Winter Weather Takes A Toll On Above-Ground Pools
|By John D. Oravecz, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
But he noticed problems when he opened the pool two weeks ago: Sand beneath the pool's plastic liner was a half-foot lower than normal in places, and some of the pool walls were buckled.
Repair companies say the cause was ice buildup from two months of sub-freezing temperatures in
Pool repair companies declined to discuss revenue gains from the increased work, but some estimate their repair business is up 40 percent compared to "normal" winters, with bills for liner and equipment replacement averaging
With summer set to start this Saturday, the number of repair jobs at Pool City, the region's largest dealer and servicer, normally is about 125 at this point, but it's 180 and counting this year, said
Damage to above-ground pools such as the one behind Janosik's
"I've been in this business for 38 years and never seen anything like it," he said. "Mother Nature had a harsh reaction. Every year pools freeze, but from
Plus, in April and May, there was rain that added weight on top of ice. "That gets the ice to travel, leading to more problems, some minor and many major, especially for one-third of all pools that are not properly winterized," Blohm said.
His customers blamed the winter for half of the reinstallations he's done this year, compared with 25 percent in other years, he said.Pool industry trade association don't compile data on repairs and causes, but
Aluminum or plastic walls on above-ground pools are bendable and when they do, it ruins the entire system, she said.
"The ice was so thick that when it melts it pulls on liners, ripping them and in some cases the weight of the ice damages wall and uprights that hold liners, causing pools to leak," he said. When liners and pool covers are damaged, leaves and debris fall in. And pool pumps are damaged because "people always fail to take them in during the winter."
"We're seeing a 40 to 50 percent increase in liner replacements, and everyday we're getting more calls," because many people haven't yet opened their pools for summer, Kleiner said. Replacement costs
"Some of those customers say they've been winterizing their pools the same way for years," Pool City's Blohm said. "But we didn't have this bad of a winter. ... The extra business is nice, but it's hard business. A lot of customers don't want to accept that Mother Nature was the cause; we just had a real odd weather pattern this year."
Dealers and repairmen say pool damage generally is not covered by homeowners insurance. A spokeswoman for
Janosik said he was disappointed that a stainless steel panel that connects pump and filter equipment to the pool buckled. "But there was a big chuck of ice there, I won't lie to you," he said. Blohm said manufacturers introduced heavy duty panels in that spot because of the equipment connected there.
Janosik's repairs may be scheduled next week, and damage wasn't severe enough to prevent swimming until then.
"I'll be in it this weekend," said Janosik.
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