Vacationing in the summer is always fun. The kids are out of school and it is a natural time to get out of town for rest and relaxation. Once travel plans and logistics are finalized, having your house, lawns and pets looked after typically complete the planning process. Somehow, people always either forget to have their pool checked or are convinced it’ll be fine while they’re gone.
Leaving your in ground pool unattended on its own is never a good idea, especially in the summer heat. Salt systems have done much in the way of establishing a safety net for home owners in regards to water chemistry, but nothing is better at preventing water imbalance and algae outbreaks than regular testing.
If you have a House-Sitter…
Beginning a week out, bringing your water in to a water chemistry professional is a great way to make sure your in ground pool is in the best condition to hand off to whoever is going to be monitoring it while you’re away on vacation. A week or so will allow you to correct any imbalance in your water chemistry and stock up on any products that you may have been neglecting to purchase. Be sure to inform your water chemistry professional of your pending situation and see if they have any additional advice based on your specific pool situation.
As it is impractical to try and teach a house-sitter the basics of water chemistry, you may want to teach them simply how to pull a water sample the correct way: In the deep end, away from a return jet, and 18” below the surface. A trustworthy water sample will guarantee the best analysis possible once you’ve directed your house-sitter to visit your local pool professional while you’re out of town.
Written instructions on how to backwash is often a great back up plan if your circulation/pressure needs monitoring. If you have a salt system you should teach them how to Boost or Super Chlorinate in case of cloudy water, inclement weather, or heat. If you add weekly dosages of, say, algaecide and/or stain preventive, note the amount and location of where to add the product. Additional instructions, like how to shut off the system in case of a filter emergency, are always recommended.
Test! Do it often or have a professional do it often!
If you do not have a House-Sitter…
Then let’s hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Depending on the length of time you will be gone, there are some things you can to help minimize any potential adverse effects of your absence.
As mentioned, begin preparations a week out. Make sure your chemistry levels are balanced, as directed by your local water chemistry professional. An increase of chlorine output (increasing your daily percentage of chlorine generation on your salt system or increasing the flow rate on your automatic chlorinator) can help protect against algae outbreaks that may occur. Increased circulation (making sure your pool pump runs 24/7 if you still have it on a timer, or making sure your variable speed pump is at a higher RPM) is helpful in creating ideal conditions for your sanitizer to remain effective.
Monitoring your water level and even filling it higher than the normal level will guard against the dangers of evaporation. Make sure all baskets are emptied of debris and backwash your filter system thoroughly. If possible, have a neighbor glance in your backyard to check to make sure the pool looks “normal” and that everything seems to be in order, just in case.
Any other options?
It really is not the best practice to leave an in ground swimming pool unattended. But if a House-Sitter is not in the equation, Prestige Pools & Spas has an alternative: We offer Vacation Stops from our Pool Maintenance team to help make sure you come home from your vacation not only relaxed and rejuvenated, but that you are welcomed home to the sight of a clear, healthy in ground pool. We offer weekly and twice-weekly stop by service for limited runs, checking all aspects of your pool’s chemistry and filtration system. For more information, please contact us here.
Thanks for reading. Happy swimming and good luck moving forward.