Renovating a Pool? Get Started Here
from the APSP
Need a make-over? With an APSP member professional at your side, you can enhance your home's value and reveal new opportunities for enjoyment with a refreshing upgrade or new treatment. Here are seven ways to renovate or restore your pool:
1. Resurface. Resurfacing an in-ground concrete pool restores beauty and comfort to cracked or roughened surfaces and extends the pool's functional life. For pools with a vinyl interior, a replacement liner in a new pattern can transform your pool overnight. Fiberglass pool owners can also consult with an APSP member professional for the product that will make your pool look like new.
2. Add a water feature. Install a waterfall or fountain to bring the sound and beauty of moving water to your outdoor environment. Water features like a dramatic spillover create a strong focal point and provide a dynamic addition to an otherwise ordinary pool.
3. Add a hot tub. Experience the relaxation of a soothing soak or the health benefits from warm water therapy. There's a hot tub for every need, every setting, and every budget.
4. Install new tile. Just as a new backsplash transforms a kitchen, new tile can set the tone for your beautiful new look. By selecting from the vast tile options available, you'll make the most dramatic improvement in appearance for the greatest value.
5. Enhance your surroundings. Consider a new or updated pool deck. You can extend the look of interior flooring to experience an outdoor family room with man-made or natural materials. Stain existing concrete. Or brush up dated, cracked or stressed concrete patios with a thick overlay and new finish. Add a sound or media system, or even an outdoor kitchen or fireplace for greater enjoyment.
6. Consider new lighting. Lighting not only enhances safety, it also adds a touch of beauty and pizzazz. Halogen and fiber optic lighting can add striking color to a nighttime poolscape. And long-lasting color-filled LED replacements can create an entirely new mood with little or no modification to an existing pool.
7. Think technology. New automatic cleaning systems have units that "walk" along your pool floor. These newer systems require practically no supervision. And you can still swim while the system cleans your pool. Digital controls make operating pool equipment easier than ever, letting you control lighting, heating, and cleaning with the touch of the button or with your tablet or smartphone. And upgrades like a salt chlorinator system or a solar cover and heater can improve both functionality and efficiency.
Keep in mind, you don't have to do everything at once. Pool renovations can be done over several seasons, allowing you to make the improvements and fund your investment at a pace that works for you. Of course, to ensure you get the most for your money, you'll want to hire an experienced pool contractor. An APSP Certified Professional will help ensure that your vision is transformed into reality — safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively. Find an APSP Certified Building or Service Professional here.
10 Steps to Maintaining a Clean Pool
from Guardian Pool Fence
If you're lucky enough to have a swimming pool and also lucky enough to have the sun to use it then keeping it clean is all important. You want a pool to be fresh and inviting for everyday use and so you can get the most from this refreshing pastime.
By taking a constant but thorough routine with pool maintenance you can cut down on the work in the long term and also save on a lot of money. It also means there's no need for last ditch attempts to sort something out when something goes wrong. So, here are ten tips to keep your pool sparkling clean and healthy.
- Maintain the pool by keeping an eye on the pool chemistry a few times a week in summer and around once a week in winter.
- Keep a close eye on the skimmer basket and clean it out weekly or even more-so if it needs such care.
- Keep an eye on the hair and lint filter. This will need to be emptied every few weeks and you should ensure that a build-up doesn't occur.
- Water levels are also something that need inspection and should be adjusted if needed. Ideally they should be at the center of the tile.
- The in-line chlorinator needs a weekly check-up and if it needs adjustment then you should do so. Check the chlorine readings and ensure they are in the unit to ensure adequate levels of chlorine.
- Clean the filters. These should be cleaned after a storm or every couple of months. The best way to remember this is to base it around something you do a couple of times a year. If you've extra elements this can be a lot easier to do, if not you will need to use chemicals to clean the filters. Make sure to use eye and glove protection when doing so and make sure the filters are rinsed well.
- The tile area on the outside of the pool should be cleaned on a weekly basis when the pool is in use or less so when it's not. This can be done by using pressure washing services and will help keep your pool spic and span from build-up.
- Always keep the chemicals you use stored in the dark and away from direct sunlight as this can cause issues with them.
- If you do not have an ozone system your pool won't need to be shocked. However, if you do need to shock it does it at night. People swimming soon afterwards should use a non-chlorine shock to clean the pool. Alternatively, it's possible to do so by running your pump for a full day and night with your ozone system. Just ensure you're on 24 hour circulation.
- Cracks can turn into bigger problems. These should be dealt with through silicone and as we all know prevention is better than cure.
- Keep vegetation and animals, as well as fertilizers away from the area as they will feed algae in the pool.
These tips should help you keep your pool clean and perfectly usable.
Jacob Ryan is a lover of swimming and the great outdoors and also enjoys fishing.
Opening Your Pool
from Pool FYI
Spring is here! And with it, the fun and excitement of swim season. Now just one thing stands between you and a watery good time: the chore of opening your pool. Of course, you can delegate the job to your pool professional, which ensures a quality job and saves you work. But if you're a little handy and have the time, here's a step-by-step guide on what needs to be done.
Get it ready.
First, get out what you'll need. Pull last fall's pool chemicals out of storage. They don't last forever, so replace the ones whose label says they've expired (and during the season, use up your old ones before the new ones). Also round up any hardware you removed for the winter, and get replacements now for any missing pieces.
Okay, you're back from the store. Clean the winter cover and the poolside decking. If the cover has standing water on it, use a submersible pump made to remove it. Then take off the cover, clean it off, and let it air-dry to prevent mildew before you fold and store it.
Get it together.
Assemble what needs assembling. Reinstall the pump, railings, diving board or whatever else you removed last fall. Take out the plugs from the filtration system and replace the return outlet fittings. (Life lesson: Save them all in one place.)
Get it full.
Most pools need the water level brought up to normal at the start of the season. This can be done with your garden hose. Or, for larger pools, you may be able to save money by paying a service to truck in the water.
Get it up and running.
Find the winterizing plugs and other parts removed for winterization (often stored in the skimmer basket or pump basket). After the filter system is put back together, fill the pump basket area with water and fasten down the pump lid. Clean the filter cartridge, or backwash the filter and add sand or DE (diatomaceous earth) as needed. Light the pilot on the pool heater according to the instructions.
Get it crud-free.
The grossest stuff first: If your pool has solids in the water, fish 'em out—literally. Don't depend on your pool system, pool cleaner or vacuum to remove them, or you could find yourself with clogged underground pipes or a choked pump. Use a big leaf net instead.
If your water is somewhat dirty or cloudy at this point, no big problem. (If it's black throughout or slimy green, that definitely is a problem—one that can be fixed, but requires its own set of steps for which you'll want to consult a pool professional.)
Assuming your water does not resemble the La Brea Tar Pits, now is the time to start up the pump. Check for leaks and proper operation. There should be no major leaks (a few drops on Day One are no cause for panic), skimmers should work smoothly, the pump shouldn't make any screeching noises, and you shouldn't see bubbles entering the pool from the returns.
Get it in balance.
You want the pump running when you take the next step: shocking or "super-oxidizing" the water with chlorine (also true when you're adding any other chemicals, for that matter). For those with liner pools, be kind to your liner—do not toss chlorine granules directly into the water. This can discolor the liner or even destroy it. Better to mix the granular shock chlorine in a bucket, then add that mixture into the skimmer while the system is running.
Use your water test kit to adjust the water chemistry to recommended levels. For the first 72 hours or so, keep checking it often and running your circulation system around the clock. If the pool was especially dirty, you may have to keep re-cleaning your filter, too.
When the chlorine level has dropped back to normal and your water is crystal clear, you're all set to jump back in. Enjoy the swim season!
How to Keep Your Pool Filter Clean
from Articles Base
Filtration is part of the two-part process of keeping your pool clean, with water treatment with pool chemicals the other part of this function. Pool filters accomplish the physical process of removing dirt, debris, and algae that are suspended in your pool water.
First, here's how to tell when your pool filter needs to be cleaned. Take note of the pressure gauge on the filter. When it goes up to 10 pounds per square inch (PSI) above its normal operating level, it's usually a good time to clean your pool filter.
Cleaning Sand Filters
To clean a pool filter that uses sand as the filter medium, reverse the flow of water by turning your regulator valve at the top of the tank to backwash. The backwash cycle should last until water passing through the sight glass looks clean. Then turn the valve to the rinse position and run this cycle for at least 30 seconds. When the filter is very dirty, you may need to repeat this process two or three times. Never turn the valve while the pump is running.
Cleaning DE Filters
Clean your DE pool filter as you would a sand filter, but be sure to add new Diatomaceous Earth powder after each backwashing. To do this, mix DE powder in a bucket of water until it has a milky consistency, then slowly pour it through the skimmer while the pump is running. At the beginning of each season, disassemble the filter completely and clean the grids with filter cleaner.
Unlike sand or DE filters, cartridge pool filters cannot be backwashed, and cartridges must be removed for cleaning. But the good news is that cartridge filters are a breeze to clean. Simply remove the cartridge from the tank (with the pump off), take it out, hose it off, and soak it in filter cleaner for eight hours (or overnight). After soaking, spray and rinse the cartridge for about five to six minutes, then put it back into the tank. Since the soaking time for cartridges can interfere with pool use, you may want to keep two cartridges on hand so you always have a clean one to use while the other is soaking.
Five swimming pool myths that are all wet
from Coweta American
(BPT) - It's got all the hallmarks of a great home improvement – adds value, enhances livability and beauty, and creates a perfect gathering spot for family and friends. So why wouldn't you add a swimming pool to your outdoor living space?
From the belief that it costs too much to operate a pool to the misconception it will go unused, myths about pool ownership abound – and they likely dissuade some homeowners from making this valuable home improvement. If you've been considering adding a swimming pool to your outdoor environment, here are five common myths that simply don't hold water:
Myth: Pools are too costly to install.
Reality: A swimming pool is a significant home improvement investment, there's no denying it. However, the cost of a pool will depend on many factors, including the size of your yard, the dimensions of the pool and the materials you choose. When compared to other significant discretionary expenditures such as a family vacation – which costs the average family nearly $4,800 for one week of fun each year – a pool can be a high-value investment that pays for itself in just a few years. Of course, finding the right installer is key to a positive, cost-effective purchase. The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) offers an online member locator to help consumers find an APSP Certified Professional in their area.
Myth: It's difficult and costly to maintain a pool.
Reality: Long gone are the days when operating a pool pump could cost almost as much as running your central air conditioning during the summer. Pool pumps and filtration systems are more energy efficient than ever, saving money on electricity costs. Plus, improvements in filtration system and purification chemicals mean you'll need less product to keep a pool sparkling throughout the summer. In fact, when it comes to pool maintenance, 63 percent of pool owners say maintaining correct water chemistry is no trouble at all, according to an APSP survey.
Myth: Pools are not energy efficient.
Reality: Modern pool pumps require much less electricity to operate than you might think. Energy-efficient pumps can use up to 30 percent less power to operate. When compared to other household sources of electricity consumption, swimming pools are a small percentage of a home's overall energy use. What's more, these systems can be even more cost effective when solar powered. Accessories can help conserve energy, too. For example, using a solar cover on an inground pool when it's not in use can help the water retain heat and keep debris out of the pool, which means less work for the filtration system – and you.
Myth: A pool won't enhance my home's value.
Reality: Buyers like homes that have swimming pools: Among people who purchased a home with an existing swimming pool, an eye-opening 78 percent said the presence of the pool contributed to their decision to buy the house, according to the APSP survey. Depending on where you live, a pool may enhance your home's appeal to prospective buyers even more – especially if you live in a region with very hot summers or a year-round temperate climate.
Myth: If we get a pool, we'll never use it.
Reality: People who own pools say they spend a lot of time in them, and it's quality time. Seventy-six percent of pool owners say they are extremely or very satisfied with their pools. They also consider it a great place for gatherings, and believe that having a pool entices their family to spend more time together in their own backyards. Owners say they use their pools for relaxation, entertainment, celebrations and exercise, and 96 percent say they are satisfied with their pools.
To learn more about how fun pool ownership can be, visit the APSP's website at www.apsp.org.
15 Pool Opening Tips From Industry Professionals
by Matt Giovanisci, Swim University
It's that time of year when the grass grows greener, the days are warmer and the pool cover is ready to come off. It's time for your pool to end it's winter-long hibernation and start enjoying the water.
I asked pool industry professionals from around the world to give their best tips for opening a swimming pool. If you learn something new and helpful, please share it with someone (via social media) who might also find it helpful.
1. Make a List
Make a list and get all the equipment and tools out that you'll need — even last year's leftover pool chemicals out (they don't last forever, so throw out any expired chemicals).
Round up any hardware and get replacements for any missing pieces, including drain plugs, o-rings, and hose clamps (if needed).
Leon Rawitz, PoolFYI.com
2. Clean the Cover
When removing your pool cover, lay it out in an open area such as your deck, patio, or driveway. To clean off the cover, sweep off any remaining debris and then use a mild detergent to wipe away any excess dirt or stains before spraying it down with the hose. Make sure to let the cover air-dry completely before rolling it up or fan folding it for storage; this will prevent mildew and deterioration. It is also important to store the cover in a dry place away from insects and moisture.
Kimberlee Courtney, PoolSpaOutdoor.com and like on Facebook
3. Get the Water Clear, Fast!
The fastest track to clear pool water immediately after opening is to turn off the skimmer(s), open the main drains, and point the return jets down. Be sure to run the pump continuously on the highest speed setting until the water is clear.
Throw in a little shock and algaecide, brush the sides of the pool and you'll be swimming in no time!
Jason Huges, River Pools and Spas
4. Double Check your Filter and Heating System
Many homeowners discover that their pool heater stopped working the morning of their kid's 8th birthday party. With loads of swim-ready kids and parents coming over shortly, they frantically try to heat their pool or trouble-shoot the issues.
Test fire and run ALL pool equipment, heaters, booster pumps, blowers, water-feature/auxiliary pumps, remote controls etc., and allow these functions to run for a good 20-30 minutes to make sure you are getting good consistent performance and checking for leaks or service issues.
Be sure to clean-out and service your filtration system, and check your water chemistry, and this should be a good recipe for a trouble-free swimming season.
Michael Martin, UltimatePoolGuy.com
5. Fill The Pool While Removing Water from the Cover
While siphoning the water off the top of the winter cover, put your garden hose underneath the cover to fill it up so you don't get caught with too little water in the pool.
Be careful using a submersible pump to remove water off the pool cover. We've seen multiple cases where the homeowner left the pump running too long, draining the entire shallow end of the pool. This can cause a fiberglass pool to pop out of the ground and a vinyl liner to shrink.
Allan Curtis, Ask The Pool Guy
6. Have a Backup Filter on Hand
For Pool with Cartridge Filters:
When opening a pool that has been covered all winter and the water is filthy due to winter debris and/or algae, I recommend having 2 sets of filters —1 for opening the pool to do the dirty job of getting rid of the majority of the debris/algae in the water, and another for the rest of the year.
When the pool is in good shape, do a very thorough cleaning of the filters and put them away for next year's pool opening duties.
Gary Bowers, www.allpoolfilters4less.com
7. Open Early
It's not expensive to run your pump to keep the water circulating. Leave the heat off until the weather is nice. Circulating the pool will help prevent it from growing algae.
8. Drain the Water off the Cover
Get as much water off of the winter cover as possible before removing it. Water is heavy and people sometimes think it's easier to dump that dirty water from the cover into the pool. Don't do it! Invest in a quality pump and remove as much of the rain water as possible. This will keep your pool water looking great and free of contaminants.
9. Circulate for 24 Hours
Circulate the water for 24 hrs before testing and adding products. The water on the surface of the pool may be different from the water at the bottom. Testing prematurely can result in inaccurate readings.
Rhett Bradshaw, Vantage Pools
10. Properly Store your Winter Cover
Did you know that critters like to nest inside of pool covers during the summer? Unfortunately, small critters such as mice love to nest inside of swimming pool covers that are left rolled up on the floor of a shed or garage. The critter will then slowly and methodically eat through the fabric of a cover until it looks like Swiss cheese.
An easy solution to prevent this from happening is to keep the pool cover inside of a storage bag and hang high up on a hook so that no part of the cover touches the floor. The use of an outdoor garbage pail with a lid is another great place to store your cover during the summer months.
LeeAnn Donaton-Pesta, Loop-Loc Pool Covers
11. Test the Source Water
Test the source water before you test the pool water. The most faulty pool finish jobs that need repair is commonly caused by owners who don't add chemicals correctly. The biggest problem is not know the the chemistry of the source water going into the pool.
This test will analyze and explain any water problems that may arise. Test for proper pH levels, total alkalinity, calcium hardness and salt levels. This test can be done with any pool water testing kit. Grab the hose and fill the pool to the midpoint on the waterline tile or middle of the skimmer weirs.
Vinny Velarde, SwimmingPool.com
12. Pre-Chemicalize your Water
A few weeks before you plan to "officially open" your pool, peel back the covers and look underneath. At this time add some enzyme water cleaner and a phosphate remover. Shock your pool with chlorine, not too much, just enough to boost the chlorine ppm (parts per million) up to 3 or 4.
The enzyme will help digest all of the organics and oils that have fallen into the pool over the winter, making your sanitizer more efficient and allowing for "grace" if the pool temperature decides to spike before you officially decide to open the pool.
The phosphate remover will remove the phosphates from the pool that can cause chlorine inefficiency. Phosphates are the second number on a fertilizer sack and are food for algae.
Both of the products promote a proactive approach to dealing with water chemistry and problems. This will allow for easier pool management for the upcoming pool season.
Check out Shelly's latest blog post about the top 10 things to do to get your backyard haven ready for spring.
Shelly Johnson, Filbur Manufacturing
13. Be Careful When Draining and Cleaning Your Pool
For Concrete Pools
With enough hydrostatic pressure (water pushing up), a pool that has been completely drained can be pushed up from the ground causing it to pop out or "float." This is most likely to occur with concrete or gunite pools, though it is extremely rare if the drain is completed by professionals. Pools that have floated will typically need to be replaced.
Charlie Nadler, AAA Pool Service
14. Use ping pong balls to test your surface circulation!
Toss the ping pong balls onto different areas of the pool, and make sure all of them make it to the skimmer. If there is dead spot, adjust your return jets and test again!
Blake Jamieson, PoolSupplyWorld.com
15. Inspect Pool Barriers: "Think Like a Child"
Part of my job at the National Swimming Pool Foundation is maintaining the World Aquatic News Incident Database (www.wanid.org) and far too often I log in sad stories of preventable drowning due to improper barriers around a pool. Making sure there is a barrier in place that can protect the children that live in your community from unauthorized access is essential. First and foremost, make sure you are following your local code but, in addition, here are some recommendations that could save a life.
When you inspect the gate and fencing of your property, think like a child. Are there trees or other free standing structures that could be climbed to get over the gate? If so, you will want to reinforce these areas with fencing, lattice or some other effective barrier which has holes smaller than the feet of a child. Gates must be self-latching, self-closing and the release should be out of a child's reach.
A particularly sad recent case involved a brother and sister who both drowned. Because the gate was installed inverted with the side slats of the gate facing outside the property, it made a perfect foot hold for the children who both climbed over easily. The sister died trying to save her little brother who also died beneath the dark waters of the neighbor's pool. If we pay better attention and think like a child when we inspect our facilities, we can prevent drowning deaths like this. Please feel free to contact me if you need help finding more information about how to make your pool safe for the community you live in.
Swimming Pool Opening Checklist
After months of cold and snow in many parts of the country we are very anxiously awaiting the warm weather and swimming pool opening time! So here is a checklist for your pool opening to make sure you are prepared.
1. Take Inventory
Check your pool chemicals leftover from the prior year; make sure they are not expired and that they have been properly stored throughout the winter and have not been exposed to any moisture. Make a list of any you are out of or running low on.
2. Check for Anything That May Be Broken or Needs Replaced
Check all of your equipment thoroughly, your pool filter, cleaner, pump, and accessories, make sure that everything is in working order and not parts or piece are broken or worn out. It is always better to take care of any issues up front before your swimming pool opening.
3. Clean and Remove Your Pool Cover
If you use a winter pool cover make sure it is clean before removing it. We recommend using a pool cover pump to remove any water that is sitting on the cover making it much easier and safer to remove. Sweeping any debris that has collected from the cover will also be helpful so it does not fall into the pool upon removing the cover and it is always better to store a clean cover!
4. Put Everything Back Where It Belongs
Often when closing your pool for the winter you or your pool man may have removed small plugs from your pump, filter, or heater, make sure they are all back in place and nothing is missing. If you removed accessories such as ladders, diving boards, slides or anything else replace them and ensure they are secure.
5. Top it Off
Add water to make sure your water level is where it should be at about the middle of your skimmer opening or halfway up your pool tile. If you have trouble keeping your water at this level a automatic water leveler may be something good to consider.
6. Spring Clean
Just as you would clean your house for spring, you want to give your pool the same thorough cleaning at the time of your swimming pool opening. Here is what we recommend:
Skim the surface and remove and debris
Wipe down your tile or vinyl surfaces
Empty the skimmer baskets and pump strainer baskets
Use your pool vacuum.
Check that your filter is running properly, service if needed.
Clean your pool deck and areas surrounding the pool, including your equipment area.
7. Balance Pool Chemicals
Adjust your pH and alkalinity, shock treat your pool, adjust sanitizer levels, add algaecide if needed.
8. Maintain Regularly
By keeping up regularly on your cleaning, and chemicals by regularly using a water test kit and making adjustments when needed you will enjoy the comfort of your clean pool all year long!
by Tony Smith, Residential Service Director for Platinum Pools
With Labor Day in the rear-view mirror, most pool owners are now wondering what they should do to prepare their swimming pools for the winter. Improperly winterized swimming pools can cause thousands, if not tens of thousands of damage, and even pools that are winterized by professional swimming pool service companies can benefit from some preparation by the swimming pool owner. Here is a short checklist that every pool owner should employ before their pool is put to bed for the winter:
- If you are on a weekly maintenance program, it is wise to continue having your pool cleaned right up until the time of closing. This helps prevent the pool surface and surrounding elements like coping, decks, etc. from sustaining stains from leaves and organic debris.
- If you have a winter cover, make sure that the cover is readily available for the service company to re-install.
- Make sure that you have all of your winterization plugs available. Most of the serious damage caused to swimming pools is from improper winterization of the plumbing lines, and having the plugs readily available and installed correctly is one of the keys to success.
- Closings for our company are scheduled on first come first served basis, so don't ignore the paperwork when received. You don't want to have your pool sitting and non-functional if you can avoid it, because this is when issues can arise.
- Make sure your account is current prior to scheduling the closing to ensure your position on the calendar.
- Always let the service company know the desired storage location on your property for ladders and equipment. This will ensure tidy and organized storage, and will ensure that the equipment doesn't incur any damage over the winter.
- Make sure the service company has clear and easy access to shut off the fresh water supply line that fills the pool. This is a crucial step that can prevent unwanted damage to your plumbing and drywall inside the house.
Don't forget to use this checklist to ensure that when Old Man Winter releases his grip on us , you will have slept easy through the dreary winter knowing that you have made the proper preparations to make your pool opening that much smoother next Spring.
Swimming pools are a wonderful addition to any home and can provide hours of relaxation, enjoyment and exercise. Families enjoy their leisure time for long periods and due to this pools need proper maintenance to keep them safe and clean for all to enjoy. For this reason, swimming pools need regular maintenance because cost of not doing so would far exceed the cost of using services of pool cleaners.
Calcium deposits can creep into a pool from various sources — but a few simple steps will prevent them from taking hold.
Even a well-scrubbed pool can fall victim to metal or mineral deposits every so often.
These blemishes might form around the waterline, or harden along the steps. And because their sources can range from underground mineral layers to popular chlorine compounds, the process of tracing scale to its source — and preventing its return — can seem like a daunting task.