Maintaining Commercial Pools

This podcast episode is about commercial pools and how they should be hiring pool service companies to make sure that they really get the right one. 

Podcast Transcript

Welcome to the Pool Doctor of the Palm Beaches online podcast, with your hosts, Holly Colasurdo and Elizabeth Varian.

 Elizabeth Varian:  Hey, everybody! Welcome back to Pool Doctors Podcast. We are here once again with Holly Colasurdo. Holly, say hi to everybody.

 Holly Colasurdo:  Hello, everybody!

 Elizabeth Varian:  Now, we hear you have some visitors in the office, that we might be hearing with a little bit of a bark today.

 Holly Colasurdo:  Some beautiful barkers. Our beautiful Pool Doctor guard dogs.

 Elizabeth Varian:  We’re going to see how long we can go. [laughs]

 Holly Colasurdo:  Mia and Juno.

 Elizabeth Varian:  Yes. They’re the handy Pool Doctor pups.

 Holly Colasurdo:  The UPS guy will never come back.

 Elizabeth Varian:  No. We were getting ready to start the recording, and “BOOM!” The UPS guy shows up. Let’s see how long we can go, whether we hear them or not.

 Holly Colasurdo:  Okay.

 Elizabeth Varian:  I want to jump in, really, to today’s topic. It’s actually one we’ve kind of touched on in one of our last few topics that we did late last year. It’s on commercial pools. The reason I want to talk about it is, I don’t think there’s enough people talking about commercial pools. In Florida, we have tons of them. In fact, I just started doing Aqua Fitness in my friend’s pool, and now after listening to some of our podcasts that we’ve been creating and some great information that you’re giving, I’m looking at them in a whole different light.

 Holly Colasurdo:  Oh yes. Now you’re more aware of what it takes to run a commercial pool. It’s definitely different per HOA, or a hotel, or community or municipal pool. You’re figuring that out too.

 Elizabeth Varian:  Absolutely. In case there’s someone listening in that has a commercial pool, let’s start by talking about commercial pools and how they should be hiring pool service companies to make sure that they really get the right one. Just basically, what should they look for right off the bat when hiring someone such as Pool Doctor?

 Holly Colasurdo:  Right. Well, first of all, commercial pools are very different from residential pools. Residentials are private, and what constitutes a commercial pool is a pool that’s not private. When it serves the public, it falls under different regulations and different rules and different codes that are inspected throughout the year from every different county. Palm Beach County has theirs. Miami has theirs.

 You want to look for someone, like I said, always — even if it’s residential — with a license. Don’t ever hire a pool company that doesn’t have a license. You’re just asking for trouble.

 Elizabeth Varian:  I would agree.

 Holly Colasurdo:  Corners get cut, your pool suffers, and then you wonder, and then you have expensive renovations because of it. That’s what we like to avoid. When you call a commercial pool company, you can have … If the license number’s displayed right there, that’s great. Most good contractors do have them right on their front door at the office, or on their material they hand out to their clients, or their business cards. Always look for someone that has a license, because they know what they’re doing. They’re licensed by the state. It is very hard to get a license in Florida, so if you do see a commercial pool company with a license, you are 20 steps ahead of the little guy on the totem pole.

 Compared to residential pool service, cleaning your pool, which is sometimes just once a week, maybe twice if it’s a big pool, commercial pools need at least two or three times a week, sometimes more, depending on the usage. You’re dealing with more water. You’re dealing with more people, more bodies, so you’re definitely going to need more chemicals. A lot, lot more than a residential pool would need. The equipment is different, there is more equipment, it’s bigger equipment. It gets used a lot more. It’s commercial.

 Elizabeth Varian:  Yeah, and you’ve got other people’s lives in your hands.

 Holly Colasurdo:  Right.

Elizabeth Varian:  Having just your family, you’re constantly thinking about that, but these are people that can sue. You really want to keep their health and their wellbeing. You don’t want to just think lawsuits, but you want to take care of your customers, and you want them to be happy.

 Holly Colasurdo:  Right. If you’re at a pool that’s regulated and that has a good owner and a good pool company, you don’t notice things because you’re there to relax. You’re not going to notice those things. I’ve been to some commercial pools that obviously the chlorine is very strong or the water doesn’t look as clear or some of the tile is chipped, and you’re like, “Well, nobody really is taking care of this pool. I’m not sure if I want to swim in it.”

 That’s another thing with regulations with commercial pools, the statutes and laws are different. Not everybody in a residential pool has a life ring or a pool sign, but when you go to a commercial pool, you’ll see a pool sign. Those signs say, “No food or beverages in the pool” or “Only 100 people are allowed in the pool at once.” The commercial pools have pool hours, maybe 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Some say, “Shower before entering the pool,” “No animals in the pool.” Those are the obvious things on the sign. You’ll also see life rings. If somebody is in the pool and drowning or if you can’t swim, you can throw a life ring or the hook. Have you ever seen the hooks that hang on the side?

 Elizabeth Varian:  Yes.

 Holly Colasurdo:  You can take the hook and fetch something out of the water. Those are all things that are obvious when you go to a commercial pool.

 Elizabeth Varian:  That’s part of the safety checks that 

Holly Colasurdo:  Right. Now we do safety checks.

 Elizabeth Varian:  Oh good.

 Holly Colasurdo:  So many pool companies should do safety checks. Now, we’re not the state or the county that actually comes in and actually does one with a list. We do have a list, but our guys have been doing it so long, they just know. Obviously, if there is a chipped deck on the outside of the pool, that’s definitely a hazard. Obviously a chip inside of the pool — not that we’re going to know that — but if we see something, we’re going to have somebody go in and check. Those things need to be fixed because those are hazards. Things that we always check, you know, the lights. Make sure the lights are secure. There have been some electrocutions in Miami last year and the year before with the lights not being connected. People don’t really think that. I mean, the voltage is pretty low, but if it’s not secured or grounded, it’s a hazard.

 Elizabeth Varian:  That’s enough. That’s enough. [laughs]

 Holly Colasurdo:  Yeah! You don’t want to be thinking those things when you go to a commercial pool. You want to be relaxing. Those are all the things we look for when we service a commercial pool.

 Elizabeth Varian:  Now, the regulations for a commercial pool owner. You’ve kind of touched on them. Do you help them to become aware of them or at least point them in the right direction?

 Holly Colasurdo:  We do. Some aren’t. Most are. Our safety checks pretty much always … They don’t go unnoticed. If they’re noticed, we let them know. Most of the time, we don’t because they’re aware. It takes good communication with the management company or whoever is on staff there at the pool when we’re there cleaning it. If the equipment looks bad or if it’s getting old and worn out, we let them know. When they’re ready to pull the trigger to buy some new equipment, then they call us and we get it out there. We let them know our concerns up front. Good communication is key also when you’re hiring a pool company, especially if you’re a commercial pool company. Like I said, the laws are very different.

 Some of the things we also look for, again, the main drain covers are very important. They should be secured and fit in down to the pool, flush with the pool. The suction part can be dangerous as well. I remember swimming as a kid down to the bottom. Of course, my ears would be popping and be crazy tight in my head, and I’d always want to, “Let’s touch the drain and come back up!” We’d always go down and touch the drain and come back up. I remember that. You could always feel a little suction under there, but if that grate wasn’t over that suction, you know 

 Elizabeth Varian:  Not a good thing.

 Holly Colasurdo:  Right.

 Elizabeth Varian:  It is good to have that communication, and that you’re able when you’re checking over things to say, “Hey, you need to check on these things,” and really help your customers to keep their customers safe.

 Holly Colasurdo:  Right.

 Elizabeth Varian:  That’s fantastic. Let’s talk about — switching gears a bit — and let’s talk about visiting a commercial pool. Like I said, I’ve started Aquafit. I love it because it’s easier on the knees and everything, but I’m putting my life in someone else’s pool. It’s a HOA pool. Nice and heated. What are some things … I know that there’s been some reports of people getting feet cut in commercial pools. What can I look for before I start walking around barefooted or get into the pool, to make sure I’m entering a safe pool?

 Holly Colasurdo:  Again, it’s age. If it looks like it’s a little old, you might come across some of those things. I find it more on the plastered pools than a Pebble Tec pool because the plaster just wears down. If you see down below and it’s kind of discolored, that‘s just always an improper balance of chemicals, or the surface is just aging and it needs to be resurfaced. Oh yes, especially if you’re bouncing up and down doing an aerobics class —

 Elizabeth Varian:  YES!

 Holly Colasurdo:  … You can definitely tell. Sometimes I wear my little shoes. I know what you’re saying about the shoes, but 

 Elizabeth Varian:  Yes. [laughs] I’ve learned that you can’t swim with those little shoes, though.

 Holly Colasurdo:  It’s hard.

 Elizabeth Varian:  They do have to come off after the class when you just want to swim around. My feet are important to me because they’re kind of connected. [laughs]

 Holly Colasurdo:  Right. Oh yeah.

 Elizabeth Varian:  What are some other things, safety wise, that as we’re entering these pools that we should be aware of? There are some scary stories out there. You mentioned the kids down in Miami with the electrocution. What are some things — before we let our kids go into these pools — that we should be aware of or be able to just do a quick five-point check or something, so we know that we’re being safe?

 Holly Colasurdo:  I would keep them within eyeshot. If it’s a big community pool like a big rec pool, there’s going to be always a lifeguard or two or three, which is good. They always have their eyes on the kids. The depth is going to be definitely different. More people will be going there for exercise. Make sure they have the little floats that divide the pool up the lanes, so if somebody’s exercising, you know not to go in that lane. Like I said, if they’re great swimmers, that’s fine. Make sure you’re just there with them. You don’t have to be in the pool. If it says “No Diving,” make sure they’re not diving. If they can’t read, there is no diving, because that’s dangerous as well. Some kids think they can surface dive.

 Elizabeth Varian:  NOOO! [laughs]

 Holly Colasurdo:  Your nose hits the bottom of the pool. It’s always good to read the signs. There are rules.

 Elizabeth Varian:  And maybe check around. Do a quick, little check of some of the suction covers and the tiles 

 Holly Colasurdo:  That, or if they just shocked the pool. Maybe they’ll have a sign up that says, “We’ve just shocked the pool, and you can’t swim for another day or two, or another hour.” You don’t want to go in when there’s tons of chemicals. There’s chemicals already.

 Elizabeth Varian:  NOOO. Especially not with our kids.

 Holly Colasurdo:  Right, and if you do smell chemicals, I definitely would not get in. That’s a sign that the pools dirty and the waters not balanced, and it’s too strong. Some people think that means that it’s clean when they smell the chlorine, and it’s just the opposite. I think I know I said that last year. That’s a biggie.

 Elizabeth Varian:  We’re getting ready to head in. The kids are heading out of school. We are, even though we’re year-round with our pools down here, we are definitely going to be utilizing more commercial pools. We’re heading into that season, so hopefully, we get this podcast out there and people start hearing it and be aware as they let their kids go to those public pools or they themselves go. This is a lot of great information. Once again, I just thank you. I only heard the puppies just a couple times, so that was pretty good.

 Holly Colasurdo:  Yup. They were good. They were good. [laughs]

 Elizabeth Varian: [laughs]. Well, until next time, this is Elizabeth and Holly from Pool Doctor of the Palm Beaches. Thanks.

 Holly Colasurdo:  Do you know what we’re touching on next time, so we can have people be sure to tune in?

 Elizabeth Varian:  Yeah. We are actually going to be covering how to know why you would want a custom quality pool, and how can you decipher from those flyers that come in. Is the cheaper the better quality?

 Holly Colasurdo:  Right. Custom compared to cookie-cutter. We’ve got a lot of information on that.

 Elizabeth Varian:  Oh, I can’t wait. Down here in Florida, custom pools are the big deal.

 Holly Colasurdo:  Oh yeah.

 Elizabeth Varian:  And great for the upsell.

 Holly Colasurdo:  Right, right. Oh yeah. We’ll have a good one on that. We’re ready to do it today. [laughs]

 Elizabeth Varian:  Absolutely.

 Holly Colasurdo:  Be sure everybody tunes in next time.

 Elizabeth Varian:  Tune in next time. If you have a commercial pool, give Pool Doctor of the Palm Beaches a call. Check us out on the web at Till next week, everybody. Bye!

 Holly Colasurdo:  Bye!

 Thank you for listening to our monthly podcast. Be sure to contact Pool Doctor of the Palm Beaches for your South Florida pool needs. Call 561-203-0270, or visit us online at