Not Opening the Pool this Year?!?
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Pool Renovation beginning for Thompson Pools - http://www.thomaspoolservice.com/Another swimming pool season is inching closer and closer which means the time to open up your pool is soon approaching. Normally, this occasion is met with great celebration as the birds chirp, the snow shovels are tossed into a lost corner of the shed, and the marching band fires up to announce the arrival of summer!

But not this year. Maybe you plan to travel a lot more than normal, or perhaps the house is not occupied, or the pool needs a major renovation, or for financial reasons you’ve decided the pool shall stayed closed for the summer. OK, what now? You know what to do to close a pool and to open it again, but what do you do to keep a pool covered and closed?

Below are some tips when it comes to not opening a pool for summer.

What You Should Do

First, this might not be the news you want to hear, but you may want to maintain the pool to some degree at least. A pool isn’t designed to be stagnant during the warm months of the year, and pool covers deteriorate faster in strong summer sunlight. Leaving the pool closed all summer is a guaranteed way to end up with a green, smelly mess and permanent stains or damage to the pool surfaces.

how to know when to shock a poolWhat I would recommend ~ is to brush the pool well, then and add water balancers as needed, and then add a good stain & scale chemical, followed by a strong algaecide, and a floater kept full of chlorine tablets. Come to think of it, these are the chemicals in our Winter Kits. Keep the water level at the bottom of the tile, or a few inches lower, and keep the winter pool cover installed tightly.

If you cannot do all of this, ask a neighbor, a family member or a pool service to check and maintain the water on a monthly basis. If you don’t keep up with some maintenance, your pool liner or plaster will deteriorate into a big mess that’s harder and more expensive to open the next time.

Another thing you will need to maintain is the water level in the pool. If you have a safety cover, rainfall will raise the pool water levels. When it touches the cover, debris is trapped and turns the cover into a giant tea bag. It also weakens the fibers over time, and makes the cover less safe, and – allows the water to warm too much. Keep the water level a few inches below the tile, or 8-10″ below the cover.

If you don’t mind the possibility of permanent stains, and possible damage to the pool plaster, vinyl or fiberglass surfaces, then go ahead and just let it go. This is a good option if you are planning a pool renovation. Next year, or whenever, the pool will be drained and acid washed, or pressure washed, filled and started-up again, after repairs are made.

Don’t Drain the Pool

Whatever you do, do NOT drain the pool. Draining your pool for any extended period of time will lead to serious damage, and the damage is different for inground pools and above ground pools, but equally devastating for both.

If your pool has a vinyl liner and you drain all of the pool water at any time of the year, you run the risk of ruining the pool liner, or developing large wrinkles when refilling. Especially for older liners, if you drain the pool completely, a vinyl liner could rip or ‘snap’ when trying to refill the pool later. A liner not covered in water will quickly shrink, harden and slowly disintegrate, even if the pool is covered.

Inground pools face a different threat. If you drain your inground pool for any length of time, you’re likely to see cracks form in the plaster, which will shrink and crack if left dry in warm temperatures – even with a pool cover on it. Delaminations can also occur, leading to ‘pop-offs’ of plaster in areas of the pool.

collapsed aboveground pool wallsFor above ground pools, a drained pool won’t only destroy your vinyl liner, but you will risk the collapse of the pool’s metal walls as well. Above ground pool walls are designed to stand up to the sheer force of the water weight, and without that force pressing outward, the walls could fall inward in a strong breeze.

Having no water in your inground pool lends the potential for catastrophic damage. If you drain your pool completely, and the water table around the pool is high, the ‘hydrostatic‘ pressure of the ground water can actually lift your concrete or fiberglass pool out of the ground. It can also ‘float’ vinyl liners, forcing large puddles of water underneath the liner.

Our Recommendation

Really, you should always open your pool. Believe it or not, opening your pool will save you a truckload of money in the long run. If you keep your pool closed, at a minimum, you will have to drain it, acid wash, or replace the liner the next time you open the pool. Other problems often also occur to the pool or equipment, when a pool falls into dis-use.

So unless money is a very serious issue, it’s best to either open and maintain the pool yourself or hire a pool service, or a local kid home for the summer – especially if you are planning to travel extensively or be out of town for long periods of time.

An option for above ground pool owners is to disassemble your pool entirely if you know you won’t use it for an extended period of time. Plan on replacing the pool liner when you go to re-install your pool down the road.

Another option is to go ahead and open up your pool and keep it covered but run the pool filter less. The best combination for this scenario is to use a solid pool cover and run your filter for about 3-6 hours a day. Good water balance, a little bit of chlorine and daily filtering will help keep the pool water fairly fresh so the water doesn’t get too stagnant and smelly, but this could all fall apart, if you don’t check on things once or twice per month.

In Summary, if you’re not opening the pool this year, you have 3 options:

  1. Keep it closed but maintain good water balance, a good water level, and use chlorine tablet floaters, algaecides and stain away (Winter Kits).
  2. Open the pool, but keep it covered all summer, and run the filter only as much as needed. Keep the water balanced and chemically treated.
  3. Keep it closed and maintain proper water level. Open next year with a drain and clean, or replace the plaster or vinyl liner at the same time.

 


Larry Andersen
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

 

 

Multiport Valve Settings Demystified:
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Welcome Back, Students! Today we look at Multiport Valves, defining the valve functions, or valve settings to know which to use, and when and why to use them.

Multiport valves are called multi-ports because inside the valve, there are multiple ports that allow the water to move in multiple directions. Pool water always enters the valve thru the “PUMP” port, but depending on the handle position, the water enters the filter tank through the top bulkhead or bottom bulkhead. Also dependent on the handle position, water exiting the valve either uses the “RETURN” port or the “WASTE” port.

1. The FILTER Position:

This is the normal setting for your filter valve. Water is pulled from the pool by your pool pump and pushed into the “PUMP” port of the multiport valve where it enters the filter tank. On sand filters, water enters at the top of the tank, and for DE filters, water enters at the bottom of the tank. After passing through the filter media, the water exits the tank again into the multiport valve, leaving through the “RETURN” port, and back to your pool.

Another use of the “Filter” setting is while vacuuming the pool of debris large enough for the filter or pump basket to remove. You will want to use the next setting if vacuuming dead algae, silty mud or flocculent treatments, or other such fine filter clogging material.

2. The WASTE Position:

The most common scenario in which you would use a multiport valve “Waste” setting is when lowering pool water levels. Waste diverts the water pumped in from your pool from the filter and sends it directly out of the backwash hose, without even entering the filter tank. It’s one of two ‘Bypass’ settings on a multiport valve.

The other common instance in which you would use the “Waste” setting is when you are vacuuming debris that is too fine for the filter media to capture. Have you ever vacuumed your pool on the “Filter” setting only to notice a few hours later that a fine, almost sand-like sediment has collected at the bottom of your pool? This is not uncommon for sand filters, which can have trouble trapping very small particles.

3. The CLOSED Position:

Simple enough, “Closed” is a position that won’t let water enter the valve, and is the most rarely used position of all. The pool pump should never be turned on when the MPV (pool guy shorthand) is in the ‘Closed” position, something could blow out!

The “Closed” position is sometimes used when blowing out suction lines during winterization, to direct air flow back to the pool. It could also be used to stop water flow into the tank for filters that are below water level. In both cases however, there are usually other valves that can be used to accomplish the same thing.

 4. The BACKWASH Position:

The “Backwash” setting reverses the flow of water in and out of the filter tank. During normal filtration, on the “Filter” setting, water moves through the filter in one direction – top to bottom for sand filters, and bottom to top for DE filters. When the MPV handle is moved 180° to the “Backwash” position, water flow is reversed as it enters and exits the filter tank. And, when the water leaves the filter tank and re-enters the MPV, it is directed out the “WASTE” port, instead of the “RETURN” port.

Backwash a filter when the pressure gauge reads 7-9 psi above the clean operating pressure. Run the pump for 2-4 minutes, discharging through a backwash hose until the water in the sight glass, or at the end of the hose, is no longer dirty or cloudy.

5. The RECIRCULATE Position:

The “Recirculate” setting is another bypass setting like “Waste”, where the water does not enter the filter tank at all. After the water enters the MPV it makes a quick U-turn, and exits the valve out of the “RETURN” port, returning to the pool unfiltered.

The best use of the “Recirculate” position is when your pool filter is broken, leaking or otherwise cannot be used. In many such cases, the “Recirculate” position will allow you to at least circulate and chlorinate the water, to prevent stagnation and algae, until the filter can be repaired or replaced. This position may also be used when blowing out the lines, to avoid unnecessary high air pressure inside the filter tank. “Recirculate” is also used when adding Alum or other flocculents to improve water clarity.

6. The RINSE Position:

If you have ever vacuumed your pool spotlessly, and then after backwashing, sent a cloud of dirty water shooting into the pool, we have an app for that – the “Rinse” setting on a multiport valve. This position moves water through the filter tank in the normal direction (top to bottom for sand, bottom to top for DE), but when the water re-enters the MPV, it is directed out the WASTE port, not RETURN.

The “Rinse” position is used after backwashing a sand filter, to flush out or rinse the sand bed of remaining dust particles. 15-20 seconds is all that is needed to re-set and rinse a filter sand bed. DE filters with small holes in the grids or cracks in the manifold may also benefit from a rinse after backwashing, but outside of that, “Rinse” is not normally used after backwashing DE filters.

7. The WINTER Position:

The “Winter” or Winterize setting is used when it’s time to close your pool for the season. You will notice that this position is not actually a position at all, but is a location in-between two positions – there is no groove to lock the handle in place. What the winter position does is to ‘prop-up’ the valve diverter (aka rotor or footpad), raising it above the ‘multi-ports’ inside of the valve.

In this position, with the internal spring compressed, the diverter remains in a suspended position all winter, held 1/4″ above the valve body ports. This allows space for any water trapped inside the valve to expand into ice during winter, without cracking the valve body.


Multiport valves are available in top mount design with flange attachment for sand filters, and in a side mounted design with bulkhead unions, for sand and DE filters.

Multiports are full featured, but may require Multiport Valve repairs from time to time. We have a full selection of multiport valve parts, and filter valve rebuild kits, containing gaskets, o-rings and seals.

One more TIP: Be sure to always shut off the pump before turning the MPV handle. Changing positions while the pump is running can damage the valve, or cause something to blow out under pressure.

Class Dismissed!

 

Dr. Pool

Dogs in Pools? Pros and Cons…
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With a seemingly endless stream of dogs-in-a-pool videos online it could be natural to assume that it’s all fun for all dogs to take a plunge. However, there are pros and cons along with health and safety concerns to consider before unleashing your pup into your pool water.

The Benefits of Swimming For Your Dog:

Just like for people, swimming for dogs is a great, low-impact total body workout. Swimming is easy exercise on your pet’s joints and limbs, which is terrific for both young pups and aging dogs alike. Swimming pools can be a fun place to play with the family in the water, or a rehabilitation method for a dog recovering from a procedure.

Swimming is an excellent workout for your dog’s cardiovascular system, as well. According to Dr. Arleigh Reynolds, a Veterinary Surgeon and Canine Physiologist, “1 minute of swimming is the equivalent to 4 minutes of jogging.” Not only is your dog getting a low-impact workout, it is getting more of a workout in a shorter period of time. However, just with any workout, it is best to slowly build your dog’s swimming sessions up in length. Short bursts of swimming at first, can gradually grow into longer workouts.

This is not to say that swimming is a substitute for all on-land workouts. It’s important to have a balance because running, jogging, and walking exercise helps maintain strong bone density.

Swimming pools are also a great way for your pup to cool off on a hot summer day. It’s always best to make sure that the water isn’t too cold or too warm as to not shock your dog as he or she enters the pool as this can frighten them. There’s no better way for your dog to cool off on a hot day than taking a plunge into cool water. From an exercise perspective, warmer water is better for your dog’s muscles to help promote a full range of movement and blood flow, which allows them to warm-up quicker and prevent muscle spasms.

A fit dog is a healthy dog that is less susceptible to injuries in the longrun.   It’s even better if part of the fitness routine can be part of family bonding time while everyone is having fun in the pool.

Not All Dogs Are the Same:

It’s a common misconception that all dogs instinctively know how to swim. Some dogs are better equipped to swim based on their physical builds than others, and some dogs have had bad experiences that have made them scared of water in general.

Some dogs can swim like a pro almost instinctively, some dogs can be trained to swim, and some dogs are just not meant to be amphibious. The dogs that are born to swim generally have long, strong limbs or many have swimming in their genes and are bred to swim to retrieve ducks and waterfowl for hunting purposes. Some of them even have references to water in their names (always a good sign!).

Here’s a list of 10 Dog Breeds that are Great Swimmers:

  1. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
  2. English Setters
  3. Irish Setters
  4. Irish Water Spaniels
  5. Golden Retrievers
  6. Labrador Retrievers
  7. Newfoundlands
  8. Nova Scotia Retrievers
  9. Portuguese Water Dogs
  10. Spanish Water Dogs

On the other side of things are dogs like bulldogs, pugs, and dachshunds. Their short legs simply can’t perform a strong doggie paddle and they struggle to create enough thrust to keep them on the water’s surface. Breeds with short faces like bulldogs or pugs have trouble keeping their snout out of the water. Smaller dogs may enjoy swimming but it is important to be aware that smaller dogs can get colder faster in chillier pool water or can panic by becoming overwhelmed from being in the pool.

Here’s a list of 10 Dog Breeds that are Not-Great Swimmers:

  1. Alaskan Malamutes
  2. Basset Hounds
  3. Bulldogs
  4. Chows
  5. Dachshunds
  6. Doberman Pinschers
  7. Pekingese
  8. Pugs
  9. Siberian Huskies
  10. Shih Tzu’s

This is not to say that your Pekingese will never be able to swim in your pool, or that your Spanish Waterdog is going to love the pool. It is good to have an understanding of what makes a dog a good swimmer or not.  Of course, with the proper supervision and training, any dog of any breed can learn to swim.

For instance, I have a German Shepherd that absolutely loves to swim in ponds or lakes.   He can even behave (for the most part) when it comes time to give him a bath. However, he will not go anywhere near my swimming pool. This brings us to #2 on our list: Pools can be difficult to get in and out of for your dog. Most pools do not have the gradual slope into deeper waters from the shallow end. They rely on steep steps for exiting and entry which can be very difficult for a dog to navigate especially when dealing with the stimulation and excitement of the water splashing all around.

If your dog isn’t the type to jump off of the pool deck into the water, or if he or she is too big to slowly carry into the water, it may take some slow-paced, quiet encouragement for your dog to trust the steps into the pool. It’s always good to have some treats on-hand to reward your dog’s first steps into the pool, and as we mentioned earlier, warm water is much more inviting for your pup.

Skamper Ramp Dog Step

Skamper Ramp is the original pool exit ramp for dogs. Two sizes are available, for small dogs up to 50 lbs, and a larger Skamper Ramp for dogs up to 90 lbs. Attaches to your pool cover deck anchors, or you can install two small anchors in the pool deck to attach the dog ramp. Made of durable, impact resistant UV stabilized plastic with surface holes for traction.

Paws Aboard Doggy Boat Ladder

This pet pool ladder is designed with boats in mind but since it is constructed from durable rubber it works for pools too! It’s rust resistant, simply attaches to an existing people ladder, and has steps without spaces between, to serve as a solid staircase for your dog. It attaches to steps that are 14” wide and includes an attachment for wider steps. Best for dogs under 90lbs.

PetStep Dog Ramp

The original PetStep Dog Ramp is heavier and can accommodate larger dogs at a maximum of 200 pounds. It floats and it is made of built-to-last plastic with a rubberized surface. It’s a bit heavier and a slightly bigger than most dog ramps but the extra strength could be the very thing that makes your pet feel secure and stable as it exits and enters your pool.

Is Chlorine Bad for Dogs?

One of the obvious concerns dog owners have when debating whether or not it is safe for their dog to swim in a swimming pool is chlorine and other pool chemicals. Chlorine can slightly irritate a dog’s eyes or sensitive nose just like humans but a dip in the pool for a few hours on a sunny day is harmless. Just like humans, it is a good idea to shower (or hose) off after swimming so that the chlorine doesn’t dry out their skin and fur. Be sure to dry him or her off thoroughly, as well.

To prevent your dog’s fur from being stripped of its natural oils consider a leave-in conditioner spray like HappyTails Ruff to Smooth before and after a swim. Also, consider adding omega-3 fatty acid supplements to their diet to help regenerate oils lost from swimming.

If it’s at all possible, try to give your dog a quick hose down before entering the pool, too.  This will help wash off any dirt and other undesirables from their fur as well help wash off some of their shedding fur.  Which brings us to number 4 on our list.

Dog Hair and Nails in the Pool:

They say a dog is equivalent to about 50 people in the pool at one time. Crazy, huh? Notwithstanding, although dog hair and such is harder on a filter system, by no means are they known to do damage either. Your strainer basket will do most of the heavy work and you may need to do some extra skimming the following day once the hair settles. All-in-all, dog hair is a manageable byproduct that most pool owners find to be a minor inconvenience to letting their dog share in the joys of pool time.

Another concern that many pool owners initially have is whether or not their dog will scratch or tear their vinyl liner. If your dog is tall enough to stand on the pool floor, their nails are not known to damage the liner.  Most dogs try to exit the pool the same way they came in, so scratching at the sides of the pool wall is not something that typically occurs. Through my online research I was not able to find any tales of dogs accidentally causing damage to pool liners.

While your vinyl liner may not have cause for concern, swimmers, especially younger swimmers should be be aware of your dog’s nails. This may seem like common sense but I’ve seen it happen numerous times and no one is necessarily at fault in this situation:  an eager child or person approaches the excited swimming dog as is scratched as they are approached. The dog’s swimming reflexes naturally create the same scratching or digging movement for their legs, and this can be compounded by the excitement of approaching a loved one in the pool.

Dogs Drinking Pool Water:

I have found several online references to dogs who drank large amounts of pool water, and then began throwing up. I’m not sure if it’s related to pool chemicals, or just to drinking too much water while swimming, but it seems to happen on occasion. You probably can’t train your dog to not drink pool water, but if your dog loves to drink the pool water and then develops tummy problems, you could try reducing chemical levels by adding a mineral purifier like Nature2 or Frog. Some dogs may learn from the experience, and avoid drinking pool water, but not all.

It’s inevitable that your dog will ingest a little bit of pool water, but if your dog is incessantly drinking the water, it may be a good idea to limit their swim time. Keeping a big bowl of fresh water nearby could help prevent them from drinking the pool water. Occasional drinks from a well-maintained pool are not harmful to most dogs but dogs with heart disease, kidney disease, and those eating salt-restricted diets should never drink from saltwater pools.

Dog Ear Infections from Swimming:

Last but certainly not least of our pros and cons list for letting your dog swim in your pool is the increased potential of your dog getting an ear infection. Swimming pools, no matter how well maintained, can be home to bacteria or other infection-causing germs that could create problems in your dog’s sensitive ear canals.

However, a little effort can go a long way to protect your pup’s ears from infections by simply cleaning and drying their ears thoroughly immediately after a swim with a cotton or wool towel. An extra-preventative measure would be to use HappyTails deodorizing ear wipes around the ear canal after a swim.

It’s always a good idea to use a gentle, weekly ear cleaner to clean your dog’s sensitive ears but it’s especially important if your dog is a regular swimmer. This can help remove any dirt, salt, or other pollutants that can build up over the course of a week.

There are many great benefits to encouraging your dog to swim with you in your pool!  Putting your dog’s comfort and safety first should always be your primary objective and always go into it knowing that not all dogs are meant to swim, not all dogs like to swim, and some dogs just need the proper training to learn how to swim.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have a tip or a product that you think can help with swimming dogs!  We love to hear from our pool community!

 


Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

How to Maintain a Pool: Ten Tasks & Tips
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In our fourth and final installment of a series related to buying and selling homes with pools, today we provide a guide for realtors and property managers on how to maintain pools.

This guide is not intended to make you a pool expert, but is a quick reference on basic pool checks and tasks you can perform, in between professional service visits. Also useful for any non-pool owner, who finds themselves somehow responsible for a pool.

BASIC POOL MAINTENANCE TASKS

pool water level icon by istockCheck Water Level: The pool water level should be mid-tile at all times. It can be a little low or high, but if it gets too high the skimmer stops skimming, and if too low, the pump can suck-in air, lose prime and stop pumping. First step when you arrive is to eyeball the pool water level, and if needed, set a hose on the edge of the pool (so you can hear it and see it splashing). Putting your car keys on the hose spigot is another good way to remember to shut off the water before you leave!

Pressure gauge iconCheck Filter Pressure: Every pool filter has a pressure gauge located near the top of the filter tank, which indicates system pressure. Some run low, under 10 psi, and some systems run higher, over 20 psi. When pressure gets too high, the water moves more slowly through the filter, and the pump often becomes louder. When the gauge reads 7 to 9 psi above the clean, starting pressure, it’s time to backwash the filter or remove and clean the filter cartridge. Marking the gauge dial with a Sharpie is a good way to remember the clean pressure reading.

polaris cleaner iconCheck Pool Cleaner: An automatic pool cleaner can save a lot of manual cleaning of dirt and debris, but they do require regular attention. Robotic cleaners and Polaris cleaners have attached debris bags that are emptied every few days. Suction cleaners attach to the skimmer and bring debris into the pump basket, and as such need to monitored closely so it won’t hinder pool filtration. Pool cleaners can also be found clogged, stuck behind ladders, coiled-up or otherwise in crisis. Look over the entire unit for any  pool cleaner parts that are in need of replacement.

chlorine floater image icon by istkCheck Chlorinator: Most pools use chlorine tablets to maintain a consistent and constant chlorine level. Tablets or sticks (but never granular) are added to chlorine feeders or chlorine floaters. The average pool uses about 4 to 6 tablets per week, and once these are nearly dissolved, refill the feeder to maintain critical chlorine levels. Shut off the pool pump when filling chlorinators, and hold your breath as you open the bucket, to avoid breathing chlorine fumes. Be sure to close the lid tightly after filling the floater or tablet feeder. Bonus Tip: Chlorine fumes will tarnish silver jewelry.

skim net icon by istkSkim the Pool: If you are up for a quick workout to shoulders,  arms, abs and obliques – put the skim net on the pool pole, and go to town! Leaf Rake type skim nets are much more effective than the flat ‘Dip ‘n Flip’ type of skimmer nets. Use the skimmer net to clean leaves or debris from the surface in advance of a home showing or open house. Skim nets will also come in handy to remove items from the pool floor, including small wildlife casualties. You can also empty the skimmer baskets too.

ring buoy icon by istkPool Safety Checks: Whenever you enter a pool, be mindful of the gates and doors that lead to the pool. Do the Gates Self-Close and Self-Latch? Are the doors from the house that lead to the pool have door alarms installed? Are there any trip and fall hazards? Are there piles of sketchy pool chemicals lying around? Does the pool smell strongly of chlorine, or rotten eggs? Do you smell gas near the pool heater? What about electrical hazards, does the pool pump and timer wiring look safe? Buyers want to know!

 

ADVANCED POOL MAINTENANCE TASKS

filter icon by istkBackwash Pool Filter: As mentioned above, when the pool filter pressure gauge rises 7 to 9 psi above the clean, starting pressure – water flow is sufficiently reduced to require a filter cleaning. Backwashing is a process of reversing the water flow through the filter media, to flush out trapped dirt, and is used with sand filters and DE filters only (cartridge filters are cleaned with a garden hose). To backwash a pool filter, shut off the pump and move the filter valve to the Backwash position. Roll out any attached discharge hose, and turn the pump back on. Run the pump for 2-3 minutes, then shut off again and move the valve handle back to the Filter position. For DE filters, add new DE powder to the pool skimmer immediately after backwashing. Backwashing lowers the pool water level, so you may need to add water to the pool afterwards.

test kit icon by istkTest Pool Chemistry: Now if you want to really Geek-Out on pool chemistry be my guest, Dr. Pool would definitely approve. However, for most realtors or property managers, keeping a tube of 7-way Test Strips in the car is a good way to monitor water chemistry without having to be a chemist. Just dip the test strip in the pool water and compare it to the color chart printed on the bottle. You can quickly see if levels are too high or too low, for chlorine, pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness and stabilizer levels. Then you can either add chemicals yourself, or can alert your pool service person to your water test results.

timer icon by istkCheck Pool Timers: Oh boy, now we are getting really advanced! Pool filter pumps and pool cleaner booster pumps, and waterfall pumps too – are all controlled by timers, as the most basic option, or with controller systems for high end pools. They can lose time with power outages, and may need timely adjustments to increase or decrease filter or cleaning time, as seasons and water temperature changes. Pool time clocks are also where you can shut off the pump. To turn off the pump, push the silver lever (located at 4 o’clock on the dial) to the left. To reset an Intermatic timer to current time, pull out on the yellow dial and align the current time on the dial with the downward arrow, located at 6 o’clock. You can also move the On and Off timer trippers to new locations on the dial. For pool controller systems, use the wall panel, remote or app menu to select Filter mode, and make adjustments to daily program run times. 

pH icon by istkAdd Pool Chemicals: As described above, it’s not unusual for a realtor or property manager to be called upon to add chlorine tablets from time to time. But other chemicals are also added regularly to help control algae (algaecides), or as a filter aid (clarifiers), or water balancers to adjust ph, Alkalinity & Calcium Hardness levels. If chlorine level is found near zero, bring it up fast with pool shock. Read and follow dosage directions, which usually require that you know the approximate size of the pool, in gallons.

vac head icon by istockphotoVacuum the Pool: Is this really why you got your real estate license? 😉 You may find it relaxing if you are ever called upon to vacuum a pool. The process requires 3 things; a vacuum hose, a vacuum head and a pool pole (and a working pump/filter system). Connect the vac head to the pole, then connect the swivel end of the vac hose to the vac head. Place it in the pool, and lean the pole against the pool edge. Place the other end of the vacuum hose over the pool return and let the water pressure force all the air out of the hose. Open the skimmer lid, remove the basket and place the vacuum hose into the hole in the bottom of the skimmer. Now you’re vacuuming, until the pump basket fills full and begins to slow down the suction. Shut off the pump to empty the basket, and you can keep going!


Ten (or eleven) pool maintenance tasks, used by realtors and property managers in the know, or anyone who wants to help keep pool pump and filter systems operating, water chemistry in check, and make sure the pool is clean, clear and beautiful!

This is the fourth, and final, edition in a four-part In The Swim blog series with the focus of providing valuable information and ideas to home owners, home buyers and real estate agents regarding swimming pools.

See you next time;


Larry Andersen
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

 

7 Corrosive Culprits around the Pool
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Your pool could be under siege from silent killers that want nothing more than to slowly eat away at your pool’s surfaces and equipment.

I probably sound a bit dramatic, but to prolong your pool and pool equipment, it’s good to know about the various corrosive culprits to soft and shiny surfaces!


1. High Chlorine

in-the-swim-chlorine-sticksExcessively high levels of chlorine certainly kills harmful bacteria and other nasties in your pool water but it is especially harmful to your solar covers, pool liners, pool covers. Pretty much anything that is soft and flexible can fade or become brittle with high chlorine levels. So, when you have to shock the pool, take out the pool cleaner and pool floats, and leave the solar cover off for a few days.

2. Mulch

Mulch looks beautiful, but if it blows in or washes into the pool, it brings high levels of phosphates and nitrates, and other chemicals you don’t want in your pool. Secondly, mulch is very acidic and holds in moisture. Wood mulch around your pool pump or heater blocks air flow, and the acidic humidity is bad for steel equipment, electrical motors and circuit boards. Gravel or rubber mulch are better alternatives.

 3. Salt

Saltwater pools have many benefits, but salt can degrade soft stones used around swimming pools. Stonework used for coping, raised walls or pool decks should be sealed, and rinsed regularly to stop corrosion. Salt can also damage metal surfaces inside the pool with galvanic corrosion, and can lead to surface damage to steel items in the pool. Using a sacrificial Zinc Anode will prevent the issue.

4. Too Much Sun

Another destructive force on your pool is the very reason most of us own a pool in the first place: the sun! We all know that the sun’s UV rays are harmful to anything if exposed long enough and your pool, solar covers and pool equipment is no exception. Many pool items are made of plastics and there are few things the sun loves to fade and degrade more than vinyl and plastics.

5. Too Little Sun

The opposite of too much sun can be true as well! The sun has natural sanitizing properties, and is good for your pool water health, in fact did you know that the top few inches of pool water is more sanitary than deeper water? That’s due to the natural UV sanitation. Too little sun can also affect your perfect summer tan so many of us aspire to, but more importantly, it invites mold and mildew to dark and wet areas.

6. Leaves and Debris

Tannins and acids in tree and lawn debris can stain and damage pool surfaces and can throw pH or Alkalinity out of whack. They also bring phosphates and other undesirable micro-contaminants into the pool, which consumes sanitizer, and becomes food for algae. If your trees could use a trim, your water quality should go up, your workload should go down, and your tan should improve!

7. Low Pool Chemistry

in-the-swim-ph-increaserLast but certainly not least important, the granddaddy of all corrosive agents around swimming pools is acidic water chemistry. Low pH, low Alkalinity, and low Calcium Hardness, can all stain and damage plaster, tile, vinyl or fiberglass, steel, rubber, and can even destroy pool filters and heaters. It’s the first rule of pool club: Balance your water. You know the second rule of Pool Club? Balance your water.


Did we miss a sneaky corrosive pool culprit or do you have a story (or lesson!) you learned from managing this destructive forces? We’d love to hear from our pool community. Drop us a line at socialmedia@intheswim.com or leave a comment below!

 


Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

 

Best & Worst Pinterest Pool Ideas
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pinterest-pool-logoPinterest is full of great DIY tips, and easy life hacks that you can implement to improve your lifestyle. Pinterest was (and still is) mostly about recipes, but recipes for more than food.

Pools are a natural for pinterest, visual and visceral, with charm and appeal galore, they make beautiful gallery boards. Look deeper below the surface, and you will find endless pinterest pool hack pictures, or ways to improve your pool appearance, warmth or water chemistry. But not all pinterest pool tips are winners…

Here then, is my Top10 Best & Worst Pinterest Pool Ideas.

1. Glow in the Dark Mosaic Tiles

pin by ifitshipitshere.com

pin by ifitshipitshere.com

Glow in the dark pool  tiles soak up energy from the sun during the day, then put on a light show through the evening. I love this idea for several reasons. Obviously, it looks really cool! But it’s also a nice safety measure as well as a eco-friendly way to add so evening illumination and ambience to your pool sans electricity. You don’t have to completely tile your pool to use glow in the dark pool tiles, but can use it for step trim or as accent art. Underwater Art!

2. Solar Cover Reel Bench

pin by iancoombes.co.nz

pin by iancoombes.co.nz

Not only does the solar reel bench protect solar blankets and solar reels from unnecessary UV exposure from the sun but it also is much more aesthetically pleasing than a rolled-up blanket and reel. Of course, the best part is extended pool deck seating for about, eh, 20 or so swimmers. You can build your own solar cover box with a steel or aluminum powder coated frame and varnished wood top (and back/sides if you like), or hire a craftsman like Ian.

  1. Beluga Solar Pool Heater:

photo by Intheswim.com

pin by InTheSwim.com

Here’s one you could find on an In The Swim pinterest board! We love our Beluga Solar Heater. This hose adapter is an exceptionally brilliant way to use solar energy to warm your swimming pool. In tandem with a black hose (or two) purchased separately, the Beluga diverts an adjustable stream of water through the black hose to collect heat from the sun—it’s that simple. Just screw into any 1.5″ wall return, connect (any color) garden hose, and adjust the diverter for a slow 1-2 gpm flow rate.

  1. Hula Hoop Solar Sun Ring:

Pin by instructables.com

Ok, so not all ideas are gold. This pool is green first of all, and secondly, this seems to me a flagrant waste of a hula hoop, a garbage bag and a pool noodle, and – some poor kid is stuck with half a noodle. Although it technically does add some heat, depending on the size of your swimming pool, it would require several dozen hula hoops and noodles. The real Solar Sun Rings or Solar Squares, are 5′ in diameter and made of ‘space-age materials’ and design to amplify the sun’s rays, and magnets that lock themselves together. Nonetheless, Kudos, to this crafty pinterest pool owner!

  1. Pallet Noodle Racks

pin by jfishkind (left) and 1001pallets (right)

It doesn’t take long into a DIY Pool Project search to realize that pool noodles and wooden pallets are like peanut butter and chocolate, in the world of crafty re-purposing. In this case, the pallets provide a way to tame unruly and rebellious pool noodles. We like these because they are incredibly simple. You don’t even need picture instructions to figure these out. No Allen wrenches, no hot glue – just a couple of nails, and VOILA! you are done.

  1. Water Balloons or Glow Sticks – in the Pool?

    pins by smartschoolhouse (left) and loafersandcocoa (right)

    pins by smartschoolhouse (left) and loafersandcocoa (right)

So, I’m on the fence about this one. The adult in me says, “No Way – Think of your skimmers, think of your pool plumbing! All those balloons are going to pop and create a mess!”  My inner-child however says, no screams, “BELLY-FLOP!!!” You make the call. Another popular pool party parlor trick is to add glow sticks to the pool for a night time soiree. Again, you make the call, but don’t call me if that stuff leaks out in the pool or pokes a hole in a pool liner!

  1. Caulking Your Pool

seasteadbuilding.com Vulkem caulked being applied to pool expansion joint

pin by Seastead

You can find excellent DIY ideas and tutorials all over pinterest. But some are particular favorites because they cover important things like caulking your expansion joints. Updating your pool caulk is a great DIY pool task that won’t cost you a small fortune. Cut out the old caulk, push in a layer of foam backer rod, and squirt in the Vulkem self leveling pool caulk (Lock up the dog first!). Inground pools with coping should caulk the pool / deck expansion joint every 5 years, to keep out debris and grit, and prevent damage from freezing water.

  1. Hair Chlorine Removal

Pin by 1crazyhouse

To be fair, we’ve never tried this, and to be honest, we’re pretty sure that shampoo and water works just fine. In fact, we’re pretty sure just water will rinse out most chlorine. If you’ve tried this (to any effect) let us know how it went. And, if you do, does it work with blueberry Kool-Aid, or just Lemonade? I hope so, because I’m partial to blueberry. Might be easier to wear a cap – how about  one of those flowered retro swim caps? 🙂

 

  1. Pool Noodle Cooler

Pin by onecrazyhouse

Pin by 1crazyhouse

There’s dozens of variations of the floating noodle cooler, and we like them all. We’re just concerned that it might increase the frequency in which people have to use the restroom – if you know what I mean. Anyway, this clever pool hack has all the elements of brilliant design. Take your basic plastic tote box, cut a noodle into 4 pieces, and tie a sturdy rope or twine through the noodles (the ones with the center hole), and you’re done!

 

  1. Tennis Ball in the Pool to Absorb Oils

image by istockphoto, on account

pin by mylistsoflists.com photo by istockphoto

 

This may be the very first pool hack ever posted on the internet.  But you know what, it works!  So clocking in at number ten, is the ole tennis-ball-in-the-pool-hack. Now, although a ScumBall is a bit more effective, tennis balls will absorb some surface oils, too.

Check out all of these and much much more on our DIY Pool Ideas Pinterest Board!

Did we miss one of your favorite DIY Pool Ideas?  Do you have one that you feel should be added to our list?  We’d love to here from you! Leave a comment or shoot us an email at socialmedia@intheswim.com.

 


Dana Katz
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

Slash Swimming Pool Maintenance Costs
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Pool owners are all-too-familiar with the continuous cost of maintaining a swimming pool.  Many of us accept the high pool maintenance costs of outdated pool equipment because an existing pump or heater still perform, as they should.

And some of us just accept higher energy bills in the summer. Take a look at the big picture to spotlight some opportunities to save some money on pool expenses by spending a little more on pool equipment and accessories that could potentially pay for themselves!


SOLAR POOL HEATERS

solar-pool-heatersInground and above ground pool owners can take advantage of surprisingly affordable solar panel heating for their pools. If you have a sunny southern exposure for 6 hours of daily sun, each 100 sq. ft. of solar panels can add 10 degrees to the pool, without burning fossil fuels.

Swimming pool solar panels absorb heat from the sun as the pool water passes through a series of coils or tubes and transfer the heat to your pool water. Solar panels are daisy- chained, modular, so you can add as much as you need. A small solar system can cut your pool heating costs in half, and a larger solar pool heater can replace the need for gas or electric pool heaters.

SOLAR COVERS

Solar blankets, for both inground and above ground pool owners, can work all on their own or in tandem with your pool heater or solar panel heaters. During the day, they help collect the sun’s energy to heat your pool (up to 10°!), but their best use is to stop heat loss when the sun goes down. Warm pool water coupled with nighttime temperatures accelerates evaporation, which can be reduced by over 90% when you use a solar blanket.

Solar blanket covers are a little bit of effort when you don’t have a solar reel, but when you pay to heat a pool, solar covers pay for themselves in just a month or two, by reducing heating costs and stopping pool evaporation, which also saves money.

VARIABLE SPEED PUMPS

The biggest return on investment on our list could be Variable Speed Pumps. The Variable Speed model of Hayward’s Super Pump can use 70% less energy and as cliché as it may sound, spending a few hundred dollars more on a variable speed pump as opposed to a single speed pump can literally pay for itself!

Running a pool pump at half speed doesn’t use half as much energy, it uses 1/8 as much energy! You’ll notice this efficiency on your very first electricity bill of the season. Many VS pumps qualify for a green energy tax rebate making it that much smarter of investment.

POOL HEAT PUMPS

Heat pumps work like a reverse air conditioner, they capture heat from the outside air and transfer it to your pool water. Heat pumps only work if the air temperature is over 50 degrees which may not be an issue for most fair-weather swimmers.

A pool heat pump can reduce your pool heating costs by up to 50% or more when compared to gas pool heaters, and also tend to require less repairs. They are more expensive to buy than gas pool heaters, but can pay for themselves after just a few seasons. Heat Pumps often qualify for green energy tax rebates as well!

GOOD WATER CHEMISTRY

There are less obvious, less costly ways to invest in your pool that can save you money in the long run. By spending a little more on the top-of-the-line Taylor K-2005 Test Kit you can expect commercial grade test results.

Improper pool testing practices can lead to a domino effect of unbalanced water and algae, and a pool chemical spending spree to restore well-balanced pool chemistry. Spending $80 on a test kit can directly lead to saving hundreds on pool chemicals. It’s pool ownership 101 but it’s a lesson that is time tested.

POOL SAFETY COVERS

safety-cover-meycoInvesting in a high quality pool safety cover is not only a wise investment from a safety perspective, safety covers can save money on a much grander scale. Mesh safety covers save water (the pool refills), they save electricity (no cover pump needed), they reduce cover and water bag trash (good for landfills), and they save you time and effort in not having to pump and clean a slimy solid pool cover.

Since safety covers are made of interconnected squares, the cost for rectangular safety covers is quite low, and a quick payback is assured. And for custom shaped pools too, the benefits of a safety pool cover for winter far outweigh the cost savings of the alternative.

POOL CAULKING

Pool Caulking is used in the expansion joint between inground pool coping and a concrete pool deck. It’s important for two reasons; the first being that the joint needs to remain clear of grit and dirt, to allow room for expansion of the pool deck, without hitting the pool. The second reason to caulk your pool is to prevent water from freezing during winter. Ice can be very powerful as it expands, and over time this can damage your pool.

Vulkem Pool Caulk, is pool owner friendly pool caulk. Put backer rod foam in the expansion joint, and then squeeze in the self-leveling caulk to seal up the expansion joint on the back of the coping stones, all the way around the pool. It’s a small step that could save you thousands in repairs to tile and coping.

FILTER CLEANER

Filter cleaner, last and least costly on our list of money saving investments for your swimming pool is again, back-to-basics. An optimized pool filter is everyone’s friend, requiring less pump run time, and fewer sanitizers or clarifiers, and it makes you work less by effectively filtering larger quantities of smaller debris.

It’s a small investment to to use a Pool Filter Cleaner to deep clean your cartridge, DE, or sand media. Like well-balanced pool water, a clean pool filter creates a positive domino effect, making water management much easier.


From small investments like filter cleaner to big ticket investments like a pool heat pump, technology and modern chemistry is leading the way to more eco- and wallet-friendly ways for  pool owners to save money for the more important pool accessories like giant inflatable slices of pizza and ride-on Pegasus floats.

Do you have a money-saving pool investment that we missed?  We love you hear from our pool community and welcome your comments or emails to socialmedia@intheswim.com.

 


Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

Hot New Pool Products 2017
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new banner sales tags by istockphotoSwimming pools have long been the largest area of innovation around the home.

Pools inspire people to invent gadgets of fancy, and pool owners and pool techs around the world are constantly dreaming up new ways to clean, heat, sanitize and enjoy the water.

Technology never sleeps, and since we haven’t done a new pool products post in several years, the time is right to look at what’s hot and new for swimming pools.


NEW POOL CHEMICALS

bioactive-cyanuric-acid-reducer-smBioActive Cyanuric Acid Reducer:

Stop draining half the pool to lower cya levels. BioActive is the only chemical that reduces cyanuric acid levels, saving thousands of gallons. One 8 oz bag of Bio-Active treats 25000 gals, and can reduce cyanuric acid levels from 100 to 50 ppm – overnight!

 

EZ Pods natural clarifier for poolsEZ Pods Natural Clarifier:

Ultra-Concentrated EZ-Pods are a natural clarifier tablet that you drop in the skimmer. No measuring, each pod treats 10000 gallons to restore water clarity. Natural water clarifier is made with chitosan obtained from sea crustaceans. Now that’s science!

 

HAYWARD UVO3 SYSTEMHayward Hydrorite UVO3 System:

The Hydrorite UV and Ozone system produces UV, Ozone and Hydroxy Radicals, to kill up to 99.9% of bacteria. Designed for commercial pools, see also the Pentair Bioshield UV Sterilizer. For residential pool UV purifiers, see the Solaxx NUVO 3000 UV System.


NEW POOL ACCESSORIES

SAFTRON POOL LADDER SHOWN WITH COLORSSaftron Pool Ladders:

Yawn! What’s so special about pool ladders and hand rails? Saftron pool ladders and rails are made from 1/4″ thick, high impact ding and dent-free polymers. Impervious to stains, salt, sun and chlorine, they also remain cool to the touch, in any weather. Plus, they come in six cool colors!

 

SKIM-A-ROUND FLOATING POOL SKIMMERSkim-A-Round Floating Pool Skimmer:

The Skim-A-Round is a floating pool skimmer that attaches to a skimmer, vacuum line, low-water suction, even to a main drain. Floating skimmer moves around to trap debris in a lily pad style basket. Great for above ground pools with no skimmer or inground pools with a vacuum line.

 

filterballs shown inside sand pool filter cutawayFilterBalls Advanced Filter Media

FilterBalls filter better, last longer and improve flow rate during filtration and backwashing. Made from extruded polyester, these tiny sponges trap particles down to 10 microns in size, twice as good as pool filter sand. New this year are FilterBall Minis, smaller FilterBalls, for filters that use less than 150 lbs of filter sand.


NEW POOL FLOATS

Derby Duck Ride-On Giant Duck by GAMEDerby Duck Ride-On:

Not sure if you saw the viral video last week of a guy riding a giant rubber ducky down a flooded street. The Derby Duck Ride-On is a new pool float by GAME, a giant version of their popular Derby Ducks, so famous all around the world for charity fund raising. Giant Inflatable Duck is huge!

 

Pool Candy LED Float

Pool Candy pool float is a classic 18 pocket sun tanner pool float by day, but at night, this pool lounger lights up with 18 super bright LED lights, that change color to brighten your pool and your mood! Choose from 3 light modes to flash fast, slow, or simply glow. AAA batteries included.

 

Capri pool loungeCapri Lounge

The Capri pool lounge offers luxury and comfort, with chic styling and colors. Capri lounges are covered in a soft and durable 6-D polyester cover that is removable for cleaning. Unique curved design and tall profile makes it super comfy in the pool, or on the deck. Measures 73″ x 31″ x 24″, and comes in 5 cool colors.


NEW POOL EQUIPMENT

pool boy III battery powered solar blanket reel for poolsPool Boy III Solar Reel:

Pool Boy III is the world’s first battery powered (rechargeable) remote control operated solar blanket reel. Earlier versions operate with a power cord, which is so – last century! Wireless remote works from over 50 ft away, to remove and replace the solar blanket automatically.

 

Supreme Duo-Brush by Red LeopardSupreme DuoBrush:

Yawn! Now we’re talking about pool brushes!?! The Supreme Pool Brush has over 20,000 bristles attached in a fan-style, to do more work with every brush stroke. Duo Brush is easier to use and much more effective. Aluminum handle and V-clip fits all standard pool poles.

 

SkimDevil Solar Pool SkimmerSkim Devil Solar Skimmer:

The Skim Devil Solar Skimmer is a solar powered, app controlled pool skimmer. Customizable and programmable, or you can guide the Solar Skimmer with remote control using the Android or iOS app on your smartphone or tablet. Sucks up leaves, before they sink.


2017 MANUFACTURER REBATES

rebates - image by istockphotoThere are rebates every year from the manufacturers, usually given in the form of a Visa gift card, send to you after you fill out the form and mail it in to the manufacturer. In 2017, rebates are available on the following items:

Pentair Rebates: Racer, Legend, and Warrior Pool Cleaners, UltraTemp Pool Heat Pumps.

Hayward Rebates: Pool Vac XL, AquaVac 500, TigerShark, SharkVac, TriVac 500 Cleaners, AquaRite and Swim Pure Plus salt systems.

Zodiac Rebates: Nature2 Mineral Cartridges, Polaris 3900 Sport, 9450 and 9550 robotic pool cleaners.


I hope you enjoyed this look at some of the new pool products we have available at In The Swim. Is there a hot and cool new pool product that you just simply can’t live without? Let us know by ‘Leave a Reply’ below, or email to socialmedia@intheswim.com.

 


Sheryl Sollis
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

SHOP RELATED PRODUCTS:

 

Things to Consider When Buying A Home With A Pool
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Imagine the following scenario: After searching dozens of neighborhoods in five different towns, you finally find your dream house. It’s perfect in every way – and has real curb appeal. As you take a tour through the house’s interior with your real estate agent, that’s when you see it – a swimming pool in the backyard. Yeah, that might be a show stopper. So now what?

I asked Elizabeth Graffagna for some advice on how to approach this situation. Elizabeth has managed her family’s home construction and renovation business in Illinois for the past 10 years. She’s had a few moments where a deal was nearly perfect but the pool ruined it, or vice-versa where a house was not distinctive but the pool and backyard was a home run. “First, you have to be pragmatic and realistic about the situation,” she says. “It’s an absolute must that you ask yourself and your husband, wife, business partner, or anyone else buying the home with you, if a pool is something you want.”

Pools are great. There’s nothing like having your own pool to use on those perfect summer afternoons and evenings, but there’s a lot to owning a pool, kind of like getting a dog. If you’ve never owned a pool before, keep in mind that your pool will require regular maintenance and cleaning that will take time and cost money.

how-much-do-pools-cost-to-maintain - istock photoWhat’s a Pool Cost to Maintain? Maybe an hour per week, and $100 per month, might be usual. This covers unexpected repairs, replacement parts and fun accessories that you’ll want to buy, in addition to pool chemicals.

For professional pool service, prices vary widely from south to north, up to $100+ per week to clean your pool, add pool chemicals and maintain the pump and filter. If you want to save the money and do it yourself, which we recommend ;-), you can find all the pool parts, supplies, chemicals and accessories you need, right here at In The Swim.

If you don’t clean your pool regularly it will eventually turn into a swampy mess so there’s no skimping here. For the DIY inground pool owner, you may spend $250 per year in chemicals and $250 in parts and accessories, plus costs for running the pump and heating the water, if the pool has a pool heater.

What About Pool Safety? If you currently have children or are planning a family, pool safety is at the top of your list. Pools can be made safe for small children with safety products like mesh fencing and mesh covers, door alarms and pool alarms, in addition to swim lessons and vigilant parental supervision.

In some cases, homes being sold by older folks may not have a lot of pool safety accessories, but you can child-proof a pool.

You Go For it! Nevertheless, it’s your dream home, you say. If that’s the case, here’s what you should do before you make final decisions and especially before you make any deal or sign on the dotted line.

First, look closely at the pool and see if there are any warning signs you should be concerned about. Are there any large cracks in the pool, tile or deck surfaces? If the pool is above ground, are the walls and top rail in good condition? You should also check and see if all of the needed equipment and accessories are there such as filters, pumps, ladders, cleaners. Inspect the plumbing and valves for any signs of leaks. What’s the overall condition of the pool and all of its equipment and accessories? How about the vinyl liner or plaster interior, does it look to be in good shape with few stains? Have your realtor ask the home owners for pool maintenance records – the more detailed the better.

pool-inspection - istkAfter looking over everything, if you’re confident to move forward and purchase the house and your offer is accepted, you should have a pool inspection with a local pool company. Home inspectors focus on the house and might miss possible issues with the pool, which is why you should consider a pool specialist who can test for aspects of the pool that may be a challenge for a general home inspector.

Beyond the home and pool inspection, it would be wise to find out as much information as possible regarding the pool. Ask the sellers questions like, who built the pool? What year was it built? How much does the pool pump (or heater) cost to run every month? What conveniences or accessories does the pool have? Does everything related to the pool convey with the home sale? And for snowbelt pools, what type and condition is the winter pool cover?

You will also want to check out ancillary items like the condition of the pool fence and gates, pool drain covers, and if there’s a pool cleaner, what condition is it in, and how effective is it? You can also ask about repair, replacement or renovation work that has been done in the past.

After everything with the pool checks out and you purchase your dream home, consider hiring a pool company to give you a pool orientation, to show you how to maintain the pool on your own. In The Swim has a plethora of information to help pool owners educate themselves on pool maintenance, pool chemistry and pool equipment repair and replacement.

Although it’s not easy and can be expensive, removing the pool is an option, and Graffagna explained that her company has removed pools in the past. “Houses with pools that need very extensive repairs and were built 30-40 years ago can be removed.” she says. “It’s not easy and it’s not cheap, but in some cases it’s the right thing to do for the home to sell fast. It’s not just a matter of filling in an inground pool however, the floor must be broken up so water can permeate, and the top half of the wall must be removed. $10-12K on average.

To sum all of this up: if you find your dream home also has a pool, don’t be scared off. Most inground pools take less than an hour per week to maintain, on average, and about $100 per month in parts, chemicals and accessories, or about $500-$1000 per year. If you have pool safety concerns, possibly not shared by the current pool owner, you can make the pool safer with good fencing, alarms and covers.

If you’ve bought a house with a pool, what things did you learn after closing the deal and moving in? What would you tell others in your situation to look out for?

This is the third edition in a four-part In The Swim blog series with the focus of providing valuable information and ideas to home owners, home buyers and real estate agents regarding swimming pools. You can find the first and second editions here.

 


Larry Andersen
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

Vacay Mode: Best Vacation Pool Floats
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It’s the time of year when many of us are gearing-up to take a vacation somewhere warmer, some place with a beach or certainly, somewhere with a swimming pool. It’s usually not until you reach your destination and are standing at water’s edge, slathered in sunscreen, when it hits you, “I wish I had a pool float.”

Shortly after the pool float epiphany comes the harsh realization that buying a pool float from the hotel gift shop is painfully more expensive than back home. Make this the most prepared you’ve ever been for a vacation and take a look at some of the best pool floats to pack with you on your next trip to paradise.

First up, let’s take a look at some fun inflatable pool floats that are fun for the kids and any fun-loving adult on vacation and free from the shackles of everyday life:

You may be thinking – how the heck am I supposed to pack THOSE into my suitcase?  These cool pool floats are vacuum packed into a box about the size of a small toaster.

large-pool-ride-on-floatsWhether you want a Pegasus pool float or a Unicorn pool float, or for you Parrotheads or lovers of Giant Flamingos or those who want to lounge on a majestic Swan Pool Float – these giant floats are all about 6’ wide and perfect for one lounger or two kids ready to launch their imaginations into the water. What says I’m on a tropical vacation like sprawling out on a giant, inflatable parrot, flamingo or Sea Turtle? Nothing. That’s what.

Of course, smile-inducing inflatable spectacles like a white swan float aren’t exactly for everyone. Let’s take a look at some of the more understated but equally enjoyable floats you’ll be glad you brought with you on your next sunny vacation.

board-shorts-pool-floatAvoid drifting apart and stay attached at the uh, seams, with this Board Shorts Double Lounger float built for two in the shape of a pair of board shorts. This is another great example of a large float in a small package but for those who are especially cramped for space in their luggage the Color Brite Pool Float is as easy on your suitcase as it is on your wallet. These $9 pool rafts are available in a variety of color options and come in flat packages that take up no more room than your swim suit.

canvas-surf-rider-float

The Large Inflatable Canvas Surf Rider is the big brother of the Color Brite pool rafts but built to stand up to ocean surf thanks to its durable canvas construction. Whether you are hitting the waves or just have children that play rough in the pool, Canvas inflatable rafts are tough, built-to-last and take up about as much space as a sweatshirt when deflated.

Another fantastic, space saving option is the Premium Pool Floating Hammock, shown below. The headrest and leg rest both inflate and the hammock is made of canvas.  It’s folds up to about the size of a pair of jeans and inflates quickly without the need for a pump.  You could easily pack several of these nifty hammocks in a carry-on bag.

Cruz the Stingray, Pool Hammock Float, Sandy the Crab pool float
If you are traveling with children, Cruz the Stingray and Sandy the Crab are Seaside Riders, a fantastic pair of floats, that actually work triple-duty as a fun stuffed animal companion as well an incredibly comfy pillow. These floats are made from a stretchy, durable mesh fabric (similar to spandex) and they don’t absorb water thanks to thousands of ultra-buoyant foam beads which keep the kids afloat or keep them comfy and asleep.

swimline-aqua-coach-baby-buoy-inflatable-baby-pool-floatAnd if you are traveling with a toddler another great idea to bring with you is the Aqua Coach Baby Buoy Float. It features a dual chamber, harness-like seat to help keep your little one secure without the worry of tipping, and it also includes a comfy, supportive backrest. Safety and fun, all-in-one, baby pool float – a perfect combo for parents vacationing with babies or toddlers.

Whether you are cramped for space and are packing the compact Color Brite floats or are ready to spread your wings and fly on a giant inflatable Pegasus, don’t turn blue in the face trying to inflate these floats with your own breath. Save your breath for snorkeling and don’t forget to pack a compact air compressor or pump.

inflatable-pool-float-air-pumpsThere are several options from the Inflatable Pool Toy Foot Pump (about the size of a shoe) and if you prefer a more electric means of inflation there is the ultra-compact Battery Powered Pump or the fast-working, AC-powered Intex Quick Fill Electric Pump that you can plug into any outlet in your hotel room and is also great for air mattresses.  Now you are packed and ready to go!

Do you have go-to fun inflatable pool floats that we missed or a story about a vacation where a float saved the day at the pool?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments section or by dropping us a line at: socialmedia@intheswim.com.

 


Dana Katz
InTheSwim Staff Blogger