Whether you’re just seeking information about building a swimming pool or you’re nearly complete with your pool project, there is a critical last step to take before you dive in: learning how to properly use and maintain your new pool. After construction is completed, any reputable pool company should give you one-on-one training showing you all of your pool’s functions and features so you have the confidence and knowledge to get the most out of your pool. The following is a general guide for new pool owners outlining what to expect when the pool is ready to use and what important details they should inquire about.
The Finishing Stages of Concrete Pool Construction
Assuming you opted for concrete pool construction (the preferred option), there is often a special start-up or break-in procedure that needs to be followed to ensure the plaster surfaces cure properly. Your builder should already have taken care of this process by the time you have your new pool orientation, but it’s a good idea to ask them what, if anything, is left to do before the pool can be filled and used. As for filling the pool, again, most builders would do this before your orientation, but there are right ways and wrong ways to fill a pool. This is a good time to get some details on the process should you ever have to drain and refill the pool yourself. Once the pool has been filled, the company will add the proper chemicals to it as well as do a final inspection of the pool, and circulation and filtration systems. You will want to ask your pool company how long you have to wait until you can swim in your new pool. You will also need to know when you can start using the heater to heat your pool. It might be necessary to delay using the heater. If you have a saltwater chlorine generator (SWG) pool, your pool company should tell you when it’s OK to start it up.
Pool Operation Walk-Through and Maintenance Requirements
Once all the post-construction checks have been completed, your pool company will contact you to schedule an orientation to teach you how to care for and operate your new pool. During this walk-through, you are encouraged to video record the process of operation (in case you need to refer back to it later) and ask questions. Here are the key points you’ll need to discuss at length with your pool builder before they “hand over the keys” so to speak:
- Skimming surface water for debris
- Brushing the pool sides to reduce algae buildup
- Checking and emptying the skimmer baskets for debris
- Checking filter pressure and setting it properly
- Cleaning the filter
- Turning the pump on and off and knowing how often it should run
- Checking the pool’s chemical levels and pH balance
- Shocking the pool
- Turning the lights on and off and keeping all lights working
- Basic best practices for landscaping around your pool
Talk to the representative about a recommended maintenance and cleaning schedule. You’ll want to document and refer to a schedule that outlines the frequency these tasks need to be performed for optimum pool operation. As mentioned before, it’s also a good idea to record all these procedures as they are showing them to you on your pool and equipment. Any quality pool company will provide you with some written resources and instructions to help guide you after the orientation. They also typically have resources on their website you can refer to. Some pool companies will even come back to your home and provide free refresher training if you need it. As for supplies, there are a variety of chemicals you should have on hand to maintain the proper mixture in your pool water. Hydrochloric or muriatic acid are common as well as chemicals that raise or lower pH levels. Ask your builder at orientation about what chemicals your pool requires. The representative conducting your orientation should also leave you with a pole, basket, brush, and test kit.
Essential Pool Safety
The last and most important thing you should know about your pool is how to ensure the safety of people using it. This is vital information that any new pool owner should know.
- Never leave children unattended in or near a swimming pool.
- Have emergency items ready and know how to use them. These include: life preserver/jacket and/or pole, cell phone, and a first aid kit.
- No running in the pool area.
- Always make sure your pool fence or barrier is secure by closing the gate. The gate should be locked when the pool is not in use.
- Remove objects near the pool barrier that could be used to climb over it. You are responsible for the safety of everyone who uses your pool whether they were invited to use it or not.
- Install and maintain good lighting both in the pool itself and around the deck and walkways.
- Store pool chemicals out of sight and away from children and pets.