This is Part I of the Vacation Rental Safety Series. Every month, we’ll show you how to mitigate risk, loss and liability at your vacation rental home with valuable safety tips and ideas.
If you have a pool at your vacation rental home, it most likely saw a lot of action this past summer. Back-to-back bookings filled with everything from family vacations to bachelorette parties means that your guests had a summer full of fun, and your swimming pool was at the center of it. Sadly, summer is now coming to a close, temperatures are starting to dip and soon your pool will be closing up shop for the season.
As you head into the off-season, remember that keeping your pool in tip-top shape when it is not in use offers many benefits for your vacation rental business including:
It makes preparing for peak season easier
It keeps your guests safe
It reduces your chances of liability and loss
In this article, we’ll show you the best off-season pool maintenance tips that will help you prepare your pool for winter, decrease your risks and keep any future guests safe while staying on your property. Let’s dive in!
Check Your Safety Equipment
It’s inevitable for a pool to experience wear and tear over the course of a busy season. Now that things are slowing down, you have the perfect opportunity to inspect any safety equipment requirements and make enhancements as necessary. For example:
- Are your depth markers still in plain view? Are they broken, chipped, faded or missing?
- Are your suction and drain covers still intact and functioning? Do any need to be replaced?
- What’s the state of your life-saving equipment? Do you have a well-stocked First Aid kit? Is it all in good working order and available for immediate use?
- If it’s required in your state, is your fence lock working and in use?
If any of your safety equipment needs to be fixed or replaced, the end of the season is the time to do it! Since the pool will not be in use, you can easily check your pool and make incremental improvements throughout the low season.
Install a “No Swimming Allowed” Sign
According to inspection regulations, pool rules must be kept at the entrance of your pool at all times. As you transition into the off-season, now’s the time to hang a No Swimming Allowed sign. If you book rentals well into the fall and winter, make sure you have this sign up to minimize your liability should a guest decide to take a dip when they shouldn’t.
Keep a Record of Chemical Testing
Maintaining pool water in the off-season is a science. From balancing and adjusting chemical levels to adding chlorine and algaecides, you have to be diligent and intentional in order to ensure that your water is properly maintained when not in use. Whatever your chemical maintenance regimen may be throughout the winter, be sure to maintain an accurate record of everything you do and every product you use. Not only is this a safety requirement according to inspection rules, but it can help protect you in the future. Additionally, make sure all of your chemicals are properly contained and stored away!
Prevent Damage from Freezing Weather
Excess water can spell disaster for an in-ground pool system should temperatures go below freezing. When this excess water freezes, it can cause burst pipes and damaged motors. Shut off your pool equipment and drain any water from the pump, heater and filter. Also be sure to drain the water 4-6 inches below the pool skimmer. These measures will keep unwanted water from collecting and exposing your system to potential damage should freezing temperatures hit.
For above-ground pools, use an air pillow to protect the walls of your pool from ice damage. When water freezes, the ice expands against the walls of your pool and could potentially cause them to crack or experience other damage. An air pillow, when properly inflated and placed beneath the safety cover, will absorb that ice expansion and protect your pool walls in the process.
Being aware of the effects of ice on your pool and then taking preventative measures will reduce your chances of damage and any subsequent out-of-pocket repair costs.
Make Sure the Pool Safety Cover Fits Correctly
Not only does having a quality pool cover keep dirt, debris, leaves, bugs and animals out of your pool over the winter (which is a huge plus in terms of maintaining the quality of your water), it also reinforces to guests that the pool is off-limits. Make sure your safety cover fits your pool correctly to keep it in pristine condition throughout the winter months.
If you have an above-ground pool, choose a heavy duty pool cover with grommets, a cable and a wince to ratchet it in place. Cover clips will also help keep the cover down. For in-ground pools, make sure the cover is pulled taut and not sagging.
Check your pool’s safety cover regularly through the winter to make sure it’s still secure. Maintaining your water levels will also help. If water levels are low, your cover will sag. If water levels are high, your pool will overflow and you’ll have other problems on your hands! Use a sump pump or a water vacuum to bring those water levels down again, or simply add more water to fill it back up.
Bonus off-season maintenance tip: Keep your pool cover clear all winter. This not only makes your pool area aesthetically pleasing but will make opening everything back up in the spring much easier.
Off-Season Pool Maintenance Gives Your Pool Some TLC after a Busy Season
After a busy season full of back-to-back rentals, it’s common for your pool to need a little love and upkeep going into the off-season. The off-season is your chance to make any necessary updates as well as to take preventative measures that will protect your pool, your business and your guests in the future.
Don’t let a pool claim make unwanted waves in your vacation rental business. Request a free consultation with a CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance expert today!