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I just bought a house with a pool. I’ve never taken care of one before. Who can help me?

We can. First, you have our sympathies. Pools are great, and they can be easy, but no one ever seems to leave the new homeowner directions, specifications, etc. That’s OK. We can teach you. We can probably get you directions to your equipment, even if you did not buy it from us. Here’s what we need from you:

  1. Get our Pool School Schedule, and sign up for FREE classes in maintenance, chemistry, opening and closing. There is some information on our Pool Schools page and the schedule is posted in the store from April to October.
  2. Gather up all the directions, receipts, booklets, etc., that you can find that seem to belong to the pool. If you can, get the name and the old phone number of the people who owned the pool last. If they were on file in our water lab computer, we can access it and switch the pool to your name and phone. That allows you and us to look at the previous history of water tests.
  3. Photograph the equipment and the pool (close-up). Then print the photographs big enough for us to see the details. Don’t bring in your camera or cell phone and expect us to tell you anything from looking at the screen. Those of us who have lots of experience do not have nineteen-year-old eyes.
  4. Write down the manufacturer and model of the equipment. We don’t need everything on the motor, but we do need everything else. We’ll help you track down missing directions. We actually stock directions to commonly used equipment, including equipment sold by our competitors. If you have any Proline brand equipment, keep looking for another name or address. Proline is not actually a brand; it’s a private label. We know where it was purchased, but they use lots of different manufacturers.
  5. Inventory the chemicals you have left. We want brand, name, and ingredients. Some chemicals are not compatible with each other, and some of them can even last in pool water over the winter. Some of those are indistinquishable from other’s using a pool store lab. You could tell in a university lab, but that’s not worth the cost or effort.
  6. Bring in a pint of pool water in a clean glass or plastic jar. It actually may be too early to do this test, so talk to us before you go to the water lab. It depends on things we will discuss as we start teaching you. If we decide that we need a test, we’ll tell you.
  7. Call to see when will be a good time to come in for help. Generally, that will be a cool weekday afternoon. Obviously, we will help you anytime, but we cannot give someone an hour of free advice while twenty good customers stand in line behind you!
  8. Start reading. Go to the index page for Pool Tips, then read whatever subjects seem most appropriate. Start with water testing and water balance— everyone needs to know them. We have all of the tips in the store, and we’ll be happy to fill in the appropriate quantities and advice for you right here.
  9. If you want to hire someone to come out to your house, we can give you some contacts. However, if you’re patient, and can give us enough information to help you, this doesn’t have to be an expensive job for you. At a minimum, if we can teach you enough for free, you may save an hour or two at $125 an hour from a service technician.