by Rob Cox August 9, 2013
Holiday Vacation Planning
August is holiday time, what about the pool? If you're planning some vacation this month, away from the pool - a week, maybe two, do you need to worry about the pool?
Maybe not, if you're the laid back type, and in case you are, here's a few things to worry about before you go on vacation.
For you higher strung pool owners, don't worry you can leave your pool for a week or two, just take care of these things ahead of time.
BALANCE THE WATER: A week or so before you leave, take the whole battery of tests - Chlorine, pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and Cyanuric Acid. If you don't have a full range test kit or strips, you can take a sample to a local pool store.
Testing is only half of it, though - you likely need to adjust one or two of the levels tested. Bring the levels in balance by adding the recommended amounts of adjustment chemicals.
FIND A POOL SITTER: If you are concerned about leaving your temperamental pool for very long, you could get someone to come check on it. Good prospects are neighbors who have pools, friends or co-workers even. You could do the favor for each other.
Ideally you'd want someone who is familiar with pools to look in on your pool for you, just to check the water level and filter pressure. Maybe empty the skimmer basket or pool cleaner. It could also however, be someone responsible, who knows very little about pools.
HIRE A SERVICE: Most pool service companies would take on a 'Vacation Service', where they visit during your absence and clean the pool, manage chemistry and maintain the equipment. This can cost as low as $30 in southern areas with many pools; up to $90 in some regions of the country.
SHOCK THE POOL: Lowering the pH before you shock, to around 7.2, will make your shock more effective, and it has the added benefit of being a pH level that algae and bacteria are not fond of - they prefer their pH environment much higher.
BRUSH THE POOL: Why not, you probably haven't all summer anyway - it's good for the pool, and helps to disturb the surface while shocking, to allow the chlorine to really sanitize the pool.
COVER THE POOL: If you have a winter safety cover, nothing keeps your pool safer. Putting on the cover, if it's a simple enough affair, should be considered. Keeps your pool clean and reduces sanitizer demand. Also locks the pool to wild animals, and I'm not just talking about neighborhood teenagers.
CHECK THE GATES: If you have a combination padlock, locking your external pool gates would keep the pool safer for animals, pets, and neighborhood kids. Take the time to inspect the pool fence all the way around the perimeter, to make sure there are no leaning sections, missing boards, or holes dug under the fence. For above ground pools, lock the ladders, or remove them if they are not lockable.
CLEAN THE POOL: You know, the usual, whatever that is for you. Emptying the pool cleaner, or vacuuming and skimming the pool. At least you should check the skimmer and pump baskets, to make sure that they are clean.
BACKWASH THE FILTER: Backwash your sand or DE pool filters, or hose clean your cartridges, unless you are sure that they are in clean condition already.
STOCK UP THE CHLORINATOR: If you have a chlorinator, you likely know your pool's appetite for chlorine tablets, so give it enough to last for the entire vacation. You can also use a floating chlorinator, but if you have a swimout or wedding cake steps, where it could come to rest, tie it up in one area. Salt systems - check your salt levels, and your controller for any errors.
And that should be it! Go on vacation, you deserve it - go sit by someone elses pool, and leave yours at home!