Easy Pool ‘To-Dos’ to Ensure a Carefree Vacation

June 15, 2015

By Sabine H. Schoenberg

13-16-12_Photo courtesy Piscines Fontaine Inc.[1]
Ensure there are no boxes or other structures near your fence that can be used to climb over and gain access to your pool while you’re away.

Leaving for vacation fun? Hurrah! If you’re like me, you’ve got a checklist of things to do before heading off for some R and R. Yours might look something like this:

Yes, most pool owners don’t think about this very important aspect to their home’s upkeep when they’re caught in the excitement and rush of going on holiday. And yet, they should. It is no fun being away from home if you are constantly worrying about your pool, even if you’ll only be gone for a few days.

Imagine sitting on a beach somewhere and your mind wanders to all the things you didn’t do before leaving, like making sure you’ve covered your bases when it comes to your pool. Have you done the prep work to ensure you’re not coming home to a dirty ‘green’ pool? Have you secured it so that no one has gained access or fallen in accidentally? It’s enough to make you want to cancel the whole holiday itself, right? Newsflash—it doesn’t have to be.

Here are six ways to help ensure you travel with peace of mind and leave the worrying behind.

1) Vacuum and Clean the Pool

A day or so before you leave, vacuum and clean the pool thoroughly, as well as brush and scrub clean its surfaces. Backwash the sand filter or rinse out the cartridge filter completely if your pool has one. Also, clean the area around the pool to prevent watermarks, algae, or dirt from staining any surfaces.

Remember to keep the filter running several hours each day. If your pool has an automatic timer, set it to run at least six to eight hours per day. This is important to keeping your pool water clean and clear.

2) Get a Pool Cover

A pool cover helps prevent leaves, debris, and bugs from gathering on the water’s surface, making it easier to clean when you return.

If you have a solar blanket, consider a safety cover instead. Leaving a solar blanket in place for an extended period only warms the pool water and reduces the skimmer’s effectiveness. Further, it doesn’t prevent access to the pool.

3) Use a Pool Alarm

Unauthorized access to backyard pools is one of the leading causes of water-related accidents. As a responsible pool owner, it is also something you don’t want to worry about when you’re away from home.

If your pool does not have a locking safety cover, consider a floating security system/device, which sounds an alarm when someone enters the pool or falls in, alerting a neighbour to a potential problem. Most floating pool alarms run on batteries, so be sure to check them before you leave. A perimeter pool alarm is another option to consider.

13-45-05_Photo courtesy Forest City Pool & Patio[2]
A pool cover can help keep your pool free of leaves, debris, and bugs, making it easier to clean when you return from holiday.

4) Check All Gates and Enclosures

Speaking of perimeter safety, don’t forget to check all enclosures and gates are locked and that no one can get into your pool while you’re away. Check the periphery of your house as well to ensure there aren’t any boxes or chairs, for instance, which can be used to climb over your fence. Also, have a neighbour or friend check on your pool in your absence.

When thinking about who to ask to watch over your pool, consider a fellow pool owner to make it easy for you and them. Here’s a simple checklist of things they can do to ensure perfect pool health while you’re gone:

Leave your contact details and check in with them on a regular basis, especially if you will be gone for more than a week.

5) Don’t Skip Regular Pool Maintenance

A pool’s chemical balance changes due to different weather conditions and debris that falls into the water. Therefore, consistent maintenance is essential.

If you are unable to find a friend or neighbour to help out, some companies offer a swimming pool ‘babysitting’ service. This may be worthwhile even if you’ll only be gone a week. Keep in mind that any interruption in regular maintenance may haunt you upon your return. You may even have to ‘shock’ your pool or acid wash stains. Neither one of these is a fun task to come home to from holiday.

6) Back from Vacation

When you return, test and treat the water, if necessary, add some more if it’s needed, and adjust the pH balance. You’re done—pour yourself a nice cool drink and get ready for your swim!

Proper maintenance is key to keeping your pool looking and feeling absolutely awesome. Yet, it’s also key to ensuring your pool is in the best shape possible when you return from a much-deserved getaway.

Now that you know what needs to be done, check this last item of your list and get ready to enjoy your vacation stress- and worry-free!

Sabine H. Schoenberg is a home improvement expert and author of kitchen design book, Kitchen Magic. She is also founder of PrimeSites, Inc., a luxury real estate and brokerage firm with celebrity clientele. Schoenberg has been featured on syndicated TV shows and has had her properties named in ‘Top Ten Homes around the World’ by Bellevue, Europe’s leading luxury home magazine. In her spare time, Schoenberg is a nationally certified race car instructor at Porsche Club of America.

Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: http://poolsspaspatios.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/13-16-12_Photo-courtesy-Piscines-Fontaine-Inc..jpg
  2. [Image]: http://www.poolspas.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/13-45-05_Photo-courtesy-Forest-City-Pool-Patio.jpg

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