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  • Writer's pictureJosh Johnson

Do I Need a Pool Service Company?

Owning a pool is the ultimate sign of luxury for many homeowners. After a stressful workday, there’s nothing quite like unwinding with a relaxing swim.

But that’s not to say that pool ownership is without its responsibilities — there’s still swimming pool maintenance to perform. Water must be cleaned and treated, surfaces scrubbed, stains removed, and parts replaced.

Is it worth it? If your dream is to step out onto your back porch and be able to take a running leap into your privately owned, crystal-clear H2O, then yes, it’s worth it. But just how much of a hassle is caring for a pool?

If you live in Santa Barbara (or Goleta, Hope Ranch, Ojai, Santa Ynez Montecito, Los Olivos, or another nearby area), you’re used to warm, sunny weather and most likely view having a pool as a practical necessity. If that’s the case, you should also strongly consider having a dedicated pool service.

Let’s examine the different aspects of upkeep to figure out if it’s something you want to tackle.


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Swimming Pool Maintenance 101

You might find that some of the simpler aspects of pool cleaning and maintenance aren’t too much of a challenge. Some of these tasks get much easier if you don’t mind spending money on equipment. But all of them will take time, so keep that in mind before you try your hand at DIY maintenance.

Removing Debris

You can use a basic pole skimmer to get rid of the various debris that land in your pool. Every couple of days, break out the skimmer and fish out whatever dirt, leaves, bugs, or other detritus you find floating in your pool.

It’s worth noting that this task will largely be unnecessary if your pool is screened or indoors.

Cleaning Out Filters

Check and clean your strainer basket every week. The more clogged it gets, the less efficiently the water can circulate.

You’ll also want to get in the habit of cleaning your pool’s filters once a month. Depending on the size of your filter, this might be a job best left to the professionals. Thankfully, if that’s the case, it will probably only need to be cleaned a few times a year.

You can also check your filter pressure gauge every three days or so to see if your filter is getting backed up too fast. If the filter pressure rises five pounds or more and the flow of water gets slower, it’s time for a cleaning.

Run the Pump

Run your pool pump anywhere from 8 to 12 hours every day to ensure your water is being filtered properly. You can automate this process so you don’t even have to think about it. Just check in periodically to make sure it’s going smoothly.


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Swimming Pool Maintenance 202

Some pool cleaning processes take more expertise and elbow grease. Expect to devote more time and energy to these sorts of tasks.

Brushing

No one wants to swim in a pool with gunk on all of the surfaces. What is that stuff, anyway?

Most swimming pool buildup is a mixture of calcium deposits, mold, algae, and stains from improper chemical treatment. To deal with it, you’ll need to get a pool brush and be ready to scrub the walls and floor of your pool twice a week.

Remember to brush toward the main drain and push rather than pull. A solid pool vacuum can be a big help here, though it’s no substitute for regular brushing.

Adding Chlorine

Chlorine is a sanitizer that makes pool water suitable for swimming. While pool chemical treatment can be complicated, adding chlorine simply requires that you read the instructions for how much to use for your pool.

Generally, you should add a tablet or shake every three to seven days. This is only a basic rule of thumb, however. To truly determine whether your water is safe for swimming, you’re going to need to perform some water testing.


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Water Testing

There are several types of water testing kits. The simplest are test strips that change color depending on the chemical you’re testing for. For more accurate readings, you can use liquid test kits, and for even greater accuracy, you can upgrade to digital testing kits.

Each of these kits will reveal the balance of chemicals in your pool water and confirm that they’re eliminating bacteria and other contaminants while keeping the water safe for swimming. Alternatively, you can take a small amount of your water to a professional pool cleaning service and have them analyze it.

Intermediate Swimming Pool Maintenance

Unless you have extensive pool cleaning experience or are a professional yourself, this next set of chores is probably best left to the professionals.

Shocking

Shocking is a process used to quickly clean pool water by loading it with high levels of chlorine. Because this needs to be done quickly, you’ll want to use granules of unstabilized chlorine.

Unstabilized chlorine breaks down quickly in sunlight, so shocking should always be done at night. See why we say pool maintenance gets more complicated the deeper you go?

Chemical Balance

You’ve tested your water. Now what?

What are you testing for, exactly? And will you have to recall what you learned in your high school chemistry class to interpret the results?

There are quite a few aspects to pool water chemistry, and you’ll need to get them all right if you want clear, sparkling water.

1. pH Level

If your pool water has a pH lower than 7, it means it’s acidic. If the pH is greater than 7, it’s basic. A reading of 7 is considered neutral, falling right in the middle of the scale, which runs from 0 to 14.

The ideal pool pH matches that of the human body, approximately 7.4-7.6. You’ll need to use special chemicals to raise or lower your pool’s pH.

2. Alkalinity Level

Alkalinity level might seem like it’s referring to pH, but it’s actually measuring carbonates and hydroxides, which help maintain a stable pH. If your pool’s alkalinity levels are too high, you can dilute them with a pH increaser.

One of the best alkalinity level increasers is ordinary baking soda. That’s right, the same stuff you put in your fridge to make it smell better.

3. Calcium Hardness

When someone refers to “hard water,” they’re saying that the water has high amounts of calcium or other minerals. Hard or high-calcium water can make your skin feel like it has a film on it. It will also make hair seem limp or lifeless.

Similarly, too much calcium will cause your water to become cloudy (the white deposits on your shower head are evidence of calcification at work). Too little, on the other hand, can corrode or stain various surfaces and components in your pool, particularly metal ones.

4. Sanitizers

A good chemical sanitizer, be it chlorine, bromine, biguanide, a special mineral treatment, or some other substance, is the most important part of your pool’s cleaning regimen. It’s not overstating things to say that getting this one aspect right can make or break your pool cleaning.

Some sanitizers, like ozone, work best in conjunction with other sanitizers. You’ll have to determine what you want your water to feel and smell like to decide which sanitizer is right for your pool.

5. Clarifier

If you have cloudy water, you can temporarily clear it up using a clarifier. It won’t get rid of the contaminants that clouded your water in the first place, but it will certainly help the water look nicer for a short time.

6. Flocculant

If you want to attack the root cause of cloudiness, you’ll need to rely on flocculant (often called “floc”). This additive attracts cloud-creating particles and binds them into clumps, making it easier to vacuum them up.

7. Metal Sequestrant

If you have too much metal in your water, a sequestrant may be the solution.

As their name suggests, metal sequestrants attach to metals like copper and iron and cause them to form clumps that sink to the bottom for easier vacuuming, much like flocculant.

Keep in mind that sequestrants won’t get rid of stains on metal. You or your pool service specialist will have to scrub those out manually.

8. Algaecide

Chlorine can take time to do its thing, even if you’re shocking your pool regularly. To get rid of algae fast, pick up an algaecide. These products are super-concentrated, which means they work much faster than normal sanitizers.


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Advanced Swimming Pool Maintenance

That does it for the pool cleaning tasks you can perform yourself. The rest you should really leave to the experts.

Replacing/Repairing Parts

When a necessary component stops functioning, you’ll need to call a professional pool service.

Repairing or replacing some parts might require complete pool draining or the use of highly specialized tools. It might even involve working with electric or plumbing lines. For the sake of your own safety (and sanity), it’s best to let the pros take over.

Deep Cleaning

You’ve chlorinated and shocked and added scrubbed until your arms are sore, but there are still stains on your pool’s surface. At this point, there’s little you can do other than hire a qualified Santa Barbara pool service to drain the pool and clean it from top to bottom with special chemicals.

Structure Repairs

If you find cracks, chips, or other serious damage in your pool, you’ll need to hire a skilled crew to come in and fix them. Doing so might mean re-grouting tiles or patching broken concrete, and these sorts of tasks are best left to those with lots of experience.

After all, your pool is an investment. You don’t want to diminish its value (and, by extension, that of your home) with a botched DIY repair project.

Why Hire Professionals?

There are many good reasons to leave most or all of your swimming pool maintenance to the professionals, including the stuff you’re capable of doing yourself.

It’s Time Consuming

Pool maintenance takes time. There are multiple hours' worth of tasks to be performed weekly, especially if your pool has utility lines or landscaping close by. If you’re like most people, you probably don’t enjoy working on your pool as much as swimming in it.

It Can Be More Expensive Than You Think

It may surprise you to learn that working your pool yourself can actually be more expensive than hiring a pool service to maintain it, but that is indeed often the case.

Think about it this way: a professional pool cleaning service will have the knowledge, skills, tools, and experience to get the job done right the first time. Even if they don’t, most guarantee their work and are willing to fix their mistakes free of charge.

Furthermore, they can spread the cost of equipment and chemical purchases across their client base while you’ll have to pay for all those chemicals and accessories yourself. And if you make a mistake, you’ll have no choice but to start over with all new materials. Needless to say, the costs can add up fast.

It’s Messy

If you’re determined to perform the necessary pool maintenance on your own, you’ll have to get used to dealing with some pretty nasty stuff, from harsh chemicals and algae buildup to seasonal debris and dead bugs. If you’re squeamish and don’t like getting your hands dirty, this isn’t a job for you.

It Can Be Physically Taxing

Skimming, brushing, replenishing water levels, and adding chemicals all take a significant amount of effort. If you’ve always viewed your pool as a place of relaxation, you might begin to resent it more than you enjoy it.

Hiring a reputable Santa Barbara pool service will do more than just save you time and money — it can also spare you quite a bit of backbreaking labor and frustration.

You Can Count on Professionals To Do a Professional Job

In general, pool cleaning experts will do a better job cleaning a pool than any homeowner can. With more manpower, better tools, and plenty of experience, they know how to tend to each task quickly yet effectively.

Pool service companies often send teams of technicians to work on a single job. When you have several pros all working toward the same goal together, you can be certain things will go quickly.

Mistakes Aren’t Your Problem

With very few exceptions, if the pool cleaning company you hire doesn’t do the job right the first time, they’ll correct it on their own dime. They have a vested interest in doing so, as they’ll be eager to continue receiving your business.

If you make a mistake, however, it’s on you and you alone to fix it. And you may not be able to, depending on the nature of the issue.

What About Automated Pool Controllers?

Automated pool controllers are incredible inventions that can dramatically decrease the amount of pool maintenance that has to be done.

These devices are designed to maintain the pH balance and dispense controlled amounts of sanitizer at predetermined intervals, taking a huge load off the shoulders of whoever’s been tasked with cleaning a pool.

However, they can’t do everything. There are still many other tasks to do, like skimming, vacuuming, cleaning out filters and skimmer baskets, and repairing broken parts. No matter how much automation you introduce to your pool, there will still be some manual labor required.

Take the filter, for instance. Chemicals alone can’t keep pool water clean, which is why filters are so important. Whether your pool filter uses sand, diatomaceous earth, or fabric filters, they'll need to be regularly and thoroughly cleaned by hand. Whether that hand is yours or a trained professional’s is up to you.

What Will Professional Maintenance Cost?

The average cost of hiring a Goleta, Montecito, or Santa Barbara pool service starts around $250 per month and goes up from there depending on a number of factors. If you’re uncertain whether the cost is worth it, just think about the time, energy, headache, and even money you stand to save by relying on a professional service.

Is it worth your time to have to take care of each and every aspect of pool maintenance on your own? Is the money you might save (assuming you do everything right the first time) worth the energy you’ll be forfeiting in the process? Is the thought of sorting out a cleaning schedule worth the headache of coming to see your pool as a source of frustration you’d rather not bother with?

If you answered “no” to any of the preceding questions, you could probably benefit from working with a professional pool service.

Let Pure Aquatic Systems Do the Work So You Can Play

Don’t let your pool become a source of irritation and headaches. Call Pure Aquatic Solutions and let us do the hard work of maintaining your pool for you.

We’ll handle all of the skimming, scrubbing, vacuuming, testing, balancing, cleaning, and every other tedious or unpleasant job you’d rather not do. When we’re done, you’ll have crisp, clear, inviting water just begging for you to take a dip.

Southern California is a paradise for much of the year, and your pool is integral for making the most of the good weather and good vibes. Contact Pure Aquatic Solutions today and get started on a maintenance schedule that works for you.


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