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Taking care of your fiberglass swimming pool

You’ve done it.

You’ve decided to add one of the world’s most glamorous and stylish composite fiberglass swimming pools to your backyard –  installed by Final Touch.

But now what? How do you make sure that this significant investment that you’ve made to living your best life lasts a lifetime?

The short answer is by maintaining a proper chemical balance in your pool’s water and keeping it free and clear of dirt and debris. But there’s a lot more to it than just that, and we are going to explain why in this editorial.

Low maintenance does not mean no maintenance

A composite fiberglass swimming pool is easier to maintain and take care of, but that does not mean that you do not have to do anything. Just as you have to change the oil and rotate the tires in your car to keep it in top mechanical condition, fiberglass swimming pools must undergo a certain amount of maintenance to keep them healthy.

Like everything else around your home, your pool will get dirty. You will find leaves, bugs and other debris in your pool. A simple “skim, scoop, and vacuum” will take care of most of these items.

What is less easily seen are the remnants of body oils, hairs, shampoo, dead skin, and other wonderful things that all of us leave behind. For this, and all the other items that find their way into your pool, you address it by using a sanitizer to clean your pool. It is the harmonious work of all these chemicals coming together that creates the right environment for your pool to welcome guests.

For many families, that means investing in a chlorine system to sanitize their pool. And while there is a growing audience for salt-systems, but that is actually a form of chlorine – just produced in a different manner and with less amounts.

Finding the right balance means being diligent

The water in your pool is a living, breathing eco-system. Which means that is requires constant care to make sure that it stays in a state of optimal health.

And that’s true even if your pool goes unused for some periods during the year. There are many ways that your pool could go “out of balance” even if you feel that your pool has not had any activity. At the very least, you should test on a weekly basis and make adjustments as required.

Be sure to get your water samples from at least 18-20 inches below the water surface and away from the any returns or water jets. We recommend that you maintain a log of your weekly tests so that you can determine if there is any pattern occurring when it does go out of balance. It’s almost like being a great detective uncovering clues to your pool’s potential problems.

The right balance for your fiberglass swimming pool

Many service technicians and pool service companies will rely on a “generic” standard for water chemistry levels. This was adequate when pools were all the same but fiberglass pools are not like the “standard” gunite pool or even vinyl liner pools.

For this reason, you must look at water chemistry levels that are more appropriate for fiberglass swimming pools.  Our recommendation would be as follows:

  • pH = 7.2 – 7.4
  • Chlorine = 1.0 – 3.0 ppm
  • Total Alkalinity = 80 – 120 ppm
  • Calcium Hardness = 80 – 120
  • Cyanuric Acid: 25 – 50 ppm
  • Total Dissolved Solids = 500 – 5000 ppm

The top customer concern with fiberglass swimming pools

The biggest concern we see with fiberglass swimming pools are that the pools’ gelcoat color is fading. Customers will believe that their pools are losing their color and/or “turning white.” What is actually happening is that many pool owners are allowing their water chemistry to be out of balance, in many cases, allowing the calcium within their pools to build up to an elevated rate. Instead of the pool “losing color,” what it is actually doing is gaining calcium. The chemicals are building up on the pool walls and as a result, masking the pool’s true color.

It is recommended that pool owners clean the surface of their pool once a month. This is easily done by using a sponge or soft rag along with a non-abrasive cleaner. Remember to not use any harsh cleaners, metal scrapers, brushes, steel wool or sandpaper that could harm your swimming pool’s surface. Doing this will void your gelcoat warranty.

Note that even if you have some scratches, that these can be buffed out, if necessary. Consult with your pool dealer to determine what the proper course of action should be.

Calcium deposits and hardness can be removed – if caught early in the process. It will take a re-balancing of the water chemistry and a small amount of time, but it can be reversed. Left too long by itself, however, it will require it to be scrubbed out. In severe cases, this could require refinishing your pool which would carry a price tag in the $7,000 – $10,000 range.  In other words, a little love and attention to your pool will go a long way to sustained happiness.

Your pool’s pH balance

The pH balance in your pool tells you how much (or how little) acidity is in your pool. If you are younger or if you swim in public pools very much, you will recall the smell of chlorine and how harsh it could be if used in too high a quantity.

Our bodies’ biology point to 7.4 being the perfect pH level. If your pH level goes lower, you will find it to be more painful and cause more burning. Above the 7.4 level, you begin to suffer from dried skin and noses. Once you perform your pool chemistry test, simply add either your pH increaser or your pH decreaser depending on what you need.

Our experience has shown that the most accurate information is gathered using the “Taylor Technologies Complete Test Kit.” Consider an investment in the range of $70-$100 as being monies well invested and well spent – especially when it comes to your children.

Pool cleanliness cause and effect

There may be outside influences, beyond water chemistry, that may impact the cleanliness of your pool. One example is the use of mortar during installation of concrete and tiles on your pool. Water could splash into the mortar causing the concrete to “cry.” The “tears” that occur will be of calcium sliding down the sides of your pool walls. The photos below shows the build-up after only one week. To prevent this from becoming a major issue, it should be cleaned weekly.  If left unattended, it could cause an accumulation that will eventually result in the pool needing to be sanded and refurbished – which is a major repair charge.

Make it even easier – go automatic

Want to make it even easier to clean your pool? Then be sure to check out the automatic pool cleaners now available. You plug them in to an electrical outlet on your deck – lower it into the pool – and watch them go!

Then you can talk to all of your friends about how you have been spending the afternoon cleaning your pool – and gently smile.

Consider a professional cleaning service

Installing your own swimming pool is a major investment that should be protected. By following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and applying basic care protocols, you should be able to enjoy a lifetime of wonderful memories with your pool, spa and/or tanning ledge. Many families enjoy greater comfort and an even more assurances by allowing an outside service to take care of and maintain their pool. This ensures that your pool is taken care of on a regular schedule and that nothing will be overlooked. With their expertise and knowledge, they will be able to prevent any major issues, notice any potential causes for concern and make it even easier for you and your family to fully enjoy your pool, with less stress and greater joy.