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I finally got to go on a ride-along! Hooray! I have been in the business for 4 ½ years but never had an opportunity to head out into the field to get my hands dirty. And this is how the Pool Girl Gets Her Hands Wet. My pool guru was Benjamin Delaney, a 15-year veteran who was kind enough to let me be his “anchor” for the day. We started on a chilly California morning of 42 degrees. I know, I know, laugh it up, East Coasters. To us, this is cold! I wore layers of clothing that I cared nothing about, expecting dirt, grime, and bleach stains. I made sure I had sunscreen on and plenty of liquids.
The Brush is my Friend!
I swooped a pole, a net, and a brush off the shelf for my field trip. Armed with my K-2005c Taylor test kit, I was ready to go! As we started on our drive to our first pool, I asked Ben for his pearls of wisdom regarding pool cleaning and how he attacks it.
Be One With The Pump!
“This (a ride-along) is the first step in learning everything. Don’t get overwhelmed with everything. First, learn the mechanics of cleaning the pool. If the pump isn’t priming or something seems weird, or whatever, just call someone who knows what to do. Don’t freak out! Literally, your job today is learning the labor part of cleaning a pool. Listening to the motor’s sound isn’t going to come to you on your first day. Just keep in mind I talk out loud a lot, and I like training people. I will speak about every little thing that comes to my mind while I am cleaning a pool. You’ll see when we go and do these pools; you can see the inside of my brain work.”
The first thing we did was put the pump in “quick clean” mode to increase the RPMs. Ben squirted tile soap across the surface of the pool, and I got to netting. I scraped my net along the edges of the pool to get most of the junk. Then I tackled trying to create a whirlpool to get the stuff off the bottom into my net. The most frustrating part was on the second pool when everything came flying right back out of my net. D’oh!
Jules, the Pool Girl, Gets Her Hands Wet!
Then I scrubbed the tile with a tile brush. I went in a circular motion and tried to get every inch. Then it was time to vacuum. Ben vacuums before he brushes because he says if he brushes first, then the dirt and dust might not settle to the bottom in time before we leave. He showed me how to get all the air out of the hose before connecting it to the skimmer. He even rolls his hose a certain way to make this easier to drop down into the water. He does not “suck” the air out. I had trouble not lifting the vacuum up and down as I made my strides. At first, I couldn’t figure out how to turn it, but Ben showed me it was all in the wrist.
Then I switched to my brush. I brushed straight up and down, bringing the brush to the edge of the water before pushing it back down. I also splashed water on the tile I had just cleaned to get the soap off. I alternated arms so as not to get too tired. I still got tired. LOL
A pH as High as Jeff Spicoli!
Then it was time to check the chemicals. Most of Ben’s pools were perfect, so they didn’t need anything. Plus, it is winter. In one pool, the PH came up at an 8.1, so he had me dump a quart of acid in the deep end in one spot.
Similar Story Jules’ Green Pool Algae Treatment Program
We emptied the skimmer baskets and checked inside the weir blades to crap that was stuck in there. On some pools, he used a battery-operated VOLT to vacuum out the spas. I didn’t get to play with this toy…this time.
I checked the automatic pool cleaner and noticed it needed some parts, so we disconnected it, and I brought it back to the shop. We left a door hanger with a note, of course. We emptied leaf canisters where applicable as well and the Pool Girl Gets Her Hands Wet.
Then, my favorite part, emptying the pump basket. This is the last step for Ben. He showed me how to turn the pump lid and explained that a rubber mallet should be used. Then I shut off the pump, emptied the basket, and made sure the cover o-ring didn’t go flying. I turned the pump back on, and we waited for it to prime before leaving. One seemed to be taking a while, so Ben tightened the lid I had put on a bit more, and the problem was solved.
Stripping Off Layers!
We did the same things pool after pool. Some pools didn’t even need to be vacuumed. You can see by the pictures I started losing layers as the day went on. You can also see I need to work on my technique. He let me get the cart on and off the truck, and I carried my own equipment. I ended up being more of a helper than an anchor…thank goodness!
I really enjoyed it. I liked being outside. I liked talking to the customers that came out. I liked how Ben had a system down where he worked efficiently and well, and the pools looked great. I can’t wait for my next ride along with an equipment install. I know not everyone does their pools like this. Next to the pool ride along I go on, I will share their technique.
I have a new respect for what you all do in the field. I knew it wasn’t easy, but I didn’t know it could be fun too! See you poolside. Literally!