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Pool not used for 9 months each year - some advice please.

Posted: Mon Apr 2, 2018 11:04am
15 replies594 views6 members subscribed
PaddyW

Posts: 17

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Joined: 5 Aug 2017

I live permanently in the UK but have a house in the Roldan area. I only use my pool in July, August and part of September. At present I have a pool man who looks after the pool for 12 months of the year. He is going back to the Uk and I am reconsidering how best to look after the pool. I would be grateful for advice on alternatives to 12 months servicing. Someone suggested putting the pool to sleep and another person suggested installing a cover.  I know very little about these options - do they work?  I would be grateful for other suggestions and information on what others do who similarly only use their pools for limited periods.

Thanks for all advice and suggestions.

Paddy

jimtaylor

Posted: Mon Apr 2, 2018 3:19pm

jimtaylor

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Posts: 5244

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Posted: Mon Apr 2, 2018 3:19pm

I can't give you a full answer, but you couldn't leave it for 9 months without maintenance.

In winter you might get away with vacuuming it and backwashing, then putting a large dose of slow-release chlorine in it, and a cover to prevent the accumulation or air-born dust and leaves etc, as well as preventing evaporation. By excluding light, this will also help to prevent or slow the growth of algae.

However, algae will grow at virtually any temperature, albeit slowly at very low temperatures. Get over 10 degrees and it can grow actively. I don't measure our pool's temperature in winter, but I doubt if it gets below 10 degrees at any time. So for most of the year there will be algal growth if it's left untreated.

My conclusion is that you couldn't leave it without maintenance for 9 months of the year unless, of course, you emptied it. That might be an option, as the cost of water to refill it could well be less than paying someone to maintain it. However, it's not something I'd consider myself. In most areas there will always be some ground movement, and without water in the pool to support the walls and bottom, these could end up cracking. It would also leave the pool open to being damaged if there's an earthquake or tremor.

patsyd

Posted: Mon Apr 2, 2018 9:23pm

Posts: 146

16 helpful points

Location: Orihuela Costa

Joined: 12 Jan 2017

Posted: Mon Apr 2, 2018 9:23pm

PaddyW wrote on Mon Apr 2, 2018 11:04am:

I live permanently in the UK but have a house in the Roldan area. I only use my pool in July, August and part of September. At present I have a pool man who looks after the pool for 12 months of the year. He is going back to the Uk and I am reconsidering how best to look after the pool. I would b...

...e grateful for advice on alternatives to 12 months servicing. Someone suggested putting the pool to sleep and another person suggested installing a cover.  I know very little about these options - do they work?  I would be grateful for other suggestions and information on what others do who similarly only use their pools for limited periods.

Thanks for all advice and suggestions.

Paddy

Hi. We are more or less in the same situation as yourself...what do you mean by putting the pool to sleep ?

PaddyW

Posted: Mon Apr 2, 2018 10:10pm

PaddyW

Original Poster

Posts: 17

3 helpful points

Joined: 5 Aug 2017

Posted: Mon Apr 2, 2018 10:10pm

jimtaylor wrote on Mon Apr 2, 2018 3:19pm:

I can't give you a full answer, but you couldn't leave it for 9 months without maintenance.

In winter you might get away with vacuuming it and backwashing, then putting a large dose of slow-release chlorine in it, and a cover to prevent the accumulation or air-born dust and leaves etc, as well as preventing evaporation. By excluding light, this will also help to prevent or slow the grow...

...th of algae.

However, algae will grow at virtually any temperature, albeit slowly at very low temperatures. Get over 10 degrees and it can grow actively. I don't measure our pool's temperature in winter, but I doubt if it gets below 10 degrees at any time. So for most of the year there will be algal growth if it's left untreated.

My conclusion is that you couldn't leave it without maintenance for 9 months of the year unless, of course, you emptied it. That might be an option, as the cost of water to refill it could well be less than paying someone to maintain it. However, it's not something I'd consider myself. In most areas there will always be some ground movement, and without water in the pool to support the walls and bottom, these could end up cracking. It would also leave the pool open to being damaged if there's an earthquake or tremor.

Thanks for your quite detailed response. How long do you think I can put the pool to sleep for?  What do I need to do at the end of this sleeping period?  

If I revitalised the pool at Easter could I get someone to keep it ticking over without too much input until I get here?

PaddyW

Posted: Mon Apr 2, 2018 10:15pm

PaddyW

Original Poster

Posts: 17

3 helpful points

Joined: 5 Aug 2017

Posted: Mon Apr 2, 2018 10:15pm

patsyd wrote on Mon Apr 2, 2018 9:23pm:

Hi. We are more or less in the same situation as yourself...what do you mean by putting the pool to sleep ?

If you see the other reply it will be clear. Basically it means using chemicals so that you can turn the pool off for an extended period.

patsyd

Posted: Tue Apr 3, 2018 12:22am

Posts: 146

16 helpful points

Location: Orihuela Costa

Joined: 12 Jan 2017

Posted: Tue Apr 3, 2018 12:22am

Thanks Paddy. We pay €60 a month to keep the pool maintained but to be honest...I’m not convinced he comes every week as he is supposed to. On top of the €60 we have to keep the water and electricity on for the pool so that’s more expense 🙈

jimtaylor

Posted: Tue Apr 3, 2018 6:11am

jimtaylor

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Posted: Tue Apr 3, 2018 6:11am

You need expert advice, and I'm no expert. Even if you add a mega dose of chlorine, leaving a pool untreated for more than, say, Dec-Feb, would be iffy.

You could try to find someone to just maintain the chemical balance and do a backwash when needed, and ignore vacuuming it. That would cut down on the time required by whoever maintains it, and presumably the cost. However, it wouldn't cut down on the time they take to get to your property, so there may not be much saving.

It's like a lot of things. If you want it, you pay for its upkeep.

geoffllo

Posted: Tue Apr 3, 2018 10:31am

geoffllo

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Posted: Tue Apr 3, 2018 10:31am

PaddyW, my good friend Jim says he's no expert, but he's pretty much spot-on!

I spent over 10 years maintaining pools (up to 30 at a time) and I've repaired hundreds more.

Firstly, I would NEVER advise leaving the pool empty for any length of time. As Jim says, the water helps to keep it stable and stops the grout and tile adhesive from failing. Don't forget, an average 8 x 4 pool contains 40-odd tons of water, which helps to keep the sides apart!. Also, if you empty the pool, and it rains, you will have a big puddle of dirty, often sandy, water in the bottom. This will be a magnet for any rubbish, leaves, plastic bags etc that are blowing about. The resulting filthy cocktail will stain the grout, whilst it's busy being a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The effort of cleaning all this out alone will make you wish you'd kept it full, trust me! When the pool is full again, you'll very likely need to replace the pool pump, as it will have seized up through lack of use in a damp environment.

So, as you can tell, I favour keeping pools full and topped-up with water and the necessary chemicals. You really need someone to keep an eye on it at least once a fortnight in winter and once a week in summer. All the private pools that I used to look after were visited once a week from the end of September round to April, and twice a week during the summer. The pump running time can be reduced in the winter, but as already mentioned, the pump ideally needs to run daily, if only for a short period. I run my pump/filter for 2 or 3 hours in the winter and 7 or 8 hours in the summer (depending upon bather load). As Jim says, it's not essential to remove the dirt, but a backwash every month or so is a good idea, even if only for 30 seconds or so, because if the filter gets too clogged up it will put extra pressure on the pump and the sand filter, and could cause a leak. 

I am not a lover of pool covers - to me the water never seems to be so "happy" if it can't "breathe" and so (purely my experience) the water balance is more difficult to maintain in a covered pool. That said, obviously I accept that a cover keeps a lot of debris out of the pool. Another problem with a cover is that rainwater often gathers in a big puddle in the middle on top of it, putting an enormous strain on the cover's fixings, and creating a filthy cocktail like the one mentioned earlier, which is difficult to get rid of (if it's big enough, you can't lift the cover to tip the water away either).

Summing up, I think overall it will be beneficial for you to keep the pool going year-round, and to find someone to keep an eye on it (maybe a neighbour?). Apart from anything else, if you arrive to an empty pool, by the time you've cleaned it, filled it, added various chemicals to balance the water and waited for them to work, and waited for the water to warm up, you'll have missed a significant period of your holiday when you could have been enjoying the pool. How much nicer to be swimming a couple of hours after your plane lands!

Please feel free to send me a pm if you've got any more questions.

Geoff.

jimtaylor

Posted: Tue Apr 3, 2018 11:24am

jimtaylor

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Joined: 2 Feb 2017

Posted: Tue Apr 3, 2018 11:24am

Great answer, as usual, Geoff. You've covered a lot of aspects that I'd not even thought about.

I've clicked the helpful button and expect others to do the same.

patsyd

Posted: Tue Apr 3, 2018 11:42am

Posts: 146

16 helpful points

Location: Orihuela Costa

Joined: 12 Jan 2017

Posted: Tue Apr 3, 2018 11:42am

Great information guys 👍

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