If you’ve relocated to Arizona from anywhere east of here, when you think of a swimming pool, this is probably what you picture:
Here in sunny Arizona, a pool is as much a necessity as a refrigerator. Many Arizona homes come with large, in-ground pools which residents use throughout the year. These pools require regular maintenance, which can average $100 per month if you hire a professional service. Maintaining a pool yourself isn’t difficult, but it does require a certain degree of vigilance.
If you’d like to save the cost of a professional pool service, follow a few simple rules.
Know Your Equipment
There are several components to a pool, and homeowners need to be familiar with what they do and how to maintain them. Know where the main drains and the returns are, and how they connect to the water pump. What kind of filter does your pool use? How is it cleaned and how often? What type of skimmer do you have, and where is the pump for that? If your pool is heated, what type of heater do you have and where is it located?
Many of these questions can be answered with a little online research. You can also call a pool maintenance company and have them send someone out to show you all the basics. Most companies are happy to do it, knowing that when something breaks, you’ll call them first.
Monitor the Water Level
It’s dry in Arizona, and water evaporates quickly. If your pool doesn’t have an automatic filter that keeps the water at the correct level, you’ll need to add water yourself, so keep the garden hose handy. The water has to at least cover at least half the opening of the skimmer, the area that sucks in leaves and debris. If the water level covers less than half of the skimmer’s opening, the pump can quickly burn out.
Run the Pump
Circulating the water helps keep it clean and free of bacteria. Water that stagnates for even a few days—especially in the heat of summer—is probably beyond help. The water in the pool needs to be completely turned over every 24 hours, and the general rule is to run the pump one hour for every 10 degrees of temperature. If the temperature is 100 degrees, run the pump for 10 hours. Do it during off-peak hours to save money.
Learn a Little Chemistry
There’s a delicate balance in using enough chlorine to keep algae at bay, but not so much that swimmers end up in the hospital. You’ll also need to monitor the pH level, which is the alkalinity level. You’ll need to learn what the chemicals in your pool do and how they work together in order to keep everything in balance.
Have a Cleaning Routine
There are weekly chores when maintaining a pool which take about 30 minutes. Empty the skimmer basket and use a net to skim excess debris from the water; scrub the tile along the water line; test and adjust the chemical composition of the water; and vacuum the sides and bottom of the pool.
Even if you’re doing an excellent job of maintenance, it’s still a good idea to have a professional come out every six months to check all your equipment and to inspect the surface of the pool. A small crack can go unnoticed until one morning your pool is empty and your yard is flooded.
If you’re buying a home with a pool, you’ll want to be certain that the surface of the pool is flawless and that the equipment is in good working order. The best way to guarantee this is to hire an experienced and ethical realtor, like the team at RJ Homes. Call them today, and start swimming in your own heated pool all winter long.