Favorite The Perfect Pool or a Guy’s Dream Pool

clark-griswolds-pool-visionMy family and I were gathered on the couch in front of the big screen, watching Christmas Vacation, a treasured tradition in my house. Clark Griswold was getting ready to open his Christmas bonus which was going to buy a pool for the family but was instead given a Jelly of the Month club membership…

It might have been all the holiday busyness, or perhaps the eggnog, another treasured holiday tradition, but at that moment in the movie, I fell into a deep sleep-like state, but with lucid clarity, and a profound vision swept over me…

lazy-river-poolsLike Clark Griswold’s pool vision as he stared out the window, I saw a guy’s dream pool. The magnificence of this pool was mesmerizing, and I stared lovingly at the vision, every detail etched permanently in my memory. It was true paradise, the perfect guy’s pool.

The first thing about my dream pool, it’s a big pool – not stupid big but definitely big enough to swim laps or host pool basketball and volleyball games. On each side of the pool, there was a channel – four-feet-wide and as deep as the pool, flowing into a gentle lazy river weaving its way around the entire yard, front and back.

There was a giant pool slide attached to a deck off the upstairs master bedroom with a steep initial drop that flattened out as it neared the pool. It was a fast slide, but not too fast, as I pictured myself waking up each morning, walking outside and sliding down into the pool. The rush of fresh water splashing over me as I landed on the pool float made of $100 bills was more invigorating and stimulating than any cup of coffee. Ever.


As the money float carried me across the water, the music was beautiful and everywhere. Wireless speakers were embedded throughout the teak wood decking all around the pool and along the lazy river. I ran my hand along the soft wood planks at the edge of the pool and wondered why anyone would use anything else for a pool deck.


Half-laughingly I blurted out “Ain’t that a kick in the head,” and the music system responded by instantly playing the old Dean Martin song. In time to the music, the underwater lights automatically beamed soft, cool choreographed colors onto the glow-in-the-dark tiles that lined the pools interior surfaces.


Floating peacefully for what seemed like hours, I found myself at the far end of the pool where the water gracefully dropped over the infinity edge and into a pergola seating area. I sat down at one of the built-in underwater stools, leaned up against the cement and tile piano and asked the player to play something for old time’s sake.


As he soulfully played, I looked toward the deep end, and saw the most beautiful open air pool cabana I’ve ever seen. I swam to the other end of the pool next to where the slide dropped into the water, and in front of me was a mahogany patio set, the kind like you see in a fancy Caribbean resort, perfectly placed in front of the outdoor fireplace.


The kids then walked out of the automatic sliding patio door toward the pool and picked up their pool toys they left lying around and put them into the storage cube. Slightly stunned, I turned back toward the fireplace, and saw above the stone mantel a huge UHDTV with my beloved Cubs playing in the World Series – the surround sound deafening, just like actually being at Game 7.

hayward-aquavac-500-robotic-pool-cleanerI got out of the pool, and something in my mind told me this was all way too good to be true and I twisted around to look at the guy’s dream pool one last time, and saw a hatch open up in the wood pool deck. Out came a sleek robotic pool cleaner, and I watched him scrub every inch of the pool. Then he returned to his hatch to recharge.

As I turned to walk toward the house, an automatic pool safety cover with a surface that looked like real grass began to cover the pool. I took a look at the fireplace one more time and glanced up at the TV. The baseball game was replaced with a scene of a house surrounded by snow.


It was so real, yet surreal. The Perfect Pool. And then as quickly as it began, the vision was gone. I woke up and the credits were rolling, everyone had gone to bed.

I couldn’t wait to tell my wife about it, about my dream of a guy’s dream pool. She feigned interest as I explained everything I saw in vivid detail. As I told her all about the automatic pool cover that doubled as grass, and how this is a sign that we should actually build all of this, she just stared at me and asked, “just who is going to pay for all of this man dream pool stuff?” Valid point, I guess.

However, dreams and visions should never have price tags attached. Did Clark Griswold give up on his dream pool? No! At the end of the movie, his boss Frank Shirley, (under pressure from his wife) changes his mind and reinstates the bonuses.

Youtube Video of Swimming pool clip, "My Creedo is Go for it!" With Chevy Chase and Christie BrinkleyDon’t put a price tag on your dreams, live big and build or rebuild your own dream pool!

My Creedo is Go For It!


Mele Kalikimaka; (is a wise way to say Merry Christmas to you…)

Larry Andersen
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Selling Your Home With A Pool: Real Advice

The pool in your back yard is the crown jewel, the focal point of every summer day, but now you’re selling your home and that jewel could be something of a thorn in your side. You know what it takes to keep your pool clean and nice, but prospective home buyers list pool maintenance as their largest concern, along with pool safety.

In fact, depending on the area of the country you live in, having a pool in your backyard is seen as an “absolute must-have” when selling your home. Realtor.com mentions 10 best cities for homes with pools, and those cities are all in warm weather, sunny regions like Florida, Texas and Arizona where pools are open and used year-round.

Real estate agent Phil Rotondo in Melbourne, FL, agrees with this circumstance (as taken from Trulia.com), “in normal instances in Florida, we add $25-30K to the value of the pool home vs. non pool home.”

So you live in Michigan and want to sell your home with a pool, what do you do? We put together some ideas on what you can do with your pool to make your house more marketable to more people.

Advice On Selling Your Home With A Pool

Be Prepared. As a seller, you need to have a plan in place on how to handle potential negative views of having a pool before you even list your home for sale. Start with being honest with yourself and your pool appearance. Pool, deck and equipment should be spruced up by a deep cleaning and replacement of caulk, grout, and worn or broken pool parts. Trim overgrown trees to bring in more sunlight and reduce debris. Fix sagging gates or leaning fence posts. Make the pool appear bright & clean, low-maintenance, and safe for children.

Open the Pool. A closed, covered pool brings a lot of questions and worry in the eyes of home buyers. “A home with a pool is always more salable when the pool is open”, Mike Christoffel, owner and broker of MBC Real Estate Group in West Chicago, explains. “The idea of opening a pool is intimidating for a buyer, and can be overwhelming. If it is ready for a swim the day you close, that stress can be ignored until it is time to maintain the pool.” For pools that are closed during showings or contract negotiations, an offer can be written into the agreement that the seller will pay for a pool opening, to full operational status.

Time it Correctly. The best time to sell your home with a pool is when the weather heats up. Get your pool ready to go early in the season and have it looking pristine as possible for every showing. “When it’s warm out, a buyer who doesn’t want a pool is more likely to be seduced by an inviting pool,” Christoffel says. And also make sure that you plan for any repairs to get the pool ready. “If your realtor can advertise with confidence that the pool is in fantastic shape, they can draw in more non-pool buyers as well.”

Provide a Pool Binder. Having everything it takes to open, maintain and then close a pool thoroughly explained and neatly typed for prospective buyers can save a good deal from going bad. A Pool Binder contains everything about the pool equipment, with detailed information showing them exactly how the pool operates. Service records, chemical records, renovation and replacement work done, shows buyers you’ve cared for your pool which gives them confidence and alleviates some of the worry. Remember that pool maintenance and safety are often their largest concerns. Offer a complete pool orientation to the buyer, as well as providing names of reputable service companies.

Convey your Pool Gear. This is one thing home sellers often overlook. Have the pool chemicals, pool equipment and pool accessories you’ve purchased be a part of the deal. First go through all of your pool supplies, and throw away or dispose of broken or unusable parts or products. Organize and clean-up your pool supply storage areas to make it easier to understand.

Consider including your trusty robot pool cleaner, pool floats or pool furniture or other pool accessories that make pool maintenance easier or the pool more enjoyable. If you have pool alarms, removable fencing or pool safety covers, be sure to mention that to prospective buyers.

When is Installing a Pool Worth the Money?

family-by-the-pool-istkLet’s start by saying that you should enjoy life, and if you want a pool, then get a pool. Pools are a whole lot of fun, refreshing, a source of great exercise (don’t tell the kids that), and make memorable moments that last a lifetime.

Ask anyone who had a pool growing up, and they’ll tell you all about the good times they enjoyed on endless summer days in their backyard pool.

On the more “business side” of getting a pool, there are a couple of things to consider that might help you make a decision about installing a pool:

Your Neighborhood. If every home that is comparable to your home has a pool and yours doesn’t, that could actually work against you. Here, HouseLogic.com best explains if many home in your neighborhood have a pool and yours doesn’t, you might be leaving a lot of potential buyers out of the running. Check your Comps – to know what other homes with pools are on the market.

Your Market. Homes on the luxury end of the value spectrum tend to have bigger yards. According to Christoffel, a lower-priced, but attractive and well-kept home most likely has a smaller yard. If you install a pool in a smaller yard, the pool will also have to be small or it will take up a sizable chunk of usable space in the yard. That same-sized pool in a bigger yard in a more expensive neighborhood will take up much less real estate making the house, and yard, more attractive to buyers.

Your Climate. Pools in warm southern climates (growing zones 9 and 10), have their pools open year around, but here in Chicago, and points north, the pool season is only 4 months long. Those in the mid-section of the country enjoy a swim for 5 or 6 months out of the year. It makes sense why swimming pools are more common in the south, however, there are still millions of pools located in northern states.

home-icon-istkThis is the first 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.


Larry Andersen
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

Best Swimming Pool Blogs for Pool Owners

drpoolDr. Pool here folks, and today I offer up some referrals to other outstanding swimming pool blogs for pool owners. A resource that is sure to help any pool or hot tub owner.

Naturally, the In The Swim Blog is the best pool blog, yet we are part of a larger swimming pool community. Pooling our knowledge, we can all help educate on the countless aspects of pool maintenance, improvements and repairs.  

And without further ado, here is my list of Top Pool Blogs!

1. Poolcenter.com’s Pool Blog

poolcenter-com-blog-logoBlogging about pool owner concerns since 2007, PoolCenter.com’s Pool Blog is the oldest and wisest blog on the internet. PoolCenter not only carries one of the largest inventories of pool parts but also has a wealth of content to assist pool and hot tub owners in every aspect of DIY improvements, maintenance, and repairs. You are certain to find the answer to any question you have pertaining to your pool and if you like to do your own repairs, no matter the size of the task, the PoolCenter blog will break it down for you. Also found are topics on pool safety and how to operate your pool in ecofriendly ways.

2. PoolProducts.com’s Pool Blog

spp-blog-logo-2If you’ve owned a pool in the last 20 years, you’ve come across PoolProducts.com. One of the first pool supply companies online in 1994, for over two decades SPP has served as a leader in pool covers and liners. While they are known for their expertise in liners and pool covers their Pool Blog is written by a team of colorful characters whose expertise extends from inground and above ground pool kits to hot tubs and spas. Here you will find DIY projects, helpful tips, and seemingly endless resources to help you maintain your pool or spa. PoolProducts.com’s Pool Blog is regularly updated and certainly worth checking in on frequently.

3. Hottubworks.com’s Hot Tub Blog

hotOK, not a pool blog, but for those of you looking for expert advice specializing in spas and hot tubs, HotTubWorks.com’s Hot Tub Blog is a terrific resource for excellent repair and maintenance advice as well as a great place to find that elusive part or perfect accessory. The blog is updated weekly by a team of experts that really know their stuff about maintaining spas and hot tubs. They also write fun features like Hot Tubs in the News, in addition to hard-tack topics like Spa Error Codes. Anyone that owns a hot tub or spa would greatly benefit by familiarizing themselves with this outstanding blog.

4. Swim University

swim-university-logoSwim University is a vast content library kept in two huge buckets – pool and spa. We love SwimUniversity’s colorful approach to pool and hot tub care, and owner Matt Giovanisci is an excellent source for useful infographics as well as his fun and entertaining how-to videos. They offer free downloads of their collection of handbooks and eGuides on their site or through their app, all of which are thorough yet easy to follow. For a well rounded education in hot tub or pool care studies, enroll yourself at Swim University. I wonder if they would grant Dr. Pool an honorary degree, if I ask nicely?

5. Leslies Pool Pool-A-Pedia

leslies-blogIf you’ve ever visited a local pool store, odds are it was a Leslie’s Pool Store.  Leslie’s is simply the largest pool supply store in the world, and their PoolAPedia blog covers all of the bases for inground, above ground and hot tub or spa care. With excellent how-to’s, reviews on pool equipment, or an excellent Holiday Buyer’s Guide, Leslie’s Blog goes back several years and hits on every aspect of pool and spa ownership. Backing up their product lines, Pool-A-Pedia aims to educate their customers to ensure that the perfect part or chemical is prescribed for the job, and that is certainly something Dr. Pool highly recommends.

6. PoolSupplyWorld’s Just Add Water

poolsupplyworld-blog-logoPool Supply World’s exceptional blog dates back to 2010 and has consistently delivered unique content from a fresh perspective by their team of pool and spa experts.  We love their slightly outside-of-the-box topics and fun approach to their topics. Their website shares the same colorful approach to all things pools and strikes the balance of the fun side of pool ownership alongside the serious work and commitment of pool maintenance. With their diverse product line and fresh take on pool maintenance, Pool Supply World’s blog offers something for the thrifty pool supply shopper and the gritty Do-It-Yourselfer.

7. Hayward’s Poolside Blog

hayward-poolside-blogAs pool equipment manufacturer blogs go, Hayward’s PoolSide blog is among the tops, with categories for Savings, Innovation, Design & Maintenance. Sure they talk about their own products a lot, but it’s straight from the horses mouth, from one of the oldest pool equipment companies around. The blog is written in a straight forward style, to appeal to both pool owners and industry professionals. They tackle topics from National Water Safety Month to the Role of Electrical Bonding, or pool lifestyle pieces done in cooperation with Houzz. Check out their blog for some inspiration of your own!

blue-crossAs a doctor of all things pool, it’s my duty to make sure you have all of your bases covered and are fully educated to make your own prognosis when it comes to your pool’s well-being. It’s important to remember that we are treading water together, and it can be easy to get in over our heads with pool and spa maintenance.

Broken equipment, out of whack chemicals, poor water clarity and countless other ailments can be a source of great stress for pool owners – hopefully these top pool blogs will provide the answers you need to find true peace of mind.

If you have any comments, suggestions, or have your own favorite pool or spa blog, please write us at socialmedia@intheswim.com. We would love to hear from you!

Dr. Pool

Dr. Pool

Star Wars Pool Party on Jabba’s Barge

jabba-the-huts-pool-partyEpisode I: “Jabba The Hutt’s Pool Party”

You don’t miss a Jabba the Hutt party. They are the stuff of legend and often went on for a whole weekend. It was a particularly hot Tatooine summer. Hot, even for a planet with two suns. Jabba had just put in a new pool at his palace, and the buzz around town was that he was pulling out all the stops for this party.

I still have the invitation:

“His High Exaltedness, the great Jabba the Hutt, has decreed
 that you are to be summoned to a POOL PARTY at The PALACE!

Live Music Provided By The Max ReBo Band

Dive Stick Competitions with Prizes!
 WHEN: Next Centaxday! From NOON Till ????
 WHAT YOU SHOULD BRING: Something for the snack table and your trunks!

(Clearly written in Jabba’s awful penmanship)

My Wookie Cookies were a huge hit at Jabba’s Pot Luck last year, and my Yoda Soda is the stuff of legend but I can’t take all the credit. I owe a big thanks to my friends at food.com and niftyspoon.com for the excellent Star Wars Recipes. If these recipes could get me into Jabba’s Palace Parties, imagine what they could do for you on your planet.



1. Place 1 lime on the cutting board and cut it in half.
2. Squeeze the lime juice, add 3 tablespoons sugar.
3. Add a big round scoop of lime sherbet.
4. Fill glass with sparkling water and enjoy!

Variation: You can substitute rainbow sherbet or lemon sorbet for the lime sherbet, and use ginger ale for sparkling water.

Little Jawas and especially big Wookies love Wookie Cookies, and they make any Star Wars pool party better:


• 1 Eggwookie-cookies-nifty-spoon
• 1 tsp Baking powder
• 1/2 cup Cocoa powder
• 2 1/4 cup Flour
• 3/4 cup Sugar
• 1 tsp Vanilla extract
• 1 cup Butter

Roll out your dough to 1/8″ thick and use a gingerbread man cut-out. Just before baking at 375°, use fork tines to add the fur texture. When cooled, add the bandolier and face with frosting and sugar pearls.

Episode II: Ain’t No Party Like A Jabba Party

I don’t mean to be rude. But Bib Fortuna does not take to the sun well – but as usual, he’s the first person you see when you enter Jabba’s Palace. “How does he wear those robes in this heat,” I thought to myself as I tried not to stare at his sunburned horns.

bib-fortuna-pool-partyBib was thrilled to see that I brought a huge cooler full of Yoda Soda and his beady pink eyes lit up when he saw the huge tray of Wookie Cookies, “Wookie Cookies! Nice!” He said in broken English. I handed him the cookies, and he handed me a goodie bag full of awesome Star Wars Pool Party Toys. I was ready to soak up some suns and check out the action down at the pool!

Episode III Death Star? More Like Fun Star!

r2d2-drink-bar-droidR2D2 is one heck of a server. The Droid makes his rounds quick and before I knew it he set me up with some ice cold, frothy Yoda Soda, and used his built-in air compressor (what doesn’t he have in that can?!?) to inflate my Light Up Death Star Beach Ball from the the goodie bag Bib Fortuna gave me.

Speaking of Wookies, I turned just in time to see Chewbacca on the diving board and scream, “AAARRRRAAARGGGYAARG” as his massive, hairy body took flight in cannonball form.

“So that’s how you say, Cannonball in Wookie,” I thought to myself as a poor Storm Trooper followed Chewie around with a skimmer in a hopeless battle to skim as much Wookie hair out of the pool as possible. Good luck with that.

From the looks of it, we all got a Star Wars Death Star light up beach ball. Storm Troopers were playing volleyball with one, Boba Fett was twirling one on his on his finger like a basketball as he mingled about, and Jabba himself was batting inflatable Death Stars left and right with his tail sending them flying through the air, a fistful of Wookie Cookies in his tiny hand.

We also got smaller foam pool balls, and before long several Death Star Hop Balls were skipping across the surface of the water and pool deck. Vader was actually pretty good at juggling the Hop Balls, and if he wasn’t busy with his career as a Dark Scythe Lord, he probably could have been in the circus. I bounced my Death Star Hop Ball off the surface of the pool water to a couple of Jawas and Sand People having a chicken fight.

Whenever I tell this story, people always ask, ‘What do Jawas or Sand People look like with their robes and hoods off?’ and the answer is, “I don’t know. They swim in their robes and hoods.” Go figure.

Episode IV: A New Float

Jabba didn’t skimp on the finer comforts for his guests, and I soon found myself staring up at the suns floating on my back on a Storm Trooper Spring Float next to Darth Vader, who was on a Darth Vader Spring Float. If the Max Rebo Band wasn’t so loud, I probably could have drifted off into a nap lying on the oversized float pillow, chilling on the comfortable, soft fabric. “I need to get one of these,” I said out loud to no one particular.

At almost 7 feet long, these Star Wars pool floats were even big enough for Chewbacca who was sprawled out on one as he swatted away the Storm Trooper’s skimmer net like a fly buzzing around his hairy head and screamed, ‘AAAARGG!” That’s a Wookie curse word that I can’t repeat in English.

Episode V: The Dive Stick Competition

Jabba loves spectator sports, and while no athlete himself, he sure knows how to bring out the competitive side in people. Whether it’s offering a huge bounty to bounty hunter scum to track down someone that owes him money or a Star Wars Character Dive Stick competition. Our Bib Fortuna Goodie Bags included an awesome set of 6 Star Wars Dive Sticks. They were molded after Captain Phasma, Kylo Ren (boy did he get a kick out that), an X-wing, a Tie-Fighter. Jabba, never one to avoid an ironic joke, even included a Millennium Falcon Dive Stick.

star-wars-branded-dive-sticks-poolThis year’s prize was an all-expenses paid winter getaway to the ice planet Hoth. “I don’t know why they call it Hoth,” Vader shouted in his raspy baritone, “They should call it COLDTH!” No one laughed harder at Vader’s joke than Vader.

On a planet with two suns like Tatooine, a winter time getaway was as valuable as a Kyber crystal and the competition was stiff with Admiral Akbar taking home first place. He may be old out of the water but the man can swim like a fish! Don’t fall for his old, Admiral Akbar routine if you are ever in a competition with him. “It’s a trap!”.

Episode VI: Light Up LightSabers

star-war-light-saber-dive-sticksAs the suns were setting the Force Awakens Character Dive Sticks were swapped out with Light Saber Dive Sticks and soon Jabba’s pool was glowing with green and blue lightsabers.   Super cool as dive sticks or fun as lightsaber glow sticks.

I don’t think Jabba realized that those were Yoda and Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber colors, and at this point in the evening, I don’t think he would have cared. The Yoda Soda was flowing freely, and he’d eaten his weight in Wookie Cookies.

Everyone appeared to be having a great time.   My attention was shifted towards dancing to The Max Rebo Band, and soon the Lightsaber Light Up Dive Sticks were just as much fun out of the pool as they were in the pool twirling them around like glow sticks and tossing them in the air.


Jabba knows how to throw a pool party. Of course, I still have my Death Star Light Up Beach Ball and Death Star Hop Ball. But because I am a true collector, I kept my Lightsaber Light Up Dive Sticks and the Force Awakens Dive Sticks in their boxes because they’re worth more in the ‘original package’. I even convinced Bib Fortuna to let me take a matching set of Star Wars Spring Floats home with me – I got both a Vader Pool Float and a Storm Trooper Pool Float.

Get yours today! They make great holiday gift for any pool kid, or for any Star Wars fan, they make fun supplies for your own Star Wars themed pool party.



Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Safety Pool Cover Lessons Learned

After 18 years of living in the city, I bought a house in the suburbs, and one of the big selling points was that the house had an inground pool. Like most new pool owners, the visions of pool parties and a backyard resort lifestyle completely eclipsed the reality of what it actually takes to maintain it. I’ve enjoyed four seasons as a pool owner and have experienced almost every repair, chemical imbalance, closing and opening obstacle imaginable.

Every fall there is one thing that I dread the most – the one-on-one, several hour battle between myself and a big, green mesh safety cover. After a gritty, exhausting bout with it last season, I laid the groundwork to make it easier this year.

I’ve learned many lessons as a pool owner; today I share my hard-knock wisdom about safety pool covers, with hopes that you’ll Learn from my Mistakes.

Safety Cover Lesson #1: Color Coded Corner Straps
The most annoying and time consuming mistake I made last year was completing my lap around the pool attaching the straps to the anchors one-by-one completely oblivious that I was actually off by one anchor. After cursing myself out, I had to undo every strap and slide the safety cover over one anchor several dozen times. To compound the problem, this made most of the strap adjustments I had made totally irrelevant.

safety-cover-tricks-and-tipsDetermined to prevent this mistake again, I marked three corner straps in one corner with yellow pipe cleaner as well as the adjacent, catty-corner straps with blue pipe cleaner. With an amoeba/kidney-shaped pool it can be confusing which side is which – especially when the safety cover is folded or rolled up. You can also use zip-ties to mark the deep end of your cover, or one corner of the cover. Taken a step further, you can use fingernail polish to paint the head of the matching brass anchor.

Safety Cover Lesson #2: Store Your Safety Cover Safely
theres-a-hole-in-my-safety-coverAs I pulled the cover from its storage bag I slowly realized that mice had chewed through several layers of the meticulously folded mesh. I was painfully reminded of folding craft paper in elementary school to cut snowflake patterns. The previous season I had stored the safety cover bag in my relatively rodent-proof garage. This year, as I patted myself on the pack for folding it perfectly to fit inside the bag, I decided to drag it to my tool shed just a few short feet from where I stood as opposed to dragging it the 100 feet or so to reach my garage. Store your safety cover indoors, or suspend it off the ground by hanging it high in the garage rafters, where it won’t make a lovely summer home for a mice family. If that’s not possible, I hear that using moth balls or sachets of mint leaves can discourage nesting rodents.

Safety Cover Lesson #3: Patching A Safety Coversafety-cover-patch-material
Luckily, the mouse must have been very small because the 4 or 5 holes in the cover were not very large. I was able to patch both sides of the safety cover with the Safety Cover Patch Kit (shown next to my spray adhesive and rubbing alcohol). The kit has 3 adhesive patches made of the same green material as my safety cover.

  1. Make sure the area with the hole is on a hard, flat surface to avoid wrinkles.
  2. Wipe down the radius surrounding the hole with rubbing alcohol and let dry.
  3. Use a short blast of spray adhesive to help reinforce the patch.
  4. Flip the cover over and repeat steps 1-3. Place a heavy object over the patch.
  5. Let the patch dry for several hours. The longer undisturbed, the better.

Safety Cover Lesson #4: Use a Safety Cover Anchor Key or a Power Drill

In my first season with the safety cover I used a regular, Allen wrench (probably leftover from an Ikea bookshelf) to raise the safety cover anchors. This not only was stressful on my back and knees as I worked my way around the perimeter of my concrete pool deck safety-cover-hex-keyunscrewing the 40+ anchors, it was brutal on my knuckles which inevitably scraped against the concrete with every other turn of the wrench.

With a long, 12″ Hex Key made for Pool Covers, you get much more leverage, and can spin the anchor open or closed much more easily than with a short Allen wrench. Another way I heard of here around the office, is cutting the 12″ long Hex Key at the elbow, and putting the long straight piece into a power drill.

Safety Cover Lesson #5: Choose the Best Starting Location
You want to unfold the cover in the same spot where the cover was folded, in most cases. For my odd-shaped pool, I use one of two straight sides, because that’s where I have the most room to fold the cover. Doing this gives me two solid anchor points, and even though much of the cover was in the pool, the tension from either corner made is much easier to start at one end and attach the straps down one side in one fell swoop, and then do the same to the curved side of the pool.


Safety Cover Lesson #6: Use the Safety Cover’s Black Seams As Guides
Even with a kidney-shaped pool, the safety cover’s black seams are laid out like a grid or graph. The lines from one side to the opposite should line-up straight across from each other. As simple as it sounds, it can help with second guessing whether or not the safety cover straps are aligned properly to the opposite side of the pool. This is a particularly useful way to measure your alignment with the first few anchors as you begin.


Safety Cover Lesson #7: Give your Springs and Straps Some Slack
In previous years, the biggest physical struggle was pulling the cover springs over the deck anchors with the cover tool. The installers had made sure that my cover was safe for children, but it took super human strength to install or remove the cover straps. After several painful pinches from the springs, a sore back, and serious disdain for the whole process I decided to loosen the straps. Safety cover springs only need to be about 1/3 compressed, there’s no need for it to be so tight, plus the spring needs some slack to compress during a heavy snow load.

safety cover installed on pool

Safety Cover Lesson #8: Put on your Safety Cover Quickly
This may seem obvious, to keep the pool clean. This season I closed my pool without incident after several hours of cleaning the pool, removing leaves. I went through all the steps to close an inground pool properly. (For more tips on closing your pool look here or here). Then I pulled the safety cover out of the bag and discovered the rodent holes. By the time I was able to purchase the Patch Kit and get the patches on, I had to go through the whole cleaning process again. I highly recommend beginning you pool closing process by  checking your pool cover. That was my biggest lesson learned this year.

animated-clock-by-clipartkid-smWhen it came time to installing my safety cover this year I was able to finish the job in about an hour vs the two or three hours it took the previous seasons. It was actually easy!

With the help of a few added steps initiated at the season’s opening, some simple tools, and a few careful observations the process of installing a safety cover by myself has become easier. Hopefully, you found these safety cover tips in time, before making the same mistakes I made.

If you have some additional tips, comments, or questions please feel free to email us – we would love to hear from you to pool our knowledge in a pool community we can all learn from!


Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Pool Closing Supply Cheat Sheet

winter-pool-suppliesToday we present a helpful checklist of everything you need to close your pool like a professional, and ensure an easy and inexpensive pool opening in the spring.

Don’t think of it as a sales pitch, 🙂 but rather a cheat sheet of 10 pool winterizing items that pool owners and pool pros rely on to close a pool properly.

pool-antifreeze-from-intheswim-smPool Anti-Freeze: There is one thing that all pools have in common from Intex pools to elaborate custom inground pools: After you blow the water out of your pool’s plumbing it is always better to be safe than sorry and protect the lines with Non-Toxic Pool Anti-freeze. Pour it into the skimmer, or use a funnel and hose to drain it into return lines or pool cleaner lines. Do Not use in pumps, filters, heaters or chlorinators – pipes only.

winter-pool-plugs-intheswimWinterizing Plugs: In many sizes, threaded plugs and rubber expansion plugs all serve the same purpose and that is to plug the skimmers, returns and cleaner lines. Winter plugs keep water Out of your pool’s plumbing and to keep the anti-freeze In the pipe. One of the smallest, least costly accessories for closing your pool is also one of the most important. Without pool plugs, your pool cannot be considered really “closed”.

chlorine-free-pool-shock-intheswim-sm Chlorine-Free Pool Shock: Another versatile universal pool closing go-to is our oxidizing non-chlorine shock. It’s safe for any pool surface, and helps your chlorine by burning-off dead chlorine cells to create more free chlorine in your water. It will not affect your pools pH level or add calcium, binders or cyanuric acid to the water. One of the best reasons to close a pool with non-chlorine shock is that it won’t break down winter algaecides, like chlorine shock will if both are added at the same time.

winterpill-from-intheswim-smAquaPill’s WinterPill: Unlike the indie rock band band from Massachusetts Winterpills, the WinterPill is a winter pool chemical that combines enzymes, clarifiers, stain fighters, and scale treatment into one set-it-and-forget-it pill.  All you have to do is poke a hole in the the pill with the provided pin and drop it in the water. It does the rest of the work and slowly releases the solution throughout the winter. For both above and inground pools.

Spring & Fall Pool Magic Spring and Fall + PhosFree: Another popular winter pool treatment combines two of Natural Chemistry’s products, Pool Magic and PhosFree. Pool Magic has enzymes specially designed to work best in cold water, and with a  tremendous appetite for dirt, oil and grime. With the phosphate remover Phos-Free, algae will not have the nutrients it needs to grow in your pool as the water warms-up in Spring. Great for any pool owner, but especially useful for pools with mesh safety covers that allow fine particles and sunlight to sift through.

ultimate-winter-kit-smUltimate Winterizing Pool Kit: Save money with an In the Swim Winterizing Pool Kit. Dr. Pool’s closing kits are chlorine free, so they’re safe for all pools and all pool surfaces.  The Ultimate kit has a bottle of Metal Free and also Pool Magic+Phosfree, 3 lbs of Non-Chlorine Shock, and a slow-release floater with 4 lbs of winter oxidizer (chlorine free). Also available is the less expensive Winter Kit which features the same products as the Ultimate Kit but with Winter Algaecide and Stain Away instead of the Natural Chemistry Products.

water-bags-water-tubes Water Tubes: For inground pools without a safety cover, the humble water bag, or water tubes. It’s the pool product that everyone hates to buy, but every year you need to buy at least a six-pack of water tubes to replace those that pop holes. Double tubes are best, because they are still usable if one side gets a hole. Instead of water tubes, try Aqua Bloks, 3 ft long plastic water tubs with a snap-on lid. Don’t use bricks, blocks or lumber. Besides looking bad, it could damage your pool cover.

cover-pump-for-pools-aquaproCover Pumps: Solid winter covers have the added benefit of not allowing sunlight through, which can lead to an algae bloom, and they are not mesh so they prevent dirt, pollen and other unwanted debris from passing through as well. However, they also do not allow rain water or snow melt through either. Automatic cover pumps are activated when a small amount of water collects turning on to pump off the water, thru an attached garden hose. Large cover pumps like the AquaPro 1/3 hp can also be used for lowering pool water level, draining hot tubs, boats or flooded basements.

wetdryvac-smA Wet/Dry Vac: Perhaps a Shop Vac isn’t the first thing that pool owners think of when they think of pool supply necessities. No pool can be safely closed with water still in the lines, and no one wants to run the risk of burst or cracked plumbing due to water freezing. A large shop vac (5 HP) can be used to blow out skimmer and return lines. To blow out pool pipes best, and to force water out of main drain lines, use something like the Cyclone Vac to get enough air volume and pressure.

pool-heater-cover Covers, covers, and covers: A pool cover is de rigueur of course, but we have other covers too. For inground pools with solar cover reels, the Solar Reel Cover protects your solar blanket from sun and snow. It’s a cover for your cover! And using a Pool Heater Cover protects your heater from moisture, debris and critters. Cover the surface of diving boards to add years to its lifespan. Nobody wants to jump off a cracked and peeling board and a simple Diving Board Cover can keep that from happening.

Winterizing your pool like a professional is not so hard when you have the right stuff! Sometimes the smallest accessories can make the biggest impact and prevent a spring surprise. Spend a few extra dollars in the fall to save big in spring clean-up costs.

Take it from me, I’ve gone the cheap route before, or given my pool less than it needs at closing time, and paid a big price for it the next spring!


Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Swimming Pools as Works of Art

artsy-pools-2Water has inspired artists since the beginning of art, and in the latter half of the 20th century, the swimming pool lifestyle has soaked into popular culture.

Today’s pictorial is about swimming pools that have inspired art, or maybe the other way around? Either way, here’s a look at the intersection where art and pools and popular culture – collide.

Sonoma, California; all the way back in 1948, we have what was then a very modern pool design with sweeping curves, designed by Thomas Church. Pool owner Dewey Donnell added the freeform sculpture by artist Adaline Kent.


In 1961, Pablo Picasso was visiting the home of his friend Antonio Soler, at Villa El Martinete, in Marbella, Spain. With the pool empty for cleaning, Pablo found some paint and a brush and left this priceless doodle on the pool floor.


In 1987, artist David Hockney donated a morning of his time painting squiggly marks on the pool at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, as part of a downtown renovation effort. L.A. city officials closed the pool for a few days because it didn’t conform to safety regulations for public pools, but soon after relented, when they learned of its value.


In the early 90’s, Argentine artist Jorge Macchi was painting abstract watercolors. In one set, an address book (or little black book) had morphed into a bench for a seated man. Two years later he used the design again on this installation, aptly named piscina.


In 2000, Houston, Texas artist and painter Allan Rodewold installed this pool at his studio in the hip Ward 1 district, complete with tiled paint splotches, thumb hole pedestal and oversized paint brush!


Artist James Turrell, best known for his works with light and space, unveiled the Baker Pool, in 2008. Built in the basement of a Connecticut estate barn, the large window and LED perimeter lighting gives this pool – effect.


In 2009, At Villa Emslieb, gallery owner Thaddaeus Ropac’s estate near Salzburg, Austria, Swiss conceptual artist Sylvie Fleury adorned the bottom and edges of a granite pool with inspiring phrases. In the yard is a whimsical bunny fountain by American sculptor Tom Sachs.


New Jersey pool builder Cipriano Landscape Design pulled out all the stops in 2013 to create a 1700’s era Stradivarius Violin Pool, the only one of it’s kind. Half a million glass tiles line the interior of the 90′ long pool, luminous with LED and fiber optic lighting.


In 2014, artist Alfredo Barsuglia created a secret pool, in the middle of the Mojave desert. Part art project and part social project, the GPS coordinates for the pool, and the location of the key to open the rolling pool cover were a guarded, but obtainable secret. Social-Pool is now closed, but may be opening again soon!


And in 2016, the New York City Commission for the Arts commissioned this sculpture in Rockefeller center, named “Van Gogh’s Ear”, by the Danish artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset. Reminiscent of Marcel Duchamp’s readymades, which featured cultural objects elevated to the level of high art.


10 swimming pools inspired by art, or is it art inspired by swimming pools? A little of both, perhaps. I hope you enjoyed this timeline of swimming pool art-work!

See you next time;

Davy Merino
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Pool Equipment Enclosure Ideas

If you’ve ever wanted to hide the pool pump and filter, this post is for you!

Pool equipment enclosures not only hide your big ugly pool filter, but help protect it from rain and snow, or damage from high winds and tree branches.

Although it’s not necessary to enclose pool equipment; it’s built to be outdoors, many pool owners like having something to hide or cover the pool filter.

There are 3 types of pool equipment enclosures, walls, boxes and houses.

Walls to Hide Pool Equipment

The simplest way to hide your pool pump and filter is to put up a small wall or screen to block the view, and the noise from the pump.


If you are handy with wood, you can saw-up your own pool filter screen to hide the pool pump, or you can buy vinyl privacy walls at most home stores and garden centers. As a third option, hire a carpenter to take care of it all for you!


Glass, steel, wood, concrete or vinyl – you have many materials to choose from! And how many sides? 1, 2, 3 or 4 sided pool equipment screens are all possible.


Pool Equipment Boxes

A box has more protection for your pool equipment than a walled enclosure. These fine boxes were made by poolblanketboxes.com.au – and are quite popular down under!


Boxes usually have hinged lids, with a piston, prop rod or hook of some sort, to prevent a knock on the head. Slats provide good ventilation for the pump.


Pool Equipment Houses

When you want to combine a seating area and storage space with your pool equipment enclosure, start to think a little bigger, and build a pool house or garden shed around your pool equipment.


I hope you enjoyed this look at pool equipment enclosures. From a simple 2-Wall wood enclosure, to custom pool cabanas, there’s a lot of ways to hide your pool pump!


Sheryl Sollis
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

Swimming Pools and Meditation

A swimming pool is the perfect place for serene relaxation, and the natural choice for the practice of meditation.

When rowdy kids aren’t splashing and yelling, you can find your happy place, in the pool. Try a swimming meditation, floating meditation or seated meditation.

Swimming Meditation

pool-meditation-3One of the great things about swimming is that immersed in the water, you can tune out the outside world, and tune in to the rhythm of repeated movement and breathing. There is a sensory deprivation while swimming that makes a mindful mediation easy to achieve.

Buddhist monks have practiced moving meditation for centuries, just walking. Swimming can be a moving meditation, focus on the stroke and your breathing, and let other concerns slip away…

  • Swim Slowly: Save your sprints for later, this is all about rhythm.
  • Count it Out: Counting your breaths, strokes or laps helps focus.
  • Breathe: Deeply, in through the mouth, and out through the nose.


Floating Meditation

pool-meditation-2Surrounded and supported by buoyant water, floating softly – either on a pool float or just by yourself, is great all by itself, but when you add a mindful meditation exercise into the mix, you are truly getting the most out of your pool time.

If you find a back float uncomfortable, you can tread water with a slow eggbeater kick and gentle sculling with your hands, leaning your head back so water covers your ears.

Rest the mind, focus on the sensation of floating, and on your own breathing. Breathe deeply, and when thoughts compete for attention, let them float out of your mind…

  • Back Float, in a Savasana pose, or arms out to the side.
  • Tilt your head back, allow water to cover your ears.
  • Cover the eyes, with sunglasses or a small towel to block the sun.


Seated Meditation

pool-meditation-1A shady spot next to any pool of water can be the perfect spot to practice meditation. Mixing in some pool yoga stretches can help keep focus, while concentrating on the pose.

A swim out or large bench can be the perfect spot to sit in chest high water. Sitting on the top step or the second step of pool entry steps is another good spot. You can sit on a yoga mat or a pool noodle, for rough or hard surfaces.

  • Get Comfortable: No need for the Lotus position, sit however you like.
  • Breathe Deeply: Long and slow. Try a few Pranayama breathing techniques.
  • Flowing Water: A small pool fountain, or set a hose on the edge of the pool.

Start slowly, practicing for 10 minutes, eventually working up to 30 minute sessions. Remember that it’s a ‘practice’, so don’t beat yourself up when your mind wanders. Gently bring your focus back to your breathing, letting other thoughts drift away…

With a smartphone or tablet you can download one of the many meditation apps available, for a guided meditation.

Get your Calm On, America!

Dr. Pool

Dr. Pool

Polaris Pressure Cleaner Retrofit Installation

The Polaris pressure cleaner revolutionized automatic pool cleaning when it was introduced in the early 70’s.

Before then, pool cleaners were really just ‘stirrer-uppers’; they didn’t actually vacuum the pool. Polaris took the booster pump design advanced by Arneson, and attached a pool cleaner with a venturi vacuum.

polaris-380-cleaner-at-intheswimThe nation’s largest pool builders began offering a choice of a vacuum cleaner line, or the newer, pressure cleaner line. Anthony Pools installed thousands of “Antho-Sweep” cleaners, a private labeled Polaris 180.

Today’s post is about installing a Polaris pressure cleaner on an inground pool – where none has existed before. In a nutshell, installing a Polaris cleaner involves 3 Steps:

  1. Install or Convert a dedicated cleaner pipe
  2. Wire up the booster pump to a Timeclock
  3. Cut the Polaris hoses to proper length


Dedicated simply means that the pipe is used only for one purpose, to connect the pool cleaner. You need a pipe (or hose) that carries water from the booster pump to the cleaner.

Converting a Suction Cleaner Line: Older pools, or pools in a suction cleaner market (Hi, Florida!), may have a dedicated suction cleaner line that brings water into the filter pump. By cutting and capping the pipe that goes into the pump, and redirecting the pipe to connect with the Polaris booster pump, you can convert the suction line into a pressure line.

Converting a Jandy Ray-Vac Line: Sylvan pools and others often installed a low-pressure pool cleaner line, after the pump but before the filter, with a 3-way valve to divert water through the Energy filter and to the Jandy Ray-Vac pool cleaner. Cut out the Energy filter and cap the pipe after the 3-way valve. Install a Tee fitting in the pool return pipe, after all other equipment, and after any spa jet line, to supply the booster pump with water.

Installing a New Dedicated Cleaner Line:  The first thing to do is to call811, and have a guy come out to mark the property for underground utilities, so you don’t hit any power or gas lines.

dig a trenchDig a Trench: After underground utilities are marked, trench from where the booster pump will be located on the equipment pad, to a point midway along the longest wall of the pool. From the edge of the deck to the pool, you can either go under the deck and thru the pool wall, or over the deck hose installation.

Thru the Wall:  For this method, you continue the trench underneath the pool deck, digging a tunnel beneath until you reach the wall. Then use a rotary hammer drill with a 7/8” bit to drill through the pool wall to the other side. Slide a ¾ inch PVC pipe through the wall with a ¾” threaded female fitting on the wall side. Chip out the wall on both sides so that you can make a thick, rounded patch around the pipe on both ends. Inject an epoxy sealant around the pipe on both sides of the wall, and then pack it  at least 1” deep and 4” wide with hydraulic cement. Finish around the pipe with pool plaster mix on the pool side.polaris-thru-the-wall

Over the Deck: For this method, stub the pipe up out of the ground next to the pool deck, and use a 90° fitting just above the height of the pool deck. Using quick connect garden hose fittings, attach a short length of 3/4″ HD garden hose, to run across the deck. On the pool side end of the hose, a garden hose adapter and Polaris G-9 adapter is used to connect the Polaris cleaner.Polaris over-the-deck


For the Polaris pressure pool cleaner to be fully automatic, one of it’s best features, you wire it to its own timeclock, which is powered by its own 15 or 20 amp breaker. If you have a 100 amp sub-panel (small grey breaker box) at the equipment pad, you probably have enough juice to add a new breaker.

intermatic-timer-for-polarisFrom the booster pump breaker, wires connect to the time clock, and from the timeclock, wires connect to the booster pump. Wires must be encased in conduit with proper connection fittings, and the booster pump must be connected to the bare copper bonding wire. An electrician should perform the work, or at least certify that your work meets local codes. See the Polaris booster pump owner’s manual for specific wiring specs.

The booster pump timeclock should be programmed or set to turn on the pump, only within the time that the filter pump is operating. In other words, the filter pump should always be running, when the cleaner booster pump is running. Most Polaris pool cleaner timers are set to run about 2 hours per day.


Polaris cleaners come with 32′ of hose, which is more than is needed for most pools. To prevent tangling and improve performance, excess hose is cut-off or trimmed.

The first step is to cut the 10′ section of hose that attaches to the pool cleaner, to the depth of your deepest part of the pool. You can measure your pool depth with a Tele-Pole, and then cut off any excess. In other words, cut the clear hose to match the depth of your pool.

With the hose connected to the wall and the cleaner, stretch out the hose to the furthest point of the pool, and mark the point on the hose. Remove equal amounts of excess hose from the second and third 10′ sections to total the amount of extra hose. Slide the hose floats down and reconnect hose swivels, with arrows in direction of water flow.polaris-hose-schematic

It’s a bit of work to install a Polaris pressure pool cleaner where none has existed before, but not impossible! If you want the best performing pool cleaner, you have to work for it, I suppose.

Or call your favorite pool service guy to install your Polaris Pool Cleaner. You’ll save hundreds buying it online, and he’ll be glad for the extra work.

Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger