Guy’s Night By The Pool – and the Aftermath
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Poker nights are so 1980s. No, actually they’re not. That’s just an excuse for how much the lingering smell of stale cigar smoke ticks off a wife, when she breaks up the whole thing in front of your group of friends, showing them who is the real boss of your house.

Frankly, I was tired of this happening so I started a new thing with my pals: Guys’ Night By The Pool. You may say that we got chased outside – but I like to think it was my brilliant idea. This is season 3, or the third year of our Pool Poker nights, and there have been some glitches… So here are some tips and important information about planning, doing and cleaning up the aftermath. And yes, there will be an aftermath.

First, get your wife’s permission. Obviously, this step is optional and really more of a courteous way of communicating your intentions while making your wife (or spouse, partner, roommate, etc.) involved with some sort of say in the decision making.

If you’re still reading, that means either you’re good to go, your better half is out of town or you can run much faster than I can. Basically, I’m assuming you have permission and you’re moving forward with your pool night for the guys.


1. Gather your buddies. Call them friends, dudes, buddies, bros, whatever (please not bruh), just call them, or text them. Tell your friends the specifics of what’s going on and when, as well as what you’re providing and what they may want to bring. Do NOT set ground rules at this step for that will give many of your pals pause since they will know right away you are planning this as a covert (also, see: un-blessed, secret) gathering.

2. What to provide. Have some type of beverage on hand – maybe even a couple of different ones. The stuff doesn’t need to be fancy. If your dude friends are coming over for a swimming pool night, you shouldn’t feel the need to impress them. However, providing nothing means you’re cheap, and that’s no bueno. You should also have some snacky type stuff. I’ve found that spicy bar mix stuff is always a big hit, but mini pretzels and peanuts will do just fine, plus they float into the skimmer basket. If you need help deciding what to provide, ask your wife. She will know.

Make sure the cooler/bar is stocked with ice – and always (yes, ALWAYS) buy extra ice. It’s amazing how you never have enough of the stuff, so if you think you need four bags, get six bags. You need to have plenty of cups on hand, too. You’re not throwing a rave for the neighborhood Neanderthals and drinking out of bottles or an elk horn. Show some class and get a sleeve of Red Solo cups, and be sure the song is in the rotation.

3. What to have ready. Make sure your grill has gas or charcoal. Someone coming over is going to be “The Man” and bring some thick steaks to grill on the patio. Be appreciative of this, and allow this ideal friend of yours to man the grill as all others stand semi-close and observe. Do not ask your friends to bring salad or desert, but in case they all drive past the butcher and show up empty handed, have some grilling meats ready to go.

4. Tunes or Music. The floating Bluetooth speaker and lightshow is a great addition to the party, or bring a music device outside or strream music on YOUR phone. My best advice is to not allow others to overrun your playlist and turn the nice hangin’ out evening into a poorly replicated New Year’s Eve party that dragged on three hours too long. Have just one DJ – you, and then set it and forget it.

5. Pool floats. What’s a party without some fun pool floats? Exactly, it’s not a party. Get out your inflatable swans, fill them with air and let them ride the breeze in your pool. Honestly, most pool floats are built for small or young persons. There are a few full size pool floats that will fit large men however. Two of my (affordable) favorites are the Kickback Adjustable Lounger, or any of the large Jimmy Buffet  Margaritaville pool floats.

6. Poker Table. I think we used to sell a floating blackjack table, but who wants to stand around in the pool the whole time? Get yourself a suitably sized round table with 4, 6, or 8 chairs that you can set on the patio. Don’t drag out the dining room table, your wife is not going to like that idea at all, let me tell you. Instead, get a 48″ round outdoor table, or go whole hog and get the carousel picnic table.

The evening of the party, make sure the pool and patio are fairly clean with comfortable outdoor seating (Do Not take the living room sofa outside!). When most of the guys have arrived, and all are still in a good mood, drop some of the ground rules for the night. Don’t worry if all of the guys aren’t there for this since the ones who are there will passive-aggressively make fun of you by repeating “the stupid rules” to the new arrivals when you’re getting more ice.

However, no matter what is said or what you might hear through the grapevine, these rules are not stupid, but ensure that you wake up in the morning. Here are a few Ground Rules you should consider putting in place for any Guy’s Pool Night:


1. No cigars in the pool. You think cigar ash is a pain to completely clean up on a patio? Wait until you try to clean it out of a pool. I’m not kidding, you can’t scoop this stuff up with a skimmer net. Sure, you can wait for however long it takes the ashes to circulate through the pool filter, but I can 100% guarantee the wife will be outside at the break of dawn making a list and taking photos of the crime scene – which includes anything that makes the pool dirty. Don’t take that chance.

2. Suspend normal pool rules. Horseplay and splashing – no problem. Dunking and other shenanigans also OK. However, be firm on the No Diving rule. Especially for men, especially for heavy men, and especially men that have been drinking. Close the diving board, and No Diving head first. Suspension of rules also does not include tracking water and chlorine all over the house as well as NOT killing all of the wife’s pruned plants, flowers and other landscaping in the yard. Get it? Please say yes so I don’t have to spell it out.

3. No glass near the pool. Plastic cups only. Chances are one of your pals will bring over a plastic jug of cheap something, you all will laugh, and then you will all drink it anyways, so keep with the plastic motif and no one gets cut.

4. Noise abatement. Unless you live next to a big airport, at some point you’re going to draw the attention and ire of neighbors with your noise which could trigger an appearance by the local law enforcement. If this happens, your Guys’ Night By The Swimming Pool evening is probably over as your pals will see this as some sort of power-grabbing threat by your neighbor(s) and not want to take part. If some friends stick around, by all means, keep it cool and quiet, especially after 10 pm.


When your dude pool party is complete, you will probably not realize it. In fact, there will be a good chance the evening ended many hours prior but you had “that one” friend who decided to go the distance. You will feel obliged to run the marathon with him, bonding in ways you will never remember. If he is open to it, maybe he can help you clean up.

Having an automatic pool cleaner will give you some relief for the cleaning process. If you have a robotic cleaner like the Aquabot Junior or Hayward TigerShark, you can set it to clean the pool and then get to cleaning everything else. And yes, you have to clean the stuff up. Take it from me, there is nothing worse than being awakened three hours too early by an angry spouse because you left the beautiful outdoors looking like “an overrun zoo!”.

Finally, whatever you do, do NOT mention how great the evening was to your wife, or how great you did cleaning the place up. Your wife will already know all the details of what went down – don’t ask me how – but she will know. And you can never ever EVER clean anything to her standards, so don’t even bring it up. Just mow the lawn, do the dishes or laundry, take out the trash, basically do anything to stay in the lineup for today’s game.

And one final tip – it might do you some good to tell her the guys loved all of the drink and snack ideas commented on how good the backyard looks, even though you might have mentioned to them you did it all yourself.

 


Larry Andersen
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

Dog Days of Summer: Step Up Your Pool Maintenance
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dog shown next to blackboard chart woof / bark bark

Where Woof = Temperature, and Bark Bark = Filter and Chlorine demand


The Dog Days of Summer.
The hottest time of the year and the busiest time of the year for pool owners. People you haven’t heard from since last late July come knocking to find sanctuary in the cool waters of your swimming pool.

The Dog Days is also the time of year when your pool water is exposed to higher bather loads, intense temperatures, and prolonged sunlight which means it’s time to test your water more frequently and be aware of how all of these elements can add up to drastic changes in your water very quickly.

Run The Filter More

You probably just received your first electric bill of the summer (I did, ouch!). However, July and August is the time when you need the most filtering of the season. Set that pool filter timer a few extra hours longer each day. What you spend in electricity you will save in chemicals which can really add up. Your water is warm enough to shut off the pool heater and the combination of warm water, bright sunshine, and frequent rain storms, all call for more filtering time each day. My little filter runs 20+ hrs/day during August, or the water starts to look bad.

Add More Chlorine

Warmer water, more swimmers and longer sunlight hours means that your chlorine will deplete or burn-up faster. Add extra 3″ tabs to your chlorinator, and/or turn the dial higher to maintain chlorine levels. Pool shock frequency may also rise during the hottest parts of the summer, to fight algae, bacteria, chloramines and cloudy water.

Keep Calm & Stay Stable

Sunlight is an enemy of all pool chemicals on some levels, and as you already probably know, Conditioner or Stabilizer, aka Cyanuric Acid is the money saving chemical that protects your chlorine from the sun. Long hours of daily sunlight means that stabilizer levels are even more important, to prevent degradation of chlorine, when you need it most. Keep your stabilizer level between 20-50 ppm, and reduce or dilute if over 100 ppm.

More important than stabilizer however, is to consistently test your pool water balance during July and August. Your pool water is ever-changing, but never more than during the hottest summer months, when pH, Alkalinity and stabilizer levels can rise and cause water balance problems.

Test your Water Balance

LSI Chart

LSI Chart – Click for Larger Image

The Langelier Saturation Index is a way to determine if pool water has a tendency either to scale, or to corrode. The math is a bit complicated, but the Pentair LSI calculator does a nice job crunching the numbers. Just enter your pH, Alkalinity, Hardness, Cyanuric, and Water Temperature and it will tell you if you are in balance.

Stay Cool, Beat the Heat

Hot temperatures, long sunlight exposure, and more pool parties means more friends and family with more sunblock and oil. This can lead to a ring around your waterline, more organic solids dissolved in your water, and cloudy or hazy pool water. I recommend Natural Chemistry’s Pool First Aid or Pool Perfect with PhosFree on hand to help eliminate the oily gunk and phosphates that can build up with heavy pool use. I use enzymes, because if I don’t, I get an ugly bathtub ring and my filter starts to gum up. Enzymes are natural oil-eaters that also clean the pool filter of trapped oils and greasy gunk, and reduce chlorine demand by removing organics from the pool and pool system.

All in All – Keep Scale Off the Wall

The important thing to remember during these long, Dog Days of Summer is to enjoy your pool to the fullest but be aware of all the factors that could turn your pool green, cloudy, oily or water balance that can stain & scale your pool surfaces.

It’s easy to slip into complacency mid-season, letting your guard down after months of perfect pH and Alkalinity – but the increased heat, intense sun, and frequent guests requires you to stay vigilant!

Toodles!

 


Sheryl Sollis
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

Bad Pool Chemical Combinations
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Welcome back students of pool, take a seat for our lecture today on bad pool chemical combinations.

We will start with several water balance scenarios that can result in unfortunate “side-effects’.

Then we will turn our attention to a few pool chemicals that should always be added separately, not together.

We’ll close with a brief discussion on best chemical safety practices, to prevent accidents from oxidants.

Let’s Dive-In, shall we?


Bad Water Balance Combinations

High pH + High Calcium: A recipe for scaling and cloudy water, forms scale film on pool surfaces and pipes, and can even form sharp crystallized nodules of calcium.

High pH + Low Chlorine: Perfect conditions for cloudy water and algae. Algae prefers a high pH level, and is just waiting for a low chlorine opportunity to bloom.

Low pH + Low Alkalinity: Will cause etching and corrosion to steel, copper, rubber, vinyl and plaster surfaces. Low pH is great for chlorine potency and algae prevention, but once it drops below neutral 7.0, acidic water begins to corrode pool surfaces and equipment.

Low pH + High Alkalinity: Same as above, only it becomes hard to raise pH, due to buffering effect of a high alkalinity. Add enough Dry Acid” to lower alkalinity (and pH). Requires several doses over many days, raising pH after each treatment.

Illustration of chlorine floaterLow Chlorine + Low Stabilizer: Hazy – cloudy – green is the usual progression. If you look at your pool everyday closely, you’ll know just by looking at it when chlorine is low. Act fast with pool shock to bring the level up fast, then fill your tablet floater or chlorinator. Outdoor pools should maintain a level of stabilizer in the 20-50 ppm range.

High Chlorine + High Stabilizer: This can damage soft and shiny surfaces over years of very high chlorine levels (5-10 ppm). High stabilizer levels over 100 ppm can cause problems in chlorine potency and chlorine testing becomes unreliable.

High Combined Chlorine: Chloramines are Free chlorine molecules joined with ammonia or nitrogen. No longer an active sanitizer, they cause red eyes and smelly pools. When chloramine level exceeds 0.3 ppm (TC-FC=CC), shock the pool.

Low Calcium Hardness: Creates a corrosive water condition, causing etching, and leaching of calcium from plaster or tile grout. Low hardness is also bad for vinyl liners when the water is too soft. It hinders overall water balance and chemical effectiveness, too.

High Phosphates: Phosphates enter the pool from many sources, but when a phosphate test exceeds 300 ppb (parts per billion), reduce them with SeaKlear or PhosFree. Phosphates and nitrates are favorite foods for algae, please don’t feed the animals. 🙂

Bad Pool Chemical Combinations

cheap-pool-shockChlorine shock + Algaecide: Chlorine shock will disrupt the polymer chains or chemical compounds used in many pool algaecides, and in most cases will completely destroy the algaecide. Use pool shock to kill algae, and save your algaecide until the chlorine level has returned to normal.

Chlorine shock + Sequester Agent: Chlorine shock will also disrupt stain & scale chemicals, aka chelators or sequestering agents, if added at the same time. Add Stain & Scale chemicals a day before or several days after, shocking a pool.

Clarifier + Clarifier: If you overdose a pool with Clarifier, a curious phenomenon can occur. Instead of behaving as a coagulant, the electron charge can reverse, causing some formulas to behave as a dispersant. Wait 5-7 days to treat again with clarifier, closely following dosage instructions.

stabilizer label shownVery High Cyanuric Acid: Have I told you the one about the guy who thought he was adding calcium to his pool but actually added 15 lbs of cyanuric acid? Also labeled Stabilizer or Conditioner, when cyanuric acid levels exceed 100 ppm, proper sanitation becomes difficult. The solution is dilution.

Chlorine Shock + High Metals: How about the guy whose copper heat exchanger was eroding from low pH, who shocked his poorly balanced pool water, and ended up with black streaks and stains? High metal levels can drop-out of solution in such cases. Keep pH, Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness within range, and add a regular treatment of a sequestering agent like Stain Away or Metal Free to keep metals in solution.

The Worst Pool Chemical Combination

Never allow pool chemicals to contact each other, even a drop of algaecide, clarifier, antifreeze, or other liquids mixed with chlorine, can erupt into a raging fire. Mixing chlorine and acid (pH down) creates a deadly gas. Mixing different chlorine types can explode when moisture is added. Chemical residue from a bucket or scoop mixing with another chemical can react. Dirt, dust, leaves and any liquid can cause a volatile reaction when mixed with pool chlorine.

chemical storage area sign for poolsTrust me when I say that chemical fires are extremely hazardous, as I have conducted many flammability experiments on our pool chemicals. Chlorine mixed with any other chemical or foreign substance can emit toxic gases, erupt in flames, explode, or all of the above.

Keep Pool Chemicals Clean, Closed, Dry and Separated. 

Be Careful America, because ‘Oxidants Happen!’.  😉

 

Dr. Pool

 

Pool Slides & Diving Boards
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For many Americans, the perfect pool accessory is a pool slide or diving board. Find them in our Pool Accessories category, but they are much more than an accessory. Slides and dive equipment add a whole ‘nother dimension of fun to your pool.

So I’m here today to help you sort through the many options and give you a few tips on pool slides and diving boards – think of it as a pool slide and dive buying guide with a little bit of Larry-tude.


Let’s start with pool slides. Over the past 10 years, Pool Slides have gained a great deal of popularity in the backyard pool. Before, when you went to someone’s house to swim and they had a pool slide, yeah, most likely they had it made. Now however, slides are much more affordable, more available and easier to install by yourself with the help of a friend.

Most of the slides you’ll find will state they are for inground pools. While this is true, there are smaller pool slides like the Zoomerang that can be used on above ground pools, with enough (4’x8′) sturdy deck space around the pool. The Cyclone slide is another option for larger decks, requiring 6’x8′ of deck space to mount. The pool deck must support the weight of the slide, water and swimmers, and the deck boards need to be solid enough to securely hold the mounting bolts.

Pool Slide Location Selection

G-Force pool slide shownChoosing the correct location for a pool slide is very important. This is a safety issue since you don’t want anyone come zipping down the slide and smacking a body part into the hard pool bottom, or a wall that comes up too fast.

Water Depth: Pool slide installation instructions are very specific on the required water depths, and ‘water safety envelope’, or the exit area for a pool slide. Most inground pool slides require a minimum water depth of 36″ under the slide exit, which must increase to a depth of 48″ for most slides or 54″ depth for larger slides. And, this minimum depth must continue for at least 9′ in front of the slide exit. Check the Owners Manual on the More Info tab to see a slide’s water depth and distance information, or water safety envelope.

Deck Space: This may be obvious, but pool slides can take up a lot of deck space. Smaller pool slides can fit in a 4×8 spot, but larger slides can have a footprint of 8’x12′ or larger. Check the Technical Specs on the More Info tab to see a slide’s footprint or required deck space, because you still need room to move around the pool, and enough room for a long line of kids, waiting their turn!

Other Side of the Pool: Also obvious or maybe not, but you want to make sure the slide chute faces the house or patio seating areas. This is important for safety, but also for waving to your kids when they scream “Watch Me!”. Get the camera ready, and enjoy your swimmers rocketing down the slide and splashing into the pool in front of you, instead of facing the other direction.

With all of these limitations, it usually comes down to only one or two available or possible locations to install a pool slide. In some cases, you may need to enlarge the deck in that area, to still be able to walk around the slide, without stepping off into the dirt. Pools with just the standard 3 or 4 ft apron around the pool, will often need to pour an adjacent concrete pad to mount the pool slide legs and ladder, depending on the slide ‘footprint’.

Choosing a Pool Slide

As for the pool slides themselves, think about your customer – who will use it the most? If you have little kids, perhaps you should consider something a bit more tame like the 4′ tall Cyclone Fun slide with an enclosed ladder for added safety. The 3′ tall Zoomerang pool slide is also a popular, fun and affordable option. Its compact size is a great space saver, while the right curve and patented Zoom Flume makes for a fast ride.

cyclone and zoomerang slides shown

Taller, full size pool slides like the City II inground waterslide and the Wild Ride pool slide, while pool slides like the heliX2 and G-Force slides offer a complete 360 degree twist for a whole lot of excitement while not being too incredibly tall for little ones.

3 InterFab pool slides shown

The Adrenaline water slide is perhaps the most popular with customers. Towering over 7-feet above the patio deck with an extra long flume, with either a left or right turn. Features a deep splash zone on the final three feet of deck, for waterpark like thrills.

superslide-inflatable-slideIf you don’t have a large budget but still want a pool slide, there’s always the SuperSlide inflatable water slide. Mainly for the younger set, this is a great way to maximize summer without breaking the bank. You can use this on inground pools and above ground pools, and water is delivered via a garden hose. Simple, fun and affordable.

Finally, as a side note, when I mention water slide, you should know that every pool slide has a water connection to make the slide more fun and more enjoyable. We all know what happens when you go down a dry slide on a hot day – ouch!


On to diving boards. In my opinion, diving boards are the epitome of summer time fun. Name one other activity where you can soar through the air and land relatively safely with no special talent. Depending on your fortitude, you can be highly creative as you spring off the end of the board and into the water.

Diving boards are only for inground swimming pools. I’ve seen jump boards attached to decks on above ground pools, but diving off a board into an above ground pool is dangerous, and should never be attempted. And – diving boards should always be installed onto the correct diving board stand, and not affixed to a deck or makeshift stand, which is also dangerous.

Diving Board Location Selection

Choosing the correct location for a diving board is also very important. Of course there are strict technical specs to be observed when installing a diving board on a pool where one never existed.

8′ Deep Only: or a minimum depth of 7′-6″, and a minimum depth of 5′ at a distance of 7′-6″ from the drain or deepest spot. In other words, an 8′ deep end and a slope that does not rise too rapidly to the shallow end.

Diving boards have even more strict placement requirements than slides. The ANSI/NSPI standards are very specific on the water depth at the board, and in front of the board. It is also very specific on the required width of a pool and the slope of 1:3 maximum for the floor from deep end to shallow end.

The placement of the diving board stand steel jig, which is set into a new concrete pad, must also be exact. Please refer to the Owner’s Manual for each of our diving board stands, found on the More Info tab, to determine if your pool size and depth is suitable for a diving board installation. If unsure, feel free to call our help desk.

Diving board stands provide a solid base for the diving board while providing a fulcrum that gives a board its spring. Do not install a diving board without using the correct stand.

Choosing a Diving Board

If you are replacing a diving board, and you already have a stand, look for the replacement diving board to match your stand. Do not install a larger diving board than original, the dive stand (and jig) must also be changed for the fulcrum location to be correct. We have the most popular replacement diving boards by SR Smith and Inter-Fab. If you need help selecting a replacement diving board, call our help desk.

diving boards by sr smith

For diving board / stand combos, depending on your pool depth and length you can choose from 6′ and 8′ diving boards and jump boards. Jump boards are distinctly less bouncy, for smaller and shallower pools, (but still 8′ deep).

Three popular combos include the SR Smith Flyte Deck II stand and Fibre Dive diving board and Inter-Fab La Mesa stand with Duro-Beam board. The SR Smith Salt Pool Jump System with the Frontier III board is corrosion-proof and is available in 3 cool colors.

image of 3 sr smith diving board sets


Whether it’s a pool slide or diving board that you’re contemplating for the summer, one important common thing for both is safety. Make sure you have a zero-tolerance policy regarding horsing around or misuse of a diving board or pool slide.

Incorrect installation or use of pool slides and diving boards can result in painful injuries and worse things, so use common sense, practice safety and have some fun!

 


Larry Andersen
InTheSwim Blogger

 

Set It and Forget It: Hands Free Pool Maintenance
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Robot underwater, chasing a dollar bill, ala Nirvana NevermindOwning a pool is as much hard work to maintain as it can be fun, and at times it’s more hard work than fun. I’m always interested in pool maintenance products that make pool ownership easier. Beyond automatic pool cleaners (which are great), let’s take a look at some of the best Set-It-and-Forget-It pool products and chemicals that work well on their own, over a long period of time.

1. The AquaPill Collection: Spring Pill, Summer Pill, Winter Pill

AquaPills product family shownThe AquaPill Collection has a pill for all of the ailments your pool faces throughout the year. These pre-measured plastic balls are loaded with a potent time-release concoction that includes enzymes, clarifier, scale inhibitor and stain prevention chemicals. All that you need to do is puncture it with the provided thumb tack and drop it in your skimmer. Match the season to the pill (that part should be easy), and you can solve water clarity and staining problems. AquaPills are sold in a 4-pack or individually, and are found here: AquaPills Collection.

 

2.  Who You Callin’ Slimebag? 

slime bag from in the swimThe Slime Bag, so cleverly named, is a deceptively simple product that increases your ability to filter out particulates all the way down to a teeny-tiny 1 micron. The Slime Bag attaches to a return fitting and can be installed in minutes. What your sand filter can’t catch and shoots back into your pool, the SlimeBag catches, like a second filter!  I could be so bold as to call them “wildly popular” – they are in such demand that the maker has trouble keeping up with supply!

 

3. 3-inch Super Multi-Tabs 

http://www.intheswim.com/p/3-inch-super-multi-tabsAs far as Set-It-and-Forget-It pool chemicals go, the 3″ Super Multi-Tabs cover all the bases. They contain 84% Pure Trichlor with Stabilizer, but this patented formula also contains Algaecide, Clarifier and a Water Softener. Strong enough to work on commercial pools and definitely do wonders for the pool in your backyard. 3″ tabs fit easily in floaters and feeders, and they last for weeks. The money saved in buying individual bottles and buckets of chlorine, algaecide, and clarifier makes the 3″ Multi-Tabs worth the price of admission alone, but wait until you see what they do for your water quality.

 

4. Did Someone say, “Chemical Feeders?”

hayward automatic chlorinators for poolsHayward’s in-line chemical feeders for above ground or inground pools are surprisingly affordable and simple to attach to your pool’s plumbing line. They can hold 9 lbs of Trichlor tablets or sticks and can be adjusted to control how much sanitizer is released. This eliminates handling the chemicals multiple times per week as well as having to fish out the floater to see if it needs to be refilled. After the initial load you are officially hands-off the chlorine bucket and hopefully kicking your feet up. Hands are for beverages, not chlorine tabs. The Hayward Automatic Chlorinator is installed inline or offline.

 

5. Why Didn’t I Think of That?!?

Leaf Bone Skimmer Net and Rail clipWell, I kinda did but it involved duct taping my leaf net to the pool handrail. The Leaf Bone Skimmer Clip looks so much nicer than duct tape and is brilliant in its simplicity. Skimmer net clip is designed to snap over standard 1.9″ OD ladders and handrails, and the other side clips to any Leaf Rake style net. It’s a great way to get extra work from your net when it is usually hanging up.  Simply remove the leaf net from your telescoping pole and pop it onto your ladder or handrail, making sure it is dangling in the water, and you are now the proud owner of a leaf net capable of working 24/7. The Leaf Bone is inexpensive, but made to last.

 

6.  Why Didn’t I Think of This?!?

Skim-It pool skimmer arm shownAnother popular product that works without you is the Skim-It Pool Skimmer Extension Arm. Another deceptively simple but brilliant pool tool. Equipped with a small spring tension rod to secure into any skimmer mouth, the Skim-It corrals leaves and debris that may otherwise sneak by. One look at the picture and you instantly know how it works and why it works. I love it so much I have two, one on each skimmer. Install your Skim-It on the side of the skimmer opposite the direction of water flow, it reaches out to draw them into the skimmer. Easy to install, easy to remove, Skim-It may look odd, but they sure work well!

 

7.  SeaKlear Mighty Pods

SeaKlear Mighty Pods Weekly Pool Care Toss+Go 3-in-1 formula SeaKlear Mighty Pods slow release 3-in-1 chemical works very well. The pods are filled with a powder that is released over time. Mighty Pods are all natural, made with the natural polymer chitin, extracted from crushed crab shells. They not only capture tiny particles floating in your water but they remove algae-causing phosphates and help absorb oils from sunblock and your skin. Just 1 pod can treat up to 15,000 gallons of water and the difference can be seen within 24 hours. Find the SeaKlear Mighty Pods and other great natural pool maintenance supplies here: Mighty Pods.

 

8. Metal and Mineral Gel Caps last 30 days

Metal Sequester Gel Caps by Safe-N-Clean shownStop adding Stain Away every week!  Safe-N-Clean Metal Sequester Gel Caps fit in the palm of your hand, just drop in your skimmer basket to treat up to 30,000 gallons for 30 days. They are a great value for the hard work that they do (just $10/month), and are especially strong on calcium, scale, magnesium, iron and other metals often found in pool water. They are non-toxic and environmentally friendly as well. If you like the Metal Sequester Caps you will love their 30-day Pool Oxidizer Caps, to continuously remove ammonia, chloramines and algae.

 

9. Automatic Solar Cover Reel

InTheSwim Remote Control Solar Powered Solar Cover ReelThe In the Swim Remote Control Solar Blanket Reel with solar rechargeable battery isn’t quite hands-free because you need to operate the remote control. But, we will let that slide. This budget-minded solar cover reel is a great value with priceless features like a solar-rechargeable battery, the aforementioned remote control, and no need for a power cord running across the yard. Solar cover reels are great, but automatic, remote-control powered solar reels are the best – especially priced as well as this one. Durable construction can last for decades.

 

10. SkimDoctor Turbo-Charges Skimmers!

SkimDoctor 2.0 skimmer basket attachment shownSkimDoctor 2.0 is an interesting and incredibly inventive product.  It turbo charges your skimmers to increase their suction through the wonders of physics. Skimmer tower attachment fits your skimmer basket and creates a vortex to attract more debris up to 3x faster and you don’t have to reach your hand down into the skimmer basket to empty all that new debris your skimmer is so effortlessly catching now. If you own a variable speed pump, this product is a great help for the low speed modes when it is conserving energy. The SkimDoctor 2.0 fits any skimmer basket, to improve flow and keep debris from floating out when the pump shuts off.

 

In the Future We Won’t Even Use Our Hands to Clean Our Pool

The wonderful thing about most of these products is how simple they are. Whether they are simply derived from crushed crab shells, a simple clip, or powered by the sun, the best part is that they all reduce your pool maintenance. We haven’t quite reached the Tex Avery World of the Future but there are some great, affordable products out there that are trying to make our pool life more fun and less work.

Feel free to drop us a line at socialmedia@intheswim.com or check us out on Facebook for more tips, sales, and fun pool stuff! 

 


Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

 

 

 

 

FilterBalls: a Breakthrough In Pool Filtration Media?
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The pool industry has seen lots of visionary innovation. VS pumps are great, LED lights are cool, and we all appreciate a good ergonomic leaf net.

Recently, I came to the realization that I could no longer procrastinate a Sand Change for my 5-year old Hayward Sand Filter (S244T).

I was looking into some new innovations in filter sand; alternatives like FilterGlass and ZeoSand. That’s when I came across FilterBalls Blu10.

Are FilterBalls A Game-Changing Pool Product?

FILTER BALLS BROCHUREI’m usually quite skeptical, to the point of cynicism, and always hesitant to “experiment” with my pool in fear of creating more work for myself instead of practicing my cannonballs. After digging a little deeper though, I found some pretty impressive numbers and claims at FilterBalls.com.

First off, it’s going to be easier and less work the next time I open up my filter. At the time of reading that I had never changed the sand in a sand filter before (I’ll get to that…spoiler alert: it’s not fun) so these points mean much more to me now than they did a month ago.

I found FilterBalls to be super easy to manage, and it improved circulation and filtration, with lower filter pressure and higher flow rate.

• 100x lighter than sand filter media
• Just one pound of FilterBalls replaces 100 pounds of sand.
• Eliminate hauling and disposal of hundreds of pounds of sand.

Having just priced out how much it was going to cost to replace 300 lbs of sand for my sand filter. Mailing 300 lbs of anything is expensive, and I wasn’t thrilled about that either. So cost was a big selling point:

  • FilterBalls cost less than other sand alternatives
  • One 1-lb bag of FilterBalls replaces 100 lbs of sand
  • Saves Big on shipping costs

Reading on, I also discovered that FilterBalls are recyclable, are can make my other equipment last longer (from running less), which in turn is going to save energy. My much better half is an environmental scientist (and an even bigger skeptic), and I was excited to show her how I was going to save the world one FilterBall at a time. Or at least save us a few bucks over last year’s robust summer electric bill.

  • More complete backwashing for longer filter cycles
  • Lower system pressure than sand
  • Higher flow rates than sand
  • Removes particles down to 10 microns

Like any savvy shopper I tracked down as many reviews on FilterBalls as possible. I found stellar reviews and a handful of reviews that made me take pause. FilterBalls coming out of the backwash hose after backwashing and FilterBalls flying through the plumbing through the jets into the pool didn’t really make sense to me. From the most logical of perspectives, FilterBalls are much larger than grains of sand. They are slightly smaller than a baseball. The only way that a FilterBall could find it’s way outside of your filter tank would be if the standpipe wasn’t properly attached.

3 Pounds Of FilterBalls, Please… Express Delivery

FilterBalls Blu10 Close-Up ImageWhen the surprisingly small box arrived at my doorstep, I thought there had to be a mistake. For one, the box was so light it felt like it was empty, and it was even harder to imagine hauling 300 lbs of sand from my doorstep to my pool filter. I confused the heck out of the delivery guy by explaining to him how lucky he was because this box (as I tossed the box from one hand to the other) could’ve weighed 300 lbs! Now all I had to do was drain the filter, pull off the multiport valve, and scoop out the slimy sand from my filter tank. Ugh.

So, There’s No Easier Way To Do This, Huh?

In my 5 years of owning my sand filter I knew that this day would come. I dreaded it. I blew it off for a year. I blamed my pump for the poor water flow. I told myself the vacuuming suction was always this weak, that’s just the way it is. The pool was always kinda murky, never crystal clear. Those nights of marveling at my nearly invisible pool water were embellishments of my imagination.

I had almost done it all in the realm of pool maintenance, and I was ready as I was ever going to be to change my filter media for the first time…all greasy, milky, sewage-y, 300 lbs of wet filter sand. Ugh.

For the sake of science and for pool owners everywhere, I wanted to first benchmark my own flow rate and filter pressure, before changing from sand to FilterBALLS.

Doppler Flow Meter shown in actionUsing a Doppler Flow Meter shown here, and my existing pressure gauge on my Hayward S244T Pro Series the old filter sand was operating at:

  • 20 psi
  • 38.3 gpm

Bear in mind this is after 10 days of enzymes and sand filter cleaner and other effort to prolong the inevitable sand change.

With the FilterBalls installed, replacing the filter sand, the readings were:

  • 16 psi
  • 42.9 gpm

A lower operating pressure with a higher flow! Not staggering numbers but to be fair, my Hayward Super Pump (1.5 HP) struggles with my small plumbing system. The FilterBalls have been reviewed as a perfect match for a Variable Speed Pump, and when working in tandem they have potential to deliver an even higher level of energy efficiency.

The FilterBalls website says that you can run the pump up to 50% less. Running my pump half the time but achieving better results would surely make me a loyal FilterBalls customer for life. Actually, scooping the rancid sand out of my filter tank for 1-1/2 hrs, scoop by slimy scoop was enough to make me a fan, but optimal clarity and minimal electricity would be the cannonball on top.

Less Chemical Usage, Smaller Electrical Bill

Okay, so I haven’t received my new electric bill this month yet. But it doesn’t take Nikola Tesla to do the math when you are running your pool pump 25 hours less a week. The routine before FilterBalls was to run the pump during the day, 8am – 6pm roughly, or 10 hrs. per day.

Now, my pump is running (most days) on my pump timer from 6-9am, and 6-9pm, a reduction of 40%, and running when the electricity costs less, off-peak. Our pool-guy editor (Hi, Davy), tells me that this is not enough filtering, 6 hrs per day, especially come August – but you should see how good the water looks after nearly 2 weeks of 6 hr days. We will see how well FilterBalls work overall, when I report my findings near the end of the season.

The FilterBalls Blu10 were officially in action at 12:30 pm on Saturday the 10th of June. By Monday night I was calling for my girlfriend to come out and see what a clear pool really looks like. She didn’t come out. But she appreciated my enthusiasm…I think.

Over the last 12 days I have added only my trusty enzyme Pool First Aid and a treatment of PhosFree, to combat an issue with some soil that washed into the pool, and I’ve shocked once. The pool looks the best it’s looked in years, and the pump (or filter?) is much quieter when it is operating, a significant noise reduction in fact.

In the past, I typically have to fight off cloudy water every other week or so. We’ll see how it goes through the summer, but so far things look great. Stand by for my follow-up report on FilterBalls at season’s end.

Where Do I See Myself Five Years From Now?

filter sand changes are messy and slimyWhen I ask myself this question in regards to the inevitable day when these FilterBalls will need to be replaced by the next generation of FilterBalls, I can tell you much more easily and quite clearly – where I DON’T see myself:

  • I don’t see myself slowly chaffing away my skin with sandy sludge full of who knows what type of bacteria
  • I don’t see myself trying to salvage my laterals from tiny little grains of sand that have clogged the water flow for five years
  • I won’t be careening a wheelbarrow filled with hundreds of lbs of wet sand (it’s way heavier wet!) throughout my yard
  • I don’t see myself buying bottle after bottle of Sand Filter Cleaner in hopes of squeezing a little more life out of the sand

So, do FilterBalls work? The results have been great for me, but in all fairness to you, our loyal In the Swim Blog Reader and fellow pool owner, it’s only 12 days into this romance, but I am thoroughly enjoying the honeymoon.

However, at this early stage I can certainly vouch for this much: FilterBalls are easier to manage, increase your flow rates and lower your filter pressure and they cost less than DE, Cartridges, or other filter sand replacements. And so far, or at least until it gets really hot and not counting stormy days or heavy use when I run the pump longer, I’m reducing my daily energy use by about 40%.

Hayward Superpump VSAnd with the money I will saved from my significantly smaller electric bill (TBD) and less trips to the In The Swim Store for clarifier, I will buy this variable speed Superpump which will use even less energy, saving me more money and making the world a greener, better place. 🙂

Check back in a few months, to read how the rest of the summer turned out. Have you tried FilterBalls Blu10 in your sand filter? Leave a Reply below, we love to hear from our In the Swim Pool Community!

 


Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

Favorite Pool Party’s Over: Clearing Cloudy Water
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Rounding out our 3-part Pool Party Maintenance Series, we take a look at how to get your pool water back to that pre-party sparkle. The party-goers have come and gone; all that’s left is a full recycling bin, and milky, cloudy pool water. With a splash of this and a dash of that we can whip that pool water back into shape just in time for next weekend’s pool BBQ.  Let’s jump right in.

Testing 1-2, Testing 1-2

Taylor Test Kit from In the Swim

After all your hard work and prep to get your pool picture perfect, it can be disheartening to lose site of your pool floor or to notice a ring around your pool’s waterline. Your initial reaction could be to reach for your pool chemical reserves and attack your pool with big doses of clarifiers, algaecide, and stain removers. This could potentially make things worse. An overdose of clarifier can have an opposite effect and adding algaecide and shock together is a waste of algaecide.

First things first!  Make sure your chemical levels are within the ranges below, before moving onto the the next step:

  • pH: 7.2 – 7.6.
  • Total Alkalinity: 80 – 120 ppm.
  • Calcium Hardness: 200 – 400 ppm.
  • Cyanuric Acid: 25 – 50 ppm.

 

Shock First And Ask Questions Later

super pool shock from in the swimOnce your levels are balanced, your first plan of attack should be to shock your pool. Your guests may be gone, but there is most likely a microscopic bacteria party raging on in your water. As clean as your guests may have been, we all carry bacteria and when there has been a heavy bather load, it’s certainly better to be safe and wipe-out all the lingering bacteria and algae.

Perhaps the most overlooked step in recovering your pool water clarity is being sure to brush your pool surfaces frequently, especially after shocking. Not only does this expedite the process by kicking up all the dirt and other debris clinging to your pool floor and walls, but it also helps stir up the pool shock.

You may see an improvement right away after a few hours after you shock your pool, but it isn’t the time to stop your quest to clarify your pool water. There is more work to be done.

Test your pH and Alkalinity levels again to be sure they haven’t drifted, and when the chlorine level drops below 3 ppm, your water is ready for the next step; clarification.

 

I Can See Clearly Now

Natural Chemistry Pool First Aid From In the SwimAfter balancing the water and shocking the pool, restore that shine and sparkle with a clarifier, designed to help your pool filter trap tiny particles.

Choose your weapon: In The Swim Clarifier, is effective and budget friendly and easy to use. For a non-chemical attack, check out Natural Chemistry pool enzymes like Pool First Aid or Pool Perfect + PhosFree.

There are advantages to each of these pool clarifiers. Follow label instructions for water chemistry, apply the recommended dosage and run the filter longer than usual each day. Flocculents like Super Floc will require a slow vacuum-to-waste after treatment. Brushing the pool, or running a pool cleaner can also aid in clearing up cloudy pool water.

Enzyme products cost a bit more, but they also help eliminate stains, allow your chlorine to work better, and in the case of Pool Perfect with PhosFree, act as an algae prevention solution. So, while Natural Chemistry products may cost slightly more, you will ultimately save money by getting more mileage from your chlorine and reducing the need to buy stain prevention chemicals and algaecide.

As always, all of these products need certain water conditions to optimally work to their fullest strength, so be sure to closely follow the instructions. Do not overdose in hopes of speeding things up. It could end up slowing things down.

 

Did We Mention Brushing Your Pool?

Brushing the pool is good for pool surfaces, good for water clarity, and great exercise for you! So, brush your pool…again. And if your pool brush seems too small, or if the bristles are worn halfway down, buy a new pool brush this season!

deluxe pool brushes from intheswim.com

Looking Good, Time For Some Prevention Methods

At this point, (several days into the process) your water will be looking sparkly and pristine and ready for your next shin-dig. If you haven’t used a product like PhosFree or other phosphate removers, we suggest adding the recommended dosage of your algaecide of choice. Since it doesn’t take much algaecide, you probably have some stored away. Now’s the time to use it.

This is also your opportunity to apply a stain prevention or removing chemical. If you have already added enzymes to your pool there is no need to add these chemicals, because the enzymes will already be hard at work cleaning your pool.

Test your pool water one more time, and if if you are feeling particularly thorough, yep, you guessed it, brush your pool! Do I sound like a Dentist, yet?

If your pool was particularly hit with body lotions, oils, and to be perfectly blunt–human sweat – it might be a good idea to use a filter cleaner specialized for your pool filter. It certainly couldn’t hurt!

 

Let’s Party!

in the swim blog clarifying after a pool party

If your party ended Sunday your pool should be looking fresh, clean and sparkling by Wednesday or Thursday – although it could be sooner. It’s important to trust the process and give it some time to clear, while running the filter longer than normal each day.

Did we miss a step that you find offers positive results? Do you have any questions?  We love to hear from our In the Swim Community. Feel free to drop us a line here, on facebook, or email us at socialmedia@intheswim.com.

 


Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s the way pool life should be…

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

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

 


Larry Andersen
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

 


Larry Andersen
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

 

 

Pool Party Etiquette – Don’t be That Guy!
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As a hostess of several pool parties over the last 5 years, I have experienced my share of pool party faux pas, bad decisions by guests and some moments I would rather forget. I’ve collected these moments of pool party fails into a series of anecdotes (or warnings) that will help you be alert for potential mini-disasters when you host your own pool party.

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


Beware the Chemist!

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


The Tosser Guy

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


The Floating Snacker

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


The Gentle Giant

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


The Aquatic Urban Cowboy

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


The Eager Beaver

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


The Thermostat Whiner

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


The Remodeler

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


The Nudist

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


The Nearly Nudist

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


The Fire Stoker

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


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

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

 


Sheryl Sollis
InTheSwim Staff Blogger