17Sep/17

Safety First

It’s never too late to learn how to prevent pool accidents and preventative drowning techniques. Here are 3 musts for young pool enthusiasts:

  1. Parents and child care providers should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  2. Supervise. Never leave children unsupervised near a pool, hot tub or natural body of water.
  3. Teach children to swim.

Most children end up going into water too deep for them. Panic sets in, and they stir up the water, get it in their face and mouth, then they start coughing and inevitably fear takes over.

Aside from teaching them how to swim, also teach them key movements like floating and treading. Check it out:

Floating. The float state: With your head back, feet up, and your back on the water the mouth can then breath and able to get as much oxygen as needed. Then the mind can relax and you’re able to shout for help.

Treading. There are various ways to tread and also achieve the ever-so-important lift in the water.

With your thumbs up and the hands rotating slightly out the arms move back and forth in either a front to back motion or parallel to the bottom of the pool out and back to your sides. The water comes on and off the palms while pushing the water down. With pinkies slightly out on the way out and thumbs slightly up on the way in gives you the lift needed to stay afloat. A nice subtle motion pressing down and hands pulling up lightly while the wrists relax on the way up, with most of the resistance on way down.

Test this out with a vertical float. With a little bit of energy, you can get your mouth and nose out of the water creating vertical bobs.

While treading, btw, most people immediately think of the legs, but the arms play a central role. For beginners start by standing in shallow water and place the forearms below the water surface. Sweep the arms back and forth keeping wrists stiff in the water. This motion is called sculling.

Once you get the hang of the sculling movement with your arms then test out your legs. The most exhausting kick is the flutter kick. Move your feet back and forth in quick scissor motions keeping your toes pointed. Start with holding onto the wall then move out in deeper water to see how you’re doing. Hold onto a wall or floating device until you feel more comfortable.

The less tiring form is using the breaststroke kick. Straighten your legs and bring them together then the bend knees with your legs still touching. Flex feet, and move legs apart by moving them outward and away from each other. Snap legs together extend to the bottom of your feet then start in the starting position by bringing feet together and then repeat. Start this at a wall, then try it with a floating device. Move to the middle of the pool.

There you have it. No matter what season it is, any time is the right time to learn pool safety techniques. Stay safe out there.

13Sep/17

Hidden costs

When starting every project you should always have a budget in mind. But, more often than not there are hidden costs. You don’t want these costs to sneak up on you or frighten you away from the project. Here are a few pointers for what to look/ask for when beginning a pool project.

You need more concrete

We try to discuss the pool’s patio when first talking to homeowners about their upcoming pool project. Additional patio space, which is often requested after the start of the job, and after orders have been placed, is usually the most expensive option to the pool. Simply put most homeowners do not allow for enough patio at the start of the job. There’s no problem with starting small. People often do this to save money. Sure, you can always add on later, but this requires planning. And, if it’s well planned out as to where and how much of a patio you want before orders are placed, then adding to it later can make it go more smoothly. In the meantime, homeowners can still make use of and enjoy their pool.

Hauling that dirt

When we dig and build for your pool we take out a substantial amount of the earth. People can be surprised as to how much is removed to make that pool hole. We can always spread it across the land, but usually, we need to haul it away. This can be quite expensive and might be a surprise added cost to the budget, so take note and be prepared.

Landscaping

There are so many moving pieces in putting in a swimming pool that it requires a lot of planning and foresight. Large and heavy pieces of equipment will be used, but, with all that equipment at your property the grass, fence, and landscaping can become somewhat of a casualty. The reason? Because they may have to get dug up or moved. Sure, later on after the pool is installed everything can be replaced, re-seeded, or re-planted, but this step also adds to your budget.

If there’s a driveway to the main entry points for getting into the backyard, keep in mind there is a possibility the driveway might also incur some damage during the project especially if the driveway was built too thin. In such cases, damage due to the weight of the equipment is basically inevitable. This is not always the case, but a driveway may get some wear and tear. A driveway inspection should be considered before you begin.

The Electrical

If a pump, generator, light, automatic cover, hot tub and heat pump all need added power then the cost can rise significantly. So, decide ahead of time if you want all of these add-ons so you have a clear understanding of what electrical costs will be.

The Fencing

A majority of all pools require a fence. Sometimes homeowners, especially ones without small children, don’t even think about a fence. We make that a point of discussion up front with the patio, so homeowners can budget for a fence and plan it out as to dimensions, style, and location.

Retaining Walls

Retaining walls are important and a lot of people don’t realize they need one. Ask for a price on the wall while you’re budgeting for the rest of the project.

Making a note of all these points could save you a lot of money and frustration. Bring up questions and concerns at the start and you’ll be happier with the outcome.

11Sep/17

It’s not over ’til it’s over!

What season would you say would be the best for installing a pool? Spring you say? Did I hear early summer? No and nope. The optimum time to install a pool would be….(drum roll) you guessed it, (with only 2 seasons left it wasn’t exactly hard to guess)…AUTUMN!

It may sound weird that autumn is the best time to install a pool in your backyard, hear me out– there are quite a few advantages as to why. For the obvious reason, pool installers have more time to focus on your job and can install yours more quickly in the fall because most people usually install in the spring.

Another great reason is that you can usually get a better deal on pool shells and also labor. The reason is that factories sometimes have shell over-stock at that time of year, and fall is a contractor’s slow season. Negotiate!

Here’s a no-brainer reason– the pool can be ready to open and use the second it gets warm next season. How cool is that? It’s like instant gratification.

Lastly, and my favorite reason… If you add a hot-tub you can use it as the weather gets cooler… and that would mean enjoying it just days after the install!

You’re welcome.

05Sep/17

Pool water evaporation? Who knew?

You’re about to jump in the pool… it looks different… there’s less water. How could that be? Is someone siphoning the water? Are animals drinking from the pool? Did the last party have one too many dive bombers?

The pool water level is lower than normal and the likely reason is evaporation. Evaporation? Evaporation! Depending on the size of your pool, you could lose up to 1 ½ inches of water a week due to evaporation! Who knew?

Here are three main causes of pool water evaporation.

Temp-temp-temperature!

The heat from the summer sun contributes greatly to pool water loss. That direct, intense heat during the day combined with cooler weather at night is the perfect combo for evaporation. The difference in temperature between your pool water and the outside air is what causes evaporation.

Where’s the humidity?

Lack of humidity is yet another main cause of pool evaporation. Evaporation is like a sponge, the drier the heat, the more water will get absorbed. If your pool is in an area with higher humidity it will lose less water.

Wind

If your pool is fully exposed to the sun and the wind, that’s a recipe for more evaporation. Take for example a screened-in pool, or a fence, tree, or structure that shields the pool. That pool will lose dramatically less water. The more exposure your pool has to the outdoor elements, the more evaporation your pool will experience.

There’s a remedy you say?

Even though you can’t control the weather, and possibly can’t shield your pool from the wind, you can do something else to reduce pool water evaporation. Add a solar cover! A solar cover used on a regular basis can potentially prevent the majority of water evaporation.

I don’t mind water evaporating from the pot boiling my water for a cup of tea, or for my pasta, but from my pool? Well, it’s just downright unacceptable and now you know the cause and treatment.

Mystery solved.

03Sep/17

Closing the pool.

It’s here…already… September! And, although it’s not technically autumn (and here on the east coast we do have a some of the most beautiful swim days in September)…soon it’ll be that time. Time to close the pool for the season and do the prepping for winter.

WEEKS BEFORE CLOSING

1. First note what pool chemicals and cover accessories (anchors, air pillows, etc) that you may already have on-hand so that you know what to buy.

ONE WEEK BEFORE CLOSING

1. Balancing the water. Make sure that your PH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels are aligned the right way.

2. Add stain and scale prevention which needs a day to work by itself, before adding other pool closing chemicals. If you can remove any stains, now is the time to do it.

3. Kill off bacteria, algae, and to get your chlorine levels to a nice, strong level. Brush the pool afterward, and follow that up with vacuuming the next few days.

4. Over-filter the pool water by running the pump 24/7 for a few days before closing the pool and you might want to add a clarifier. Extra filtering will make sure that your pool water is as pure as possible, this will cut down on algae and stains forming over the winter.

5.  Get a buddy or hire someone to help you with the cover. Sure, you can do most of the winterization on your own, but the cover is easier with two people.

POOL CLOSING DAY

1. Go ahead and shock the pool with non-chlorine shock. This oxidizes contaminants in the water, without affecting the winter algaecide.

2.  Why not add algacide. This should prevent algae from growing during the winter. Add it after the water is lowered, right before you cover the pool.

Closing the pool properly will make the pool opening for next season that much quicker and easier.

Enjoy the cool weather, you guys. And, don’t forget how much fun a hot-tub is in the winter!

 

 

Photo: Pinterest

30Aug/17

Benefits of a hot tub

For centuries hot tubs, hot springs, hot baths have always been touted as being wonderful for your health, but do you really know what the health benefits are? Here are a few reasons why a hot tub could help improve your physical (and guess what?) your mental health!

Sleep

Better than a sleeping pill. It’s true that getting quality REM sleep on a regular basis provides an improved mental clarity, alertness, stronger immune system and rejuvenated muscles.

Getting into the hot tub before bed helps regulate your body temperature to a comfortably warm level that helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly and through the night.

Stress & Anxiety

Studies show that a hot tub is an ideal way to relieve mental and physical stress. A 20-minute soak could actually counteract stress by being the perfect combo of hot water, and massage from the spa jets. This helps you relax and decreases anxiety. Turn on some soothing music and watch the stress dissipate.

Blood Pressure

According to the experts, sitting in a hot tub slightly raises your blood pressure, but that only occurs briefly. When the hot water raises your body’s temperature, that warmth makes cells and vessels dilate which decreases the resistance to your heart, improving your body’s circulation, and ultimately lowering your blood pressure. Also, when your heart rate elevates, the increased blood flow produces extra oxygen that revitalizes cells which help you feel rejuvenated and relaxed.

Chronic Pain

If you suffer from muscle aches, arthritis and carpal tunnel, then a hot tub could be your best friend. The heat improves the blood flow and increases circulation which improves the flow of oxygen to your muscles and relieves the inflammation that causes pain.

Caveats: *If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms don’t dip into the hot tub too close to bedtime and afterwards always cool yourself off with a quick, cold shower. And, *seek a doctors permission before trying a hot-tub if you have any health issue.

28Aug/17

Hydro-zone

Hydro-zone fiberglass pools also called therapy pools or exercise / spa pools, allow you to swim in place or do water aerobics. Quite simply, you can swim or exercise against a smooth current that’s fully adjustable to any speed or ability.

This type of resistance swimming has a machine that allows you to swim continuously against a water current. It lends itself to any stroke the swimmer wants to perform and you never “hit the wall” or have to turn around to continue to swim laps like in a regular pool or a lap pool and oh, yeah…diving is strictly prohibited due to its depth and smaller size!

Doctors have been treating injuries and a variety of health issues using this type of pool for years and they were only found in hospitals, physical therapy clinics or sports centers. But since the mid-1990s, more and more people have been purchasing them so they can work out in the privacy of their own homes and on their own schedules.

These types of systems have a current of water that runs down the center of the pool, similar to the current in a river. The speed of the current is created can be changed and adjusted according to each individual needs.

Because of their compact size, usually 8’-6’ wide and 18 feet long, hydro-zone swimming pools are easier to install indoors than the average sized pool. They’ve been installed everywhere from basements to sun rooms and green-houses as well as the outdoors.

A hydro-zone pool can turn your home into an oasis for year-round exercise, relaxation and fun.

27Aug/17

Slip-slidin’ away!

A pool slide can be a fun addition to your pool and your summer fun. There are so many different slides to choose from which one is right for your pool, yard, and enjoyment.

It’s a fairly simple installation for a slide, but the process includes some considerations regarding the depth of the pool and the footprint of the slide. The footprint is the amount of space required to install the slide legs and ladder. The slide has to be tall enough for you to plunge into the pool and not risk injury if you enter too fast. Also, each type of slide has its own weight capacity depending on height, build, and width.

Each type of slide has a water safety envelope, which acts as the entrance to the pool. Homeowners can add weight to the water safety envelope within the restriction and then gently apply pressure to avoid injuries later on.

Pool owners should consider intricate details about the design of the slide. For example, the slides come in various colors, so owners can consider a color scheme that works well with their landscaping, hardscaping and house color and decor.

Location is also something to consider when deciding on a slide. Again, anywhere the depth and height permit will work, but keep in mind you can really personalize a pool and add an exclusive touch to the look of your backyard paradise with the addition of a slide.

25Aug/17

What about Chlorine?

Calm Water Pool

Pool owners should acquaint themselves with the ins and outs of handling chlorine. They should know the facts about this chemical to properly and safely maintain a swimming pool. For example, a clean pool shouldn’t smell of chemicals at all! In fact, an unsanitary pool usually reeks of chlorine! Let’s delve in, shall we?

What Does Chlorine Do?

Pool owners use this chemical as a means to eliminate their pools of harmful bacteria and other germs. This usually occurs in a two-step process. The chlorine first acts as a disinfectant, killing bacteria or algae. Then, it oxidizes, chemically destroying dirt or other foreign materials found in a pool.

How Much Chlorine Should You Use?

On average, a swimming pool contains anywhere from 3 to 5 ppm of chlorine. You can calculate how much chlorine you need to sanitize your pool with a standard measurement. An above ground swimming pool that is 48 inches tall and 15 feet wide contains 4,978 gallons, whereas an in-ground pool can hold 31,000 gallons or more depending on its size. You can also determine the number of gallons your swimming pool can hold by calculating the volume of the pool, then converting that amount into gallons. Since chlorine tablets are the most common form for dispensing chlorine, determine the size of your pool to find the number of tablets needed.

Test the appropriate amount of chlorine by measuring a pool’s pH level. The pH level measures the acidity in the water; this level can affect vital chemical reactions occurring inside the pool during the cleaning process. A normal pH level for a swimming pool ranges between 7.2 to 8.0 pH.

Is Chlorine Harmful?

If it’s misused, chlorine can be very harmful. About 10% of homeowners fail routine pool inspections, so it is imperative that pool owners adhere to using the correct amount of chlorine needed for the size of their pool. Chlorine reacts with other organic materials such as urine, feces, sweat, and saliva all commonly found in a pool. This creates disinfection byproducts also known as chloramines that have a distinct smell. While many consider clean pools to be bright blue in color, it may actually be a sign of an unsanitary pool.

How To Safely Use Chlorine

There is a safety requirement for each of the seasons. Both winterizing your pool and preparing for spring’s pool opening requires the same amount of care as during the summer season.

Experts recommend keeping all of these tips in mind to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable pool season.

24Aug/17

Working pool-side!

I don’t know what’s more satisfying than being able to get work done while enjoying the outdoors.

A lot of people these days are enjoying working remotely or telecommuting, so bringing your laptop to your pool is a no-brainer. This opportunity comes with some caveats and we’ll steer you in the right direction, so you can maximize your outdoor work experience.

For starters try to find some shade to work in. Grab your sunglasses, a hat with a brim, and a darker towel to deflect glare. If there’s little to no shade use a large beach umbrella. I don’t know about you, doing those things automatically saves me from a sun headache and if that happens my day is shot.

Drink up! Preferably not the alcoholic kind since, well… you are working. Just remember to have a fridge or cooler packed with drinks and hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

If you’re shopping for a new laptop and have a penchant for working outdoors, look for outdoor optimizing laptops. Those with screens that have a matte finish are easier on your eyes than ones with a glossy finish. Glossy might look nicer indoors, but they’ll reflect the sun all too well if you take them outside. Matte-screen laptops are few and far between these days, but you may have luck finding a used or refurbished model.

Adjust the brightness in the display settings of your gadgets. On a Mac–increase luminosity with the F2 button and decrease with F1. PC laptops usually have brightness controls on top row of keyboard. See the “sun” icon with the “+” sign and the “-” sign to control the buttons. Changing the contrast mode on your computer will also be a great help.

What if your gadgets get wet you ask? Try putting them in a bowl of rice as soon as possible. Don’t forget to pull out the battery if your device allows for it. Leave it in rice for as long as you can (up to a few days if necessary) and you may be able to save its life. If you’re able to plug in outdoors good for you. If not have a back up battery charged and ready to go.

Access the Wi-Fi signal outside your house. You can accomplish this in a few ways. Extend the signal by relocating your router near the side of the backyard or if the signal is still to weak then add a repeater that extends the signal outdoors. Aftermarket antennas can also be used with some routers to increase their signal strength. If changing your router setup doesn’t work, you can invest in a new Wi-Fi card for your laptop with an external, high-gain antenna, increasing your available range.

Now you’re ready to go enjoy the great outdoors while you work…and, maybe take a short break and do a lap or two in the pool. You’ve earned it.

Exercise, nature and work? Life is good.

Photo: Pinterest