After working in the pool business for years, my family and I finally decided to take the plunge and build our own pool. This was our first venture as pool owners. Now that I have had a pool for three years I have learned several lessons that I did not know prior to owning a pool. You could say I went from book smarts to street smarts as a pool owner. The three biggest things I have learned from pool ownership are:
- A lot of Evaporation occurs
- You add a lot of Salt
- You add a lot of Acid
I was blown away by how much water is lost due to evaporation. Normally pools see ¼ – ½ inch loss of water per day due to evaporation. This is roughly 2 – 4 inches per week. For a normal sized pool you will loose 25,000 to 50,000 gallons of water per year due to evaporation. This means I was putting a hose in the pool every 7-10 days to fill the pool. On several occasions I went out to the pool and I was sure I had a leak. I ended up doing the bucket test. This is a test where you place a bucket on your deck and fill it with water. You then mark the water level in your skimmer. After a few days you check to see if the level drop in the bucket is the same for the pool. If it is the same then it is due to evaporation and not a leak. The bucket test confirmed my water loss was due to evaporation.
After a few times of forgetting to turn off the hose and flooding the pool deck, running the skimmers dry and just the hassle of pulling out the hose I decided to invest in an Automatic Pool Leveler. This is my favorite equipment that I have purchased for the pool. Common factors which cause increased evaporation are hot temperatures, pool heating and strong winds. One last item which can cause water loss is excessive filter backwashing.
I have been really happy with my Pool Salt System, in fact, it is one of the favorite pieces of equipment I have on my pool. A Pool Salt System Works by Adding Salt to Your Pool and then the saltwater passes through an electrode where chlorine is produced and it is sent back to your pool. Since salt does not dissolve out of water you only need to add salt when you experience heavy rain, water is splashed out of the pool or you have water loss due to evaporation. My estimate was that I would add a “few bags” of salt at the beginning of the year and then add a few bags throughout the year.
Since evaporation in Florida occurs often because of our excessive heat this means I have added quite a bit more salt than I originally assumed. I have a pretty large pool (coming in at just under 40,000 gallons) and I would estimate I have added 30 bags of salt in the span of a year. This is quite a bit more than my original estimate of “a few bags”. Even with this larger amount of salt needed to maintain a pool I would still highly recommend a salt system. Just know that the cost savings over traditional chlorine may be a little less since you have the cost of adding salt to the pool throughout the year.
When you have a salt system, your pool water’s pH levels will tend to increase. High pH levels lead to scaling on the pool tiles, pool equipment and pool walls. To combat this increase of pH you add muriatic acid to the pool to decrease your pH levels. To maintain the proper pH levels in my pool I need to add roughly one gallon of acid per week which is much higher than I anticipated. Normally I will test my pool water every Sunday and without fail my pH level is high. I then add acid to bring the pH level down to the ideal range of 7.2.
I did add an automatic acid dispenser to the pool to automate the process of adding acid to the pool, but it has not been without problems. The idea is good, but there are a few kinks that need to be worked out. The main issue I had is that the probe which measures the acid did not read accurately so the dispenser would not switch on to dispense acid. After many failed attempts to fix the acid dispenser I have gone back to adding acid the old-fashioned way – by hand.
I truly believe the best way to learn the ins and outs of a product is by owning it and a pool has been no exception. I hope the lessons I have learned from owning a pool can help you in some way. If you have any lessons that you have learned from owning your pool we would love to hear from you, so feel free to post them to the comments section below.