Any swimming pool is fun, but one that is low-maintenance is even better! That is what a fiberglass pool is for homeowners. Among the three pool types – concrete, vinyl liner and fiberglass – fiberglass pools require the least amount of maintenance. But low-maintenance isn’t the same as maintenance-free. Taking proper care of your fiberglass pool is essential to getting the most enjoyment (and longest life) from it.
Advantages of a Fiberglass Pool
Fiberglass pools are less expensive to buy and install than concrete pools (you can be enjoying it in a matter of weeks rather than months), the interior surface is smooth to the touch (unlike the rough, abrasive texture of concrete) and they’re incredibly durable. Add to all these pluses the low-maintenance factor, and it’s easy to understand their popularity!
Low-Maintenance Doesn’t Mean No-Maintenance
However, low-maintenance isn’t the same as no-maintenance. Regular care needs to be taken so your fiberglass pool provides many years of fun to your family. Most tasks can be handled by the homeowner, but if you’re lacking in time and/or inclination, hiring a pool cleaning service to do the honors will be less expensive than it would be for a concrete pool.
To get the best from your fiberglass pool, follow these maintenance tips, courtesy of Holly Jender, River Pools:
- Clean regularly, with products made specifically for fiberglass pools
- Check water chemistry
- Run the pool filter
- Keep water level above the skimmer
Pool cleaning – Since a fiberglass pool has a gel coat surface, which is smooth and nonporous, chances of algae growth are minimal. That is why it requires less brushing and is easier to maintain. Still, should algae rear its head, use the SLAM (Shock, Level, And Maintain) method to shock the pool, and it will be swim-ready in just 24 hours.
Use a skimming net and telescopic pole to get rid of leaves and bugs, and a pool vacuum to clean the bottom of debris. To remove grime and dirt, use a damp rag and simple pool cleaner – harsh cleaners can damage the gel coat and even change the water chemistry.
Water chemistry balancing – Every pool owner needs to maintain the proper levels of the following:
- Free chlorine
- Calcium hardness
- Cyanuric acid (CYA)
- Total alkalinity
Fiberglass pools require less adjustment because the surface is inert—they don’t affect the water chemistry.
Pool filter– Every pool needs a filtration system. In the case of a fiberglass pool, one circulation every day is sufficient to keep your water clean. It means you can save a substantial amount on power bills.
Water level – Maintaining water level is important because it equalizes groundwater pressure. Keep the water level above the skimmer at all times. The water level is important in a fiberglass pool because it counters the upward pressure exerted by groundwater. When you don’t maintain proper water level, it can pop out of the ground (as can every other type of in-ground pool). If your pool needs to be drained for any reason, it should be at the recommendation of a professional pool service company, and performed by the same company.
Keep your water line clean – Fiberglass pool owners should keep the waterline around the pool perimeter clean. Body oils, suntan lotions, dirt, airborne contaminants, etc., can collect and cause buildup around this area. If you don’t keep it clean, the buildup can stain your pool’s gel coat finish.
Where Leaks Can Occur
Despite maintaining your pool properly, a fiberglass pool can develop cracks and start to leak. That is why it is crucial to know where leaks can occur.
Fiberglass pool leaks generally fall into either of two categories –cracks in the system’s fittings and pipes, and cracks in the pool shell. In the first category, the pool system’s suction or return pipes are the most likely location for leaks.
To locate a leak, follow the elimination process and then determine the exact rate at which the pool is losing water. The elimination process involves three steps – pressure-testing the plumbing, dye-testing the pool water, and inspecting the fiberglass shell physically. Leak detection experts use technology and other methods to locate the leak in a fiberglass pool. Depending on the type of the leak, specialists repair the problem.
To determine the rate of leak, leak detection experts perform a bucket test. You can perform the bucket test yourself, following the instructions on our website.
If you’ve determined that water is being lost, the next step is to investigate the plumbing and the equipment pad. Start by testing if the pump is having problems getting primed, since that can signal a suction-side leak, either underground or at the pump.
If the usual checks don’t seem to help isolate the issue, it could be time to call in a leak-detection specialist. These companies test for leaks with cutting-edge techniques, and can locate even well-concealed cracks.
Determining a leak in the shell is actually more complicated than finding a leak in the plumbing or equipment pad. A fiberglass pool shell can leak from anywhere there is a penetration like a skimmer throat, a return outlet, light fitting or the main drain outlet. Also, you need to check around the base of the shell, where the walls curve upward.
Cracks in a fiberglass shell can occur in other locations, caused by roots, ground movement or uplift. Older fiberglass shells can develop cosmetic fatigue cracks. Although they detract from the pool’s appearance, fatigue cracks don’t leak.
The Take-Home Message
With regular maintenance and staying alert to evidence of leaks, your fiberglass swimming pool will be a central part of your Central Florida summer fun now and well into the future!
Certified Leak Detection has more than 30 years of experience in leak detection and repair for swimming pools, spas and hot tubs, as well as slabs and foundations. Serving areas throughout Central Florida – including Orlando, Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford, Kissimmee, Clermont and Winter Springs – our team is ready to answer your call.
Contact us for quick, reliable service.