Vinyl pool liners typically last about 12 years if maintained properly. As your pool liner ages, activity, chemicals, weather and UV rays will eventually cause your liner to start deteriorating. When that happens, it’s time to consider whether repairing or replacing is the right choice for you.
Replacing your pool liner may be in order if…
there are substantial cracks and tears in your pool liner.
your pool is clearly losing water from a leak.
the color is drastically faded from chemicals and the sun.
you notice rust stains or algae buildups that cannot be
you see wrinkles, stretching or slippage of the liner itself,
especially around the skimmer, return jets and pump fittings.
your pool liner is over 12 years old and you want to be proactive before problems arise.
you are tired of you liner pattern and want an aesthetic
There are short term solutions for tears and leaks if you are hoping to keep your current liner a bit longer. Keep in mind these are merely patches and you’ll want to address the underlying issue with a more permanent solution as soon as you can.
You don’t always have the luxury to plan a pool liner replacement, but if you keep an eye out for deterioration, you can make repairs or schedule a replacement off-season. Check your liner early this spring to make sure it’s in good shape before beginning your pool opening.
Need an expert opinion? If you need leak detection or liner replacement, contact us and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction!
Pool pumps are a vital part of your pool water circulation system, keeping the water flowing through filters, skimmers, heaters, and other accessories. When it comes to pumps, the variable-speed option is a smart investment for any pool owner. Not only will you save on energy costs, you may actually be required by your town to use one because it is an energy efficient, environmentally friendly option.
How do they work?
Variable-speed pumps allow you to choose your own pump speed depending on the task at hand. They are powered by a permanent magnet motor, the same efficient motor used in electric cars and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines.
For comparison, single-speed motors are loud and inefficient, running on only one constant speed when they are turned on. Dual-speed motors are considered an induction style motor. These pumps can run at low or high speeds and are certainly a step up from the single-speed motors, but do not offer all of the benefits of a variable-speed option.
Why are variable-speed pumps a better option?
While purchasing a variable-speed pump does require a larger initial investment, pool owners see significant savings in energy costs when upgrading from a single-speed or dual-speed pump. It will pay for itself in 2-3 years and consume up to 90% less energy.
Cost savings are an obvious perk to making the switch, but saving energy is a wonderful by-product and the environment will thank you. You may even be entitled to a utility rebate for upgrading your pool pump. Check with the U.S. Department of Energy and your local power company for potential tax credits and rebates.
As of July 19, 2021, the new United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) Dedicated Purpose Pool Pump (DPPP) regulations go into effect. Most in-ground, single-speed pool pumps will fall out of federal compliance as they will not meet the minimum energy efficiency requirements of pool pumps. >>Learn more
Variable-speed pumps can be run at lower speeds and will filter more effectively than single or dual-speed pumps. They are much quieter and have programmable timers so your pump is running when it makes the most sense for you. Run your pump on a low setting at night for even less noise pollution and a better night’s sleep. The flexibility of the variable-speed pump allows you to run just the right amount of power to accomplish a particular task like running spa jets or a water feature, maximizing your energy savings. The best part is that the automated pump takes the guesswork out of the process.
If you’re short on time, or just prefer to spend your time on more traditionally enjoyable activities, consider investing in a pool cleaner to handle some of your pool maintenance. When considering pool cleaners, you will want to investigate which type of cleaner is right for your situation. Let’s discuss the options.
1. Suction Side Pool Cleaners
Suction side cleaners attach to the main filtration pump in your pool and use the suction to move the cleaner around. These cleaners scrub the pool surface and remove unwanted dirt and debris. The debris is then returned to your pump basket through your pool’s filtration system. The cleaner’s hose is connected to either a dedicated suction line or directly to your skimmer. Suction cleaners utilize an internal turbine which is spun by the force of pump’s suction.
Pros: This kind of cleaner is great for pool owners on a budget as they generally cost less than the pressure side and robotic cleaners. Maintaining a suction side cleaner is relatively easy because it has fewer moving parts that have the potential to break. It will pick up medium debris but some will remove small debris as well.
Cons: You will find that this type of cleaner puts more stress on your pool filter. Debris goes directly into the pump strainer, reducing circulation. The pump basket needs to be emptied to keep the cleaner working. Fine dirt and debris go into the filter, leading to more frequent back washing/cleaning of the filter.
2. Pressure Side Pool Cleaners
Pressure side cleaners are very popular among pool owners. They use an existing pressure side line to move the cleaner around. The water returned back into your pool fuels the cleaner, but often requires an additional booster pump to push water through the cleaner to create a jet stream. Not all pools are built with the plumbing to accommodate this type of cleaner. Pressure side cleaners don’t use your pool’s filtration system to filter out debris like the side suction cleaners. Instead, they use a filtration bag to catch the debris, so you don’t have to empty the pump basket or backwash/clean the filter to maintain circulation. Your pool pump will push water through a hose to jets that move the cleaner around your pool, loosening dirt and guiding it into the filter bag.
Pros: This type of cleaner is also less expensive than robotic cleaners and does not stress your pool filtration system as much. They are also generally easy to maintain. They’re great at picking up medium and heavy debris. Fine particles will flow through the filter bag and get cleaned out in the pool filtration system.
Cons: You will need a booster pump to run these cleaners and many pools are not plumbed for that. There are also additional electricity costs to run the second pump.
3. Robotic Pool Cleaners
Robotic pool cleaners are in a category all by themselves. They run off of power from your home and do not use your pool equipment to operate. These cleaners are top of the line and improving every day with new technology. They are excellent cleaners and have a built-in filtration system with a filter bag or built-in cartridge to collect debris. Robotic cleaners are able to remove both large and small debris (and everything in between) from your pool floor, walls, steps and water line. Simply plug your pool robot in and let it do all the work!
Pros: Robotic cleaners do not cause wear and tear on your pool equipment and are energy efficient, reducing overall power usage and costs. They virtually eliminate the need to clean your pool walls with a brush, saving you the hassle and time. The maintenance-free design make robotic pool cleaners very popular.
Cons: These cleaners are the most expensive of the three options and have a higher up-front cost. Robotic cleaners also are a bit heavier and it is slightly more difficult to empty the filter.
Which pool cleaner is best suited for your pool? Stop by our Retail Store for assistance in choosing and purchasing your new pool cleaner.
Chlorine is a vital tool used by most pool owners to sanitize pool water. There are a few ways to dispense the chlorine into your pool, but an automatic chlorinator takes the hassle and headache out of handling chlorine.
An automatic chlorinator (also called a chemical feeder) is your best bet when it comes to dispensers because it offers consistent chlorine feed. The chlorine is fed into your pool plumbing after all the equipment, protecting the pump, filter and heater from corrosion.
Putting chlorine tabs directly into your skimmer basket can damage your liner as seen here.
Simply add chlorine tablets, adjust the valve and let your chlorinator do the work. Use test strips to get your chlorine levels just right.
If you have a pool heater, be sure to check your warranty’s requirements. An automatic chlorinator or salt water chlorine generator is mandatory and use of other chlorination methods may void your warranty.
Tracy’s Tip:When operating your automatic chlorinator, turn your pool pump on and turn the valve so it is fully open. Run the pump for a minute or so to remove the highly concentrated chlorine from the vessel. Then you can open the top of your chlorinator to add tablets without getting a blast of chlorine gas in your face. If you are exposed to chlorine gas, Poison Control recommends standing in a steamy shower for at least 20 minutes to get rid of the chlorine intake.
Schedule your automatic chlorinator installation today – we are currently scheduling fall and spring installations! >> Contact us
Pool repairs are an inevitable part of pool ownership. It is always a bummer, however, when an unexpected pool leak interrupts even one day of pool season.
If you’re concerned that your pool is losing water and could have a leak, you’ll want to first eliminate other common causes of water loss.
The Un-leaky Culprits
Did you know that on the hottest summer days, a pool can evaporate up to a 1/4″ of water? That’s 2 inches in just 1 week! Air temperature, wind conditions, humidity levels and lack of shade and protection from the elements can all contribute to how much water your pool loses each day. You could also see significant water loss if you’ve had higher than usual pool traffic – especially if there’s been lots of splashing.
The Bucket Test
There is a simple way to determine if your pool water is evaporating or leaking. All you will need is a bucket, a pool step or ladder and these instructions.
Fill a bucket 1-2″ from the brim with your pool water.
Place the almost full bucket of water in your pool on the
second pool step or top rung of the ladder. You’ll want the water in the bucket to be level with the water in your pool.
Mark the water level on the inside and outside of the bucket with tape or a permanent marker. Be sure to turn off your auto-refill device if you have one.
Test 1: Leave the bucket alone for at least 24 hours with the pump on, then measure the water level in your pool and your bucket.
Test 2: Leave the bucket alone for at least 24 hours with the pump off, then measure the water level in your pool and your bucket.
If the pool water level has decreased by the same amount as the bucket water level, you don’t have a leak, you have evaporation. If the pool water has decreased more than the bucket water, you likely do have a leak. Check out this video from American Leak Detection to see the test in action.
You lose more water when the pump is running – the problem is in the plumbing. Call a professional (or contact us for a referral) to perform a pressure test to pinpoint the leak.
You lose the same amount of water when the pump is on or off – the issue is likely in the liner, lights, or somewhere in the shell of the pool. It could also be a leak in the hydrostatic valves at the bottom of the pool.
The Dye Trick
For this exercise you will need food coloring or leak finding dye, goggles and a snorkel.
Take your food coloring, goggles and snorkel into the pool and prepare to search for the leak. Pro Tip: Move slowly around the pool to avoid disturbing the water.
If you suspect the leak to be higher up the wall, we
recommend draining your pool to that level to see if leaking appears to stop and to narrow down the location of the leak.
Test areas with visible cracks by squirting food coloring or dye in bursts into the cracks to see if the coloring gets sucked into the cracks. If it does, you have discovered the
location of a leak!
If you aren’t sure where to start, we recommend starting near your main drain and return lines or anywhere the pool’s shell has been punctured.
Fixing the Leak
We highly recommend contacting professionals to do the necessary repairs, especially if the leak involves your pool plumbing. However, if you have a concrete, plaster or fiberglass pool and you feel comfortable tackling the problem yourself, be sure to do your research and purchase the proper supplies. If you have a vinyl pool liner and have identified a liner leak, you can purchase a vinyl repair kit in our store and attempt to patch the hole before bringing in the pros.
We also recommend and carry Natural Chemistry’s Coverfree® liquid solar blanket. “Coverfree’s advanced technology offers the ability to save water and money by decreasing evaporation. Coverfree forms on the water surface. Even when the water is disturbed by the wind or bathers, it reforms the liquid barrier at the surface to protect from energy loss.” Check out this video to see how it works and stop by our store to purchase some today!
The longer it takes to determine that you have a pool leak, the more difficult it can be to address the issue. Make it a priority to routinely check your pool and equipment for signs of leaks to prevent headaches in the future.