INLAND EMPIRE – The rains have gone and temperatures have started rising again – that means swimming pool season can’t be far off!
Experts share a few handy tips to help pool owners keep them safe and looking great.
Watch the kids! Rule number one. Swimming pools are designed to be fun. But every year children drown or get seriously hurt in residential swimming pools – almost always because adults stop paying attention.
Teach kids how to swim (parents/guardians should learn as well if they don’t know how). If a house opens directly into a pool, install a door-alarm to alert someone when a child opens it. If there isn’t already a fence between the house and pool, consider putting one up. Kids wander around a lot and can find their way into the pool even if they’re out of sight for only a minute.
When children are in the pool, always watch them. And remember, water wings, styrofoam “noodles” and other toys are not safety devices and children wearing them should not be left unattended.
Check the fences
For those who have a fence and self-closing gate around a pool, they should check to make sure the spaces between each of its pickets and between the bottom rail and the ground are no more than four inches apart and the fence is at least five feet tall so children and animals can’t squeeze through or climb over to get into an unattended pool.
Make sure pool drain covers are visible and intact
If one can’t get a clear look at their pool’s drain covers – the pool needs cleaning! If they are clearly visible, make sure they’re not broken or chipped and remind children not to play near them so they can’t get sucked in and trapped.
Have two pieces of safety equipment
Every pool should have two essential pieces of safety equipment: a life ring (life preserver) with a diameter of at least 17 inches that can be thrown to help struggling swimmers stay afloat, and a safety hook, to pull people to safety. One should also consider keeping a phone at the pool while swimming, so if an emergency call needs to be made, it can be done quickly.
Repair any damage to decking, equipment and pool area
Make sure pool ladders and pool railings are secure so people aren’t hurt when they rely on them to get in and out of the pool. Repair damage to decking to prevent people from tripping.
Don’t swim when sick
Chlorinating a pool only does so much. It’s important to keep germs out of a pool. Practice good hygiene. Don’t allow swimmers who are experiencing diarrhea. If there is an accident in the pool, be sure to clear the pool and follow guidelines for proper cleaning of the water.
Test pool water routinely
Testing the chemical balance of the water in a pool is one of the most important things a person can do to make sure it’s up to par. That’s because that balance – which keeps the water disinfected, clean and safe – can be easily thrown out of whack by heavy use, hot weather, rain and lots of other things. To keep a pool safe, test the chlorine and pH levels at least twice a week and daily if possible.
Skim, brush and vacuum a pool regularly
There’s a lot of stuff out there that can get into a pool and make it look cloudy or green. Swimmers can carry in sunblock, oils, and other items. There’s dust, sediment and leaves blowing in the air that can all make it a lot harder for a filtration system to keep things clean. So use a hand skimmer to clean a pool’s surface, brush the walls, and vacuum its floor often. Don’t forget to remove any leaves and debris in the skimmer
Keep the deck clean
It only stands to reason – the less mess there is on the deck surrounding a pool, the less stuff that can be blown or carried into it. A good sweeping will go a long way to keeping a pool looking pristine.
Keep the pool filter clean
If the pool has a cartridge-based filter, make sure to check, clean, or replace the filters when they’re dirty. If using a sand filter, make sure to backwash and clean the filter screens when they need it.