Above Ground Pools – Staying Cool Without Breaking the Bank

Can you imagine anything better than having a pool in your own backyard when the weather gets hotter? Owning your own swimming pool means, you’ll never have to endure long drives to a crowded beach, nor would you have to jostle with the crowd at the community swimming center either. For many people, installing a swimming pool has always been considered an extravagant expense. Now though, above ground pools are quickly gaining ground as an affordable alternative.

Installing Above Ground Pools Is a Cakewalk

Above ground pools are incredibly easy to set up compared to in-ground pools. For one thing, the homeowner doesn’t have to concern himself with things like cement mixes or planning permits. Given their small size, these pools are also the perfect choice is space is extremely limited.

There is practically no need to engage a construction crew when it comes to above ground pools. Most of these pools are available in kits and can be assembled very quickly. As such, you wouldn’t have to wait for the builders to arrive, the process can be completed in a single day and you get to go for a dip as soon as you fill up the pool! The ease with which an above ground pool can be assembled and disassembled means that it’s easy to store away and can be taken out on short notice, such as when friends drop by unannounced for a pool party.

Types of Above Ground Pools

The siding for above ground pools is usually made from aluminum, resin or steel. Pools are either hard or soft-sided. The latter actually costs more than the former but can be built much more quickly than hard-sided pools.

Previously, most manufacturers supplied only round or oval-shaped above ground pools. As siding materials became more rigid, rectangular or square-shaped pools are also available.

Most of these pools are 4-4.5 feet tall. Swimming enthusiasts are usually advised to opt for a taller pool as it doesn’t have to be filled to its full height.

Things to Consider

Cost – installing an above ground pool means that a homeowner can enjoy substantial savings by not having to employ workers and paying less for pool construction material. Plus, backyard excavation becomes completely unnecessary.

Time – the straightforward setup of an above ground pool makes it incredibly easy to build. Even the most inexperienced do-it-yourselfer will be able to assemble and fill up a pool as long as he reads the instructions. Some manufacturers even claim that their pools can be assembled within an hour! However, most people would find it more realistic to apportion one afternoon or evening to the task, especially if working alone.

Space – above ground pools can be up to 41 feet wide and that measurement doesn’t include the support struts or buttresses. The most popular type is usually a round pool 24 feet in diameter. Whatever your preference, you need to make allowances for poolside accessories and safety barriers in addition to the size of the pool itself. The best way to decide on the optimum pool size is to take into account the available space and the budget you have.

Setting Up Your Pool

Ideally, your pool should get 6-8 hours of sunlight in hot weather. The space on which it’s situated should also be as flat and clear of debris as possible. Try to keep it away from overhanging branches which may shed leaves into the water and test the pool filter’s capabilities. For safety’s sake, pools should be kept clear of telephone poles and power lines as well.

The intended spot should be leveled off if not already done so. Generally, a pool is assembled by first putting together a track that supports the outer wall of the pool. The pool area has to be lined with sand before plumbing is installed. The pool liner, usually made of vinyl, is attached to the outer wall. The liner is securely fastened only when the pool has been filled. Lastly, a pump and filtration system has to be connected to keep the water clean.

Pool Maintenance

Cold weather – the pool needs to be drained when the weather gets colder. This is to prevent freezing and expansion of stagnant water inside the pool from cracking or damaging the sides. It’s not necessary to completely dismantle it, but a pool cover is essential to keep out snow, rain and assorted debris.

Filters – these are needed to remove larger debris from pool water. There is a choice of sand, cartridge or diatomaceous earth filters. Cartridge filters tend to allow for easier maintenance whereas sand filters have to be cleared periodically. Whichever type you choose, the small size of the pool means that you won’t have to change them as often as you would with in ground pools, meaning you pay less for filter maintenance.

Chemicals – chlorine is anti-bacterial and neutralizes other harmful elements in the water. Regular, judicious use of pool cleaning chemicals ensures that swimming will always be an enjoyable experience. Only a small amount of these chemicals is needed at a time. They’re generally inexpensive too, which adds to the cost-effectiveness of owning an above ground pool.

5 Tips For Maintaining a Crystal Clear Swimming Pool

First time swimming pool owners anxiously anticipate having their own personal backyard oasis where they can cool off and relax on a hot summer day. It can be a great feeling to watch the family enjoy the pool throughout the summer and to host summer pool parties where the family and friends can not only enjoy your superior barbecuing skills, but the crystal clear pool as well. But when the pool stops looking so crystal clear and starts looking more like a pond in the local nature area, the fun can quickly become a big headache. Following are 5 tips that will help ensure your swimming pool remains crystal clear throughout the year.

1 – Circulation – we’ve all heard the term Location, Location, Location with regard to owning real estate. Well, with a swimming pool it’s Circulation, Circulation, Circulation! Without adequate circulation it will be difficult to ever have a pool that stays nice, let alone one that people want to swim in. And when the summer heat comes, the green monster will quickly make its appearance. So the first step to an easy pool is making sure the main pool pump is in good working order.

2 – Filtration – just as important as circulation is filtration. It’s a real simple concept, since the pool filter removes the dirt from the pool, without sufficient filtration the pool will remain dirty. Whether the main pool filter is sand, cartridge, or diatomaceous earth, it needs to be maintained on a routine schedule and never neglected in order for the pool water to stay clean.

3 – Filter Run Time – one issue that often gets neglected is the length of time required for sufficient filtration. Of course it can be different for every pool depending on the climate and the surrounding environment of the pool. But there is one sure thing, without the proper amount of filtration, the pool will not look good. As a general concept, when the hot summer months approach, it is important to increase filtration time. So if the pool doesn’t look good, check to make sure the run time for the main pool filter is adequate for that season and climate. If you are not sure how long to run your filter for your specific climate, call the local pool store and they should be able to help out.

4 – Balanced Water – okay so you now have good circulation, a well maintained filter, and adequate run time for the filter. The fourth key is balanced pool water chemistry. For many people, it’s a little scary to dive into the arena of being a chemist, but it really isn’t as difficult as one might think. Like anything else, once you have it figured out it’s real easy. But it is a crucial factor to a healthy swimming pool and in the long run, having properly balanced pool water can save hundreds to thousands of dollars in the form of otherwise avoidable pool problems and chemical expenses. Once this skill is mastered, it really shouldn’t take more than 5 – 10 minutes a week. So invest in a good test kit, and with a lot of practice you will quickly become an expert in balancing pool water. If balancing the pool water is something you just aren’t willing to jump into or you just don’t care to worry about it, hire a professional pool service to manage the chemicals for you.

5 – Cleaning the Pool – probably disliked the most is the seemingly tedious task of keeping the swimming pool free of debris. But for a majority of cases, this task shouldn’t take more than 10 – 15 minutes a week. Most swimming pools now have automatic pool cleaners that do half the work. Simply follow a quick routine every day or every other day of emptying the skimmer basket, pump basket, and pool cleaner bag in order to avoid any clogs that will stop water circulation. Then, once a week, perform a quick test to make sure all the equipment is in good working order, the water is balanced, check the water level, skim any large debris from the top or bottom of the pool, and brush the steps and walls of the pool.

There you have it, 5 tips on keeping your swimming pool looking great all year long. Probably just as important as all of these tips is simply getting to know your pool. Keep written records of the pool water testing results, any adjustments made, when the filter was clean, and when any equipment repairs were made. As time goes on, you will gain a good understanding of your pool’s unique personality, how it will act throughout the different seasons, and what it requires to be happy. And remember, if the pool is happy, you are happy!

Calcium Hardness in Swimming Pools

Calcium hardness or CH for short, is the measure of the amount of dissolved calcium content present in your pool water. Calcium as we know it is a mineral that is naturally present in water and it is usually found in high concentrated levels. Whenever your pool or spa has high concentrations of calcium present, you have what is called hard water. On the other hand when the calcium level is low, you will have what we call soft water. to properly manage your pool water chemistry, you must remember that total hardness and calcium hardness in a spa or pool are different; although, they are related entities.

Total hardness is the sum of calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, and other elements found in your water facility. It is usually expressed in grains of hardness (i.e. 1 grain = 17.1 ppm).The calcium hardness in swimming pools and spa water systems is ordinarily measured as calcium carbonate. However it is not in solution, calcium carbonate is exhibited in your pool and spa as scale. This is a white scale formation that is also a type of natural salt. This scale like salt can be found in nature in the form of one of the following

Chalk.
Calcite (check spelling).
Aragonite.
Limestone.

Calcium carbonate is not very soluble in water and unless your pool water chemistry is properly maintained, it can drop out of solution very easily. Another concerned behavior that pool owners and operators have with calcium, is that unlike most other pool chemicals, it becomes less soluble as the temperature goes up. Because of this basic understanding, proper management of hot water systems become more perplexed.

In order for you to maintain proper water chemistry in your swimming pools, your calcium hardness level should always be in the range of 200 to 400 ppm. If the level of the hardness in your calcium content rises above 400 ppm, you must take extreme measures to maintain your total alkalinity and pH at lower levels. This is a precaution that will help you avoid any scale formation in your pool and spa. This is an absolute must if the water in your aquatic facility is heated. You will be faced with an impossible task of maintaining your pool or spa water balance, if your Calcium level reaches 1000 ppm.

When your calcium hardness is too low!

Whenever the CH level in your swimming pool or spa is too low, the water in your facility will become very aggressive or very corrosive. Low levels of calcium is also a major contributor to foaming in spas or hot tubs. This is a pool water problem that is not good for the plaster or concrete surfaces in your pool or spa. The truth of the matter is that you should test the calcium content in your water regularly and if it is too low, take the necessary steps to correct it at once. Failure to take action, will result in your water having the capacity to leech or dissolve calcium carbonate from your pool and spa surfaces.

Pool and spa water that is corrosive, will lead to some very costly damages to their surfaces. Some of the problems that can occur are as follows:

Etching or pitting of your pool and spa surfaces. This water problem can occur in a very short time period if you fail to monitor your pool water chemistry.
Staining of your pool or spa surface walls.
Failure of your pool or spa heating system.

Raising your CH levels

It is reported that low levels of CH or soft water is a major contributor to a lot of surface damage to pools and spas around the country. So once you have done a calcium hardness test and determined that you have to take immediate steps to raise it, the required pool chemicals must be added. The recommended pool chemical of choice for this task is calcium chloride. This pool chemical comes in two different forms which are sold at different strength as well.

Hydrated Chloride is the first of the two that we will mentioned. This pool chemical can be purchase at 77% strength.
The next one is the anhydrous calcium chloride. This is one of the two pool chemicals that you can get at full strength if you so desire. It is sold at 100% full strength.

It does not matter which of these two pool chemicals you choose, just remember to read the manufacturer warning and instructional labels. This is for your safety because both of these calcium chlorides can generate a significant amount of heat when they are added to water. For this reason a good practice to get into is, to dissolve either one of these pool chemicals in a bucket of water and thoroughly mix them prior to slowly adding them to your pool and spa.

Now depending on which one of these two calcium chlorides you decide to use, the rate at which you will added it to your pool/spa, will be determine by the their strength. For instance, if you use the 77% strength hydrated calcium chloride, your rate of addition will be at 1.25lbs for every 10,000 gallons of water. A calculation for this dosage will help you achieve a 10 ppm increase in your CH level.

On the other hand, if you decide to use the 100% strength anhydrous calcium chloride your rate of addition will be a little different. For this chloride your dosage will be 1.0lbs for every 10,000 gallons of water. Again the calculation for this dosage will give you a 10 ppm increase in your calcium content level.

When your calcium hardness is too high

High levels of calcium in a swimming pool or spa can be just as problematic as low levels. Truth be told, balancing your pool or spa water is not an easy task but nevertheless this is vitally important. Not only for your pool but also for the many swimmers that will be using your water facilities. We have found that it is much easier to lower the pH or total alkalinity in your pool than it is to lower your calcium content.

Lowering your pool/spa calcium content can be very difficult. Why? Because it usually involves you partially draining and replacing your existing pool water. To help maintain a low level of calcium after partial drainage, you have to use a source or make-up water that has a low level of hardness. However if you conduct a calcium test to determine the hardness of your make-up water and found that it is too high, you can allow the water to pass through a water softener prior to entering your pool/spa. Once the water passes through the water softener, it will reduce the level of hardness found in the water before it enters into your pool or spa.

Problems caused by high calcium content

High levels of calcium will result in scaling water. Other problems include the following:

Your pool or spa surfaces will become very rough. This condition can harbor bacteria or scratch the skin of your bathers.
Your pool or spa filters can become clogged very quickly; thus, reducing your filtration capabilities and increasing your backwashing (filter cleaning ) frequency.
Your pool water will become or look very cloudy. This is the same condition that is experienced when your alkalinity is too high.
Your pool spa heater element can become clogged as well. This problem can eventually cause you to replace your pool heater system.
You will experience a reduction in your pool or spa water circulation. This will lower or reduce your pool or spa turnover rate considerably.
Your swimmers will complain about eye and skin irritations.

When it comes to balancing the water of a swimming pool/spa, the pH is will be the most influential variable in the CSI; however, the calcium content is the most important. This means that a significant amount of calcium present in your pool water is an absolute necessity. Therefore you have to maintain a well balance saturation index at all cost.

If the case of hardness of calcium levels that are too high, you can lower your pH range and your total alkalinity levels to compensate for it. Also, to prevent any type of scale formation or keep your calcium content in solution, you can use some sort of sequestering agent. This chemical will help by interfering with the development of calcium carbonate crystal (scale) formation. Again, please remember to read and follow all the directions found on the labels of all pool chemicals.

That way you will learn the potential dangers of the chemical you are about to use and the necessary safety procedures to avoid any miss use of it. And remember that you should never add water to pool chemicals. Instead add pool chemicals to water, especially when dealing with pool chemicals like calcium chloride.

Solar Heating For In-Ground Swimming Pools – Start Saving on Heating Bills

With growing concerns about money and the environment, many people are looking for ways to reduce their spending while also reducing their negative impact on the planet. This is also true for owners of in-ground swimming pools, many of whom are now turning away from traditional heating methods and embracing solar pool heating to keep their pools warm. With many different types of solar heating options for swimming pools available today, pool owners have a wide variety of solar pool heating systems and products to choose from, which range in price, effectiveness and ease-of-use. By allowing you to harness free energy from the sun, solar heating products for pools provide slashed utility costs as well as the peace of mind that comes with using a green, renewable energy source.

Solar pool blankets and reels for in-ground pools represent one of the most widely used solar pool heating options. In-ground solar pool blankets are covered with thousands of tiny sealed air pockets which act as insulators as well as heat transmitters. As a result, solar blankets for in-ground swimming pools capture heat from the sun and transfer it into the pool water, raising the water temperature by up to 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. At the same time, the special design of these pool covers greatly reduces evaporation, thereby preventing water and heat loss. Solar pool blankets are available in a variety of thicknesses (usually between 8-mil to 16-mil), each with their own features & length of warranty so there’s sure to be one that’s perfect for your pool and your budget. Although solar swimming pool blankets can be large and somewhat cumbersome to handle, there are many different models of in-ground solar pool reels available that make using solar blankets far easier. Together, in-ground solar pool blankets and reels provide a very popular way to use solar energy to raise the temperature of pool water and to extend the swimming season.

For those who would like an alternative to solar pool blankets and reels for in-ground pools, there are many other options to choose from, including solar sun rings. Solar sun rings consist of two layers of UV resistant vinyl. The top clear layer holds insulating air and also serves to focus sunlight on the bottom blue layer. The blue layer absorbs approximately half of the sunlight, converting it into heat energy. Several solar sun rings are used together and are set on the surface of the pool’s water. The rings join together to create an insulating blanket which covers 70 to 80 percent of the water’s surface. By leaving 20 to 30 percent of the surface uncovered, solar rings still allow sunlight to directly reach some of the water, which keeps the water healthier and helps to prevent the growth of algae. Many pool owners prefer using solar sun rings over solar pool blankets and reels for in-ground pools as they are easy for one person to handle, they are highly efficient and they feature a safe design which prevents accidental entrapment.

In addition to sun rings and in-ground solar pool blankets and reels, you can also use solar pills and sun pool domes to provide solar heating for your swimming pool. Solar pills are designed to be placed in the pump basket and release a swimmer-friendly compound which spreads across the surface of the pool, forming an invisible shield which inhibits heat evaporation. Solar pills work for 24 hours per day and last for up to 30 days. However, it’s important to note that while solar pills provide ultimate convenience, they are only about 60 percent as effective as in-ground solar pool blankets.

Sun pool domes provide another great way to use the sun’s energy as a heating source for your swimming pool. Typically constructed from vinyl and aluminum, sun pool domes provide a complete enclosure for your swimming pool, preventing heat loss and also helping to keep your pool clean. Although the initial assembly will take some time, sun pool domes are designed to be easily set up and taken down and will keep your pool warm and well-protected throughout the season with very little work on your part once installed. Sun pool domes and all of the other above solar pool heating options can be used in tandem with an electric or gas pool heater or a heat pump. However, they can also be used on their own, providing very green options for heating your pool.

If you are truly serious about going green with regards to heating your in-ground swimming pool, there are high quality solar pool heating systems available that you may wish to consider. For example, the SunGrabber in-ground solar pool heating system uses solar panels which are designed to be mounted either on the roof of your house, on a rack or on the ground. Lightweight and easy to winterize, the SunGrabber system provides maximum heat transfer and comes with a 10 year warranty. The Hi-Deluxe solar pool heating system is also an excellent option. Featuring a special tube-on-fin design, this system makes use of 70 to 94 percent of the available solar energy, allowing for outstanding performance and optimal solar heating results.

With the availability of solar heating kits for a variety of different solar heating options, it’s easy to buy exactly what you need for installation and use. From in-ground solar pool reels and blankets to sun pool domes and solar pool heating systems with solar panels, there are convenient solar heating kits that will allow you to start harnessing the sun’s free energy quickly and easily so you can enjoy an extended swimming season while saving money and reducing your negative impact on the environment.

How to Choose the Best Swimming Pool Cover to Fit Your Needs

A swimming pool is obviously a significant investment. Many consumers might be enticed by price when adding the required accessories. Choosing pool covers based on price will cost you more in the long run and diminish your enjoyment of your pool.

Swimming Pool covers come in a wide range of quality and material to match the needs of each pool owner. Pool covers come in solid fabrics of various strengths and durability. Pool covers of a solid material will block sunlight to help diminish the development of algae and minimize debris from getting into the pool.

There are many types of pool covers to consider.

Covers for winter: The value of a winter pool cover comes from the quality of each of its components and the construction process used to make it. A US made winter pool cover will last many years. The best winter pool covers are made in the United States. The following points will guide you to the best decision (hint: none of them are price).

1.The manufacturing process used by U.S. manufacturers produces fabric strands that are superior in strength and straightness due to a hot air process compared to Import manufacturers that use a water loom process. So basically, the cheaper import is comprised of a weaker, kinked strand that requires more outer reinforcement to seal it. This distinction allows U.S. producers to make more durable, more uniform pool cover fabrics that are lightweight yet stronger than the competitive imports. Ultimately, the domestic product is less likely to delaminate and separate away from the fabric.

2. Denier: The most important consideration is called the “Denier”, which refers to the breaking strength of each strand used in the weave fabric. The denier associated with domestic winter covers is nearly twice that of the imports, making them almost impossible to rip. They hold up to harsh winter conditions far better as a result. The ability to stop rips lends itself to cover durability, longevity and serviceability.

3. The third factor is the “Scrim “, the number of strands woven together horizontally and vertically, per square inch. Intuitively, the more strands, the stronger the cover, depending of course on the denier. The consumer should understand that Scrim by itself is not indicative of quality. Stores that only sell the cheap imported pool covers will not indicate the denier, do not highlight the origin of manufacture and unsuspecting consumer is none the wiser. Ultimately, many pool owners will have to replace their imported, cheap pool covers within a couple years because of these quality differences. Like many things of quality, the overall cost of ownership associated with quality products is less even if the initial price tag is more expensive.

MESH POOL COVERS: Mesh pool covers block most of the light, yet allow water to penetrate the cover. This advantage means you do not need to pump the water accumulation off the pool cover, leaves and debris will just blow away or easily removed. This allows faster pool opening in the Spring. By avoiding the requirement to refill the pool, you save water and lots of time. Mesh and solid pool covers are available in round or oval shapes to fit most pool shapes and sizes.

AUTOMATIC POOL COVERS: An Automatic pool cover uses an electric motor to open and close the cover. The cover rides on a track system that is built into the top of the in-ground pool wall or deck. An automatic pool cover serves as the pool solar cover, winter cover and a safety cover that lasts for years.

SOLAR POOL COVERS: Solar pool covers deliver solar energy to the water increasing the water temperature and reducing heat loss. Pool solar covers capture heat from sunlight inside thousands of tiny sealed air bubbles and transfer that energy to the pool water. The darker the pool cover color, the more heat they attract and the faster the transfer. Solar covers can add weeks of swimming fun by raising the water termperature 15 degrees over normal. Solar pool covers can pay for themselves in terms of energy conservation and help to prevent heat loss and pool water evaporation. They can reduce your pool heating costs by hundreds of dollars. They come in most standard sizes and can be trimmed to fit the pool as needed or ordered to fit. Although pool solar covers are lightweight and float on the pool surface, they still can be difficult to manage. Have a reel will make it easy to put the solar cover on and take it off. Using a solar cover without a reel is not recommended because the blankets are difficult to handle and usually require a couple people. Even without the reel though, the benefits from the solar heating blanket make it well worth the small investment.

POOL SAFETY COVERS: As implied by the name, they help protect your pool for accidental drowning and intrusion. Pool safety covers come in a Solid or Mesh fabric. There are advantages to each. Solid fabric will better block all the algae causing sunlight. The more popular mesh fabric will block most of the light yet allows rain, melting ice and snow to pass through and the leaves and debris just blow away. The covers are anchored into the pool deck to lock the cover down, so throughout the winter or during vacation your pool can be protected against intrusion or accidents. They are extremely strong and can support several hundred pounds, so they give peace of mind.

Your choices of pool covers depend on many factors as you can see. Ultimately, we recommend that you choose the correct cover based on your particular needs and environmental factors. AFTER you’ve chosen the correct design should you consider prices among suppliers for the particular type of cover you’ve settled on and don’t be enticed by a lower price that compromises your decision for the best solution.

Solar Pool Covers and Reels For Above Ground Pools

Solar pool covers and reels for above ground pools are essential pieces of equipment for owners of above ground swimming pools who want to extend their swimming season while saving money. Through the use of special designs and high quality materials, solar swimming pool covers provide a wide range of benefits such as increased water temperature and significantly reduced heating costs. When used together with solar cover reels for above ground pools, these pool blankets are very easy and convenient to use, allowing pool owners to enjoy the many advantages of solar covers without any fuss or frustrations.

Solar pool covers for above ground pools are specifically designed to make the very most of the sun’s heat. Constructed from tough stabilized resins, solar covers feature thousands of tiny air pockets all over their surface, creating an appearance reminiscent of bubble wrap. These air pockets serve as excellent insulators, preventing heat from escaping from your swimming pool. At the same time, the air bubbles also promote heat transference, taking the heat from the sun and using it to raise the temperature of the pool water.

While their design and construction make solar pool covers extremely good at heat retention and transference, these same qualities also provide outstanding durability. The tough materials that solar blankets are made from will stand up to year after year of use. Solar pool covers for above ground pools also feature exceptionally strong seams that will lie flat but which will also withstand repeated folding over the years. Strong seams also greatly reduce the likelihood of rips and tears. All of these design features add up to mean that solar pool blankets are an excellent long-term investment.

Solar pool covers and reels for above ground pools are also a good investment in the sense that they can save you money. To begin with, the heat transference and insulating properties of solar swimming pool covers can use the sun’s energy to raise the temperature of your pool by at least 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only will this allow you to enjoy a longer swimming season, it will also allow you to use other heating sources such as gas and electric heaters far less. As a result, solar pool covers for above ground pools can slash your energy bills, leaving you with more money for other aspects of your life.

With the help of solar pool covers, you can also save on chemical costs. While that may seem surprising at first, the reason why this is true is really quite simple. By using a solar cover for your above ground swimming pool, you will be greatly reducing evaporation from your pool. This includes the evaporation of both water and chemicals. When you are losing fewer chemicals through evaporation, you won’t need to add as many replacement chemicals. Thus, you won’t need to buy as many chemicals during the swimming season.

While solar pool covers for above ground pools are primarily designed to retain heat, enhance heat transference and to prevent water and chemical evaporation, they can also provide additional benefits. For example, when your pool is kept covered while not in use less dirt and debris will enter the water. This not only helps to reduce the stress on your pool’s filtration system, it also saves you time as less cleaning and skimming will be required.

The benefits that you can enjoy from solar pool blankets can be further enhanced by solar cover reels for above ground pools. Solar cover reels take the fuss and hassle out of using solar covers to help heat your swimming pool. These reels can be permanently mounted onto the rail of your above ground pool and feature a strong yet easy to use hand crank that makes it extremely simple for anyone to roll or unroll a solar blanket.

Depending on the size of your above ground pool and your budget, there are a variety of different solar pool blankets and cover reels available on the market. Some brands of solar covers feature a unique diamond design of the air pockets, which reduces the space between the air bubbles, increasing heat transference and retention. Also, these covers are available in different thicknesses, with the thicker covers providing even better heat retention. There are also a variety of options available with respect to solar cover reels for above ground pools, including economy and deluxe models.

By extending your swimming season and saving you money on both heating and chemical costs, solar pool covers offer many excellent benefits, a fact which more and more pool owners are beginning to recognize. When used together, solar pool covers and reels for above ground pools also make it very easy and convenient to take advantage of these great perks. So if you are interested in a great long-term investment that will allow you to save money and enjoy more days of swimming each season, solar pool covers and reels for above ground pools could be exactly what you have been looking for.

Pool System Review, a Convential Chlorine Pool Vs a Chlorine Free Pool?

What’s the best choice for the residential pool owner, a chlorine swimming pool or a Baquacil pool system?

Lets look into the advantages and disadvantages of using a typical chlorine pool treatment system vs a Baquacil maintained pool system. Key factors to consider are; safety, convenience, enjoyment and costs. We’ll review the typical chemicals used in each system and their effectiveness, water quality and possible risks.

Lets take a look at the typical home pool, the main component in the system is chlorine, followed by stabilizer and an algaecide. When chlorine is added to water you get a reaction which forms hypochlorous acid, the active killing form of chlorine. The chlorine molecule kills microorganisms by penetrating the cell walls and destroying the inner enzymes and processes. The hypochlorous molecule continues this process until it combines with an organic compound to become chloramine at which time it becomes de-activated itself.

It is widely accepted that chlorine is a hazardous product, the chloramines which form in pool water when chlorine combines with organic matter are especially troublesome.

The following is a list of some of the documented dangers of chlorine

Irritation

# Chlorine can often cause skin irritation by destroying the body’s supply of vitamin E and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and can also cause generalized redness and itchiness of the eyes.

Asthma

# There is a slight increase in respiratory problems; asthma in particular shows the highest percentage increase in children who spend a lot of time in chlorinated pools.

Cancer

# Chlorine has been associated in some studies with cancer of the larynx, esophagus, breast, bowels and especially the bladder.

Heart Disease

# There is evidence that excessive chlorine levels in the body are responsible for elevated cases of heart disease.

Chlorine is still the most popular means of sanitizing swimming pool water in the US. It does an excellent job sanitizing water, but it does so at a price. Chlorine is a very caustic, corrosive chemical and it is effective because it attacks anything organic. Unfortunately, it also attacks the skin, hair, and eyes of the humans swimming in it.

Chlorine is toxic and hazardous to handle, ingest and especially breathe.

Chloramines, a by-product of chlorine and organic waste, are known carcinogens. Unfortunately with the standard chlorine pool there is no practical way of preventing chloramines from forming in chlorinated swimming pools.

Ongoing research suggests that children who swim frequently in chlorinated pools may have increased risks of developing allergies or asthma.

A Belgian study, published in 2003, showed that an irritant released when chlorinated water reacts with urine, sweat or other organic matter from swimmers increased the risk of asthma among children who regularly swam in public pools. This irritant, trichloramine, is believed to damage the cellular barrier that protects the lungs. Blood samples showed elevated trichloramine levels even among individuals who sat at the side of pools but didn’t swim.

Chlorinated water contains chemical compounds called trihalomethanes which are carcinogens resulting from the combination of chlorine with organic compounds in water.

Pool Chlorine Stabilizer, the chemical name of pool “Stabilizer” is Cyanuric Acid and it is referred to by either title. The Stabilizer level of swimming pool water should be maintained at 30-50 ppm. The Stabilizer in swimming pool water partially surrounds the chlorine on a molecular level, to protect the chlorine and prevent it from being quickly burned off and used up by the sun. If the Stabilizer level tests lower than 30 ppm it will be difficult to maintain adequate chlorine levels, especially during the summer. If the Stabilizer level tests above 50 ppm it may start negatively impacting the chlorine level. Rather than partially surrounding the chlorine in your pool water to protect the chlorine, it will completely surround the chlorine making it inactive. Once you have too much stabilizer it is difficult to remove without partially draining the pool.

Algaecide is a chemical that prevents algae from growing in your pool, aids in the maintenance of proper pool pH and also boosts the performance of your pool filter because if you use an algaecide there will be less waste for your pool filter to process.There are many types out there, but an algaecide containing chelated copper works just fine unless you have well water. Another great option is a phosphate eliminating algaecide, which kills algae’s major food source. This works by eliminating phosphates from the pool and killing the algae by severing it from its food source. Also, when algae dies, it actually releases phosphates into the water, which could provide the nutrients for more algae to grow right after you’ve killed the first batch. If you’re having a chronic algae problem, have your water tested for phosphates, if you have phosphates above 125 ppb this product is a must!

Now let’s take a look at a chlorine free pool. The oldest and best known chlorine-free system on the market is BAQUACIL. The main package they offer goes under the marketing name of CDX.

The BAQUACIL CDX Pool Care System is a complete pool sanitizing system consisting of chlorine-free BAQUACIL SANITIZER AND ALGISTAT, BAQUACIL OXIDIZER, and BAQUACIL CDX. The product that actually kills bacteria in pool water is BAQUACIL SANITIZER AND ALGISTAT. The two other products in the system work with this product to keep your pool sparkling clear and algae free.

The active ingredient in BAQUACIL SANITIZER AND ALGISTAT is polyhexamethylene biguanide. It’s very gentle and is used in some contact lens cleaning solutions. BAQUACIL SANITIZER AND ALGISTAT is very stable and is not affected by sunlight, temperature, and pH fluctuations.

The BAQUACIL Pool Care System is different from chlorine and bromine-based pool sanitizers and for that reason, many chemicals that work with one system won’t work with the other.

So which is the better system? If cost is your main concern then a chlorinated pool is certainly much cheaper but you have all the drawbacks noted above regarding the dangers associated with exposure to the chemicals required. Also the pool water is just not as enjoyable to use, you have the issues with dry skin, hair, odor and the bleached out swimwear. From my own personal use I found that extended stays in the pool just didn’t feel very comfortable and my skin, hair and clothes also faired poorly with extended exposure.

The Bacquacil pool system provides water that was a pleasure to use and I never noticed any chemical odors or dryness of skin or hair. It really felt good to spend time in the pool and the only drawback of extended stays in the pool was a sever case of wrinkly toes and fingers! The major drawback is cost, pools on the Baquacil system costs several times more than a chlorinated pool. I used Bacquacil in my pool for well over two years at an average cost of about $100 per month. Also Bacquacil is hard on cartridge filters and I ended up replacing my filter at twice the rate vs a chlorine system.

If you don’t want to spend a lot for pool chemicals but want to have very enjoyable, beautiful pool water with minimal exposure to chlorine in general and very little exposure to chloramines in particular then the Crystalline Pool System is a very good alternative. Your total chemical bill will actually be lower than a simple chlorine pool regiment and the enjoyment level is very close to the Baquacil CDX system.

Swimming Pools Designs – What Style is the Best Choice For You?

Types Of Swimming Pools

A home swimming pool could be a fantastic refuge for weary family members. It is the one place where we all wish to be on a hot day. Swimming is a calming exercise, as well as a healthy one, for individuals of all age groups. In addition, a nicely created swimming pool adds class as well as value to any home.

But what type of pool should you put in?

You will find numerous options to consider. Here are probably the most common options:

Swimming Pools Designs: Above Ground:

Above ground swimming pools are the simplest to build and the cheapest to buy, as they come as pre-made kits. They are the summer-fun answer for those who don’t wish to make the larger commitment of an in-ground swimming pool. If you’re not yet ready for a permanent structure in your yard, then an above-ground may be the way to go.

Here are the above ground swimming pool tidbits to think about:

Quick to install: Grab a few handy neighbors and you can be hosting a pool party in just a few days.

Moveable: Should you move, you can take your pool with you, give it to a friend or even sell it. Or you can leave it as a gain for the next owner of your home.

Choices: You are able to choose from aluminum, resin or steel sidings. All 3 types have numerous benefits, ranging from rust-resistance to average life-span. Your local dealer can help you to weigh the pros and cons of each kind.

Affordable: Above-grounds are excellent for those searching for a fairly affordable way to provide years of backyard family entertainment.

Great for Small Lots: If getting a back-hoe into your yard might be next-to-impossible, an above-ground can usually be carried in a kit to your yard and set up.

Variety: Above-grounds come in several sizes and shapes, and a range of decorative wall patterns and decking choices.

Swimming Pools Designs: Below Ground:

Fiberglass:

Fiberglass pools are built utilizing molded fiberglass, reinforced plastic. Fiberglass pools are in ground, and can provide you years and years of family fun and swimming pleasure. Fundamentally, a fiberglass swimming pool is similar to a giant bathtub.

Here are fiberglass pool tidbits to think about:

Installation: As soon as your yard has been excavated, the swimming pool is delivered in one piece and set up. Building time is usually about two weeks.

Cost: Fiberglass pools are usually more expensive to purchase than concrete inground pools, but can save you money over the life of the pool. This is simply because they usually will require fewer chemicals than concrete pools. You also avoid upcoming replastering and liner replacement expenses.

Shock absorbent: What happens if the earth moves? Fiberglass has a shock-absorbing capability that allows it to bend up to 2 feet. However, there also are new concrete building methods that allow concrete to flex. So, it’s important to remember that if you live in an earthquake-prone region, be certain to have your dealer explain the features and benefits of fiberglass and concrete construction.

Maintenance: Unlike a plaster finish, a fiberglass shell doesn’t change the chemistry of the water, so you often will use much less acid. Simply because of the non-porous surface, you do not need to brush the pool nearly as often as a plaster-finished concrete swimming pool. However, you typically do not need to brush a pebble-finish concrete pool as frequently as a plaster-finish pool, so when discussing this choice with a dealer, be sure you’re comparing apples to apples.

Vinyl:

Vinyl lined swimming pools would be the cheapest kinds of in ground styles you can get, even though you will need to have the liner replaced every ten years or so.

A vinyl-liner swimming pool typically is shipped from the manufacturer in kit form. After excavation, the panel walls are bolted or fastened together and supported at the bottom by a concrete footing. The vinyl liner is spread over the interior of the swimming pool and covers the excavated floor and paneled walls. It is connected to the top of the panel walls by a vinyl rib at the outside edge of the liner. Be sure to ask your liners usually have to be replaced in your area of the country. Construction time for vinyl-liner swimming pools is usually one to three weeks.

Listed here are vinyl swimming pools design tidbits to think about:

Smooth Surface: The vinyl liner is smooth and nonporous, making stain removal simple if stains are treated promptly.

Climate: Vinyl-liner pools are popular in cold-weather areas of the country. These pools could be very easily winterized by draining them down and covering them until the spring.

Concrete:

Concrete is another popular design for in ground pools, as they offer plenty of room and no need to have the liner exchanged.

By its very nature, a concrete pool is custom-built to your specifications by the pool-builder you select. It’s the most common kind of in-ground swimming pool, and the initial installation usually costs much less than a fiberglass pool. Concrete pools are constructed in stages, including swimming pool layout and excavation; steel installation; plumbing installation; equipment set; gunnite or shotcrete application; tile and coping installation; and interior finish installation. Even though they take longer than fiberglass pools to construct, they have the benefit of essentially unlimited shapes, sizes and designs. The construction time on a concrete swimming pool is generally three to 12 weeks.

Concrete Swimming pool tidbits to think about

Weather Resistant: Some industry specialists are convinced that concrete pools are well-suited to parts of the country that have very high summer-time temperatures. Concrete also is perceived by some to function better in places where the soil is really expansive.

Price: The initial installation of a concrete pool is generally much less than a fiberglass in ground pool. So, should you want an in-ground, but the total up-front expense is of concern to you, a concrete pool might best fit your needs.

Strength: Both fiberglass and concrete are materials of excellent strength. Talk to your dealer or contractor about the ramifications of your soil type and climate on both types of materials.

Variety of Finishes: A variety of interior finishes is available, such as plaster, paint or pebbles. These provide you with a number of choices to best suit your budget and desired design.

Conclusion:

A swimming pool is an ideal feature for any home It can add value to the property, and can provide numerous hours of fun and relaxation to your family members. Just keep in mind, however, a good pool demands extensive preparations, and once these are completed, maintenance is really essential. As long as the preparations and ongoing maintenance are attended to, then your swimming pool will be a family asset for decades to come.

The Secret to Having Beautiful Pool Water – Reducing Chemicals and Preventing Pool Problems

The secret to having beautiful pool water, reducing chemicals and preventing pool problems

Proper swimming pool maintenance can prevent common problems such as green pool water, cloudy water, pool staining, itchy eyes, pungent chlorine smell and the spread of various waterborne diseases. We all want beautiful, clean, clear enjoyable pool water that is soft to the skin and easy on the eyes, hair and swimwear.

Everyone wants a beautiful pool with as little effort as possible! With the use of the Crystalline Pool System maintaining a beautiful, sparkling clear pool with soft enjoyable water with no chlorine smell is a breeze. Your swimming pool water treatment consists of a little bit of chlorine and a weekly application of Crystalline and that is typically it!

Swimming Pool Maintenance Tips
Owning a swimming pool is a privilege but to enjoy a nice beautiful pool with minimum hassles and expense requires some basic responsibilities.
Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! If you let your pool water get out of balance and your pool water becomes green or cloudy/murky, burns your skin or smells strongly it may costs you a lot more to get it back to a sparkling clear, beautiful state than if you never let it get away from you in the first place! Pool maintenance is essential and cannot be neglected, especially during the swimming season. Fallen leaves and other organic matter in the pool eventually decompose and attract bacteria. Pool maintenance should be carried out throughout the year, irrespective of the pool type, with un-screened pools needing the most attention. Below is a schedule, that if followed should help maintain beautiful, soft, clear pool water year round.

Daily
Check Skimmer Basket: The skimmer basket must be checked and cleared of debris, so as to ensure fresh and circulating pool water. Debris such as leaves, insects, bird droppings and other substances must be cleared from the surface of the pool by using a leaf net or leaf bagger. Leaves and other debris at the bottom of the pool must also be cleared by using a leaf net or bagger.

Weekly
PH Level: Maintaining the right water balance is very important. The pH level is the measure of acidity or alkalinity, and should to be tested weekly. The pH level in the pool water must be slightly alkaline, that is a pH of around 7.2-7.6 must be maintained. It is at this pH level that chlorine is most effective. Moreover, this level is similar to the pH of our skin. It can be controlled by adding either an acid or an alkali such as baking soda. Incorrect pH levels can lead to damage of pool surface and pool equipment!

Chlorine Level: Sanitizing pools is equivalent to sterilizing the pool, whereby bacterial and algal forms can be destroyed. Inadequately sanitized pools can become breeding grounds for bacteria. The range of ‘free’ chlorine that has to be maintained in the pool is usually 1.0-3.0 ppm. With the use of the Crystalline Pool System you can maintain your chlorine at the 1 ppm range with good results. Since chlorine is a known carcinogen and it’s fumes have been shown to be bad for asthma sufferers the fact that Crystalline allows you to reduce your chlorine levels about 70% is a very good thing!

Algaecide: To control the algal contaminants, the pool must typically be given a dose of algaecide once a week. Fortunately with the use of Crystalline you should not have a need for an algaecide unless you have the uncommon yellow mustard algae.

Clarifier: The annoying cloudy water problem can be resolved by adding a dose of clarifier to the pool water. Clarifying agents make the tiny particles stick to each other, to form larger particles. These larger particles then either settle to the bottom of the pool to be vacuumed up or are trapped by the filter. The good news is that clarifiers are not needed when using Crystalline since it contains a flocculent!

Monthly
Calcium Level: Water that is too low in calcium becomes corrosive, while water high in calcium results in scale formation. This is why checking the calcium hardness is very important. This test has to be conducted at local pool store, as the standard testing kit does not test for calcium hardness. A sample of the pool water needs to be taken to your local pool store and tested.

Alkalinity: Correct total alkalinity will prevent sudden changes in the pH levels of the pool water. 80-120 ppm is the proper range for total alkalinity; the level can be adjusted by the addition of baking soda.

Overall by using Crystalline your pool water will be more stable and Calcium and Alkalinity levels will fluctuate less and your total chemical use will be lower.

Mid-Season
Swimming pool filters are prone to accumulate oil and grease, and have to be cleaned by using a ‘filter cleanser degrease r’. How often this is required is a direct result of bathing load and how diligent bathers are about showering off before going into the pool, especially if they have been using tanning oils/lotions. Usually most cartridge filters are only good for one cleaning and then will need to be replaced with a new filter.

As Needed
Shock Treatment: Shock treatments are important to destroy combined chlorine compounds (free chlorine is the active chlorine and is required, not combined or total). Shock treatment packages are sold locally, use according to the instructions on the package, shock during the evenings or when no one will be using the pool for several hours. This raises the level of free chlorine in the pool and also destroys germs and bacteria. With the proper use of Crystalline you will almost never need to shock your pool as the water will remain very clean and clear. You will save time, effort and money plus your pool will never look or feel better!

Metal Out Addition: Often tiny metal particles are found on the pool surface and can cause staining. They are very small and bypass the filter; they can be removed by adding a weekly dose of ‘Metal Out’ to the pool water. You should not need this product on a regular basis though and if you do, have the pool inspected by a professional to determine what the problem is.

So the question is, who in the world wants swimming pool algae, a green swimming pool or cloudy swimming pool water? No one should and it is completely unnecessary! With the proper knowledge and just a little effort, proper maintenance of your pool water can help prevent all the above problems. The best single product to make it easy to have a beautiful pool, with soft enjoyable water with a minimum of effort is the Crystalline Pool System!

Pool Equipment: Choosing an Automatic Swimming Pool Cleaner

An automatic swimming pool cleaner is absolutely the best piece of swimming pool equipment a pool owner can invest in. Manually cleaning a swimming pool is very time consuming and few pool owners enjoy this tedious task. An automatic swimming pool cleaner allows you to spend less time maintaining your swimming pool, and more time relaxing and enjoying your pool! There is a wide selection of automatic pool cleaners available for any budget, and every size In-Ground or Above-Ground swimming pool. There are three different types of automatic pool cleaners for In Ground pools and Above Ground pools, and they are classified by the way they collect debris and move around the pool. “Suction Side” automatic pool cleaners are connected to your pool skimmer and “Pressure Side” automatic pool cleaners connect to a return line fitting of your pool. “Robotic” pool cleaners work independently from your pool filtration system, and are powered by electricity.

Suction Side automatic pool cleaners use the suction power created by your filtration system to propel a pool cleaner around your swimming pool, and pick up debris from the pool floor. Suction side automatic pool cleaners are connected to the skimmer of the pool, and dirt and debris collected from the pool is deposited directly into your filtration system. Suction side automatic pool cleaners are very easy to connect to your swimming pool and to use. These pool cleaners may have an advantage over pressure side pool cleaners, because very little or no adjustments or additional parts are typically needed to adapt a suction side pool cleaner to your swimming pool. Examples of popular suction side automatic pool cleaners are the Hayward Pool Vac or Kreepy Krauly.

Pressure Side automatic pool cleaners connect to the return line fitting in the wall of your swimming pool. Pressure side automatic pool cleaners use a powerful jet of water to move around your swimming pool, and a jet of water is used to draw debris up from the pool surface into a special filter bag connected to the pool cleaner. Pressure side pool cleaners may have an advantage over suction side cleaners because they are typically more powerful and can climb the walls of an inground swimming pool. Because pressure side automatic pool cleaners are connected to the return line fitting of the swimming pool, the pool skimmer is left open to draw dirty water and debris from the surface of the pool. These pool cleaners act as a roving return line, and help eliminate “dead spots” in the swimming pool which are not reached by the circulating action of the main filter system. These pool cleaners deposit debris into a special filter bag instead of inside your pool filter system. Some pressure side pool cleaners feature their own “booster pump”, which works independently from your main pool filter system to create the extra water pressure needed for these powerful cleaners. Examples of popular pressure side automatic pool cleaners are most Polaris and most Letro brand pool cleaners.

Robotic automatic pool cleaners feature a built in filtration system, and operate independently from your main pool filter system. No cumbersome hoses or tedious adjustments are required. These self-contained automatic pool cleaners use on board electric motors to move around your pool and create the suction necessary to pick up debris from the pool surface. As these robotic pool cleaners move about cleaning the pool surface, they constantly circulate and filter your swimming pool water. A robotic pool cleaner will pick up debris from the pool floor, and can also climb the walls and steps of an inground swimming pool. These pool cleaners are designed to scrub the water line of the swimming pool, and regular use of a robotic swimming pool cleaner will eliminate the water line stain found on most outdoor pools.

Robotic pool cleaners save a great deal of money in operating costs, because these pool cleaners do not require your pool pump and filtration system to be running for the pool cleaner to work. This also means you do not have to clean your filtration system after each use, using more electricity and losing chemically treated water through the filter backwash cycle. Robotic pool cleaners are available in many sizes and models designed for average size above ground swimming pools, up to the largest commercial facilities and water parks. Many robotic pool cleaners feature a hand held remote control, giving the pool owner complete control over the movements of the pool cleaner. This allows very quick and easy spot cleaning. The most common robotic swimming pool cleaner on the market today is the Aquabot pool cleaner.