Beautiful oranges, vibrant reds, and brilliant yellows… it’s the reason why autumn is the best season of the year. Not quite cold enough for heavy jackets, but far enough removed from the sweltering heat of summer — fall draws many families out of their homes for some last minute outdoor fun before winter locks us inside for months on end. While your patrons might be enamored with the bright colors of falling leaves, pool management should stay on top of all the ways that leaves can disrupt your facility’s normal operation.

What’s the Problem with Leaves, Anyway?

Clogged Drains
There are so many ways that pool maintenance can go wrong that a few leaves drifting into the water becomes an afterthought. Unfortunately, falling leaves can cause severe damage to your pool by blocking drains. Though they might float at first, once leaves become waterlogged, they’ll begin to sink. This causes  leaves to combine with other large debris like hair, to create a tough solid mass. Your filtration system will then pull the mass of leaves toward the drains, rendering it incapable of sucking it through. The final result —  a clogged drain, a pool full of unfiltered water, and a crowd of unhappy patrons.

Chemical Balance
Drains aren’t the only problem. If enough leaves fall into your pool over a short period of time, the chemical balance of the water can be threatened. Think of foliage like any other foreign contaminant — enough of it and your normal cleaning solutions won’t be able to keep up. Maintaining an appropriate balance keeps your pool healthy and safe.

Now What?

Re-think Landscaping
If you find yourself constantly cleaning leaves out of your pool, it might be time to take steps that will cut down on work in the future. In many cases, heavy foliage debris is a direct result of faulty pool construction. If your facility was built under a tree grove or near the edge of a wood line, chances are a collection of leaves greet you in the morning. If only a few small trees are planted on your property a landscaping service can remove them at a cost that’s likely lower than a lifetime of maintenance.

Don’t go into this decision lightly, consider more creative solutions to keep leaves out of the water. Less invasive landscaping measures can be taken. Plant low-level bushes and shrubs to block wind from carrying foliage into your facility. Pick plants, like Indian hawthorn, that don’t lose their leaves themselves or you’ll have double the cleanup to take care of in the morning.

Invest in a Leaf Cover
If landscaping isn’t a project you want to take on at the moment, one of the easiest ways to protect your pool is a leaf cover. Typically lighter and less expensive than traditional pool covers, leaf cover’s aren’t a cut-and-dry replacement for their counterparts that keep children and animals out of the pool. However, the flexible mesh is great at keeping debris out of your pool at a low cost.

With these tips and tricks, your pool can stay beautiful throughout the fall — attracting patrons to your facility throughout the season!