DRUMS — It’s the time of year when Steven Nicholas winterizes up to five swimming pools a day.
Properly closing down pools is a necessity, and one that ensures they’ll be in good repair for the next swimming season, said Nicholas, a pool technician at Dr. Feelgoode’s in Hazleton.
“I’ve seen a lot of people who didn’t do it properly,” he said of the post-summer maintenance. “It can cause some major problems.”
Broken pipes, destroyed liners and damaged filters are among the biggest nightmares owners can face if they don’t have their pools properly winterized.
“The last thing you want to do is close your pool with an improper balance of chemicals in the water,” said Nicholas, who on Friday tended to an in-ground pool off West Foothills Drive.
When closing a pool, he first checks the water’s chemistry. If the water is too chlorinated, it can burn the pool liner. Too much or too little calcium in the water is also a problem and can have detrimental effects on pool equipment, he said.
With a number of treatments on hand, Nicholas balances chemicals in the water, then cleans the pool.
From there, he lowers the water level to below the pool’s skimmers so he can free excess water from the pool’s pipes. If he didn’t — and temperatures fall below freezing — there’s a chance the pipes can burst. Plumbing is located a few feet below a pool’s deck so property owners would have to cut through concrete to address leaking pipes.
Nicholas tends to the pool’s filter and adds an environmentally safe antifreeze to prevent the pool’s skimmers and plumbing from freezing.
Finally, he places a cover over the pool.
“This one is a mesh cover. It acts like a tea bag. It will filter out debris but it won’t let water evaporate,” he said.
Once warm weather arrives, folks often call Dr. Feelgoode’s to have technicians peel back the cover and ready their pool for swimming season.
Nicholas said tending to an above-ground pool isn’t as difficult.
In fact, he said, pool owners often do it by themselves.
They need to check and address the water’s chemistry, vacuum debris, lower water levels and tend to their filters and pumps.
According to Nicholas, Dr. Feelgoode’s carries chemicals and equipment for the do-it-yourself types.
The store also tests water samples by running them through a special centrifuge.
“We can help them so they don’t have to be chemists,” he said.
In the coming weeks, Nicholas expects to be busy with pool closings and questions about them.
“Yesterday I had nine calls,” he said. “I’ll be doing three to five closings a day for the next week or two.”
Don’t use sewers
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection reminds those who are draining pools to keep the water away from storm sewers, since the sewers can run into streams and impact aquatic life.
■ Pool water may be disposed of through the sanitary sewer system only with municipal permission.
■ If lowering the water level of the pool, let it drain to a lawn to prevent it from running off into a storm sewer.
■ If a sanitary sewer system is not available, water may be used for irrigation if it does not run off the property or into a storm sewer.
■ The discharge of swimming pool water to any waters of the commonwealth without a permit is a violation of the Clean Streams Law.
Original Date: Sept 24 2018
Written By: Jill Whalen