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Pool service companies help during winter storm

The February winter storm which slammed through Texas and surrounding areas will be keeping pool service companies busy with repairs, but many companies got ahead of the melee with advice to their customers about how to prevent damage to their outdoor investments.

Jessica and Juan Antonio Ramirez, owners of A& R Pool Services in Marshall, Texas, were hard at work during the storm trying to help community members with pools prevent long term damage to their equipment.

“This is something that we haven’t seen in probably my entire lifetime. People here in Texas don’t know what to do,” Jessica said.

Although the company had stopped their service technicians from going out on the roads during the storm, they opened up their phone lines and social media profiles with advice for community members about their pools during the storm.

The company advised that pool pumps should be running continuously in freezing conditions, and most have built in freeze protection to keep them from being damaged.

In many cases, however, this was easier said than done because so many areas lost power. Clearly, when the power goes out the pool pump also stops working, which can cause pool water and equipment to start to freeze.

“If everything starts to freeze, then we can start seeing damage. Usually, we hope that it isn’t permanent, where you would have to replace the whole system, but it is a possibility,” Jessica said.

Jessica said that when the pump stops working, the best thing to do is to turn off the main breaker of the pool equipment, then to take out the plugs on the filter and the pump and drain them both. The company offered for community members to send photos of their equipment if they don’t know where to locate their filters and pump’s plugs.

The company said they were answering phones calls night and day to help walk community members through the steps they needed to take to protect their equipment. They were also answering messages on their Facebook page.

Mike Messick, General Manager ofAll Seasons Pools in New Braunfels, Texas, said the roads were also impassable in his area for over four days, so his service and repair techs were not able to get to customers in the days following the storm. Like other service pros, he recommended that pumps be run 24/7 if they didn't already have freeze protection on their systems.

He said that his customers were generally fine with this, but the frequent and sometimes prolonged power outages led to people having problems anyway.

“In some cases, this seemed to have worked, but some swaths of our service area experienced power outages of 24+ hours,” Messick said.

Meanwhile, Rudy Stankowitz, of Aquatic Facility Training and Consultants, posted a “What to do when pool water freezes” notice on his website, www.cpoclass.com.

Much damage might have been mitigated if more pool owners had read the post.

In the post, Stankowitz provides comprehensive last-minute winterization instructions in the case of an expected hard freeze such as turning off the power to the equipment, removing freeze plugs on the filter, pump, and the drain plug to the heater, disassembling filters and more.

“I have spent a good portion of my pool industry career in a winter market and can tell you winterizing a pool properly is the best protection you will get when the pool water freezes,” Stankowitz writes.

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