Fall Pool Care
Labor Day signals the traditional end of summer, but swimming pool fun doesn’t need to end there. Unfortunately, come Labor Day, people begin shutting down their pools for the year. In my opinion, this is a BIG mistake. Fall is a GREAT time to swim. Kids are back in school, so you get the pool to yourself. Ah…blissful peace and quiet. Most importantly, it is still hot, with daytime temperatures frequently popping into the low to mid-nineties. Why is this ceremonial end-of-summer date causing so many people to close their pools, only to quickly wish they hadn’t? Let’s examine a couple causes and how to easily counter the downsides with some basic fall pool care.
It’s true. Leaves are no fun in the pool, but it only takes a little effort to rid the water of the leafy problem. Daily, check the skimmer basket and empty it. It takes less than a minute. Plus, by avoiding a basketful of leaves, your filter and pump work more efficiently. Proper flow is maintained, and your pool will stay clean. Then it is just a matter of skimming floating leaves off the surface. Do this in the morning while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea. Chances are you will be finished before the second cup. Let your auto-vac get the ones that have dropped to the bottom. If you have a suction-side cleaner or are vacuuming manually, remember to empty the skimmer basket when finished.
This ‘problem’ cracks me up. Beginning around July 4th, Eastgate Pools fields dozens of calls about “How can I cool down my pool water? It’s just too hot.” Later in the season, Mother Nature provides the solution. Overnight temps begin to drop, then the calls change to “How can I heat up my pool water? It’s just not hot enough.” Ah…the perpetual search for the perfect water temperature. Let me know if you find it.
There are several ways to hold temperature and comfortably extend the swim season. Obviously, you can add a gas or electric heat pump, and there are also solar collector heaters. There’s one key thing about solar. If you put one on your pool, make sure you have a bypass to divert water at night. Consequently, if you don’t, you’ll get solar heating during the day and ‘lunar cooling’ at night.
Solar Blankets Hold the Heat!
Of course, heaters rely on using a solar blanket or automatic cover to trap heat in the water. Without one, your water temp will go up in the day, then drop quickly at night. Why? Look at your pool as air temperature drops. You’ll see steam rising from the pool as cooler air passes over the warmer water. This is evaporative heat loss. The solar blanket helps hold the heat in the water, not unlike a blanket on your bed. Moreover, you’ll save water and minimize topping-off due to evaporation.
However, some pool owners don’t want to mess with a bulky solar blanket. There is an alternative that is easy to use and quite effective. Instant Care Liquid Solar Blanket, from Nature’s Care. It comes in a quart container and is simply poured into the pool. This creates a microscopic, invisible layer on the top of the water that helps hold the heat. It will not stain or create a yucky water line and is non-toxic to swimmers. It works best if return eyeballs are angled downward so that the surface is not rippling. Swimming and splashing about does disrupt the surface but that’s no problem. Liquid Solar Blanket’s effectiveness is restored once the surface returns to a calm state.
Admit it. Whether you have an inground or above-ground pool, it doesn’t matter. Your backyard always looks better when the pool is open and up and running. There’s nothing serene about lounging around your winterized inground pool, reading your favorite author’s latest book. Grilling on the back deck? The last thing you want to see is a puffy ballooned winter cover on the family above ground.
Fall pool care doesn’t take that much time or effort to keep the pool open and in use during the fall. You’ll enjoy the tranquility, and when the weekend rolls around, the kids will appreciate it, too. Besides, do you really want to say goodbye to summer? I don’t.