Most everyone would agree that being able to swim in or sit beside a crystal clear, pristine pool is a real joy, especially for those of us living in the Phoenix, AZ area. Keeping the pool looking good though, and safe for swimming, requires proper maintenance. Some Arizona homeowners elect to maintain their own pools in order to save a little money, or maybe they just enjoy doing-it-themselves. Regardless of who maintains the pool, there are some dangers of improper pool service everyone should know about.
First of all, anyone performing pool maintenance should be aware that the task requires the use of hazardous materials. Chlorine is one of the main chemicals used to keep the water clean and clear and to avoid the buildup of algae and other bacteria. It can be used in solid or liquid form, both of which are hazardous and require careful handling, in addition to a safe method of storage. When improperly used or stored, chlorine can cause or contribute to respiratory problems, plus skin and eye irritations. If stored indoors, toxic gases can be released. Accidentally mixing chlorine with ammonia or certain hydrocarbons can actually cause an explosion. A proper balance of the pool’s acidity, known as pH, also has to be maintained. Chlorine is most effective when the pool’s pH is at the proper level. If the pH level is too high, the usual solution is to add muriatic acid, another hazardous substance.
Secondly, a complete understanding of how to properly use the chemicals is required. Not only are most of the chemicals considered hazardous, they can present other dangers if used improperly. This means they have to be applied in precise amounts using specific procedures. For instance, some chemicals are added directly to the pool water while others have to be diluted before applying. Additionally, there are timing factors involved with the use of some chemicals, limiting the amount of chemicals that can be applied over a discrete time period.
While there is certainly nothing wrong with a homeowner wanting to maintain their own pool, it may be beneficial to hire a pool contractor. In most cases, the contractor will furnish the chemicals required which eliminates the homeowner’s responsibilities for handling and storing hazardous materials. The contractor will have trained personnel who can test the pool chemicals on a regular basis and keep them balanced. If any non-routine items requiring maintenance are observed, the contractor can call it to the attention of the homeowner and repairs can be made before major problems develop.