Maintaining a Luxury Pool - Part 3: Keep the Water Clean & Balanced
Expert Insight by Tom Dankel
Water care is a significant part of pool maintenance. Sanitizing the water and sustaining proper chemical balance ensures the pool is clean and safe to swim in and also protects the pool’s finish materials and equipment from damage.
Many of today’s high-end pools are being outfitted with saltwater sanitizing systems. Salt chlorine generators contain an electrolytic cell that converts sodium chloride (salt) into chlorine to destroy any algae or bacteria in the water. Once the water is purified the chlorine reverts back to salt and the cycle repeats. A digital control panel monitors the salt level so homeowners know when to add more salt, which may be only a few times a year. Saltwater systems have become favored by many pool owners because they provide ease of maintenance and eliminate the need to buy, handle, and store chlorine.
A few supplemental water care systems are also available that efficiently sanitize the water while reducing the use of chemicals. Mineral systems, ionizers, and ozonators use minerals (typically a combination of silver, copper, and zinc) or ozone to sanitize the water and remove algae; they require only a small amount of chlorine to effectively disinfect the water.
Photo courtesy of Cipriano Custom Swimming Pools & Landscaping; photography by Ed Pirone
With all of today’s automated maintenance equipment, there’s one task that pool owners must perform on a frequent basis: Testing the pool water’s chemical levels is of paramount importance as improper water chemistry can be harmful to both swimmers and the pool. Alkalinity, pH, and calcium hardness must be kept at desired levels to achieve balanced water. This requires constant monitoring, testing, and adding of chemicals as pool water can become unbalanced within 24 hours due to inclement weather, increased bather load, and the addition of chemicals or sanitizers.
Water chemistry can be overwhelming for many pool owners; however, it is crucial to the cleanliness and quality of a pool. For this reason, many homeowners choose to hire professionals adept in all aspects of pool maintenance and water care to prevent problems from surfacing and protect their valuable investment.
When hiring a professional pool service company it’s important to make sure the company is properly licensed and insured for your state or municipality and that its technicians are trained or certified in pool water chemistry. It’s also a good indication if the person or company is a member of an accredited affiliation, such as the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP), which holds its members to high standards and offers opportunities for continuing education. Reputable pool service professionals will acquaint you with your pool’s equipment, inform you of any concerns, and educate you on water chemistry so that you can identify problems should they arise. Because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
About the Expert: Tom Dankel has over 30 years of experience in producing superior automatic pool covers. Vice president of Aquamatic Cover Systems, Gilroy, Calif., since 1982, Dankel has been at the forefront of the industry, aiding in the development of innovative pool cover products. In fact, Dankel worked with the founder of Aquamatic Cover Systems in the creation of the first automatic pool cover prototypes and on early production techniques.