AAahhh those lazy, hazy days of summer. We know that summer means the kids are off from school and that vacations are being planned. Whether you’re planning a local get away or traveling cross country to visit friends, family or even your grandchildren you need to remember this: Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you can take a vacation from swimming pool care and maintenance.
Simply covering the pool and leaving for a week or more will not keep the pool water as clean and clear as you may think. If the water isn’t circulating and if sun is beating down upon the pool, algae can easily begin to grow and you may come home to a green swimming pool. Yuck! If you have the ability to turn the pool pump on from a remote location via a smartphone app, you may be able to keep algae at bay and your pool may be just fine to be left alone while you’re on vacation. You might want to ask a local swimming pool service contractor if that is a safe bet — you want to be sure your pool is as beautifully clean when you get home as it was before you left.
Keeping Your Pool Clear While You’re Vacation
June is an ideal time for being in the backyard family swimming pool, but it’s also a great time for a family vacation. Remember, though, just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean your swimming pool can take time off! What is a pool owner who wants to go on vacation to do?
Run the filter
As we’d mentioned above, to keep the water clean and clear, it needs to be circulated — frequently and for long periods of time. Many pool contractors recommend running the pool pump and filter up to 12 hours a day. Do you have a remote controlled app that will allow you to set up the filter to run that many hours and turn itself off when the time is up? If you don’t have an app on your phone, invest in a timer to run the pool pump and filter.
If you’re not going to be using the pool during the daytime — and you won’t be because you’ll be on vacation — you will want to run the pool pump and filter during the daytime when the heat could be a factor in making the pool water turn green with algae growth. Set the timer or schedule it remotely from the app and run the filter for 12 hours a day — during the hottest part of the day.
You may see a spike in your utility bills because you’ll be running the pump and filter in the daytime when the cost of electricity is more expensive, but it will be worth it to keep algae from growing during the hottest part of the day. The pennies you will pay in additional utility bills will be minor compared to any costs for additional pool cleaning and chemicals you may need to use to shock the pool if it turns green.
…Speaking of shocking
Before you leave for your vacation, make sure you do a “deep clean” on your swimming pool and shock it. Shocking means you “super chlorinate” it by adding double the amount of chlorine you normally would. Adding more chlorine than usual will not lead to any long-term harm with your swimming pool and may go a long way in keeping everything clean and the water clear and bacteria free while you’re away.
Add additional chlorine tablets in when you run the skimmer or if you use an automatic chlorinator, turn up the dial a notch or two so the pool gets more chlorine. Don’t forget to turn the levels back down when you return home. If you’re going to be gone longer than a week, it might make sense to ask a pool contractor or a knowledgeable pool friend to come over and shock the pool during the second week you’ll be away.
Test and balance
Testing the water chemistry and balancing all the levels including:
- Total alkalinity
- Chlorine stabilizer
- Calcium hardness
Clean the filter or backwash the filter before you leave on vacation.
Add algaecide, as a preventative measure, before you leave on that much-anticipated family vacation!
Keep in mind, there are three major things that you need to do to keep your swimming pool water crystal clear and bacteria-free and they are:
- Water circulation
- Particle filtration
- Proper chemical balance and water chemistry
Enjoy your vacation! Have fun! Know that if you’ve taken care of your pool before you’ve left you should come home to a pool that welcomes you with crystal clear waters!