Monday, March 17, 2014

Community Manager/HOA board swimming pool beginner's guide

An easy to understand guide for community managers and HOA boards summarizing different swimming pool terms, repairs, operating procedures and all things community swimming pool related. This is not a how-to for industry professionals. This is a "Dummies Guide to Pools" effort for communities.

Pool Opening:

Since we are seasonal here in Colorado, the pool has been dormant for the winter months. The hope is that last year's pool company properly winterized the pool. This can go both ways. Essentially, depending on the water quality when the safety cover is removed, the pool needs to be thoroughly cleaned and  vacuumed. Often, the pool is drained (not by the pool pump) and power washed to remove surface grime and algae. A plaster pool may need to be "acid washed" which is a method of diluting muriatic acid with water and spraying on the pool surface to remove stains, algae, scum lines, etc. This is like bleaching your teeth. It eats away at the plaster like bleach eats away at your enamel.

The pump room is put back together. All drain plugs are installed, unions connected, hoses checked and connected, electrical connections checked, the filter inspected and cleaned or new filter media added, the heater is checked, the chlorinator and it's hoses are inspected, the submerged pool light breaker works and the light and timer work properly. It is much wiser to replace bulbs while they are not under water. Rarely is there not a few minor repairs that need to be done during opening.

All the pool hardware is installed. This includes all ladders, rails, steps, fill spout and life-hook.

The safety cover is folded and stored and the cover anchors are screwed down.

The pool is filled with water and hopefully, circulates when the pump is turned on. It can take from a day and a half to four days to fill a pool depending on the size of the pool and the diameter of the main fill line.

The heater is turned on and tested. Adjustments to heater are made to insure safety and constant pool temperature. The chlorinator is charged and begins chlorinating the fresh pool water and the service tech begins adding chemicals to maintain industry standards.

Any/all pool furniture is brought out, cleaned and staged around the pool.

A daily sign in sheet for the service techs is placed in the pump room, usually on a clipboard. Chemicals are delivered, tiles are scrubbed, deck is power washed and the pool heater gradually brings the temperature up for opening day comfort. Many people think a pool can be filled and brought to 83 degrees in 24 hours. This is not the case. It takes a couple of days when starting from 40 degrees or so. Any pool operator that doesn't have the pool a few degrees higher than normal on opening day is foolish and either doesn't care or didn't start heating the pool soon enough. There is a huge difference between 82 degrees (industry standard), 80, 79, yikes.  Why not open at 84 degrees, all the parents are happy because they can easily get into the pool for the first time, the kids get in and stay in because it's warm. People only notice that the pool they pay HOA dues for was and is cold. So, no complaints, parents happy, kids happy, community manager happy, pool guy happy.  Win, win, win and win.

Occasionally, there are some major surprises that arise. There's always a solution, it's a matter of time, cost and type of repair. If a community pool is 30+ years old, it is tantamount to a used car with 120,000 miles on it.

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