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Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

How to Prep Your Home this Autumn

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist: How to Prep Your Home this Autumn

Fall is here, which means the days grow shorter, the air has a crisp breeze to it, and the leaves begin to change color. It’s that time of year where you can cheer on your favorite football team, decorate the mantel with a garland, and get cozy by the fire. Amongst all the excitement around fall, it’s also time to start preparing your home for the change in seasons. There are many indoor and outdoor household tasks to tackle during these autumn months so you’re prepared for any seasonal storms that may arise. 

To help you get started, we’ve compiled the ultimate fall home maintenance checklist so you can make sure your home is in tip-top shape for the change in weather. Keep reading to see how you can complete your home maintenance tasks before autumn turns to winter.

Fall home maintenance checklist: 6 indoor tasks

#1: HVAC System

It’s important to have your heating systems inspected and repaired before winter sets in. You’ll want to check all the HVAC vents and air ducts for dust and debris that built up over the summer. Your local HVAC company can help you do routine maintenance and cleaning before the fall season. Routine maintenance can help your heating system work more efficiently and cut down on any dust that contributes to household allergies. Make sure that you’ve moved anything flammable away from your heating system or heating vents. Check that your thermostat is working properly and consider installing a programmable thermostat to help reduce energy costs during the colder months.

#2: Plumbing

Prepare for winter by making sure that your plumbing systems are intact and operating properly. Check and test the pressure valves on your water heater for any leaks. To prevent your pipes from freezing, consider having a licensed plumber insulate pipes in the basement, garage, and attic spaces. You may want to disconnect and drain exterior plumbing to keep pipes from freezing. These include hoses, outdoor faucets, and sprinklers. In the event of any early season freeze, you’ll want to know how to shut off the main water valve.

#3: Windows and doors

If your home is located in a place like Louisville, KY, or Cincinnati, OH where winter storms are common, you may want to change out summer screens on your windows and doors to winter storm screens to prevent storm damage. Inspect your windows and doors for any signs of drafts. If needed, install weather stripping and caulking to help defend against drafts. If your home has storm doors or windows, inspect them for any broken glass or cracks that indicate you’ll need to have professional repairs. You’ll also want to examine screens for any unwanted pests and schedule a pest inspection if needed.

#4: Insulation and ventilation

As you’re completing your fall home maintenance checklist, double check to make sure your insulation is in good condition. Start by sealing any cracks in the foundation or walls to help prevent heat loss. Make sure to check your attic and basement for any signs of moisture. If you notice insulation blocking any vents, move the insulation to prevent ice dams. Check ridge vents or vents at eaves for any debris or weeds and remove these blockages. 

#5: Appliances

Regular appliance upkeep is a key part of home maintenance. If you haven’t checked your appliances lately, it’s a good idea to add this task to your fall home maintenance checklist. Check any hoses that are attached to the sink, washer, refrigerator, and dishwasher for leaks and tighten as needed. If repairs are necessary, now would be the time to schedule them.

When performing maintenance on your appliances, keep an eye out for any potential fire hazards. Built up lint in and around your dryer can cause fires, so clean these out regularly. And if your home has a fireplace or you regularly light candles throughout your home, make sure you remove any fire hazards, like newspapers. 

#6: Safety gear

A vital part of home maintenance is to check safety equipment like carbon monoxide detectors or smoke detectors. Test any detectors around your house and replace batteries if needed. If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, make sure to install one. 

You’ll also want to test fire extinguishers and ensure alarm systems are working properly. In addition to taking these safety measures, review and practice your home evacuation plan. Have a home evacuation plan ready for any natural disasters or emergencies. 

Fall home maintenance checklist: 7 outdoor tasks

#1: Gutters and downspouts

One major fall home maintenance task you’ll want to complete is cleaning out and inspecting your gutters and downspouts. Start by cleaning out any leaves or debris. This will help prevent rot, pests, and rusted gutters. Check gutter support brackets to make sure none are loose. You’ll also want to double check that water isn’t flowing down behind the gutters, draining, or pooling near the foundation or driveway. Other signs of gutter problems may be a curled roof, warped flashing, or leaking vents.

#2: Exterior and roof

Before winter, be sure to inspect the exterior of your home, including the roof. This is a critical step to ensure your home is in the right condition to withstand the weather. If you see signs of peeling paint, this may indicate that your home’s exterior is no longer protected. In that case, consider applying a fresh coat of paint to provide another layer of protection. 

When examining the roof, keep an eye out for loose or missing shingles. These are vital layers to protect your home from water damage during the fall and winter months. If you see these signs of damage, it’s better to have your roof repaired before your roof begins to leak during a storm.

#3: Chimney

It’s important to have a chimney inspection before starting up your fireplace for the autumn season. A professional can inspect for any cracks, signs of damage, and any soot or creosote buildup, which is a potential fire hazard. Make sure to have the flue tested to ensure the seal is tight. It’s a good idea to have the chimney professionally cleaned to remove any toxins.

#4: Landscaping

If you have a lawn, make sure to fertilize, aerate and reseed it as part of your fall home maintenance checklist. You’ll also want to winterize the sprinkler system, which can be done on your own or with the help of your local landscaping or lawn care company. Pruning your trees and shrubs can help them grow a bit before winter is in full swing. If you have large trees located near power lines or your home, consider hiring a tree service to trim them to help avoid potential outages or caved-in roofs in the event of severe storms or winds. 

#5: Patio work

To prevent hazardous walking conditions, it’s important to tend to sidewalks, driveways, and front steps. If you have railings leading up to your home or on a back deck, check that they are in good condition and aren’t showing signs of instability or rotting wood. If needed, make repairs to ensure that any railings and decks can stand up to the colder weather. Before the winter rain and snow begins, store away any summertime outdoor furniture to prevent damage. That way your furniture will be in tip-top shape once spring returns.

#6: Pool preparation

If your home has a pool, there are a few important fall home maintenance tasks you’ll want to tick off your checklist. First, consider hiring a professional to help winterize your pool and conduct any related pool maintenance. They can help you decide on the right pool cover and add important chemicals before your pool hibernates for the season. Additionally, store away any chemicals in a safe place during the winter months when you won’t be using your pool. If you have a hot tub, fall is a great time to have any maintenance done.

#7: Snow equipment

When preparing your home during the fall, make sure your snow equipment is working properly and easy to find. Store shovels, rakes, and snow blowers in a place where they aren’t exposed to the elements and you can easily access them in case of early-season snowfall. 

The most important step on your fall home maintenance checklist is preparing in advance. If you see a problem with your home, don’t wait until the last minute or the first winter storm. Stay proactive and schedule any necessary inspections, cleaning, and maintenance as soon as you can. 

Originally published by Redfin

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Frequent Questions Pool Tips

Water Testing

Keeping your pool water balanced is one major key in proper pool ownership, which is why we found it extremely important to offer our customers free water testing. There are a number of different factors and minerals that we look at when we test your pool water. Teaching you the best practices when it comes to pool ownership is something we love to do, so we’ve broken down what we look at in a water test to help you understand what it all means.

Total Alkalinity

This is the measure of alkaline material in your pool such as carbonates, bicarbonates and hydroxides. These are necessary for proper pool water balance.

Ideal range: 80 – 120 ppm. (parts per million)

Alkalinity is your pool water’s ability to resist change in your pH levels. It acts as a buffer so when anything is added to the pool that would otherwise affect pH levels, the changes are much more manageable. It helps to keep pH levels within the proper range and prevent severe changes to your pool water balance.

This is one of the first things that we look at when we get your water test results. We recommend correcting your total alkalinity before pH to ensure efficient and proper correction of your pH levels, and because it will make reaching and maintaining the proper pH levels easier.

pH

This refers to the degree of acid or base activity in your pool water. This is incredibly important to monitor in order to keep your swimmers safe and healthy.

Ideal range: 7.2 – 7.8

As the pH scale shows, anything zero to seven is acidic, with zero being the greatest acid activity. When your pool water’s pH is below 7.2, it is considered to be corrosive. This is harmful to swimmers’ and can burn skin and eyes. It can etch away at plaster, plumbing, pool surfaces, and the metals in your pool equipment and severely shorten the life of your liner. Water that is acidic will consume larger amounts of chlorine as the chlorine is less effective in these conditions.

Anything above a 7 on the pH scale is considered basic or alkaline (not to be confused with alkalinity.) A too-high pH level will increase the chances of scale forming and your pool water becoming cloudy as calcium becomes less soluble and ends up just floating around your pool. Bacteria is more likely to thrive in basic water. Swimmers’ skin may feel somewhat slimy. Since a too-high pH can also affect the way chlorine sanitizes your water, this can expose swimmers to potentially harmful microorganisms.

Calcium Hardness

This is the level of calcium that has dissolved in your pool.  Calcium, or calcium carbonate, is a naturally occurring chemical compound.  Issues involving calcium are typically a result of a larger chemical imbalance in your pool water.

Ideal range:  200 – 400 ppm.

Too much calcium in your pool water can corrode fittings, leave rust stains, and create tiny leaks in your pool equipment.  Calcium is actually more soluble in cold water.  Calcium buildup and scaling is a common problem that we see often in pool heaters.

Too little calcium can lead to problems as well.  Calcium is necessary to balance your pool water.  If there isn’t enough, your water will naturally try to balance itself.  It will do this by pulling calcium from other places, like plaster, metal fittings and heat exchanges.  It can destroy fittings, cause leaks and leave stains.

(Free) Chlorine

Your free chlorine reading specifically tells you how much chlorine is available to sanitize your pool water.

Ideal range:  1 – 3 ppm.

Chlorine is the main chemical that sanitizes your pool water.  Even if you have a salt water pool, your pool water is still chlorinated – it’s just a different process.  (Bromine pools are a different category.) 

We check to make sure that your free chlorine is higher than your combined chlorine, or the chlorine that has already combined with the contaminants it’s attacking.  This ensures your pool water is being properly sanitized.  We keep it easier for pool owners by having them focus more on their free chlorine level to keep swimmers safe.

Phosphates

These are a chemical compound that contains Phosphorous, a naturally-occurring, non-metal element.  These enter your pool in many ways, including dead leaves, twigs, dirt, natural water, lawn fertilizer and pesticides, swimmers, adding water, and any phosphorous-based pool cleaners.

Ideal range: 0, or as far under 200 as possible.

High phosphate levels turn your pool water green and cloudy and make it extremely difficult to maintain proper chemistry.  Phosphates feed algae and mask your free chlorine and eat it up quickly.  Proper chlorine levels are necessary to keep your pool inhospitable to algae.  It can clog up your filter and hurt your pool liner.  It could also affect the health of swimmers.

Low calcium levels can lead to high amounts of phosphates in your pool, which is one reason why a low level of calcium is necessary for proper pool water balance.

The presence of phosphates makes pool maintenance more expensive and time consuming.  There are day-to-day tasks you can do to help prevent phosphate levels getting too high.  These include:

  • Preventing lawn fertilizer or pesticides from making contact with your pool area.
  • Skimming out debris with a skimming net to remove them from your pool.
  • Vacuuming dirt and debris from your pool walls and floor.
  • Checking your filter regularly and cleaning it when necessary.

Tips for collecting a water sample

Ideally, your pool should be running for at least an hour before collecting a sample.

Use a clean, empty water bottle or container that you can tightly seal for your sample.

Collect the sample from elbow-deep in the water, away from skimmers and return lines.

When you come in for a water test

We ask that you be aware of how many gallons your pool holds or at least the dimensions of your pool so we can figure out how large it may be.  This will help us get a better understanding of what is going on with your water and how to treat it.

We will remove the water that we need for your sample and run it through our SpinLab Water Test.  We’ll create you a profile within our testing system so we can keep track of your pool water chemistry over time.  It takes just a minute or two to run the test and get the results.

Once we have the results, we will identify where the water imbalances are.  We will ask you a few questions regarding the maintenance you’ve done, the chemicals you have recently added, and any other possible factors that could be disrupting your pool water balance.

With all of that information, we will recommend products and a course of action to help correct any water chemistry issues and to get your pool back to pristine swim conditions.  We will most likely recommend a simple test with testing strips to see how well your pool water takes to the action plan.  You’ll typically wait 24-48 hours after adding any products to your pool before following up with a test strip to give your pool water time to adjust for an accurate reading.

Not sure about the results you get from the test strip?  Feel free to bring another sample into the Credible Pools store for another free water test.

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A Landlord’s Guide to Pool Maintenance

Contributed by Joshus Davis of DeSantis Property Management.

Swimming pools extend the number of ways residents of a rental property can use the home’s outdoor areas. Regardless of people’s age, they never outgrow the joy of splashing in the water or the refreshing feeling of lounging by the poolside.

Having a swimming pool within your rental property is one of the best ways to attract quality renters to the property. A swimming pool in a rental home enhances tenant satisfaction and adds an air of luxury to the house.

When you install a pool in your rental, the property automatically acquires tremendous value in the eyes of renters. The swimming pool keeps the surrounding areas cool and offers more ways for tenants to play, relax and entertain. Renters are willing to pay more for this.

However, although a swimming pool will draw higher-paying renters to your rental, only a well-maintained pool will keep them. The initial perception of value a swimming pool creates for your rental will be lost if you fail to keep the pool in top condition.

It is far better to not have a pool on your premises than to have one with rancid water or stained poolsides and deck. A rental with an unkempt swimming pool not only loses value, but its value will also fall below what it was before the installation of the pool.

What are the consequences of poor pool maintenance for landlords and their tenants?

The Danger of Poor Pool Maintenance

Unpleasant swimming experience: Chemically unbalanced swimming pool water ruins the swimming experience. That is because the water harms the eyes, hair, and skin of swimmers.

Liability from slips and falls: Landlords expose themselves to lawsuits if they don’t make the pool area slip-resistant or keep it free of tripping hazards.

Breeding ground for pests and pathogens: Humans are not the only creatures drawn to water; bugs and bacteria love water. A poorly maintained pool can become a festering pit where pathogens and pests breed.

Unpleasant odor: A swimming pool that is allowed to breed organisms will have foul-smelling water that makes lounging or living in the vicinity of the pool unpleasant.

Increased exposure to disease: Tenants will get sick frequently if they reside in a property where the swimming pool has insects and bacteria infestations.

The risk of drowning: Poorly maintained pool fencing and inadequate safety measures increases the risk of a child or pet drowning.

Ruined aesthetics: The clouded water, stained pool deck, and broken fence of a poorly maintained pool will harm the home’s aesthetics and devalue the rental.

Landlord’s Guide to Pool Maintenance

Maintaining a swimming pool is more important and takes more work than installing the pool. Here are the key things you have to know about pool maintenance as a landlord:

1. Clean the pool

It would be best if you skim the pool’s surface every day. Doing so will get rid of debris and dead insects. Regular skimming reduces your use of pool chlorine. Along with skimming, vacuum the pool at least once a week. The pool sides and deck also need to be cleaned with a pool brush every week.

2.     Maintain water levels

Pools constantly lose water through splashing and evaporation. If the water level is low, the pool filtration system will not work well. Checking the pool water level is the easiest maintenance task; you should do it daily. If the water level drops inexplicably, check the swimming pool for leaks.

3.     Maintain water chemistry

The proper water chemistry makes pool water soothing to the body. However, unbalanced water chemistry will harm the pool sides and equipment. Maintaining a pool’s chemical balance involves several tasks; checking water pH, checking for calcium hardness, and monitoring pool chlorine levels. We recommend that you leave the management of pool water chemistry for experts.

4.     Clean the pool filter regularly

Pool filters help keep the pool water free of debris; without them, the pool would be unusable. However, the pool filter can get clogged with dirt and need cleaning. To keep the filter in the best condition, clean them at least once a week.

5.     Maintain pool surfaces and equipment

Swimming pools are complex systems, and they need a lot of equipment to work. Pool equipment includes pumps, heater, filters, and cleaners; they require professional maintenance. Additionally, the surrounding pool area – deck, fence, gates, and lock systems – need weekly attention.

6.     Keep the pool safe

Anti-slip materials around the pool are a necessity because surfaces become slippery when wet. Handrailing and steps are also a must for preventing injuries. The pool deck area should be free of obstacles at all times. For maximum safety, we recommend a perimeter fence, a pool gate with a self-closing or self-latching mechanism, and an alarm.

Tenant Responsibility

Finally, it is better to share responsibility for pool maintenance with the tenants since they are the ones who use the pool and are close to it. The lease agreement should contain a pool addendum that outlines the roles and responsibilities of the tenant versus that of the landlord.

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Frequent Questions Pool Tips

How to Clean Your Pool Cover

GLI ProMesh Safety Cover.

When Credible Pools opens your pool at the beginning of the season, we spray off dirt and debris off of your cover before we remove it. If you want to scrub it before leaving it to dry and storing it away, we have some tips to help you do that.

After we have finished removing your cover and opening your pool, we will leave your cover in the location of your choosing so you can clean it. We will have removed the big debris from the cover before removing it to ensure that everything you have been protecting your pool from over the winter doesn’t fall into your pool.

It is not entirely uncommon to see mold on your pool cover. A mesh pool cover allows air and water to pass through, so they do not collect a great deal of mold. (Which is why we love GLI ProMesh safety covers.)

Cleaning

To clean the cover, it is best that you lay it out as flat as possible in a clean section of your yard. To clean your cover, you could use a mild detergent diluted with water or a spray-on pool cover cleaner.

If your cover is full of dirt and grime, you will need to scrub it with a pool cover brush or something similar, like a push broom. Never use any type of metal brush on your cover.

Be sure to rinse your cover thoroughly and be sure that all of the detergent, soapy water or cover cleaner has been removed completely. You do not want these cleaning agents sitting in the fibers of your cover.

Drying

Once clean, it needs to dry. Your cover must dry completely before you can put it into storage. This will prevent any mold or mildew from growing on your cover as it is locked away over the Spring and Summer months.

Move your cover into the sun. Laying it flat in your driveway or hanging it over a clothesline are the two best ways to make sure the entire cover can drain and dry. Leaving your cover to dry on the grass will take much longer and may potentially harm your lawn and kill your grass. You want people to notice your pool, not the giant patch of dead grass in your yard.

Storing

To store your cover, it is best to fold it in half over and over again, or a “fan fold,” until it is small enough to fit inside the storage bag that came with it. You may need a second set of hands for this task.

We recommend a secondary storage step; one step further than just the bag, but this is optional. It’s a good thought to either hang the bagged cover up high or to put it in a large container and lid. A large Rubbermaid container or a large trash can with a lid will do. This is to make sure that no creatures find their way into your cover and burrow there over the next few months.

All of this will help keep your cover in good shape and is ready to go at the end of the pool season when it’s time to reinstall it. If cared for properly, we’ve seen pool covers last nearly 20 years.

Are you considering replacing your current cover? Now is a good time to put that plan into action. Ordering a new winter cover early in the season will get you ahead of the rush and ensure that you will be prepared when pool season comes to an end.

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Pool Tips

Different Types of Pool Covers

Proper protection for your pool in the off-season is extremely important. Credible Pools is based in southwestern Pennsylvania where we can potentially see significant snowfall. We’ve already seen more snow this winter than we’ve seen in the last few years with a real chance of seeing even more. Unfortunately, we got quite a few calls about the damage the recent snow accumulation has done to some pool owners’ covers.

We want to take this opportunity to teach you about different types of pool covers, how they hold up throughout the winter, and furthermore, why we strongly recommend and only sell Commercial Grade Mesh Safety Covers.

Standard Covers

Just a standard pool cover is made of a cheap, tarp-like material and is held down by water bags, which are inconvenient and take a lot of time to fill.

This type of cover offers next to no protection. It will keep sunlight and small debris out of your pool, but it can only hold very little weight. This poses a real risk if you have children, pets, animals that visit your backyard, or anyone around the pool in general. They can easily fall into the pool and the cover itself poses an entrapment hazard.

This type of cover requires the pool owner to remain vigilant throughout the fall and winter of any accumulation on top of the cover. An additional pump is necessary to remove any water that collects on the cover. The pump will do nothing to remove any snow. It won’t take much to damage the cover or cause it to cave in, so snow and water removal must be done diligently.

A standard cover will only last one to three seasons. The pumps usually last only two to four seasons. It’s not a sound purchase, especially in areas that see a lot of rain and snow. Lastly, it’s an absolute eyesore.

Automatic Covers

Automatic pool covers are made of a vinyl material and require an entire mechanism of pulleys, tracks, motors and more. They give you the convenience of covering your pool whenever you want or need just by turning a key.

We want to be clear – Automatic cover, or Autocovers, are NOT winter covers. They are simply not designed to hold heavy snowfall and the ice that we can potentially see in our area. This can cause damage that is costly to repair.

Automatic pool covers can be expensive, both initially and throughout their lifetime. The vinyl material typically wears out in about five years. With so many components involved in the entire mechanism, there more potential for parts to break down. Autocovers also require an additional pump to keep water off the top.

These covers are great to use day-to-day during the pool season and are also excellent from a safety perspective. They can help leaves out of your pool to help make your regular cleaning easier. They are also good for keeping heat in, giving your pool heater a break. Autocovers are simply not a winter cover.

Solid Covers

Solid covers are composed of a single, solid piece of material, typically vinyl. They allow nothing to pass through them into your pool throughout the winter months.

Compared to mesh, solid covers requires a more involved installation, a more difficult removal and additional concerns when it comes to storing them during the season. Since they are one solid piece that doesn’t really “breathe,” any moisture on or in your cover will mold while in storage.

The lifespan of solid covers isn’t ideal and they typically only last about 7 to 10 years if you’re lucky. They also require an additional pump to remove any rainwater that collects on top of the cover. Pumps typically last about two to four years.

Solid covers require constant maintenance in the off-season to protect it from accumulating too much water or snow. This weight causes the cover to sag and really shortens the life of the cover.

Overall, we just don’t see these as being a reasonable option when you could get as much protection, a longer warranty, and much less hassle from a mesh safety cover.

Standard Mesh Safety Covers

Standard mesh safety covers are made with a woven, polypropylene mesh material. They will let some light through vs a solid cover, which can cause additional algae growth through the winter.

They are held by anchors that are drilled into the concrete around your pool and metal springs to provide great protection from debris during the off-season. The mesh material allows water to drain right through so you don’t have to worry about any accumulation on top of the cover.

While this type of cover will provide a basic level of protection, they do not live up to the standard that we want to sell to our customers. Unless your pool will be completely undisturbed during the winter months, we just can’t fully recommend a standard mesh cover.

Commercial Grade (ProMesh) Covers

The step up from standard mesh is GLI’s ProMesh Safety Covers. They’re woven tighter, achieving nearly 100% light blockage, so you do not have the algae growth and they are stronger than standard mesh. The heavy duty commercial grade springs allow the cover to flex under the heaviest of snow loads. The extra strength material provides greater tear resistance and tougher winter wear-ability.

We added this brand new GLI ProMesh Safety Cover to a customer’s automatic cover.

These covers offer almost 100% protection from UV light, preventing any algae growth in your pool, making your pool opening a breeze.

If you have children, pets, rain, or snow and want a longer lasting cover with a better warranty, we strongly recommend GLI’s ProMesh Safety Covers.

These covers are known to last up to 15 years and beyond. In terms of safety, protection, longevity, and cost, these are the best in the industry.

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Frequent Questions Pool Tips

The Brands We Choose and Why We Choose Them.

We would never sell you anything that we wouldn’t trust selling to our families or putting in our own pool. With over 25 years of dealing with just about all of them in the industry, we have confidently narrowed it down to the absolute best brands out there. And that’s all we sell.

Hayward shares our views of making your pool experience simple, low maintenance and hassle free. They have been manufacturing cutting edge, technologically advanced pool equipment worldwide for over 80 years. The pumps, filters, lighting, controls and salt-chlorine generators that are included with our inground pool packages are all Hayward products.

Their slogan is “We Build Better,” and we can vouch for that. In our over 25 years of pool experience, we’ve seen firsthand how Hayward products operate at maximum efficiency, and outperform and outlast the competition.

Raypak has effectively expanded to meet constant and fast growing demand for more than 70 years. Their ability to adapt to whatever the market calls for has resulted in a worldwide, highly regarded reputation for this company.

They manufacture the absolute best heaters and heat pumps in the industry. Their products not only meet but exceed customer and regulatory requirements. They align with the ISO 9001, which is defined as the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system. This made them the first boiler manufacturer to achieve the highest registration level attainable, really setting them apart from everyone else.

Raypak’s goals of high quality, reliability and energy efficiency is thoroughly executed in every product they put out, and that’s why we trust them.

Maytronics/Dolphin explains it best themselves.

“Dolphin has a rich heritage of over 35 years cleaning the world’s swimming pools. This heritage is built on a legacy of innovative pool cleaning technologies. Today, we continue to build on those technologies and provide pool owners with products that are efficient and fit into everyday life. Our latest generation of cleaners are cloud connected, giving you the ability to clean your pool from anywhere, anytime. With Dolphin, you can relax knowing your pool will be clean and ready for fun when you are!”

That’s why we include a Dolphin robotic cleaner in our inground pool packages. We even have them in our own pools. They have created the best easy, efficient, low-maintenance way to keep your pool pristine with just a couple taps on your smartphone.

Pentair’s mission is to make the most of water – life’s most essential resource. They deliver smart, sustainable solutions to ensure people can do just that. Their work and expertise goes way beyond just the pool industry and includes giving people the best tasting tap water to industrial water management.

Their dedication to safe, clean, healthy water is why we trust their salt systems to sanitize your pool. We trust them for our customers and our own families. The water you swim in needs to be clean and safe, just as the water that you drink needs to be. Pentair salt systems help us make sure your pool water is as good as it can possibly be so you can thoroughly enjoy your pool.

GLI is a leader in pool products. We put only GLI vinyl liners in our pools and in our customers’ pools and we swear by GLI safety covers.

They have an impressive range of liners, which guarantees that there’s one to give your pool the look you’re going for – from the most vibrant blues to shimmery finishes to textured sandstone styles.

We’ve found their mesh safety covers to be the absolute best. We have witnessed them stand the test of time as we’ve put on and removed the same safety covers year after year. Their Liner Doctors Program makes it simple to ship your cover to them to have it repaired or replaced should you need to. Their 20-point inspection will keep it in tiptop shape.

pHin is a younger but innovative company. They’ve developed Smart Water Monitoring technology to help you easily keep track of your pool or spas pH and ORP levels. Their bluetooth-enabled device pairs with their app so you can monitor your water levels from your smart phone.

pHin Smart Water Monitor is simple to learn and understand and will send you notifications if anything about your water chemistry is off. It’s a revolutionary way to care for your pool.

pHin is also branch of Hayward. All the more reason they can be trusted.

In their 40+ years, Dimension One Spas has become the leading manufacturer of award-winning hot tubs. They became the world’s first and only hot tub manufacturer to receive the Silver Medal Shingo Prize for being such a world-class organization. They’ve also achieved the Spasearch Buyer Guide’s highest “Recommended” rating.

We were honored to become a dealer (the only Dimension One dealer in our area) and to work with such an innovative and unique company. Continuous improvement is one of their goals and we are so glad we now get to witness this in the years to come. We are entirely confident in this brand and trust that their products will meet and even exceed all of our customers’ needs.

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Pool Tips

Chlorine vs. Salt Water Pools

Keeping your pool water sanitized and maintaining proper chemical levels will be your biggest responsibility as a pool owner. The two main options you have to sanitize your pool are the traditional chlorine method or a salt water system.

Your choice will mostly depend on your level of commitment to your pool, and whether you’re prepared to make a large initial financial investment or would rather spend less money at first but put money toward your pool continuously over time.

Let’s break the two systems down a little bit.

Chlorine

A chlorine pool system is cheaper to install – the initial cost is much lower. All you really need is just the pump system and a device to chlorinate your pool. A floating chlorinator is the device most commonly recommended and used. You simply fill it with chlorine – which can come in stick, tablet or liquid form – based on the size and needs of your pool.

Initially, this may seem like the most reasonable option, but the real cost will add up over time.

The chemical levels in your pool water will be much more unpredictable, should you opt for chlorine. You will have to regularly, habitually pay attention to the levels, requiring you to test your water at least once daily.

Chlorine is corrosive. It can be harmful to your hair, eyes and skin, especially if you do not properly maintain your chemical levels. High levels can damage equipment and eat away at you deck paint. It can cause the fabric of bathing suits and towels and the material of your liner and pool toys to fade due to chlorine’s bleaching properties.

Chlorine rash can result from swimming in a pool with chlorine levels that are too high. While not fatal, medical treatment is necessary if it doesn’t clear up on its own.

You will have to factor the cost of regular chlorine purchases into your budget for the entire life of your pool. This adds up and in the long run, can end up costing you so much more – hundreds and hundreds of dollars a year.

That does not take into account that sunlight, rainfall, temperature, number of swimmers, and frequency of pool use all affect the rate that the chlorine will dissolve. These factors will drive up your chlorine usage, thus unpredictably increasing your cost each year

Salt Water

A salt water pool does not mean chlorine free, it is still chlorine that is the sanitizer it is just created from salt in the water. It is easier to maintain and the water feels softer.

A salt-chlorine generator includes a salt cell. The salt you add to the salt cell goes through “electrolysis.” This process produces just enough chlorine to meet your pools needs, based on how many gallons of water your pool holds.

The upkeep that you’ll have to worry about the most is simply adding salt when the levels go below the unit’s operating range. Again, this varies from pool to pool, but your pool professional will inform you of the proper level for your pool.

Salt is much gentler on your skin, hair and eyes. It won’t fade your fabrics, damage your liner or eat away at your deck paint.

Your annual maintenance cost will be lower since you won’t have to constantly buy chlorine.

Where the main cost lies is in your initial investment. The price upfront is indeed mich more than a traditional chlorine pump system. A salt water system is more complex and repairs can be a little more complicated. This type of system also requires more power and will add to your electric bill noticably.

Salt cells much also be cleaned and changed periodically. You will have to check the cell for calcium deposits.

In conclusion…

It all comes down to if you have the money to spend now on an initially more expensive system OR if you are willing to put in more daily work and are able to factor in a constant long-term expense to maintain your pool while spending much less up front.

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Pool Tips

Do NOT Add Chlorine to Your Skimmer

While putting chlorine directly into your skimmer may seem like an easy way to sanitize your swimming pool, THIS IS A BAD IDEA.

Your skimmer is designed to keep your pool free of debris.  The suction from your pool pump siphons water through the hoses connected to your skimmer.  The water is then routed through your filter and clean water is pushed through the return jet of your pool. 

Adding chlorine to this sounds like a good way to add it to your pool water, right? 

Wrong.  This does far more harm than good

– especially if you’re not running your pump 24/7.

With the pump off and no water flowing, the chlorine tablets will sit inside the skimmer and dissolve slowly.  What you’ll end up with is a rich, extremely acidic amount of chlorine that can eat away at the skimmer walls and the basket.

Chlorine Tablets in Pool Skimmer
Chlorine Tablets in Pool Skimmer
This line was so full of chlorine that it collapsed.

The longer it sits, the more damage it does as it clogs up and eats away at the hoses.

Chlorine Tablets in Pool Skimmer
Chlorine Tablets in Pool Skimmer
This skimmer line needed completely replaced. This job took about 10 hours to complete over two days.

You can save yourself so much work, damage, money and headache if you just sanitize your pool properly. 

It’s so easy to do!

The simplest solution, if you decide chlorination is the way to go, is to purchase a floating chlorine dispenser.  All you do is fill it with chlorine tablets and let it float around your pool. You can also plumb in an off-line chlorinator (we do not recommend in-line) specifically designed to house tablets.

The BEST option is to switch to a salt water system which makes caring for your pool as easy as possible.  Salt water pools require less maintenance, provide softer water, and are more cost effective in the long run.

Categories
Pool Tips

Tips for Keeping Your Kids Safe Around the Pool This Summer

by Alex Robbins

Swimming pools provide all kinds of benefits for kids. Not only are they a great source of exercise, but they also offer hours of entertainment and an excellent place to spend quality time with family. But pools can also be dangerous. It’s important that parents take steps to secure the pool against accidents and teach their kids how to be safe around water. With some good swimming skills and safety equipment, your family will be able to splash away all summer!

Upgrade Your Pool

Pools are hotspots for summer fun. So, make sure your pool and the surrounding area are in good condition to prevent accidents.

  • Is your pool showing signs of age? Start budgeting for a pool repair now!
  • If you need a new pool filter, switch to a DE (Diatomaceous Earth) filter for cleaner water.
  • Make your swimming pool deck less slippery with textured concrete or pavers.
  • Prevent sunburns by shading a portion of your pool and deck with a canopy or gazebo.
  • Since chlorine can irritate the skin and eyes, make sure you take steps to lower the chlorine levels when kids are swimming.
Build a Proper Fence

Ensure your pool is fenced off from the rest of your home so kids can’t fall in accidentally.

Teach Your Kids to Swim

Helping your kids develop strong swimming skills will keep them safer in the water.

  • Make sure your kids have the right gear before introducing them to swimming.
  • One of the first swimming skills your kids should learn is how to float in the water.
  • If your kids are interested, swimming-based activities can strengthen their skills.
  • Teach your kids safe swimming practices to prevent accidents in the water.

Don’t spend your summer worrying about the safety of your kids in your backyard pool. Your pool should be a place of fun and relaxation! Take the time to make safety upgrades to your outdoor oasis and teach your kids to be strong, safe swimmers, and you’ll be able to enjoy it too!

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Frequent Questions

DE vs Sand and Cartridge Pool Filters

Cartridges are for Video Games and went obsolete 20 years ago!
What filter should you get? Ask yourself these questions:
  • Would you like your water as clean as possible?
  • Would you like to not have to disassemble your filter?
  • Would you like the easiest way to clean your filter?

The answer to these questions is DE (Diatomaceous Earth) Pool Filters and why we recommend them. Honestly we cannot figure out why any other filters are installed other than for initial cost or to generate repeat purchasing of cartridges. In DE Pool Filters, The DE powder is mixed into the filter and coats a filter “grid”, which then collects particles when your pool water is run through the filter. This powder is much finer than sand or cartridge media. Therefore, a DE pool filter can filter out the smallest particles, down to 2-5 microns. Sand filters get somewhere between 20-100 microns and cartridges capture 10-15 microns. That means that DE filters provide up to 50X TIMES more filtration than sand and 7.5X TIMES more filtration than a cartridge. For us, the choice is simple.

  • DE (Diatomaceous Earth) filters 2-5 microns
  • Glass Media (in a Sand Filter) will filter 5-10 microns
  • Cartridges filter 10-15 microns
  • Sand filters about 20-100 microns

Maintaining a DE filter is just a simple backwash procedure outlined here. DE filter powder is also very inexpensive so they pay for themselves in a very short amount of time compared to cartridges. We carry Pro-Grid Filters from Hayward with a 3-year parts & labor warranty. You will see a water quality difference if you choose this type of filter and have had a cartridge or sand filter on your pool. The water will be clearer and some even describe it as being polished!

Glass Media in a Sand Filter

If you have a sand filter and do not want to replace your filter, Glass Filter Media is a great option. We still like DE better, but Glass will filter down to roughly 5-10 microns.

Sand media needs to be changed out every 3-5 years depending on the water and debris load that is going through the filter. Glass media lasts about 2-3 times as long as sand filter media.

When you do switch to a DE filter

Because a new DE filter will remove so much more debris from your water, you may need to strip and clean it in the first few weeks. It can clog and cause some high pressure in your system quickly when you first make the switch because it is doing it’s job removing all the things your other filter did not!

Every filter needs disassembled and stripped and cleaned eventually. Unlike a cartridge filter which you could be doing weekly, a DE filter should typically only need this once or twice each season. We also provide this service as well.