Swimming Pool Fact or Fiction

The internet is filled with both swimming pool facts and “facts”–really no more than swimming pool myths and misinformation being passed along by well-meaning but uninformed friends, family, and group members on social media. While some of the more accurate ones can be helpful, and others are based upon a kernel of truth (even if the details get a bit sketchy), some are downright false and can negatively impact your swimming pool enjoyment or the safety of those using your pool. As local pool safety experts, we love to see our neighbors beating the heat with a pool that helps protect their friends, family, and pets from accidental drowning injuries, so let’s take a look at some popular swimming pool topics and separate facts from fiction.

Every Pool Is Different

Before we get into the swimming pool facts and fiction, it’s important to know that we’re talking about a broad spectrum of swimming pool experiences. That means that while something may be generally false, it is potentially possible, given the right circumstances and conditions. Where possible, plausible, or likely, we’ll note this. Transparency is important to us, so we want to give you as much information as possible to continue research or make an informed decision, the same as we do when talking with a customer about a free quote.

I Heard It From My Cousin’s Hairdresser’s Niece….

I think we’ve all heard plenty of “true” stories that start like this. The only reason we keep listening is that, like a stopped clock, sometimes they’re right. When it comes to the investment you’ve made in your pool or to your family’s safety, however, you want to be sure. Let’s start breaking down some myths so we can get to the swimming pool facts behind them.

“If the water is clear and you can smell the chemicals, it’s healthy.”

Water that’s clear and burns your nostrils with the strength of its treatment not only can still be unhealthy but probably is. Clear water just means there aren’t visible contaminants floating in it, like large amounts of dirt or algae. While pool chemicals do have an odor and a properly treated pool can still have a slight and distinctive smell, stronger chemical odors often come from the pool chemicals binding to non-visible organic contaminants brought in by swimmers creating chloramines. Too many chemicals or contaminants in the water–soaking into the skin, accidentally being swallowed, and being inhaled as vapor–could potentially make swimmers ill, and poor water quality can impact the life expectancy of your swimming pool, equipment, and accessories.

“Pool fences and safety nets hamper your pool use by getting in the way.”

This is a dangerous swimming pool myth that directly jeopardizes swimmers. The National Drowning Prevention Alliance notes that a lack of barriers is a contributing factor in the majority of accidental drownings. Pool net installation and removal are fast, easy processes that take a matter of minutes. 

installed white pool safety fence with child sitting in front of it
installed white pool safety fence with child sitting in front of it

As for pool fences getting in the way of your summer fun, that part may be true of outdated fencing. Modern removable mesh pool fencing is durable, versatile, and can be removed by the pool owner to allow for more space around the pool then re-installed once the pool is ready to be closed again. A professionally installed mesh pool fence combined with a pool safety net or cover gives you peace of mind that your pool is protected from unsupervised access but still leaves you full use of your pool area when a responsible party is there to keep tabs on the action.

“Swimming right after eating or drinking causes cramps.”

One of the most persistent swimming pool facts is this gem, used by parents to escape pool parties right after birthday cake coast-to-coast. It works because rather than being a swimming pool myth, it’s partially right. Cramps can happen for several reasons, and one is when muscles aren’t getting enough circulation for the work they’re putting in. When you eat, the body increases circulation to the digestive system, which lowers the resources available for other areas, such as the muscles you’re using for swimming. Alternatively, cramps can occur due to an imbalance of minerals in the body, particularly sodium, potassium, and magnesium–all of which can be affected by dehydration, nutrition, and a jump to strenuous efforts right after resting. Eating light, staying hydrated, and easing back into the fun after a break can help prevent both of these causes.

“Swimming pool water turns hair green and pee blue.”

This popular swimming pool fact is usually accompanied by an amusing anecdote of a vain person getting their comeuppance or an embarrassed swimmer being followed by a trail in the water they can’t escape. Chlorine can make hair brittle but won’t turn it green. However, some copper-based algaecides can bind to proteins in hair, creating a greenish tint that may be more apparent in blond or light-colored hair. This would be a slight shift in hue, not the neon green embarrassment that often serves as the story’s punchline. As for the blue pee, that is false. That doesn’t give you free rein to add p to the ool, though, as it is still far more sanitary to step out of the pool and use the restroom when nature calls.

“All pool covers are the same.”

This swimming pool myth couldn’t be farther from the truth. There is a range of pool cover options engineered for specific needs. Choosing the right one can impact your energy expenses, maintenance costs, and pool safety. Pool safety nets help prevent accidental drownings by holding potential victims up and out of the pool’s water, as do swimming pool safety covers. Leaf covers are designed to keep leaves, dirt, and light debris out of your pool to reduce contamination. Solar covers help decrease evaporation during warm months, while winter pool covers work to prevent frost damage while your pool is shut down when temperatures drop. 


“Swimming pools take too much time and money.”

Swimming pools are a luxury that does come with a cost, but by making good choices about safety, covers, and maintenance, you can keep your costs reasonable, protect your loved ones, and still enjoy the backyard oasis you’ve worked so hard for. 

Take The First Step Toward A Safer Pool For Free

It is a swimming pool fact that barriers can help prevent unsupervised pool access, and you can get a no-cost, no-obligation estimate on ASTM-compliant pool safety tailored to your property and needs. Our local installers are right down the street and ready to take measurements and customize a written quote on removable mesh pool fencing, pool safety nets, and swimming pool safety covers to meet your needs. Schedule your estimate with Lifeguard on Duty today.

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