Before hiring pool service, know what you're getting
Pool owners obviously would prefer to spend time splashing around their backyard oasis than scraping calcium from the pool tiles and unclogging leaves from your skimmer.
That is why many owners consider companies to help them maintain their pools and maximize their enjoyment within the water.
"People hire a pool service for the same reasons as they caused by hire a lawn service; they do not have time to do it themselves, or they don't want to mess with it as a result of chemicals and equipment," says Steve Bludsworth, who owns All-Pool Service & Supply in Orlando.
But what should an owner expect of the reputable pool-maintenance company?
Generally, companies provide a month-to-month agreement intended to keep pools fit visually and chemically, and prevent 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 make sure that all the equipment - including the timer and pump - will work efficiently.
Usually covered by the agreements are the chemicals necessary to maintain the water balance, which can be 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 a 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, but some pools might require extra visits.
"Some pools do not get much use, but others are used daily, have a lot of kids in them, they're heated or these people have a lot of leaves," Bludsworth says. "Those need it more often."
Not covered generally in most service agreements are additional tasks, including adding or removing water from the pool, cleaning the deck, repairing equipment and treating stains in the pool.
"One thing we leave for your owner to do is maintain the water at the right height. We leave a door hanger weekly telling them what they need to complete," 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 when the water is low, there might be insufficient water going back to the pump with the skimmer, which can cause the pump to overheat and burn out.