Before hiring pool service, understand what you're getting

Pool maintenance
Pool owners obviously would prefer to spend time splashing around their backyard oasis than scraping calcium from the pool tiles and unclogging leaves from your skimmer.

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That is why many owners use companies to help them maintain their pools and maximize their enjoyment in the water.
"People hire a pool service for the similar reasons as they do in order to hire a lawn service; they don't really have time to do it themselves, or they do not want to mess with it because of the chemicals and equipment," says Steve Bludsworth, person who owns All-Pool Service & Supply in Orlando.

But what should an owner expect of a reputable pool-maintenance company?

Generally, companies supply a month-to-month agreement intended to keep pools fit visually and chemically, and prevent larger problems from developing.

Services vary from company to company and from pool to pool, but typically part of a standard agreement are testing and balancing the lake chemistry, vacuuming, brushing the edges of the pool, emptying skimmer baskets, washing the filter as needed and checking to make sure that all the equipment - such as the timer and pump - will work efficiently.

Usually taught in agreements are the chemicals required to maintain the water balance, that is affected by six factors: pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, dissolved solids, cyanuric acid and temperature.

Fees for any regular service at larger companies range from about $100 to $120 monthly for average-sized, screen-enclosed pools, with another $20 to $30 for unscreened pools. Smaller companies might charge a little less for their services.

Agreements generally give weekly cleaning calls, however, many pools might require extra visits.

"Some pools don't get much use, but other medication is used daily, use a lot of kids inside them, they're heated or they have a lot of leaves," Bludsworth says. "Those need it more often."

Not covered generally in most service agreements are additional tasks, for example adding or removing water in the pool, cleaning the deck, repairing equipment and treating stains inside the pool.

"One thing we leave for your owner to do is keep the water at the right height. We leave a door hanger each week telling them what they need to do," says Brandy Striano, owner with husband Paul of Paul's Pool Service in Lake Mary.

In the event the water level is not correct, surface leaves defintely won't be collected in the skimmer, of course, if the water is low, there could be insufficient water returning to the pump with the skimmer, which can cause the pump to overheat and burn out.

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