What could be better than jumping in a refreshing swimming pool on a hot summer day, or relaxing in a hot tub on a cool, starry night! Have you invested time and money in a pool or hot tub to take full advantage of these happy moments? Here are a few spring prevention and maintenance tips to help you make the most of your summer and also avoid accidents and damage.
Have your pool or hot tub adequately insured
To make sure your outdoor pool or hot tub is covered in the event of damage, you must add an additional coverage to your home insurance. For example, this coverage will help you pay for any damage caused to your pool under the weight of snow or ice during winter.
Different coverages are available depending on the type of unit. They typically cover:
- Your pool or hot tub
- The equipment used to maintain, treat and heat the water
- The platform or deck attached to your unit
- The labour fees incurred to replace your pool or hot tub following a loss
Three tips to ensure you get adequate coverage:
- Notify your insurer about owning a pool or hot tub when you’re purchasing home insurance for the first time, or when you intend to have a unit installed. If the insurer is not notified before the loss occurs, you can’t be compensated.
- Inform your insurer about all the equipment you own for the maintenance, heating or use of your pool or hot tub.
- Verify the indemnity calculation method in the event of a loss. The method varies from one insurer to the next. In certain cases, the insurer may take into account the decrease in value of the units (depreciation) when calculating the indemnity. That means the older your pool or hot tub, the lower your potential indemnity may be. For example, in the event of a loss to a pool with tiles that are over 10 years old, the indemnity amount may be limited to 25% of the value of a new pool.
Good to know: Certain insurers, such as La Capitale, do not take the depreciation into account when a loss leads to the replacement of an in-ground pool, nor in the calculation of the portion of the indemnity that covers the labour fees in the event of repairs or replacement of the unit.
Do you have an inflatable pool or hot tub?
This type of temporary unit is covered without having to add additional coverage to your home insurance.
Get the season off on the right foot
For pools and hot tubs that are only used during the summer, opening day is crucial to ensuring your summer continues without a hitch. Here are a few tricks to make your first day a success!
- Open the pool in May, before the water has time to warm up. To make treating the water easier and to maintain the proper chemical balance, the water temperature should be under 21°C (70°F) when you open it.
- Inspect your pool or hot tub as well as the components and accessories for possible signs of wear and tear, i.e. cracks, leaks or other types of damage.
- Adjust, repair or change defective or damaged parts before opening your swimming pool or hot tub.
- Get rid of all the debris accumulated over the winter: time for a good cleaning! Drain the pipes that you poured antifreeze into last fall.
- Fill up the swimming pool or spa until the skimmer (for the pool) or the jets (for the hot tub) are submerged.
- Add the necessary products to adjust alkalinity, pH and calcium hardness levels until the water reaches the desired chemical balance and temperature.
Despite taking prevention measures, drownings still occur every year in residential pools and hot tubs. You must therefore think about safety when you install, modify or use your unit.
Installing or modifying your pool or hot tub
The Residential Swimming Pool Safety Regulation mandates that any individual installing or replacing a swimming pool must:
- Obtain a permit issued by the local municipality to build, install or replace a swimming pool or to erect a construction allowing or preventing access to a swimming pool.
- Restrict access to the pool with a fence at least 1.2 m high. The spacing between pickets should be less than 10 cm and the fence must be equipped with an automatic closing and locking system.
- Install a ladder or stairs to get in and out of the water for in-ground and semi-inground pools.
- Always keep a life jacket or buoy within reach of to swimmers.
- Install pumps, filters and other equipment in inaccessible areas, i.e. more than 1 m away from the pool or fence, inside the fenced area or under the patio.
Access to hot tubs should also be restricted with a hard cover equipped with a lock.
Using your pool or hot tub
In general, always remember that even if your unit is in compliance and deemed safe, there is still a risk of drowning. Nothing beats proper supervision and safe behaviour. In order to reduce the risk of drowning, follow the tips provided by the Lifesaving Society. Here’s a summary:
- Make sure you’re ready to act in the event of an emergency
Learn first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Learn to recognize signs of drowning: Gaze is upwards, face and eyes look panicky, arms flailing wildly.
- Make sure someone is always watching the pool if a child under 12 is swimming.
Before swimming, bring everything you may need by the pool: cordless phone, drinks, towels, sunscreen, etc.
When the little ones are swimming, don’t take part in any other activities if you have been designated to watch over the kids.
Need to step away from the pool for a few moments? Ask the kids to get out of the pool and accompany you or ask another adult to supervise.
- Never enter the water when you are alone, whether in a pool or hot tub.
- Never enter your hot tub, or let a guest enter, when inebriated.
The water temperature can increase the effect of alcohol or make you sleepy.
- Remember that using a hot tub is not advised for some people: Children under 5, pregnant women and people with high blood pressure or cardiac problems.
- Don’t leave toys floating in the pool and make sure all points of access are securely closed after swimming so children are not tempted to go back in when nobody is watching.