Favorite Painting the Pool vs. Plastering the Pool

pool-surface-desicion-purchased thru PresenterMediaOne day you must make a decision. The pool plaster has been looking worse every season. Delaminations, stains, cracks, and generally dull and lifeless.

You’ve read of the new types of pool plaster options available (in my previous post), and had started looking into prices for resurfacing your plaster pool – when it hits you – what if I painted the pool?

Painting pools has been an option even before pool plastering came around. Back in the day, all pools were painted; it was an annual pool opening tradition. When plaster for pools began to be used, pool owners appreciated the long lasting and durable surface and the smooth white finish.

So – let them fight it out! Cage Match! Paint vs. Plaster – who will win? You decide, I’ll just lay out the facts ~ as I see ’em, and let you decide. Should you paint the pool, or replaster the pool?

Longevity Factor:

Pool plaster will most certainly take this round. Pool plaster, when properly mixed, applied, cured and maintained – can last 15-20 years. Pool Paint? Depending on the type of paint used, as well as application and curing factors, 2-7 years of life can be expected from a pool paint job. Round 1 goes to the scrappy young fighter’s scorecard – pool plaster wins!

Durability Factor:

Paints used for pools, spas and fountains, are specifically made for underwater use, and are quite durable against poor water chemistry, temperature extremes and even rough treatment from pool equipment. Plaster however, with it’s usual 1/2 inch thickness, can handle more distress than the thin layer of pool paint. Plaster wins again!

Prep Work Factor:

Both pool paint and pool plaster require that the pool be drained properly and prepared for the new surface.

To paint the pool, you’ll need to degrease the surface with TSP, then acid etch the plaster, followed by another washing and scrubbing with TSP. For acrylic pool paints, the pool can be painted damp, but for epoxy paints (the longest lasting pool paint), you’ll need to let the pool air dry for 3-5 days before painting. Tape off the parts you don’t want to paint, and you’re ready to begin.

Pool plaster requires a much more industrial prep process. After draining, the “cut-n-chip” crew arrives, and with tiny saws, they cut the plaster beneath the tile and around all of the wall and floor fittings. Another crew arrives to acid etch the pool, to roughen the plaster surface, which helps the bond of the new plaster coat. Some plaster companies will make a third trip to apply a “scratch coat” – a rough, textured bond coat that adheres tightly to the old plaster surface, while giving a good surface for the new plaster coat to bond to.

Ding! This round goes to pool paint, which has much easier prep work.

Application Factor:

Once a pool is prepped and ready for paint, the pool painting process is fairly simple. Mix up your pool paint thoroughly and start rolling it on the deep end wall with a 3/8″ nap roller, with a low nap. A 5-gallon bucket with a paint screen is best to move around with, as paint trays tend to spill. Using long, even strokes, apply the first coat, working from the deep end to the shallow end (don’t paint yourself in!). After 4-6 hours, a second coat can be applied, which will require about half of the paint needed on the first coat. Dry time will vary, depending on the paint and outside temperature. Two to five days later, you can fill up the pool.

When pool plaster day arrives, a crew of 4-6 guys will arrive with a large plastering “rig”, or a truck specifically designed for this purpose. One guy remains on the rig, and he mixes up the plaster mix; a mixture of white portland cement and marble dust. Additives for strength or color can be added to the mix at this time.

pool plaster crewWhen ready, the mixer pumps the plaster mix through a thick hose, and the hose man sprays the plaster. With spiked shoes and a bullnosed trowel in each hand, they begin the process of smoothing the plaster evenly over the surface. They need to be careful not to overtrowel the mixture or to delay too long before troweling it smooth.

After 3-4 hours (these guys are fast), your pool will be plastered and a sock is wrapped around a garden hose left in the deep end of the pool. With the hose turned on, the pool begins to fill, without stopping, until the pool is full. You will be left with instructions to care for the water chemistry, and asked to brush the pool twice daily for two weeks, or until the plaster dust is eliminated.

Ding! Round 4 was won on points – by pool paint. If for no other reason than it’s DIY, and pool owner friendly. Anyone can paint a pool. Pool plastering is not something that you should try at home, it is not DIY friendly.

Appearance Factor:

Both new plaster and new paint are looking good! Pool paint is shiny and reflective, and new plaster has a deep luster, like an eggshell. Of course, you can add colors and additives to plaster to create custom tones. You can do the same with paint, and could even paint a mural.

Plaster may look the best for longer, but at least initially, and for the first few years, the appearance of both is fairly equal. Plaster finishes, especially white plaster, can stain easily and look poorly after a few years. Painted pool surfaces wear-thin over time, and after 3, 4, 5 years, you can begin to see the sub-surface show through the thin spots.

Pebble plaster or plaster with quartzite flecks can help hide such stains. Colored plaster (black, grey, blue), where a tint is added, has a problem of highlighting calcium scale that deposits on the surface, which is nearly invisible on white plaster.

Round 5 ends in a tie.

Cost Factor:

The cost of pool plastering starts at 4 thousand dollars, and can be much more if you choose strength additives and pebble or quartz surfaces. Price can be higher in some metro areas, and of course, for larger pools.

intheswim-pool-paintPool paint is one of the most expensive paints I’ve seen, ranging from $50-90 per gallon. Depending on your size of pool, you may need 6-10 gallons, plus some painting supplies. If you paint the pool yourself, you will probably spend $800-900 on materials for the job.

It seems that pool paint may deliver a crushing blow on the cost factor – $1000 vs $5000 – it’s a no-brainer! But remember, pool plaster can last 3-4 times longer than pool paint! If paint lasts, say 5 years, and pool plaster lasts 20 years – they are almost equal in cost. In the long run, yes – but you can never be sure how long it will last, due to the …

Failure Factor:

stick_figure_boxer - purchased from PresenterMediaBack when I was painting pools, we were very careful to prep pools properly and diligently. Nonetheless, about one out of ten paint jobs went bad. Soon after painting, we’d have blisters, or peeling and flaking paint. The result of a bad bond, or bad paint, or too much moisture in the air – never quite sure. But, the fact remains, not every paint job will be a success, and a few might even fail miserably.

Plaster jobs can fail too – small and big, there are lots of different problems that can occur with pool plaster. Spot etching – pits and pockmarks. Delaminations, where large sections fall off the wall, or lift up from the floor – bond failure. Depending on the mix ratios, application temperature and speed, curing, and chemical care after the plaster job – you may see variations in hue, streaking, or trowel burn. I have had almost an equal number (1 in 10) plaster jobs that have some serious defects, some to the point where we have had to re-plaster the pool, to keep the customer happy.

Round 7 – ends in a tie. Both pool paint and pool plaster can fail. But that won’t happen to you, I’m almost sure of it!

The judges are confounded; three rounds went to plaster, three rounds went to paint, and one ended in a tie. They are calling on you to score each round for points. Who wins, Pool Paint or Pool Plaster? You decide, it’s your pool after all!


Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor


New Products for 2020

Hello again, we have taken a short break from blogging, since we’ve been busy adding the entire content catalog of poolcenter.com and poolproducts.com, which took some time!

We hope you enjoy the fresh information! The In The Swim blog is now clearly the largest swimming pool blog on the planet, by a long shot! ūüôā

And now, for the moment we’ve all been waiting for – the pool product showcase for 2020. New products for a new decade – may I have the envelope please?

Pool Refresh

pool-refreshI have to admit that I made a few jokes about Pool Refresh at first, calling it a perfume for your pool. After reading the reviews though, Pool Refresh is the solution for anyone that wants nice smelling pool water that feels soft on skin and hair.

Pool Refresh will de-odorize the water, removing ‘pool smell’, that metallic chlorine odor. Pool Refresh also leaves your skin and hair feeling soft, not dry and itchy, from pool water minerals, salts and chlorine.

So it is then, a deodorant and moisturizer, for your pool. ūüėČ All jokes aside, the reviews are strong, so I tested Pool Refresh on my own pool. I swim almost every day, and noticed the very first day, how my arms don’t smell like chlorine, and how my back and scalp was not itchy after a long swim. Great product for regular use, or use it just for parties and events.

Cyborg Pool Cleaner

cyborg-pool cleanerFor suction side pool cleaners, for years and years there were two models to choose from – the Kreepy/Baracuda style with a flat disk and pulsating flapper or diaphragm, or the gears and turbine of the Arneson/Hayward Pool Vac style of cleaner.

About twenty years ago, a new style emerged, a two-wheeled design with kinetic gearing system, large turbine wheel, and a tabbed skirt on the bottom that maintains suction while moving over debris, uneven floor areas, or pool fittings.

The Cyborg pool cleaner comes with 40 ft of hose, skimmer attachments, hose weights and has a cleaner with indicator light, to let you know it’s working. Makes a great replacement for any of the cleaners listed above, or for any lookalike cleaner, but with more power, quieter operation and fewer parts.

Big Joe Pool Floats

Big Joe is a new pool float company that has a fresh take on fun pool floats and fun pool furniture. Inside are EPS foam beads (Megahh Beans) that fill the inside of Big Joe pool floats and pool chairs. Think, floating bean bags and deck furniture. Yes!

We’ve added 7 new Big Joe products late last year, and customers loved them. We’re adding the entire line (coming soon) of Big Joe plushy pool floats, and super-comfy pool deck chairs.

Check out the Big Joe Pool Petz line of plush pool floats for kids, and the Big Joe Teardrop Chairs and Roma Float & Loungers

J&J Pool Lights

JandJ-ColorSplash-LED-lightNew for 2020, the ColorSplash LED pool and spa lights from J&J Electronics. J&J practically invented color LED pool pool lighting, and has been in the business for nearly 40 years.

Having found great success with their ColorSplash LED bulbs (below), which fit all major manufacturer light housings, J&J naturally went on to make their own underwater LED pool lights, sized to fit all major manufacturer light niches.

ColorSplash LED bulbIntroducing the J&J Electronics ColorSplash Universal LED Pool light, and the J&J Traditional Pool Light.¬†Stylish reflective chrome ring is a universal fit for Hayward, Pentair, Jacuzzi and other light niches with a 9-10″ diameter. The best and brightest color LED pool light available!

So there you go – 4 great new products to greet the new decade!


Davy Merino
In The Swim Blog Editor


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10 Steps – How to Winterize an In Ground Pool

winterize-pool-infographicWinterizing your own swimming pool, or thinking seriously about it? Sure, you can hire a local company to button things up for the season. OR you can save some money and close the pool yourself.

Winter pool closing steps must be done in a very specific order to ensure an easy pool opening the following spring. Follow the guidelines below to close your own swimming pool this winter!

1. Remove ladders and accessories.

Loosen the ladder anchor socket bolt. When it rises about 1/2 inch, knock it down with a heavy wrench. Wiggle the ladder loose so the pool cover will fit properly. Inspect your ladder treads closely for cracks, and tighten any loose ladder bolts. Most ladders can be stored outside, but plastic steps may do better if stored inside. Also remove any handrails, fill spouts, eyeball fittings, pool cleaners and skimmer baskets. Store in a safe place where you can easily find them again in the spring.

2. Balance your water chemistry.

It’s important to start winterizing with balanced pool water. Start with pH, test and adjust within the 7.2-7.4 range using pH Up or pH Down chemicals.Total alkalinity should be in the 80-120 ppm range, and calcium hardness should be around 180-220 ppm. The pool should also be free of any visible algae and be as clean and clear as possible. This step should be completed several days before closing the pool so the chemicals have time to properly disperse.

3. Clean the pool.

Skim, vacuum and brush the pool thoroughly, in that order. This is technically step #4 in the graphic above, but vacuuming the pool can be difficult when the water level is below the skimmer. The pool should be spotless when you cover it. Remove every bit of organic matter possible, and give the pool one final skim (if necessary) before covering it for the winter. A couple days before adding your winter chemicals, you’ll also want to shock the pool. See step #6 for more details. The cleaner the pool is when you close it, the better it will look next spring. Any debris or algae left in the pool during closing will dilute the strength of our winterizing pool chemicals, as these chemicals work on organic matter left in the pool, there is less available for prevention of algae growth during the winter.

4. Lower the water level.

Lower the water level in your pool according to the guidelines below.

If you have an inground pool with a pool safety cover, lower the water level between 6-12″ below the bottom of the tile. If it’s a solid cover, you can just have the water be a few inches below the skimmer. With any safety pool cover, never lower the water more than 18″ from the top of the pool, or top of the coping stone or pool edge. Doing so can increase stress on your safety cover and cause the cover to rip or pull the anchors out of your deck..

If you are using a solid winter pool cover (one that floats on the surface and is held in place by water weights), lower the water level 3-4″ below the bottom of the skimmer opening. The exception to this is if you are using a skimmer plug across the front of the skimmer opening. Working almost like a Tupperware lid for your skimmer, a skimmer plug will seal water out of your skimmer and allow you to keep the water at normal operating levels during winter.

Above ground pools should also have the water lowered no more than 3-4″ below the skimmer. If too much water is removed or if water leaks out during the winter, the cover could fall in. Or the liner can relax and wrinkle, or even worse, the walls could collapse inward without the water holding them up.

5. Turn off the system components

If your heater is a millivolt style with a continuous pilot, turn off the pilot. Shut off the gas supply to the heater, and turn the gas valve to the OFF position. On gas heaters with pressure switches hanging down (Laars style) connected to a siphon loop, disconnect the pressure switch to drain the copper tubing. Open the drain plugs on both intake and outlet headers, making sure your heater is drained completely of pool water.

Shut off power to the pump, light and heater at the circuit breaker box. If you have a timer clock for your pool pump, turn it off and remove the timer dogs. Disconnect power to any other electrical components that you don’t want to operate during the winter, such as a salt system or chemical pump.

6. Add your winter closing kit chemicals.

For this step, we highly recommend using a chlorine-free pool closing kit. These kits come with everything you need, and are packaged according to the size of your pool. They include chlorine-free pool shock, a strong winter algaecide, a stain and scale preventer, a slow-release floater with oxidizing chemicals. Shocking the pool just before adding algaecide can be a problem – the high chlorine levels can break apart the polymer chains in your algaecide and render it useless.

If you are not using a winter closing kit, just be careful when using chlorine floaters. They can sink, tip over or get stuck next to a wall, which will stain a pool’s vinyl or plaster surfaces during the winter. Use a high quality winter algaecide, a stain and scale preventer (chelator or sequestering agent) and some form of oxidizer to winterize your pool. Also be sure to use non-chlorine shock, or only use chlorine shock 5-7 days before closing, to protect your winter algaecide.

If you have a mesh safety cover, we recommend using a pool enzyme product to help control algae growth during the winter. Also helpful is to check the water chemistry during mid spring, about a month before opening, and add another quart of algaecide or refill the floating chemical dispenser.

7. Drain water from pump and filter.

DE filters should be opened up, and the filter grids should be hosed clean and inspected for rips or tears (mild staining is usually OK). Cartridge filters should have the cartridge removed and cleaned thoroughly. In both cases, after cleaning, reinstall the filter media back into the tank for winter storage. Lubricate any filter o-rings you come across in the process.

Adding antifreeze to your pump can damage the pump seal, so this should be avoided at all costs. It’s much better to completely drain all of the water from the pump and filter system, including the chlorinator and heater, or any other pool equipment containing water.

After blowing the lines, place your grid assembly or filter cartridge back in the tank for safekeeping during the winter. Make sure that you secure the filter lid and clamp band very securely before and after blowing lines. Loose or improperly secured filter clamp bands can cause the filter lid to blow off during start-up, with hazardous results.

8. Blow out the water lines.

The very best way to avoid pool closing problems from freeze damage is to “blow the lines” using a small air compressor at low psi or using a high volume blower like a Cyclone vacuum/blower or a powerful shop vac. Blow air through all equipment and pipes, both to and from the pool, and use pool plugs to prevent water from flowing back into the return lines. You’ll also want to install a skimmer guard to absorb the pressure of expanding ice and keep your skimmer from cracking. If you want to add non-toxic pool antifreeze to the lines for added peace of mind, now is the time to do it.

9. Fill water bags or bring up safety cover anchors.

Safety covers will have a series of anchors around the pool, which are recessed flush against the pool deck while the pool is in use. Use an anchor hex key tool to twist the anchors and bring them up to the surface.

If you are using a solid winter pool cover that requires water bags to hold it in place on the pool deck, fill the water bags where they will lay. If filled elsewhere, be careful not to drag or drop the water bags as they are moved around the pool. Fill bags only 80% full to allow for expansion as the water freezes. Keeping several small pails or pans of water around the pool is a good idea to keep birds and critters from poking holes in the pool water bags for a drink. If you’re wanting something a little more durable than thin water tubes, you can also try using a product like Aqua Bloks, which will hold up to many years of use.

Above ground pools should use an Air Pillow, also called a pool pillow or an ice equalizer pillow, to absorb the expansion of the ice and prevent the ice sheet on the surface from putting pressure on the pool walls. Go ahead and inflate the pillow – about 60-80% will be sufficient.

10. Cover the pool.

Skim the pool once more if needed. The pool should be as clean as possible! Also make sure that the pool cover is clean. If you spread a dirty cover across the pool that you just cleaned and winterized, you may be in for a mess come springtime. As you spread the cover over the pool, inspect closely for tears or rips. If possible, move these problem areas to the deck or close to the edge. You won’t want to put the cover pump in those areas – you’ll end up pumping your pool water out of the pool through the holes in the cover. Apply cover patches as needed – there are poly patches for solid winter covers and mesh or solid patches for safety covers. Secure the cover with water bags (inground winter cover), straps and anchors (safety cover) or a cable-&-winch assembly (above ground winter cover), depending on the type of pool cover you’re using.

That’s all there is to it! Keep an eye on the pool cover during the winter. Keep it as clean and dry as possible, and adjust as needed to keep it secure. Remember that solid pool covers with water bags are not safety pool covers, and can be very dangerous for kids or adults who accidentally fall on top off them. Restrict access to the pool area during the winter and keep an eye on the kids!


Rob Cox
In The Swim Blog Editor


Above-Ground Pool Safety

above ground pool with fence
Aboveground pools – are they safer than inground pools?

That is a common statement made by an above ground pool salesman, that because of their height they are harder for small children to get into, and because of their depth, easier to stand up inside of. Most above ground pools do not have deep ends, and although pool depths are getting deeper now, with dealers offering up to 54″ depths, the standard may still be considered 48 inches.

aboveground-pool-ladder-unsafeAccording to the most recent drowning statistics from the CPSC, for children under age 15, nearly 60 percent of fatalities took place in inground pools, followed by aboveground pools (14 percent) and portable pools (9 percent). Many states have revised their definitions of pools, to include the smaller, soft sided pools, of depths greater than 24 inches. These revisions were due to a sharp increase in the incidences occurring in very small inflatable pools. It is true that a small child can drown in 6 inches of water, as many bathtub tragedies attest to.

The low cost of Intex type pools have made them very popular, but small pools such as this are easily accessed by small children, with un-lockable ladders, nearby chairs, and a soft, easy to roll into side. Children less than 3 feet tall are at great risk in the vicinity of soft sided pools.

Here’s some tips for keeping your above ground pool safer:

  • Install surround above ground pool fencing, required in many states.
  • Ladders should be safety type ladders, with a locking gate or ladder.
  • Decks from the house should have self-closing, self-latching gates.
  • Doors leading to pool decks should use door alarms.
  • Pool alarms make a good final Layer of Protection.
  • Teach your babies to swim, and teach them pool safety, too.

Just because a pool is¬†smaller, don’t think it’s safer.¬†

safe pool ladder
Many baby humans are much smaller than the depth of many above ground pools. They also tire easily and may not have learned how to swim, or survive in water.¬†When non swimmers are in panic, they forget that they can push off the bottom, and very small¬†children don’t understand this.

  • Even very small inflatable pools of 18″ depth, can be dangerous in the backyard with unsupervised toddlers. Better to drain the water after each use for inflatable pool safety.
  • If your pool is deeper than 24″ check with your local health department¬†to find out if a fence or pool alarm has been mandated.
  • During winter, safety is also important. Above ground pool covers have claimed many young lives. When¬†one falls¬†on a floating solid pool cover, the material grabs around your legs, with the weight of the water inside the pool. The trapped person begins to thrash about on the cover, and with rain water on top, or if the cover comes loose on an edge, the rushing water can easily overcome a young non swimmer.

Portable pools – those with the inflatable top ring, as shown to the left, or smaller, inflatable pools, have caught the attention of legislators recently. Previously outside of regulations for pool safety, New York and Tennessee, for example, have drafted new laws to require fencing and/or pool alarms to be used when these pools are filled.

Portable pools are quick and easy to purchase and set up – so quick in fact, that little thought is given to their safety. Here’s some tips to increase pool safety for portable pools.

  1. Check with your local Building & Zoning commission to inquire about laws related to portable or soft-sided pools.
  2. The ladder shown in this picture is extremely unsafe. Use pool ladders that have a locking stair or flip-up type of ladder.
  3. Keep all chairs, tables or any item far away from the pool. Small children may use these to climb up and over the pool side.
  4. Cover your portable pool when not in use, or drain the pool for extended periods of non-use.
  5. Lock doors leading out to the pool, for extra safety, add door alarms to all points of egress.
  6. Teach small children to never use the pool alone, and if you catch them near the pool alone – use some discipline.

Because of the low height of portable pools, the ease of access, and an attitude that it’s a safer pool, nearly 10% of child drownings in the US during 2010 occurred in “Easy-Set” style Intex pools. If you are considering one of these pool types, or if you already own one, make sure to follow the guidelines above, to prevent another tragedy from occurring in your own backyard.

Even if you don’t have small children of your own, proper pool safety practices can keep children of friends and neighbors safe.


Rob Cox
In The Swim Blog Editor


Smart Inground Pool Equipment Upgrades

pool-kit-equipment-upgrades One of the early discussions we have with our DIY pool kit customers about construction involves the “pool equipment”, or the pump, filter, heater and sanitizing equipment.

Our Deluxe and Deluxe Plus Inground Pool Kits both include the very capable Hayward S-244T sand filter and a 1hp Hayward Superpump. This standard set-up is simple to install and maintain, and with a bit of chlorine tablets, it could be all you need for your pool water. And it is Рfor approximately half of our DIY pool kit customers. The other half are looking for a bit more.

Variable Speed Pumps Required in 2021

In 2021, a new law goes into effect, requiring new or replacement pool pumps 1-hp and larger to be a variable speed, or multi-speed pump.

A variable speed pump can save up to 40-80% on your energy bill. The range depends primarily on filter system factors; the most gain will come from using larger 2″ to 2.5″ PVC plumbing, with sweep elbows and large cartridge filters, and/or other ways to make the plumbing system as least restrictive as possible. This in turn, requires less work from the pool pump, which reduces RPMs and amperage draw from the motor.

For plans to install a water feature or a spa/hot tub, the best option is also to install a Variable Speed pump such as the Hayward Max-Flo VS or a Pentair SuperFlo VS pump.

Upgrades to the Pool Filter

swimming-pool-filtersSand filters are the easiest to maintain and use, and certainly effective, but if you do not want a sand filter you could upgrade to a Cartridge Filter or a Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) Filter.

Cartridge Filters offer longer filter cycles, or time between cleanings, better filtering ability and water savings. Cartridge filters save water because they are not backwashed, but hosed clean. Sized properly, a cartridge filter can go 3-6 months between cleanings. And because they have no backwash valve; cartridge filters have the lowest resistance rating, or the least amount of back-pressure, among all pool filter types.

D.E. pool filters are the best type of filter in terms of their ability to filter out small particles. Very small – down to 2-3 microns. When your filtering is better, you may be able to run the pump less, or need less sanitizer to keep the water clear. D.E. filters are the most expensive of the 3 filter types, and they also are a bit more complicated, with the most parts – but are the best at keeping your water clear, and in clearing up water problems.

Water Temperature Upgrades

Similar to the choices in Pool Filters, there are also 3 different options available for heating your inground swimming pool.

solar-panels-on-roof-of-garageSolar Heating panels. Typically, solar heating panels are mounted on the roof or on a rack. You want to mount the panels in a location where you can get the most sunlight during the course of the day, usually a southern exposure. Solar pool heaters work by pumping your water through black panels where it absorbs the sun’s heat. It then returns to the pool through your normal return line. After the initial purchase price of the solar panels there is no other expense, it is essentially free heat. For the best performance and greatest heat gain, you want at least 50% of your pool’s square footage in solar panels, although adding less will still raise the temperature 5-10 degrees.

lochinvar-energyrite-pool-heaterGas Pool Heaters are available in either natural gas or liquid propane. With a natural gas heater you run a gas line from the meter on the house over to the pool heater. Make sure the gas line is sized correctly or the heater will not work properly. In order to install the correct size gas line, you will need to know the exact distance from the heater to the gas meter. The further the distance, the larger the gas line that is required. If you use propane, a new gas line from the LP tank to the pool heater can be run by your propane provider.

With a gas heater you can heat on demand – and it is definitely quicker to heat your swimming pool with a gas heater than with the other two methods. With a gas heater, bigger is always better; as it will increase the temperature of the water faster. This is important if you are adding a spa next to the pool, or if you plan to heat the pool intermittently; on weekends for example.

Pool Heat Pumps are the third option. A heat pump works like a reverse air conditioning unit. It transfers heat from the outside air to your swimming pool. Warm air is drawn over the evaporator coil by the fan; while your pool water runs through the heat exchanger and absorbs the heat. The cost to purchase an electric heat pump is more expensive for the initial purchase but if you take into consideration on how much it will cost to run the gas line to the pool heater you are almost at the cost of a heat pump.

A pool heat pump can save up to 80% of heating costs, when compared to a gas pool heater. With an electric heat pump you can maintain a constant temperature throughout the entire day. To install a pool heat pump you will need a dedicated 220v electrical line and a 50-60 amp breaker to power it. I have a pool heat pump on my own pool in Massachusetts and for us, it was a better option than a gas heater.

Other equipment upgrades

hayward-colorlogic-LED-pool-light-LED lighting РNew generation LED pool lighting allows you to change the pool light to different colors. There are 5 fixed colors and 7 color changing light shows. Your kids and their friends will love the deep colors in the pool.

A less expensive way to bathe your pool in deep color is to use the Amerlite LED bulb, which fits all inground pool lights that use a R-40 type flood bulb. Even if you buy an entire new Pentair Amerlite pool light, the light + bulb is cheaper than an LED lamp.

hayward auto chlorinatorChlorinators¬†– Our Deluxe pool kit includes a Hayward Offline Chlorinator which allows you to dispense chlorine into the pool by adding chlorine tablets into the chlorinator. If you don’t like your current chlorinator, or have struggled with with hose and check valve issues or lid sealing issues, take a look at the Pentair Rainbow chlorine feeder.

Salt Systems РOur Deluxe Plus kit includes the Hayward Aqua-Rite chlorine generator. This is one of our most popular upgrades. A salt system will make your pool water soft & silky and much more enjoyable to swim in. When using a salt water chlorine generator you will never have anyone complain about burning eyes, skin discomfort, bleached hair or swim suits, or chlorine odor. All without any taste of salt in the pool water. Less maintenance and easy sanitation with a saltwater pool system.

dolphin cleanerRobotic pool cleaner РOur Deluxe Plus pool kit includes the Aquabot robotic pool cleaner. This style of pool cleaner is the easiest and best way to clean your pool. Robotic pool cleaners plug into an 110v electrical outlet with a 24v transformer. An advantage of robotic cleaners is that all of the debris goes into a very fine mesh filter bag or cartridge inside the filter, no debris goes through the filter system.

Nature2 helps reduce the chlorine level you need to use in your swimming pool by about 50%. Nature 2 Express has copper; silver and zinc that are released into the pool which helps reduce the chlorine demand. Nature2 makes the water softer, purifies the water clear and controls algae. With Nature2, you can reduce the amount of chlorine in the pool to 0.5 ppm Рless than half of what you would normally need. This can make your swimming pool water healthier and more enjoyable to swim in.

Eco-friendly Pool Equipment Upgrades

For the pool owner that wants to have a “Green Pool”, here is a list of pool equipment that will make your neighbors “green” with envy.

  • Cartridge Pool Filters.¬†As mentioned, cartridge filters save water because they are not backwashed – the cartridges are removed and sprayed clean with a garden hose. They also do not use Diatomaceous Earth, which although organic and natural, can harm aquatic organisms, if pumped directly towards a body of water.
  • LED Pool Lights.¬†Old school pool lights are 500 watt R-40 flood lamps. LED pool lights use only a small fraction of that, plus – last 10x longer than R-40 bulbs.
  • Salt Chlorinators.¬†You’re still using chlorine, but you are reducing the amount produced and shipped around the country when you make your own chlorine.
  • Solar Pool Heaters.¬†No emissions, no electricity – just pure “green” heat for your pool.
  • Pool Heat Pumps.¬†They use only about 100 watts, and have zero emissions.
  • Nature2 / Ozone.¬†Alternative purifiers reduce your need for chlorine tablets.
  • Variable Speed Pumps.¬†75% savings is hundreds of dollars per year.
  • Time Clocks or Controllers.¬†You do not need to run the pump 24/7.

Pool kit equipment upgrades – you do not need to have them – but the features and benefits certainly make them desirable. We offer these upgrades to all our DIY inground pool builders, but you’ll find no pressure from us at all to add any additional or optional equipment to your¬†inground pool kit. In most cases, you can upgrade down the road if you wish.

This post is also green, having used 80% fewer images! For more information on any of these upgrades, you can reach me and the rest of the guys on our “DIY pool construction support line” –¬†800-288-SWIM.


chris low
Chris Low
SPP Pool Expert


Keeping Animals & Critters Out of Your Pool

there's a snake-in-my-poolCritters in the pool! Some people can’t stand to see bugs, frogs, ducks or dogs in their pool, and almost everyone would swim faster at the sight of a snake swimming with them!

Fact is, bodies of water are a natural habitat for many animals. They prefer darker, more vegetated areas that provide some protection from predators, but your pretty blue pool will sometimes do the job.

bug iconThis blog post will cover some of methods of discouraging certain animals and other pests from using your pool as their own private oasis.


I’ve heard that snakes prefer a black-bottomed pool (one that is painted or plastered black) to a traditional blue or white pool. This may be true, I’m not sure. Most snakes, except for aquatic snakes such as water moccasins, probably fall into the pool by accident. But they may have trouble getting out, unless you have an easy step or ramp for the serpents to slither up!

To prevent snakes from coming into the area, here are some old home remedies to scare snakes away from the pool.

  1. Sprinkle granular sulfur around the outside perimeter of the pool deck, or in the edging of planter beds. Snakes hate the smell, and it gives them a little “belly rash” when they crawl over it.
  2. Spread cloves or dried garlic around the perimeter of the pool deck, or edge of planter beds. Works on vampires, too!
  3. Plant mint leaves and lemongrass. Snakes don’t like it!


Not surprisingly, frogs love water. So much so that a smart inventor created a product called Frog Log, which provides an exit ramp for frogs, toads, crickets and other such critters. Another product that helps in the same way is called the Critter Skimmer. The Critter Skimmer is a specially modified skimmer lid with a spiral ramp on the inside, which allows frogs and other small critters to climb up and out of the swirling skimmer. Whew!

I have heard of folks who catch the frogs in nets and jars, then they drive down to the river and release them.That’s the more frog-friendly way to do it, I suppose. But if you’re looking for a method to keep them out of the pool in the first place, try using a¬†rubber snake. Frogs and snakes are¬†not¬†friends. If you place a few around the deck or in the pool, you can scare the frogs – and maybe Grandma, too!

Frogs also don’t like high chlorine levels or low pH. I’ve heard that if you sprinkle¬†DE¬†filter powder¬†along the outer deck edge or in the planters, it will deter the frogs from entering the pool area. If you see frog eggs floating in the pool, try to remove them with a small bucket or jar. A skimmer net will sometimes disperse the dozens of little black dots across the water.


Lo-Chlor Duck Off

Ducks are some of the messiest visitors to your pool, if you know what I mean. They drastically affect the pH level¬†and increase chloramine production. Cute too look at, especially when the whole family moves in, but oh, what a mess! It’s usually only temporary, and ducks move on, but sometimes they stay awhile.

If you post a few plastic owl sentries around, the ducks may avoid your house and settle down on your neighbor’s pool instead. A large barking dog will likely do the trick as well. One chemical product that has been around for several years is called “Duck Off”. Funny name, I know. But it really works! Duck Off changes the surface tension on the water so that the ducks don’t like it, but the effect is not noticeable by humans. Using an automatic pool cleaner or scary-looking pool floats, like a¬†shark¬†or¬†alligator, will also deter ducks since these products resemble predators in the water. Some pool owners have also found that using a¬†solar pool cover or out Leaf Catcher cover, a net for the pool, can keep ducks from landing on the pool surface.


If your dog loves to jump in the pool, and you would rather he didn’t, you might need to get creative.¬†Some dogs love to go in the pool, and some dogs won’t even go near the pool. Still others just like to chase the pool cleaner around, barking at it. If your dog is a swimmer, boost the chlorine level after use, and check the hair lint basket for dog hair.

If you worry about an older dog – or even a younger dog – falling in the pool and not being able to get back out, check out these¬†pet pool safety ramps. If your pool has no “wedding cake” style steps or swimout, a dog that falls (or jumps) in the pool could tire out, panic and drown.¬†Skamper Ramp¬†and Doggy¬†Docks were made specifically for this very purpose. These are also helpful for cats, raccoons or other small animals that may fall into the pool.


bichos-skimmer Whether you’re in the water or lounging nearby, bugs can be a big nuisance around swimming pools. Thankfully, there are several methods that can be used to keep the bugs away from your pool. One way to help with mosquito problems is to keep the water circulating so the water doesn’t become stagnant. Keeping a cover on the pool while it’s not in use will also drastically reduce the amount of bugs residing in your pool. Keeping the pool area clear of overgrowth, regularly cleaning the pool and using bug zappers, traps or repellent candles can also help control a bug problem.

If you continue to see bugs floating on the surface of the pool, you might need to alter the surface tension of the water. This is something that you won’t notice while swimming, but it prevents bugs from being able to float, and they’ll sink to the bottom of the pool to be filtered out. There are a couple of products on the market that will accomplish this (Bug Off by Lo-Chlor, or GLB Bug Out). Or, if you’d prefer, you can also make a homemade version to spray on the water:

critter skimmerFor bugs in the skimmer basket, among other things, you can use the Tower Skimmer basket, shown, which is made to fit the most popular inground pool skimmers.Or we also have the Critter Skimmer, a replacement inground pool skimmer lid, that has a ramp to freedom, built into the cover.

skimmer angelYou can also tack on a handle onto your existing skimmer basket, with the Skimmer Angel. This comes with two stainless steel screws to secure it to the bottom of your skimmer basket. Then you just grab the handle, without reaching so far into the deep, dark skimmer!

  1. Dilute 3 tbsp liquid dish soap into 16-32 oz. of water, and put it in a spray bottle.
  2. Shake the bottle to mix it. It should only be slightly foamy on top, and the liquid should be clear.
  3. Spray groups of bugs you’re able to get to, then spray the water around the perimeter of the pool. To prevent foamy water or soapy residue, not use more than 1 bottle of the solution at a time!
  4. The bugs will eventually drown, and can be removed with a skimmer, pool cleaner or by the pool filter.

How to Keep Bugs Out of the Pool Area

bug iconWhy do bugs end up in the pool anyway? Many are lured to water by instinct, for replenishing moisture, or for laying of eggs, and perhaps some bugs enjoy the pool lifestyle for relaxation and recreation.

1. Today’s Modern Bug Traps

CO2 bug zapperBug traps have come a long way since the fly strip that used to hang-up in your great grandparents kitchen. Bug traps have also gone past the bug zappers that fry the bugs. Quiet, efficient vacuum traps lure them in with lighting and CO2, and a vacuum sucks them into infinity.

2. SolaMist Mosquito and Insect Misting System

solamist mosquito repellantBug traps are great for flying pests, but what about land-based insects like ants, centipedes, spiders and such? One company makes a solar-powered bug spray system with 90 ft of hose and 20 nozzles, attached to a 12-gal tank of bug spray. Fully solar powered and wifi enabled so you can control spray times and check system status.

3. Transonic Pro All-Pest Repeller

transonic-pro-bird-x Bird-X Transonic Pro Ultrasonic All-Pest Repeller uses sound waves to deter unwanted pests. Custom frequencies are easily set to repel birds and waterfowl, or for bats, mice or chipmunks. Other frequencies are used to chase away smaller insects like stink bugs, ants or beetles. Pets don’t mind, covers 3500 square feet.

A high chlorine level and well maintained pool water chemistry can also help deter bugs and birds from visiting your pool, or may shorten their visit. Another product that some of our customers use for Ducks and water fowl is the Leaf Catcher pool net.

Now you know a bit more about critters in your pool. If you have stories of battles with creatures of the backyard, fill in a comment below!


Rob Cox
In The Swim Blog Editor


Pool Opening Saltwater Pool

saltwater-pool-opening-iStock-883002782 (1)Starting up a salt water pool is similar to opening a regular pool, but there are some distinct differences that should be noted. It starts the same way as every pool opening, and ends nearly the same way – it’s a few steps in the middle that require some rethinking.


You could call it summerizing the pool, un-winterizing is the reverse of the winterization. First step is to replace the plugs on the equipment. The drain plugs for the pump and filter are re-tightened, using fresh Teflon tape on the threads, and a small amount of lubricant on drain plugs with gaskets.

Next is removing the pool plugs. Your skimmers, wall returns and cleaner lines should be plugged tightly. You will know if the lines were empty if water rushes in to fill the pipes, as the plugs are removed. Use a good pool lubricant to grease-up the pump lid o-ring, and replace the pressure gauge on the pool filter.

If you removed your salt cell for the winter, place it back in place with a small bit of pool lube on the union o-rings. Tighten salt cell unions fully, and plug the salt cell to the controller. Plug the controller into the outlet, but keep the salt system OFF for now. Check over the entire system, and check tightness of all clamp bands, hose clamps, unions and other connections. Open all valves, so that the water can flow freely through the filter system.


backwash hoseFill the pump with water, or for aboveground pools, just open the valve to flood the pump basket. Check one more time that everything is tight and all the pool plugs have been removed, and the system valves are open. If you have a multiport valve, set it to Drain to Waste position, and roll out the backwash hose. This lets you discharge the gunk and worms from skimmers and drains.

Open the filter air relief bleeder valve on top of the filter tank, and turn on the filter pump. Run for several minutes with open all lines fully, and then empty the pump basket. After discharging the gunky water, switch a multiport valve to Filter position and turn the pump to filter position. Watch the filter pressure closely, if it spikes to over 30 psi, shut off the pump quickly, and find out why. When the air relief starts to spray water, close the bleeder valve. Inspect your filter system for anything dripping or leaking.

Do not turn on the salt cell yet!


Before we ask the salt cell to get to work making chlorine, the water chemistry must be tested and adjusted as needed. When all the tests are in the proper ranges, your pool water can be said to be balanced. For advanced water balance computations, enter your test kit readings on the Pentair LSI calculator.

taylor-fas-dpd-test-kits-k20061-aBe sure to use a reliable test kit like the Taylor K-2005 or the 7-way test strips to measure your water balance. Test kit reagents and strips will generally last for 2-3 seasons, if kept in a dark and cool location. For saltwater pools, it is best to run a lower pH and higher alkalinity level, or pH of 7.2 Р7.4 and total alkalinity of 100-125 ppm. Calcium Hardness is also important, add calcium chloride if levels are under 180 ppm.

Cyanuric Acid levels are very important for saltwater chlorinators. Every salt system manufacturer recommends stabilizer or conditioner to protect the chlorine from quick degradation by the sun, which causes the salt cell to overwork. 30-50 ppm is recommended, add Stabilizer if below 30 ppm.


I hope you were patient, and waited to shock the pool until now! Shocking with powdered chlorine shock, or liquid bleach to super-chlorinate the pool is important to break apart contaminants and bacteria in the water that has been stagnant for so long.

super-pool-shock-intheswimIf your pool water is clean and clear, you will need much less chlorine than if your pool is green and cloudy. A clear pool can use 1 lb of pool shock per 10000 gallons, but a green pool can require 3-5 lbs per 10K gallons. Keep adding until the water turns a blue-grey color, then add a bit more for good measure.

Test the water after 12 hours, and if the chlorine level has fallen near zero (so quickly), shock the pool again. But if you can test a good reading of free chlorine, an additional shock is not necessary, unless the water is still green.


salt-test-strips-poolEvery salt system manufacturer has specific recommendations for the salt level, aka salinity level of the pool water. This is very important to the proper operation of a salt cell – so much that most salt systems have salt sensors and low salt indicators, and will shut down at very low salt levels.

Use a reliable¬†salt test strip¬†to check your salt levels. We also have¬†salt meters¬†that measure it electronically and display digitally. Taylor makes a dropper style tester, the very accurate K-1766 salt test kit. Even if your salt system displays a salt reading, it’s a good idea to test the water.


blog-aquasaltMost saltwater pools need a booster dose of salt added in spring, especially if you lowered the water level for winter. This can be between 10%-20% of the entire pool water volume in most cases. This can require 1 or 2 bags of pure pool salt, like Aqua Salt. Pour around the pool edge, and use a brush to help disperse and dissolve.

Do not use solar salt or water softener salt or winter salt treat! These all contain impurities that can cause stains and may void your salt system warranty. Use only Pool Salt, do not use Food Grade salt, which may contain iodine or other additives. Pure NaOCl only Р100% sodium chloride.


Finally you are ready to start making your own chlorine. I assume that you have already cleaned the salt cell last fall and you don’t have any scale deposits on your salt cell that could hinder chlorine production, and shorten cell lifespan!

Turn on the salt system, and set-up the sanitation modes the way that you like. Be sure to test your water several times per week, to fine tune the chlorine production levels, and maintain good pH, alkalinity and stabilizer levels for the summer.

Voila! Your salt water pool is now open. Key Takeaways of today’s blog post are: Balance the water first, shock (Heavily) with chlorine second, and third, be sure the salt level is spot-on before turning on your salt cell. You coulda just skipped down to the end, but I hope you didn’t!

If you found this blog post helpful, won’t you consider purchasing some of our¬†pool opening chemicals¬†or¬†salt system accessories! We would love it if you would help sponsor my small salary! ūüėČ


Sheryl Somers
SPP Pool Expert


Phased-In Pool Construction – Spreading out the Cost

If you are considering building your own inground swimming pool – one of the driving factors for wanting to do it yourself could be the cost. Hiring a local pool company to build your pool can add $15-20,000 to the cost of your pool. You can build your own pool for about half the cost of what a local pool company would charge. Big savings – but for some of us (myself included), installing even a half-price pool puts a bit of a strain on the household finances. Here’s some ways to spread out the cost of an inground pool construction project.

Do It Yourself

When building your inground pool kit the best way to control cash flow would be to do as much work as possible yourself.You will need certain tradesmen for portions of the job, such as excavation and electrical – but most everything else you can coordinate and control yourself. In this way – you’ll be paying yourself, and saving thousands of dollars.

You do not need to be a former contractor, or have any specialized knowledge to build your own pool. You do need patience, planning, and at times – a strong back, but even the most hesitant homeowners I have worked with have been able to build their own inground pool successfully.

Hire an Excavator

Most homeowners do not own their own Back hoe for excavating, so that is one part of the pool kit construction project it makes more sense to hire someone. I have talked to some homeowners that rent a machine to dig the hole themselves thinking they are going to save money, but that may not be the case because most rentals are daily and it takes them 3 days to dig the hole. These customers end up spending much more money – it would have been cheaper (and easier!) to hire an experienced excavator.

Set a Pool Budget

I built my own inground pool and I had a budget that I needed to stick with – so I know firsthand how to spread out building the inground pool to match cash flow. I did hire an excavator to dig my hole and to backfill my pool after the pool walls were built. And an electrician – to make sure that power was proper. I had to watch my pennies on every portion of my inground pool project. After writing a check for my water delivery my pool kit budget was maxed out.

“Hire” your Friends

When it comes to assembling the steel or polymer walls for the pool I had a few of friends come over to help me; I provided them with steaks and beer which was much cheaper than hiring someone to assemble the pool frame. The plumbing for the pool can be done by you – as I did on my own pool so there is no expense for that part of the project.

Bribing your friends with food and beer, or with stories of how they can come over anytime to use the pool “We just have to build it first!”¬†may help you get helpers.

Hire a Certified Electrician

Once the pool walls are assembled, the pool frame and anything metal has to be bonded and grounded by a licensed electrician. If you have a friend or someone you know that is a certified electrician – this is the time you ask for a favor and have him help you out. I did not know any licensed electricians so I had to hire one – which cost me a pretty penny. Working with a smaller company may save you money, just make sure that they are licensed, so that you do not have any problems if the inspector asks who did the work.

Delay the Pool Deck Installation

Instead of installing my concrete patio right away after the pool was built I waited about 4 months for the ground to settle. Larry did the same thing when he built his DIY pool kit last summer. He’s planning on installing the pool deck in a few months.

What I did so the kids could still use the swimming pool was purchase some outdoor carpeting going from the backdoor of my house over to the pool step; this allowed the kids to get in and out of the pool without getting dirt all over the place.

Landscaping Over Time

I have had my pool for 8 years and each year we add a little more landscaping to our pool – we are finally almost done! After the pool is built, the backyard is a wreck. Sure, you could hire a landscaping company to design a beautiful backyard; laying new sod, planting new bushes and planter areas. As mentioned already, I was already out of cash after paying for the pool water. I had a beautiful inground pool, surrounded by … dirt. We planted grass the first season, added a pool deck the next year, and slowly but surely, each spring we get out there and add more landscaping around the pool. It’s looking great now!

Build the Pool in the Fall

One scenario to match cash flow to your inground pool construction project would be to build the pool in the fall, let the ground settle over the winter time and then finish the pool deck in the spring. If you save over the winter, you can scrape together the money you need for the patio. Or, if there is a sizable tax refund expected, you can earmark these funds to complete your pool deck and add some landscaping design around your swimming pool area.

Finance your DIY Inground Pool Kit

Most banks offer a low interest home improvement loan or home equity loan that you can acquire for building an inground swimming pool. At In The Swim we are proud to announce that we have Easy Financing available for DIY inground pool construction. One of our most popular loans is a 0% interest loan for 18 months. We also have an unsecured Home Improvement loan, similar to a traditional bank loan. Call and speak to one of our inground pool experts for more information on these pool financing programs.

Put it on Lay-a-Way

The cost of the hardware (inground pool kit) is about a quarter to a third of the overall pool project cost. Our inground pool kits cost $5,000-$7,000, depending on size and options that you choose. We currently have dozens of home owners who have pool kits on our Deferred Payment Program in anticipation of receiving their fully paid pool by late spring. There is only a $10 charge for the lay-a-way program, and no risk Рshould you change your mind.

Delay your Payments

Most contractors require a deposit but all require a different amount. Excavators, electricians, plumbers will usually ask for a down payment to reserve a spot on the calendar. The balance of payment may be required on job completion, but you may be able to delay payment by 30 days – or longer, depending on how well they manage their accounts receivable. Deliveries of gravel, sand and concrete may require a credit card or payment at the time of delivery – but not in all cases.

Lean on Us!

With the installation manuals and the support of the inground pool experts at In The Swim you should be able to finish the pool kit construction project yourself. We are here every step of the way for any questions or concerns with building an inground pool in your backyard. And, we do not charge for our support either – it’s absolutely Free!

You may have some questions or concerns at this point – after reading this post. Give us a call at 800-288-SWIM, and try out our friendly, knowledgeable support – you won’t be disappointed!


chris low
Chris Low
SPP Pool Expert


What’s Better than a 2-Speed Pump? A Variable Speed Pump!

Two-Speed pool pumps were introduced in the 70’s in response to the energy crisis. For many states, the energy crisis never stopped, and by 2021, pool owners and pool service companies are required to install multi-speed or variable speed pumps, when replacing a pump over 1 hp. It’s good policy, because it’s a win-win. The utility company has more supply, and the pool owner instantly cuts their pump electric bill in half.

In The Swim has partnered with famed pump manufacturer Hayward to provide our inground pool kit customers with a unique variable pool pump that is solidly built.

2-Speed vs. 3-Speed

2-Speed Pumps can operate on high (3450 RPM) or on low (1725 RPM). They are meant to run in low speed all the time, and then switch to high speed for just a few hours per day. The problem is, wiring 2-speed pumps is a challenge, and costs extra Рbecause now you need to buy a two-speed timer, and you need to add another wire, the low speed wire. Pool forums are full of people trying to figure out how to convert from single speed to dual speed.

speck-wiring-diagramSIMPLE TO WIRE: Variable Speed pumps by Hayward are simple to wire, just bring in two 115v wires (Line 1 and Line 2), and connect the green ground wire Рthe same wiring as any single speed pump using 230v. No need to change your timeclock or run another wire, which adds hundreds of unexpected dollars to the job, just reconnect the existing wires in the same fashion.

SIMPLE TO USE:¬†Hayward’s Superpump VS comes on in priming mode for 2 minutes, then switches to high speed for two hours before switching to your choice of medium or low speed. When shut off, manually or by your timeclock, the cycle begins again. Control panel allows you to switch speed at any time. Used in this manner, you do not need to switch it from high to low, it’s done automatically for you by the controller.

3 SPEED SETTINGS HIGH SPEED: 3450 RPM Рused for vacuuming, water features or pool cleaners. MEDIUM SPEED: 2600 RPM Рused for gentle spa action,or increased filtration. LOW SPEED: 1600 RPM Рused for everyday filtration and skimming of the pool.

SIMPLE TO FIX:¬†The advanced diagnostics of the Hayward pool pump alerts you with a single Error indicator light. The number of times it flashes tells you what’s up – from low voltage (2 flashes), to overheating (4 flashes) – it even senses if the motor shaft is locked up (6 flashes).

But, it’s not likely that you’ll have to repair this pump anytime soon. The motor is brushless, permanent-magnet DC motor. These motors run cool, and quiet, not like standard motors that run loud and hot.

Speck pump parts are quality made (and yes, we also have replacement parts for Speck pumps), and all pumps are factory tested before shipment.

Want another good reason to buy a Hayward pump? All plastic parts are made using 100% recycled plastics. Efficient and Eco-Friendly!

Take Care ~ let us know if you have any questions about switching from a single speed to a variable speed pool pump.

By 2021, all new pumps 1 hp and above will be required to be Variable Speed!


Matt Spencer
SPP Pool Expert


DIY Pool Openings: How to Open Your Own Pool

I was out in the field doing pool openings for over 30 years and I’ve seen a lot of different things. One time I reached into a pump basket and pulled out a live snake. I was so shocked I threw it about 15 ft in the air. Well, my brother-in-law was laying on the pool deck with his shirt off, unplugging a wall return.

As you probably guessed the snake landed right on his back. I thought it was real funny; he wasn’t laughing at all. I’ve opened up heater doors and a family of mice ran out at me. I guess that was their winter home. Despite these horror stories, anyone can open their own inground pool and usually without any surprises!

stepone Remove the Cover:¬†If you have a solid pool cover, you will have to make sure the cover is free of water. And while you’re draining the water off the pool cover, drop a hose in the pool underneath the cover to start filling it up. Two people make removing the cover easier. One on each side of the shallow end pulling against each other and fan folding the cover. You can then bring the cover to another area where you can clean and fold.

steptwo Reinstall Equipment: When the cover is off, you want to reinstall any removed equipment such as ladders, hand rail, diving board. Back at the filter system, replace any gauges, drain plugs, basket, backwash hose Рwhatever was removed for winter. Depending on how it was closed you may only have to put back in the drain plugs on the pump and filter.

stepthreeStart-Up the Pump: Making sure you have removed all plugs in the pool skimmer, returns and cleaner line, open up the valves on both sides of the pump, suction and return. When the water level is half way up the skimmer, you can prime the pump basket with water, open the filter air bleeder and turn on the pump. If you have trouble getting it to catch prime, close the main drain and start it off the skimmer.

step-four Clean the Pool:¬†Once the water is filtering, it’s time to clean the pool. Start by cleaning off the deck with a blower, or with buckets full of water. Skim, Vacuum, Brush – in that order. If you have a multiport valve, and the pool is rather dirty, you can switch the valve to waste, and vacuum the dirt or algae to waste. Keep a hose running in the pool, so the water won’t drop too quickly while vacuuming out the waste line.

stepfiveSpring Pool Chemicals: We now want to put in our opening chemicals. Rather than using powerful pool shock that can bleach the liner, it is better to actually use a pool start up kit that is made exclusively for the purpose of opening the pool with no chance of bleaching out the liner. And if you are using a calcium hypochlorite pool shock, first fill a bucket with water and then mix in the shock. Doing it the other way around you will get fumes.

stepsix Balance the Chemistry:¬†After the pool has run for a few days it’s time to test for you balancing chemicals. This is a very important step because if all your levels are in a good range it is much easier to keep the pool water clear, and you will need to use far less chlorine. Test for cyanuric acid (stabilizer), calcium hardness, total alkalinity and pH. Adjust as needed to bring the levels to the correct range, adding each chemical separately.

stepseven Miscellaneous: Check your start-up filter pressure РI like to write it right on the filter tank, with a marker. You may need to backwash the filter within a day or two. If you have a pool timer, set the on and off timer dogs, although you may want to let the pool run about 48 hours straight after you open to clear the water. Look for any leaks on the equipment pad, and watch the water level closely over the first few days.

A normal pool opening just takes a few hours and it can save you an average of $300. If $300 is not that much to you, like it is to me, then have it done professionally. What’s the worst that can happen? You may meet a few animals or rodents, or maybe you fall into a pool full of cold water. Anyway it is $300 in your pocket.

So go out and give it a try – and if you have any questions, give us a call – we love to help!


Larry Weinberg
SPP Pool Expert