Deep Freeze: Pool Tips for Freezing Temps

Graphic of pool with ice around edges that says, Deep Freeze: Pool Tips for Freezing Temps

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.

Image of pool pump buried in snow next to house

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?

Status Report

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.

Image of little boy getting thrown in the air in a pool with floaties and goggles, and dad in the backgroundEarly 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:

  1. Take plenty of pictures and e-mail them to your local pool repair company.
  2. Ask for their work schedule this time of year and get on the calendar
  3. 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.

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Water Safety Month: The Importance of Teaching Your Kids to Swim

Learn To Swim

By Dana Robinson

The month of May brings to mind images of spring flowers, warmer weather, and of course, Mother’s Day. But in the pool community it’s also known as National Water Safety Month!

The annual campaign was created by the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals to raise awareness about water safety and to help everyone have safe, fun experiences in and around the water. So, we’ve enlisted the help of Gizmo, Pool Scout’s lovable safety mascot, to explore the importance of teaching your children to swim.

The Stats

Let’s talk about the not-so-great numbers first: Last summer at least 163 children under the age of 15 fatally drowned in swimming pools or spas, according to media reports compiled by the USA Swimming Foundation. Nearly 70 percent of those victims were children under the age of five.

During the same time period in 2016, 205 children under age 15 drowned in swimming pools or spas. Nearly 70 percent of those victims were children under age five.

And now for the good news: Learning to swim can do more than save a child’s life. A four-year study by the Griffith Institute for Educational Research found that children who were taught to swim by age 5 experienced a number of cognitive and physical advantages over children who did not know how to swim. They were also more advanced in mathematics, counting, language, and following instructions.

A recent national survey commissioned by Swimways, a pool and outdoor recreational products manufacturer, revealed that parents were largely unaware of the fact that teaching a child to swim had such benefits.

“We believe that teaching a child to swim is one of the single most important things you can do for your child,” says Monica Jones, vice president of marketing at Swimways. “Just as you would teach them to read and write, we believe that every child deserves to be able to know how to swim…[its] not only important for their safety but [it] also opens up a lifetime of joy and discovery that only swimmers can experience.” Swimways celebrates National Learn To Swim Day, the third Saturday in the month of May, hosting an annual Learn to Swim Day event focusing on the importance of swim lessons.

Resources

If you haven’t signed your children up for swimming lessons yet, or perhaps you’d like to check out some adult classes for yourself, there’s still plenty of time to get water-ready for the summer.

The Red Cross has classes available nationwide. You can also find lessons via The USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative, which aims to offer free or low-cost swim lessons to 1 million children this year.

Keeping Kids Engaged

But don’t go thinking that water safety simply begins and ends with a few swimming lessons. Elizabeth Beisel, two-time Olympic medalist and USA Swimming Foundation ambassador, offers up the following tips to keep kids safe and happy in the water:

  • Once your children have learned to swim, create consistent practice time to enhance their skills and increase their confidence.
  • Consider using water toys, pool floats, pool games and swim training gear to make learning to swim fun
  • Swimming uses a ton of energy. Remember to take breaks and keep kids hydrated to maintain their level of confidence in the water.

Pool Scouts is consistently striving to help spread the word about water safety. In addition to keeping your pools clean and healthy, our goal is to help everyone stay safe while enjoying all of the fun and relaxation that water can provide.

ABOUT POOL SCOUTS

Pool Scouts is a premier pool service franchise focused on delivering a quality, consistent brand experience while providing pool cleaning, maintenance and minor repair services at residential properties. Technicians are trained in testing, monitoring, treating and servicing pools and can provide ongoing service as well as help at the beginning and end of the summer season. Growing from its first location in Virginia Beach, Pool Scouts offers a great opportunity as a low cost franchise in the pool services industry with available territories across the United States. For more information or franchising opportunities, visit PoolScoutsFranchise.com.

 
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Keep Furry Friends Safe by the Pool

May is National Water Safety Month, and we’ve already talked about some key steps to keeping your pool safe. Those tips include being vigilant by the pool, keeping emergency numbers and kits nearby, and ensuring your perimeter fence is well maintained and up to code. Since it is so important to make sure all swimmers and guests in your pool area are safe, Gizmo, our safety mascot, asked us to share some ideas on how to keep our four legged friends safe around the pool too. Since dogs seem to be the real lovers of water, let’s focus on them first. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you and your pup are hanging out by the water.

Not All Dogs Love Water

First off, not all dogs are natural swimmers. Although most dogs know how to swim, not all are good at it. For example, I have two dogs, one of which swims like a fish, the other does the most uncoordinated version of the doggy paddle as possible! Needless to say, they don’t exactly get along in the pool.

Safety Gear

It is always a good idea to put a life jacket on your dog when out in open water or if your dog is getting tired from swimming in the pool. Lifejackets are also useful tools to help get your furry friend more comfortable in the water. Additionally, always be sure your dog knows where they can exit the pool either by the stairs or a ramp. The Scamper Ramp is a handy attachment that makes it easy for dogs to see and exit the pool.

Keep Your Pups Hydrated

Dogs can get overheated and exhausted swimming in the hot sun, so be sure to provide fresh water by the pool. Although pool water for the most part is harmless, ingested in high quantities, it can cause digestive irritation, so keep that water bowl nearby.

Let’s Not Forget Our Other Four-Legged Friends

If you own a pool, you know that dogs aren’t the only critters that end up in the water. Many a chipmunk and frog have found their demise by unwittingly falling into a pool. Use this easy ramp to give the little guys a fighting chance to get out, The Frog Log Critter Ramp. Check out more information here about protecting all creatures great and small when taking steps to keep your pool safe. Here at Pool Scouts, we can’t get enough pictures and videos of animals in pools. Like us on Facebook to see some of those fun posts and send us pictures of your own furry friends in the pool! Whether you are just opening your pool for the season or are in need of regular maintenance, give Pool Scouts a call. We offer weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly pool cleaning options to keep your pool up, running, and ready for your furry friends at all times!
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5 Steps To Keep Your Pool Safe This Season

Pool Scouts Water Safety Gizmo

Welcome to National Water Safety Month!  Each year Pool Scouts will spend the month of May talking about how we, as pool owners, can keep our backyards safe for family, friends and neighbors. Last year we introduced Gizmo, our Pool Safety Mascot, and he is back to offer up more advice. Part of my job here at Pool Scouts is to keep up with events and activities within the industry. Because of that, I am all too familiar with the statistics that are associated with the dangers of pools. It seems like every day I read about another drowning that could have been avoided with a few simple steps. So let’s get to them so we can focus on enjoying our pools! SECURE THE PERIMETER Ensure that the perimeter around your pool is secure and up to state requirements! This means that in some states, fences and gates should be at least than 5ft high and latches should be located on the inside of the gate. Your fence is the first line of defense to keeping your pool safe. Whether it is the yard fence or a life fence, making sure it is in good condition is so important. SUPERVISE AND REMOVE TEMPTATIONS The best way to keep all swimmers safe is to be a responsible observer. Keeping a watchful, undistracted eye on swimmers is key. Pool goers of all ages are susceptible to getting into trouble, leaving anyone unmonitored for any amount of time could make a difference. Additionally, be sure to remove all pool tools and floats from the pool and store in a secure place. These items are too tempting to little children to reach out and try to grab. BE PREPARED Should you find yourself faced with a swimmer in trouble, time is of the essence. Be sure to keep the pool area and those in charge of watching swimmers, prepared:
  • Keep safety equipment readily available: pool hook, flotation devices and first aid kit (equipped with scissors to cut hair or clothes that may get stuck in filter suction)
  • Post emergency phone numbers in the pool area and keep a phone within arm’s reach
  • Be up to date on CPR certification. The organization CPR Party make it easy and fun to get and stay certified
LEARN TO SWIM The USA Swimming Foundation states that the risk of drowning decreases by 88% when someone takes swim lessons! That is an impressive statistic, and with so many organizations promoting programs that help people learn to swim, it is easy to find readily available lessons that don’t cost a lot. TAKE THE PLEDGE With so many alarming statistics surrounding swimming, organizations around the country have committed to raising awareness and making efforts to educate others on the dangers of swimming and being near water. The USA Swimming Foundation runs the “Make A Splash” program, offering information and resources for adults and parents interested in lessons for themselves or their children. Both Pool Safely and The National Water Safety Month organization encourage you to “Take the Pledge” to be safe swimmers. The American Red Cross also offers an app to promote safe swimming for people of all ages. Summer and fun are synonymous, but keeping safe is important. As pool owners, it is important we do our part to ensure our pool is safe!    
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It’s A Love-Hate Thing

I have a love-hate relationship with the end of the summer. While it has been nice to enjoy some beach time, to spend weekends barbecuing, and not have to worry about my kids getting their homework done, there is comfort in welcoming back the routine of the school year (and pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING!) enjoy some beach time to spend weekendsFor pool owners around the country, closing the pool is one of the many items on the fall to-do list. For me, it is at the bottom of the list, as I like to leave the pool open as long as possible in the hopes of those Indian Summer days. Well Gizmo, the Pool Scouts mascot, is here to tell us that procrastinating the pool closing is okay…at least for a little while! The best time to close the pool is when the temperatures start dropping.  This will stave off algae growth and help keep the water in better condition throughout the winter months. While it is okay milk those last few days of warm weather that fall sometimes affords us, you do want to make sure you winterize your pool before the temperatures drop too low. Otherwise, the system could sustain damage, like cracked pipes. In warmer climates, it is okay to leave your pool uncovered, but your pool will still require some maintenance. Your pool water will still need to be balanced, and the filter system will need to be monitored to ensure upkeep and proper operation. Pool Scouts can help prep your pool for the winter months. Whether you decide to bundle your pool up for winter or keep the pool open, our technicians can prep your pool for spring success! Some key steps involved in closing pools includes:
  • Remove all leaves and debris from the pool
  • Vacuum the pool
  • Backwash the filter system
  • Lower water to the appropriate level
  • Test water and add wintering chemicals as needed
  • Drain, disassemble and clean filter elements for storage
  • Drain pump and heater
  • Plug returns and skimmers
  • Remove and store deck equipment (ladders and handrails ect…)
  • Inspect and Install the winter cover
  • Blow off pool deck area and equipment pad
Some steps for preparing your pool to remain open in colder months:
  • Balance the water
  • Double check and monitor filter system
  • Shift chemicals and timers for winter months
  • Confirm and/or tweak maintenance schedule for the winter
As usual, this summer flying by, and before we know it, Labor Day will be upon us. While the change of seasons brings new adventures and an abundance of holidays to celebrate, we’ll long for the long, hot days of summer when that first cold day hits! While you too, will have a list of to-dos as we head into fall, be sure to plan ahead and cross “take care of pool” off your list. It isn’t too soon to reach out to Pool Scouts to schedule your pool closing!  Visit Poolscouts.com for more information or call 844-SPLASH-2 (844-775-2742).
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Pool Safety Extends to the Technical Side of Pool Care

May is water safety month. Last week we talked a lot about swimmer safety, which is of the utmost importance, but there is another side of pool safety that extends to the care and maintenance of the pool itself. Keeping your pool clean, healthy and swim-ready takes time, tools, and chemicals. In a world where organic reigns king it is sometimes tough to think about allowing your kids swim in a pool full of chemicals, but when properly maintained and balanced pool water is perfectly safe. Handling and working with pool chemicals and equipment takes a certain level of care and expertise. There are hidden dangers that can injure or create health concerns for inexperienced pool owners. Gizmo, our Pool Scouts mascot and this month safety scout is here to talk more about the details. Gizmo’s Guidance on the Technical Side of Pool Care:Scuba Pup There are several aspects of pool maintenance that can present risks. The following are some of the substances and situations to consider when caring for your pool:
  • Muriatic acid
  • Chlorine
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Main drain suction
  • Vacuum ports
  • Exposed wires and GFCI outlets
You may be familiar with some of these items listed but others you may not be aware of the risks. So let’s break it down. Muriatic Acid. Muriatic acid is highly corrosive and can cause problem when it comes in contact with the skin or is inhaled. It is important to wear glove and safety goggles with handling the substance. Only work with muriatic acid in a well ventilated area and do not mix it with other chemicals without reading the label; it may be explosive! The good news is, once diluted, like in a pool, the substance is safe. Chlorine. Chlorine is a powerful disinfectant and bleaching agent that can present a number of hazards. Chlorine is most hazardous when fumes are inhaled or if the substance gets into your eyes, mouth or throat.  Similar to muriatic acid, it is always a good idea to where protective wear, eye glasses and a mask, when working with chlorine. Also, be mindful of how you store chlorine. Always make sure the storage area is well ventilated, that the substance isn’t located next to a direct heat source, and that the container cannot tip over. When cleaning with chlorine, be sure to read the label first, as it can react to other substances. For example, chlorine mixed with ammonia can create a violent reaction.  Diatomaceous Earth. Diatomaceous earth is another chemical used aid filtration in your pool, and while it is one of the least aggressive substances used, when inhaled in large amounts it can cause long-term lung problems. When handling DE you should always wear a mask to protect your respiratory system. Main Drain Suction. While the main drain doesn’t impact someone caring for your pool,it would be remiss of us not to talk about the safety concerns with the drain system in your pool. The main drain, typically at the deepest point of your pool, runs suction that helps to keep your pool clean. In the event that a swimmer lies on top of or sits on the cover of the main drain and covers it completely, their body could become stuck and they might not be able to get to the surface because the suction is too strong. One incident sited that four men were unable to release a young girl from the pull of the drain. Very scary stuff. The good news is that they have developed drain covers that prevent someone from completely covering the drain and getting stuck. Additionally, the Pool And Spa Safety Act has guidelines that require pool professionals to alert pool owners of outdated covers and update them immediately. As a pool owner, it is important that you make sure you have an updated drain cover, keep scissors by the pool to release clothing or hair that may get caught in the system and if someone should get trapped, pull on one side of their body at a time to release the suction. Vacuum Ports. Vacuum ports in the pool system can also be hazardous. These can be located in your  skimmer basket but also on the wall of your pool. The port located on the wall can present a similar risk for entrapment to that of the main drain suction. Breathe a sigh of relief, because this can be easily rectified by fitting the port with a safety latched cover. Simply remove the old fitting by unscrewing it and and thread the new one onto the port. DONE. GFI Outlets and Exposed Wires. Pool systems run on electricity, and because the pool area is a place of entertainment, there can be outlet near by. It is incredibly important that all outlet by the pool are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets. GFCI outlets trip and cut power when the line is exposed to water. Similarly, when completing repairs to the pool system, it is important to cut power and make sure all wires are properly insulated and in good shape to avoid any risk of electrocution. Pools are a place of fun and relaxation but their are risks involve in owning and maintaining a pool. The best defense is education and knowledge. I hope we’ve provided you with some background on keeping your pool safe. Pool Scouts technicians are trained on handling all these situations and keeping your pool water clear and healthy and your pool area a safe place to be. Take a moment to ensure your pool and surrounding area are up to date and get out there and enjoy that pool! Pool Scouts is a pool service company offering recurring, single service, opening, closing and minor pool repair service.         
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Meet Gizmo – He’s here to discuss Water Safety!

water safety graphicAs a pool-owner and a mom of two elementary school-aged kids, I am definitely thinking about water safety this time of year. The kids have be en in swim lessons for years, the gates have locks, and the back door has a chime on it so we know when someone goes out by the pool. Pool safety is always a concern and a worry, but I have come to realize it extends beyond young kids. As someone now in the pool industry, I have become all too aware of how deadly water can be for people of all ages. Small children are the most vulnerable, but older kids and adults can also be at risk. There are many simple things that can be done to significantly reduce the risk of water accidents. For me, it is about diligence and taking all necessary steps required to be prepared for any situation. Through preparation and care we can make our pools a place of relaxation and fun! There are many resources available online dedicated to pool and water safety. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Gizmo! Gizmo is the Pool Scouts mascot and is our acting Safety Scout this month! Gizmo (aptly named after the piece of equipment used when winterizing your pool) will be bringing you tips and tricks of the trade.  Today, Gizmo has key tips to ensure your pool is a happy place full of fun memories!

Gizmo’s Guidance on Water Safety:Scuba-Pup_GM

1. Secure the barrier around the pool.

Ensuring the area around your pool is secure is the first step to preventing accidental entry to the pool. Statistics show that 6% of drownings occurred in a neighbor’s pool, 23% occurred in a friend or family’s pool, while 44% occurred at home. There are a variety of different types of barriers that can prevent entry to the pool. Some of those include:

Fencing is an obvious choice and legally required in most states. The key here is to make sure the gates are self-closing and latch automatically. There are also fences available that enclose just your pool, allowing you to sit by the pool while providing a barrier to the water. Some of the more commonly known brands are “ProtectAChild”, “LifeSaverFencing” and “BabyLoc.”

Set up door and gate alarms. Alarms can be set up to alert homeowners if a door or gate that accesses the pool has been opened. These can be wired through your home security system or even just set up on the one door or gate.

 Leverage pressure sensitive alarms. Pool or spa floating or wave alarms that are mounted on the edge of the pool or in the water and activate when water is displaced.

There are even high tech perimeter alarms to secure your pool. These alarms use a laser system that creates a perimeter around your pool that sounds when the perimeter is broken.

2. Establish and post pool rules.

This is something commonly seen at public and commercial pools.  But do you have pool rules at your home? With the backyard pool being a place to gather, posting the pool rules is another step toward a safe pool environment.

Some rules to consider for your pool:Pool Rules

–       No swimming without an adult present.

–       No running around the pool.

–       No diving.

–       No pushing.

3. Be prepared for any situation.

There are a number of things that can go wrong while swimming. As a pool owner, it is your responsibility to equip your pool with the proper safety items and be prepared for any situation. Here are a few other recommendations to keep in mind:

Have a first-aid kit on hand. Include typical first aid items like Band-Aids, tape, gauze, antibacterial ointment, and scissors in case of entrapment to cut hair or clothing.

Have flotation devices or life hooks available. Experts recommend you reach or throw a safety device to someone struggling in the water versus jumping in after them. Too often people who go in the water to help can also get into trouble.

Have the phone and phone numbers readily available. Be sure to have a phone and pertinent phone numbers in an easily accessible place. Use the following Emergency Contact Form to post emergency numbers by the pool.

Take swim lessons. Learning to swim is a great way to reduce water concerns. Although it is ideal to teach kids to swim when they are young it is never too late to learn.

Learn CPR. Many Red Cross locations and local civic centers offer CPR courses. As a pool owner, take the time to learn CPR. Precious seconds can be saved when someone by the pool can perform the life saving procedure.

4. Take the Pledge.

As a last step, I would like to ask you, your family, your friends and any pool patrons to take the “I’m A Safe Swimmer” pledge:

“I pledge to never swim alone.

I pledge to never play or swim near drains or suction fittings.

I pledge to always dive feet first.

I pledge to obey the pool rules.”

Pools are a place of fun for people of all ages. Taking some simple steps to ensure your pool is a safe place to swim will make it more enjoyable for all your friends and family. There are a number of resources out there that can offer additional tips. Take a few minutes to review these sites and think about how you can take steps to reduce risk at your pool. Thank you for taking a few minutes to review Gizmo’s Guidance on Water Safety. By following some of these recommendations you’ll find that your pool is a safer, more relaxing place to be! Online Resources referenced: http://www.poolsafely.gov/http://www.nationalwatersafetymonth.org/http://www.apsp.org/safety/water-safety-brochures.aspxhttps://www.nspf.org/content/home-pool-essentials-2http://www.swimuniversity.com/5-ways-to-make-your-swimming-pool-safer/https://www.nspf.org/content/home-pool-essentials-2
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A Healthy Pool Means Healthy Swimming

As pool owners, we’ve all experienced the green or foggy pool. Who knows what’s lurking on the bottom?  I certainly don’t want to be the one to find out!  Beyond the beauty of a sparkling pool, there are also health concerns when pools aren’t maintained properly.  So get your No. 2 pencil and notepad ready; here’s a quick lesson in what makes a healthy pool.

4 Tips To keep Your Pool Healthy

  1. There is more than meets the eye. Everyone loves to have a sparkling, clear pool. A pool ready for cannonballs and one that’s pretty to look at, but there is more than meets the eye.  Contaminated water can look clear, but still pose the risk of getting you sick. Red eyes and itchy skin aren’t necessarily indicative of too much chlorine. Contrary to what you might think, your pool might actually need more chlorine. Figuring out the chemical balance of your pool can be complex and technical, which is where professional services from our Pool Scouts come in handy! Pool Scouts technicians complete an extensive training program to ensure proper handling of chemicals and treatment of pools, allowing you to kick back and enjoy.
  2. Ah, the clean, fresh smell of…chlorine? The truth is that chlorine shouldn’t have an odor. Hard to believe, right? That “chlorine” smell comes from a mixture of chlorine and contaminants reacting with one another on the surface of your pool. A pool that is well maintained and cared for has little to no odor because the contaminants are nowhere to be found. At Pool Scouts, we use the latest technology in water testing called the WaterLink Spin System. Gone are the days of test tubes and droplets, this technical system provides results in 60 seconds and removes any guess work to ensure accurately balanced water.
  3. Water aerobics starting in 5 minutes! Exercising in the pool is a great workout, whether you’re doing a group exercise class or a few laps. But the truth is, breathing in the chemicals from an unbalanced pool can be harmful. Both the chemicals and the contaminants that aren’t eliminated by proper maintenance can be detrimental. In addition to high-tech water testing, Pool Scouts uses the best vacuum in the industry. Rightfully so, it’s called the Hammer Head! The Hammer Head is a self-contained pool vacuum that has never met a pool it couldn’t clean. And a clean pool is the first step to a healthy pool!
  4. Bottom line, take care of that pool! Pool ownership has so many benefits.  Among them are relaxation, fun, exercise, beauty and ambiance. But it does take a bit of work.

Our Pool Scouts Are Here To Help!

Pool Scouts certified technicians can help! For each and every service visit, our technicians walk through a series of checklists to ensure a thorough cleaning:

  • Remove the cover and prepare for storage (this includes cleaning the cover).
  • Remove plugs and prep pool lines.
  • Blow off pool deck area and equipment pad.
  • Examine pool shell for any visible damage, cracks, or tears.
  • Re-install and examine skimmer baskets.
  • Re-install and examine deck equipment (ladders, handrails, etc.).
  • Brush and clean waterline tile.
  • Remove all leaves and debris from the pool.
  • Start and prime the pool pump.
  • Inspect the filtration system.
  • Vacuum the pool.
  • Fill pool water to the appropriate level.
  • Balance pool water chemistry.

Check out our service plans to keep your pool healthy so you can get back to spending time enjoying it with family and friends!

Source: http://www.healthypools.org/resources/swimming-pools-myths-facts/

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