Pool Opening Guide

The moment we’ve all been waiting for is nearly here. The temperature is rising and it’s almost time to dust off that patio furniture and get your pool in tip top shape for summer! Beat the heat (and the line at your pool supply store) by opening your pool earlier this season. You’ll be glad you did if summer weather comes early.

Here are a few things to have on hand to get started:

Chemicals: shock, chlorine, pH, alkalinity & stabilizer
Test Strips/Kit
Telescoping Pole
Skimmer Head
Vacuum: Head & Hose
Pool Brush
A Leaf Rake

Creating a checklist is an easy way to make sure you have everything you need for a hassle-free pool opening. It just so happens we made one for you!

☐ Phone a friend. Pool opening won’t be such a chore if you enlist the help of a friend or family member. Fire up the grill, fix a beverage, and throw on some music to get motivated!

☐ Clear and remove cover. Use a long handled broom or leaf blower to clean off your cover. It will be easier to store the cover later and also helps you avoid getting debris in your pool. Taking the cover off early in the season will reduce the chance for an algae nightmare, aka the “green monster”.

☐ Get your filter system and pumps up and running. Pumps and filter system should be run 24/7 until your pool is clear to start, then for 12 hours every day after that. “Test fire and run ALL pool equipment, heaters, booster pumps, blowers, water-feature/auxiliary pumps, remote controls etc., and allow these functions to run for a good 20-30 minutes to make sure you are getting good consistent performance and checking for leaks or service issues.” – Swim University

☐ Test your pool water. Get a sample of your pool water and use your test kit and/or strips to get an accurate reading of your water’s pH and chlorine levels. For a more comprehensive reading, bring a sample of your pool water into our Retail Store for a complimentary water test. We’ll test for: total and free chlorine, pH and alkalinity, cyanuric acid, calcium hardness, phosphates, borates, iron and copper.

☐ Time to shock. Shock is the key to a clean and clear pool in your future. Kill bacteria and remove old chlorine by shocking your pool water. You should only shock the pool after all of the leaves and debris have been removed. If you can’t see the bottom, scoop blindly until there’s nothing left.

Pack it up. Make sure your cover is clean and dry before storing it in an elevated container with a lid. For more info, check out Tracy’s Tips for storing your cover.

☐ Review your pool safety mechanisms. Start the pool season right by making sure you’re following our general safety guidelines, and that your pool area is safe and secure from unwanted or unsupervised guests.

If doing it yourself is not your style, no problem! That’s what we are here for. Contact us to learn more about our Hassle Free Pool Care program and leave the work to us. Appointments are filling up fast, schedule your spring opening today!

Swimming & Pool Fun Facts

Being a pool owner can be a lot of work. While we love to help you make light of that work, we also want to be part of the fun! Test your pool pro knowledge with these fun facts and figures.

Did you know…?

1. The largest backyard swimming pool is located in El Campo, Texas and has a 500 foot lazy river. It holds 600,000 gallons of water and used to be a pond. It’s true what they say, everything really is bigger in Texas!

Photo credits: http://homesoftherich.net/

2.There are over 10.6 million swimming pools in the United States.

3. California is the state with the most swimming pools in the United States with over 3 million pools!

4. In 1907 the RMS Adriatic was the first ocean liner to have a swimming pool on board. The Titanic, which was built around the same time, had a heated swimming pool on board.

5. An hour of strenuous swimming will burn about 650 calories, more than walking or riding a bike for the same amount of time.

6. Swimming became an Olympic event in 1896. Women were allowed to compete starting in 1912. Today there are 16 swimming events but a men’s 800-meter freestyle, women’s 1,500-meter freestyle and a 4×100-meter medley mixed-gender relay are being added for the 2020 Olympic Games.

7. An Olympic size swimming pool can hold 700,000-850,000 gallons of water.

8. The world’s largest pool, according to the Guinness World Records, was built in Algarrobo, Chile in 2006. The Alfonso del Mar Seawater Pool is 3,324 feet long and covers 19.7 acres!

Photo credits: Urban Peek

9. The cannonball is the most popular way to jump into the pool.

10. President Gerald Ford had an outdoor pool built at the White House in 1975.

11. 65% of Americans don’t know how to swim.

12. Benjamin Franklin invented swim fins. Unlike today’s foot flippers, the first fins were worn on your hands.

13. Australia builds more personal swimming pools per capita than any other country in the world. Since most of Australia is considered a desert or semi-arid, it’s no surprise!

14. The world record for breath holding underwater is 24 minutes achieved in 2016 by Aleix Segura Vendrell (Spain), in Barcelona, Spain! Vendrell is a avid free diver.

15. The breaststroke is thought to be the oldest of all swimming strokes. “Drawings in an Egyptian cave, appropriately called the Cave of Swimmers, depict swimmers in various poses, with the leg whipping motion believed to having been inspired by frogs.” – Your Swim Log

16. Swimming dates back to 2500 BCE as seen in ancient Egyptian cave paintings.

17. Elephants can swim an average of 20 miles a day using their trunks as snorkels.

Photo credits: Bosham Gallery

18. 38% of pools having a diving board.

19. A resort in Port Dickson, Malaysia has 643 swimming pools, not including the private swimming pools at each villa!

Photo credits: Lexis-Hibiscus Port Dickson Hotel

20. A filtration system for swimming pools was invented in 1910 at Brown University, using chlorine. Public drinking water was being sanitized with chlorination and sand filtration, so they applied the same concept to swimming pools.

Have a fun fact to add? Drop us a line in the comments!

Tracy’s Tips: When does hiring a pool maintenance company make sense?

As a pool owner, you know that a considerate amount of work comes before, during and after the fun pool activities. Is that work overwhelming you and hindering your enjoyment? Do you dread the heavy lifting and continuous maintenance your pool requires? We encourage our customers to weigh the pros and cons of hiring a pool maintenance company to do the dirty work for you.

For some of you savvy pool owners, handling your own pool maintenance makes sense. You have the time, kids to help with the workload, or maybe just an interest in pool chemistry. You probably have a “do-it-yourself” mentality or simply do not want to spend the money to hire someone. If any of this sounds like you, you probably don’t need the services of a pool maintenance company.

On the other hand, not everyone has the time and energy to devote to constantly maintaining a swimming pool and/or spa. If this sounds more like you, you may be a great candidate for hiring a pool maintenance company. Our Hassle-Free Pool Care program is perfect for the pool owner who prefers not to have to open and close their pool, measure chemicals, scrub pool walls, skim debris or troubleshoot and maintain pool equipment.

If you can’t decide which route is best, talk to us! Our team will be happy to provide you with a pressure-free, customized pool care program estimate for our services.

We hope you are enjoying and sharing these pool tips with fellow pool owners. Please check back often for more of Tracy’s Tips on our blog.

Tracy Dieselman – Owner

Tracy’s Tips: Do I Need to Remove Snow from My Pool Cover?

We are often asked what to do with the snow that piles up on your pool cover. The answer is simple…NOTHING!

Your pool cover is designed to sit on the water, which supports the weight of the snow and ice.  The only time the snow can cause a problem is when the water in your pool is too low, causing excess strain on the cover. If your pool water is at an optimal level, you do not need to worry about removing snow from your cover.

If you are experiencing a problem with your pool cover, we recommend that you consult your pool care professional. They will come out and take a look at your cover to address the specific problem and offer a custom solution. Many times you will need to wait until spring to tackle a pool cover issue.

If your pool cover is functioning as it should, the only thing you need to do is cozy up on your couch with some cocoa and day dream of the summer months!

We hope you are enjoying and sharing these pool tips with fellow pool owners. Please check back often for more of
Tracy’s Tips on our blog.

Tracy Dieselman – Owner

Salt Water Chlorine Generators: How do they work?

Photo credits: http://www.poolsupplyworld.com/

You might be surprised to hear that salt water swimming pools are using chlorine to keep the water clear. Salt water pools use a salt water chlorine generator (SWCG) to turn salt into chlorine. The chlorine eventually breaks down, leaving behind the salt to be used again. SWCGs are not a new concept, but they continue to evolve as the technology and materials improve.

Benefits to Salt Pool Water

Many homeowners prefer salt water swimming pools for the following reasons:

  1. A salt water pool leaves skin feeling softer and smoother upon exiting the pool, unlike non-SWCG pool water.
  2. A salt water chlorine generator makes it easier to maintain constant, proper chlorine levels, avoiding high chlorine levels that can commonly occur in traditionally chlorinated pools causing eyes to dry out and become irritated. 
  3. Salt water pools reduce the need to frequently and manually add chlorine to your pool.
  4. Salt water pool owners do not have to handle the chlorine in its physical form, nor find a good place to store it.

How Salt Water Chlorine Generators Work

“Salt water chlorinators use dissolved salt as a means of creating chlorine to clean the pool. They use a different process to create the chlorine instead of just dumping the chemical into the pool.

A salt water pools make hypochlorous acid (HClO) by using table salt or sodium chloride (NaCl) and electrolysis. The salt water passes through an electric current creating chlorine gas (Cl2), but you’re also forming hydrogen gas (h2) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH). Using electrolysis, dissolved salt is converted into hypochlorous acid(HClO) and sodium hypochlorite, the sanitizing agents used to clean the water of any dirt and bacteria.

So, instead of just dumping chlorine into the water, you create a chlorine generator with a salt water chlorinator that continues to generate chlorine until more salt is needed.”
Swim University

Adding a Sacrificial Anode

A zinc sacrificial anode is a device that protects metal components from corrosion in a salt water pool. Salt water is corrosive, regardless of whether or not there is chlorine or an active chlorine generator. The large increase of dissolved solids in the water when salt is added makes the water more conductive, and can lead to premature corrosion of any metal components in the pool system. Adding a sacrificial anode made of zinc, a softer metal than all the stainless steel and aluminum in pool environments, and attaching it to the bonding grid, means that it will corrode before any of the more important metal components. An anode’s role is to corrode (sacrificing itself) before other metals that are part of the same underwater electrical system. Talk to us today about scheduling installation of a sacrificial anode anti-electrolosys device to your salt water pool. We highly recommend it!

SWCG systems make pool maintenance easier for salt water pool owners. A well maintained salt water chlorinator system should last you anywhere from 5 to 7 years, when serviced periodically. Spend less time managing chemicals and more time enjoying your pool!

Contact us today to learn more!

New England Swimming Pool Care Calendar

dont-forget-seasons-calendar
Taking care of a pool or spa correctly will increase your enjoyment and protect your investment. Stay on track with our New England Swimming Pool Care Calendar.
January
  • Typically the water in your pool will be frozen. Don’t try to lower the water level. A drop in the water level will allow the ice to drop, possibly pulling out the return plugs, or damaging light fixtures.
February
  • Not much can be done at this time. Check the water (ice) level to see if anything has changed.
March
  • The ice should be melting (hopefully).  Check the water level. Lower the water to keep the safety cover dry.
  • A “wet” cover will trap debris and allow the sun to warm the water and add to the algae growth.
  • When using a “tarp” cover, the leaves on the cover should be scooped out, and water removed from the cover. If there are any holes in the cover, be sure that you don’t drain the pool.
April
  • The water is starting to warm up as the days get longer. Test the water and add liquid shock and an algaecide if needed.
  • Keep the cover dry.
May
  • As you get close to the opening date, allow the rain to raise the water to the operating level.
  • If you are planning a later opening (late June or early July) you may want to add more liquid shock.
  • Check the water level periodically so there are no surprises at the opening.
  • Keep the cover as dry as possible.
June
  • Open your pool.
  • Add a metal remover if tap water is added.
  • Perform initial cleaning to remove any debris, and balance the water.
  • Check for leaks, gaskets and o-rings may need to be replaced.
  • Have the pool heater serviced.
  • Note starting filter pressure.
  • Bring in a water sample after the pool has been circulating for 24 hours.
July
  • Test the water balance at least one a week during the peak of the season.  Additional tests may be needed if water is added.
  • Test and maintain the free chlorine at 1.0-3.0 ppm.
  • Empty the skimmer and pump baskets as needed.
  • Skim the pool surface and vacuum once a week.
  • Bring in a water sample for computer testing.
  • Check the filter pressure and backwash as needed.
August
  • Test the water balance at least once a week during the peak of the season.  Additional tests may be needed if water is added.
  • Test and maintain the free chlorine at 1.0-3.0 ppm.
  • Add a metal remover if tap water is added to prevent staining.
  • Empty skimmer and pump baskets as needed.
  • Skim the pool surface and vacuum once a week.
  • Bring in a water sample for computer testing.
  • Check the filter pressure and backwash as needed.
  • Remove elements or cartridges and clean with Filter Cleaner Degreaser to remove any oils and grease that may have accumulated on your filter.
September
  • Turn off the equipment.
  • Lower the water 12 – 18 inches below the skimmer.
  • Close the pool.
October
  • Maintain the water level at least 3 – 6 inches below the tile line.
  • Keep safety cover dry and remove debris from “tarp” cover.
November
  • Maintain the water level at least 3 – 6 inches below the tile line.
  • Keep safety cover dry and remove debris from “tarp” cover.
  • Add liquid shock and algaecide.
December
  • Maintain the water level at least 3 – 6 inches below the tile line.
  • Keep safety cover dry and remove debris from “tarp” cover
  • Add liquid shock and algaecide.

 

Lower the Costs of Running Your Hot Tub: 8 Tips

Photo courtesy of our friends at LeisureTime
Photo courtesy of our friends at Leisure Time

The best way to lower the costs of running your hot tub is to first understand what is costing you the most money. Almost all hot tubs are heated using an electrical resistance coil. As
electrical energy is run through the heating element, the
resistance causes heat, which is absorbed by the water running through the heater. The most expensive part of running a hot tub is powering up that heating element. The other electrical costs incurred are from the pump(s) running.

Be sure your hot tub is running as efficiently as possible. In
order of impact and ease of implementation, here are 8 tips to lower the costs of running your hot tub.

  1. Cover condition and the quality of the cover makes the
    biggest impact on energy savings and heat retention by far. A water logged or otherwise damaged cover has its thermal rating significantly reduced, can be difficult to move, and the cost of a new higher quality cover quickly pays for itself in electrical savings as the heating element is used much less.
  2. Turning down the temperature of your hot tub between uses makes a huge impact as well. Lowering the temperature from 104 to 100 or even less saves a lot in electrical costs, because again, the heating element is powered up less. The lower you set the temperature, the more you’ll save, but it will take longer to heat back up before use.
  3. Closing any air jets while the hot tub is not in use will also help to reduce heat loss. Most hot tubs have valves that allow air to be sucked into the return jets when opened, causing bubbling action in the water. This is nice when you’re using the hot tub, but the turbulence at the surface allows heat to rise and escape the water much more quickly, and in the winter, the air being introduced is likely much cooler than the set water temperature, causing an even more rapid
    temperature drop.
  4. Maintaining a clean filter cartridge will reduce the cost of running the circulation pump. A dirty filter will restrict water flow and force the pump to work harder, drawing more
    energy and thus costing more money to operate. Regularly cleaning the filter cartridge ensures that not only will the
    water quality remain much better, but the efficiency of the pump can be maximized.
  5. A thermal, or solar blanket, can be cut to size and floats on top of the water surface. The “heavy-duty bubble wrap” can serve as a lighter, secondary cover, to further reduce heat evaporation up and out of the hot tub.
  6. If a hot tub is consistently buffeted by wind, the air flow around the tub will help whisk away any heat thinking about escaping and maintain lower temperatures around the unit, speeding up heat loss. Having a simple wind break can make a big difference if the hot tub is in a windy area, and will also increase privacy and comfort for bathers when in use.
  7. LED lights are all the rage now as their energy consumption is much lower than standard incandescent lights. Hot tubs can upgrade to this technology to save a little, but making sure that the lights are turned off when done using the hot tub is the best way to save on lighting costs.
  8. As technology in many industries advances, some of that
    invariably finds its way into the pool and spa industry. Pumps and motors are more efficient, heaters are more efficient, more thought is put into the hydraulic design of the
    plumbing systems, lighting is more efficient, insulation has improved, control systems have more options, the list goes on. Older hot tubs were usually just a pump, heater, and a
    filter. That same system in a newer hot tub will be by default much more efficient. Newer hot tubs usually use a very small circulation pump, or a two speed pump, to significantly lower the cost of heating and filtering, but then allow for a higher speed or much stronger jet pumps to add the jet
    action that bathers desire when the hot tub is in use. Newer tubs generally have more design and equipment options as well, allowing for more capabilities at a lower operational cost. Eventually, it might be worth upgrading to a more
    efficient system, but it will take an initial investment to do so.

Contact us directly if we can help you with your hot tub or swimming pool maintenance or answer any questions. Visit the South Shore Pool Supply retail store for all of your hot tub and pool products.

Happy Holidays from South Shore Pool Supply!

 

With sincere appreciation for your friendship and good will, we wish you and yours all the joys of this Holiday Season. Celebrate the tradition of giving, the beauty of the season and a New Year of peace and happiness from all of your friends at South Shore Pool Supply.

 

 

Tracy’s Tips: Protect your pets and animals from swimming pool dangers.

 

Pet and Animal Safety Around the Pool

Safety is the most important element to pool ownership, but it is not just people that incur drowning accidents in the pool. Our family pets, stray animals and wildlife can all run the risk of falling into your swimming pool and not being able to find their way out. Here are a few suggestions to keep your pets and neighborhood animals safe around your swimming pool.

1. Install a Fence, Alarm and/or Pool Cover

Fencing and alarming your pool will help prevent unwanted animals from accidentally falling into your pool and discourage them from using your pool as a watering hole. Be aware that many pool alarms only go off if an animal over 15 lbs. falls into the pool. For this reason, alarms should be used as a backup safety mechanism, not your primary solution like a pool fence. A sturdy safety pool cover will also keep animals from entering your pool and greatly reduce the risk of drowning accidents.

2. Trim Your Trees

If you have trees in your pool area, be sure to cut branches back so they are not hanging above the pool. Tree dwelling animals (especially baby animals) can easily end up in your pool when jumping from branch to branch. Reduce the risk by removing the branches.

3. Remove Trash Temptations

Make sure any trash you store outside is secure in barrels that are not easily opened. Trash cans with locking lids are a great option. Storing trash in a garage or shed also eliminates critters foraging in your garbage. Having a potential food source in your yard will draw animals into your yard and pool area. Eliminate the temptation.

4. NEVER Leave Dogs Unattended

While some dogs are natural swimmers, others cannot swim at all. If they seem to like the water, it is wise to teach them to swim. If they do not seem to like the water, do not force them into it. Either way, it is important that your pets are at least aware of a safe way to exit the pool. Even if your dog is a good swimmer, he can become disoriented and panic when he can’t find a quick exit. Guide your dog in and out of the pool to show him where the stairs or ramp are located. Just as you wouldn’t leave your children unsupervised around the pool, the same rules apply for your pets. Fencing (as stated above) is the most reliable way to keep pets out of the pool area, while still allowing them to hang out in the yard.

5. Provide an Easy Exit

Having an easy exit strategy isn’t just for family pets. Installing a pool ramp (we like the Skamper-Ramp) will give wildlife and neighborhood animals that are not familiar with your pool a highly visible escape route. For critters like frogs and squirrels, we suggest the Frog-Log which attaches to the side of your pool and floats on the surface acting as a life raft for smaller animals. Try the Critter Skimmer as another safety mechanism. “The Critter Skimmer is an eco-friendly invention that allows frogs, turtles, mice, and other small critters to rescue themselves from in-ground pool skimmers. Replacing the pool skimmer cover with a Critter Skimmer allows animals that invariably end up in the pool to climb up the attached spiral rescue ramp and through the opening in the skimmer cover to safety.”

We hope you are enjoying and sharing these pool tips with fellow pool owners. Please check back often for more of Tracy’s Tips on our blog.

Tracy Dieselman – Owner

20 Inspirational Poolscapes

December in New England may seem like a strange time to be thinking about a backyard makeover, but winter is the perfect time to day dream about warmer months ahead. Need some inspiration for your own pool paradise? Check out 20 beautiful poolscapes from across the globe!

Which poolscape is your favorite? Leave us your vote in the comments!

1. Jungle Getaway

2. Life of Luxury

3. Waterfall Wonderland

4. Spa Scene Oasis

5. Indoor/Outdoor Living

6. Feels like a Fairytale

7. Moroccan Marvel

8. Chalet Chic

9. Living Lakefront

10. Desert Delight

11. Romantic Retreat

12. Backyard in Bloom

13. Classic English Countryside

14. Inspired by Nature

15.  Homey Hideaway

16. In the Tree Tops

17. Panoramic Views

18. Marvel in the Mountains

19. Secret by the Sea

20. Modern Masterpiece

Hassle Free Pool Care

%d bloggers like this: