10 Myths of Pool Ownership
from California Pools
Here are the top ten myths - and some helpful tips - about owning and maintaining a swimming pool.
1. "I can't afford a pool."
Owning a pool is probably a lot easier than you think. There are many reasonably-priced options for putting a pool in your backyard. The type of pool, materials, accessories, and landscaping you choose will influence the cost of the project. You should also remember that your pool will help reduce other expenses, such as the cost of vacations away from home, membership dues to community pools and other recreational activities.
2. "My yard will be ruined for a year and workmen will be around all the time."
An accurate understanding of the building process will help you develop realistic expectations for the completion of your pool. Many pools are completed in just a few months. But obviously, unforeseen factors such as the weather or permit delays can affect the building process. A good builder will communicate any changes in the project schedule to you as soon as possible.
3. "It takes too much time and effort to maintain a pool."
You can always hire a professional to do the job, but with today's cost-effective technology, you can get the same great results in very little time. In fact, maintaining a pool is easier than maintaining your car or your lawn!
4. "My electric bill will significantly go up if I own a pool."
Utility bills vary depending on where you live and who your provider is, but average estimates show that utility bills only increase between $30 and $50 each month. But that's nothing when compared to the money you'd otherwise spend on entertainment, vacations, and trips to the community pool, including the expense of gasoline, food, and concessions.
5. "I'm afraid of the risk of accidents and drowning occurring at my pool."
While attentive adult supervision is the best way to maintain a safe pool, fences, pool covers, gates and pool alarms offer additional layers of protection to enhance safety. Some experts believe that having a pool actually saves untold lives because children who learn to swim at a very early age are less likely to drown in an emergency situation later in life.
6. "I am worried about the increased insurance and liability that come with owning a pool."
Homeowners should always check with their current insurance brokers and shop around for the best coverage available. You should also contract with a reputable builder, carefully read safety materials, closely follow safety equipment instructions, and ensure that there is adult supervision of the pool at all times.
7. "Pools require constant repair."
You should research a builder's work and ask questions about the longevity of the pool types they are considering. Proper cleaning and maintenance prevent the need for unscheduled refurbishing, and some companies may even offer a lifetime guarantee for pools they install.
8. "I'm afraid of getting taken by a dishonest pool builder."
Like with any building project, you should always check a builder's professional credentials, ask for references and view samples of complete work.
9. "A pool is a big investment and I'm afraid that financing will be really difficult."
Homeowners can finance a pool with a long-term mortgage. Additionally, pool builders who offer in-store financing have industry experience and can explain financing options, loan terms and current interest rates to help you find a manageable monthly payment plan.
10. "I've heard that pools detract from the appeal of a home in the real estate market instead of adding to it."
Not true. Banks and other financial lenders often look favorably upon swimming pool financing, considering it a "home improvement" that will increase both the current and resale value of the home.
Faux Rock Adds Real Style to Natural Pool Designs, Waterfalls, and Caves
from Patti Plummer, luxury pools blog
When a homeowner decides to create an outdoor space that blends seamlessly with the surrounding natural world, rarely do they think faux rocks. "Using a faux product to replace indigenous rock is actually a smart choice because it is lighter and easier to work with and less expensive to ship," says Bruce Riley, owner, RicoRock, Inc.
Some pool designers also prefer this product because they can always obtain the size, shape, and color they want for a particular setting. Cast from natural rock formations, faux boulders give the appearance of real rock. Usually made of composite materials like GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete), artificial rock is durable and can be colored to match the grain and texture of various stone types.
Faux rock is ideal for a number of backyard and indoor pool projects, including garden accents, waterfalls, sheet falls, and cascades. Additionally, some designers use it to create otherworldly caves and grottos of varying sizes and shapes. Because of its adaptable nature, faux rock can conform to whatever design is desired, from peaceful hideaways under a waterfall to seemingly endless caverns that include recreation rooms, kitchens, and swim-up bars.
Top 5 Investments to Make in Your Pool for 2013
Innovation has long been the key to the success of new pool equipment. These new products are more energy-efficient and in turn save pool owners money on their utility bills. Additionally, many pool products have become easier and more convenient to use. With so much innovation taking place there are an ever increasing number of options for pool owners to enhance their backyard pool experience while saving money on the side. Take a look at the top investments for 2013.
Variable Speed Pumps
Variable speed pumps were an evolutionary jump when they were first introduced. With multiple settings and the ability to program for an individual environment, variable speed pumps run no more or less than needed for each task, such as pool heating, water features, spa jets and more. The amount of money variable speed pump owners save will often pay back the investment in only a few years.
Lighting is another area of development for swimming pool products. LED technology consumes less electricity than older technologies such as incandescent or halogen. LED lights also last longer and are less expensive to operate; saving owners money while enhancing the look of their poolscape.
Simplifying pool maintenance is at the heart of many recent pool equipment developments. For example, new pH controllers can add adjustable amounts of acid to a pool with the push of a button or be programmed to help keep pH levels in the proper range. By helping to prevent fluctuations in pH levels, a pH controller makes sanitizing more effective and protects pool equipment from corrosion. Therefore, it reduces wear and tear on all pool equipment, lowering the need for replacements down the road.
Providing total control of pool and spa functions from home or on the go is another recurring theme in new product development. New automation systems are making pool and spa control easier than ever. Pool equipment like heaters, pumps, lights and more are able to connect with an automation system and provide you with a central control for all their functions.
Pool cleaning equipment has taken a number of strides forward in recent years. After hearing from pool owners, many manufacturers have placed an emphasis on reliability, performance, simplicity and convenience. While new automatic cleaners are much better suited to clean than previous generations, they are also becoming more energy-efficient, saving owners from additional utility charges. Regardless of your needs there is an automatic pool cleaner for you and your budget.
The innovation that has gone into these, and other products, is a testament to the pool industry's forward thinking and focus on creating convenience for pool owners. What other pool investments do you suggest for 2013 and beyond?
12 Reasons to Own Pool
- Add Beauty and Value to Your Home – Swimming pools add value and beauty to any home. If you live in certain regions, pools can be used at any time during year, and can improve your backyard landscaping.
- A Great Reason for Staying Fit - There are many benefits of working out in swimming pools. Not only is it easier to stay cooler in a pool, but the workout itself has massive perks.
- Perfect for Entertaining - One of the best reasons to own a pool is all of the time you will spend poolside, entertaining family and friends. Whether you are looking for pool games, recipes, party ideas, or a free and creative way to invite your family and friends to your pool.
- It will Add Balance to Your Life - After a hard day at work, nothing is more inviting and refreshing than the backyard swimming pool. Water is so pure and simple, yet it can do the most amazing things. Whether you are experiencing joint or muscle pain, having trouble sleeping, or are just plain stressed out, spending time in hot tub spas can provide therapeutic benefits for just about everyone.
- The Best Exercise - People who use their swimming pool as part of their everyday exercise think that swimming and aquatics are the very best exercises for the body. Unlike many exercises, the pool provides a "soft" environment for workouts. Not only do you not have to worry about falling, as the water supports the body in every position, but the water also helps alleviate the feelings of fatigue because it's supporting so much of the body's weight.
- A Family Meeting Place - A swimming pool is a great place to get together. It's less formal and demanding than the dinner table. Everyone is doing their own thing at lunch, and breakfast is always on the fly.
- Pool Parties for all Ages - Planning a party by the swimming pool? Are you looking to have a small and quiet get-together? Perhaps you are looking for big and loud festivity? However you choose to throw your poolside party, we've got you covered.
- Swimming Pools are Affordable - Today there are many types of pools available for purchase. All give the same sense of pride as well as all of the natural benefits and rewards of pool ownership.
- Easy to Finance - Swimming pools are extremely easy to finance. There are various financing program options that are available for those constructing or remodeling a swimming pool. Low interest rates give purchasers an extra measure of affordability.
- The Endless Vacation - Owning a swimming pool is like being on permanent vacation. Whether, it's for entertainment, relaxation, or time with friends, a swimming pool can turn your backyard into a paradise.
- Beat the Summer Heat - When it's hot outside, nothing satisfies the mind and body like a dip in the pool. Owners can rejuvenate themselves with little concern about heat waves.
- No Reservations for Pool Paradise - It's true that many swimming pool owners have decided that they would rather be at home enjoying themselves than fighting the crowds at resorts. No advanced reservations are required for your own personal paradise. The time spent at play is greatly extended and often less expensive.
More Public Swimming Pool Facilities Get Mini Facelifts
Aquatics International | By Kendra Kozen | September 2012
As interest in renovation projects remains high and budgets low, operators and designers are finding creative ways to expand possibilities and meet project goals.
"All facilities must be kept up to date so that the client base continues to visit — and not attend other facilities that are continuing to improve and look to the future for a better aquatic experience," said David Admire, vice president at AdAu Aquatic Engineering in Naples, Fla.
Today, that means utilizing available technology, paying special attention to operational sustainability — and opting for smaller "face-lift" style projects.
by Matt Giovanisci, Swim University
July 10th, 2012
We've been hit with a heatwave in the US and it's getting harder and harder to keep cool. Especially when you're swimming pool is now 90 degrees from all that heat! What is a pool owner to do?
There are ways to cool down your swimming pool. The most practical one is to run your filter at night when the air is cooler. This will help the water to evaporate, thus making your pool a bit more refreshing in the morning.
However, that won't drastically cool down your pool, and you're not gonna install a water cooling system, so is there any alternative?
Of course! But it's a bit more drastic. It's almost humorous, but you COULD fill your pool with ice. I know it sounds a bit weird, and it is, but if you had access to large quantities of ice at a good price, then why not?
I was checking out some other pool blogs on the internet and I was reading River Pools & Spas Blog. Specifically a post titled, Record Heat Wave of 2012 Leads to Huge Increase in Swimming Pool Sales. In the comment section below the article, someone came up with an equation to determine how much ice you would need to cool down your pool depending on the size and how many degrees.
To cool down a 10,000 gallon pool only 5 degrees requires 2,187.5 pounds of ice, which is insane! However, the equation was pretty cool and I had to create an online calculator just in case you wanted to know what it would take to cool down your swimming pool.
Opening A Shell
By James Atlas
As you might also recall from the February 2008 feature, figuring out how to separate the indoor and outdoor pools proved to be a surprising challenge.
The swim channel under the clamshell was intended to allow easy access between the two pools, but the client (who knows as well as anyone how raw the winters can get in the Chicago area) wanted to be able to close the channel off when the weather turned cold.
That seemingly direct thought resulted in a three-year odyssey that led us to multiple engineers and system fabricators in quest of a workable solution. The irony is, what now appears to all the world to be a simple, retractable acrylic panel – perhaps the least visually arresting element in the entire project – was by far the most difficult effect to achieve.
For nearly six years, this was a project that occupied most of James Atlas' working life, challenging him and the staff at Platinum Poolcare Aquatech with pursuing development of a watershape complex marked by great ambition, shifting needs and innumerable revisions. Now that his work is complete and the site is finally ready for its close-ups, Atlas guides us through a masterpiece he justly sees as his firm's crowning achievement.
By James Atlas
Most of the time, residential construction projects that stretch beyond a half-decade in the making involve significant delays or work stoppages. The project pictured here known hereabouts as "The Shell Pool"– took nearly six years to complete, and what's unusual about it is that it was basically a continuous effort. Even when we weren't on site, seldom did a day go by when we weren't deeply involved on some level in design work, engineering and/or project planning.
Now that it's finished, I can say without hesitation that this was the most detailed, refined, all-consuming project we at Platinum Poolcare Aquatech of Wheeling, Ill., have ever tackled. I can't begin to calculate the collective number of hours spent in client and staff meetings, phone conversations, skull sessions and design-revision meetings – and that doesn't include time spent on site in bringing this amazing project to fruition.
Even compared to the many intricate commercial projects we've worked on through the years, this one set a new standard in my experience with respect both to the spirit of innovation and the mountains of patience required to get the job done. Today, with all that effort behind us, it's a rare pleasure to step back and get an overview of what we've accomplished – a pleasure I'd like to share with you here.
by James Atlas
Flood of Details
Indeed, it wasn't long before we were very happy we'd provided room for expansion: After we'd set up and buried the outdoor chase under tons of gravel and concrete, the project evolved to include 16 substantial change orders that called on us to use just about every available line we'd set up. What had been just a swimming pool now became a complex including an outdoor hot/cold therapy spa, a play pool, a waterfall and elaborate fire and lighting effects.
The therapy spa is accessed by a set of steps adjacent to the channel leading into the sauna, the thought being to create an indoor/outdoor therapy zone. The spa's elliptical shape echoes the design of the indoor pool, and it features multiple jets as well as tile inlays from Craig Bragdy Design and a pedestal for a piece of sculpture (yet to be selected).
Shooting the outdoor pool was a major exercise in logistics, with multiple crews working in various areas around the site until they all came together to take care of the main pool's huge floor. Once the shell was ready, another stunning tile composition was set in place to mark a swim lane running the full length of the 60-foot pool.
Work on the outdoor pool began while the pool house was still taking shape. Key to success in all subsequent stages was making certain we set things up for plumbing, electrical and assorted other runs – with plenty of extra capacity to accommodate the changes that were certain to come as we moved forward.
by James Atlas
Before we step outside to consider the outdoor pool, there was one more set of details we had to attend to within the confines of the pool house: Adjacent to the pool is a set of doors that leads into a foyer that in turn gives access to a large sauna facility. From floor to ceiling, the transition is finished in tile from Craig Bragdy Design that puts you in the interior of a prehistoric cave dwelling.
As you enter the space, you have the option of going straight to the sauna, or you can make a right turn to an area with steps leading down to a swim-through connected to the outside pool. (Happily for us, the client didn't want another automatic door here: You either wade or swim through an archway that keeps the bugs out with a rain-curtain system.)
Inside the pool house and opposite the archway is a large rock waterfall, so when you enter the space from outside, you're fully surrounded by water as you move toward the sauna and pass by the amazing tiled walls. Our work in this area was limited to the rain curtain, the waterfall and some tile work associated with the swim-out: The general contractor took care of the internal finishes and installed the sauna,with a strong assist once again from Nick Powell when it came to decorative design.
As Powell tells it, he was in a meeting with the owner and the artist who'd done the ceiling painting over the indoor pool when she told the artist she wanted this part of the project to resemble a cave. He worked up some sketches, but apparently they didn't do the trick. She left the room and came back with a silk scarf she'd purchased in Paris that had a design based on authentic cave paintings. She laid it out on the table and said that was exactly what she wanted.
Powell took photos of the scarf, returned to Wales and developed a series of sketches based on the configuration of the space. She was finally happy with it, and the artists at Craig Bragdy Design began preparing the third of the four major mosaics they'd ultimately execute for the project. They also fashioned interesting stalactite details and inserted some small windows near the ceiling to bring natural light into the space.
The fourth of the tile mosaics is in the form of a coral reef on the bottom of the outdoor pool – a 65-foot-long, freeform vessel with a vanishing edge, an encircling natural-rock formation, fire features, a waterfall and a sculpture pedestal. The impetus behind this particular detail stemmed from the client's desire to swim laps starting at the far end of the indoor pool, passing through the swim channel and then moving across the outdoor pool – in all, a circuit of more than 100 feet. But the journey involved making a right turn coming out of the swim channel, so she wanted some sort of visual marker to keep her on track.
The reef mosaic was the elongated solution: It suited her tastes much better than a simple tile lane marker and turned what was otherwise a functional detail into another display of the talents of the artists at Craig Bragdy Design. They'd done something similar in the past, but even with that precedent, the design went through numerous iterations and adjustments of the color scheme before winning the client's approval.
Given the client's indoor/outdoor swimming regimen, both pools had to be heated year 'round. The client had the wherewithal not to care about energy consumption,but she's also environmentally conscious and wanted an energy-conserving solution that would reduce fuel consumption while still enabling her to keep both pools at the same temperature.
To make it work,we installed a geothermal system that preheats the water by moving it down a shaft that reaches to the water table beneath the property. There, a heat-exchange process brings the sometimes very chilly pool water up to a reliable 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. When it returns to the surface, this water flows to a pair of high-efficiency gas heaters that bring the water the rest of the way up to the desired swimming temperature.
The needs of this system and of all of the other features we were installing led us to a practical choice to make certain we had ample piping service to various outdoor locations.
All of the equipment for the indoor and outdoor systems is housed in the basement of the pool house, which is where we focused our first efforts without having a clear idea of what would be happening outside. All we could do was come up with a best guess about what we'd need – then added several extra runs of conduit and pipe in a 24-inch-wide chase we ran down the side of the supposed length of the outdoor pool. This was another case where my experience in handling the changing demands of large-scale commercial facilities became a real advantage.
The outdoor watershapes involved us in unimaginably complex excavation and forming processes, with intricate contours, interesting angles and a scale so grand that it all defies characterization as a 'residential' installation.
Be sure to catch the next installation of this series in which we wrap up the final details and finish the discussion on the design and construction. The following installments will focus on the finished product.