Pool Service: Skim or Whole Nine Yards?

by HomeAdvisor

Tiled Pool

Nothing compliments a hot day more than a pool. Whether for fitness or pleasure, it’s hard for even a swing set to compete with a backyard swimming area. However, as with many things, increased enjoyment comes with increased responsibility; when you own a swimming pool, upkeep is the most crucial element in protecting your investment and maintaining it as an asset rather than an eyesore. Whether you do it yourself or hire a pro, pool maintenance is a necessity; neglecting it can certainly make it less inviting and could end up costing you plenty in the long run!

DIY Swimming Pool Upkeep

For the die-hard do-it-yourselfer, few things are as gratifying as maintaining a pool. While it might take you several hours a week to keep it in tip-top shape, those hours will pay off in months of enjoyment.

Physical Cleansing

The first step in keeping a pool perfect is, of course, using a dip net to remove any bugs and debris that enter the water. This should be done every day that the pool is open. Not only will this create a more appealing aesthetic, it is the number one way of preventing filter clogs. Additionally, the floor and walls of a pool need to be scrubbed on a somewhat less regular basis. Tip: For faster skimming, mix a small amount of dishwashing liquid into a squirt bottle full of water, then spray it in a line down the middle of the pool. The surface debris will part along the line you made and move to the edges of the pool.

Chemical Content

While it might seem daunting to some, keeping your chemicals balanced is a task that many owners take on themselves. Changing pH levels requires either the addition of an acid (to lower) or a base (to raise). In addition to balancing pH, chlorine must also be added to control the growth of bacteria and algae. Periodic “shocking” with an approved chemical is also a necessity to keep your pool crystal clear and free of colloids and deceased bacteria skeletons that can cause cloudy water.

Opening and Closing

Though some might live in climates where a pool can be left open all year long, most locales in the US require closing pools in the fall and opening them again in the spring. These tasks can vary greatly by annual temperature fluctuations, pool design, and other factors; since opening and closing are probably the most difficult parts of swimming pool upkeep, even homeowners who don’t mind doing their own day-to-day maintenance often hire professionals for these tasks.

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Professional Upkeep: A Difference You Can See

While professional pool service prices are an expense many homeowners would rather do without, the difference between a professionally kept pool and a homeowner kept pool is often significant. Homeowners often have enough work on their hands without the added task of pool maintenance, and days of skimming skipped and uncontrolled chemicals inevitably take their toll. This often leads to a pool that is used only a few times a season (or worse, and “enter at your own risk” situation)!

In addition to the time saved and corners left uncut that you’ll get by hiring a pool service, you’ll also get the expertise of those in the know. Since there are so many variables that go into keeping a pool clean and its components in good working order, having a pro there to add, adjust, and clean once a week is a great benefit. Additionally, even the most diligent pool owners typically lack experience; in many cases, homeowners go for years with water that is substandard simply because they are following directions that are not fine tuned for their specific situation. A professional, of course, has the knowledge of local conditions to get the best results every time; add that to the fact that the pros can handle filter equipment, heater, and liner problems more effectively (and faster) than most homeowners and it’s easy to see why pool services are so popular!

Professional Pool Service Prices

Now we come to the one major drawback of hiring a professional pool service: Prices. Are they really worth the cost? Surprisingly, the answer to that question is often a resounding “YES”! When you consider the several hours a week of free time you’ll save, the cost of chemicals, and the amount of prevention that comes with hiring a professional pool service, prices are actually pretty competitive.

Of course, hiring someone to do a job is always somewhat more expensive than doing it yourself, but in this case, the difference is often smaller than most imagine. The only way to really know if hiring a pool service is worth the cost in your particular situation is to get estimates. Remember, different companies offer different packages at different prices, so contacting more than one company is a must. In many cases, pool companies offer enough levels of service (with enough variation in visitation frequency) to satisfy any homeowner’s needs. From opening and closing visits to weekly cleaning and maintenance, pool services can accommodate just about anyone on any schedule; whether you choose to hire one or not, it is certainly worth the time to call a few companies and see just how much the maintenance you require will cost!

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