Keeping Up with the Backyard Pool

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Cool time, pool time.

Spring break is officially underway! Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a pandemic underway, so it’s not the best time to go to the public pool. This is why those of you with pools in your backyards are pretty lucky right now; a whole cool pool, all to yourself. If anyone out there has recently obtained a pool (in-ground or above ground), you can now count yourself among these lucky few. However, as my family’s designated “pool guy” growing up, I can tell you with certainty that owning a pool isn’t all inner tubes and irresponsible drinking. If you want to have a source of warm-weather comfort, you’ve got to work for it.

The first and most important thing you need to remember is pool maintenance. This includes checking the water levels, scrubbing the floor, and managing the chemicals. When I say “chemicals,” I don’t mean whatever was under the sink. You need to add a very specific amount of chlorine to your water to keep outside elements from setting up shop. You’ll also need to use special shock chemicals when pool season first starts to clean out any gunk that accumulated during the off-season. I knew a guy once whose parents refused to clean their pool, and it filled up with bugs and plants, basically turning into a swamp. True story.

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In addition to the pool itself, you need to be mindful of the area around it. This includes lounging chairs and picnic tables. Outdoor furniture is, of course, more resistant to the elements, but they can still accumulate their fair share of grossness. Remember to clean them every once in a while. Also, keep an eye on the weather. It’s usually okay to leave your pool furniture out during a mild rainstorm, but if something heavy is coming, you want to make sure it’s all packed up in your shed, garage, or wherever you store outdoor stuff. Also, free tip: after heavy rainfall, pools tend to attract displaced frogs. They’ll die if they swim in chlorinated water too long, so do them a favor and fish them out of there once the rain passes.

If you can put the work in, a pool can be a great thing to have in your backyard. And hey, after you’re done doing all that work, you’ll have a nice tan.