Seasonal Pools & COVID-19 Closures
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Horizon Pool Supply
It seems as though spring is finally upon us and given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, many are wondering what to do with their outdoor pools this summer. As of right now, many states have ordered all of their public pools be closed to bathers through early May. We are hoping those closure orders are not extended, but if they are, we have recommendations for keeping your pools safe and clean in the most cost effective and safe way until they are able to open.
First, unless your pool is a wading pool, a spa, a roof top pool or was built to be winterized empty and self-draining, you should NOT drain the pool for the season. There is a very real risk of the pool “popping” out of the ground, causing catastrophic damage. Contact your original pool builder or Horizon consultant to discuss options before deciding to drain.
Startup Your Pool!! Our recommendation for the vast majority of pools is to start them up like normal and operate them throughout the summer. There are several important reasons for this:
- Safety!! Unattended, dirty pools are a huge risk to children and can create unpleasant odors and waterborne illness. Allowing a pool to sit non-circulating and without disinfectant can lead to biofilm formation or growth within the plumbing, as well as bacterial growth. The biofilm can provide a surface for bacteria and other pathogens, protecting them from the effects of chlorination, and allowing harmful pathogens to grow.
- Winterization will be required again this fall. The antifreeze used in pool plumbing winterization is only good for one season. Failing to winterize your pool again this fall will likely result in plumbing damage. In addition, most companies will not winterize pools that have been left non-operational for the season and are a dirty, algae filled mess. Remember our mantra: “Open clean, close clean” still applies.
- Cost!! It is typically much more cost effective to run the pool at a minimal level! Leaving a pool with stagnant water will lead to a dirty, algae and debris filled cesspool that will lead to very extensive cleanup costs, possible surface damage and harmful pathogens.
- Be ready to open quickly if restrictions are lifted and you choose to open your facility at any point this summer! A minimally operated pool can quickly be cleaned up, balanced and opened to bathers.
Recommendations!! So…if you wisely choose to operate your pool at a minimal level…what do you do?
- Clean and startup your pool just like you would any other spring!
- Chemically balance your water and plan on keeping it balanced and sanitized. This will ensure you don’t damage surfaces and equipment with corrosive or scale forming water. It will also prevent biofilm and algae growth that can damage pool surfaces, create additional cleanup costs and can allow harmful pathogens to grow.
- Leave your heaters off! Heating a pool is one of the biggest operating expenses. You should run them for 15-20 minutes after starting circulation to dry them out and ensure they are operating correctly…but then just turn them off until you are ready to open the pool to bathers! If you have heater bypass plumbing, you can bypass the heater as well.
- Reduce your pump speed. If you have a Variable Speed Pump, you can turn your pump speed down to fairly minimal. Even small reductions in speed result in exponential cost savings. Just ensure you have enough flow to keep your chemical controllers operating and so you turn the volume of water over at least once daily.
- If you have a winter safety cover, you can leave this installed to reduce the amount of debris that gets into the water and will keep sneaky bathers out. You will need to pull it back a bit to check on the pool and perform maintenance, but overall it will significantly reduce the amount of cleaning that will be required.
- Keep maintaining the pool! Pool operators should be checking on the pool, removing debris, cleaning skimmer & pump baskets, backwashing filters, and balancing chemicals on a regular basis. There are no code requirements in most states on how frequently pools need to be tested and maintained while closed to bathers and each facility is different. Your operators will need to judge how frequently they need to perform maintenance. In general every 2-3 days is our recommendation, but no less than once a week.
We understand that these are unprecedented times and Horizon is here to help you navigate the issues and considerations regarding your public pools. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your consultant or our office to discuss your particular situation. We are happy to help in any way we can.
In addition to providing recommendations and education through this crisis, we will be offering several additional products and services to keep your facilities sanitary and ready to open when they can. More information on each of the below products and services will be sent out in the coming days, but here is a quick list. If you have immediate needs or interest, please reach out right away for more information.
- Wysiwash Sanitizing System – Chlorine based hose down sanitizing system.
- Sanitizing Services by Horizon Technicians (Decks, furniture, bathrooms, locker rooms, etc.)
- Hand Sanitizer and Stations
- COVID-19 Related Distancing Signage for pool areas
All of us at Horizon wish you the best through these trying times. Stay safe and stay healthy!
Your Horizon Family!