A Guide to Pool Maintenance for Your Association
A pool is a fantastic attraction for any association, especially in Florida where it can be used year-round. But keeping the pool in top shape can be a challenge. Here are some pool guidelines to follow on safety and maintenance so that all your COA or HOA members can get the most use out of this amenity.
But First, Compliance!
With any decision you make for your association, the first thing you should be concerned about is compliance. The same is true for your pool. Every state has unique laws, so make sure you’re looking at the Florida Swimming Pool Association specifically. Not only will following these rules keep you out of trouble, but it will truly keep your members as safe as possible. Swimming can be dangerous, but the risks of an accident go up significantly if you aren’t taking the necessary precautions. Of course, you should also make sure you have the appropriate insurance in case there is an accident of some kind.
Don’t forget about accessibility requirements! Your pool should include a ramp and lift that meet the ADA’s specifications.
Know Your Pool Chemicals
Maintaining a pool properly requires a little bit of chemistry. Most people know of chlorine, which is a disinfectant responsible for killing bacteria. However, chlorine is not the only chemical you’ll need for your pool. There are actually four others!
Another important chemical is calcium. This helps prolong the life of the calcium that’s in the pool finish. Without putting calcium in the water, the pool finish could dissolve. Either muriatic acid or sulfuric acid should be present to increase the water’s acidity. Lastly, sodium bicarbonate counteracts the acid to make the water more alkaline. Too much acid in the water would corrode the pool while too much alkaline causes scales to form. The ideal pH for pool water is 7.4.
Post Your Rules
If you want to keep your pool clean and safe for everyone involved, make sure that you have clear signage instructing your members on how to use the pool. Anyone who normally uses diapers should be instructed to wear swim diapers in the pool. If someone has an accident in the pool, you’ll have to shut the pool down for roughly 24 hours, which isn’t fun for anyone! During this time, the water must be filtered and re-circulated three times or more.
Some other good rules for safety and cleanliness purposes should include:
- No food or drink in or around the pool
- No littering
- No diving
- No swimming during rain or storms
- No pets allowed in the pool
- No running near the pool (to avoid slipping on the wet ground)
- Parents must supervise children
- No urinating in the pool
- Shower before entering the pool
- No electrical devices allowed near the pool
- Always wear a swimsuit in the pool
While some of these rules may seem like common sense, it is crucial that they are communicated to everyone using the pool. The sign(s) should be in a prominent place. It’s also a good idea to remind members of the rules in the hottest months via your Association’s newsletter if you have one. Although hiring a lifeguard is fine, you need to have a sign that explicitly states “Lifeguard Not on Duty” if you choose not to have one.
Put Chemicals on Autopilot
Chemical management can be one of the more complicated things about maintaining your pool. Luckily, there are automated chemical control systems that can effectively manage your pool for you. These systems have the ability to test your water on a regular basis and add more chemicals as needed. This ensures you never have too much or too little of any chemical. And, best of all, no one has to take the time to manually test or apply the chemicals. You can also usually save on chemical costs because you aren’t “overdosing” the water.
Don’t Forget About the Deck
It can be easy to get focused on the pool itself that you forget about upkeep for the area around the pool. Pools decks should be resurfaced every 10 to 15 years to keep them in top condition. You should always work with a licensed pool contractor rather than a general contractor as work relating to a pool requires lots of special considerations. If you’re going to have pool furniture, make sure you opt for durable, low-maintenance furniture items rather than high-maintenance ones that will rust or degrade due to sun exposure or water.
Audit Equipment Regularly
All your pool equipment should be regularly audited to make sure it’s in great condition and does not need to be repaired or replaced. When you have a pool that’s open all year round, finding the right time to do this can be a little tricky. Try to schedule an audit during the pool’s least popular time of year. It might also be a good idea to hire an energy auditor. This person can help you decide if your pool should be upgraded with more energy-efficient parts.
Leave Managing the Pool to a Professional
Pools can take a lot more work than you’d expect. When you have a professional pool manager maintaining your pool for you, you’ll have more time to focus on other important aspects of maintaining your association. When you’re trying to find a pool manager, look into their certifications. You should work with someone that is certified by the National Swimming Pool Foundation or a similar organization. This person will know all the best practices for how to keep your pool running efficiently so you can spend less time and energy dealing with it.
Make Things Easier for Your HOA or COA
Just like how hiring a pool manager can be a big help for your association, so can working with LM Funding! Since 2008, we’ve been helping Florida associations by turning their delinquencies into cash. This eliminates your collection-related legal fees, saving you time, money, and stress. If you are ready to spend more time lounging by the pool and less time looking at delinquency reports, give us a call!