July is a great time to enjoy swimming in your pool! Not only are the temperatures hot during the day, making for a refreshing swim, but evening and night swims are also enjoyable due to warmer weather. Add to that the fact that the water temperature has finally come up to a more comfortable range, especially in pools that receive a lot of sun. All this is great for your pool – EXCEPT if you’re going away on vacation from home for an extended period of time. A crystal clear clean pool can turn into a mess from algae, cloudiness, and low chlorine in no time if you don’t have a plan. So what should you do to your pool when leaving for vacation? Is there anything you can do to prevent algae and other issues occurring in the first place in the pool before you leave home? Well, yes there is and let’s take a few minutes to go over some preventative measures you should take.
What to Do When You Are On Vacation, But Your Swimming Pool is Not!
First things first, your pool needs ample filter run time in order to keep up. At E-Z Test Pools we always recommend running the pump and filter 12 hours per day, every day. Although you may have gotten away with less, keep in mind that you won’t be there to see what condition the pool will be in if conditions take a turn for the worse while you’re away. So make sure your filter pump is either on a timer (daytime cycles are best because that’s when water is warmest and most likely to turn bad) for 12 hours daily or find a trusted neighbor or friend who can turn your pool pump on and off while you’re gone. Remember that spending a bit extra on electricity because it ran a few extra hours will likely far outweigh the chemical costs associated with clearing algae from a pool.
Next, shock your pool even up to twice as hard as you normally would to prepare for the time away. This is especially true if you anticipate that no one will be in the pool while you’re on vacation. High chlorine levels on occasion will do no long-term harm to your pool and may help keep things clean. Also, put an extra chlorine tablet in with what you would normally run in the skimmer, OR if you have an automatic chlorinator you may want to turn up the knob a number or two – just remember to turn back down when you get home. If you know that you will be away for more than a week, it is best to have someone shock the pool once a week as well.
As always, be sure to test and balance chemicals at all levels such as pH, total alkalinity, chlorine stabilizer, and calcium hardness, and remember to clean out (or backwash) your filter prior to leaving.
Last but not least, use an algaecide as a preventative measure. Here at E-Z Test Pool Supplies we are big fans of the Spec Chem brand “4 Month Algicide”. This particular product is unique in that it is a non-staining copper-based algaecide. A single treatment will last up to 4 months, preventing blue-green, mustard and black algae strains. One 32 ounce bottle will treat up to 20,000 gallons of pool water. Depending upon your pool size, more than one bottle may be needed.
Keep in mind that maintaining a clean, clear pool requires 3 things:
1) Sufficient water circulation.
2) Adequate particle filtration.
3.) Proper chemical balance.