Guest Blog: 5 Top Pool Mistakes Homeowners Make

August 16, 2017

In the midst of swimming pool season, homeowners tending to their pools should be aware of the necessary care and maintenance they require. You might have assumed some of the equipment you have purchased for your pool maintains the pool for you. If unfamiliar with the care regime of your pool, your Better Business Bureau serving San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties has 5 of the top pool mistakes homeowners are making.

5) Not Maintaining Pool Equipment

Although vital to the health of any pool, pool equipment goes unacknowledged when imagining inviting, sparkling pools.

The pool’s filter, for example, removes dirt, algae and other particulate matter from the water to keep the water looking crystal clear. Debris doesn’t disappear on its own. The filter of the pool needs to be dismantled and cleaned twice per year. If the debris is left in the filter, the flow rate drops, algae continues to breed and the pool’s sanitizer runs dry, costing you more in pool chemicals.

The pool heater is often neglected after installation until a repair is needed. Doing annual maintenance (as recommended by the heater manufacturer) can extend the life of your heater and keep it running reliably and efficiently. With annual heater maintenance, the unit is opened, the connections are cleaned and tightened, burner trays are pulled and cleaned, internal flow switches are inspected, gas pressure is tested, and an overall test of the unit is performed.

When heaters are neglected, rodents move in, build nests, and chew on the low voltage wires that connect to the circuit boards, requiring a costly repair. Spiders make their way into the burner trays and form webs in the orifices of the gas nozzle, impeding gas flow to the pilot ignitor. When this happens, gas can puddle in the bottom of the heater. When the accumulated gas comes in contact with the ignitor, a loud miniature explosion can occur, causing a flame roll out to melt the fusible link safety component.

4) False Expectations of Salt Water Chlorination

Saltwater chlorine generators are very popular today. Pool owners may have an unrealistic expectation as to what the product actually does. The product converts salt into chlorine through an electrolysis process that produces up to one gallon of chlorine per day. If your system is running 24 hours a day, you can produce up to one pound of chlorine. Most pool owners run their systems around 6 hours per day, so the chlorine generator produces a quarter gallon of chlorine per day. If the pool gets a lot of usage, 6 hours may not be enough and the pool may need to be supplemented with liquid chlorine.

There is also a misconception that a chlorine generator maintains a pool by itself. Not true. The pH level, calcium hardness, phosphates, total dissolved solids and stabilizer levels are critical to operation. Maintaining these levels is crucial to reliable operation.

3) Improper Water Level

The water that pools evaporate needs to be replenished. If a pool has a leak, water loss is more severe and will need to be refilled more often. The proper water level is in the middle of the pool skimmer, typically also at the middle of the 6” waterline tile. When at the correct water level, the pool’s skimmer actually skims debris off of the surface and into a pump basket while supplying proper water flow and supply to the pump.

If the water level is not maintained, the skimmer can draw air instead of water, putting the pump at risk of running dry as the air makes its way to the pump. When a pump runs dry, it runs hot and can melt the plastic fittings, housing, shaft seal, and pump basket resulting in low water flow and costly repairs.

Some skimmers are equipped with a float valve diverter assembly that allows the skimmer to pull from the main drain to allow water to flow to the pump in the event that water levels are low. These systems are not always reliable.

2) Inadequate Pump/ Filter Run Times

Running a pool pump can use up a lot of energy and can be costly. The pump and filter need to run long enough to achieve one full turn per day. This means if you have a 20,000 gallon pool, the pump should pump an equivalent amount each day. If the pool pump is old and inefficient, it can result in high electricity costs.

Some homeowners run their pump for less hours in order to save electricity. While this does save electricity, the pool does not receive adequate circulation and filtration that it needs. When a filter isn’t getting adequate circulation, the water can become turbid, algae can form, and the pool may require more chemicals to remain safe for swimming.

1) Using Chlorine Tabs in Skimmers

Chlorine comes in many forms. One form is 3” chlorine tablets. These “tabs” are highly concentrated with chlorine and are very acidic. Some homeowners place tabs in skimmers to let the chlorine dissolve into the pool system. This is an effective way to chlorinate a pool, but it is also risky.

When the pump shuts off, the tablet continues to dissolve its highly acidic contents into the skimmer box which will erode the grout and cause the skimmer to leak. When the pool system turns back on each day, the acidic solution runs through the pump, filter and pool heater. This causes greater erosion and can result in equipment leaks and failures. The tables can strip through the copper heat exchanger in the pool heater, an extremely costly repair or replacement.


This article is provided by Payan Pool Service Inc. For more information, please contact us at (619) 449-1392 or