Poolside Bar Ideas

Here’s a dirty little pool secret: the main point of being in a pool for most adults isn’t to swim. Pools are all about chillin’. Sure, the occasional volleyball game is played, but let’s be honest, 99% of the time we’re in, around or just thinking about the pool, it’s all about kicking back and taking it easy. What’s the best way to kick back while in or around the pool? Yep, put your cocktail swim shorts on (is there such a thing?), we’re talking pool bar ideas.

For most of us who have experienced a poolside bar, it was probably at some type of resort. However, I’m thinking more about the backyard pool when it comes to hanging out with friends on a summer evening, so I’ve come up with a few pool bar ideas that, for the most part, are doable to some degree.

built-in covered poolside bar with area on pool patioPersonally, if I’m doing a poolside bar, it will have to be versatile, meaning the bar can be used while outside the pool and while inside the pool. After all, if you’re having friends over, not all of them will want to get wet to join in the fun, and having a place for guests to sit on dry land and also while in the pool is ideal.

I really like the pool bar look where the stools are built-in and solid, yet blend with the water and the pool’s surfaces.
clean backyard poolside bar with built in underwater stools

Now here’s another nice pool with a swim-up bar, but there’s something about the brick and stone in the water that just makes me cringe. Perhaps I endured too many skinned knees and elbows as a kid which is why I can’t help but think I’d end up losing skin somewhere due to these stools and wall.

However, I do appreciate the big screen TV and overhead heaters. And you can’t go wrong with a full wet bar, ice machine and dishwasher, with enough counter space to really spread out!

And when I’m not in the kitchen, I’ll be kicking back in front of the fireplace. But I’m not going anywhere near those bar stools.

This pool bar incorporates a man cave – literally a cave for real with a waterfall and water slide. Yes, this is someone’s backyard. They look out at this all the time and quietly think “holy begonias, I have a cave, waterfall, waterslide and swim-up bar in my back yard.” The glass refrigerator doors are a nice touch.

However, to enjoy a poolside bar, you don’t have to go ape nuts like the ones above. Simple, attractive and versatile will do just fine, and whether you have an inground or above ground pool, you might find it’s not as hard or expensive as you thought to put a poolside bar in your own pool.

Here is an example of a backyard poolside bar that can be enjoyed inside or outside of the pool. There’s no fancy structures, no stainless steel appliances or 4K OLED TVs, just a comfortable place to enjoy a drink and snacks with friends in and around the pool.

Of course, constructing any type of permanent bar in or around your pool might be too much commitment and/or cash for you, but don’t be down in the dumps, there are options!

This inflatable floating tiki bar by Swimline works whenever you want it to work and fits inside a nice poolside storage cube when you don’t want to use it.

If your friends tease you, remind them you’re the one with the pool and they’re free to hop a flight to Miami Beach if they want to imbibe at some fancy swim-up pool bar.

Finally, you get a peek into my player level. Forget all the fancy stuff, the high-end finishes and the foo-foo drinks. For me, it’s all about the drink, the atmosphere and the company. The most expensive part of the poolside bar below is the gin in the [plastic] martini glass.

That’s the way pool life should be…

For more poolside bar ideas, see Dana’s post – Pool Bars for Backyard Parties, to select a color scheme, style and size that fits your backyard best.

What are some of the “must-haves” for your poolside bar? If you could design one and have it built, what would you do? If you already have one, show us your pool bar – whether it’s worthy of a Las Vegas penthouse or a simpler design, Leave a Reply below.


Larry Andersen
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Pool Ideas from the Future

Instead of discussing what to do or what you should do with your pool, I thought today is a good day we throw the switch and cross over to a set of tracks less traveled, and explore a few ideas of what hasn’t been done with a pool.

First, finding something that hasn’t been done with a pool isn’t as easy as you think. There are some pretty crazy people out there with barge-loads full of money, and we all know anything can happen when a weird idea meets up with a bunch of cash. You get pools like this one cantilevered over the ledge of a building, one end of the pool exposed with a clear wall.

Myself being the type who becomes more than just a little queasy and dizzy on the precipice of falling from such heights might find this pool a little too much to take, but not to those who push the design envelope (over the edge). They thought this was a good idea no matter how much it cost to do.

Then you have the balcony pool, which for me is right up there with the cantilever over the edge of oblivion pool except it’s just on a smaller scale. Good heavens, I’m not sure this type of pool is even real since the people in and around the pool are acting way too casual for the situation if you ask me. Do any of them even know the tensile strength of concrete is?

As you can see, a few people have done some outrageous, borderline stupid things with pools, giving us a good starting point to conjure up something so spectacular, so wild and crazy, the government will probably outlaw it via an act of Congress for our own protection.

For myself, I always wanted to make a pool shaped like the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Actually, the pool would be oval with half showing above ground and the other half being underground, and of course, it wouldn’t be 630 feet tall like the real arch is either because of physics and stuff. My not being an engineer or physicist, I have no idea how to explain the method of filtering the pool except that it would be hard. However, I’m going along the grounds of being able to build a vertical arch-shaped swimming pool, then I believe I can figure out how to design and develop some super-duper pool pumps to get the job done. Add in an automatic chlorinator here and there, and I think we’re in business.

This next idea has kept me up at night as I envision how I could make this type of pool work for real – not relying on the laws of cartoon physics like the arch to make it happen. Before I get too far into this one and lose myself in all the excitement, let me provide a little background.

We all remember the 1980s – and seeing some picture or music video with people sitting in a pool where the trunk lid should be on a lavish, cheesy-looking Lincoln limousine. I guess it wasn’t a pool, really, more like a hot tub, but really, does it matter? No, of course not because whether it was a pool or hot tub, it was a dumb idea but more than a few people did it (see nausea-inducing pools above).

After the limousine pool, we started seeing the boat pool. This made a little more sense to me than the limo pool because I can’t help but think how even in Miami you’d freeze your tail off sitting in a pool rolling down A1A at 70mph. A boat moves slower so there’s less wind. Besides boats are by far cooler than any 1980’s limo, and having a pool on a boat means you don’t have to swim with the sharks to get in the water. Again it’s the case of, if you got the money, then why not?

And to prove my idea is for everyone, not just the Robin Leach “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” crowd, here’s a picture of the hot tub boat. By the looks of it, when they get tired of taking it easy in their floating hot tub, they all lean to one direction and hope for a breeze to get them back to shore, or else they’re going to find Gilligan’s Island.

Now, with those ideas explained, here’s my idea that I am sure no one has done with a pool as of yet. A pool in an airplane.

Talk about high roller status! Forget being crammed into seats with no leg room on international flights, stretch out, work out and kick back in a pool at 38,000 feet instead. Of course we’re not talking about practicality here, we’re talking going beyond where no man or woman has been before, and that’s putting a pool in an airplane. Why? – because we can and we want to.

Since personal pool lighter than air craft are a few years off, I’m thinking of a traditional yet modern aircraft. I’ve spent many nights now working through the many challenges of critical weight distribution for take off, level flight and landing. I figure the pool would have to start empty with the pool water stored in tanks in the front and rear of the plane. Then a serious pump, like the 3 hp Whisperflo – would fill the pool quickly once at cruising altitude, and then drain the pool water back into the tanks for landing.

Yeah sure, there are a few more things to work out like having a plane large enough to hold a pool and with enough power to take flight, maintain it and then safely land with the weight of all that water onboard. Of course, you could dump the water before landing, but that might generate some complaints from anyone who has a pool poured on their house!

If you have an idea of something that has never been done with a pool before, tell us about it! What would be your fantasy swimming pool – if money were no object? Leave a Reply Below!


Larry Andersen
InTheSwim Staff Blogger



Pool Party Etiquette – Don’t be That Guy!

As a hostess of several pool parties over the last 5 years, I have experienced my share of pool party faux pas, bad decisions by guests and some moments I would rather forget. I’ve collected these moments of pool party fails into a series of anecdotes (or warnings) that will help you be alert for potential mini-disasters when you host your own pool party.

Some of these scenarios may persuade you to amend your pool rules and better define what is considered tolerable or intolerable behavior, around the pool.

Beware the Chemist!

Thanks to the magic of youtube dry ice videos and the new iPhone, my father-in-law is determined to bring some dry ice to my pool, “Just to see what happens!” Last summer’s pool party concluded with him and my husband agreeing that the first pool party of the season will begin with a ceremonial “Dumping of the Dry Ice” to open our pool officially. This party is to take place this weekend, and as far as I know, but my rules are standing strong. No Dry Ice, boys. Especially at a pool party. We are not the Bill Nye or Carl Sagan family, and will not be using our pool to discover the wonders of science.

The Tosser Guy

And it IS ALWAYS a guy that can’t bear the notion of someone being at a pool party that doesn’t want to swim. Some people are there for the party and not the pool (which is fine). Regardless if we are talking grown up or children, if there is a person that doesn’t want to swim it is sure to wake the sleeping monster inside of one of your guests that refuses to respect this person’s boundaries. I’ve seen the incognito shoving of the little sister into the pool, I’ve seen the over-over-the-shoulder-like-a-sack-of-potatoes-body-slam-into-the-water, and I’ve seen the unwilling flying dog go flailing into the water. All of these have ended badly and usually with some other retaliation by the unwilling swimmer in the form of a tossed drink or flying appetizer.

The Floating Snacker

I cringe at these words:  “Hey babe, could you bring me a plate of chips, I don’t want to get out of the pool.” Almost always this casual request ends with a bloated pretzel in my skimmer, a hoard of ants on an abandoned plate absent mindedly stranded near the deep end, or the disgusting memory of the 5 Second Rule being applied to pool water. Gross – I highly recommend strictly enforcing a “NO-Eating In The Pool” rule. (This exact scenario sans ants can also be applied to a “NO-Cigarettes” in the pool rule)

The Gentle Giant

Two consecutive years, two pool floats destroyed, by one big friend. I feel bad mentioning this, but there is a tact that can be applied to making sure your larger friends are not matched up with your smaller pool floats. I’ve had several destroyed by a friend of mine that is 6’5 and over 250 lbs. One was a floating hammock sling that no one over 130 lbs really has business sitting in, and maybe that float would still be alive today if I had suggested or just simply tossed the foam float to my friend. The other float, an inexpensive inflatable lounger literally burst at the seams as he attempted to beach himself atop it. The pool float never had a chance.

The Aquatic Urban Cowboy

Again, this breed of partygoer transcends age but is always a boy or a boy in a man’s body, and this person’s actions usually result in a popped float or tears (again, from child or an adult). This is almost always instigated by a giant pool float (in my case it was a giant sea turtle). The Aquatic Urban Cowboy is challenged by the rest of the boys to mount-up and see how long he can hold on as they thrash the float up and down, cannonball it off the diving board, and generally attempt to re-enact a mechanical bull with your pool float. If someone doesn’t get hurt, a float gets popped—or both.

The Eager Beaver

It’s definitely always good to provide pool towels for your guests at a pool party. This isn’t just for their comfort but as the party progresses and people tend to get looser people tend to forget to dry off before entering the house. It usually is prefaced by, “I’m going inside to get a drink, does anybody need anything?” This chivalrous individual, eager to return to the pool with drinks in hand, launches him or herself from the pool on to the deck and bee-lines for the kitchen. My kitchen has a linoleum floor that gets incredibly slippery when it is wet.  Slippery floor, plus slippery people equals slippery results. Find tactful ways to make sure your guests towel off before entering the house. It’s amazing how much traffic from the pool directly into the house (either to use the restroom or to refill their beverage) actually occurs.  Be particularly vigilant with a child friendly pool party.

The Thermostat Whiner

It’s one thing if a handful of guests mention that your pool is too cold, it’s another if it’s always the same person and only that particular person. Perhaps, I’m the only pool owner with this friend. But the pool is never warm enough for this individual. The conversation usually begins like this: “Wow! This water is COLD! What is the thermostat set to? Can we turn it up? There’s no way this pool is set to 86 degrees. Let’s just turn it up to 90. There’s something wrong with your thermostat….”  Clearly, this individual doesn’t appreciate the cost to heating a pool. I’ve found the best way to keep the Thermostat Whiner at bay is to agree to turn up the thermostat, walk around the corner to the pool heater, stand there for a second and do nothing, walk back and ask, “Is it warmer now!” The answer is always, “Yes!  I can feel a difference already!”

The Remodeler

I pride myself on having put together a well thought out pool deck and patio with several distinct sitting areas with a variety of chairs, ottomans, chaise lounges, stools and chairs.  There’s really no ambiguity of what chairs could be considered moveable over to the fire pit and which pieces of furniture should be considered permanent fixtures in their current space. None of these carefully, hand-selected comforts belong in the pool…EVER. It never fails though…  someone gets a little too comfortable in the pool and a little too at home and decides to move one of my Adirondacks into the shallow end of the pool! Also, if it has nice, outdoor cushions like my chaise or outdoor sofa, please don’t move it over next to the flaming firepit! Okay… sorry. Can you tell The Remodeler is my biggest pool party pet peeve?

The Nudist

Classic Pool Sign from PoolmasterSomeday, when there aren’t any children present, I’ll tell you the legend of Naked Guy at one of my pool parties. It’s a legend that actually spills over into my neighbor’s party lore as well because the Naked Guy just couldn’t be wrangled to just one party. Naked Guy was for everyone that night and showed up without warning to both parties. I wish I could give you some kind of guide of what to watch out for to avoid your own Naked Guy incident. But he usually appears without warning. Pool party nudists aren’t limited to men, either. There’s also Topless Girl. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with people wanting to swim or be naked but it’s always best to firmly establish whether it’s a Rated R or PG party.

The Nearly Nudist

This is a personal rule at my pool. Nudity may be tolerated at times but absolutely at no point are Speedos considered acceptable swimwear. C’mon guys. We aren’t in Western Europe or South America. This same can be said for thongs—for both men and women. No Thongs or Speedos at my pool. Luckily, I’ve never actually had to enforce this rule.

The Fire Stoker

I previously mentioned that we have a firepit. Sometimes we also have a smaller fire up near the pool deck. These are not gas firepits but wood burning, old fashioned firepits. You know, the kind where every guy standing around it suddenly becomes an expert on wood burning positions and the ultimate authority on what the fire does and does not need? We’ve never hosted a pool party that didn’t have a fire in the evening. And, I’ve never had a fire in the evening where it wasn’t constantly poked, prodded, repositioned, or over-stoked by the committee of men relying on their primitive know-how on how to keep the fire burning high. It is fun, but I’ve learned that one of the repercussions of all of that activity is that it kicks up a lot of embers into the air, embers that fall back to the earth and land in your pool. Ash is awful in a swimming pool. If you have a cover or a solar cover on your pool or even if you have floats in your pool, these ashes and embers can burn holes right thru!

Hopefully you can relate or learn from some of these questionable but ultimately loveable pool party guests. Perhaps you have a faux pas profile of your own that you encounter at your own pool parties?  We’d love to hear from you!

Drop us a line at or comment on our Facebook page where you can find this article posted.


Sheryl Sollis
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Favorite Preparing your Pool for a Pool Party

Pool parties are as much a part of owning a pool as chlorine and pool floats. While there are countless blogs and Pinterest boards featuring pool party recipes, decorations and themes, we’re not going there.

Today we dive deeper into the details of hosting a pool party – prepping your pool for the onslaught with tweaks to pool safety, some cool pool accessories, and solid water chemistry for a heavy swimmer load. Let’s jump right in!


pool life vests for kidsMay is National Pool Safety Month, and as the saying goes, “safety first!”  The number one priority of any pool party should be ensuring your guests are safe especially if your party is kid friendly. Young children should all be secured with life jackets or water wings, and remind them of the pool rules before unleashing them into the water.

Designate a Lifeguard! If you don’t hire a lifeguard, put responsible adults in charge of watching the pool, in 30 minute shifts. Give them a lifeguard hat to make it official. Deflect conversations away from your lifeguard, and show up promptly with a replacement guest-guard in 30 minutes. Accidents do happen, recruit your guests for better pool party safety.

pool first aid kitPool safety certainly transcends age, and the first party of the season is a great time to make sure that your handrails are secure, there are no loose steps on on your pool ladder, or loose bolts on the diving board. And, no pool should be without a first aid kit! Also be sure to store your pool tools, chemicals, and electrical boxes safely out of reach of children.

Dri-Dek pool floor tilesIf you have changing room or bath room that you know swimmers will be using during the party, you can put down a rug or even some non-skid tiles so that no one slips and falls. Dri-Dek tiles are an affordable and effective way to keep slippery swimmers safe. They lock together quickly and can be easily stacked during the off-season, or put to other uses.

POOL PARTY PREP: Pool Accessories

Outdoor pool showersA pool accessory that may not always be practical but certainly affects pool sanitation and will save you money in the long run is a pool shower. Asking your guests to shower before they enter the pool, that’s the impractical part, but affordable outdoor pool showers spare your pool sanitizer the extra work keeping the pool clean. Our simple hose-attached pool showers makes it convenient – maybe even fun!

BigFoot Foot Bath for poolsAnother great pool party accessory is the simple foot bath for your guests to rinse their feet off in before entering the water. Durable and easy to use, just fill our Big-Foot foot bath with pool water, and dump it out after the party. Stops grass clippings, dirt and gunk from sticking to kids faces – no fun!

blue striped pool towelsAt my own Las Vegas style pool parties, I like to make sure that I provide plenty of pool towels for all my guests. These In the Swim blue-stripe pool towels are super affordable at $19.99 per dozen. While guests may bring their own towels there certainly will be some that don’t. These look really pool-y, and everyone appreciates a fresh pool towel at the ready.

pool noodles and pool floatsA pool party can never have too many pool floats or pool noodles for guests to float around on especially if there are children involved. Investing in a box of pool noodles or several of these affordable Color Brite Pool Floats will ensure everyone that wants a float or a noodle will have one.

POOL PARTY PREP: Chemical Maintenance

In an upcoming post, we’ll talk about the chemical maintenance that goes into recovering your pool water after the heavy swimmer load of hosting a pool party. However, there are a few preemptive strikes that will put you ahead of the game and help ease the time it takes to get your water back to pre-party form.

InTheSwim Super Pool ShockThe first thing is to shock the pool, about a week before the party. My shock recipe is pretty simple. For my 20,000 gallon pool, if the water looks great, I use 2 lbs of pool shock. If it looks hazy and dull I use 3 lbs, and if there is measurable combined chlorine (chloramines), I would use 4 lbs. And for visible algae in the pool, I’d use 5 lbs of pool shock, for my 20K pool size.

Pool Perfect by Natural ChemistryTreating your water with a dose of Pool Perfect enzymes can help eliminate oily, waterline build up and removes human skin, hair and (other) waste, and any organic pollutants that find their way into the pool during a party. Not only do these enzymes help prevent stains, they also clarify, and help make sanitizers like chlorine last longer and work better. It’s a win-win-win.

In The Swim Pool ClarifierA pre-party treatment of In The Swim Clarifier is a smart move, especially for small filters that have trouble with heavy pool use. Pre-treating your water with clarifier a few days before the party will remove suspended but invisible solids that get in the way of sanitation, and make pool water dull and hazy. Pre-treat, before the party to give polish and shine to your pool water.

The Perfect Pool Party Plan:

Pool parties are certainly one of the best things about owning a pool but they can also lead to maintenance headaches and even some safety concerns when not approached responsibly. One of the most common questions we encounter is, “I threw a pool party, and now my water won’t clear-up!”. It is almost inevitable, depending on the size of your party, that your water is not going to be as clear as it was before the party. But with proper pool party preparation and planning… 🙂

Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at the steps you can take to make pool party maintenance and safety as simple and effective as possible. Following the steps and tips suggested in this article is a great way to ensure your pool party will be off to a great start.

Now you only need to plan pool party games, and add décor and snacks!


Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger





Get your Swim On, America!

Spring Break. My kids excitedly clung to the pool coping at the deep end as their dad backed down the pool ladder and pretty much fell into the pool a little less than gracefully. The waves from my impact with the water scattered across the surface, lifting each kid up along the pool’s edge like boats on the incoming tide. They loved it of course, and I was just thankful no one else was near the pool, and that I’m a rather naturally-buoyant person.

As my kids swam about showing me their newly learned skills from recent swimming lessons, they were skimming the surface like dolphins, effortlessly kicking their legs and wiggling their bodies through the water, reaching the surface with a big smile and giggles, wanting to see me copy their moves. So I did, and I wasn’t smiling or wiggling, and I was more tug-boat-like than dolphin.

Swimming Freestyle - Illustration istockphotoIt was right then I decided this time in the pool would be a perfect opportunity to get some exercise. So I swam across the pool once, about 25 feet or so in distance, stopped long enough to turn around and swam back to where I started. It actually felt like a big accomplishment – so I did it again, and then a third time. The kids joined me, my oldest wanted to race me of course, pushing me to refine my stroke and speed. It felt great and quickly improved my mood – even before my first cup of morning coffee.

Reeling at the unfamiliar rush of energy, I lurched over to the waterfall and reached up to grab hold of the large flat rock. Pulling my arms to lift my head above the ledge, I realized I had just completed a pull-up, which is my first one since… ever, I do believe. I dropped myself back down fully into the water, and repeated the pull-up a few more times. The water kept my lower body just buoyant enough to make my body lighter but not completely weightless.

Of course I knew it was time to get out to supervise, so I swam to the pool ladder, dried off, put my t-shirt back on and went to join my wife, watching the kids in the little pool. My wife joined me and I explained how my little pool workout was invigorating and almost … enjoyable. Of course, she was happy to hear that, especially since she swims laps 3x per week, for exercise.

With a big grin, she started searching online for “water workouts”, and not surprisingly, there’s an amazing amount of ideas to be found. For instance, on, she  found these great stretchy cord water exercises.

water workouts Image credit to

She found a great ab workout for the pool, which I tested. Start by standing in the pool, with your back against the pool wall. Then place your elbows and forearms up on the pool deck, raising your body just slightly. Keeping knees locked and legs straight, move your legs from the vertical to horizontal position, hold them there for three seconds, and then bring your legs down. It’s easy enough to do several reps over three sets, but the water creates enough tension that you’ll feel your work in your stomach.

From swimming laps using a variety of swim strokes to working your legs, rear and abs using one of our classic pool kickboards, we found something that was low-stress but effective as a pool exercise. There are other muscle building and toning exercises that use your body weight and natural buoyancy, or you can make great use of a pool noodle.

Here’s another great chart that my wife came across – looks to be a few years old and maybe from an army field manual, but it gets the idea across just as well.

For more fun pool water workout ideas for your swimming pool, visit these other fine In The Swim blog posts for more cool pool exercises you can do to get back in summer shape.

Water Workout Calorie Burn Guide

Water Workout: 5 Pool Noodle Exercises

Water Aerobics and Water Fitness Exercises

AquaJogger Pool Fitness Routines


As Dr. Pool would say, Get your Swim On, America! There’s a hundred different ways to get a good water workout. Make use of your pool – that’s why you have it, for fun, fitness and family togetherness!


Larry Andersen
InTheSwim Staff Blogger



Favorite National Water Safety Month

Now that National Pool Opening Day is behind us, we flip the calendar to May, and begin to observe National Water Safety Month. As most pool owners are opening their pools this month, May is a fitting month for pool safety awareness.

Spring is also a good time to review and inspect – simple things you should do and know, and pool safety equipment and barriers that need to be maintained, to make your pool safe for the entire summer swimming season.

Pool safety all starts with taking pool safety seriously and making it your top priority. Some simple steps you can take to make your pool and pool area safer is to never allow children in the pool area unattended whether the pool is covered or not. Never let children near the pool unsupervised no matter what – this just can’t be stressed enough.

safer aboveground pool laddersFor aboveground pools, be sure to install (and use) a locking safety ladder. Above ground pool ladder systems range in prices and features, from basic locking ladders to  secure pool entry systems with a self – closing locking gate. Put that cheap ladder that came with your pool in the garage, and invest wisely in a locking pool ladder.

If you have an inground pool in the backyard, you should already have a perimeter fence around your backyard, but a secondary safety fence around your pool is even more effective to keep small swimmers from getting into the water.

safety-fence-gateRemovable safety fences that are quick and easy to put up and take down, are perfect for pool owners who plan to have family or friends visit on occasion.They can provide 4-sided pool perimeter protection, or the 10 ft sections can be linked to walls, fences or other barriers to separate the pool from the rest of the backyard, or in reverse to barricade the patio from the pool area.

As a final Layer of Protection, pool owners also can install pool alarms that detect motion in your pool water should a highly determined person defeat your pool safety defenses and precautions. Safety Turtle is another popular alarm for kids and pets, the wearable turtle wristband sounds an in-home alarm when submerged in water.

With all the pool safety equipment available, there’s still no substitute for being aware and prepared. The best thing you can do as a pool owner is know how to swim, and then teach your children how to swim. If you don’t know how or never learned how to swim, taking swim lessons is a great way to build your own confidence in and around the water and a great activity to do with your kids.

Learning CPRRed Cross water safety tips Infographic for children and adults is another great life-saving safety skill to know, allowing you to assist in pool emergencies while medical help is on the way. Something that is is much more common today than just 10 years ago is to have a phone nearby just in case you need to dial 911 in an emergency. Know where your phone is if you’re in the pool, and react fast to emergencies while trying not to panic.

Finally, if you notice a child is missing from your house or yard, make the pool or spa the first place you look. Seconds count when an inexperienced swimmer accidentally gets into the pool, so check the pool first, then other vulnerable places first before searching the yard or the neighborhood.

As we kick off May, the best way to “celebrate” Pool Safety Month is by knowing the best ways to be safe in and around the water, and then practicing those methods and use the right equipment to make your pool a fantastic, fun and safe spot to enjoy all summer long. Another way to celebrate is with low prices – check our safety equipment pages and our steps and ladders, we’re keeping sale prices all month long

Safe Swimmer PledgeTake a visit to for other pool safety resources like more useful Pool Safety Tips. Have your kids take the Safe Swimmer Pledge, suitable for framing! Click the image on the right for a larger version for printing (be sure to set your print properties to ‘Landscape’ printing).

Have a safe summer swimming season!


Larry Andersen
InTheSwim Staff Blogger



National Pool Opening Day!

National Pool Opening Day is a registered national holiday that falls on the last Saturday in April. You may have not heard of this joyous event before, but we celebrate the occasion every year, as pool covers come off all across America, and the pool season begins!

Not everyone opens their pool on the last Saturday in April, of course. Many northern pools stay buttoned up for a few more weeks, but this weekend is the perfect time to start the ball rolling by ordering your start-up pool chemicals, supplies or equipment now for the summer season!

To help you get in the spirit of the season, we’ve lowered prices this weekend on the pool opening supplies you need to join in National Pool Opening Day festivities! And, see our Spotlight Savings for more pool equipment specials.

And because this blog is all about pool information, here’s some tips to help you open the pool this weekend – the last Saturday in April, or at least to help you get prepared for your pool opening day, coming soon!

Take a Pool Chemical Inventory

You may not need all of these or may need other pool chemicals that aren’t listed below – every pool is a bit different in the what is needed for a pool opening. Check your stock on hand for start-up chemicals and season chemicals needed.

  • Chlorine tablets and chlorine shock >>>
  • pH increaser and decreaser >>>
  • Alkalinity and calcium increaser >>>
  • Cyanuric Acid or stabilizer >>>
  • DE Powder or Aqua Perl >>>
  • Algaecides, Clarifiers, Enzymes >>>
  • Test kit reagents or test strips >>>
  • Metal and mineral control or stain removers >>>

Inspect your Pool Equipment

Ah the big reveal – what will the pool look like underneath the winter cover? On National Pool Opening Day, take the time to closely inspect the pool, deck, equipment and supplies – to be sure you have everything you need to open the pool, successfully.

  • Inspect pool cover for holes or winter damage
  • Locate filter system drain plugs and pressure gauge >>>
  • Test pump motor briefly for a few seconds
  • Inspect pool cleaning tools, pole, brush, nets, vac >>>
  • Inspect filter, pump, chlorinator for visual damage
  • Clean off equipment area, trim overhanging branches
  • Inspect pool cleaner for needed parts >>>
  • Inspect skimmer baskets, lids and weirs >>>
  • Check pool lights briefly for a few seconds
  • Lube pump lid and filter o-rings with Teflon lubricant >>>

Pool Safety Audit

It’s easy to become complacent about pool safety in your quiet little backyard pool, but staying vigilant could prevent tragedy. Spring pool opening time is the perfect time to reassess your Layers of Protection around the pool, and take steps to protect family and friends.

  • Inspect the fence for gaps greater than 4″, between slats or below fence
  • Remove anything near the fence that could be used for climbing fence
  • Check that pool fence gates are self-closing and self-latching >>>
  • Keep pool chemicals separated, clean, dry, and out of reach of children
  • Inspect pool pump wiring and other equipment pad electrical
  • Push the TEST button on your GFCI outlet with a plug-in nite light
  • Push the TEST button on any GFCI circuit breakers (yellow button)
  • Check for loose coping stones, and inspect deck for trip hazards
  • Inspect main drain and suction covers for secure attachment
  • Plan a Pool Safety meeting for all pool users, and lay down the law

Happy National Pool Opening Day! We wish you an uneventful pool opening this Saturday, with blue water and nothing leaking, creaking or squeaking!

If you have any pool opening questions when you do start-up the pool, you can send an email to me, drpool, InTheSwim resident chemist and swimming pool evangelist!


Dr. Pool



10 New Pool Tools to Ease Pool Maintenance

image by istockphoto
As a pool owner, I always have my ear out for new and inventive pool products that help make pool maintenance easier. New Pool Accessories that promise to save time, money or effort (especially effort) will always pique my interest. This year does not disappoint, with springtime deliveries bringing in some great new pool tools to make pool maintenance easier, or at least more interesting.

  1. Filterballs Blu10 and Filterballs Minis

FilterBalls - filter sand alternativeIt’s a rare that a new product comes along that can potentially revolutionize an element of pool maintenance. In the case of Filterballs, this new approach to filter media can make your existing sand filter better. 1 pound of Filterballs is the equivalent of 100 lbs of sand, they function on a lower working pressure, have a 45% greater flow rate, filter better than sand at 10 microns, and they are 100% recyclable. Filterballs save time, money and effort. I’ll be swapping out the sand in my Hayward Sand Filter in two weeks with 3 pounds of Filterballs when I open my pool in two weeks. Stay tuned for more – we will post my FilterBall installation soon, with a review to follow after a few months.

  1. Leaf Bone – Leaf Net Skimmer Clip

the Leaf BoneFalling into the “why didn’t I think of that?” category is the new Leaf Bone Skimmer Clip.  I’ve tried various DIY concepts to attempt to employ my skimmer net full time by using duct tape and some other ideas that were not quite up to MacGyver standards. The Leaf Bone is brilliant in its simplicity. It snaps-on to standard pool ladders or hand rails and the opposite end snap fits to any standard leaf net. It dangles the net in the water to offer hands-free assistance to your skimmer. Why leave it hanging up on your pool deck when it’s not in use? Put it to work full-time with the Leaf Bone, and trap the leaves before they sink, to keep your pool cleaner and your skimmer basket from becoming jammed in the fall.

  1. 24” Commercial Strength Leaf Net

24" Jumbo Leaf RakeIt’s no coincidence that our next inventive product is a new take on an old standby – the leaf net, or actually the leaf rake. A few minor tweaks make a major impact with a nifty beveled edge that helps kick up debris more effortlessly and an extra-wide 24” mouth because in this case the bigger the leaf net mouth, the better. A heavy-duty aluminum frame covered with a super-strong protective plastic rim and a dual layer carbonized fabric net over a soft mesh makes this leaf rake tough enough to last for years. I’ve had mine for going on 4 years now, and it almost looks like new. No holes, no tears, just a little faded around the red rim – and I have put this skimmer net to the test many times, it easily dredges very heavy bag-fulls from the pool.

  1. Skim-It

skim itFull disclosure, the Skim-It isn’t really a “new” product but it’s a best seller that has proven to work that our customers (and myself) love to no end. I imagine a utopian future for pool owners where brilliant inventions completely eliminate the need for lifting a finger to skim the pool.  The Skim-It leads the way to this brave new world. With it’s tool-less, spring-loaded installation, it simply pops in and out it’s a convenient way to extend the reach of your skimmer niche. I bought one for my deep end skimmer last fall, and it literally reaches out into the pool and draws leaves into the basket. This meant much more basket cleaning, but less pool cleaning – mission accomplished.

  1. Skim Doctor 2.0

Skim Doctor 2.0Not a bad band from the 90’s, it’s yet another hands-free way to assist your pool’s filtration process. The SkimDoctor 2.0 easily attaches to any inground pool skimmer basket and instantly turbo charges the suction power of your skimmer creating a vortex system to draw more debris into your skimmer basket – up to 3 times faster, while also tripling basket capacity! If you have a variable speed pump it’s perfect for when using low speed modes because you can adjust it for low levels of suction. This skimmer suction turbo charger is compatible with most all inground skimmer basket and installs in minutes. This is one new product I have to buy this summer, you should see the video! Utopian pool maintenance future, here we come!

  1. Giant Inflatable Birds and Fantasy Beasts!

Fun Inflatables at InTheSwim, Swan Float, Flamingo Float, inflatable gators, pizza float, and more!Before you think to yourself, “Wait a minute! How are inflatable Pegasus, Parrots, and Unicorns (oh my!) pool maintenance inventions? Believe it or not, they help keep annoying birds from swimming in your pool when you aren’t around. This is especially an issue this time of year when self-entitled water fowl show up from their Florida winter homes and think they just found their roost for the summer, with your pool serving as their personal bath tub. This could cause undue trouble with algae and bacteria. Until we have Wacky Wavy-Arm Guys for the pool, a giant swan float or pool flamingo will work just as well to keep out birds, snakes or gators – OH MY! Plus, they look cool floating in the pool, and even cooler featured in your kid’s instagrams or snapchats.

  1. Shock Value Packs

Shock Value Packs of IntheSwim ShockNew to our In the Swim Brand chemicals are our Shock Value Packs. Frankly, we can’t believe it’s taken us this long to combine our best-selling pool shock products into a money-saving bundle. We all love chemical value packs, a great value that adds-up to more bang for the buck, especially when it comes to saving money on pool chemicals. Our shock value packs also combines our clarifier and algaecide for a powerful 1-2-3 punch that will have your pool looking picturesque faster than you can say “discount pool chemical value pack”! We’ve even custom tailored the doses for above ground or inground pool owners, so you always have the correct amount of shock for the job.

  1. InTheSwim Replacement Salt Cells

Whaaaat? InTheSwim Generic Salt Cells - Replacement Turbo Salt Cells ?!?It pains me to type this, but this stuff literally writes itself, I tell you. Last summer my salt cell began producing less chlorine than it should, and during a routine fall cleaning and inspection I noticed that one of the metal plate solder joints was broken, so I may be needing a new salt cell this spring. Fortunately, the company I work for has a new line of replacement T-Cell salt cells for Hayward Aquarite, Aqualogic, Swimpure and others that use a Turbo Cell T-15, T-25 or T-40. So, now we have our own In The Swim salt cells, and at a significant savings, too! Generic salt cells – what will they think of next?

  1. Intex Rechargeable Handheld Vacuum

Intex Pool Power Vac, rechargeable intex pool vacuumI personally haven’t tried this out yet but the early feedback from our customers are in with rave reviews. For those with Intex soft-sided pools, like Intex Metal Frame, Ultra Frame, Easy Set, or an Intex PureSpa the filter system may not be set-up to vacuum the pool. You can use a Leaf Rake (see above) for the heavy stuff, but how to get the smaller stuff? Intex invented this rechargeable pool vacuum for convenient spot cleaning in a lightweight, but powerful package with two interchangeable heads. It’s also great for anyone with a smaller pool or a spa, not just Intex pools and spas! Rechargable handheld pool vacuum can be used to spruce up the steps or swimout, areas that the pool cleaner may miss.

  1. StarWhite Above Ground Pool LED Light

Carvin pool StarWhite pool lightAnother one for the aboveground pool owners, didn’t want you to think we forgot about you! This last product is more of a new pool accessory but it’s actually a new and improved version of the Aqualuminator, this LED pool light is made by Carvin. StarWhite features a waterproof 15’ 3-prong cord to plug into a GFCI outlet. It fits to your existing pool return wall fitting, turning your pool wall return into a pool light return! StarWhite is perfect for smaller pools to allow you to clean the pool at night, and be able to see how dirty the pool really is! This affordable, 12V LED pool light is super bright but doesn’t use a lot of electricity to get the job done. It’s brilliant!


Have any questions about any of these new pool products or have a pool maintenance product that you think belongs on this list?  We love to hear from our pool community!  Drop us a line at


Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Earth Day Swimming Pool Tips

Earth Day
is but one day of the year, and of course we should be mindful of our planet every day, but Earth Day gives us that one day to personally reflect and focus on how we, each individual, impacts our environment. Everything that each one of us owns and does somehow affects our planet, and I would like to take this Earth Day to help you better understand how to make your pool friendlier to the environment.

Your pool – with the chemicals, pumps and heaters, may not be a shining example of earth friendly modern conveniences, but there are simple and inexpensive things you can do to reduce your pool’s impact on our planet. And remember that every little bit helps.

Let’s start with pool chemicals. Just the word “chemicals” makes pool chemicals less environmentally friendly, but, believe it or not, there are many pool chemicals that are are made with natural ingredients. Natural Chemistry and SeaKlear offer stain removers, filter cleaners, enzymes, clarifiers, and metal removers that help keep your pool water clearer and cleaner. There are also chlorine-free sanitizers like Aqua Silk, and you can use non-chlorine pool shock to oxidize your pool.

A great way to reduce chlorine consumption is to install a salt chlorine generator. A chlorine generator produces chlorine naturally from salt to sanitize your pool without the use of chlorine tablets. Another way is with a pool Mineral system or a pool UV system, which work very well at removing contaminants and algae, but you will still need to use some chlorine, but only half as much.

Now for your pool pump. Inefficient pool pumps can use as much energy as a home air conditioner, but you can reduce the environmental impact from your pool pump. First, get a pool pump that is the right size for the design flow rate of your pool filter. A pump that is too big draws more amps than needed, when a smaller, more energy efficient pump would get the job done just as well. The biggest eco-gain however is upgrading to a variable speed pool pump – saves over 70% in energy use when compared to standard single speed pool pumps.

intermatic time clock trippersYou can also run your pump and filter system during off-peak hours – outside of the 9-5 peak demand hours. However, to avoid cloudy water, algae and bacteria during hot and sunny periods, mid-day pump runs may be needed. You can use several sets of pump timer trippers to keep your pool water from sitting stagnant for long periods of time. Or, use Intermatic’s digital pool timer to program several pump runs throughout the day and night.

Covering your pool. A pool cover, or more specifically, a solar blanket will greatly reduce evaporation which conserves water, but equally important, less pool water evaporation also means less pool heat loss and also fewer chemicals used. The thought of having to roll out a solar cover after using the pool and roll it back up to get in the pool deters many from covering the pool all the time. However, a solar cover reel makes the process much easier.

Creating natural wind breaks around your pool is a great way to reduce evaporation as well. Planting taller grasses or bushes to form a natural wall to block wind from hitting your pool does a surprisingly good job of preventing evaporation. Wind breaks also help keep the pool water and swimmers warmer which makes the pool more enjoyable without excess energy to keep it warm.

Heating the Pool. Solar pool heaters are very popular with pool owners since they are very effective, easy to understand, inexpensive to buy and free to use. The solar heater absorbs the energy of the sun and transfers the warmth to the water. They don’t work on rainy days, and also don’t work at night of course, and as such are best used with a solar cover to retain heat at night and during rainy days.

A pool heat pump combines the use of solar energy and a small amount of electricity to draw in sun-warmed air around your pool, and transfer the air’s warmth to your pool water with zero emissions. A heat pump costs more than a gas pool heater initially, but the energy savings will more than pay for the heat pump within 2-3 pool seasons.

Hopefully these green concepts for your pool will help you gain confidence and give you ideas to make your own pool more eco-friendly. Don’t think you have to do everything to your pool all at once, but try to do something every year; every little bit helps. 

If you have ideas on making your pool greener, let us know by leaving a comment for other pool owners to create a more environmentally friendly pool in their backyard as well.


Larry Andersen
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


How to Open a Pool Without Chlorine

It’s the middle of April, which means a good portion of us not lucky enough to live in an area that enjoys year-round warmth and sun are now thinking about or preparing to open up our swimming pools. And with Earth Day being next week, I thought it would be prudent, and perhaps interesting, to discuss ways of opening a pool without the use of pool chlorine.

Honestly, a pool doesn’t use that much chlorine, but you will be hard pressed to find a pool owner who says they love the idea of handling and using chlorine no matter if it’s liquid, granular or tablets. You also will not find many swimmers who will tell you they miss that chlorine smell and how it burns their eyes and bleaches their hair. No one really likes the stuff, but it’s the most popular pool sanitizer used today, possibly due to pool owners not knowing any other way.

chlorine-free-pool-shockGoing chlorine-free isn’t necessarily easy, especially if your pool opens green. Non-chlorine shock has trouble killing algae, and although it oxidizes most contaminants, it is not a disinfectant, so it can’t remove all bacteria or other pathogens.

The most complete way to reduce your conspicuous chlorine consumption is by installing a salt chlorine generator. Chlorine generators convert ordinary table salt into pure hypochlorous acid, the killing form of chlorine found in pool chlorine tablets, granules or liquid.

Making your own ‘natural chlorine‘ has many benefits for pool owners. First and foremost, you won’t have to buy, handle or guess how much chlorine to use at any given time since the chlorine generator is doing all the work. It also means your pool water is less likely to get cloudy or develop algae when you don’t have to check chlorine levels daily – especially in hot, sunny climates – because the chlorine generator does all of this automatically.

Plus, your swimmers will no longer complain about irritated skin, burning eyes, faded bathing suits or bleached hair. Instead they will comment on how soft their skin feels after getting out of the pool.

Yes, salt chlorine generators can be expensive, and on average salt cells only last 5 years, but a 50-pound bag of pool salt is considerably cheaper than the same amount of chlorine. The saltwater can also dull shiny finishes on some pool equipment, mainly in-pool products like pool ladders and pool lights, that have shiny chrome metal in constant contact with the (salty) water. There is an easy solution to ‘galvanic corrosion’ however, just use a sacrificial anode.

I know you’re about to ask… I thought this is about opening your pool without using chlorine? Well, if you really want to do that – but you also want to be sure the water is safe for swimmers and doesn’t harbor any germs…

How to Open or Operate a Pool without Chlorine

  1. Install a solid safety cover (without drain panels) to keep the water fresh
  2. Install an oversized D.E. filter, or Cartridge filter with Microban cartridges
  3. Install a Variable Speed pool pump, to circulate water 24/7
  4. Install a Mineral Purifier and/or a UV Generator
  5. Shock the pool weekly with non-chlorine shock
  6. Maintain a clean pool with precise water balance
  7. Specialty chemicals as needed; Enzymes, Clarifiers, Algaecides

The truth is – it can be hard to open a pool without chlorine – you can operate a pool without chlorine, but for opening pools, you really need the power of chlorine to kill the algae, bacteria and other gross stuff that has developed over winter.

That is why our closing kits contain non-chlorine shock, but our spring opening kits, or start-up kits contain chlorine pool shock. Shock the pool hard when opening, and then turn on the salt chlorine generator, or use a Nature 2 or Pool Frog mineral sanitizer to cut your chlorine use in half.

But opening the pool without chlorine? That’s more difficult – if you’ve found a way to do it on your pool, please share a comment below!


Larry Andersen
InTheSwim Staff Blogger