Problem Solver - August 2008
Find a printable version here

Making Sense of Pool Maintenance

A dirty pool is no one's friend. Swimmers will quickly notice if you're not keeping things up to par and will find somewhere else to go. Keeping up your pool's appearance is a big task. It takes time, energy, money and staff resources. Properly planning for maintenance needs—and automating what you can—will help keep things running smoothly.

Q: What can I do to reduce maintenance needs?

A: One big help in keeping pools of any size and shape clean is an automatic pool cleaner. These "robotic" cleaners have been around since the 1970s, and have only improved since their initial introduction. They allow pool operators to simply turn them on, reducing the difficult vacuuming and cleaning that was a requirement in the past.

If you have a large facility, you'll be glad to know that newer systems can filter more than 19,000 gallons of water per hour, which means you'll likely be able to find a system that can serve your facility.

Talk with your manufacturer to find out how much power and what type of vacuum head will work best for your facility. For additional convenience, look for a unit with a built-in remote control that will allow you to operate the machine manually when necessary.

Q: What do I need to monitor more regularly?

A: Water chemistry should be your top concern. Proper water chemistry is central to running a successful aquatic facility. To do it right, you must continually monitor chlorine, pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, saturation index and more. Of these, chlorine monitoring is the top priority, because chlorine is the essential disinfectant in your pool's water, killing bacteria and protecting your patrons from diseases.

Chlorine levels will be impacted by a number of factors at any particular pool, including bather load, the types of swimmers and uses, water temperature, dirt, and, above all else, exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet rays rapidly neutralize chlorine.

Most facilities keep checklists to ensure water quality is constantly monitored, so adjustments can be made when needed. You can check with your equipment manufacturer to see what they recommend. Many even offer free checklists for customers to use.

Q: How can I be sure things are operating properly when I'm away?

A: You obviously can't be present at your aquatic facility during every hour that it is open for operation. The first step you should take to ensure problems don't arise when you're away is proper staff training. Make sure you always have staff members on hand who understand what problems to look out for and also know how to take the various required measurements to ensure water quality remains a constant.

You also can look into products that will allow you to keep an eye on your facility from afar, such as controllers that allow you to control and monitor water quality and treatment.

A water quality controller will go a long way toward keeping you in the driver's seat, no matter where you are. With this tool, you can use a PC to remotely monitor water quality data and more. Newer models offer wireless access through global satellite communications, so having a "wired" connection isn't a concern.

Water treatment can also be automated through controllers that incorporate monitoring control and communication functions. Operating like a computer, you can use one of these controllers to handle various functions: calibrating sensors, controlling set points, setting alarm levels, and running programs for super-chlorination and sequential backwashing. Communications functions allow you to monitor your facilities by remote computer or by telephone, allowing for real-time supervision and management, as well as remote troubleshooting by service personnel.

Brock Enterprises: