Friday, May 30, 2014

Safety Tips For Handling Swimming Pool Chemicals

by Jimmie Meece

A recent NBC News online article covered a topic of growing concern in regards to swimming pool safety. The article stated that last year there were almost 5,000 emergency room visits from people that had been injured in some way by swimming pool chemicals. Also, the article mentioned that the statistic does not include those injured that either did not seek immediate treatment or went directly to their primary doctor. So, the number of those injured was actually higher.
Typically, these chemical injuries are caused by the improper handling of chlorine. Because chlorine is so commonly used by people, it is sometimes overlooked as a dangerous chemical. When water is added improperly to chlorine it creates a chlorine gas that can cause you to become sick, or in more extreme cases, can cause death. Many times people are simply not educated on the dangers of handling swimming pool chemicals. Below, we are offering up some safety tips when handling pool chemicals:
  1. When handling all swimming pool chemicals be sure to read the directions on how to use and add the chemicals to the pool. This is the most common reason people get hurt from handling chemicals. Educate yourself on the chemicals that are being used in your swimming pool.
  2.  The most common injuries from chlorine are burns to the lungs, hands, eyes and face. So, before handling chlorine or any other pool chemical be sure to use Personal Protective Equipment. Wearing goggles, chemical resistant gloves and fresh air masks may help protect you from chemical burns and/or inhaling these gases. When opening any pool chemical container be sure to do so out in the open air, and not inside an enclosed space. The open, fresh air helps to provide better ventilation for the chemical container you may be opening. Also, open it away from you, so that any harmful gasses are released away from you, to help prevent injury.
  3. Be sure that when you add any approved chemicals to your pool that you measure the appropriate amount of the chemical before adding to your pool. When you add more chemicals to the pool than you need to, you run the risk of potential chemical injuries while swimming in the pool.
  4. When adding chlorine to your swimming pool, always remember to add the chlorine to the water, and do not add water to the chlorine. When you add water to the chlorine it will begin to “heat up” and can create chlorine gas that is very dangerous.
  5.  It is always recommended that you dilute granular chlorine (shock) before adding to the swimming pool. For example, you can use an empty bucket to dilute chlorine in but first be sure that you have cleaned the bucket. The best way to clean a bucket is to rinse out the bucket with water to remove any remaining residue, then leave the bucket out in the sun for a few hours. Once the bucket is clean add water to the bucket, filling it over half way. Then, add your pre-measured granular chlorine (shock) to the bucket of water. Stirring the water in the bucket will help to dilute the chlorine faster. Slowly pour the diluted chlorine from the bucket into the swimming pool, preferably over a wall return in the deep end.
  6. Never add chemicals to your swimming pool skimmers, unless the directions on the chemical containers instruct you to do so.
Following these safety tips when handling swimming pool chemicals can help you to safely treat your pool water. However, we do recommend that you contact your local pool professional in regards to safely maintaining your swimming pool for you. Hiring an experienced pool professional tomaintain/service your pool will provide you with the benefit of no longer having to handle those dangerous chemicals. Plus, you can simply enjoy your backyard oasis without having to spend that extra time caring for your pool.

Friday, May 23, 2014

5 Tips to Remember When Opening Your Swimming Pool

by Jimmie Meece

This weekend marks the beginning of the summer season! Memorial Day weekend is known as the time of year we remember and give thanks to those soldiers who have given it all to protect our freedom. As a part of the celebration of this holiday we will typically plan “cook outs” and spend this time with family and friends. In some cases, these cook outs are spent pool side. With the weather warming up every day, and the refreshing thought of jumping into a pool to cool off, the backyard swimming pool becomes a family focal point.

Jacob Rhodes, Owner, ASP Saratoga Springs, UT
servicing a sand filter
If you maintain your swimming pool you know that it can be quite the chore getting it “swim ready”. Assuming the pool was closed during the winter or simply neglected since last fall, there could be a lot of work for you to do before jumping in! Below is a checklist of items that may help you get your swimming pool ready for your Memorial Day party:
  1. Remove the cover: If your pool has been covered all winter then removing the cover will be your first step. In most cases, it may take an extra set of hands to remove the cover. Also, to help protect the cover it is always a good idea to rinse off any debris before folding and storing the cover for the summer season.
  2. What color is the pool water? The answer to this question can help you determine if you will be swimming that day or in a couple of weeks. When the pool is properly closed/winterized in the fall, and is then reopened before the temperature is consistently in the 70’s each day, then you should expect the pool water to be relatively clear. If you uncover the pool and see green or black water then it may be a couple of weeks before your pool is swim ready.
  3. What type of chemicals should you use in your pool? The most important chemical readings to check in your pool are chlorine, pH, total alkalinity, cynauric acid, calcium hardness, and if you have a salt water pool then you must check the salt ppm levels as well. Then, to properly maintain the pool you must adjust the chemical readings to fall within the appropriate ranges. This will help ensure that you are swimming in water that is clear and safe.
  4. Is your pump and filter working properly? Of course you know that chemicals are important to adequately maintain a swimming pool, but it takes your pump and filter working together to circulate those chemicals for ultimate effectiveness. If your pump was been off for several months you may find that it may not start when you turn it on. Believe it or not, a pool pump is built to run constantly, and when it has been shut down for weeks or months at a time it could actually damage the pump. Also, it is important to clean your filter media whether it is cleaning your cartridges, d.e. grids or if you have a sand filter it is recommended that you replace the existing sand with new sand every 3 years.
  5. The pool is clear, clean and chemically balanced, so what is next? Put on your safety patrol hat and begin to inspect the pool equipment for any issues. Look over the pump, filter and plumbing for any visible leaks, and be sure that the ground wire is securely attached to the pool pumps. Also, be sure that there are no insect nests, ant hills, etc… under the pool pump. These little pests can build nests inside the motor of your pool pump and cause it to malfunction. If you have a diving board and/or a slide it is important to confirm that they are secured properly to the decking before using them. Of course if you have handrails and/or ladders be sure to properly install them before officially opening the pool for the season.
We know that this is a lot of information to take in, and opening up a swimming pool for the swim season is not for the faint of heart! As you can see there are a lot of variables that can make this task quite difficult. So, we recommend contacting your local pool professional to help you open your pool for the season. The pool professional will help ensure that your pool is opened efficiently and safely!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Safety Tips and Questions for National Water Safety Month!



May is National Water Safety Month, and for pool or spa owners, it is essential to adopt critical water safety steps to assure the safety of children in and around the water. By installing safety devices and observing proper water safety behaviors, parents can secure their pools and spas for use by their families, friends and neighbors.


Some safety suggestions from the International Swimming Hall of Fame include:
  • Teaching children water safety and swimming skills as early as possible.
  • Appointing a “designated watcher” to monitor children during social gatherings in or around pools.
  • Keeping rescue equipment and a first-aid kit poolside.
  • Maintain constant visual contact with children in a pool or pool area. If a child is missing, check the pool first.
  • Don’t use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision. Never allow a young child in a pool without an adult.
  • Don’t leave objects such as toys that might attract a child in the pool and pool area.
  • Never assume someone else is watching a child in a pool area.
  • Don’t think you’ll hear a child who’s in trouble in the water; child drowning is a silent death, with no splashing to alert anyone that the child is in trouble.
When combined, these safety strategies help ensure that both adults and children are amply protected in and around the water.

Also, take a look at the questions below. By asking and answering these critical questions, you can gauge the effectiveness of your water safety measures, and determine what steps need to be taken to protect children from drowning and submersion injuries:
  • Is there a fence around the perimeter of your pool or spa?
  • Are there self-closing and self-latching gates?
  • Are there door, gate or pool alarms in use?
  • Do your pool and spa have an anti-entrapment drain cover that is compliant with the Pool & Spa Safety Act?
  • Is your spa cover in working order?
If you’ve answered no to any of these questions, please don’t hesitate to call ASP – America’s Swimming Pool Company. Our qualified pool professionals can help you ensure that your pool or spa is operating safely. By properly installing safety devices or accurately measuring the water flow rate through a spa or hot tub, our professionals will help maintain the security of your pool or spa. If you don't know your nearest location, visit our Locations page and call your local franchise owner today!

Find more safety tips for pool & spa owners at poolsafely.gov.
 
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