Apartment Community Pool Maintenance

Here in North Texas, the rainy season is typically during the months of February, March, and April. Yet, this morning I’m staring out the office window and watching rain fall for the third straight day…in June! All this rain has been great for the region, leading officials in many Texas counties to officially declare that multi-year drought conditions have finally ended.

But while all this rain is great for the apartment property’s landscape, it can have a negative impact on one of the most important amenities at your apartment community: your swimming pools.

The Effects of Rain on Swimming Pools

Swimming pools can turn green after a shower because of an infusion of nitrogen-enriched rain that provides the perfect breeding ground for algae. If left unchecked, that crystal clear swimming pool you worked so hard to prepare for residents to enjoy can turn green almost overnight if an algal bloom “blossoms.” At that point, the water is unusable for several days during the clean-up process.

We visited with Mark Cukro, an instructor with the National Swimming Pool Foundation and president of Charlotte-based Plus One Consulting, who shared some swimming pool maintenance tips for keeping water clear and algae at bay. Cukro identifies three areas of pool maintenance to pay attention to: disinfectant levels, proper circulation, and optimizing filtration systems.

Maintain Proper Disinfectant Levels

Usually, a small dose of chlorine and algaecide immediately after the storm is all that is needed to keep algae at bay. But maintaining proper disinfectant levels— chlorine level above 1 parts per million—is just part of the battle. The disinfection process also includes brushing the walls and floor of the pool to move the remaining algae particles into the circulation and filtration system. Instituting a weekly maintenance plan that includes adding a small dose of algaecide and brushing the walls and floor will help keep algae away.

Maintain Proper Circulation

Good circulation is essential to ensure proper filtration and the even disbursement of chemicals and disinfectant throughout the water. One of the most common mistakes that Cukro observes at pools is the placement of chlorine sticks and tablets in the skimmer baskets. Because chlorine tablets and sticks are acidic, putting them in the skimmers baskets will likely cause the pump impeller to erode and affect the proper circulation of the water. The result can be a costly pool repair as well as increasing the likelihood for algae growth.

Your regular pool maintenance plan should include frequently checking the flow meter to be sure the pool is circulating water at a proper flow rate. Also, the skimmer and line basket should be clear of debris and harmful chemicals shouldn’t be added through any of the skimmers.

Maintain Proper Filtration

A number of products are available to be applied to the pool’s filter so that dead algae can be trapped and back washed to keep the pool looking good. The most common type of filter is a sand filter, but its effectiveness can be ruined by using the wrong additives. Adding a blue clarifier, or Flocculant, to get the water clear can sometimes gum up and prevent proper filtration of the water. Flocculants are not recommended for high-rate sand filters, which are the most common type of filter used for public swimming pools.

By following these three steps for proper swimming pool maintenance, you can ensure that your community swimming pools will be algae free and crystal clear all year. The last thing a resident wants to see is the pool looking like a chemistry project gone wrong.

Michael Cunningham is the managing editor for Property Management Insider.