One of the most common problems pool owners experience in the winter is rodent damage to their pool heaters. When the temperatures get colder, mice and other rodents look for warm places to take shelter from the elements. Unfortunately, your pool heater may look like a good home to them.
Whether the rodents are building nests, chewing wires, or using your pool heater as a bathroom, it is imperative that you keep them out to avoid damage.
Protect your pool heater with these easy steps
Remove leaves and debris from the pump and pool heater to prevent moisture. Moisture leads to corrosion and can seize your pump motor come spring. The debris also makes a good hiding place for rodents so this step is essential.
Plant mint around your pool heater. Mint deters rodents and will act as a natural barrier. Placing plastic snakes around your heater may also serve as a natural deterrent because mice don’t want to build their homes near predators.
Pick up some Mouse Busters, an all natural anti-rodent
inhibitor, at our retail store.
Contact us about a one-time installation of a Pentair or
Sta-Rite Heater Anti-Rodent Kit.
For more tips and tricks to prevent rodent damage, check out this helpful article from Swim Universityor call us anytime at (781) 383-3300.
Fitness and wellness are top priorities for people looking to live long, healthy lives. Your pool has always been a place for leisure, relaxation and fun, but it can also become your favorite place to get in a workout. Many find swimming to be an enjoyable way to get exercise. It is an activity the whole family can do individually or together, no matter their pace or fitness level.
The Benefits of Aquatics
Swimming is unique because unlike most sports, it offers a full-body workout. Whether you are doing the breaststroke or backstroke for 30 minutes, you are working all of the major muscle groups in your body at once. An equivalent workout on land would take 45 minutes.
Swimming builds muscle tone, with the added benefit of being low-impact, meaning it doesn’t stress your joints and muscles the way many other exercise regiments do. When you swim, you’re increasing your heart rate, building endurance, strength and flexibility, improving your overall fitness.
Swimming is one of the most effective ways to burn calories and gives you more bang for your buck. “A 160-pound person burns approximately 423 calories an hour while swimming laps at a low or moderate pace. That same person may burn up to 715 calories an hour swimming at a more vigorous pace. A 200-pound person doing the same activities would burn between 528 and 892 calories an hour. A 240-pound person might burn between 632 and 1,068.” – Healthline
Alongside improving your cardiovascular health, swimming (in conjunction with a healthy diet) reduces your risks for many diseases. Studies have shown time in the pool can reduce blood pressure, improve lung function and even lower blood sugar levels. Swimming can also help you maintain a healthy weight.
The mental health benefits of swimming are bountiful. Just a short swim can relieve stress, have meditative qualities, reduce anxiety and produce endorphins that can be beneficial to people suffering from depression. Being in water also aids in relaxation, leading to better sleep and better overall health.
Swimming is for everyone
Whether you’re a child, adult or senior, swimming is a sustainable workout regiment you can continue throughout your life. Swimming is considered a low-impact workout with high-impact benefits. People recovering from injuries, living with disabilities or struggling with arthritis can all benefit from the ease of exercising in water because it supports up to 90 percent of your body weight. “Research in the International Journal of Sports Medicine shows swimming is better than straight-up rest for exercise recovery, for when you want to take it easy.”
If swimming laps isn’t your thing, there are other activities you can enjoy in the water that have many of the same health benefits. Maybe you prefer diving, water polo or resistance water walking to stay fit physically and mentally. The choices are endless!
From beginners to lifelong swimmers, the benefits of aquatics are undeniable. Swim laps, try water aerobics, challenge a friend to a pool basketball game – whatever you choose, choose aquatics in your daily life!
During the cold, dark months of winter, taking care of your pool may be the last thing on your mind.
Even though swimming season is over, your pool still needs a little attention. The good news is that future problems can be prevented with some minimal maintenance over the winter season. Follow this guide and pool problems won’t plague your spring opening!
Avoid Winter Woes
Snow can wreak havoc on pool covers causing straps and springs to stretch. Excessive rainfall can raise water levels beyond the tile line causing hundreds of dollars of damage to decking, tile and coping materials, making your first spring cleaning costly and difficult. On the other hand, if the water level in your pool is too low during the winter months, your cover will not be able to support the weight of ice and snow accumulation and could cause expensive cover damage.
Pool Cover Guide
When using a mesh safety cover, we recommend keeping the water level 15-18″ below the cover. This level will rise as rainfall and snow-melt pass through the mesh.
When using a tarp cover, we recommend keeping the water level 1″ below the bottom of the skimmer, and thus the tile line. As long as the cover is in good condition, no water should pass through it. The level beneath the cover should remain constant during the off season. Periodically scoop debris off of the tarp cover and pump the water off to avoid letting a swamp grow on top of it. We recommend using a leaf net with any tarp cover to make leaf removal quick and easy. Call us to order one.
Check your safety cover regularly over the winter and remove debris as it accumulates using a pool brush or leaf blower. This is especially important for pools located in areas with many trees. If you do not remove leaves and debris from your cover, improper water drainage may occur and will put too much water weight on the cover.
Once winter and freezing temperatures come to an end, we recommend keeping the water 1-2″ above the bottom of the skimmer with mesh safety covers. This will allow you to avoid having to add water at the pool opening and create a gap between the cover and the water’s surface. This gap prevents algae growth which occurs when the cover sits in the water. The cover’s straps may need to be tightened after stretching out under the weight of ice and snow.
Make Your Life Hassle Free
Sign up today for our Winter Care Service and we’ll take care of your winter pool woes! Our Winter Care Service was designed for the busy pool owner with better things to do than worry about pool maintenance.
Prefer to do it yourself? Stop by the South Shore Pool Supply Retail Store for everything you need for winter pool maintenance and talk to our friendly staff who will be happy to answer any of your questions.
Set yourself up for a successful spring opening with these
additional off-season pool care tips from our friends at Swim University.
“Taking care of your pool doesn’t end when you put the cover on. It’s important to continue caring for your pool
during the off-season (fall, winter, and early spring) to ensure a successful and clean opening…” 10 Tips From The Pros >>
Our friends at Swim University have a ton of helpful resources for pool owners, but their advice and content does not necessarily represent those of South Shore Pool Supply. Instead, the information is intended to provide you with additional resources for optimal pool care. Please contact us directly for specific pool care advice.
Don’t let leaf removal get you down! There is a simple solution to keeping leaves off of your tarp pool cover. The tarp cover will keep the leaves out of your pool, but how do you handle the leaves that fall from the autumn trees and land on your tarp cover? A leaf net will fit atop a tarp cover once your pool is closed. The leaf net catches the leaves on your cover for you. Simply remove the netting and shake it out into your compost pile to get all of the leaves off of your tarp, and protect it from deterioration from rotting debris. Remove the cover and store it for next fall once the trees are bare.
Stop by our retail store or call us to order a leaf net for your pool!
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 rodentdamage 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.
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.
In New England, you never know what the weather will be. A sunny day can quickly turn into a rainy afternoon, with thunderstorms a common occurrence during the spring and summer months. You’re best bet is to prepare for everything, whatever the weather.
If you experience a rainstorm, there are a few steps you will want to take to keep your pool clean, balanced and filled with the optimal amount of water.
1. Check Your Chemicals
Rainwater in the United States is considered acid rain, which means it can adversely affect the pH, alkalinity, total dissolved solids, and calcium hardness levels in your pool water. Rainwater can also dilute your sanitizer. It is necessary to control any contaminants, so make sure to check the sanitizer levels. If you have a salt water pool, salt will also be diluted by rain. Runoff water from your yard or pool deck, debris, and even lightning can cause your pool water to become unbalanced.
2. Start the Cleanup
Start the cleanup process by cleaning out your skimmer and pump baskets. This will make the job easier for the next steps; turning on your pump and filter and skimming the surface of your pool water. Run your pump and filter while skimming to remove both large debris and smaller particles. Windy storms can often blow leaves, sticks and other brush into your pool that will need to be removed. Brush the walls, steps and ladders in your pool and vacuum to clean up whatever you may have missed with the skimmer and filter. If you have an automatic/robotic pool cleaner, you may want to use that unless there is significant debris. If there is, you may be better off with a manual pool vacuum.
3. Perform the Balancing Act
With a clean pool, you are ready to re-balance the chemicals in your pool water. We recommend that you test your pool water after any significant rainstorm. A light rainstorm should not greatly affect your pool chemical levels, but it never hurts to check to be certain they are in the proper range. Your chlorine and sanitizer levels should also be monitored to avoid contaminants that could lead to cloudiness or algae growth.
Stop by our Retail Store for a free professional water test and for all your pool chemical supplies!
4. Administer Shock
It may not be crucial to shock your pool after a rainstorm, but it can be beneficial to remove any left over contaminants. Drain your pool water to the correct levels and check your chemicals before administering a shock treatment. Shock your pool in the evening after a rainstorm, once you have performed the preceding steps.
Follow these steps and you’ll be back to swimming in your pool in no time!
Humaflock is July 3rd! If you are participating in this awesome annual event and need a float, stop by our store between June 28th – July 3rd and mention “Humaflock” to receive 20% off your favorite rideable float!
In the hottest summer months, your pool water may get so hot that it is no longer refreshing to swim in. If you find yourself in this predicament, there are several solutions you could try to cool your pool to the optimal temperature.
Install a water fountain, feature or
Movement in your water, whether that’s air or forced water, helps it stay cooler than if the water were to sit still. As the water moves, evaporation removes some of the heat. We recommend operating your water features at night when the air temperature is cooler for maximum impact.
Invest in a reversible heat pump or pool cooler.
According to heat pump manufacturer AquaCal, “Heat pumps use a refrigerant to maintain a specified swimming pool water temperature by running either heating or cooling cycles.” Run your heat pump in reverse and you can actually cool your pool water. Pumps can be costly to purchase and operate, but they are effective at cooling pool water.
Using a pool cooler is another option for lowering water temperatures. Hot pool water flows into the unit, passing by a cooling fan, then the cooled water will circulate back into the pool. These units are also costly and will need to be professionally installed, but they can cool your water temperature up to 15 degrees!
Can you put your water on ice?
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, it would take 8,750 lbs. of ice to lower the water temperature of a 20,000 gallon pool by 10 degrees. Adding ice to your pool can be a temporary solution, but it is not the most practical cooling method.
Drain and refill your pool water.
A partial drain and refill of your pool water might be another option depending on where your water is sourced. While this method works (especially if your water comes from cold well water) it is a bit wasteful and will cause you to have to re-balance the chemicals in your pool.
Run your pool filter at night.
While it will not make a drastic difference in temperature, we recommend running your pool filter at night when air temperatures are cooler. Helping the water to evaporate will make your pool a bit more refreshing in the morning.
Add shade to your pool area.
Although it will not be much help to you this season, plant some trees around the pool. This shade will keep your water cooler and out of direct sunlight, especially when planted on the west side. The downside is that you will be cleaning leaves out of the pool in the fall. Installing a moveable awning or pergola may have the same shading effect without the messy debris or permanence of trees.
Thinking about hosting a pool party? Make your party memorable with these helpful tips to get your pool and patio ready. Have something to add? Leave your suggestion in the comments!
1. Budget Accordingly
Planning your budget in advance will keep you on track with your party planning and avoid stress as your party date approaches. If you know your budget, you can decide how many guests you can reasonably accommodate. Don’t forget to factor in food, drinks, decorations, and other party items to go with your theme.
2. Prepare Your Pool
Clean Your Pool
A few days before the party, thoroughly vacuum your pool. It may seem obvious, but you will need to skim the pool to remove floating debris. Keep up with it as best you can prior to your event. Your guests will appreciate a clean, sparkling pool to swim, play and relax in. It is a pool party after all, so be sure your pool is the focal point.
Test Your Water Quality
Knowing how many people are attending is not only important for food planning purposes, it also plays a role in your water quality. Increasing the number of swimmers means making adjustments to keep your water balanced, clean, and ready to host more people than usual. We recommend adding shock to your pool 2-3 days before your party to get your water as clear and clean as possible. After shocking, make sure to re-balance your pool water with the proper chemicals and clean your pool filter. Repeat these steps after the party to again re-balance and clean your pool water.
Make Sure the Pool Area is Safe
Clean up around the pool if you have a lot of toys, floats and other pool accessories everywhere. You do not want your guests to even have the potential to get hurt on your watch. If your party goes into the night or you’re throwing an evening event, make sure the pool is lit and easy to see. No one wants to fall into the pool unexpectedly and this can be extremely dangerous if there are children or non-swimmers in attendance. Pool lighting can be fun and add to the ambiance and theme of your party. Turn on your pool light or add floating pool lights and/or outdoor lighting around the perimeter of your pool for safety.
Don’t Forget to Add the Fun!
Now that we have safety covered, you can focus on the best part of party planning, the FUN! Will you need some floats for a relaxing vibe? Would your guests enjoy playing some competitive pool games? Do you need some kid friendly pool toys and floats? The options are endless!
Stop by our RetailStore for everything you need to add some fun to your party! While you are there, get a complimentary water test and all of the chemicals and products you need to keep your pool safe.
3. Prepare Your Patio
Clean Your Patio
Again, this may seem obvious, but cleaning your patio is a very important first step. Even though the centerpiece of the party is the pool, your guests will spend a lot of time out of the pool as well. Eating, drinking, playing games, dancing and mingling with other guests will take place on or around your patio. Sweep or blow leaves, dirt and debris away from your patio area to tidy up. You will also want to clean any patio furniture you will have out for your guests. Bring out additional furniture and chairs to accommodate the number of guests you’re expecting.
If you have landscaping around your patio, take some time to trim back bushes, pull weeds, and remove debris around your flower beds.
Prepare Entertainment, Food & Drink
What’s a party without some music?! Whether you have built in outdoor speakers or you are using a portable bluetooth player, find a way to bring music outdoors to set the mood and theme of your pool party. Pool and yard games offer a fun way to encourage your guests to loosen up and enjoy each other’s company. Pool basketball, volleyball, and bag toss are all crowd-pleasers that your guests will love playing.
If you’re serving food and drinks, make sure you have enough to feed all of your guests. Make your menu even more fun by keeping it on-theme. Make sure you have the proper utensils and paper goods you will need. Think about where you are going to set up a food table and how you are going to keep the food fresh and drinks cold on a hot summer day.
Set the Scene
Sticking with your theme, pick out some fun decorations to liven up your entertainment space. Be creative and set the scene, but you don’t need to go overboard. Display your decorations around the patio and pool area to bring everything together. Lighting is important around your patio, just as it is around your pool. Lighting is not only practical so your guests can see where they are going at night, it also can create ambiance and double as decorations. Insect repelling candles are also helpful on a summer’s night.
Go the Extra Step
While most of your guests will come prepared for a pool party, be sure to have some extra pool towels around for someone who may have forgotten to bring one. It is thoughtful and wise to have sunscreen, bug spray and shady places for guests to sit readily available.
Now that you are prepared for your party, all that’s left for you to do is be a good host and spend time with your guests. Maybe you’ll even find some time to relax and enjoy your poolside retreat!