As you enjoy the warmest months of the year in your clean backyard pools, remember to spread the word about Pool Scouts to your fellow pool owners!
Owning a pool is a glorious thing, particularly as our recreational opportunities outside of the home have been limited this year. One path to pool ownership is having a pool built custom to your preferences in your very own back yard, and there are many nice perks to that level of customization, but it requires significant time and resources and can be a disruptive process. A more common path to pool ownership comes by way of purchasing a house with an existing pool. This option allows more immediate pay off but involves a different set of risks and considerations to reach your desired goal of worry-free fun in the sun.
When you are buying a pool, there are a several considerations to be made around how much you want to spend, what type of pool you want, etc. When buying a house that already has a pool, the considerations are slightly different. Whether you are on the hunt for a house with a pool or perhaps a real estate professional looking to advise your clients on making smart decisions in their search, below are some recommendations for what to consider with each pool you see.
5 Key Tips For Buying a House With a Pool:
1. Make sure the pool is open and operational.
Seeing that the pool has been used recently, or appears ready for use, is a positive It will also allow more visibility into any obvious signs of damage in the structure or general components. If you arrive at a house where the pool is covered or it is evident it hasn’t been used recently, there is much more risk of encountering issues later (that may be hidden), and it may be a sign that it was not winterized or closed properly.
2. Get a pool inspection by a professional pool company before you make a purchase.
It is very important to use a professional pool company and not a general home inspector for the pool inspection, as general home inspectors may not be qualified to provide the detailed inspection you need. Similarly, if the inspection reveals any issues, make sure repairs are done by a licensed professional so you know they will be up to your county or state code. Additionally, most manufacturers warranties are void if service and repair work is not done by a professional.
3. Pay attention to the size, shape and design of the pool
It’s important to pay attention to these details to ensure it fits with how you will use the pool, and for consideration in future pool maintenance. For example, are you planning to use the pool simply for recreation or do you need a straight format for laps? How many people do you expect to be using the pool at any given time? Is it an above ground pool or in ground pool (tip: above ground will require more maintenance)? Do you prefer saltwater or chlorine? When making this type of investment, you want to make sure you get it right!
4. Put safety first.
Ensuring the pool is safe and up to code is vital. Just because the pool already exists, doesn’t mean it’s up to code with all the necessary state or local regulations or that it’s been taken care of properly. Getting a professional pool inspection is the first step in verifying things (per #2). Also look out for additions like diving boards or water slides, which must meet certain requirements to be up to local code. These are often added later and can have implications on both safety and insurance. If there is not an existing fence or barrier around the pool, you will want to add one to ensure no kids (yours or neighbors) access the pool unsupervised.
5. Seek professional advice or help for ongoing pool care. As a new pool owner, there are a few reasons not to try tackling pool care on your own.
First and foremost, it’s just much more fun to enjoy the fun aspects of pool ownership – the cannonballs, the sun and the splashing – without the hassles. Secondly, if you don’t have professional training and education on pool care, mistakes can be costly; so while you think you’re saving money in the short term, you could end up costing yourself even more. Working with a professional pool cleaning service company provides access to highly educated resources and keeps you up to date with the latest laws, pool care technology and tips to save you money along the way. Your realtor, neighbors or a quick online search can likely provide some great referrals for care; and of course if there’s a Pool Scouts location in your area, we would love to be your go-to resource for professional pool care and maintenance.
Becoming a pool owner is such a great experience, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially if you’re purchasing a new home and simultaneously becoming a first time pool owner. The more you know going into pool ownership, the safer and happier your family will be enjoying your new pool. While the excitement and busyness that comes with purchasing a new home can easily overshadow the importance of pool education and safety, we hope these tips help arm you to set yourself up for success and for a future filled with fun in the sun! If you have additional questions about pool education or care, please feel free to contact Pool Scouts for professional help.
As the old adage goes, when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go! And for those of us who are old enough to remember Caddyshack, we know the impact that “doody” can have on your pool and pool goers – cue the screaming and yelling children (and moms) at the country club pool.
But even when talking about residential pools, pool owners need to be aware of how to properly sanitize their own pools. As any parent who has taken their toddler swimming will tell you, you are holding your breath the entire time, hoping they don’t get the urge to go! But as we know, it can happen.
Pool Is Now Closed
So, what do you do? First, don’t panic, but do get everyone out of the pool! The pool is now closed. Follow the steps below to get your pool sanitized and swim-ready as quickly as possible:
- Close the pool to swimmers until the disinfection process is completed.
- Remove as much fecal matter as possible. Scoop with net. By all means, DO NOT VACUUM.
- Clean and disinfect the item used to remove the fecal matter by leaving it in the pool while you sanitize the water.
- Maintain proper pH of 7.5 or less.
- Solid Poop: A 15,000 gallon pool will require roughly 1/2 gallon liquid chlorine or 9oz Granular Shock (Calcium Hypochlorite). Must maintain 3.0 ppm free chlorine for minimum 19 minutes.
- Diarrhea Exposure: A 15,000 gallon pool will require roughly 3 gallons liquid chlorine or 4 lbs. Granular Shock (Calcium Hypochlorite). Must maintain 20.0 ppm free chlorine for minimum 28 hours. Test water frequently and add more of above if needed during this period.
- Confirm filtration system is operating during the process. Test and maintain proper pH and Chlorine Levels.
- Re-open the pool for swimmers once Chlorine and pH are back to normal operating levels. Typically 1-2 hours.
Things to Keep On Hand
Here are a few items to have on hand in case you’re ever faced with a stinky situation:
- Up to date test kit
- Shock (Calcium Hypochlorite) 65% or higher from reputable pool store
- Pool net to remove fecal matter
By all means, a fecal pool accident is not the most pleasant part of being a pool owner, but is it a reality! Not to worry. If you have any questions or find yourself dealing with the “doody” and not sure what to do, be sure to call your local Pool Scouts for help! We’re not afraid of a little dirty work. Check out more tips from a Pool Scouts rep here.
Tips To Keep You Relaxed During Hurricane SeasonEvery fall in conjunction with the falling leaves comes hurricane season and it can be stressful. In Virginia Beach (where the Pool Scouts headquarters is located) we shut down schools in anticipation of an impending storm that never hit, literally, not one drop of rain! But the threat is real and there is more you can do, beyond mixing up a Hurricane Cocktail, to sleep with ease this time of year. And while we would rather talk about the ingredients of the season’s namesake cocktail (rum, lemon juice and passion fruit syrup in case you were wondering) we are tackling more important topics that involve hurricanes and our swimming pools. You’ve invested in your home and a great outdoor space to entertain so how do you protect it from natural disasters?
Five Key Things To Do Before The Storm
- Do not drain the pool. Hydrostatic pressure under your pool can cause havoc during a storm. It is best to allow the pool to overflow as opposed to potentially allowing the pool to pop. If the pool is plumbed with an auto-drain, ensure it is not clogged. Also if the pool has an auto-fill or water leveler, please turn that off pre-storm.
- Add super chlorinate. Add extra shock to help the pool fight any pollutants that might contaminate the water. Remember to not swim for 24 hours after the shock treatment.
- Secure loose items around the pool area. These can become projectiles during the wind portion of any storm and cause further damage to the pool surface or surrounding area. Strap down any items too large for storage. Also remember to store any chemicals used in your pool care safely, high and dry.
- Turn the power off. Be sure to turn off power at the electrical panel leading to pool equipment and lighting. No need to risk the mix of water and electricity during the storm. The equipment is more likely to fail if operating in saturated conditions and potential surges in the power grid could cause damage that would be costly.
- Document with pictures and video the pre-storm swimming pool and equipment area. This will help with any potential insurance claims. You will also now have a game plan to follow for future storm preparedness.
Preparing Beyond the Pool AreaBesides the care of your swimming pool, there are other safety measures to consider during the event of a hurricane or other tropical storm. The following resources will help keep you, your family, and your home safe ahead of the storm.
- The National Hurricane Center of the National Weather Service has helpful tips for ensuring preparedness for a hurricane’s arrival.
- The American Red Cross has great information on disaster alerts and preparation.
- Ready.gov has information on hurricane preparation, as well as information on preparing for other natural disasters.
- The National Weather Service is one of the best resources to get up-to-date information on hurricanes that are headed your way and those which are still forming.
Post Storm Assessment and Clean Up
Remove all debris from the house, patio, and swimming pool. Be sure to dispose with the local standards. Often there could be delays in trash removal from the property. Plan ahead for weeks of disposal.
Inspect the pool surface, patio, plumbing, and equipment. Any cracks should be inspected before operating equipment. Try to reach out to your pool technician for any repairs needed. Remember these techs generally are your neighbors and are experiencing the same potential hardships you are.
Test water chemistry and plan on testing frequently over the next few weeks. Adjust the chemistry after step 4. If unable to run equipment, at least treat the water with liquid chlorine “bleach” or chlorine tablets in a floater. This will help keep the water from becoming stagnant and infested with bugs. Run filter equipment and keep filter clean as it will most likely capture debris quickly. Watch and listen to your equipment to ensure all components have returned to their normal operation.
Along with some of these basic tips, be sure to reach out to your local Pool Scouts or other pool service provider, so they can help get your pool back on track. Pool Scouts can assess any damage, remove debris and get your pool swim ready in no time! Click here to find a location near you.
Is your pool still stuck with the basic equipment package? Chances are, your pool builder most likely installed what was best for them and not for you. Innovations in technology have taken leaps and bounds in the pool industry over the past few years, everything from coordinated lighting to sophisticated water features. We’ve compiled a list of five simple upgrades to enhance your swimming pool experience. Check it out!
1. Automatic Robotic CleanerAfter five years, most cleaners don’t work quite as well as they did in the beginning. Robotic cleaners are now available as stand-alone units. There’s no need to run the pool pump anymore. Most have the ability to schedule cleanings, are enabled with Bluetooth, and some are even remote controlled. Pro tip: you should save on your electrical bill as they simply plug into a GFCI 110V outlet, which is a typical outdoor plug.
2. LED Light or BulbNot only will LED bulbs will brighten up your evenings by the pool, but they will save you a few pennies on electrical costs. Similar to the bulbs in your home, a simple swap from Halogen or Incandescent to an LED light or bulb will make a significant upgrade to your pool. And most have color selections and preset color change shows to extend your daytime party into the night!
3. ChlorinatorTired of watching your tablet floater moving around the surface while playing, or even worse, collecting in front of the skimmer? A few simple tools and a new offline chlorinator could be the fix. Easy installation by the equipment pad will help ensure you are efficiently dosing your pool with chlorine.
4. Chemical MonitoringRecent technology now affords pool owners the opportunity to remotely monitor their pool water. Some systems in the market are simple to install. Connect the system to your home network, download the app, and drop the unit in the pool. Easy as that! The notifications you receive when the water chemistry needs attention is a game changer. Correcting an out of balance pool can cost time and money, so install a chemical monitoring system to get ahead of the game.
5. Timing and AutomationOnce mechanical, timers have now moved to the digital age – finally! Whether you are activating a Home Hub to automate the pool through a home assistant or simply adding a digital timer, automation is now affordable and simple. Many older units can be converted to incorporate digital timers so the pool equipment operates when you want it too. Some systems come with remote monitoring which is essential while on vacation or away from home for an extended amount of time.
Utilize Your ScoutsImplementing some of these simple upgrades will help you spend more time enjoying your pool this year. And take your backyard experience to the next level by sprucing up the landscape and surrounding area. You can integrate automation for those outdoor lights and sprinkler system too! You’ll be the most popular house on the block. Remember, Pool Scouts can help you select and install some of the above-listed items. We are your go-to source for professional pool service, so you can enjoy your pool all season long! Click here to find a Pool Scouts location near you or give us a call at 844-775-2742. We can’t wait to help you upgrade your backyard oasis!
This time of year, the weather can keep us guessing. Just when you expect the warmer temperatures to roll in, a Polar Vortex hits. What happens in the winter, and even early spring, can impact your summer fun by the pool.
So let’s talk about how to keep your pool in good condition when the deep freeze hits and the snow starts falling. Proper closing of your pool along with investigating a few things during the winter months can help keep your pool in top shape.
We just spent months inside, time to get outdoors soon and enjoy.
Play I Spy…with your pool
A simple way to determine that your pool is currently in good shape is a simple glance under or through the cover.
Try and peel back a corner near the deep end, and check a solid cover. If it is a mesh cover, cup your hands around your face and look through the mesh screening as if looking through a store window.
Keep an eye out for the following:
- Is the pool still holding water?
- Can I see the bottom of the pool?
- How much debris is on the bottom?
View around your equipment and check:
- Any cracked pipes?
- Any items still frozen?
- Any standing water that might re-freeze?
Each question is important for the rest of the winter and leading into the warmer season ahead.
Share the results from the items above with your local pool service company. Especially the company who may have closed your pool. Not only does it give you the opportunity to ask questions, the company will gain valuable insight to the local conditions.
Compare notes with friends and neighbors who also own pools. Although no two pools are ever the same, identifying a trend over the cooler months with your pools condition might help prevent problems before they occur. Encourage your friends with concerns to address them quickly.
Early fixes could save you time and money
Don’t shy away from any repair that may be needed before spring. Often companies are looking to handle repairs now before opening many pools over the next few weeks.
3 Tips for communicating winter repairs:
- Take plenty of pictures and e-mail them to your local pool repair company.
- Ask for their work schedule this time of year and get on the calendar
- Ask about upgrades if you need to replace key components.
Take the time today and plan to get your pool opened early if you suspect any damages, and contact a swimming pool repair company if you see any damages. And remember, Pool Scouts is your go-to source for professional pool service, and we service pool years round in many markets.