually reach most areas in a day; Electronic versions are programmed that keep track of where it’s vacuumed, hitting areas in more efficient patterns and can clean an entire pool in a matter of hours. Expect to pay between $ 250 and $ 1,000 for a quality cleanser.

Brush regularly: Algae can build up quickly, especially when the water is unbalanced or contaminants invade including rain, dirt and runoff from swimmers with sunscreen or even shampoo residue from their bodies. . To keep algae and other residue away, brush your sweater twice a week while your pump is running.

Take a class: Many pool stores provide consumers with poolside service; a pool cleaning expert can tour your home and show you how all pumps, piping and valves work, make recommendations on regular maintenance based on the size, condition and location of your pool. Expect to pay around $ 80 to $ 85 for an hour of education.

For example, Leslie’s school pool service sends a technician to your home to show you how to use all of your equipment, including valves, timers, pumps, filters, cleaners, chlorinators, and water coolers. heater. The Pinch A Penny chain offers a similar service. Check with your local pool store for other possible options.

“Taking care of your pool yourself can be intimidating at first,” Wells said. “But once you have the right person to show you how to do it, you’ll start to save money and learn to spend very little time each week doing it.”

[email protected], or 954-356-4219, or 561-243-6600, ext. 4219. To see more of Daniel Vasquez’s columns, visit SunSentinel.com/vasquez.

Check out Daniel Vasquez’s Consumer Talk blog for tips on how to spend your money wisely, use technology to make your life easier, and keep your family safe and healthy at SunSentinel.com/consumerblog.