Vacation procedure

Donna's Poolboy

LifeTime Supporter
May 29, 2007
26
0
Iowa
#1
Unless I missed it, I haven't seen a thread devoted to what all of you do prior to heading out of town for an extended stay. Instead of 'winterization", call this a "vacationization" thread. Since we all live in different climates, I don't know if we'll get a definitive "here's what to do to your pool before you leave town" check list. I'm mostly looking for an exchange of ideas so that we can all come home from vacation to a pool that hasn't turned into a pond! That being said, when you're going to be gone for, say, a week...

1) do you leave your solar cover on?
2) do you run the pump 24/7 or have a timed interval?
3) do you top off with water? If so, how much?
4) what's your chlorine procedure? (bulk up with bleach, load the skimmer with pucks, cross your fingers and pray)
5) heater setting? (crank it down? shut it off? gripe about it after the utility bill comes?)
5) do you have a neighbor "pool sit" or leave it unattended
6) any other tips you can share from past experience (good or bad)

Thanks in advance. While you're replying, I'm off to pack my sandals and black socks!
Bill
 

JasonLion

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TFP Expert
May 7, 2007
37,879
5
Silver Spring, MD
#2
By far the best solution is to get someone you trust to come over and check on the pool. There are things that can happen that require human intervention, particularly a large storm.

Failing that, solar cover, a trichlor floater, and the usual pump run time will normally be good for a week and likely two weeks.

We have been good for a week with a SWG and little special preparation on several occasions. But once there was a large storm that blocked the skimmers , the pump prime protection shut down the pump and we got algae.
 

AnnaK

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TFP Expert
#3
Yes, I do have some experience with leaving a pool for an extended period of time.

Our vacation was a six week cross country camping trip. We live pretty far out in the country and there's nobody we would ask to come poolsit. I shocked it the night before we left to 20 ppm FC, turned off the pump, and we drove away. I had previously agonized about this on the forum, primarily because of my concern of an electrical problem with the pump and a possible house fire. I got some excellent advice which I'll pass on to you now:

You know how to deal with a green pool. Go have a good time.

Yes, the pool was green when we returned. We had expected that. It was clear and sparkling fewer than 10 days later using just bleach, brushing, and running the pump 24/7.

I would do it again in a heart beat because I never once gave a second thought to that pool and just enjoyed our travels through this great country.
 

Belldiver

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2007
344
0
Lafayette, Louisiana
#4
I'll be experimenting with this situation on a permanent basis when I get up and running. I work offshore oil and am regularly gone for one to 4 weeks at a time. I do have a couple very good friends that are semi-retired and volunteering to be my pool service while I'm away...for use of the pool of course...It actually works out very well for both of us.

I opted to spend a little extra on my equipment to automate and take up the slack. I'm using an Intelliflo VF pump that should be able to keep the water turnover consistant, the largest residential cartridge filter I could get, AutoPilot Total Control to keep the pH in check and hopefully the chlorine, and a Polaris 280 robot to do some of the basic wall/floor cleaning. I'm hoping this allows my free pool service friends just to keep track of things every couple days while I'm away and make some small adjustments as needed. They can reach me via e-mail any day just in case something serious goes wrong...I've actually encouraged them to start reading the Pool School section here to get up to speed on some of the finer points of water chemistry.
 

JFP

Member
Aug 9, 2007
19
0
#5
Re: testing the water

when testing your chlorine how long do you wait before you read the results? When I read it immediately after, i get a low reading. If I wait a few minutes (maybe 5), it's much higher. The longer I wait the darker the tube gets!!
 

frustratedpoolmom

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In The Industry
May 20, 2007
12,177
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SWSuburban Chicago, IL
#6
Re: testing the water

JFP said:
when testing your chlorine how long do you wait before you read the results? When I read it immediately after, i get a low reading. If I wait a few minutes (maybe 5), it's much higher. The longer I wait the darker the tube gets!!
30 minutes to an hour.
 

frustratedpoolmom

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May 20, 2007
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SWSuburban Chicago, IL
#7
I just returned from a 9 day trip. I was confident with my vacationization procedure only because I'm comfortable with my water chemistry and routine. I was away 11 days last year and had a friend check on the pool on day 4 and 8 and add 1/2 jug chlorine. This year I shocked before I left to 16.

I left the solar cover on, held in place with water-filled bleach jugs (high winds here). I left my pump on low 24/7.

I came back and all was fine. I was taking some chances with this but I was comfortable with the decision. Not everyone will or can make the same decision. Ideally, a friend/family member checking on things for you would be ideal. No reason to run the filter/pump more or less than normal, if you have a timer keep the settings the same, I would think.

A solar cover reduces evaporation and protects the FC from UV rays so it will hold up better over longer periods. Also using an auto-chlorine feeder for these limited periods would help too....I would not recommend them for long term use, just occasional vacationization (I like that word - can we copyright it? :mrgreen: )
 

Swimgirl

Well-known member
Jun 3, 2008
347
0
Marana, AZ
#10
As long as the CYA levels aren't pushing the high end, I plan on shocking and putting a couple of pucks in the floater before we go on a short trip. If the CYA is too high for that, I will just come home to a green pool.

I don't think I will leave the pump running; I would be afraid of it losing prime for some reason and ruining it.
 

joenj

Well-known member
May 10, 2007
80
0
Mantua, NJ
#11
Just came back from vacation without any problems.

1) do you leave your solar cover on?
Yes the cover goes on.

2) do you run the pump 24/7 or have a timed interval?
Timed interval, no change from regular settings.

3) do you top off with water? If so, how much?
Not really. Always try to keep the water level correct and the solar cover will help prevent evaporation.

4) what's your chlorine procedure? (bulk up with bleach, load the skimmer with pucks, cross your fingers and pray)
Liquidator now, but before LQ: shock and pucks in the old Nature2 canister.

5) heater setting? (crank it down? shut it off? gripe about it after the utility bill comes?)
Solar panels,,I turn off the heat.

5) do you have a neighbor "pool sit" or leave it unattended
Neighbor will check skimmers for me.

6) any other tips you can share from past experience (good or bad)

Before I added Borates to the pool, I always seemed to fight mustard algae when I would get back from a late July vacation.

I also have my Cleaner setup to run under the solar cover.