Before hiring pool service, know what you're getting

Pool maintenance
Pool owners obviously would rather 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 use companies to help them maintain their pools and maximize their enjoyment within the water.
"People hire a pool service for the similar reasons as they do to hire a lawn service; they do not have time to do it themselves, or they do not want to mess with it due to the chemicals and equipment," says Steve Bludsworth, person 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, 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 the lake 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 - are working efficiently.

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

Fees for any regular service at larger companies vary from about $100 to $120 monthly for average-sized, screen-enclosed pools, with another $20 to $30 for unscreened pools. Smaller companies might charge less for their services.

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

"Some pools don't get much use, but others are used daily, possess a lot of kids in them, they're heated or they have a lot of leaves," Bludsworth says. "Those require it more often."

Not covered generally in most service agreements are additional tasks, such as adding or removing water from the pool, cleaning the deck, repairing equipment and treating stains inside the pool.

"One thing we leave for that owner to do is keep your water at the right height. We leave a door hanger every 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, of course, if the water is low, there may be insufficient water returning to the pump through the skimmer, which can cause the pump to overheat and burn out.

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