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Posts by Mark Battalini

New Pool Construction

Pool Construction Start to Finish

Anyone that’s having a pool installed is understandably excited and anxious to use it for the first time. Individuals need to understand that a great part of the construction will depend on the time of year and prevailing weather conditions. Weather is the primary factor for delays.

Pool construction takes, on average, 60 to 90 days providing the weather is perfect. Bear in mind that the vast majority of pool installation requests are during the summer months and installers always have a backlog of projects. Don’t wait until the last minute.

Planning

No pool is installed without a plan and that requires the installer to physically see the area where a client wants their pool. The area may require a retaining wall or a significant amount of existing plant removal before excavation can begin.

Type of Pool

Much will depend on the type of pool to be installed. Vinyl pools can typically be installed in as little as two weeks, while a concrete pool can require 3 to 4 months. Fiberglass will usually take 14 to 30 days. If there will be water features such as fountains, falls, slides, outdoor kitchens and other items, it will increase the build time.

Permits

The installation of any kind of pool requires permits and those can take time to obtain. It can require a single permit, a series of several to accommodate different type of approvals, or a meeting with local government officials. Construction can’t begin until those permits are issued and that will depend largely on how quickly the local municipalities and entities move on them.

Breaking Ground

Florida pool contractors are in high demand and typically have several jobs waiting for them. The wait before the installer breaks ground can be anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks.

Patios

The installation of the actual pool is a relatively quick process. It’s typically the patio area that takes the longest time to finish. A hole bigger than the pool must be dug to accommodate the construction process, then backfilled when the pool is in. The soil will also need to settle before the patio is created and the pool filled. Installation of pavers can take a couple of days, while stone can take 2 weeks, depending on the size of the patio.

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swimming

At What Age Can Swimming be Taught?

Learning to swim is an essential skill that every child should know. At the very least, they need to know basic water survival skills. However, not all youngsters learn at the same pace or are ready for lessons at the same age of their peers. Parents need to be aware of those variables before trying to force their child into swimming lessons.

Infant Classes

Despite what many people claim, there’s currently no data that indicates children one year and younger have the ability to learn to swim, nor does it reduce the risk of drowning. Babies don’t have the ability to raise their head out of the water well enough to breathe. Many infants demonstrate rudimentary reflex actions similar to swimming, but it’s not actual swimming. Water play classes can be a good way to introduce babies to water, help them feel comfortable in the water, and it can be fun for parents and babies.

Ages 1 to 4

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children ages 1-4 begin learning water survival training skills that include floating, treading water, and how to find an exit point. It’s the first step toward learning how to actually swim and the classes are designed to help reduce the risk of drowning. Choose classes in which parents and children both participate.

Ages 4 and Up

Most children will be ready for actual swim lessons at the age of four. They have the physical ability and can follow instructions. Youngsters can learn survival skills if they haven’t already and by the age of 5 or 6, most children can learn the front crawl.

Caution

It’s critical that parents understand that swimming classes don’t make a child drown-proof. Every precaution should be taken to prevent children from gaining access to ponds, kiddie pools and other bodies of water, even if they’ve taken a swim class.

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pool expenses

Overlooked Pool Expenses

There are a number of items that can affect the cost of an existing pool or the installation of a new one. Much will depend on the lay of the land and whether it’s a new installation or adding features to an existing pool. Either way, there will be additional costs that most people don’t consider.

Concrete

Pool owners will typically have 3 to 4 feet of patio space around their pool. While that may be enough for some, many people want more footage to place outdoor furniture or aid in keeping grass and debris from finding its way into the pool. Extra concrete increases the cost.

Dirt Hauling

There’s a lot of dirt that will have to come out of the ground to install a pool and it has to go somewhere. Few individuals are fortunate enough to have enough space in their yard to distribute it and doing so may change the lay of the land, which can lead to drainage problems. The pool installer will have to remove the dirt to another location and it won’t be cheap to move that much soil.

Electric

The pool will need access to electrical power to operate. The cost will vary widely and depend on the features installed now or in the future. It includes a pump, salt chlorine generator, heat pump, lighting, hot tub, or an automatic pool cover. Some installers include the cost in their estimate, but some provide a bare bones estimate.

Fencing

Florida law dictates that pools must have a fence or other secure barrier around pools that adhere to very specific requirements to aid in the prevention of drowning. The fencing must also have a self-locking gate.

Landscaping

Heavy equipment will be used to dig up the ground where the pool will be. Areas outside the excavation site may be damaged. That includes depressions in the ground where the equipment sets or the need to reseed some areas. However, access to the property may include heavy equipment running over a driveway and the weight could damage it.

Retaining Wall

A retaining wall isn’t something that everyone will need, but enough people do that it’s worth mentioning. A yard that has a valley, slope or a drop off near the pool will need a retaining wall to keep dirt, debris and water runoff from entering the pool. A wall may be needed if the pool interrupts normal rainwater runoff, if the soil is sandy or loose, or if a slide or fountain is added.

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pool maintenance

Hire a Pro for Pool Maintenance

It’s possible for individuals to maintain their pool themselves, but there can be a steep learning curve when it comes to chemicals, cleaning and testing. All it takes in one mistake and a pool can quickly become unfit for use and be extremely expensive to rectify.

Regular Inspections

A pool professional does far more than simply add chemicals. They inspect all the pool-related equipment to ensure it’s working correctly and identify any potential issues before they become costly problems. They also have the knowledge and experience to make repairs when needed. A pool professional has the high-tech equipment to inspect every inch of the pool for cracks, leaks, and other below-the-surface issues.

Time Savings

Caring and maintaining for a pool requires a considerable amount of time, especially for those that have little or no experience in doing so. It’s a definite benefit for those that have little time or travel frequently. Pool professionals are quick and efficient.

Chemical Balances

Chemicals can create more problems than they solve if applied incorrectly. Pool professionals know how to test, the chemicals to use to rectify any problems, and the quantity of chemicals to add.

Save Money

A pool professional can actually save money. One small mistake in a DIY pool maintenance plan can be extremely expensive to fix. The water can become unsanitary or it could lead to an algae bloom. Either condition can be costly and render the pool unusable.

Less Stress

Maintaining a pool can be very stressful, particularly for new pool owners. The services of a pool professional relieves the anxiety of caring for the pool and provides peace of mind knowing that it’s always ready to use.

Value

A pool that’s been well-maintained adds value to any property. That’s a particularly attractive and appealing element for potential buyers if a home or business goes on the market.

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pool maintenance

The Role of Your Pool Skimmer

Simply put, your pool skimmer is designed to remove contaminants from pool water before they sink to the bottom. That includes leaves, hair, sunscreen, perspiration, along with other bodily fluids and contaminants such as rain runoff and bird droppings that pose a health concern to swimmers.

Both in-ground and above-ground pools have skimmers and they serve the same purpose. In-ground pools have skimmers built into the sides of the pool. Above-ground pools will have a free-floating skimmer that roams the surface of the water and performs the same function.

The skimmer is the beginning point for your pool circulation system. Skimmers draw approximately 1/8 of an inch of water from the surface. While a pool can function without a skimmer, its value is significant. Skimmers prevent a wide variety of debris from being sucked into the pool’s water pipes that can result in clogs.

The removal of debris by a skimmer aids in preventing the water in your pool from becoming cloudy or experiencing a major algae outbreak. Maintaining your skimmer in good condition helps reduce wear and tear on your pool pump that can extend its life and delay expensive replacement costs.

Frequent pool usage and the number of swimmers involved increase the number of contaminants entering the water. Those impurities encompass a multitude of products that are routinely used every day. They include shampoo, makeup, soap, body lotions and deodorant, along with dead skin cells. That’s why it’s a good idea to have swimmers shower before they use the pool, or rinse down at the very least.

Your skimmer removes surface debris, but don’t forget to regularly vacuum your pool to remove contaminants that adhere to the bottom and sides. However, be aware that automated pool cleaners aren’t able to adequately reach the corners of pools so you’ll have to clean them manually or hire a pool professional.

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The Pros and Cons of a Pool Cover

An increasing number of individuals are opting to include a pool cover for their aquatic oasis. There are four types to choose from, solid, mesh, solar and winter. Any of the four can be beneficial, depending upon the intended purpose.

There are covers that must be applied manually and those that are automated. Some types of pool covers can even be walked on and provide an added level of safety for households with children and pets. It’s important to note that pool covers aren’t without their own maintenance requirements and pool owners will need to decide if a pool cover is right for them.

Pros

Swimming pools lose a significant amount of water through simple evaporation when they’re not in use. That means owners will need to replenish the water supply and that infusion can upset the chemical balance of the pool. A pool cover reduces water lost through evaporation when the pool isn’t in use.

A solar pool cover is the most common and popular type of cover. It works by absorbing the heat from sunlight and transferring the warmth to the pool water. They’re effective for saving money on heating costs and can be used in conjunction with a pool heater. A solar pool cover can increase the warmth of the water by up to 8 degrees.

Pool covers prevent leaves and debris from falling directly into the pool, which lessens the burden on filters and skimmers. They’re also helpful for preventing damage that can occur to pumps if the water level falls below the height of skimmers.

Cons

Pool covers require care and maintenance to keep them looking good and to ensure they’re performing their intended task. Unless owners have installed a solid pool cover, individuals will need to physically remove leaves and debris that accumulate on the cover. Rainwater will also need to be pumped off to prevent the cover from incurring damage from debris and to keep it from sagging.

Depending on the type of cover used, if left on over long periods of time, the cover can contribute to the build-up of algae, precipitating the need for additional chemicals. Other types of covers have the reverse effect. They prevent UV rays from entering that feeds algae growth, thereby reducing the need for vacuuming and chemicals.

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Keeping Algae at Bay Between Maintenance

Summer heat and humidity levels mean swimming pools are used more often and there may be an increased number of people jumping in. Sunlight and the number of people in the pool will have an effect on maintenance requirements. Of particular concern is algae growth, but there are measures that individuals can take to keep algae at bay between regular maintenance.

Pool Covers

Algae spores are continually being brought into the pool environment via multiple methods. The spores enter through wind and rain, dirt and dust, and even on the bodies of swimmers and their swimsuits. Nothing can completely prevent algae spores from entering the water, but using a pool cover will certainly aid in minimizing contamination.

Filter Usage

Stagnant, unmoving water is a prime breeding ground for algae growth. Increasing the use of filters will help move the water and filter out more debris. An increase in electric costs for additional filtering is worth the cost of trying to treat and eradicate an algae bloom in the pool. Increasing pool usage will also stir up pool water and bring contaminants closer to the surface where they can be removed by the filters.

Chemical Levels

Owners can help mitigate the potential for an algae bloom in their pool by closely monitoring chemical levels. Some people find it helpful to shock the pool at least once a week, particularly during the hottest part of the summer. However, doing so will necessitate knowledge of the use of other chemicals in conjunction with the shock treatment.

Frequent Cleaning

Keeping the pool clean is a vital step in minimizing algae. Establish a weekly brushing and vacuuming routine. It prevents spores from hiding in crevasses and stirs up the water for better filtering. Professional pool service is worth the expense to keep pools clean, prevent algae, and maintain the proper chemical levels.

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Ways to Cool Down Your Pool

A swimming pool is an effective way to cool off during the hot days of summer, but some people are actually looking for ways to cool down their pool. Before you begin throwing blocks of ice into the pool, keep in mind that doing so isn’t effective and there are a number of better alternatives.

An increasing number of people are attributing pool temperatures of up to 90 degrees to the effects of global warming. Whether it’s climate change or a lack of sufficient shade near the pool, there are some practical ways to lower the temperature of your pool.

Shade

Trees planted around the pool provide welcome shade and will aid in reducing the amount of sun reaching the water, thereby lowering the temperature of pool water.

Misting

Many restaurants mist their patios in the summer to create a cooler dining environment for patrons. You can accomplish the same effect by misting down the pool area. It won’t reduce the temperature of the pool water, but it will make the entire pool area more comfortable.

Fountains and Falls

Adding a fountain or waterfall to your pool provides an excellent focal point and is an excellent way to cool a pool. The constant movement of the water cools it through evaporation. You don’t need to perform expensive renovations to enjoy the effects of a fountain.

There are a number of fountains that attach to the pool return. However, it may also result in the need to add water to the pool more often. You’ll also need to monitor and adjust chemical levels accordingly.

Evaporative Coolers

You can lower your pool temperature from 5 to 10 degrees depending upon the size of the pool and the cooler unit. They can be installed as part of the plumbing system of the pool. They’re essentially fans and can be highly effective.

Reversible Heat Pump

They’re highly effective, but they’re also expensive. The pumps can be well worth the cost if you find that your pool experiences consistently warm and uncomfortable swimming temperatures.

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Why Swimming is Good for Arthritis

If there’s any doubt that swimming is beneficial for those with arthritis, all anyone has to do is look at all the classes being held specifically for those with joint conditions. They’re scheduled at disparate locations ranging from health clubs and schools to public pools and physical therapy practices. Swimming is one of the most beneficial types of exercise for those with arthritis and a wide variety of joint-related conditions.

For a truly therapeutic session, make sure the pool will be heated. Swimming utilizes every muscle in the body, stimulates circulation, improves vascular health, and helps build strength. It eases pain, stiffness, and improves flexibility. However, the real advantage of swimming for people with arthritis is the water itself.

An individual in the water isn’t supporting the entirety of their own weight or experiencing the full effect of gravity due to the buoyancy that water provides. That makes it easier to move and reduces the stress on bones and joints. It’s not weightlessness but offers a small taste of what astronauts experience. A person weighing 100 pounds on land will feel like they weigh about 69 pounds in the water.

Water provides buoyancy and relieves the forces of gravity on the body. Less effort has to be expended to move, which places less stress on the body. The amount of water that a body displaces is equal to the upward amount of buoyancy. The buoyancy factor of water helps support and hold a person up.

There’s a misconception that swimming for arthritis relief is primarily for seniors. Swimming is equally advantageous for people of all ages. Anyone experiencing soreness, pain, or difficult movement can benefit. Swimming is also an excellent exercise for anyone experiencing lingering effects from accidents. It’s always best to ensure that the sessions will be monitored or a lifeguard is on duty for complete safety.

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floating

Floating Your Stress Away

Many people still remember the isolation tanks, also known as sensory deprivation tanks, of the 1970s in which people floated in a layer of liquid to relieve stress. The good news is that you don’t have to deprive yourself of music or birdsong to relieve stress. Just take a relaxing float around your swimming pool.

Floating activates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. The body’s heart rate slows down, blood pressure lowers, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol is decreased, which places you in a relaxation mode. It requires little to no effort on your part. Sessions should be limited to an hour and are typically performed twice a week.

Multiple studies have demonstrated that flotation therapy is effective for relieving stress and as a complimentary treatment for anxiety disorders and depression. It’s also been shown to be beneficial for relieving headaches, increasing circulation and addressing muscle tension, along with improved sleep and creativeness. While most floating research has been performed in salt water pods, a chlorine-based pool is also beneficial.

Floating relieves tension and stress on muscles. The water buoys the body and reduces the effects of gravity. Home salt pools are trending across the nation, with many individuals installing a small pool in their backyard for that purpose. Floating also works as a detoxification process. That’s why it’s important to shower and drink plenty of water afterward. The effects have been reported to be similar to a massage.

You can wear earplugs to limit or eliminate outside sounds. However, some people like to listen to soothing music while they float at home. Conversely, a floating session scheduled at a spa or other facility will involve no outside stimulus and may be performed in the dark. It’s not a good option for everyone, as some people experience more stress under those conditions.

Floating relieves stress and activates the body’s natural healing abilities. Being able to float at home in your own pool provides a comfortable and familiar environment that’s reassuring and enhance the benefits.

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