By Rob Holbrook
Whether you’re new here, or whether you’re a lifer, this city's residents seem to retain little memory of the melting and blistering days consistent of every single summer previous. Well, when those dog days of summer drag through July and August without reprieve you’ll be chilling, literally, in your cool and cared-for oasis...the swimming pool.
Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that we don’t all have pool care technicians who make regular visits and, simply (if forced into such circumstances) could we perform routine pool maintenance? With a little care, attention, interest, and this guide, you’ll be swimming laps in the sweetest summer sanctuary on the whole block!
Chlorine and pH are the backbone of pool care. With either out of balance you’ve got more an algae-ridden swimming hole (or colossal chemical burn) than a backyard oasis. Soak up some knowledge from your local pool supply store, and stock up on the chemicals and testing kits you’ll need to maintain that crystal clear hideaway all season long.
The water in Southern Nevada is not only in short supply, but contains some of the highest levels of calcium hardness and total dissolved solids (TDS) in the country. If left unchecked, this calcified hard water can spell doom for your pool’s water balance, sanitation and aesthetic appeal. Do yourself and your wallet a favor, and stay on top of the hardness levels on a weekly basis.
Skim, brush, and vacuum your pool regularly to keep the water clear, reduce the necessity to add chemicals constantly, and maximize the efficiency of your filtration and circulation system. Throw some music on your headphones and Zen out with a leaf skimmer on an extension pole for a quick meditation session. It's an easy way to rid your pool of larger debris and eases the strain on your vacuum, allowing it to suck up all the nastiness on the pool floor without clogging.
With a solar pool cover, you can save on your heating and water bills by harnessing the heat of those suffocating summer afternoons. You’ll save thousands of gallons of water a year by reducing evaporation, and notice an almost immediate difference in the temperature of your pool. Take advantage of the rebate offered on the Southern Nevada Water Authority website (www.snwa.com) and you’ll be doing all of this saving with very little expense. It’s no small consolation that a cover also protects your pool from fallen debris from the constantly swirling winds throughout the valley. Less work for less money; hard to argue with that.
Hire a GREAT pool man. This step may seem a bit ironic, but doesn’t negate the previous steps. Hire a pool man who gives your pool the care and attention it requires so you can perfect your breaststroke without a second thought. The trick to this all-important step is, of course, finding a “great” pool man- because this city is riddled with bad ones (I won’t name names). Too often, by the time you realize who you’ve hired, all the money’s been spent to be your own pool technician, sifting through magazines and the Internet for pool care how-to articles. And while that may help this Writer’s cause, it's an expensive mistake that really just defeats the whole purpose. Do your research and get referrals from people you trust, because you can’t put a price on peace of mind.
Now that your pool is summer-ready, heat up the barbecue and invite the friends over for some backyard grilling. And don’t forget the sunscreen!