An extremely common question that is asked by most potential inground swimming pool buyers is how much time and energy will owning a swimming pool take? In essence “how much time will I have to spend maintaining my pool?” Years ago the answer to this was a lot, but with all the upgraded products, options and services that are now available, the response to this question can be very little. Making your pool as maintenance free as possible depends on who you select to build your pool, what services you decide to use from the builder or service company, as well as how much you decide to invest at the start and in the life of your pool.
One of the most important things an inground swimming pool should offer is enjoyment of family togetherness. It should provide time away from work while not creating a second job. When you interview a pool building or service company, you should ask certain questions to find out what options, products and/or services does the company offer that may reduce if not eliminate some of the forms of pool maintenance. In order to narrow down the scope of builders that you plan on doing business with, one of the first questions you should ask is what does the company install in their new pools to help reduce maintenance time? Circulation, which is the backbone of any pool depends on the plumbing being the right size and that there are ample return and inlet lines built into every pool. The size of the plumbing, the types of filters and the size of the pumps are also important in order for a pool to work efficiently. Also be sure to find out what is the annual maintenance of the filter that will be cleaning and purifying the pool water. To find out what types of filters there are available and which one might be the best for you please check out the Seasonal World blog: “What are the Types of Pool Filters and What are the Differences Between them?”
Essential questions that you should ask the builder is what must be done in terms of daily, weekly and monthly upkeep of the pool? This brings up another question to ask and that is do they build maintenance friendly pools? This refers to what options and features are there that the company you are interviewing can use in building the pool. This will make it more enjoyable with the minimum amount of work. The first set of questions you as a potential buyer should ask is what are the fundamentals that the pool company will be building the pool with? If the pool will be built from scratch you must know what options you can put into the pool from the start and what you can plan for if it isn’t in the initial budget. Many of these options that can reduce the amount of maintenance time when the pool is built can also be added months or years later.
There are core components that must be built into every pool. This is some type of sanitation, filter and pump system. Depending on your investment level there are many products in the market that can make your life easier. One of these is a complete chemical automation system which can be used not only to monitor the pH, sanitation system, and in case of a salt water pool, the salt system, but also automatically add the right chemicals to correctly balance and clear the water. Another type of product is robotic cleaners. Although they need to be manually placed into the water, they will help reduce the amount of time that you need to vacuum the pool. Some companies offer an in-floor cleaning system. Whether or not to add this option must be decided at the time the pool is built, because it cannot be added later. These inground cleaning systems are some of the best options for eliminating or dramatically reducing the amount of time that the pool needs to be cleaned. In addition most in-floor cleaning systems will cause the water to circulate better. This allows you to have to add fewer chemicals, prevents algae, and keeps the water warmer. It will help to decrease runtime and operating costs, as well as reduce maintenance that you have to do on your pool.
After you do your research and ask questions on why these builders use these specific products or features, then it is time for a conversation to be had with the builder about what kind of post construction maintenance support they can provide. Some builders only do the initial building of the pool and then when the project is completed they turn the client’s pool over to a separate service firm that has some sort affiliation with them. Some builders offer these services in house. Meaning the pool is transitioned from construction and then turned over to another department in the same organization. All of your records will be transferred or available to each department which makes sure all the service people are familiar with you and the specifics of your pool. These people tend to be on staff people who will work with other employees to give you the best service. The types of maintenance related services will be weekly or monthly pool cleanings as well as chemical testing and adjustment.
If the builder also has an in house service department than the question to ask is do they offer on demand services? Will someone come out to service the pool in a timely and efficient manner if I call? Warranty support for your products is very important because this helps eliminate stress from not having to search all over for help if something under warranty is not working properly. Another question to explore is does the company offer any kind of maintenance services? Do they offer programs that schedule trained technicians to come out to the property and monitor pool chemicals, adjust chemical levels and clean the pool? Are there other types of maintenance programs also available to help make my pool life easy?
Depending on what you want and are willing to pay for there are different levels of maintenance programs. These range from full service programs, sometimes called valet services, which allows the homeowner to have almost everything done for them and to not have to do anything but enjoy the pool. Some companies may also offer water balance service only. This will maintain water clarity and balance and although you will have to clean the pool yourself. Having someone else help balance the pool water will give you tremendous peace of mind. If you use one of these services, as well as equip your pool with a cartridge based filter system and some sort of in floor cleaning system or robotic cleaner, a lot of the pool maintenance work will be done for you.
Although a lot of builders do service, there are some that also operate retail stores. These stores will generally offer computerized water testing. It can be for free or for a minimal charge. This allows a homeowner to bring their own water into the store and get a computerized readout. While there, they can also get personal guidance on which chemicals should be added and in what increments they should be. Many of these stores will also stock common parts and many of the common pool maintenance tools that are associated with pool ownership. If you decide to do most of the maintenance yourself you can utilize these resources to help you out. This is generally least expensive way to maintain a pool.
Enjoying your pool more than working on it should be your aim. Isn’t this the reason you decided to buy one in the first place? The pool should be your escape from work and the daily stresses of life. If you build your pool correctly using items that are maintenance friendly as well as partner with a company or service provider that offers the 360 approach (sales – installation – post installation and support or service), you will have a low maintenance pool you can enjoy for years to come. It is a case of pay now or pay later. If you don’t put the investment in at the start in building the pool using maintenance friendly options such as in in-floor cleaning system, or some sort of chemical automation, it will cause more work down the road. In the long term that might make pool ownership cost more and increase the amount of time you spend on your pool.