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Preparing Your Pool & Hot Tub For Down Time Caused By COVID-19

March 31, 2020

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We have recently had several calls asking what to do with swimming pools and hot tubs that must temporarily close due to the spread of COVID-19 in the US. This question is certainly a head scratcher for many properties out there who aren't sure if they should keep water in the pool, stop circulation, or just drain the whole thing. In this article we want to tackle the best practices for preparing your pool and hot tub for any down time caused from COVID-19 response requirements. In this article we will address the following issues:

 

  1. Drain or Maintain The Water?
  2. Water Circulation
  3. Disinfection Practices
  4. Heating

 

Should I Drain My Pool Because of COVID-19?

With the lowered use, and in some areas closure, of our pool areas, the question of whether or not we need to drain our pools is a very popular one. Our opinion is that draining is not ideal. Instead we recommend that you keep the pool full and circulating. In the long run, draining the pool causes a lot more headaches financially and in regard to effort than keep the pool full of water. Many of us are at the highest level for ground water. This means that before you drain, you must be sure you have a hydrostatic valve in the sump of your main drain (the pot under the cover.) If your pool is full it's hard to know if you have one or not. Without this hydrostatic valve your pool could literally pop out of the ground. This is why it is crucial to keep water in your pool. But keeping the pool full of water isn't where it ends. 

 

Keep The Water Circulating

One of the things that keeps our pools clear is circulation. Standing water allows for algae growth the skyrocket, so making sure your water is moving is crucial. It also aids in continued filtration. Filtration also keeps your water clear and helps keep it healthy as well. But filtration alone isn't enough to keep your water clear and healthy. 

 

Maintain Chlorine Levels In Your Pool

Maintaining disinfectant levels inside your pool is of utmost importance. This helps keep the water clean from any pathogens that can grow in watery environments. It also helps keep your water clear and free from any algae buildup. 

We recommend that you maintain water chemistry and disinfectant levels as per the Model Aquatic Health Code or your local code even during downtimes to prevent any potential growth or spread of water-borne pathogens. 

You may also benefit from the use of an algaecide, instead of chlorine. But remember, when you reopen to the public, bring up the disinfectant levels before bathers are allowed in the pool

 

Should I Still Be Heating The Pool? 

 In cold country like where we are based in Colorado, properties heat pools. During regular operation heating a pool is great! Swimmers love warm water. But during a downtime heating can be very expensive. Believe it or not, heating a pool is the greatest expense in operating a pool. Simply speaking, for every 1 degree over 80 degrees increases fuel consumption by as much as 10%. But the good news is there are several ways to lower pool heating costs. 

  1. Cover it while it's closed. A 5 mil. poly bubble cover can reduce heating costs by as much as 50-70%.
  2. Get the water deeper into the pool. Infusion pool returns are a great option.   You can find more information at their website ( infusionpool.com ) .
  3. Simply turn the heat down, but hold on, not too cold. Most states have a minimum temperature requirement . Check your local codes before you hit that thermostat. Note: Do not attempt to maintain temperatures below 70 degrees. This practice will cause your heater to excessively condensate, causing the heater to foul the burner tray and exchanger.

 

Safety First!

Many of our facilities are not fully enclosed inside a building with locking doors. So as a result we we recommend that anyone unable to fully lockdown the pool area simply put on their safety cover during this time. This will mitigate any potential issues that could arise from any uninvited guests from getting into the pool. 

 

How Do I Learn More About Swimming Pools? 

Operating a swimming pool is not as simple and straight forward as some make it seem, especially with the stricter guidelines coming after COVID-19. To safely operate and maintain an aquatic facility it truly does take more training than you can find on YouTube or read in an article like this. Thankfully you have options to help you become more knowledgeable about how to keep your swimmers safe. One of these options is taking a CPO Class with Pool Training Academy. Becoming CPO® Certified is one of the best ways to truly become a pool expert. And in many states this certification is required to operate a pool or spa. Pool Training Academy is the #1 CPO® Certification provider in the world and our classes are specially tailored to be fun, engaging, and most of all relevant to your needs. Click here to sign up for the next class in your area. We also now offer fully online classes for those who may prefer that. We're hoping this article is helpful in getting you through the short-term closure we’ll come out of this time healthy and wiser.  




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