by John Galcius, July 27, 2009
Going on Vacation & leaving the pool at Home?
A very common concern we get this time of year, “I’m going on vacation, and no one will be here to take care of the pool.” As we all know, an unattended pool will not stay clear and algae free for long. Pools need filtration, sanitization and properly balanced water. If you are going on vacation, or going away for a few days, there are some steps you need to take. You need to make sure the pool stays sanitized and operational while you are gone. Let’s go over a few things to think about before you leave the pool alone.
Before you go
Fill the pool. Water level is very important. If the level goes down, then the filter will not operate properly. Fill the pool all the way up. Even higher than you normally would. Check and adjust your pH, then shock the pool water. If you use tablets, or sticks, load up the chlorinator, or chlorine floater just before you go. Add a dose of swimming pool algaecide as well. Make sure to backwash, or clean the filter and pump and skimmer baskets before leaving.
The most important thing about leaving your pool unattended is safety. Hundreds of people are hurt each year, and some die by unauthorized pool use. DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN AT YOUR HOUSE. Get a pool alarm, make sure all gates and fences are working and in good repair. Lock the gates. Remove anything around the property that can be used to help climb a fence. Chairs, storage boxes, ect. must be removed from the fence line.
Neighbors and friends using the pool
The best thing to do while your away, is ask someone to pool-sit for you. It can be very helpful to have a friend keep an eye on the water level, check the filter pressure, and the other equipment for problems. If you do give someone permission to use the pool while you are away, put all instructions in writing, so they have it handy. Also, keep a working phone near the pool at all times, with your phone and address clearly posted. Also, make available the phone number for your favorite pool service company. Just in case your pool sitter needs some help.
Solar Blankets And Pool Covers
If you normally use a solar blanket, take it off of the pool during your absence. It will only warm the pool, reduce the skimmer effectiveness and can be dangerous if a person or animal falls on top of your solar blanket. If you have a mesh safety cover, install it before you leave. Having a safety cover on the pool not only reduces filtration and sanitation demand, but it keeps the pool clean. Also, installing your mesh safety cover keeps fence-jumping neighborhood teenagers from using your pool, and more importantly, may prevent a tradegy from an unsupervised pool.
Do not turn the filter system off before you go away. The filter system should run several hours per day. If you have an automatic timer, set it to allow the pool filter to run at least 8 hours per day. If you do not have a timer, make sure someone is around to monitor and run the filter. It’s OK to let the filter system run 24 hours per day, and many people do. Be sure someone is available to look at it once in a while, and make sure everything is OK.
Continuous sanitization is the key here. If the chlorine or sanitizer drops below a certain level, algae is sure to start growing. Then we have a real problem. Algae growth is easy to prevent. Sanitization. Sanitization. Sanitization. Make sure the chlorinator is full, and working. If you keep your tablets or sticks in the skimmer, double up.
If you are going to be away for more than a month, then consider “winterizing” the pool. Drain all of the equipment, lower the water level, and add a good dose of chlorine and algaecide. Then install your pool cover, and forget about until you get back. The other alternative, is to hire a local pool company to look after the pool while you are away. It’s usually not expensive, and many pool service companies offer “Vacation Pool Maintenance” and will keep an eye on things while you are away.
Now that you know what to do if you leave your pool at home alone while you are away, have a great vacation, and have fun.