Mosquito-Free Poolscapes

Nothing ruins a pool party like a swarm of relentless mosquitoes ready to make you the main course at the BBQ. Don’t let pesky, disease-carrying pests ruin your time. Consider these ideas to make your pool area less appealing to mosquitoes.

Integrate Your Approach

When it comes to mosquito management, you’ll want to use a combination of these recommendations for best results.

1. Remove standing water and fill in holes in the yard. Stagnant water can quickly become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Be sure to inspect your yard after rain for these areas and fill them in to remove the problem.

2. Utilize a solar cover. Solar covers have many benefits, one of which is to keep insects out of your pool. As an added bonus, you will keep your pool water from evaporating as quickly, while using the sun to help heat your pool.

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3. Invite mosquito predators into the yard. Bats, dragonflies, birds, tadpoles and fish are just a few of the critters that enjoy feasting on adult mosquitoes and larvae. If you make your pool area inviting for these animals, you will have some help managing the mosquito population.

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4. Keep up with maintenance. Maintain a clean and balanced pool to keep mosquitoes at bay. A dirty pool will have the opposite effect.

5. Maintain the landscaping. Remove rotten leaves and debris that also hold water. Be sure to check under things (like your deck) for rotting organic material that are sure to become home to mosquito larvae. Some plants are said to have insect repelling properties and naturally repel mosquitoes. Try planting lemon thyme, catnip, lemon balm, lavender, basil, garlic, rosemary and marigolds as deterrents.

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6. Repair cracks in the septic. “If there’s a way for mosquitoes to get into your septic tank to lay their eggs, they will find it. Search for any place they could get in, such as uncovered ventilation pipes, cracks in the tank walls, and gaps in the septic tank cover.Cover ventilation pipes with screen mesh tight enough to prevent insects from flying through. Use cement to repair your tank walls. Replace tank covers that don’t have a snug fit. If you have an abandoned septic tank on your property, consider filling it in to keep it from turning into a big mosquito condo unit.” – Swim University

7. Try to trap them. Portable mosquito traps work by attracting insects through light and CO2, mimicking human movement and capturing them. Many people prefer this method to insecticides that utilize chemicals to kill off mosquito populations.

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8. Mist and spray them away. Home mist machines, professional yard spraying services, and do-it-yourself insecticide application can all help relieve mosquito problems. These should all be used carefully, especially with children and pets in the yard. The EPA cautions, “No pesticide should be regarded as 100% risk free.”

9. Build a bug-free enclosure. Installing an enclosure around your pool brings your outdoor pool indoors with regards to keeping bugs out.  Enclosures are often used in tropical climates where the mosquito populations thrive in the mild, wet weather. Adding mesh curtains around outdoor dining areas for instance, will make your yard more pleasant for gathering.

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10. Encourage a strong breeze. Get creative with your approach and try installing outdoor fans. The wind will keep mosquitoes away from the breezy area because they are weak flyers.

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We hope you’ll find these tricks helpful for mosquito management in your yard. Do you have any mosquito fighting tips that we left off the list? Leave your suggestion in the comments!

 

Tracy’s Tips: How Often Should a Pool Filter Run?

The long and short of it is this, you theoretically could run your pool/filter pump 24/7, the entire time your pool is open. However, doing so would not only be costly and use a great deal of energy, it would also be completely unnecessary.

We recommend that you run your pool filter for at least 12 hours per day, allowing all of your pool water to be run through the filter at least once each day. That being said, the more you run the filter, the cleaner your pool will be.

You can cut down on energy costs by running your pool filter at night or very early in the morning when energy rates are usually lower. Keep in mind, you need to run your filter when adding chemicals and while cleaning, which may be more difficult to do in the dark. If you’re swimming during the day and find the pool surface filling with debris, turn on the system so the skimmers can do their job.

Are you finding this information helpful? Share it with friends! Check back often for more of Tracy’s Tips on our blog.

Tracy Dieselman – Owner

Meet our Retail Store Manager

We are very excited to introduce our new Retail Store Manager, Dennis Le-Rynne! Dennis joined the South Shore Pool Supply team in December, 2017. He is truly an exceptional find in the pool and spa industry and we are thrilled to welcome him to the SSPS team. We sat down with Dennis to ask him a few questions to get to know him better.

South Shore Pool Supply: “How and when did you get started in the pool industry? Tell us a little about yourself.”

Dennis: “I got my start in the pool business at age 20, after I came home from college. I was printing my resume at Staples and saw a help wanted sign in the window of the pool store next door. I went in to inquire about the position and the manager at that time happened to be an old childhood friend. I was offered an Assistant Manager position, which I accepted. I became Store Manager in 3 months and have been in the pool business since that day.”

South Shore Pool Supply: What do you enjoy most about working in the industry? What is your favorite part of the job?”

Dennis: I am a people person and enjoy working with customers, helping them fix issues with their pools and spas. I love that the job is never the same day to day. I enjoy guiding people towards a successful pool season and addressing the challenges that come with that.”

South Shore Pool Supply: “What are you looking forward to most about joining the South Shore Pool Supply team?”

Dennis: “I am very much looking forward to being part of the SSPS team. My team members are friendly, professional and very knowledgeable in the industry. I am looking forward to working with everyone and becoming part of an already stellar team.”

Be sure to join us in welcoming Dennis personally the next time you stop by our Retail Store!

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 if 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 a pool care professional. They will come out and take a look at your cover to address the 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 daydream 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

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

Tracy’s Tips: Washing Your Polaris Bag for Winter Storage

Photo Credits: Polaris Pool

Machine Wash for Winter Storage

When it is time to put away your Polaris cleaner for the winter, you will want to make sure the filter bag is thoroughly cleaned to prevent rodent damage during the cold months. Hang the full bag on a fence to dry as it’s much easier to empty and clean once it has dried out.

Once your Polaris bag has been emptied, the easiest way to clean it is to throw it right in your washing machine! Wash the filter bag in your washing machine on gentle cycle, with cold water, WITHOUT detergent.

If you prefer not to wash your filter bag in your washing machine, hand-wash the filter bags in a bucket of water to remove all the dust particles from the filter bag. Hang to dry completely before storing it away.

Note: We recommend having an extra filter bag on hand for pool season, giving you the option to take off the full bag and immediately put a clean one on.

Check back often for more of Tracy’s Tips on our blog!

Tracy Dieselman – Owner

Pool Chemistry: The Balancing Act

Whether you are new to pool ownership or are just looking for a refresher course, balancing your pool chemistry doesn’t have to be a daunting task. The key to a clean and clear swimming pool is to ensure your pool water is both balanced and sanitized.

Check out our quick guide, followed by a more detailed chemistry lesson on pool water balance and sanitation.

Quick Guide

  • Total Alkalinity:
    • 80 – 150 ppm (concrete and gunite pools)
    • 100 – 150 ppm (painted, vinyl & fiberglass pools)
  • pH: 7.4 – 7.6
  • Calcium Hardness:
    • 175 – 225 ppm
    • 225 – 275 ppm (plaster pools)
  • Chlorine: 1.0 – 3.0 ppm
  • Cyanuric Acid:
    • 25 – 50 ppm
    • 50 – 80 ppm (pools using salt water Chlorine generators)
  • Total Dissolved Solids: 500 – 5000 ppm

Water Balance

Total Alkalinity (TA)

Total alkalinity refers to the quantity of alkaline material in the water (bicarbonates, carbonates and hydroxides). Ideally your swimming pool should maintain proper total alkalinity levels between 100-150 parts per million.

“Alkalinity is a pH buffer, meaning it helps to keep the pH from drastically moving up and down the pH scale by absorbing major changes to the waters before affecting the pH.”
Swim University

Adjusting your pool’s alkalinity is the first step. Alkalinity is defined as the ability of the water to resist changes in pH. It acts as a buffer to pH and makes it more stable.

Add an alkalinity increaser if your TA is too low. Add sodium bisulfate to decrease alkalinity if your TA is too high.

2. pH

The pH refers to the relative acidity of the water. Maintaining water at a pH between 7.4 and 7.6 (a little above neutral on the pH scale) is key to balancing your pool water. This pH range is most suitable for swimming because it is less irritable to the eyes and generally more comfortable for swimmers. Chlorine is also most effective in this range. If your pH is too high or too low, the chlorine isn’t able to do it’s job.

Precipitation, swimmers, and pool debris can all change your pool’s pH. Low pH means your water is acidic. High pH means your water is basic. Keep your pH balanced to avoid equipment and structural damage.

The biggest change to pH comes from products used for sanitation, like chlorine tabs. Chlorine tabs have a very low pH, often requiring you to add a pH increaser. Pools using a salt water chlorine generator (SWCG) often have a higher pH level. For this reason, you will need to add more pH decreaser or muriatic acid to a SWCG pool than you would in a traditional chlorine pool.

It is wise to keep both a bottle of pH Increaser (sodium carbonate) and pH decreaser (sodium bisulfate) on hand to deal with pH fluctuations that can frequently occur.

3. Calcium Hardness

Calcium hardness may not technically be part of balancing your water, but without paying attention to dissolved calcium levels, your water will pursue other avenues to find it. The proper calcium hardness level is between 175 – 225 ppm or 225 – 275 ppm for plaster pools.

Monitor the calcium levels in your pool to avoid damage to your pool walls and equipment. Protect your pool by adding calcium hardness to your water. Measure carefully, as too much calcium can lead to scaling (calcium carbonate depositing itself on surfaces) among other problems.

Use calcium chloride to raise the calcium hardness of your pool water. If you are experiencing high calcium hardness levels, the only remedy is to drain at least some of your pool water to dilute it with fresh water.

Cyanuric Acid (CYA)

Cyanuric acid (CYA) is a water stabilizer and should be in the range of 25-50 ppm or 50–80 ppm for salt pools. Cyanuric acid is sold as either a pool stabilizer or pool conditioner and helps prevent destruction of chlorine from the sun’s UV rays. It is especially important to add cyanuric acid if you are starting with fresh water and need a stabilizer base. Chlorine tabs already contain cyanuric acid, so CYA is replenished if you’re using tabs. With a salt water chlorine generator however, CYA will need to be added separately.

Our Retail Store in Cohasset, MA.

Sanitation

Sanitation is imperative to disinfecting your pool water to prevent disease spreading organisms, as well as bacteria and algae growth. Environmental pollution from humans, animals, cosmetics, leaves, pollen, dirt and other debris are constantly affecting your pool water. When it comes to pool sanitation, chlorine is the most commonly used ingredient.

Chlorine

Chlorine is used as a water sanitizer. It works by disinfecting your water to rid it of any bacteria, algae, ammonia, and other contaminates. Your chlorine levels should ideally stay between 1.0 – 3.0 ppm.

Add Chlorine to your water with tablets or use a powdered or granular chlorine (we prefer tablets for ease of use). Tabs can be added to a chlorinator, floating dispenser, or skimmer basket(s) in your pool.

“When buying chlorine make sure you look for Trichloro or Dichloro as an active ingredient. These types of chlorine products are stabilized. UV rays from the sun eat up chlorine, but if it’s stabilized, it drastically slows down this process.”
Swim University

Alternatives to Chlorine

Bromine, biguanide and the minerals silver and copper are sanitizer alternatives to chlorine. While they each have their pros and cons, chlorine remains the most popular and least expensive option. Using a mineral solution still requires small amounts of chlorine for complete sanitation. Contrary to popular belief, a SWCG creates chlorine. People often assume a salt water pool is better because it doesn’t use chlorine, but this is a misconception!

Pool Shock

Super chlorination or “shocking” is also vital to maintaining a clean and healthy pool. When you shock your pool, you are essentially adding 3x the normal amount of chlorine you would regularly add. A shock treatment will burn organic materials out of the water and allow the sanitizer to work properly.

Shock your chlorine pool when any of the following occur:

  • Your pool is cloudy.
  • There is pool algae present.
  • The water temperature exceeds 84 degrees.
  • Your chlorine level is lower than 3 ppm.

Finishing Touches

When you have added all the necessary chemicals to your pool, let your pool pump run so your chemicals can circulate throughout. Balancing your pool water may seem tricky at first, but it will get easier with practice and patience.

Stop by our Retail Store for all of your pool chemicals needs and bring a sample of your pool water to receive a free professional water test!

Hassle Free Pool Care

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