Monthly Archives

November 2020

What Is the Best Type of Pool for Cold Climates?

By | Pool Safety

Written by Admin and published on

Did you know that people in some northern states ice skate on their inground pools during the winter? Yep, it gets that cold. If you live in an area where people skate on their pools as much as they swim in them, you might have questions like:

What is the best type of pool for cold climates?

What problems can occur when a pool freezes?

Are fiberglass pools ok in cold weather? What about concrete and vinyl pools?

More importantly, when you live in a cold climate, your swim season tends to be much shorter than it does for those of us living in warmer areas. And because you only get a few precious months out of the year to swim in your inground pool, you’ll likely want to make sure that your pool isn’t more trouble than it’s worth. 

Inground pools can be very high maintenance depending on the type, and we want you to be aware of any problems that you may encounter with a frozen pool in your backyard.  

At River Pools, we manufacture fiberglass pools for customers across North America, including cold weather states like Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Colorado, Ohio, and North Dakota. In this article, we’ll explain how each inground pool type fares in freezing conditions, as well as some problems that you can encounter when your pool freezes. 

Let’s dive in. 

What is the Best Type of Swimming Pool for My Home?

So you’re thinking about getting a swimming pool for your backyard that will provide years of enjoyment, laughter, and fun for your family. No doubt, owning a swimming pool will have a wonderful and lasting effect on your life. Notwithstanding, in order to make the most out of this experience, it’s important you understand what your options are and which type of pool will best suit your needs.

Even though we are one of the world’s largest manufacturers of inground fiberglass swimming pools here at Leisure Pools, we’ve decided to give you the honest and unbiased answers you need to answer this very important question. Here goes…

Option #1: Above Ground Swimming Pools pros and cons

Advantages of above ground pools

There is one definitive advantage of an above ground swimming pool – cost. Without question, an above ground pool is going to cost less than any type of inground pool (assuming you don’t build a large deck around it, at which point, you could have just as easily bought an inground pool).

Disadvantages of above ground pools

For most folks, the biggest disadvantage of above ground pools is their aesthetics. Some can view an above ground pool as an eyesore.  Often subdivisions do not allow for their construction within their covenants. Even with a deck built entirely around them, an above ground pool will generally never add to the appearance of your home and yard. In fact, it will likely be a deterrent.

Another disadvantage of an above ground pool is their depth and design limitation.  Generally speaking, most above ground pools come in one of 3 shapes—circle, oval, or rectangle.

Above ground pools simply are not built to last a long time. Their metals walls can oxidize and rust easily, and the majority of structures will generally fail in the 8-15 year mark.  As a result of this, an above ground pool generally is not factored in as an improvement when a house is being valued and can be a deterrent when trying to sell a house.

above ground pool - circle shape

Above ground pool – circle shape

Option #2: Vinyl Liner Inground Swimming Pools pros and cons

Advantages of vinyl liner pools

If you’re looking to get an inground pool and have a very limited budget, vinyl liner may be the best choice for you.  Their material costs are low and as a result a vinyl liner pool will in most cases cost $5,000 to $10,000 less initially than their concrete or fiberglass counterparts.

With a vinyl liner pool, you have very few limits when it comes to shape and size.  With today’s technology, you can make the pool as deep and as curvy/straight/large as you’d like.

Disadvantages of vinyl liner pools

The biggest disadvantage of a vinyl liner inground pool is the liner itself.  The material is a polymer and it will break down over time and need to be replaced.  Also, the liner can tear easily or become undone from the sides, causing it slowly to fall into the water.

On average (and regardless of what “warranties” say), you can expect your inground vinyl liner to last between 7-12 years, with the average cost of replacement (labor, liner, and water) in the $3,000 to $7,000 range, depending on the size/shape of the pool.

Another disadvantage of a liner pool is the aesthetic look.  Generally speaking, a standard liner pool installation will look much “cheaper” and “temporary” than a fiberglass or concrete pool.  As a result a vinyl liner inground pools typically don’t add value to your home like a fiberglass or concrete pool would do of the same size.

In many countries now, vinyl liner pools are no longer sold and fiberglass pools and concrete pools are the swimming pools of choice.

Option #3: Concrete (Gunite) Swimming Pools pros and cons

Advantages of concrete (gunite) pools

The main advantage of a concrete pool is the fact that it can be designed and customized to fit any size, shape, or depth you’d like. From a visual standpoint, a concrete pool can look very nice because of these customizable features.

Concrete pools add value to the property and are an asset when the owner looks to sell the home.

Disadvantages of concrete (gunite) pools

Far and away, the biggest drawback to a concrete pool is the high maintenance required to keep these pool pretty, clear, and clean.  Not only does a concrete pool require more chemicals and brushing during the season, but it also goes through an expensive resurface on average every 8-15 years.

Another disadvantage of a concrete pool is its roughness of surface.  Not only does this roughness lead to acid washing and easy algae growth, but also it can be very hard on children’s feet, and cause them to bleed after a few hours of playing in the pool.

Concrete pools also traditionally take a long time to build.  This can be frustrating for homeowners as they have a constant construction zone in their yard for on average 3 months.

Concrete pools are not ideally suited for salt chlorination.  Although salt chlorinators can be installed on concrete pools a concrete pool with require more maintenance and will require resurfacing earlier than if traditional water sanitizing was in place.  Given the many amazing benefits of salt chlorination this is a disadvantage for concrete pools.

Option #4 Fiberglass Swimming Pools pros and cons

Advantages of fiberglass pools

Generally speaking, it’s now an accepted fact that fiberglass pools require the least amount of maintenance of any swimming pool on the market today. With their smooth, non-porous surfaces, it’s hard for algae to grow on fiberglass and when used with a salt chlorinator, the minimal maintenance is astounding for many pool owners.

Fiberglass swimming pools can be installed in a very short period of time. The main reason being is that the swimming pool structure is fabricated off site meaning that once the hole for the swimming pool is excavated the finished swimming pool structure can be lowered into the hole and all that is then required is for the decking and landscaping to be completed around the swimming pool. Fiberglass swimming pools can be fully installed an operational in as little as 5 days.

Leisure Pools have made tremendous advancements in the color technology of fiberglass swimming pools.  Leisure Pools offers each of its swimming pool designs in the Leisure Pools SMART color range.  This new color range is available in 7 distinct colors and each has a spectacular sparkle finish.  The surface is smooth and as a result children and adults skin is not damaged by the pool surface.

Leisure Pools have made advancements in manufacturing technology with the release of the Leisure Pools Composite Armour™ swimming pool. This swimming pool has improved flexural and tensile strength enabling Leisure Pools to offer a Lifetime Structural Warranty and Lifetime Osmosis Warranty (see warranty for terms).  Lifetime warranty means not less than 35 years. These warranties are far superior to anything offered by above ground, vinyl liner and concrete pools.

As a fiberglass swimming pool is built off a mold the benefit is that the design schematic is exactly what the swimming pool is going to look like.  We hear so many customers complain about concrete pools after they have been built because the design is formed on site and in so many cases the design envisaged by the customer is not what is finally built by the concrete pool builder. With fiberglass swimming pools you know exactly the design and sizing enabling you to plan your backyard landscaping around that exact design.

One of the great advantages of a fiberglass swimming pool is the range of designs that are available. Leisure Pools offers a wide spectrum of designs to suit a variety of home architecture. Our designs are based off substantial market research to ascertain the various features and benefits customers are wanting from a swimming pool.

The Limitless™ – fiberglass swimming pool with built-in spa

Disadvantages of fiberglass pools

The first disadvantage of a fiberglass swimming pool is that the swimming pool needs to be transported via road to the home site so we are limited as to the dimensions of the swimming pool.  Our largest fiberglass swimming pool is 40’ (12 meters) and 16’ wide (4.8 meters).  If you want a swimming pool larger than this size then a concrete swimming pool is going to be your best option.  In truth however, 95% of swimming pools are less than 40’ (12 meters) in length.

The second disadvantage of fiberglass pools is if you are looking for a design that is not available from our range. Fiberglass swimming pools are built off a mold that is an expensive item to build.  Therefore, we are limited to the number of mold designs.   Leisure Pools undertakes extensive market research to ensure that we can offer a range of designs to suit 95% of customer requirements however if you are wanting a design that is a little out of the ordinary then you may need to consider concrete swimming pools.

In conclusion: what is the best type of swimming pool?

We firmly believe that the Leisure Pools composite fiberglass swimming pool is the best available swimming pool structure for 95% of customer requirements. We urge people on a budget to look at fiberglass before above ground and vinyl liner pools. Even if you need to wait a year to save up the difference in the long term both in terms of maintenance and increased value in your home it will be the best decision for you in the long run.

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How Much Does a Pebble Pool Cost?

By | Pool Safety

Written by Admin and published on

Pebble pools (also known as aggregate pools) are extremely popular among concrete pool owners thanks to their diverse range of colors and materials. If you are new to the different pool surfaces, a pebble pool is a concrete pool with a stone, quartz, or glass pebble finish. The pebbles can be exposed (a bit bumpy but looks nice) or ground down for a smoother surface, as shown below.

How Much Does It Cost to Pebble Tec A Pool?

Have you noticed any chips or damage in your pool floor lately? Does the pool water look dull even after repainting the floor finish? Are you planning to sell your home and looking for a way to increase its market value?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be time to resurface your pool with Pebble Tec. There are many types of pebble finishes available, but nothing can beat the original Pebble Tec.

Resurfacing your pool with Pebble Tec can easily make an old pool look brand new again. If you’re wondering how much does it cost to Pebble Tec a pool, this article can help you.

Average Cost of Pebble Tec Pool

A pebble finish is more accurately called as an aggregate finish. An aggregate pool finish incorporates small pebbles and stones and glues them together with a specially mixed cement. The combination of stones and pebbles gives off a more natural and textured feel, as compared to plaster and quartz.

Pebble Tec is the pioneer company that launched the pebble pool finish. Because of this, their company name has become synonymous with pebble finish. So when people say Pebble Tec, what they really mean most of the time is pebble finish.

In terms of prices, a typical Pebble Tec pool resurfacing cost is estimated at $5,000 to $7,000 for simple resurfacing projects. Meanwhile, the more high-end Pebble Tec remodels can easily cost as much as $8,000 to $15,000.

Luxury pool in villa

Cost per square foot

When the cost is calculated in terms of surface area, the average Pebble Tec estimate usually ranges from $5 to $10 per square foot. This means that a pool with a thousand square footage will cost about $5,000 to $10,000 to resurface. This is due to the high quality of the Pebble Tec finish that other pebble materials do not have.

Pebble Tec Design

Pebble Tec pool resurfacing cost can also be influenced by the size and color of the pebbles used. For example, you can expect to pay between $5,000 and $7,000 for a pebble finish with small pebbles. On the other hand, costs can run as much as $13,000 to $15,000 for a pebble pool with large pebbles.

Pebble Tec designs speckled with blue and black pebbles also tend to cost more than the light-colored ones. This is due to the extra cost that goes into the dyes. Dark-colored pebbles are also shipped from more distant sources, hence the higher cost.

Labor Cost and Prep Work

The labor cost for pool resurfacing jobs usually starts at $66 to $88 per hour in the lower range and can go as much as $94 to $102 per hour in the upper range.

However, take note that the total number of hours spent for labor is directly affected by the amount of work that needs to be done. Normally, a Pebble Tec resurfacing job takes between 3 to 5 days. This small detail is very important as it could help you avoid being shocked when the final bill comes, especially when the contractor charges by the hour.

Like all pool remodels, a prep work is required before the actual work starts. The old pool finish, drains, and other pool components must undergo undercut and chipping. After that, a general cleaning will follow. Prep work for an average-sized pool with a Pebble Tec finish ranges from $1,200 to $1,600.

Additional Costs

If you want to renovate or remodel your entire pool area and not just the interior surface, you can expect to pay anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000. This includes changing the waterline tile, decking, and plumbing and electrical repairs.

For homeowners with in-ground spa, renovating it together with the pool may save you money because materials and labor are sold as a package. The usual spa renovation can cost somewhere between $1,400 and $1,600. Note that this price estimate is only for the re-plastering. Both coping and tiling will be considered extra work and will incur additional fees.

It’s also important to remember that for big pool beautification projects like these, some contractors are willing to give a discount as much as $800. But if you show off your bargaining powers, this could easily become $1,000 off the final bill.

Cost Factors

  • Location

Like most home improvement projects, the average Pebble Tec estimate varies across different cities, states, and even zip codes. The difference is due to the different costs of living in each area. For example, homeowners in Los Angeles tend to pay more compared to residents in Sacramento even though they’re in the same state.

In the case of pool resurfacing, the difference in costs can also be related to the climate. Warm and sunny states usually have a lot of swimming pools, and with it comes a lot of pool servicing companies.

A survey conducted by shows that the top three states with the most pool servicing companies per capita are Arizona, Florida, and Nevada. Meanwhile, research from P.K. Data finds that of the 5 million in-ground pools in the US, 40% are located in California and Florida.

Due to the numerous pool companies in these states, the competition can drive the price down. However, the final price to the question “how much does it cost to Pebble Tec a pool?” is still dependent on the cost of living in the city you live in.

  • Color and style of pebbles

Aside from the original Pebble Tec design, there are other textures offered by Pebble Tec. Each style has its own characteristics and of course, its own price. Generally, the smoother the texture of the pebbles, the more expensive they are. The pebble color can also influence the price depending on its availability.

  • Size, shape, and depth of pool

The size, shape, and depth of the pool also have considerable effects on the overall Pebble Tec cost. These factors determine how long the contractor will work. They also influence the amount of materials that need to be bought and installed. Large pools or one with extra features like an in-ground spa will cost more and take more time than an average-size pool.

  • Pool condition and prep work

All pool resurfacing jobs start with a prep work. A poorly done prep work could lead to costly problems later. Any savings you made by cutting corners can easily be drained.

The materials and labor spent for the prep work is influenced by the pool’s current condition. A severely damaged pool requires more time for prep work as it will need several repairs.


Pebble Tec may cost more than the standard pool plaster, but it’s more durable and more resistant to stain and discoloration. A plaster finish needs to be replaced every 5 to 7 years while a Pebble Tec pool can last up to 20 years. Plus, it also has a non-slip surface so if you have small children, Pebble Tec is a safer choice than plaster.

Resurfacing a pool is labor-intensive and requires specific equipment usually sold only to pool professionals. Even though you may choose to DIY, it’s not really recommended unless you’re a pool pro. To avoid wasting money on mistakes, it’s better to leave pool resurfacing to the experts

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Pool Chemical Safety: What Pool Managers and Backyard Pool Owners Need to Know

By | Pool Safety Inspections, Pool Safety

Written by Admin and published on

Pool chemicals are essential to keeping swimming healthy and safe, but there are “two sides to this coin” that need to be considered. When used properly, they help destroy waterborne pathogens in the pool, clarify the water, and make the water comfortable for bathers. But when they are mishandled, pool chemicals can cause injury. A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzes the latest data on pool chemical injuries. It appears injury statistics have remained rather static over the period 2008 to 2016, which makes me wonder what it will take to start these numbers trending downward.

Pool Chemicals 101: What You Need To Know

When you first decide to get a pool, you’re thinking about the fun you’ll have: pool parties, kids frolicking, swimming laps in the morning. Unfortunately, once you fill your pool up with water you can’t just “set it and forget it.”

Pools tend to grow algae and get dirty from the chemicals and skin cells from all those swimmers, plus debris and other natural contaminants can also cloud the water and create an unswimmable, bacteria-infested environment. The last thing you want is to go for a pleasant dip and find that the water is too dirty and might even make you and your friends or family ill.

Sometimes it seems like you need a degree in chemistry to make sure your pool chemicals are perfectly balanced. Not true. It doesn’t have to be hard to make sure your pool is always clean, safe and ready for a good time. Once you understand the basics of pool chemicals and maintenance, it becomes easier and less time-consuming to make sure your pool is balanced and swimmable, especially if you have a smart water monitoring system to help.

It’s important to check your chemicals often and to perform regular maintenance. Why? One: You won’t have the long-term issues like algae blooms or bacterial infections that might create health issues for you and your swimmers. Two: You’ll avoid issues that might require draining and refilling your pool, or even more serious repairs that are expensive and will have your pool out of commission for a long time. Three: Your pool will always be ready and waiting for you to dive in and enjoy.

This overview of pool chemical basics will help any new pool owner as well as those with years of experience owning and maintaining their pools. The basic chemicals you need to monitor and adjust are:

●       Pool Sanitizers: Chlorine and Bromine

●       Algaecides

●       pH Balancers

●       Alkalinity Balancers

●       Hardness Balancers

●       Pool Shock

Don’t worry! It may seem like a lot to manage but we make keeping track of your pool’s chemical balance simple and easy.

What are pool sanitizers and why do you need them?

What do pool sanitizers do?

Pool sanitizers combine with bacteria, viruses, algae and other natural contaminants in your pool to neutralize (destroy) them. The two most popular pool sanitizers are chlorine and bromine. Sanitizers are the most important pool chemical, but it’s important to know that they work best when all of the other levels in your pool — alkaline, pH and calcium hardness — are balanced as well.

What is the difference between chlorine and bromine?

Chlorine neutralizes bacteria and viruses by attaching to them and changing their chemical profile. Once this happens, the chlorine is no longer effective, but the contaminants are gone.

Chlorine comes in a granule form which you can drop right in the pool. Granular chlorine has to be added to your pool  and tested  almost daily so it’s a little more time-intensive to manage.

Chlorine also comes in 1-inch or 3-inch tablets which can be administered using a floating chlorine dispenser, through the pool skimmer, or through an automatic chlorinator. These methods guarantee a more consistent distribution of the pool sanitizer and are also less labor intensive, especially if you have a smart pool monitor that will send you alerts about your current chemical levels if and when they get out of balance.

Chlorine 101:

●       The ideal target balance for chlorine is 3ppm (parts per million). If you are under 3ppm, your pool is probably starting to become a petri dish. Anything more than 3ppm, and you probably need to dilute the chemicals in your water.

●       Most brands of chlorine are pretty similar. If you’re looking for a reason to buy one over another, check the “active ingredients” list which is what actually works to destroy the bacteria.

●       Weekly pool shocks are required with chlorine to clear the pool.

Bromine is similar to chlorine, but it tends to work better in pools, spas and hot tubs that run at warmer temperatures. Bromine is a great option for people whose skin is sensitive to chlorine, although it is actually chlorine-based, in case you have anyone who is allergic to chlorine.

Bromine can be more expensive than chlorine; however, bromine actually ionizes the bacteria and viruses and then continues to work, unlike chlorine, so it does last longer. Bromine comes in tablets and must be administered using a chemical dispenser.

Bromine 101:

●       The ideal target balance for bromine is between 3ppm (parts per million) and 5ppm.

●       Weekly pool shocks are required with bromine to clear the pool.

●       Bromine does not add cyanuric acid or chlorine to the water.

●       Bromine is less stable than chlorine when exposed to the sun, so you need to make sure you are constantly checking your pool chemical levels.

What are algaecides and why do you need them?

What do algaecides do?

If, or when, you see your pool looking a little cloudy and green (green pool water is a warning sign, but it can also be  yellow, blue, or black) it’s time to worry about algae. Sometimes you can spot an algae outbreak before it shows in the pool water by checking the water line, the corners of the pool and stairs for discoloration. It’s important to keep an eye out for algae in your pool as it can cause bacterial skin infections or even injuries due to slips and scrapes from a slimy surface. You want to jump into a crystal clear pool, right?!

There are several types of algae that can infest your pool; green algae is the most common and black algae is the hardest to remove. Algaecides stop algae from growing in your pool and prevent outbreaks from happening. It’s much easier and more efficient  to use the right pool chemicals during regular maintenance to prevent an outbreak rather than to try to use algaecides to cure an algae outbreak in your pool. Most algaecides are based on copper sulfates or copper chelates which stop the algae from growing. Copper-based algae treatments may stain your pool — so make sure to check before you purchase.

Algaecides 101:

●       Monitor your pool’s chemical levels constantly. A smart pool water management system, like pHin, can help you make sure that your chemical levels are balanced to help avoid an algae outbreak.

●       Make sure that your pool circulation is functioning correctly: Stagnant water is a breeding ground for algae.

●       Brush the waterline of your pool regularly to make sure that algae isn’t breeding at the surface of your pool.

●       Shock your pool. Shock your pool. Shock your pool. This should be a weekly ritual if you want to ensure healthy, swimmable water for you, your family and friends.

●       Mustard and black algae are not impacted by chlorine so you will need an algaecide to treat those conditions.

What are pH balancers and why do you need them?

What do pH balancers do?

pH balancers maintain a healthy pH range in your pool, critical to its overall health and functionality. If your pH gets too high or too low, swimmers will experience eye irritation or other skin discomforts. It can also corrode your pool tiles and damage your pumps and other expensive pool systems. Plus, if your pH is not within the correct range, your pool sanitizer and other chemical levels will be less effective.

A pool’s pH level is extremely sensitive. Anything that comes in contact with your pool — leaves, bugs,  popsicles, sunscreen, beer, kids — will affect it. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to maintain your pH levels with consistent monitoring. Keep a pH increaser and a pH decreaser in your stockpile of pool chemical management tools.

pH balancers 101:

●       To keep your pool at the best, most effective pH level, readings  should be between 7.2 to 7.6. Use a smart pool monitoring device that checks these levels constantly every day and sends an alert to your mobile device letting you know if you need to make any adjustments.

●                   Alkalinity and pH are yin and yang. You need to make sure they’re both in the right zone in order to maintain your overall pool chemistry.

●                   7 is a neutral zone for your pool’s pH. Anything below 7 will be acidic. Anything over 7 indicates that it is too alkaline. If your pool is over or under, you’ll need to add acid or alkaline to get back in balance.

What are alkalinity balancers and why do you need them?

What do alkalinity balancers do?

Alkalinity balancers are used to maintain a safe total alkalinity range for a comfortable swimming experience. Alkalinity acts as a buffer or a shield for pH levels so if your levels are off, you need to adjust for the alkalinity first and sometimes the pH will correct itself.

Alkalinity 101:

●       The recommended level for alkalinity is 125 ppm, but anywhere in the 100 – 150ppm range should be acceptable.

●       Make sure you have an alkalinity increaser in your chemical kit just in case. There is no such thing as a chemical decreaser but a pH decreaser will lower both pH and alkalinity.

What are calcium hardness balancers and why do you need them?

What do calcium hardness balancers do?

You’ve heard of hard and soft water, right? The “hardness” of your water is based on how much calcium is in the water. This is totally dependent on where you live and what source you use to fill your pool. If your calcium level is too low, it can corrode your pool systems, equipment and plumbing. If the calcium level is too high and you have a plaster or tile/mason pool, it will damage the interior of the pool. Either way, nobody wants to replace expensive pool infrastructure because they didn’t monitor the calcium hardness level of their pool so it’s an important chemical level to check regularly.

Calcium Hardness 101:

●       The ideal targets for calcium are 80-150ppm in a vinyl pool and 150-200ppm in a concrete, plaster or tile pool.

●       If your calcium levels are off, check your alkalinity first, then address your pH levels. If those adjustments don’t fix the issue, there are some more advanced tools and chemicals you can use to correct the calcium hardness.

●       Check your calcium levels regularly. This is one of the easiest, yet most overlooked, steps to extending the longevity of your pool.

What is a pool shock and why is it so important?

What does a pool shock do?

Pool shocks clean your pool when its sanitizer (chlorine or bromine) is overworked and needs to have the remnants removed from the pool, which is why regular pool shocks are so critical. You may want to shock or superchlorinate your pool after specific events as well like a heavy rain storm, a big pool party, or a few small children who may or may not have accidents! Shocking your pool on a weekly basis with non-chlorine shock eliminates bacteria without shifting your chlorine levels and goes a long way towards keeping it balanced.

 Pool Shock 101:

●       Shock your pool every week. EVERY WEEK. A smart water monitoring system will remind you to shock your pool so it’s always ready and waiting for you to have fun.

●       Pool shock chemicals aren’t stabilized, so it’s best to shock your pool in the late afternoon or evening. Make sure to run the pump for several hours to make sure the chemicals are spread evenly and working.

●       If you use a chlorine-based pool shock, make sure you know how long the manufacturer recommends to wait before allowing swimmers into the pool.

Pool chemical testing and why is it so important?

So, you’re not a chemist — although you might be starting to feel like one! But you are a pool owner. Now that you know the basics of pool chemicals, balance and the importance of keeping your pool at the right chemical levels, you know that measuring chemical levels is the first and most important step. If you don’t know the status of your pool’s chemical levels, you won’t know how to correct and get back in balance.

You can use test strips at home, or take a water sample to your local pool store to determine what you need to adjust at any given time but that can be time-consuming, annoying and frustrating. There are now digital pool test kits like pHin that will automatically check your pool water 24/7 and send you alerts if anything needs to be adjusted so all you have to do is fix what’s broken… and enjoy your pool!

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Color-Coded Tips for Treating Algae in the Swimming Pool

By | Pool Safety

Written by Jeremy Miller and published on

Algae in the swimming pool is an unwelcome sight, but one that usually can be dealt with effectively. The following “color-coded” tips can help you or your pool service professional identify and eliminate, or at least control, the most common types of algae. It is important to follow manufacturers’ directions for using and storing all pool chemicals.

How to Treat Pool Algae: Tips for Removal & Prevention

There are 4 main types of pool algae that pool owners need to recognize and eventually prevent. The appearance and color of algae is not only a disturbing sight, but an annoying one for pool owners. If at any time you spot this growth in your pool, it is then deemed ‘not swim worthy’ which can put a real damper on your summer plans. In this article, you’ll learn more about the most common types of pool algae and how to treat them effectively.

General Rule: The best way to keep algae at bay is to properly maintain the chemical balance of your pool and water. Make sure that you have an accurate water testing kit to monitor your pool on a regular basis. If you continue to observe the chemical levels in your pool and the water, algae doesn’t have a fighting chance.


Some of you might feel uncomfortable with the idea of using an algaecide to combat green algae. No worries, if you opt out of this method, there is a different way for you to go. The goal is to raise the free chlorine levels high enough so that the algae dies and can no longer grow. To do this, you need to know your cyanuric acid (often called stabilizer or conditioner) level. The higher your cyanuric acid level, the more chlorine is necessary. If your level is too low, the sun’s rays will destroy the chlorine.

It is recommended that you adjust the cyanuric acid levels to the optimum level of 30-80ppm. Once you are finished, shock your pool heavily with (preferably) liquid chlorine or bleach. When shocking, scrub your pool all over to break any algae loose from the walls. Run your filter and clean as needed during this process. The algae are dead when they turn a gray color, but it may take a long time to completely filter it all out. The key to this method is to make sure you have enough chlorine on hand to blast your pool and keep the levels where they need to be.


If you opt to use an algaecide, you can use a copper one that gets the job done fast.To start the process with algaecide, you simply need to shock your pool with a high level of chlorine and circulate your water. Next, you’ll add in the copper algaecide and run the filter for 24 hours. Once the 24 hrs. are up, you will find more dead algae than live algae swimming around in your pool. If they decide to fight back, you will need to repeat this process until they appear grayish in color. After the algae dies, you can utilize a flocculent to sink the algae to the bottom where you can vacuum it out of your pool. Filtering your water should help catch the dead algae as well. Make sure that you clean your filter before you use it to filter algae as it likely contains some level of live algae from the previous circulation.

Green Algae:

The most common free floating type of algae, green algae is relatively easy to get rid of. This type of algae makes your water look clouded and adds a faint green tint to it as well. You might just notice a couple spots here and there, or if it is a particularly pesky variety- it might appear as full on sheets covering larger portions of the pool. If you see green slime, it has arrived. Now, is the time to fight this green foe and below will show you how. If you suspect you might be having an issue with pool algae, check your free chlorine levels. If they are dropping quickly or have dropped quickly, that’s a good sign you’re fighting some algae.

There are two main methods for fighting green algae, both of which are covered below. When fighting algae, no matter which method you choose, it’s important to work quickly and don’t let the green stuff get you down. If you stop before it’s completely eradicated and your free chlorine levels are low, it can grow back like a weed. Make sure you are well stocked on needed pool chemicals and pool supplies before starting either process.

Yellow Algae (Mustard Algae):

This type of algae is also known as a ‘wall clinger’ and typically resides at the shadier end of your pool. Mustard algae is sheet forming and is proven to be very difficult to get rid of completely. If you don’t act quickly, you might have to deal with it for the rest of swimming season. And, no one wants to do that. Yellow algae, much like the weed-grows right back if left untreated.

Black Algae:

Not only is the color ominous, but so is the removal. This type of algae is the most difficult for pool owners such as yourself, to deal with. It is a strong algae with roots and protective layers over the top of the plant. Sometimes it can appear as fully black or even blue with greenish spots. These roots can grow into the plaster of your pool and unless you eradicate it completely; it will simply return in the exact same place. Similar to yellow algae, the black strain can bloom again even if your chlorine and other chemical levels are balanced correctly. The treatment methods are generally the same as for green and yellow algae, but there are a variety of specialized algaecides that help fight black algae in various ways.

Pink Algae:

This algae is also considered a bacteria. It appears as spots or streaks in the corners and crevices of your pool. It spreads slowly and it will rarely bloom the entire length of your pool.

With over 40 years of experience in the business, Doheny’s Pool Supplies Fast has the trusted pool algaecide supplies you need to effectively control algae for good. Say “goodbye” to yellow, green, mustard and pink: with our reliable pool algaecide products, the only color your pool water will be is clear.

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Why Shower Before Swimming in a Pool?

By | Pool Safety

Written by and published on

It’s almost counter-intuitive. You’re looking forward to a swim in the big, beautiful, community pool and then you see a sign in the locker room advising you to take a shower before entering the pool. Is it really necessary? After all, you just want to get in the pool. As the weather heats up and thoughts turn to swimming and cooling off in the pool, the Water Quality & Health Council is highlighting a contradictory finding from our recent swimmer hygiene survey. We discovered that although the vast majority of American adults (93 percent) would never reuse someone else’s bath water, over 40 percent skip the shower before entering the swimming pool. Can you say “communal bathing”?

This Is Why You Should Always Shower Before Swimming

According to a new report, most adults swim after having diarrhea. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.

Here to spoil all the fun: a new report that basically found out pools are full of diarrhea.

The survey, conducted by the Water Quality and Health Council, found the following:

* 1 in 4 adults (25%) would swim within one hour of having diarrhea.

* Half of adults (52%) seldom or never shower before swimming in a pool.

* 3 in 5 adults (60%) admit to swallowing pool water while swimming.

Before we get into these findings, let’s quickly talk about pool germs. When you get in a pool, everything on your body — sweat, dirt, oil, bodily fluids — ends up in the water, like a big bathtub. So yes, most pools are full of germs, and for the most part it’s not a big deal. We don’t live in a sterile world and most germs are harmless. Plus, we have chemicals like chlorine to keep pools clean.

However, there are bad germs that you do not want in a pool — these are pathogens, or any bacteria, virus, or other organism that causes infection or disease. These can get in the pool from our bodies or fecal matter and infect other swimmers, leading to outbreaks of waterborne diseases.

So apparently 1 in 4 adults would hop in a pool within an hour of having diarrhea — but you’re actually supposed to wait two weeks to avoid contaminating the pool.

Yes, two weeks sounds like a lifetime, but the CDC warns that this is the amount of time during which the body can shed diarrhea-causing pathogens that can make other people sick.

“Even if you feel better and you don’t have symptoms, you can still be shedding millions, even billions, of diarrhea germs into the pool,” Kelly Reynolds, PhD, germ expert at the University of Arizona, previously told BuzzFeed Health.

Unfortunately, not many people know about the two-week rule nor do they follow it. Given that about 129 million people are swimming in pools each summer and 25% of adults would swim right after having diarrhea, that means the risk of contamination is pretty high. This is why it’s key to shower before swimming and avoid swallowing pool water — but people don’t always follow those rules either, which we’ll get to in a bit.

Diarrhea is a problem because it can contaminate the entire pool with pathogens and make other swimmers sick.

We already know that pools contain fecal matter — and it’s not just from kids having accidental poops. We all have a little residual feces on our bodies, unless we’re literally soaping up or using a bidet continuously throughout the day.

“Adults shed an average of 0.14 grams of feces each swim, which is equivalent to the weight of one pea,” Reynolds previously told BuzzFeed Health. Children shed even more poop — and don’t even get us started on those “swim diapers.”

But unlike regular poop, diarrhea often contains pathogens. These include bacteria (E. coli, shigella, campylobacter), viruses (hepatitis A, typhoid), and parasites (giardia, cryptosporidium). These diarrheal pathogens spread through contaminated water, food, or surfaces via the fecal-oral route.

The biggest concern is a nasty parasite called Cryptosporidium, which is the most common cause of diarrheal illness and pool outbreaks.

Crypto spreads when someone swallows pool water that’s contaminated from diarrhea shed by an infected swimmer. It only takes a small number of crypto germs to make someone sick. Crypto can cause diarrhea, nausea, lack of appetite, vomiting, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, and fever.

Even in people with healthy immune systems, Crypto can remain in your intestine and cause symptoms for weeks; there’s no cure or antibiotic, so you just have to wait it out. It usually goes away on its own, but it can cause serious problems in people with weakened immune systems, like people with HIV/AIDs.

Despite how common it is, the parasite isn’t very well known — 72% of adults in this survey didn’t know that Crypto was a parasite often spread in water. And it can shed from your body through fecal matter for weeks, even after you feel better.

Sure, chlorine is great at destroying germs — but Crypto is actually chlorine-tolerant and can live in pools for days.

According to the CDC, Crypto has a tough outer shell that allows it to survive in pools even if they’re properly chlorinated.

“Crypto is not easily killed by chlorine and can live up to 10 days in well-treated pools,” Michele Hlavsa, chief of the CDC’s Healthy Swimming program, said in the report. This is why it is important to keep the parasite out of pools in the first place, since it’s so difficult to remove.

Washing your body (ahem, nether regions) can reduce the risk of contamination, but most people aren’t showering before swimming.

It might seem counterintuitive to shower before jumping in the water, but think about it — if you don’t rinse off, the pool basically becomes a giant bathtub of dirty bodies.

Not to mention, the chlorine in the pool gets depleted by things like sweat, sunscreen, and skin or hair products — so you want to rinse those off before you dive in.

But according to this report, Americans are particularly bad at pre-pool showering, so it’s a habit everyone should be more conscious about. Even if it seems annoying, it really reduces the risk that you’ll contaminate a swimming pool with pathogens from your body. So think about showering as helping keep you and your fellow swimmers safe and healthy.

You should also avoid ingesting any pool water, which is actually harder than you’d think.

“Adults ingest on average half an ounce of water every time they swim, while kids usually swallow double that,” Reynolds previously told BuzzFeed Health. Even if you aren’t deliberately swallowing the water, it can still get in your mouth from splashing, diving, and spitting water.

Think about how you avoid using tap water, even for brushing your teeth, in countries without water sanitation. You should adopt the same mindset and take similar precautions with pool water. It only takes a little bit of contaminated pool water to get in your system and make you sick.

So to sum up: Follow the two-week rule after a bout of diarrhea. Always shower before you hop in the pool. And don’t swallow pool water, because no one can be trusted to follow these rules.

Even if you’ve never gotten sick from a contaminated pool and don’t think it’ll happen to you, it’s still good to follow these practices for the greater good.

Keeping a pool clean, and therefore fun, for everyone really depends on swimmers being considerate of one another and following the rules. And we’re talking about public and private pools here, so don’t think you’re off the hook if you’re swimming in your own backyard.

If you have a pool or you’re worried about your own, you can get a free testing kit through the Water Quality and Health Council (click here to get one). The kit allows you to quickly test any pool to ensure proper pH and chlorine levels.

Happy swimming!

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Are Vinyl Liner Pools Good?

By | Pool Safety

Written by Jeremy Miller and published on

You might be considering a vinyl liner swimming pool but you are unsure whether these pools are a good investment or not. Are vinyl liner pools any good or are they just a cheap and entry level version of a better quality pool? If you live in an area where vinyl pools are not popular you might not be familiar with how they work, how they look, and most importantly, how long they can last. When you imagine having a liner pool instead of a concrete pool or fiberglass pool it is common for people to imagine that the liners are fragile, rip easily and do not look as good as permanent interior surfaces like concrete pools or fiberglass pools. In reality vinyl liners and vinyl liner pools have the ability to last a very long time and require very little in terms of maintenance and service…and they can look better than you think.

When some people think of a vinyl liner pool they picture a round, above ground pool with a solid light blue liner. Above ground pools are the entry level price point into owning a swimming pool. In a local market where inground pool packages start at $50,000 and go to $150,000 very quickly with a few upgrade options you can probably still get an installed and minimally landscaped above ground pool for $5000 to $10,000. It is a little confusing when comparing above ground pools as there are some above ground pools which are more like a toy / throw away pool rather than a quality above ground pool kit that has the potential to last a few decades when installed and cared for well. If you want to start at the very beginning with this you can pause now and read this article about cheap swimming pools which shows examples of the throw away, portable and more permanent above ground pools and the differences between them.

Vinyl Liner Pool Benefits: Pros & Cons

Vinyl-lined pools are the most common type of swimming pool, and for good reason. While fiberglass pools have their benefits, vinyl liners offer a number of advantages for the discerning pool buyer. If you’re considering installing an inground pool in your backyard, here are a few reasons a vinyl pool liner should be at the top of your list, including some common pros and cons of vinyl pools.

  • Cost Effective
  • Low Maintenance
  • Endless Design Options
  • Smooth to The Touch
  • Fast Installation Time

Vinyl Liner Pools Are the Most Cost-Effective Choice

First, the cost of vinyl liners is less than others, making them are the most economical choice of all the different types of pools. Sure, any which way you go, a new swimming pool is going to be a substantial investment, but vinyl is less costly than fiberglass or concrete, making this one huge advantage over other pools. Concrete is costly expensive both in installation and maintenance. Fiberglass is more cost-effective than concrete, but shipping them is costly and repairing a damaged fiberglass pool can get expensive. Vinyl pools, on the other hand, are a little bit cheaper than fiberglass on the onset, and if you do need to repair a vinyl liner, it’s generally much less expensive than concrete or fiberglass. You will need to replace your vinyl liner at some point, but compared to the cost of resurfacing a gunite pool, that’s not terribly expensive either.

The total cost of a vinyl pool depends on factors like the size and shape of the pool; whether it is an inground or above-ground pool; the type of shell, pumps, and filtration equipment; long-term pool care and maintenance needs; whether it is a traditional or saltwater pool; the types of permits that are needed for construction; whether or not the pool will be heated for winter; and whether or not the pool will include any special or custom features, such as rock waterfalls, automatic covers, or tanning ledges.

Vinyl Means Lower Maintenance

All pools require maintenance, let’s be clear about that, but the benefit of vinyl pools is that they don’t need quite as much as their concrete or fiberglass counterparts. Modern vinyl liners are extremely durable. Vinyl is a nonporous surface which means it won’t require as many chemicals as a concrete pool. Vinyl’s smooth surface also makes it harder for contaminants like algae to take hold and wreak havoc on your pool. A well-maintained liner will last many years, but it will need to be replaced at some point. However, compare the cost of a new liner to the cost of refinishing a concrete pool (it can climb into the 5 figure neighborhood) and you’ll see that a vinyl liner is also a very cost-effective choice in the long run. Vinyl (along with the steel or polymer shell) are less vulnerable than concrete pools to the freeze/thaw cycles that affect colder climates. This is especially important if you’re installing your pool in the Midwest or any area where temperatures routinely drop below freezing during the wintertime.


How Long do Vinyl Liners Last?

One of the questions we hear most often is “How long do vinyl pool liners last?” The answer depends on various factors like the amount of sunlight the pool is exposed to; how much wear-and-tear the pool sustains; and of course, the level of care and maintenance you put into the pool’s upkeep over the years. With regular maintenance, vinyl pool liners can last for up to 10 years before they need to be replaced, though some may have slightly shorter or longer lifespans.

Lots of Options to Design Your Dream Pool

The vinyl pools of yesteryear were pretty limited when it came to design options. If you wanted something other than a rectangle with an aqua blue hue, you were out of luck. These days, the possibilities are almost limitless. Modern manufacturing techniques can produce a vinyl liner for virtually any shape of pool. You can now get vinyl pools with any number of features like spill-over spas or tanning ledges, and liners come in a myriad of colors, patterns, and thicknesses. Vinyl pools can be designed with a much deeper deep end than fiberglass can offer. Furthermore, should your tastes change, a completely different look is just a replacement liner away. That’s something you can’t do with a concrete or fiberglass pool. Latham Pool liners also feature UltraSeam technology which will give your pool a seamless look that other manufacturers cannot offer.

Smooth to The Touch

Before I wrap this up, I’d be remiss not to touch on the most appealing aspect of a vinyl liner: its smooth feel. Anybody who’s ever skinned a heel or elbow on a concrete pool knows what I’m talking about. There’s something satisfying about sliding over the smooth surface of a vinyl pool liner. And, again, that smooth surface also helps cut down on the maintenance.

Fast Installation Time

No one likes waiting for a construction project to end — especially not when you’re eagerly awaiting a brand-new swimming pool! Fortunately, fast installation is one of the many advantages of a vinyl pool. While a gunite or concrete pool might take as long as six to eight weeks for excavation and construction, a vinyl-liner pool can typically be built in as little as two to four weeks, depending on the pool’s length, depth, and other factors. The sooner construction finishes, the sooner work crews can get out of your yard — and the sooner you and your family can enjoy your new vinyl pool! We often recommend building a pool in fall where possible, so that your pool is ready to use by the time hot summer weather arrives.

Vinyl Liners: Some Final Pros & Cons

Before you commit to a new vinyl-liner swimming pool, think carefully about these vinyl pool pros and cons, so that you can make a decision that’s right for your lifestyle.

Vinyl Pool Pros

  • Huge range of gorgeous, highly customizable styles and designs to choose from
  • The lowest upfront costs of all pool types
  • Rapid timeline for construction and installation

Vinyl Pool Cons


  • Liners must be replaced every 5 to 10 years on average
  • Slightly higher lifetime costs than fiberglass swimming pools
  • More susceptible to algae growth than fiberglass, though algae can be removed or prevented with proper pool care

Learn More About Vinyl Pool Advantages

Think a vinyl-liner pool might be the right option for you? Take a look at the Vinyl Liner Pool Page on our website. You can also talk to the trusted experts at Latham Pool Products. We’re here to answer your questions and help you compare the options in detail. Contact us online to learn more, or speak to a pool dealer near you today.

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How To Winterize A Sand Filter

By | Pool Safety Inspections, Pool Safety

Written by Billy Ray and published on

Winterizing a sand filter for your swimming pool is an important step in the closing and winterizing process for your pool, and certainly one where if you do it wrong you are very likely to cause damage to your equipment. If you were to fail to remove all of the water from your sand filter or filter head then you could definitely expect to see permanent damage in the spring (if you live in a climate that gets freezing temperatures in the winter).

Your filter is especially prone to damage from freezing water, and once a filter cracks there is no repair that can be made due to the dynamic movement of a pressure vessel and the danger associated with makeshift repairs. If you freeze your filter and crack it you will be shopping for a new pool filter in the spring.

How to Winterize a Sand Filter

A swimming pool must be properly winterized when not in use during the cold winter months. Proper maintenance of your pool’s equipment is essential to keep it running correctly. Drain your sand filter, water pump, and hoses and put them in storage when not in use. Most sand filters have a winterize setting that you can use when you are ready to shut it down for the year.

Step 1

Clean out the filter by back washing and rinsing it out using the control lever and water pump. After the water is running clear from the nozzle, turn off the power and place it in the winterize setting on the filter top.

Step 2

Disconnect the inlet hose from the water pump by removing the hose clamp and sliding off the end of the spout. Disconnect the filter’s outlet hose from the pool in the same manner. Connect one of these hoses from the skimmer outlet to the inlet nozzle on the pool.

Step 3

Unscrew and remove the drain plug cap on the bottom of the filter barrel. Drain all the water from the filter and put the cap away in a place where it will be safe until the pool is ready to be used again.

Step 4

Remove the pressure valve from the top of the sand filter to be sure it does not become damaged over the winter.

Step 5

Disconnect and drain the water pump and all unused hoses. Place the sand filter, water pump, hoses, the drain cap and pressure valve in a dry, safe place until the pool is ready to be used again.

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Mesh Versus Solid Safety Covers

By | Pool Safety Inspections, Pool Safety

Written by Matt Giovanisci and published on

You have probably heard good things about using a winter safety cover instead of other pool cover systems like tarp and water bag pool covers. Using pool tarps is still an option if you are looking for a budget pool cover however the costs of replacing your tarp every few years combined with the cost of replacing multiple water bags every year due to leaks means that the price between these two pool cover options is closer than you might believe. If you consider the fact that safety covers are head and shoulders better than pool tarp covers you can see how it would be easy to justify the extra upfront cost of getting a safety cover for your winter cover.

Safety is paramount when it comes to owning a swimming pool and a winter safety cover is a substantial improvement over tarp covers in this regard. Tarps, especially with standing water that is sometimes frozen and appears to be “solid”, are an extreme danger to small children and larger pets who might try to walk out onto it. A tarp, even when secured with water bags, will pull into the pool under the weight of even a small person. Any person or animal unlucky enough to venture onto the tarp will immediately find themselves enveloped in a most sinister way. Tarps are very unforgiving in that they almost immediately will wrap up their victim and even pulling the person from the pool can be a challenge due to the size of the waterlogged and folded tarp. You should never, ever walk on a pool tarp even if the surface currently appears to be solidly frozen.

Pool Safety Covers: How to Choose the Right One

When you’re ready to close your pool for the season, you’ll need to perform a few tasks to make sure your pool stays healthy during the off season. You’ll clean the pool and water, add winter chemicals, and do a few other things before the final step—covering your pool. But are you using the right type of cover?

During the off season, your best option is a safety cover. Not only will it protect your pool, it will prevent animals and small children—or anyone, really—from falling in and getting trapped beneath a non-safety cover.

Previously, you had just two choices: mesh or solid. But now you also have a third option—a hybrid safety cover—which combines some of the most desirable features of mesh and solid covers. Once you know a little more about each type of pool safety cover, you’ll be able to choose the best one for your pool.

Pool Safety Covers: The Hercules of Pool Equipment

Once you’ve properly installed them, you could drive your car onto some pool safety covers, and it wouldn’t fall in. While that may sound like a pretty exciting way to spend your Saturday night, we don’t recommend trying it yourself.

CAUTION: Seriously, please don’t do this. Not all pool safety covers are created equal, and some are much stronger than others. Their weight capacity also depends on their being installed correctly, and numerous other variables. Only use your pool cover for its intended purpose.

The point is, if something larger than a few twigs or leaves—say, a large tree limb—were to fall on your pool during a heavy storm, the safety cover would support it and keep it out of the water until you’re able to remove it.

The hope is that nothing will be able to climb under the edge of the cover to get into the water, either, but this will depend greatly on how taut the cover is, and how well it’s installed. Some critters can manage to squeeze through the smallest spaces, so there’s no guarantee you won’t uncover your pool to find a few new friends in the water.

Mesh Safety Covers: The Mighty Lightweights

Usually one of the more affordable options, a mesh safety cover can last 15 years or more with proper care. They’re fairly light, so they’re the most manageable of all safety cover types. Despite their lighter weight, mesh covers can often support thousands of pounds.

Mesh Safety Cover

How Mesh Safety Covers Work

Designed to prevent water from collecting on top of the cover, mesh covers allow rain and melted snow to drain right into your pool. However, the mesh is woven tightly enough to allow debris to settle on top.

Even though the rain will get through, you won’t have sticks, leaves, and bugs on the bottom of your pool come spring. You will have some fine sediment to vacuum up when you open your pool, though, as a mesh cover is not impervious to dust and dirt.

Mesh safety covers vary in their specifications when it comes to sunlight. Some are simply resistant to the sun’s destructive ultraviolet (UV) rays. Others are created to block as much as 129 percent of sunlight.

Why would you want to keep the sunlight out of your pool? Doesn’t the sun help warm your pool? Well, sure, and that’s great when you’re actually using the pool. But off season, it can be detrimental.

Sunlight is a critical ingredient for algae growth. The last thing you want is to turn your pool into a giant greenhouse for algae. Before closing your pool, add an algaecide (algae killer) or algaestat (algae preventive) that will stay in your water for an extended period. This way, you’re fighting algae for much of the off season without having to remove your cover at all.

By the way, if you already have algae, don’t close your pool yet! If you close it “green,” you risk allowing algae to grow unchecked for months, leaving you an even bigger mess to clean up when you open it next season.

Instead, get rid of pool algae first, then close your pool when the water is crystal clear.

Ready To Close Your Pool For The Winter?

Save over $300 by closing and winterizing your own pool in our step-by-step video course. Works for inground, above ground, and Intex/inflatable pools.

How to Install a Mesh Safety Cover

Solar pool covers float on the water’s surface. Vinyl pool covers drape over it, sometimes held in place by large water bags. But pool safety covers are stretched taut, then strapped into place.

CAUTION: While a pool safety cover’s primary purpose is, well, safety, its ability to prevent accidents has a lot to do with environmental conditions. For example, if the pool’s water level is high after a heavy rain, it may be possible to sink into the pool from atop the safety cover. Always exercise caution around your cover.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to ensure your cover fits your pool. To do this, measure your pool at its widest and longest parts. Then, select a cover in the correct size and shape.

If you have built-in water features or other special considerations, you’ll need to check what the manufacturer recommends. Some covers include panels that help prevent gaps created by such obstacles.

The only way to be sure people are safe around your pool during winter is to properly install your safety cover. The straps that hold it in place won’t help much if the hardware that anchors them down isn’t installed the right way. Installation varies a bit between inground and above ground pools.

If you have an inground pool, you’ll install anchors directly into the pool deck. First, follow the plan that comes with your cover to mark where anchors will be placed. Next, drill holes on your marks. If you have cement, wood, or pavers on sand, you’ll require hardware specific to your pool deck.

Water features will also require special hardware you can get from the pool cover manufacturer. Install all the anchors per instructions, then attach the springs to the anchors. Your cover will come with a tool used to stretch the springs out onto the anchor. They’re much too tight to stretch them by hand.

If your inground pool doesn’t have a deck, you can pour concrete footings where anchors will be placed.

If you have an above ground pool with at least two feet of decking, you can buy a mesh safety cover with special brackets you secure to your pool deck. You’ll pull the straps across the deck, and use a special tool to slip the looped end of the strap over the peg on the deck.

CAUTION: Even if you’re a seasoned do-it-yourselfer, the right fit and correct installation for your pool safety cover are critical to its function. An error in either of these areas increases the probability of accidents. If you’re at all concerned about fitting and installing a pool safety cover yourself, consider calling a professional installer.

Mesh Safety Cover Maintenance

Once you’ve got the cover on your pool, you just leave it alone until spring, right? Not exactly. A little basic upkeep will extend the life of your cover and protect your pool.

If you live somewhere snowy, you must remove snow from your pool cover. It’s best to push it off with a broom before it piles up. Snow can become very heavy, especially when the bottom layer freezes. Regularly brushing off your safety cover will prevent ripping, tearing, and destruction of your anchors from constant stress.

If you don’t get much snow, you can blow dry debris off the top of your mesh cover with a leaf blower.

When you reopen your pool, be sure to remove, clean, and store your mesh safety cover properly so it’ll last.

Solid Safety Covers: A Bouncer for Your Pool

An impermeable barrier between your pool and the sun, rain, snow, and debris, solid safety covers promise you a cleaner pool opening. Nothing’s getting past this guy. Because they don’t allow any water to seep into your pool, it must be pumped off the top of the cover regularly. Despite that extra bit of maintenance, they offer some helpful benefits.

Solid Safety Cover

How Solid Safety Covers Work

While mesh covers allow a little bit of sunlight and sediment through to your pool water, solid safety covers block it all. This means you won’t have dirt collecting on the bottom of your pool all winter. Plus, algae growth and evaporation will be inhibited by blocking out the sun and wind.

However, the lack of drainage can create a giant puddle in the middle of your cover. Leaving that water to sit can not only damage the cover, but will make removing it nearly impossible. It also poses a drowning hazard—the very thing you’re trying to prevent with a pool safety cover.

Part of the reason solid safety covers cost more than mesh is they typically come with a pool cover pump. You’ll put this pump on top of the cover, in the middle where water tends to collect. When that happens, the pump gets rid of it.

Automatic pumps kick on by themselves when water builds up, but they cost a bit more. Manual pumps are a budget-friendly alternative. Either one will help prevent water from collecting on your cover.

How to Install a Solid Safety Cover

To achieve the best fit, begin by measuring the longest and widest parts of the pool, then choose the shape and dimensions that best suit your pool. Take the location of steps or ladders into account when choosing your cover. A solid safety cover is installed the same way a mesh cover is.

Again, if you have water features, ladders, or other things impeding the cover from lying flat you’ll want to make sure the cover will fit properly by contacting the manufacturer. Different deck types may require special hardware for anchor installation as well.

CAUTION: If you’re at all unsure about what hardware you need for your deck type, or how to fit your pool safety cover around obstacles, consider calling in a pro to ensure the cover is installed correctly. Improper installation increases the chance of accidents.

Solid Safety Cover Maintenance

As with any other pool cover, you’ll want to make sure you blow or brush debris off regularly. Make sure you don’t allow snow or ice to build up on top of your solid safety cover because it can damage the cover, your cover pump, the anchors, and even the pool itself.

The process of removing, cleaning, and storing your solid safety cover is also similar to that of a mesh cover, except that you can clean your solid safety cover while it’s on your pool.

Use water, a brush, and mild detergent if needed. You can rinse the soap and debris with a hose, then use the pump to remove all the soapy water.

When it’s time to remove and store your solid safety cover, you may need at least two strong people because, depending on the cover, it can be very heavy. Some solid covers are made from lighter material, though, which helps ease this task.

Pool Cover Pump Maintenance

The most important difference between mesh and solid safety cover maintenance is the pool cover pump. Some pumps come with suspension cables to keep them in place, while others have a rope to pull the pump in when needed.

CAUTION: Never pull your pump around by the power cord. Electricity plus water equals ZAP.

Cover pumps attach to a standard hose so you can direct the water wherever you need to. Cover pumps are rated in gallons per hour (GPH), which helps you figure how often it will need to run to keep your cover water free.

Whether your pump is manual or automatic, you’ll need to check it throughout the off season to be sure it’s working properly. Even if your pump has filters, it could become clogged and stop pumping water.

Periodically remove the strainer, filters, and other parts per your pump’s instruction manual, and clean everything thoroughly. If you suspect a clog, but can’t find it, try putting your pump in a bucket of water and turn it on. If your hose might be clogged, attach it to your outdoor spigot, then turn the water on. This can help flush it out.

If you live in a climate where winter temps regularly drop below freezing, you may need to bring your pump indoors until the temperature rises. Leaving your pump to freeze in a block of ice isn’t a good plan.

When it’s time to open your pool, you’ll find the water clearer and cleaner than it would be if you had used a mesh safety cover. If saving time opening your pool in spring is your main goal, then a solid safety cover will be the best choice for you.

Hybrid Safety Covers: The Best of Both Worlds

If you want the benefits of a solid pool cover without having to pump water off it all season, the hybrid safety cover is the solution for you. Instead of using a pump, hybrid covers feature mesh panels that allow water to drain into your pool.

How Hybrid Safety Covers Work

With all the safety features of their cousins, hybrid covers also block most UV rays while keeping out all debris but the finest silt. They look just like solid safety covers, except for a mesh panel (or a row of mesh panels) in the center.

The mesh is very tightly woven, so water drains into your pool, but debris stays out. They’re also quite light and easy to manage. Basically, with hybrid safety covers, you get the best features of mesh and solid covers wrapped into one.

Hybrid Safety Cover Maintenance

Installed the same way as their predecessors—hooked securely into permanent anchors in your pool deck—hybrid covers are just as safe and sturdy.

Measuring and fitting remains the same. Some manufacturers offer computer-aided custom fit for more complex pool shapes and features.

Because hybrid covers drain through mesh panels, you won’t need a pool cover pump at all. Removal, cleaning, and storage is the same as with a mesh safety covers, so just pop it off, wash it down, and once it’s dry, fold and store securely.

Safety is Paramount

It’s a sad fact that approximately , 3,536 people drown every year in the United States. Most drowning victims under the age of five drown in home swimming pools.

Even if you don’t have children living in your home, you may have visitors who bring their small children, or neighbors whose small children could find their way into your yard. Play it safe, and make sure your pool is covered properly when closed.

In 2007, The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was signed into law in the United States. It sets forth safety standards required in U.S., as well as suggested state pool safety regulations, such as alarms and pool safety covers.

While state laws are changing, you can refer to the guidelines in the act created by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, to help make your pool area safer.

A Word About Established Safety Standards

ASTM International sets performance specifications for pool safety covers in this guide. ASTM International is a non-profit organization that develops voluntary consensus standards for numerous consumer products. Their more than 30,000 expert members create these industry standards for consumer safety.

Whatever pool safety cover you choose, make sure it meets ASTM standards. Their reports are available for a fee, but when it comes to keeping kids and pets safe, it’s well worth the cost.

Some pool cover manufacturers choose to have their safety covers undergo rigorous testing by Underwriters Laboratories (UL®) in order to ensure they conform to ASTM standards. If their pool cover meets or surpasses those standards, their product will be awarded the UL® seal of approval. Look for the seal when shopping for a cover so you can feel at ease about its quality and anticipated level of performance.

Which Pool Safety Cover is Right for You?

So what’s it gonna be?

  • If an easy opening in the spring is what you’re after, and you can handle moving and storing a heavy cover, then solid is the best choice for you.
  • Prefer the lightest option available and don’t mind some extra work to open your pool? Choose mesh.
  • Or maybe you want the best of both worlds with a cover that’s a manageable weight, while still blocking UV rays and most debris. Then a hybrid cover is your best bet.

Of course, the price will also be a consideration, and here, pool safety covers vary widely. Not only will your cost depend on the type of cover you choose, but on the brand and its features. With its primary purpose being safety, you’ll benefit from seeking out high-quality, reputable brands.

Also, covers with the coveted UL® seal of approval may be a little more expensive than those without, but the peace of mind will be worth the additional cost.

Regardless of which type of pool safety cover you decide works best for your pool and lifestyle, you’ll sleep soundly knowing your loved ones and pets are safe from pool accidents.

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Should I Drain My Pool And Start Over?

By | Pool Safety Inspections, Pool Safety

Written by Michael Dean and published on

Should I just drain my pool and start over with fresh water? This is something that many pool owners have said, most especially new pool owners as chemical maintenance in swimming pools tends to have a learning curve. In the beginning of pool ownership chemical maintenance and water balancing looks a lot like magic, but experienced pool owners spend so little time fussing with the water chemistry that it would be hard to quantify how much time it actually takes them. Minutes, not hours. So why do so many new pool owners want to dump their old water and refill the pool? Simply because it appears that this would be the easiest course of action to fix pool water that has gone bad. Green water, brown water, cloudy or murky water…all reasons why someone might thing a fresh drain and fill might be the best option.

In the majority of cases draining and refilling is not the correct course of action to take to fix your water!

While the tendency to drain and fill the pool to fix water quality problems exists you need to realize that there are very few times where draining and filling your pool will be the right method to fixing your water quality problems. Very few. Pretty much any color of pool water can and should be fixed by properly adjusting the water chemistry. Even something as bad as fecal accidents in pools do not require draining but instead use a system of physical debris removal combined with a free chlorine increase between 2 to 20 parts per million depending on the nature of the accident.

When Should I Drain My Swimming Pool?

Pools require a lot of maintenance, but luckily, they do not need to be drained very often. However, there are a few circumstances in which it is necessary to completely or partially drain your pool. These reasons usually have to do with water quality or repair needs.

When and Why a Pool Should Be Drained

Most pools rarely need to be drained. Because the process of draining a swimming pool without damaging it can be difficult, experts have figured out ways to do most necessary work without removing all of the water. However, there are a few reasons why you might have to drain your pool:

  • Total dissolved solids levels
  • Certain types of repair work
  • Refinishing and/or repainting

Total dissolved solids (TDS) are substances that accumulate in the pool water over time. Eventually, they cause water chemistry to become very unstable. This means more and more chemicals are required in order to maintain your pool water within the correct parameters. However, it is not always necessary to drain the pool entirely to deal with this problem.

If your pool requires certain types of repair work or refinishing, we will take care of the drainage process. This is often the best idea, because draining a pool improperly can damage it. If you will be repairing or refinishing the pool yourself, be sure to educate yourself on the process for your specific type of pool.

What Time of Year is Best to Drain a Pool?

Depending on the type of material that your pool is made out of, exposure to the elements may damage it. Because of this, the best time to drain your pool is when the weather is mild. If the temperature will be over 85 degrees at any point in the process, it is best to postpone. The same is true of temperatures near or below freezing.

Because of these temperature parameters, the best time to year to drain a pool is usually in the spring or fall. Spring can be a good option, because the fresh water will then be ready for summer swimming. Fall can work, too, but most professionals do not recommend letting your pool remain empty over the winter, so you will need to at least partially refill it.

Why You Should Periodically Drain Your Pool

The single most important reason to drain your pool is to deal with TDS levels. When TDS levels get too high, they start to interfere with the chemicals at work keeping the water sanitary and clear. More and more chemicals are needed, which can be harsh on the skin and even damage the pool itself. Eventually, a point is reached where the water cannot be maintained properly no matter how many chemicals are used.

Most professionals recommend draining your pool every three to five years in order to keep TDS levels low, which I agree with. How often your pool needs to be drained depends on a number of factors, including overall use. If the pool is partially drained every winter, this dilutes TDS levels and will extend the interval between complete water changes.

How to Drain Your Pool

Before draining your pool, the groundwater levels should be considered. If water levels in the area are high enough, they can actually cause your empty pool to pop out of the ground. In addition, fiberglass and vinyl liner pools require special treatment because they are typically not built to be drained entirely. Completely removing the water from these pools can cause bowing or cracking of the surface.

Once you have assessed the groundwater situation and the needs of the type of pool you have, the safest way to drain your pool is to use a submersible pump. These can often be rented from pool supply companies or hardware stores. While the filter pump can be used to drain a pool, this runs the risk of damaging an expensive piece of your pool hardware.

Usually, pool water must be drained into the sewer outlet on your property. Sewer lines are not built to deal with huge quantities of water all at once, so the outflow should be kept to approximately 12 gallons per minute or less. Completely draining a pool with a garden hose can take a day or more. In most cases, it will then need to be at least partially refilled, so you can plan on the process taking a couple of days to complete, at the minimum.

There are several reasons that you might need to fully or partially drain your pool. However, it can be a big task and doing it improperly can result in unwanted consequences. A little planning ahead can save you from a big headache later.

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Risks of Improperly Draining Your Pool

There are a few risks:

  • The pool can heave out of the ground
  • Sun and exposure can damage your pool
  • You can damage or burn out your filter pump
  • You can back up the sewer system into your home

Your pool heaving out of the ground is a serious problem that may occur if the groundwater level in your area is high. This might be the case all of the time, or only after several days of heavy rain. The problem occurs when your empty pool starts to float on the groundwater and be lifted out of the ground.

Empty pools are also susceptible to damage from exposure. Vinyl pools tend to contract when emptied, which can result in damage when they are refilled. Gunite or fiberglass pools can crack, and fiberglass pools may suffer bulging or splitting if drained. It may also void your warranty to drain your fiberglass pool.

If you do not adjust your filter, pool pipes, and waste lines properly, you run the risk of damaging or burning out your pool’s motor. This can happen if the gallons per minute (GPM) of your pump exceeds the ability of your waste line to handle. It can also happen if the filter sucks in air and ends up running dry.

Most municipalities do not allow you to dump pool water just anywhere. The approved location is usually your sewer system. However, putting too much water into your sewer system all at once can result in it backing up into your home.

When to Consult a Professional

If you are not 100 percent certain that your pool needs to be drained, you should consult a professional. Many pool repairs can be done underwater, and many problems with the water can be treated rather than requiring replacement. If you do not know what the water table is in your area, or you are not completely certain that you know how to drain your pool, talk with a pool pro that can help out.

Questions about draining your pool? Let me know and I’ll be glad to help.

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Is High pH Bad For Pools?

By | Pool Safety

Written by Admin and published on

Properly balancing the pH in your swimming pool is one of the more challenging individual tasks involved with pool maintenance. The dynamic nature of how pH and total alkalinity are intertwined combined with ever changing chemistry values for both measurements is a huge source of frustration for pool owners. The pursuit of neutrally balanced water can prove too challenging for many pool owners causing them to give up on maintaining the water in the optimal 7.4 neutral range. Is it really a big deal if the pH of the water is 8.0 or over?

The first thing you need to appreciate as a pool owner asking questions about pH balance is that the pH scale is logarithmic. A pH of 8.0 is ten times as alkaline (basic) as a pH of 8.0. If you have managed to achieve a pH of 9.0, which I hope you have not, then this would represent the water being 100 times more alkaline than a pH of 7.0 and this is why your pH values for the water matter so much. To the uninitiated the difference between seven and eight sure doesn’t sound like a big deal, but saying it a different way highlights the severity. What if the pH was 5.0 instead of 7.0? Well that means the water would be 100 times more acidic than a pH of 7.0. It sounds fairly insidious when you say it that way. Operating your pool with a pH chronically tens times higher than what the pH should be will have both short and long term ramifications.

The Dangers of Unbalanced pH & Alkalinity

Advice – Pools

Let’s Talk pH – The Truth

Simply put, if your pool water is too acidic it can corrode your pool equipment, cause etching on surface materials and cause skin, eye and nose irritations on swimmers. If your pool water is too alkaline, it can cause scaling on your pool’s surface and plumbing equipment, and can cloud the pool water. In addition, both high acidity and high alkalinity will alter the effectiveness of your chlorine, which will clearly disrupt your pool’s disinfecting processes.

On the pH scale, zero indicates extreme acidity and 14 indicates extreme alkalinity. Where 7 indicates a neutral state. We recommend that you aim to keep your pool pH between a 7.2 and 7.8.

The Dangers of Unbalanced pH Pioneer Family Pools Blog

High pH – What To Do

When the pH level in your pool exceeds 7.8 pH, your water is considered to have high pH. This means that your water is now too soft and there can be consequences. A high pH level can be caused by several factors, the main culprits being additional chlorine stabilizers and sudden increases in temperature. In addition, high pH runs a risk with your chlorine, as your chlorine will no longer disinfect fully. There are also physical consequences of high pH for swimmers. Red irritable eyes, dry skin and premature wear and tear of goggles and bathing suits are often indicative of a high pH level.

As pH is the most dynamic factor at play in your pool water, everything that enters your pool will affect it. If your pH is too high, you’ll need a chemical that will decrease it. Our Club Pro pH Down is a popular, quality product that will reduce your pH levels easily and effectively.

Low pH – What To Do

 Low pH is bad for swimmers, your pool and your wallet. Acidic water is corrosive. The most immediate effect is felt by swimmers as the water will sting their eyes, nasal passages and will dry out skin and hair, causing itching. Acidic, low pH water corrodes metal surfaces and pool accessories such as ladders, railings, light fixtures, and any metals in your pumps, filters or heaters. Low pH water will cause etching and deterioration of plaster, grout, stone, concrete and tiling. Any vinyl surfaces will also become brittle, which increases risk of cracks and tears. All of these dissolved minerals will hold in the solution of your pool water; which can result in staining and cloudy pool water. Lastly, but certainly not least, the presence of low pH in your pool will greatly decrease the amount of working chlorine, which can lead to bacteria and algae build up. 

There are a number of professional products that you can use to raise the pH in your pool. Our professional pick is always pH Up, a pH increasing chemical by Club Pro.

The Dangers Of Unbalanced pH & Alkalinity Pioneer Family Pools


Water alkalinity is one of the main factors that will influence the chemistry of your pool water. Total alkalinity is related to pH as they both focus on your pool’s acids. With a proper alkalinity range, we recommend 80 ppm to 150 ppm, total alkalinity keeps the pH level stable.

If your alkalinity level is too low, then your pool pH can fluctuate at the slightest addition of an acid or base. pH can drop randomly, which causes damages to pool walls, metal, and to swimmers. Therefore, it is important to routinely perform tests; we recommend once a week. To raise your alkalinity is to firstly know the size of your pool and what your target alkalinity, within the range, will be be. The product you’ll need to use will have to be made from sodium bicarbonate; a key substance used to raise alkalinity. When your alkalinity level is too low, we recommend Alkajuster, the alkalinity increaser from Club Pro. Alkajuster is a chemical used to increase the level of alkalinity in your swimming pool.  When using this product, broadcast it over the surface of your pool, preferably in the deep end.

If your alkalinity level becomes too high, it will become difficult to change the pH. You’ll know your pH is too high when your pool water is cloudy, there is scale build up on your pool walls and your chlorine is no longer successfully sanitizing your pool. The process of proper re-balancing your pool water alkalinity can take more than one week, so be patient with this one. If your pool alkalinity becomes too high, we recommend that you either consult a professional for detailed instructions or, use high quality Alkaline adjusting products.

Simple Science Goes A Long Way

Maintaining the proper balance of chemicals in your pool is a continuous process. Any new material that enters your pool (such as debris, gardenia, oil, lotion, etc.), will influence the water’s chemistry. In addition to pH, it is important to monitor total alkalinity, calcium hardness and total dissolved solids. Pool health is also your health, your time and your money. With the proper professional products and weekly testing, maintaining balanced water chemistry will become an efficient, simple process.

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