Join us in the new year to make pool safety a priority at your pool and hot tub. In 2021, we are taking a pledge and partnering with Pool Safely to keep watch over our pools and hot tubs to prevent drowning! If we all take the pledge to do our part, we can prevent serious injury and accidental deaths in our community.
Did you know that “drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1-4”?
Pool Safely is a national public education campaign that works with partners around the country to reduce child drownings and entrapments in swimming pools and spa tubs. South Shore Pool Supply is taking the initiative to educate, encourage and collaborate with our customers, as well as other pool care professionals in our communities, to take the pledge to put water safety first.
As we head into 2021, South Shore Pool Supply encourages you to join us by doing your part to make pools and spas safer than ever before.
We hope you are enjoying and sharing these pool and hot tub tips with fellow pool owners. Please check back often for more of Tracy’s Tips on our blog.
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.
Just about anyone who enjoys swimming has heard that it can be dangerous to swim after you eat. You may even recall your parents telling you to wait 30 minutes or more to get back into the pool to avoid getting a cramp.
The thought behind the waiting period is that your body uses a larger blood supply to aid in digestion, therefore, there may not be enough blood flow to your arm and leg muscles to allow them to function properly. The concern is that this lack of blood flow could cause drowning accidents. While the first half of that thought process is true, the latter half is not. The American Red Cross even issued a scientific advisory reviewin the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education about it. The review concluded, “Currently available information suggests that eating before swimming is not a contributing risk for drowning and can be dismissed as a myth.”
Swimming after eating is no more dangerous than going for a walk after dinner. Just as you may not want to run a marathon after a heavy meal, you may not want to do any vigorous swimming to avoid losing your lunch. Exercise after a small to medium size meal is not harmful and likely will not cause any cramping.
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.
Salt water pools are growing in popularity as an alternative to traditional chlorine pools. The benefits of owning a salt water pool are impressive and may have you considering the switch.
Contrary to popular belief, salt water pools are not chlorine or chemical-free, but they are safer because pool owners do not have to handle the chlorine in its physical form nor find a good place to store it. You might be surprised to hear that salt water swimming pools use chlorine to keep the water clear. A salt water pool generates chlorine through a process called electrolysis. Salt is added to the pool, the water passes through the chlorine generator, then converts the salt into chlorine using an electric discharge. 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 reused.
Maintenance & Cost Savings
A SWCG makes it easier to maintain constant, proper chlorine levels. This allows you to avoid high chlorine levels that commonly occur in traditionally chlorinated pools, causing eyes to dry out and become irritated. Salt water pools ultimately save you time and money on costly chemicals, after the initial purchase and installation of a SWCG. Salt pools are also cleaner because the generator runs on a consistent schedule.
Skin Care & Health
A salt water pool leaves skin feeling softer and smoother upon exiting the pool, unlike non-SWCG pool water. The water is soft and won’t leave a noticeable residue in your hair or on your skin. Salt water is also known to exfoliate, rejuvenate and detoxify skin.
As far as health benefits, swimming is great exercise and a proven stress reliever. Salt water pools are even more beneficial because they make swimmers more buoyant and help to relieve inflammation in your joints and muscles. With a salt water pool, there is the added bonus of not exposing yourself or the environment to as many harmful chemicals.
Whether you’re considering an update or planning to build a pool, salt water pools are an excellent choice.
When you purchase a home with a swimming pool or decide to add one to enhance your backyard and entertainment space, your first priority should be safety. Pools are SO much fun, but can also be dangerous for non-swimmers including adults, children and animals. Consider a safety cover to ease your worries in the off-season and greatly reduce the risk of an accident.
When it comes to pool covers, there are two options: solid or mesh. Let’s review both options in more detail to help you decide which makes the most sense for you and your family.
Solid Safety Covers
Solid pool covers do not let sunlight, water or debris through. This prevents algae from growing in your pool. Without algae and dirty water getting into your pool, spring opening will require less maintenance and be less of a headache.
These are usually made from a vinyl, tarpaulin-like material, making them easy to cut to the custom shape of your
specific swimming pool.
This type of cover is attached to your pool deck via anchors and springs, allowing it to support the weight of water, snow or debris that may collect on the cover.
When you are not using this cover, it can easily be folded up and stored.
Since solid pool covers do not drain, you will need a pump or drain to remove water and debris from the cover if too much accumulates. You will want to prevent a large puddle from accumulating on your solid cover as to not create another drowning hazard.
Though the cover can be folded when not in use, it is heavier than a mesh cover which can make it a little more difficult to maneuver.
Mesh pool covers are very strong and if installed and
maintained properly, can hold a lot of weight. This keeps people and animals out and away from danger.
Mesh covers are generally reasonably priced, making them the most affordable to pool owners.
Mesh covers can last around 15 years if properly maintained, so they are not only an investment in safety, but the best
option for your wallet.
Mesh covers can be custom made to fit your specific pool shape.
These covers can be folded and easily stored in the off-season, much like the solid safety covers. However, they tend to be lighter weight, making them easier to deal with.
Rain will filter through the mesh, so you will not have to pump excess water off of the top of it.
This type of cover is attached to your pool deck via anchors and springs as well, allowing it to support the weight of snow or debris that may collect on the cover. It will keep out large debris such as fallen tree limbs.
While the sunlight penetrating this cover can be an
advantage if you’re still using the pool and want it warmed, it can be a disadvantage when it comes to algae growth.
Sunlight will get through the tight mesh weave allowing for algae growth on your pool’s walls. This will leave you with more work to clean your water when you uncover in the spring.
Dirty water mixed with smaller debris will be able to seep into your pool requiring more effort to clean it when pool season rolls back around.
Since rain water and melted snow will make its way into your pool, you may need to drain some water should the water level get too high.
When deciding which cover is right for your pool, be sure to weigh the pros and cons for your specific pool and budget to determine which option is best. Regardless of which type of cover you choose, installing a safety cover is a smart decision for all pool owners.
*Note: Safety covers now come in a variety of colors to suit your personal style!
Proper pool chemical storage is imperative to avoid harmful
reactions, mixing and spills. While fireworks may be part of our summer fun, properly storing your pool chemicals will help you avoid a dangerous 4th of July-like explosion due to improper chemical storage.
Don’t let this happen to you…
How to Properly Store Pool Chemicals
Read Labels Carefully: If you do one thing to ensure pool chemical safety, this is it. All of the important hazards,
storage instructions and safety information will be on each container of chemicals. Avoid scary chemical reactions by reading the fine print thoroughly on all of your pool
Storage Temperature: Pool chemicals should never be stored in a location that exceeds 95° F. Find a cool and dry location to store your chemicals. If possible, avoid areas with high humidity and direct sunlight.
Ventilation: Store your pool chemicals in a well-ventilated area. Many people choose to store their pool chemicals in the pump room, but if that is where you will be keeping your supplies, you will need an HVAC shutoff in case of an emergency situation.
Fire Safety: Be smart about what you store with your pool chemicals. Do not store other flammable items such as gasoline or propane near your pool chemicals or machines like lawn mowers that may contain these flammables. Also, keep your storage area clear of flammable trash or debris.
Keep Chemicals Dry: Store your pool chemicals on a raised, flat surface to guarantee they do not get wet. If your chemicals do get wet, they can leach noxious gases and cause corrosion. Keep your chemicals away from doors and windows in waterproof containers and be sure the lids are always tightly secured.
Keep Like with Like: Some chemicals need to be stored apart from one another to avoid reactions. Avoid storing chemicals on top of each other and make sure chlorine and acids are not stored near each other. When in doubt, store all chemicals individually for optimal safety.
Cleaning Your Storage Area: Be smart when using household chemicals and cleaners to tidy up your chemical storage area. The last thing you want is an unexpected chemical reaction caused by accidental mixing. Use cleaning products that are safe to use around pool chemicals.
Lock Them Up: Make sure all your pool chemicals are stored in a locked location that cannot be accessed by children or pets.
Protect Yourself: Wear gloves and protective eye-wear when working with pool chemicals and make sure they don’t come into contact with your hands, mouth or eyes. Wear long sleeves and shoes when working with pool chemicals to avoid any chance of skin irritation or burns. Add the pool chemicals to your water instead of adding water to your chemicals, which could splash onto your skin.
Be Mindful of the Environment: Avoid chemical spills at all costs to prevent chemical burns and inhaling dangerous fumes and dust. Spilling chemicals on the pool deck or ground can contaminate groundwater and soil causing a host of other problems.
Follow the steps above to significantly reduce your risk of chemical illness or injury.
If you prefer to leave the pool chemicals to the professionals, learn more about our Hassle Free Pool Care program and let our trained and experienced technicians handle it. That’ll leave you free to spend your time enjoying all that your swimming pool has to offer in fun and relaxation.
Do you shower before swimming? While it may seem strange to shower before jumping into a swimming pool, it is a highly recommended practice for a number of reasons.
Avoid Harmful Contaminants
Chances are that your body has contaminants on it that are not beneficial for the pool. These include sweat, soap, sunscreen, perfume, shampoo, deodorant, urine and even feces. Gross! All of these products will contaminate your pool water when swimmers get in the water without showering first.
When swimmers shower before entering the pool, they reduce the risk of recreational waterborne illnesses that cause diarrhea, skin and eye infections.
Pool disinfectants like chlorine protect and prevent waterborne germs, but chlorine does not immediately kill all the harmful germs and may not work in all situations,
depending on the contaminants it is trying to kill.
Be Courteous To Pool Owners
Be considerate of others, especially the pool owner, if the pool is not your own. Showering before going for a swim will remove anything on your body that could dirty their pool and is just courteous.
The more contaminated the water becomes because of the foreign substances coming off of swimmers, the harder the pool has to work to stay clean. The pool’s pumps and filters will have to work even harder to remove contaminants in the water and additional chlorine will have to be added to make sure the water is clean and safe for swimming. Save time and money for the pool owners by showering, making it less work to keep the pool clean.
Clean Pools Are Safer Pools
Water that is filled with bacteria can cause you and your guests to become sick.
“Most people associate the smell of chlorine as a sign that a pool is clean. However, they couldn’t be more wrong. The smell generated by chlorine is only present while it is oxidizing contaminates. Therefore, a pool that is completely clean will have very little, if any, odor at all. The stronger the smell the more work the chlorine is having to do meaning the pool is actually dirtier.” – Swim University
Keep the pool safe and clean for all swimmers, shower before making a splash!
While we generally guide pool owners toward solutions to their pool care woes, sometimes it’s best to learn from others’ mistakes to avoid making them yourself. Here are some things we DO NOT recommend.
Don’t shock your pool during the day. Sunlight will burn off your unstable chlorine (aka shock), so it is vital to shock your pool during the night to ensure it has time to do the job properly.
Don’t add shock through your skimmer. This mistake can be VERY dangerous because pool shock (calcium hypochlorite) and chlorine (DiChlor or TriChlor) will mix to create a deadly gas and can cause an explosion when mixed through your automatic chlorinator. This can not only cause bodily harm, but can also damage your pool liner, floor and walls.
Don’t add shock directly to your pool water. Dilute the shock in a bucket of warm warmer before adding it to your pool. Add shock to the water, not vice versa. The diluted solution will be safer to work with and will mix better with your pool water. It will also avoid shock settling on your pool floor and causing your lining to become frail, eventually leading to leaks.
Don’t swim right after shocking. Ensure chlorine and pH levels are in the proper range before swimming. If you want to be able to shock your pool and swim immediately, use a non-chlorine shock.
Don’t forget your pool brush. Your pool vacuum is not a
substitute for your pool brush. Be sure to brush the bottom and sides of your pool at least once a week, especially the hard to reach areas. Brushing is vital to removing bacteria, germs and algae, while the vacuum is great for the larger
Don’t use a robot on algae. If you have an algae problem on your hands, do not use an automatic cleaner to try to
remove it. Manual cleaners are the way to go in this scenario because pressure-side automatic cleaners will push the algae up through the mesh bag, clog it and blow it around your pool.
Don’t neglect pH and alkalinity. Maintaining the proper pH and alkalinity levels is necessary even if your pool water looks clear. Low pH (highly acidic water) can cause damage to your pool equipment including: pumps, filters, solar
covers, liners and heaters. Adjust your alkalinity levels to
ensure your pH is always balanced.
Don’t over backwash your filter system. The larger debris in your filter actually help to trap the smaller debris. The guideline is to backwash when the system is running 5-10 psi above the starting filter pressure (pressure with a clean filter).
Don’t skip your water testing. If you can’t do a full,
comprehensive water test each week, be sure to at least test your free chlorine and pH levels. Bring a sample of your pool water into our Retail Store for a free, detailed analysis. We recommend a computer generated water test at least once a month.
Avoid these common pool care blunders and you will be well on your way to a safe and clean swimming pool.
The pool is open! Make safety your #1 priority this year. May is National Water Safety Month and the perfect time to make sure your pool and patio is up to par. Follow these recommendations to keep your family and friends safe and give yourself peace of mind so you can sit back, relax and just enjoy your pool this summer.
Many states require your pool to be fenced on all sides. Even if you happen to live somewhere where fencing is not a requirement, installing a fence is very important, especially when there are children around. Your fence should be at least 5 feet tall and have a self-latching or self-closing gate. This simple solution will greatly reduce the risk of children getting into the pool area unsupervised.
Gate alarms, perimeter alarms and pressure sensitive alarms will notify you when someone or something enters the pool area or pool itself. Wearable alarms are a good option for children, alerting a parent when the wearable component gets wet. Learn more about alarms from our friends atSwim University.
This one goes without saying, but pool chemicals, just like household chemicals, can make children and pets gravely ill if they are ingested, inhaled or get in their eyes. Never store your pool chemicals anywhere that would be accessible to a child or pet. For chemical storage tips, check out this article. Reducing your pool chemical use is also a favorable option to reduce any risk.
Every pool should have safety equipment readily accessible. A life ring (hard plastic ring) with a rope can easily be tossed into the pool for someone in danger to grab hold of, allowing the rescuer to pull them to safety. Life jackets should also be available in case of emergency or for new swimmers to wear while learning to swim. A shepherd’s hook is another useful safety tool. The loop attaches to the end of your telescoping pool skimmer pole and can be used in the case of an emergency to grab someone and pull them to safety.
Keep all pool floats and toys away from the pool area when not in use, as children often find their bright colors and fun shapes enticing. Also, keep any climbable objects away from your pool gate and fence.
Teach Water Safety
Children are never too young to start learning the basics of pool and water safety. Start them in swimming lessons at an early age so they gain confidence in the water and understand and respect the importance of following the rules in and around the pool.
The number one thing you can do to ensure safe pool fun is to make sure there is always an adult swimmer watching when there are any children, pets or novice swimmers around your pool. A clever way to make sure there is always an adult around is to have a safety wristband worn by the adult in charge. When that adult leaves the pool area they are then responsible for passing the wristband on to another adult supervisor.
Safety covers are a great investment for both in-ground and above ground pools in the off-season, preventing anyone or anything from falling in the often frigid and unsupervised water. Check out the following brands when purchasing your safety cover.
Safety is the most important element to pool ownership, but it is not just people that are at risk of 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 pool.
1. Install a Fence, Alarm and/or Pool Cover
Fencing and alarming your pool will help prevent unwanted animals from accidentally falling into the water 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 in. For this reason, alarms should be used as a backup safety mechanism, not your primary solution. Your first line of defense should be a quality fence that is at least 4 feet high. 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 preferable. Storing trash in a garage or shed also discourages 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 aware of a safe way to exit the pool. Even if your dog is a good swimmer, he can become disoriented and panic if 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 FrogLog, 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.”
Share these pool tips with fellow pool owners and check back often for more of Tracy’s Tips on our blog.