Getting Your Pool Ready for a Party
Summertime means things are heating up, and that means your swimming pool will start getting a lot more action than it was in April. One of the best things about summer is pool parties, especially around the holidays like the 4th of July. But, you might be wondering if there is anything that you need to do to not only prep your pool, but to take care of it after the party. After all, with lots of swimmers comes lots of bacteria and germs. Especially for younger, ahem, potty training swimmers. We can help you with getting your pool ready for a party.
Getting Salt Water Pool Ready for Summer
Salt water systems are becoming more and more popular, largely because salt water is softer and easier on the skin. A common misconception is that salt water pools don’t contain chlorine. They do, just a different kind. The salt water system chlorinates the pool through an electrolytic process using, of course, salt. The result is water that is easier on the skin and doesn’t taste or smell like bleach.
So, you might wonder what is needed to get your salt water pool ready for summer, and for all those parties you will be having poolside. In these cases, it’s best to call a pool technician several days before the party to make sure the levels are right. But, if you don’t have time for that, here are some basics that you can do yourself.
- Using test strips or a drop kit, test the free chlorine levels and the pH. The free chlorine should be at about 1-3 ppm. Like with any pool, the pH is best for your skin’s health at about 7.2-7.6. If you notice that the pH levels are off, call your pool tech so he or she can add soda ash or sodium bicarbonate to the water.
- Check the salt reading on your salt chlorinator. Your owner’s manual should tell you how to do this.
- Open and inspect the salt cell for buildup or debris. Again, check your owner’s manual to make sure you are doing this right, but it’s recommended that this is done every three months. If the cell gets clogged with debris, it will stop creating chlorine, and this is bad for your pool.
In general, you should be manually skimming the water as well. Less debris in the system is a good thing, even though it’s built to handle some debris. Keeping the pool skimmed and checking the filters will eliminate a host of problems down the road.
Chemical Balancing Before A Pool Party
If you have a chlorine pool, the process to getting your chemicals right is similar, but slightly different from a salt chlorinated pool. Basically, measuring the pH is still on your checklist, with the same parameters. You can raise the pH with soda ash and lower it with sodium bisulfate. Remember, it’s not suggested that you try this on your own. These chemicals can be very dangerous if you don’t know how to handle or apply them
The best course of action would be to test the water yourself and call a technician if you think your pool has swerved outside the healthy pH level. If you don’t address pH issues, it could damage your pool equipment, cause red, irritated skin and eyes, and even etch the surface of your pool plaster.
So, test the water and call a professional. This is important to do a week or so before the party, because the pool tech might think it’s necessary to “shock” the pool. This means adding more chemical than normal in order to kill bacteria and germs in the water. For a few days, the pool won’t be safe to swim in, so make sure this is done early.
Scheduling Pool Service Post Party
After the party, you may notice the water looks a little cloudy, or that there is more dirt than usual on the bottom. Here’s a tip: to avoid some of this dirt getting into the pool, make sure your deck is really clean before the guests arrive. This will keep wet feet clean and from bringing dust and grit into the water.
But, if you have done this and you still think the water looks a little dodgy, you may need an extra treatment. Often, all those bodies introduced billions of germs into the water’s fragile ecosystem. The balance was likely thrown off. So, you can wait and see if your pool’s existing chemicals and equipment will take care of the problem, or you can have your pool treated by a professional. Sometimes waiting a week will be enough to get your water crystal blue again. Sometimes it will just get worse. That’s when it you it’s time to bring in the big guns.
You have a swimming pool for one reason, and that’s to enjoy it. The cool water is a great way to get outdoors but not into the heat of the summer. People will want to come over more, they will love to be invited to your awesome pool parties. But, this fun backyard feature is a responsibility too. For the health and happiness of your family and your guests, keep your pool balanced and, as always, bright and clear.
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