Oct 7, 2016 1:03:00 PM / by Claude Kershner IV

You wouldn’t run your car 20,000 miles without an oil change. Otherwise, you’d be just asking for a mechanical breakdown. And, you would not wait 10 years before stepping foot inside a dentist’s office—or news of cavities or a costly procedure would be no surprise. So why do some pool owners tend to let annual preventive pool and spa maintenance slide?

Like any type of technology, the systems that regulate and operate our “bodies” of water—we’re talking about your pool and spa—need maintenance. Because some mechanical devices are exposed to the environment, they are subject to wear and tear. (And we also find that some owners can “push buttons” not realizing what those controls do.)

For all of these reasons, pools and spas need detailed annual inspections conducted by experienced pool professionals who are well versed in the intricacies of complex pool systems. Even the simplest pools are essentially complex aquatic ecosystems that demand careful oversight.

Annual pool and spa maintenance includes conducting tests, taking measurements, making adjustments, replacing parts, cleaning, and performing duties to prevent failures from occurring. Failures mean risking the health and safety of people using the pool, and incurring expenses to fix problems that could have been avoided. It all goes back to that saying, “An ounce of prevention…”

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So what, specifically, should you understand about preventive pool and spa maintenance? What can you expect when an experienced pool professional conducts annual service? Let’s dive in and talk more about the necessary care and servicing your pool and spa requires to retain its beauty and value—and to function efficiently and cost-effectively.   

Pool Preventative Maintenance = Cost Savings

cost_savings-417306-edited.jpg reason we consider the big picture of your pool space when providing service is because it is a critical asset on your property. And, the pool system is most likely the single largest energy consumer at a residence. According to the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), you can save up to 50% more energy by properly sizing, installing and maintaining your pool heater, pump and hydraulics. For example, upgrading to a variable speed pump can save hundreds of dollars per year.

This speaks to the value of preventive pool maintenance: It’s all about identifying cost-saving opportunities that will help your pool work more efficiently, and provide the pool experience you expect from this leisure space. Preventive pool maintenance will:

  • Prevent machinery breakdown. Replacing equipment before it fails is more cost effective and beneficial for your pool than waiting until equipment stops working.
  • Attain peak performance. When your pool systems are not operating at full capacity or have a “weak link,” then you are not capturing the benefits of the equipment. This can have a negative impact on water quality, filtration and other vital systems. Annual preventive pool and spa maintenance ensures optimum operating condition of equipment.
  • Improve longevity. Our tropical South Florida climate can take a toll on pool infrastructure. Heat, humidity and year-round pool use can give pool equipment a workout. Annual pool maintenance to make adjustments, replace parts and clean mechanicals is essential in this area of the country.

Preventive Pool And Spa Maintenance Checklist

CPOA Certified Pool/Spa Operator (CPO) is trained in all aspects of pool and spa maintenance. Ask your pool provider has CPO certified professionals on staff—you should require this to ensure you are getting the best service. Also, it’s important to know that repairs and pool maintenance are performed by certified mechanics who bring a high level of knowledge to the table. They work together with pool cleaners, but are the ones responsible for annual preventive maintenance.

We recommend the following annual pool and spa preventive maintenance services:

  • Check main drains, suction fittings and jets to ensure they are present, functional and safe.
  • Check filters thoroughly. This includes changing gaskets, PSI gauges, cleaning and/or changing cartridges, changing DE filters (inspecting and cleaning grids).
  • Routine check-up of heat pump and gas heaters. This includes:
    • Checking temperature settings and refrigerant levels
    • Inspecting and cleaning the heat exchanger
    • Cleaning and lubing terminals
    • Removing, inspecting and cleaning burner tray
    • Oiling the interior
    • Cleaning the condensation drip
    • Checking and changing indicator lights

Troubleshooting Common Pool Equipment Problems

pool_preventative_maintenance.pngThe reality is, pool equipment is often installed where you can’t see it. You’ll find mechanicals located in basements, closets or dedicated rooms so they can be out of sight. Then, these “working parts” are often out of mind—and that’s why so many people push off pool maintenance.

What are common issues we find when servicing pools?  

DE Filters. We often find holes in the grid fabric and cracks in the manifold attached to grids. We always dig deeper and ask: What caused this issue? It’s never just a filter problem. Going back to the importance of hiring a CPO-certified professional, experienced pool providers are trained to fully inspect equipment to address the roots of pool equipment problems.

For one, these filter “holes” could indicate a broken air bleeder tube or assembly. Or, if we find DE in the pool, the cause could be a multiport or push-pull valve that is allowing powder to bypass the filter completely. We often notice this when adding new DE powder after backwashing. (This can be tested at any time.) In all cases, the best solution is to first completely remove the DE filter grids and clean and inspect them thoroughly.

Filter Cartridges. We ensure that all internal parts are in place and that the cartridge is properly seated in place before installation. Otherwise, dirt and particulates could bypass the cartridge—and the filter. (That’s the reason why you’ll see the matter in your pool.) Cartridge filters are designed to force water through the pleats, but water will take the path of least resistance if the cartridge internals are not secure. In South Florida, we recommend replacing cartridge elements annually. Filters that present with lots of algae or tree buildup could require replacement every six months.

These are some basic filter issues we confront during annual preventive pool and spa maintenance—but as noted on the recommended service list above, filters just scratch the surface. Pool maintenance is a detail-oriented, technical job that must be performed by a trained and experienced professional.

Pool Maintenance: So Much More Than Filters

At Reef Tropical, we take a holistic approach to pool construction and maintenance. That means we go far beyond simply checking filters and chemical levels. A high-quality, properly built pool is the foundation for an effective pool and spa maintenance program. If the infrastructure and systems are not properly in place, maintenance efforts will not be effective. If you think about it, maintaining a faulty pool structure/system is like cleaning a mouth full of cavities. A professional pool and spa firm will take the opportunity at annual service visits to ensure that your pool meets evolving codes—and that the pool equipment is up-to-date and effective. Then, pool maintenance is truly effective.

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Conclusion

When we service a pool or spa where maintenance was sidelined for some time, the owners often regret that they didn’t call sooner. We recommend adding preventive pool maintenance to your must-do list and scheduling it annually. Delaying pool maintenance only results in more costly repairs down the road. Plus, servicing equipment while it is still under warranty will save time and money. (Our professionals can let you know when to “use the warranty” while it is still available.)

Protecting your pool investment requires caring for its mechanicals before they fail to assure your own health and safety, and to get the most value and enjoyment from your pool.

Let’s talk more. Download our pool service checklist, and don’t hesitate to call us any time at 305.367.2005. Or, you can fill out this simple contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.

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Topics: Pool & Spa Maintenance

Claude Kershner IV

Written by Claude Kershner IV

Owner & Operator Reef Tropical • Pool & Landscape

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