1st Time Pool Owner Guidance Please

The basics of swimming pool maintenance.
New swimming pool owner's questions.
Help getting started with daily pool care.
LVpoolowner
Pool Newbie
Pool Newbie
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu 31 Dec, 2009 13:26
My Pool: 16,000 galloon inground pool & spa (share equipment)
Hayward Swimclear Cartridge Filter
Stay-Rite "Dyna-Glas" Pump
With Pop Up poop cleaners in the floor
Concrete serface?
Location: Las Vegas

1st Time Pool Owner Guidance Please

Postby LVpoolowner » Thu 31 Dec, 2009 14:08

Hello -

I recently purchased a home with an inground pool and attached spa. I don't know much of anything about pools so we have the same pool company the previous homeowner's used still looking after the pool. They charge us 110 a month and come by once a week. All he seems to do while here is scoop out leaves and such and recently he changed the timer on our pump to run for less time. I have so many questions so I'll just start a list and hopefully some will be responded to.

Pool Info
Location - Las Vegas
16,000 galloon inground pool & spa (share equipment)
Hayward Swimclear Cartridge Filter
Stay-Rite "Dyna-Glas" Pump
With Pop Up poop cleaners in the floor
Concrete surface?
I do have a heater but right now it is disconnected from the gas line.

1. Are there unseen advantages to having a pool company keep after my pool. Obviously it saves me manual labor but are there other things I just don't know about?

2. After the pool guy comes the pool looks great for a few hours but then dirt settles back down in the same places as before. Between pop up heads and in the corners. Is this always going to happen or is there something he or I could be doing about it.

3. I have a Hayward Swimclear Cartridge Filter and my monthly payments to the pool guy include it being cleaned every 3 months. Is this something I could do myself if I start taking care of my own pool?

4. What do pool owners do when they are on vacation if they don't have a pool guy?

5. For someone to take care of their own pool what are the monthly expenses?

6. Are there any tools that I need to have in order to take care of my pool?

7. Is there a good reference guide or book on how to manage your own pool? I've checked a few out from the library but they have been so general that I don't feel like I am really learning anything about how to care for my pool. I'm looking for a good beginner's guide to pool management. (ie. chemicals, how long to run the pumps, what to do before and after swimmers are in the water and everything else I don't know)

8. Is there a good method for sweeping a pool? I try to sweep the dirt between visits from my pool guy but it always seems to settle back in the same places. Should I be using short passes or long? Should I sweep all the way to the drain or stop a few feet from it?

9. For me to start taking care of the pool myself what would be my initial expenses? All I have now is a hard bristled sweeper, a skimmer and an extension pole.

I appreciate any help and advice you can offer.

Thanks,
LVpoolowner


chem geek
Pool Industry Leader
Pool Industry Leader
Posts: 2382
Joined: Thu 21 Jun, 2007 21:27
Location: San Rafael, California

1st Time Pool Owner Guidance Please

Postby chem geek » Thu 31 Dec, 2009 15:33

One place you can start reading is the Pool School .

The main advantage to having a pool service is the convenience of having them do the manual labor of brushing your pool, removing debris, cleaning filters and testing and adjusting chemicals. You can certainly do all of this if you want to. It's a cost/convenience tradeoff.

I have a 16,000 gallon pool shown here and here which costs me around $17 month in chemicals (mostly chlorine). I have a mostly opaque electric safety cover so my chlorine usage is low at around 1 ppm FC per day (the cover also keeps the pool cleaner), though it is used 1-2 hours every day during the 7-month swim season (with gas assist when the solar isn't enough). I add 12.5% chlorinating liquid twice a week and every month or two I add a small amount of acid (my pool's pH is fairly stable). The chlorine comes from my local pool store since it's reasonably priced and they reuse the bottles which is better than recycling. The pump electricity costs are high (32 cents per kilowatt-hour) at around $700 per year, but that's around half of what it used to be before I replaced my 1 HP main pool pump and 3/4 HP pressure-side cleaner booster pump with an IntelliFlo variable flow pump. The high cost is mostly due to the solar system which needs around 48 GPM for the 12 panels I have (and the pipe runs are long). I have an oversized cartridge filter (Jandy CL340) that I only need to clean once a year and I usually take it to the pool store for hosing down and overnight soaking (in TSP or equivalent cleaner) though that is certainly something you could do yourself if you wanted to.

When on vacation, we usually have someone staying at the house that adds the chlorine twice a week. If you have a pool cover that is opaque to the UV in sunlight, then you can shock the pool with enough chlorine to last a week. If your pool is uncovered, then with a high CYA level you can also add chlorine once a week, but the swings in FC are large. There is a pool service in Las Vegas and other very hot direct sun areas that uses 100 ppm CYA and adds chlorine (either chlorine gas or chlorinating liquid) to 14 ppm FC where it drops to around 4 ppm FC the next week. Though that works well, you would probably be better off with 80 ppm FC and adding chlorine twice a week (or more) to reduce the swing from 10 ppm FC to 4-5 ppm FC (or add chlorine every day or two to maintain around 6 ppm FC on average). Some people use Trichlor pucks in a floating chlorinator as that can also last about a week, but Trichlor is very acidic and increases the CYA level so is not something you would use all the time (without needing algaecides or other products at extra cost to prevent algae growth).

Richard

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