As the temperatures get warmer, area residents may be thinking of opening their swimming pools or installing a new one. But according to Mark Sweeney of Heath and Pool Services, they should’ve begun planning months ago.

Sweeney said many people stayed home this past year because of the pandemic, and pool sales were phenomenal. Now, parts and pools themselves may be hard to find.

“We sold out of pools. Above-ground pool liners will be hard to get, if you can get them,” he said. “We have some stock because I ordered way early.”

Those looking to install an above-ground pool may have to wait until May or June, or even later, due to the industry’s lack of inventory.

People with pools should start taking stock of what accessories, parts and chemicals they have on hand and order things they may need early. Repairs to look for include broken tiles, plaster, pipes or equipment.

“Hopefully pools were covered. They need to get their pool water in balance,” said Sweeney.

Professionals can pull covers off and clean them, and vacuum out the pool, but these processes can be done by most homeowners. Those who have covered their pools can clean it, get the pump running, and the water treated, and it can be ready to enjoy in a couple of days, according to Sweeney.

“If they haven’t covered the pool over the winter, it could take longer and will cost more because the cleaning is so much harder,” he said.

Some people may turn off their water features in the fall, but keep the pool running all year round.

“The opening for those will be fairly simple,” said Sweeney.

Those looking to maintain their pools themselves can get the water tested for free at Hearth and Pool. Owners can also find supplies such as valves, filters, pumps, hoses, and clamps. Water treatment supplies are also available.

Owners who maintain their pools themselves may see higher costs this season. One item that has had a huge increase in price this year is chlorine tablets, but it’s not due to the pandemic.

“Only two plants make them, and one of them was taken out by a hurricane,” said Sweeney.

Alternatives to chlorine include salt and products such as Pristine Blue. Sweeney said owners can switch fairly easily from chlorine treatments to other types.

Sweeney said Hearth and Pool Services does more commercial work, and a sister company, AquaTekk, handles a lot of the residential services.

The Hearth and Pool team was working on an old in-ground pool at the Town Branch Ranch Thursday. While they could remove old pumps and cracked tiles and acid-washed the surface, they will contract out services dealing with underground plumbing, such as broken pipes.

Employee Tyler Reese has been with Hearth and Pool off and on for years, and he worked on removing the decades-old pumps that still had sand in them. He said the hardest part of maintaining pools is the continuous sweeping. He also dislikes the film that lotion can leave in the pool.

“Over the years, it can build up,” Reese.

His favorite aspect of the job is getting to explore the area, seeing a lot of beautiful homes and pools.

Some tasks professionals can do include weekly pool and spa maintenance; in-pool leak detection, pump replacement and repairs; above-ground pool setup and liner replacement; and seasonal pool opening and closing.

If they can be found for purchase, Sweeney said above-ground pools can cost $4,000-$8,000 without installation. Readying the area or having the pool set up by a professional can be an additional $1,500-$2,000.

Bailey's Pools in Hulbert stays busy with pool installations, and comments from owners were not available before publication time.

Homeowners need to check with local ordinances, and consider issues such as tree roots and overhead wires in the area.

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