The longer you own an in ground pool the more you realize that any Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Flag Day, or Saturday is an excuse to have a pool party (or be asked by friends, neighbors and relatives to have a pool party). This creates unique opportunities to have fun and create awesome memories to reflect fondly upon for years to come. It also, however, creates new obstacles and potentially new headaches in the immediate time leading up to, during and immediately after said party. So what should you do to prepare?
Be Like the Rolling Stones
Like the Rolling Stones sang: “Time is on my side. [“Yes it is!”].” And, I assure you, it is. Spontaneous gatherings aside, give yourself the best chance to succeed when you’re planning a party. Be proactive. 10-14 days out is usually enough time to adequately prepare your in ground pool. Start by having your water tested by a professional and letting them know up front that you are having a gathering, and let the professional know what an approximate bather load you’re anticipating.
This information and the aforementioned time frame allow the pool professional plenty of time to correct any imbalances or imperfections in your water chemistry or in your pool’s overall appearance. Balancing pH and alkalinity, removing metal stains, eliminating phosphates, clearing up cloudy or green water, etc. may take several steps over several days. Bringing a water sample in for analysis the day before an event and expecting a miracle will only elicit “Sympathy from the Devil.” [See what I did there?]
Very Cute. So what do I do?
The most common action to take when expecting a heavy bather load is to increase your sanitizer level. As most in ground pools are now salt-based, “Super Chlorinating” (Hayward) or “Boosting” (Pentair) 24 – 36 hours prior to your event should be adequate (Increasing your chlorine output on your automatic chlorinator will also suffice if you’re using standard tablets). However, if the bather load is heavier than anticipated it may help to add shock after swimming has finished for the evening.
To prevent staining and to increase the chances that your pool’s surfaces do not turn unsightly, checking for metals (copper and iron) and using a preventative sequestering agent (Stain & Scale Control) is also recommended. An instant metallic stain remover (Abscorb – X) is useful to have on hand just in case an overnight rain causes a pesky metal deposit.
Additionally- you may have to leave your water level artificially lower than normal to counter any water displacement as more bodies will be in the water. But splash-out (cannonballs, splash fights, losing water upon exit of the pool, etc.) may adversely affect your water level. If you’re not sure what to do, keep your water level at normal operational level and shut off your skimmer(s) if the water level gets dangerously low in your pool. Replenish water levels after the gathering has ended.
When having a party, set this system to SUPER CHLORINATE!
Sometimes it happens: You somehow have ended up with half the neighborhood in your in ground pool because you’re the best neighbor ever. Or you came home from work to find your children and all their friends locked in an epic game of Marco Polo. There isn’t really anything you can do at this point but be reactive.
But with the right reaction you can minimize or eliminate any potential water issues. Once swimming has conceded for the evening, adding shock manually will help reestablish a chlorine reading, giving your salt system a buffer of a day or to catch up. “Boosting/Super Chlorinating” can also be enacted if your pool looks clear, and will eventually rejuvenate your chlorine levels.
You may also need to readjust your water levels depending upon how much splash-out has occurred. But be careful- You also may need to backwash your filter system so be mindful of where your water level is and the steps you take to adjust it.
Bring in a water sample the next day to a pool professional for analysis to safeguard against your water going cloudy/green on you. It never hurts to have a second set of eyes on your water chemistry. It may help to take notes as to what you did during the process: This will help prepare you for future events and its never a bad thing to have firsthand knowledge to draw on. And if you have any other questions feel free to email me here.
Thanks for reading. Happy swimming and good luck moving forward.