Summer vacations are a great way to spend quality time with family and friends. But your pool will also need a little TLC before you leave, so that it will be just as clean and sparkling as when you left it, and as safe as possible.

We have prepared a quick checklist with some helpful tips to ensure you'll be returning to a crystal clear pool:

  • Check Water Levels – Pool filters will not work properly if the water levels are too low. Fill your pool even higher than you normally would to avoid coming home to a malfunctioning filter.

  • Check the Water Chemistry – Have a sample of your pool water professionally tested at your local pool store to make sure the pH and alkalinity are properly balanced and that the sanitizer levels are correct. Here are the proper ranges to look for:

    • pH: 7.4 - 7.6
    • Alkalinity: 100 - 150 ppm
    • Calcium Hardness: 175 - 225 ppm (and 225 - 275 ppm for plaster pools)
    • For Chlorine or Salt Water Pools: 1 - 3 ppm (suggested level is 3 ppm)
    • For Bromine Pools: 3 - 5 ppm
    • For Biguanide Pools: 30 - 50 ppm
    • For Mineral System Pools: 0.5 ppm of chlorine

If you use tablets or sticks, put extra ones in the chlorinator or chlorine floater just before you leave, and also add a dose of swimming pool algaecide.

  • Set the Timer – Most pool pumps have a timer, but if yours doesn't, now would be a good time to invest in one. Set your timer to run at least 8 to 12 hours every day. This is a crucial part of proper pool care as it will keep the water clear.

  • Recruit a Friend or Neighbor to Pool Sit – Asking a friend who has their own pool to check on yours can bring you peace of mind when you're away since they are familiar with the process. They can help with basic tasks that include:

    • Checking water levels
    • Checking filter pressure and backwashing the filter if necessary
    • Emptying the skimmer basket(s)
    • Skimming the pool (if it's not covered)
    • Testing the water with a test kit (or test strips) and adding any chemicals
    • Being aware of any equipment problems

  • Safety and Allowing Friends to Use Your Pool – Safety can be even more of a priority when you're not home than when you are. Unauthorized use of your pool can be dangerous. Take the proper precautions, such as setting a pool alarm, locking the gates, making sure fences are in good working order, and removing anything around your property (like chairs and storage boxes that can be used to help someone climb a fence). If you are allowing friends to use your pool while you're away, it's a good idea to leave them a list of instructions along with your phone number and address clearly posted.

  • Using a Pool Cover If you have a mesh safety cover, it's a good idea to install it right before you leave to reduce filtration and sanitation demand, as well as to keep your pool clean. It also acts as a deterrent to any unwelcome visitors from using (or falling into) your unsupervised pool. If you use a solar blanket, remove it and leave it off while you're away. Keeping it on will not only warm your pool unnecessarily, but will reduce the skimmer's effectiveness and can be dangerous if a person or animal falls on it.

  • Extended Vacations – If you're planning on being away for more than one month, you may want to consider hiring a professional pool company to maintain the pool while you're on vacation.Another alternative is to "winterize" your pool by draining all the equipment, lowering the water levels, and adding a generous amount of chlorine and algaecide before installing your pool cover.

We hope you've found these tips helpful in preparing your pool before going on vacation. All of us at LOOP-LOC® wish you a happy and safe summer!