Well, mid summer is upon us here on the Treasure Coast, and if we have a pool, this is the time of year we like to hop in it and cool off for a while (if it stops raining long enough). I’d like to take some time to talk a little bit about how we can make sure that our pool is safe and operating as it should so that we can best enjoy it with our families.
All swimming pools should have adequate fencing, gates, barriers, alarms, and or other protective devices installed. If your pool is not enclosed in a screened lanai, it needs to have fencing at least 48 inches high around the pool, or around the yard containing the pool, in order to keep children (especially small children) from getting in there unsupervised. Access from the house should be protected with an alarm at each point of access so that small children can’t wander out and fall in. It only takes a few minutes for a tragedy to occur. If you disable the alarm so that you can keep your patio door open, it’s not going to protect those little ones from drowning. Doors to a screened pool enclosure should be self closing and the latch should be a minimum of 54 inches above the ground to keep small hands from opening them when we are not looking.
Another important safety consideration is the main drain at the bottom of the pool. This drain MUST have a grate, or cover that will not allow someone to become stuck to it by the suction of the water flowing through it. This cover must be bolted securely to the pool’s bottom. Again, this is particularly important when children are using the pool, but even adults can become trapped by the drain’s suction if it is not protected.
No electrical switches or receptacles should be within five feet of a pool, and any that are in the pool area should be GFCI protected. No overhead wires, such as service entrance cables, should pass over any pool.
The pool deck should be kept clear of clutter, and any ladders, stanchions, rails and other pool equipment should be tightly secured in place. Pool chemicals should always be stored in a secure area, safe from children.
These are just a few safety tips, and by no means cover all safety issues. A great source for more safety information is: www.poolsafely.gov/ .
Other considerations are maintenance items. Of course, all water quality and chemical levels should be kept within acceptable ranges. Skimmer weirs, skimmer baskets and deck covers should be installed and in good working order. Skimmer baskets should be checked and emptied once or twice a week, or possibly daily if the pool is not screened over and especially if there are trees nearby. The pool pump should be secured to it’s base and operating quietly. The hair and lint strainer basket at the pump should be checked and cleaned weekly. The pool filter should be cleaned regularly. For cartridge type filters this should be done about once a month. Every so often the visible pipes and fittings should be inspected for leaks.
A pool can be a liability and an expense, what with the maintenance, chemicals and electricity to run the pump, but when maintained properly a pool can be a great pleasure for the whole family, and Florida is a great place to have a pool. So get out there and take care of your pool and enjoy the summer!