How to buy a house with a swimming pool
Buying a home is a daunting task. Once you have exhausted your time looking at all of the possibilities, and have finally decided on the perfect place to settle down, there is the list of things that need to be accomplished. Have a home inspection, fill out tons of paperwork, go to a closing, deal with sellers, lawyers, realtors,... UGH! Most people don't know what to do when the home has a swimming pool. Realtors typically are in the same boat, as their expertise is in homes, and not swimming pools. Even many home inspectors are at a loss when it comes to examining and assessing whether an inground swimming pool is sound and operational. This posting from Home with Swimming Pool gives some great tips on what needs to be evaluated during this process, as well as giving a good primer on different types of swimming pool construction, and also some information on some different types of swimming pools as well.
Click here to read about buying a home with a swimming pool
Best Practices for Extending the Life of a Spa
Like an automobile or home, hot tubs or spas need to be maintained in order to extend their life. There are some simple things that the spa or hot tub owner can do on their own to ensure that they are taking care of their spa. Cleaning the filters, jets, and surface are one way to keep the spa looking new and fresh. Draining the spa properly and knowing when to do so is another way. This article from Dimension One Spas in Aqua Magazine gives you the best ways to ensure a long life of uninterrupted soaking and leisure.
Click here to read about the best ways to extend the life of your hot tub
5 Tricks to Keep Ducks and Other Birds Out of Your Pool
From Swim University
Most people enjoy the sight of fowl and other birds lounging in their swimming pool. Unfortunately, ducks and other birds are not necessarily conducive to cleanliness. Going "Duck Dynasty" on them with your grandfather's Remington shotgun isn't necessarily the best option either, for most people at least. In this handy blog post by Matt Giovanisci of Swim University, there are some handy tips to easily and naturally deter birds from using your pool as thier own personal washroom.
Click here to see how to keep ducks and other birds out of your swimming pool
Blonde Hair: Preventing And Fixing Green Hair After Swimming
A large percentage (anywhere between 2% and 33% of the population, depending on where you look for your statistics) has a variant of blonde hair, natural or otherwise. Therefore, it follows, that a percentage of those blondes have experienced the unsettling happenstance of having their hair turn green from a swimming pool. Why does this happen, what can be done to prevent it, and what can be done once it happens? This article from essortment gives you a comprehensive look at this unfortunate situation from all angles, and explains them in great detail.
Click here to see a comprehensive look at the Blonde turned Green phenomenon
BioGuard's Five Keys to Basic Pool Care
If you've ever stared out at your swimming pool and felt overwhelmed, you are definitely not alone. Proper swimming pool care can be a burden for homeowners, even to the point that they end up letting their pool go. Bioguard has come up with 5 simple rules that make proper pool care easy, and fun. Check it out!
Save on Pool Opening Costs
From WSJ online
By LINDSAY GELLMAN
Don't sink your maintenance budget when opening up your pool in time for the Memorial Day holiday.
A pool-opening service typically includes cleaning the pool area and equipment, removing the pool cover, activating the circulation system, and testing and treating the water, says Terry Brown, director of operations and strategic support at the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, an industry trade group.
But many pool-service companies charge an hourly rate, so you can typically expedite the process—and save some money—by doing some of the work yourself.
While heavy pool covers are best removed by professionals, you can clear any water or debris that's collected on top, says Doug Salvia, president of Douglas Aquatics in Richmond, Va. Mr. Salvia, whose company charges about $95 per hour for the opening service, says that while the typical opening takes four to five hours, a homeowner could shave off two to three hours—and as much as $300—by clearing the cover.
Mr. Salvia suggests using a small automated bilge pump to remove water pooled on the cover. Such a pump costs $100 to $150. But it will likely pay for itself in a year or two with the money you'll save doing this work yourself.
Another way to save on the opening (and weekly maintenance) costs is by buying and adding your own sanitizing chemicals, such as chlorine. At Rising Sun Pools in Raleigh, N.C., for instance, you can save about $100 to $200 off the opening price by administering your own chemicals, and about $50 to $60 per week for maintenance.
Be sure to check with a pool-care professional to see which chemicals are right for your pool, Mr. Brown says. And you may need to take a water sample to a retail location for testing.
PROPER POOL MAINTENANCE
Having a swimming pool is great, but pool maintenance is a daily concern. Sure, you can have a lot of fun, get plenty of exercise, cool off on hot days and make your backyard look great, but if you do not master a set pool maintenance schedule, your swimming pool will quickly become unsanitary and possibly even an eye sore. Getting professional pool maintenance can be very expensive. Learn good pool maintenance practices right now.
Some people think that pool maintenance is not a big deal or that the chlorine does most of the work and you just add a little more of it every now and then. However, this is not good pool maintenance and it could be dangerous to your health to swim in a pool that has received pool maintenance like this. The owner of a pool must do more than just give the pool some occasional attention. Pool maintenance is something that is a daily chore and there are also additional weekly and monthly tasks for proper pool maintenance.
There are pool maintenance tasks that have to be done on a daily basis in order to ensure that the swimming pool stays in good condition. Water has a tendency to attract pollutants and grow bacteria quickly, a factor that requires pool maintenance to be performed as part of a daily schedule. Proper pool maintenance calls for the filter to be run for 10 to 12 hours every day. This is probably the easiest part as it just involves flipping a switch. However, there are other daily tasks such as testing and adjusting the levels of sanitizer and giving the pool a visual inspection for the three C's: Clarity, color, and contaminants. Testing the water temperature is also an important daily task.
Besides the daily routine for pool maintenance, there are also weekly pool maintenance tasks that must be performed. Weekly tasks included testing and adjusting oxidizer and stabilizer levels, brushing and vacuuming, checking filter pressure, as well as checking the water level. Adding a dose of algaecide should also be done as part of the weekly routine.
On top of daily and weekly pool maintenance chores, there are also parts of pool maintenance that must be done at least monthly. Tasks to be done every month include testing for dissolved solids, metals, cyan uric acid, and cleaning the filter with chemicals. When doing monthly tasks be sure to visually inspect all of the tile, grout, sealant, and exposed elements. Also the Langelier Saturation index evaluation must be performed. As a part of regular pool maintenance, it is a good idea to take a water sample to an expert monthly.
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!