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Help and Reassurance for Swimming Pool Owners Abroad

Help and Reassurance for Swimming Pool Owners Abroad

A pool is great thing to own and even a necessity in a hotter climate. As a Brit living abroad you may be a first time pool owner, or, if not, you may be finding that language and local custom makes ownership a little more challenging. Undoubtedly, you will want your pool working when the sun shines – which may be all the time!

A pool is great thing to own and even a necessity in a hotter climate. As a Brit living abroad you may be a first time pool owner, or, if not, you may be finding that language and local custom makes ownership a little more challenging. Undoubtedly, you will want your pool working when the sun shines – which may be all the time!

Routine care and maintenance should provide trouble free use but there are some aspects that you might want some help with. You may have a technical problem or need to replace a part or, perhaps you just want to ensure you get the best value for your money when you buy sundry items like chemicals.

A few tips before you sign that contract!

You will probably spend a good deal of time looking over a prospective house or villa, checking that it is sound and won’t reveal any surprises once you have signed! Treat the pool in the same way, it could conceal some nasty surprises too!!

Always check the history and guarantees in relation to the construction itself, as well as the pump, the filter and heater if there is one.  It is advisable to find out if the pool has been looked after professionally or, if not, how has it been maintained?

Examine the pool and working parts as well as the water quality. Like the house, it may have been given a superficial makeover to make a sale!

Check the proximity of trees and likelihood of roots disturbing the structure. Check the pool surface for cracks, tears or even stains and ask questions. Check that the tiles and coping stones are firm and that grouting is sound and not crumbling.

Get a survey done if you are not sure about anything.

You will need expert guidance on local planning and building regulations if you are going to have a pool built. 

Care and Maintenance

Once you have made the commitment, getting into the habit of regular maintenance will save you money and frustration in the long run.

Visually check the pool twice a week, at least, and fish out any debris straightaway.

Check the pH and chlorine levels once a week.

Maintain the pH level between 7.2 and 7.6.

Check other measures such as overall alkalinity and calcium hardness once a month.

Clean the filter once a week and change the filter material every 5 years.

Problem Solving

Most problems with a pool are fairly easy to resolve with a little common sense and, in some cases, the availability of some expert back up. Take a simple problem solving approach and identify any obvious causes. They will usually relate back to the maintenance schedule.

If you can’t solve it you will need some assistance – either from a local trades person, on- line or both!   

Getting Help and Local Services

Unfortunately there is no international standard or qualification or price index!

Your best bet is to check to see if there is a national accreditation scheme and then locate a qualified person. Alternatively you could hope that a local recommendation will help you out.  Get 2 or 3 quotes and question the provider closely about what is included and the certainty of a solution.

You may feel more comfortable getting some advice from a UK web based pool forum or a site that has advice and guides. You could check with more than one – and hope you get the same answer! Beware, it’s not always easy to tell the country of origin and most will be seeking to make a sale as well so there may be a bias towards particular products.

A further option is a web service that offers a fee paying membership and is independent from the sale of products or services.  Members benefit from Maintenance Schedules, Problem Solving Guides and Frequently Asked Questions that develop into a reliable data base of solutions. Membership may also enable email contact and a specific reply.

Membership with one service avoids searching the internet for many and varied solutions. Such a service would provide the pool owner in a foreign country with the answer or a checklist of questions to ask a local trader – to ensure they are getting the right service at the right price.

Having trustworthy and reliable advice and problem solving support will hopefully complete your pool owning experience.

Enjoy life abroad and by the pool!

Help with my pool.com is an independent and impartial service. In the absence of sales or advertisement there is a small membership fee that also provides for email access to a professional with a reply within 24 hours.

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(Image: "Swimming pool at our cottage" by tristanf via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.)