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

23Aug/17

Cover me?

If you have a pool you really do need a pool cover. They provide safety, convenience and energy efficiency. The safety issue is a big one because you don’t want any one or any animal accidentally drowning. As far as maintenance, it cuts down on that immensely by keeping debris out of your pool. But, if you’re looking for the main reason to get one it would be for safety and everything else is just gravy.

It can definitely be overwhelming to decide on the cover and its many options. Here we’ll break down the different types of pool covers and give you the info you need to decide which is the best swimming pool cover for you.

There are three basic types of pool covers: mesh, solid and automatic. Mesh covers allow sunlight and water to filter through, while solid covers completely block sunlight, water, and debris from getting in your pool. And an automatic swimming pool cover can be opened or closed with just the push of a button or a flip of a switch.

Here are some pros and cons of each.

Mesh pool covers are a lighter weight than the other covers which allows them to easily fold up for storage when not in use. They can also be custom fit to the shape of your pool. The holes in the mesh pool allow water to filter through, which eliminates the need to remove standing water from the pool cover. However, it also allows in the light and that keeps the water warm which means algae can grow on the pool walls and that will require more effort into getting your pool ready for the next season.

Solid pool covers also can be custom-fit to the shape of your pool and are secured to the deck with anchors and springs. They are usually made of vinyl, which makes them heavier than mesh, but they still can be folded up and stored when not being used, just not as easily. The solid material prevents any debris, water or sunlight from entering the pool. This means no algae growth or dirty water when you open your pool the next season, which equates to less maintenance. However, the water that accumulates on the cover will need to be pumped off, as well as any leaves or debris. But for a little extra an automatic cover pump can be placed on the cover, which will turn on and off when water is detected.

Automatic pool covers are also sturdy like the solid pool covers. They offer the same benefits as well, while also providing the most safety of the three. Like the solid cover the auto cover also requires a cover pump to remove accumulating water and debris. An auto pool cover is retractable and rolls up into itself which eliminates the need to store it. It opens and closes with either a key, button/switch or touchpad, making it the most convenient selection.

Although this is the most expensive option, for my money, the sheer ease outweighs the monetary difference.

22Aug/17

Tanning ledges are not just for tanning

Photo: Calm Water Pools

Tanning ledges are quickly becoming one of the most popular features today while also fitting into the mainstay or “classic” category.

Yes you can lounge there. Yes you can bask in the sun for a tan while being just inches deep in water to cool you off, but ledges are for much more than just tanning.

They’re a great splash area for toddlers, a platform for the kid’s floating toys (they can climb on the toys a lot easier from the ledge and then push off into the pool), and a place for non-swimmers to rest their feet in the water while still lazing by the pool, a gathering/conversation area and so much more.

This design element allows you to install it purposefully near shade if you like, or in full sun next to the pool and just add an umbrella for shade. My favorite is to set low chairs or a chaise lounge in the shallow water to keep cool while reading a book, or working on the lap top or having a bite to eat.

If you’re short on space for the pool itself you can always install a ledge off to the side instead of putting it inside the pool, so it won’t cut down the size of the swim lane.

They serve as the ultimate addition to any Pool. The versatile ledge maintains a shallow, consistent depth, and is simply a great way to customize your pool and your backyard. The ledge alone needs no accoutrements in order to be spectacular, but you can add a water fall or bubbles or foam jets and jazz it up with lights. You can even put a fire pit next to it for those cooler nights.

They’re a real treat for not a lot of cost. They’re one of those items that give you a lot of bang for your buck.

Your ledge can be the luxurious centerpiece of your in-ground pool.

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19Aug/17

The swimming idea of a swim-up bar

It seems one of the most sought after features for a hotel or casino pool these days is their swim-up bar. And, now for a lot of millenials, it’s one of the most sought after features for their own private backyard pool as well.

But, when exactly did people decide they wanted to sip a dirty martini with their legs submerged in water?

Where else? Vegas baby. As architect Stefan Al explains in his recent book The Strip: Las Vegas and the Architecture of the American Dream, the primary goal of Las Vegas developers was “to seep gambling into a suburban vacation.” Swimming pools were increasing by the numbers in America during the early1950s not just at hotels, but homes as well and it was only a matter of time before some genius decided it’d be a great idea to combine legalized gambling and swimming. Who knew?

In the 1950s when the Tropicana opened, the pool area quickly added “swim-up” blackjack tables and tiki drinks to try to off-set the loss of summer revenue from guests hanging out in the pool as opposed to the casino floor. And it worked.

At first they were a novelty, but now families and singles alike are installing them in their own backyard pools. Creating an area not just for drinks as it was first inspired to do, but for family dinners, cool non-alcoholic drinks and even games. And everyone wants to be the bartender du jour.

Swim-up bars have quickly become a memorable part of the chill culture, spreading well beyond exotic vacation resorts.

It’s caught on to all areas of the country too. From Iowa to Nebraska to Wisconsin, the Jersey Shore (of course) and even Manhattan, hotels across the country are getting in on the fun. So, why shouldn’t you?

And, don’t worry… if you can’t afford the built-in kind you can spring for the inflatable kind. Just be careful…one broken martini glass and it’s a goner. Beyond that, drink up and happy dining.