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26 May 2016
Pool maintenance
Pool owners obviously prefer to spend time splashing around their backyard oasis than scraping calcium from the pool tiles and unclogging leaves in the skimmer.

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That is why many owners use companies to help them maintain their pools and maximize their enjoyment in water.
"People hire a pool service for the same reasons as they do in order to hire a lawn service; they do not have time to do it themselves, or they don't want to mess with it because of the chemicals and equipment," says Steve Bludsworth, who owns All-Pool Service & Supply in Orlando.

What should an owner expect of a reputable pool-maintenance company?

Generally, companies supply a month-to-month agreement intended to keep pools fit visually and chemically, preventing larger problems from developing.

Services differ from company to company and from pool to pool, but typically part of a standard agreement are testing and balancing water chemistry, vacuuming, brushing the sides of the pool, emptying skimmer baskets, cleaning the filter as needed and checking to ensure that all the equipment - like the timer and pump - are working efficiently.

Usually taught in agreements are the chemicals required to maintain the water balance, which is affected by six factors: pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, dissolved solids, cyanuric acid and temperature.

Fees to get a regular service at larger companies range from about $100 to $120 per month for average-sized, screen-enclosed pools, with another $20 to $30 for unscreened pools. Smaller companies might charge rather less for their services.

Agreements generally offer weekly cleaning calls, however, many pools might require extra visits.

"Some pools do not get much use, but other medication is used daily, possess a lot of kids included, they're heated or there is a lot of leaves," Bludsworth says. "Those want it more often."

Not covered in many service agreements are additional tasks, for example adding or removing water from the pool, cleaning the deck, repairing equipment and treating stains within the pool.

"One thing we leave for the owner to do is keep your water at the right height. We leave a door hanger each week telling them what they need to accomplish," says Brandy Striano, owner with husband Paul of Paul's Pool Service in Lake Mary.

In the event the water level is not correct, surface leaves won't be collected in the skimmer, and if the water is low, there might be insufficient water time for the pump from the skimmer, which can cause the pump to overheat and burn up.


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