A summer or part-time job with a school, park district, community center, or local health club can provide opportunities to learn more about servicing swimming pools. Hotels, motels, apartment buildings, and condominium complexes also frequently have pools and may hire summer or part-time workers to service them. Such a job could offer firsthand insight into the duties of swimming pool servicers, and may help in obtaining full-time employment with a pool maintenance company later.
AQUA Magazine is a good source of technical information concerning pool service. Visit https://aquamagazine.com to read selected articles.
Swimming pool servicers usually travel a regularly scheduled route, visiting several pools a day. They are responsible for keeping pools clean and equipment operating properly. In general, a pool that receives routine maintenance develops fewer problems.
Cleaning is one of the regular duties of pool servicers. Leaves and other debris need to be scooped off the surface of the water with a net on a long pole. To clean beneath the surface, servicers use a special vacuum cleaner on the pool floor and walls. They scrub pool walls, tiles, and gutters around the pool's edge with stainless steel or nylon brushes to remove layers of grit and scum that collect at the water line. They also hose down the pool deck and unclog the strainers that cover the drains.
After cleaning the pool and its surroundings, servicers test the bacterial content and pH balance (a measure of acidity and alkalinity) of the water. The tests are simple and take only a few minutes, but they are critical. A sample of the pool water is collected in a jar and a few drops of a testing chemical are added to the water. This chemical causes the water to change colors, indicating the water's chemical balance. Swimming pool servicers use these results to determine the amount of chlorine and other chemicals that should be added to make the water safe. The chemicals often used, which include potassium iodide, hydrochloric acid, sodium carbonate, chlorine, and others, are poured directly into the pool or added through a feeder device in the circulation system. These chemicals, when properly regulated, kill bacteria and algae that grow in water.
High levels of chemicals can cause eye or skin irritation. As a result, pool servicers must wear gloves and use caution when working. The chemical makeup of every pool is different and can change daily or even hourly, so servicers keep accurate records of the levels of chemicals added to the pool during their visit. Pool owners or managers take up the responsibility of testing the water between visits from the servicer. The water in home pools is usually tested several times a week, but large public pools are tested hourly.
Swimming pool servicers also inspect and perform routine maintenance on pool equipment, such as circulation pumps, filters, and heaters. In order to clean a filter, servicers force water backwards through it to dislodge any debris that has accumulated. They make sure there are no leaks in pipes, gaskets, connections, or other parts. If a drain or pipe is clogged, servicers use a steel snake, plunger, or other plumbing tool to clear it. They also adjust thermostats, pressure gauges, and other controls to make the pool water comfortable. Minor repairs to machinery, such as fixing or replacing small components, may be necessary. When major repairs are needed, servicers first inform the pool owner before making any repairs.
Another major task for swimming pool servicers in most regions of the country is closing outdoor pools for the winter. In the fall, servicers drain the water out of the pool and its auxiliary equipment. Openings into the pool are plugged, and all pool gear, such as diving boards, ladders, and pumps, is removed, inspected, and stored. The pool is covered with a tarpaulin and tied or weighted in place. In warmer climates where water does not freeze, pools are usually kept full and treated with special chemicals through the winter.
Extra work is also required when a pool is reopened in the spring. After the pool is uncovered and the tank and pool deck are swept clean, swimming pool servicers inspect for cracks, leaks, loose tiles, and broken lamps. They repair all minor problems and make recommendations to the owner about any major work they feel is necessary, such as painting the interior of the pool. Equipment removed in the fall, such as ladders and diving boards, is cleaned and installed. Servicers test water circulation and heating systems to make sure they are operating properly, and then fill the pool with water. Once filled, the pool water is tested and the appropriate chemicals are added to make it safe for swimming.
For every job, servicers keep careful records of the maintenance work they have done so they can inform the company and the customer.