Earth Day Swimming Pool Tips
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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
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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

 

 

Variable Speed Pool Pump Utility Rebates
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Welcome back to pool school. Did you know that inefficient pool pumps can be the biggest energy hog around the home? Oversized pumps with standard motors can cost hundreds of dollars per month to operate, in areas with expensive electricity.

In an effort to reduce peak energy demand, utility companies, and cities and towns, are offering rebates of up to $400 – to convince pool owners to switch to variable speed pool pumps. In some states, there is also a legal mandate or requirement to switch, when replacing a pool pump.

Here’s a state by state list of current (2017) Pool Pump Utility Rebates. Be sure to download and read the application, some exclusions and limitations apply!

ARIZONA


ARKANSAS


CALIFORNIA


HAWAII


ILLINOIS


INDIANA


LOUISIANA


MARYLAND


MICHIGAN


MINNESOTA


NEW MEXICO


NEW YORK


NORTH CAROLINA


OREGON


PENNSYLVANIA


TEXAS

 

If you don’t see your state or utility listed – not every state or electrical utility offers rebates for variable pool pumps. 🙁 Check your own electrical provider website for information on energy savings programs or rebates, and claim your rebate of up to $400 for installing a variable speed pool pump! Some utilities also offer rebates on pool covers and pool heat pumps.

Plus, you’ll save big in reduced energy costs, as much as 75% of your current pool pump costs. Get rid of that energy hog this year, and install a quiet, cool running variable speed pool pump with rebate this spring. You can thank me later!

Class dismissed!

 

Dr. Pool

19 Common Pool Opening Mistakes
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Ah, Spring. The time of year when the weather heats up, the days grow longer, and algae blooms in pool water faster than you can say Daylight Savings Time. Yes, it’s time to pull back those winter pool covers, convince yourself that last year’s swimsuit is still going to fit, and get to work opening your pool!

Even if you cut a few corners, clearing up your pool water should be a simple process that most importantly requires a little patience. Overcompensating with chemicals, hastily readying pool equipment and other little details that are often overlooked daydreaming about the long, glorious summer months that lie ahead.

It happens – here are the most common mistakes made when opening your pool.

1. Not Cleaning Your Pool Deck FIRST

The first pool-opening mistake you can make actually doesn’t have anything to do with your pool water; it starts on the outside with your pool deck. Clear the deck of the 6 months of debris that collected around your pool so that it not only doesn’t end up in your pool, but it also won’t dirty-up the pool cover you are about to clean.

2. Not Cleaning Your Pool Cover

I know I’m guilty of it – in the midst of wrangling your winter cover or safety cover off of your pool you realize when it’s already too late that you just compounded your work because all of the leaves and debris that were atop the cover are now floating gracefully in your pool water.

I know you just cleaned your deck – so it will be much easier to fold and clean your cover after it’s been removed and splayed out flat on the ground. Ideally, it should only take a few minutes to clean the cover as you fold it, using a hose and brush on solid covers, or leaf blower for mesh covers.

Be mindful of where you store your cover as well. I had a family of adorable field mice burrow their way through my ever-so-neatly-folded pool cover last winter and had to patch it several times over. It may have been a single tunnel to the mice, but it was actually a dozen holes all over the cover once unfolded. Try to hang a safety cover bag in your garage or inside your house if possible. Mice are a pool cover’s second worst enemy.

3. Missing the Opportunity to Raise Water Level

Once you start removing the cover, take the time to refill your pool water levels while you are working. Don’t get all the way to the point where you are ready to fire up the pump only to realize the water line is too low for the skimmer. You were on a roll too and it’s too early to take lunch while the water refills. Depending on the water level, you may move-up topping off your pool water level to Step 1.

4. Not Cleaning Cover Water Bags

If you use water bags on a solid pool cover, or to close safety cover gaps, they are usually gross and slimy after the long off-season. In order to get a few more seasons out of them, lay them all out on a sloped surface like a driveway, and hose and scrub them clean. Let them dry before rolling or folding them up, and store them in a safe location for next year. You can patch any holes with a vinyl patch kit.

5. Missing a Safety Cover Anchor

If you have a safety pool cover you may have fallen victim to stubbing your foot on a rogue, forgotten cover deck anchor. After you’ve allen-wrenched your way around the perimeter of your pool and screwed all the anchors back into their homes to hibernate for the summer, do a double-check. Odds are, you’ll find one or two brass anchors that were missed, or a few that require a little more elbow grease to turn them down. Better to do it now, than for them to find you later.

6. Forgetting To Pull All of the Pool Plugs

Forgetting to pull your winter freeze plugs can potentially damage your plumbing when you are finally ready to fire-up your pump and filter. Be sure to do a quick recount, and get all plugs from your pool skimmer, pool returns, spa jets, cleaner line, whatever lines were plugged in the fall.

7. Not Opening All of the Valves

This is another easy-to-forget pool opening mistake and a great way to damage your system and possibly injure yourself. Make sure all of the valves are open so that your pump isn’t exerting itself in vain as you scratch your head and try to figure out why the pump isn’t priming, or why the filter lid just blew 20 ft. into the air.

8. Not Ready For Prime Time

If your pump has a basket with a locking tab inside, lock it into place and if you removed the drain plugs on your pump be sure to tightly secure them back into place. Remove any old Teflon tape, and replace with new. Also make sure to clean (with a rag) and lubricate (with Teflon pool lube), the pump lid o-ring, and tighten down the lid very snugly after filling the pump with water.

9. Forgetting the Filter Details

Before turning on your pump for the week (we’ll get to that part), you will need to put the pressure gauge and drain plug or cap back into place. Hopefully, you stored these and other easily misplaced filter parts somewhere safe last Fall. Be sure to check the filter tank clamp, to be sure that it is fully tightened, and completely covering both tank halves.

If your filter has a multiport valve, set the valve to the “Waste” setting, and roll out your backwash hose. Starting-up the pump on waste, and letting it run for a minute, will clear out antifreeze, worms, dirt and other slimy gunk. Switch to the “Filter” setting afterwards, and for DE filters, add the DE powder immediately, through the skimmer. Open the air bleeder valve on top of the filter tank to bleed off any air trapped in the filter.

Once the pump is primed, and the water is flowing freely on the “Filter” valve setting, make a note of the PSI on the pressure gauge. This will help you benchmark the optimal running pressure so you know when to backwash or if you are losing pressure. With a permanent marker, you can write the PSI on the filter tank, or mark directly on the gauge dial.

10. Not Running the Filter as Long As It Takes

You might not want to hear it, but it’s normal to leave your pool filter system running 24/7 until the water has cleared. It may cost a few more energy dollars, but it won’t blow-up, I promise you! You will save money on chemicals and time clearing the pool by letting the system run continuously for a few days. It shouldn’t take much more than that, for most filter systems. Unless, of course, your water chemistry and sanitation is lacking…

11. Not Adjusting the pH and Alkalinity FIRST

We probably could dedicate an entire blog post to the pool opening chemical mistakes one can make. The biggest mistake is not balancing your pH and alkalinity first. I know it’s probably the one thing you’ve heard the most: pH levels should be 7.2 to 7.6, and the total Alkalinity is best in the 80-120 ppm range. Having your pH a little on the low side 7.2-7.4, will help your chlorine shock work more effectively as well.

12. Ignoring Calcium Levels and Cyanuric Acid Levels

Even if your pH and alkalinity levels are balanced perfectly, your pool water quality will suffer without the proper levels of cyanuric acid also known as stabilizer and conditioner.   The level should be between 30-50 ppm and if your pool is freshly filled, add 3 lbs per 10,000 gallons to raise the level. One treatment in spring, if cyanuric acid level is low, is usually all that is needed. If too high, treat with Bio-Active CYA Reducer.

Ignoring your calcium levels can lead to stubbornly cloudy water, staining, and scale. The recommended calcium range is 150-400 ppm. Again, after adjusting the calcium hardness initially, you shouldn’t have to be concerned with it again for the rest of the season.

13. Adding all the Chemicals at the Same Time

Once all of your water is balanced with good pH, Alkalinity, Calcium and Cyanuric levels, it’s easy to be blinded by ambition by adding shock, algaecide, clarifier and a stain & scale treatment, or an entire Spring Start-Up Kit, all at the same time.

For the best results, adjust water balance and shock the pool on Day 1. On Day 2 add clarifier, on Day 3 add your stain & scale treatment, and on Day 4 or beyond, add algaecide. Shocking can deplete or deactivate other pool chemicals, so shock first, then add the other stuff over the following days, once chlorine level drops.

14. Not Closely Monitoring Chemical Levels

It’s certainly easy to perfectly balance the aforementioned chemical levels, follow the instructions to a tee, pat yourself on the back and be done with it. Spring pool chemistry can be affected by any number of elements, including incorrect adjustments. Keep an eye on it by testing the water several times during the first week after opening, and making additional adjustments as necessary.

15. Not Vacuuming To “Waste”

Once you’ve shocked your pool or if you used a Floc treatment, it’s best to vacuum out all the dead algae and fine debris with your multiport valve set on “Waste”. This prevents the finest of particulates from joyriding through your filter and running laps through your plumbing. If you don’t have a multiport valve, you can install a 3-way valve between the pump and filter, just for this occasion, and also for lowering the water level after heavy rains.

16. Not Brushing the Pool

After vacuuming the pool, hit your tile, walls, floors and steps with a good pool brush, and then continue daily. Brushing your pool walls twice a day during this first week (and once a week thereafter) may seem unnecessary, but it helps clean the pool faster, improves circulation and filtration, and is a killer workout for your biceps, triceps and traps!

17. Forgetting To Add Chlorine To Your Chlorinator

chlorine tablets and hayward chlorinator shownIf you have a floater, chemical feeder, or even a salt system in your pool be sure they are loaded or ready to go to work! Note that most salt cells won’t produce chlorine under 60° F, so you may need some chlorine tablets for a few weeks. After the initial shocking of the pool, chlorine levels will be sky-high, but can quickly deplete, allowing algae a fighting chance to bloom again. Keep your test kit handy, and use it frequently for the first few weeks.

18. Forgetting to Set the Timeclock

And resetting the timeclock to the current time. If you have the classic Intermatic timer with the yellow dial, pull out on the dial and turn it so that the current time aligns with the down-arrow (located at 6 o’clock). After the water clears, place the timer dogs (trippers) on the dial, and use pliers to tighten down the set screw, so they don’t slip out of place.

19. Forgetting to Yell Cannonball

Look at that crystal clear pool water. The sun is shining. The pool is open for business.  Your swimsuit fits. All those pool opening details have left you feeling carefree. It’s time for the first cannonball of the season.  Don’t blow it by not yelling, “CANNONBAAAAAALLLL” as you fly through the air.

 


Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

 

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