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Posts by Mark Battalini

Keeping your Pool Clean During a Chlorine Shortage

For those that haven’t yet heard, there’s a nationwide chlorine shortage and it’s going to impact the way pools are opened and maintained. The shortage is affecting private and public pools in every state. The chlorine crisis came about as the result of a fire in a Louisiana plant responsible for making chlorine for swimming pools.

The loss of that manufacturing left people in the U.S. with only two plants that produce the chemical. Another factor impacting chlorine was the pandemic. Thousands of people installed pools during the height of the pandemic and it increased demand for chlorine at the same time that production was reduced due to the fire.

The Louisiana plant doesn’t expect to resume operations until Spring 2022. Chlorine is in short supply and it’s going to be far more expensive than in the past. Professional pool maintenance companies and pool supply houses are employing multiple strategies in an effort to obtain the chlorine they need.

In many instances, individuals and pool maintenance professionals will need to use powdered chlorine rather than tablets. At some point, they may also need to transition from powdered chlorine to liquid chlorine. They may also have to resort to non-chlorinated products to shock pools.

While pool professionals will have the knowledge and experience to make the necessary conversions, if you’re among the many pool owners that manage their own pool, you may not be able to make those changes in a way that’s safe for swimmers.

Another alternative is converting an existing chlorine pool into a saltwater pool. While a saltwater pool still uses chlorine, it requires far less of the chemical than a traditional chlorine pool. The same is true of pools that employ ozone, UV and ionization systems.

Keep your pool cleaner by showering before swimming and don’t let pets in the pool. Don’t neglect regular maintenance. For the best advice on how to keep your pool clean during the chlorine crisis, definitely consult with a pool professional.

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poolside

Relax Poolside with These Must-Read Books

There’s no shortage of books to read while relaxing around the pool this summer. No matter what an individual’s reading preference, they’ll find a novel to satisfy their desire for mystery and romance to humor and the supernatural. Here are some of the best books for poolside.

Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield

Tilla journeys to Jamaica to visit her estranged father. She unearths powerful family secrets that addresses topics of color, class and more. Her own life is in turmoil and a hurricane is bearing down on the island.

Midlife Zombie Hunter by Shannon Mayer

Set for release on June 12, the entire series provides a heaping helping of humor as Breena, an overweight, 40-year-old with “the sight” hunts zombies in the latest edition. Armed with a bottle of pain reliever and a cadre of friends that includes a skeleton, spectral horse, and other creatures of myth and legend, the preternatural expert takes on the hard jobs to protect the human world from chaos.

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon

Vern is seven months pregnant and determined to escape the religious compound in which she’s been raised. She escapes to the surrounding forest where she gives birth to twins. Black, blind and alone, Vern is undergoing changes she can’t explain and must understand the past to make sense of the present. Gothic horror meets science fiction as she protects herself against government agents and those that want to return her to the compound.

Sunshine Girl by Julianna Margulies

Four years in the writing, the star of the Good Wife TV series speaks candidly about her untraditional childhood, the messy divorce of her parents, and her rise to fame. She also explores how nicknames impact a child in negative and positive ways, including her own – Sunshine Girl.

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

For fans of historical fiction, the novel is based on the life of Evangelina Cisneros and was a New York Times bestseller. Imprisoned in Cuba, her plight catches the attention of the rich and famous in the U.S. The book talks about the explosion of the USS Maine, reconcentration camps, and her role in the Cuban War of Independence.

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pool maintenance

How Often Should my Pool be Maintained

People with pools know the aquatic features must be maintained on a regular basis, but exactly what that schedule looks like can depend on multiple variables. Maintaining the pool is critical for ensuring cleanliness and hygiene. Professional pool companies recommend that pools be cleaned and chemical levels checked at least once per week.

There are a number of situations and circumstances that can have an impact on the water quality in your pool, such as water levels, rainwater, and the amount of sun the pool receives every day. In between regular maintenance visits by a pool professional, there are a number of actions you can take to aid in preventing outbreaks of algae, bacteria, and other contaminants.

If you enjoy a hands-on DIY approach, don’t wait until the weekend or your next day off if you notice a potential problem developing. Pool maintenance is essentially an everyday task. Resolve issues as soon as possible to prevent larger problems later on.

You should be running a pool vacuum at least once a week, performing regular cleaning of filters, and skimming the pool for debris. Brushing the pool walls is an essential part of cleaning. You can do it manually with a long-handled brush made for the task or employ a high-tech cleaner that has the ability to climb pool walls instead of simply staying on the bottom.

Testing of pH and chlorine levels are critical. It will tell you what chemicals you need to add and how much. Many people perform a routine weekly shock of their pool as a preventative. You may also want to utilize a weekly algae preventative and treat the pool periodically for cloudy water.

Pool maintenance should never be taken lightly or approached with a cavalier attitude. Pool maintenance is serious business and failure to perform the right actions will render the pool unusable and a danger to others. If in doubt, always call in the pool professionals for weekly maintenance.

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4 Poolside Entertainment Must Haves!

Few swimming pools are stand-alone hubs of entertainment like they were in the past. Pools provide a focus around which to gather, but the area surrounding the pool is no longer considered a separate entity – it’s an extension of the home environment itself and in many instances serves as an additional room. The following are just some of the popular entertainment options for poolside entertainment.

Outdoor Kitchens

Whether it’s a simple way to grill in the backyard or an elaborate outdoor kitchen, food always has a place at gatherings with family and friends. Individuals have a multitude of cooking options from which to choose that can be installed around the pool. There are low-cost grills and BBQs to high-end kitchens that incorporate features ranging from stoves and refrigerators to pizza ovens.

TV

Waterproof TVs enable anyone to establish an outdoor home theater around the pool. With the variety of digital services available, it’s easy to stream movies or host a binge-watch party. An added benefit is that with an outdoor TV, individuals can watch any number of games and sports programs from the comfort of the pool.

Game Center

Many companies have stepped up to meet the challenge of outdoor gaming options with amusements such as waterproof pool tables. With waterproof TVs and outdoor storage units, an afternoon of video games or even a weekend-long event isn’t beyond reach.

Music

The addition of music is perhaps one of the easiest ways to increase the entertainment value around the pool area. Systems can be added to an existing pool, though it’s less expensive to do so at the time the pool is installed.

For existing pools, the most popular, convenient, and cost-effective way to add music is waterproof sound systems that are controlled from mobile devices. Individuals can stream and create playlists the same as they would for indoor listening via decorative and strategically placed speakers.

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commercial pool

Leave Commercial Pool Maintenance to the Pros

Commercial pool and spa owners have very stringent operating rules and regulations. A commercial pool is one that’s used by the public for recreational or even medical purposes. It encompasses community-owned pools, those provided at condos and clubs, at fitness centers, and pools utilized for therapeutic purposes.

Cost is a major factor for pool managers and they’re often tempted to take on the duties of pool maintenance themselves or delegate them to on-site maintenance workers. However, every commercial endeavor should know their pool manager must be CPO or AFO certified.

Proper maintenance for commercial pools requires far more than simply having a good filtration system and a supply of chemicals. It’s time-consuming, entails a lot of work, and must adhere to very specific standards. It’s also a significant source of stress for commercial endeavors. Hiring a professional ensures that chemical levels are optimal, the pool is clean, and meets hygiene standards.

Improper maintenance and unacceptable chemical levels damage pools and make them unsafe for public use. Commercial pools require constant monitoring and maintenance. Companies and organizations can face serious lawsuits for compromising health and safety. Maintaining a commercial pool is extremely specific and remedies for any problems are time-sensitive.

A professional pool maintenance company is able to handle all the day-to-day testing and chemical applications. They can diagnose problems and make repairs when necessary. They also have the high-tech tools for physically cleaning the pool and conducting scans to identify leaks and other types of damage. Hiring a pool professional means there’s no need to store potentially dangerous chemicals on-site.

A pool professional understands that a commercial pool environment is a highly changeable ecosystem that can change significantly from day-to-day. They’re highly-trained, certified, and aware of all the health codes and standards to which commercial pools and spas must adhere to remain healthy and safe.

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pool owner

Preparing your Pool for Summer Fun

A pool is an excellent focus for summer fun, but it will require some preparation before jumping in. It’s essential that pools be prepared correctly to provide a safe environment for swimmers. While you may be familiar with the tasks that must be accomplished to ensure a safe opening, if you don’t have time or are new to pool ownership, it’s a process best left to the professionals.

Don’t Drain

Never drain the water from your pool in the expectation of changing out the water or cleaning it for the new season. You risk damaging the pool or having it lift out of the ground in areas with a high water table.

Cleaning

Ensure all of your filtration and water circulation systems are in working order. Clean out the skimmer baskets, remove any plugs from when the pool was closed, but don’t remove the pool cover yet. It will provide protection against early-season storms and pollen.

Water  Levels

Your pool has an optimal water level at which it operates. If water levels have dipped over the winter, add water to bring levels up where they should be.

Chemicals

You’ll need to add some chemicals to ensure the pH is balanced, calcium and chlorine levels are accurate, and to adjust alkalinity. Your pool may have developed an algae growth over the winter and it’s essential that the pool be shocked. It’s imperative that the filtration system be operated until the water is clear before anyone attempts to swim.

Hire a Professional

Preparing a pool for summer fun is a task that you may not want to tackle on your own and that’s understandable. Performing regular maintenance throughout the season can be difficult enough. The easiest and most effective solution is to hire a pool professional. The highly-trained experts are experienced in traditional chlorine pools and saline pools to prepare and maintain them while you reap the benefits.

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pool renovation

Are you in Need of a Pool Renovation?

No matter how carefully you maintain your pool, you will eventually need to have it renovated when problems begin to appear. You may also want a pool renovation to make it match your sense of style and aesthetics or to be more energy-efficient and cost-effective.

Damage

Over time, minuscule cracks, leaks or peeling can occur. If left unattended, they only worsen and can cause considerable damage to the ground and surrounding areas. Another good time to consider a renovation is when your pool begins to need frequent repairs. Either situation is a perfect opportunity to decide if it’s time to perform a complete overhaul and renovation.

Appearance

Pools that were installed or updated more than 10 years ago lack modern style. There’s a wealth of modern materials, colors and options available for updating the appearance. If you purchased your home with the pool already installed, you didn’t have any input about its design. A renovation will let you choose the color, modify the shape, or add a hot tub or spa. You can also incorporate a variety of features ranging from fountains and lights to a wireless sound system.

Energy Efficiency

The pools of the past were sadly lacking in energy efficiency and can contribute considerably to your costs each month. Pools older than 10 years are in serious need of an upgrade. It can require a significant amount of money upfront, but the renovations will pay for themselves over time. The pool will be more cost-effective to operate and function more efficiently.

Safety Features

When many older pools were installed, the safety regulations and requirements weren’t as stringent as they are now. A renovation will allow you to add lighting, install safety fencing, or extend the shallow end to make it more accommodating for youngsters. If you have pets, it’s an opportunity to create steps that can prevent a pet from drowning.

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green pool

How to Avoid a Green Pool

A green pool is unsightly, dangerous to swimmers, and can occur at any time for a variety of reasons. Even though individuals may be accustomed to caring for their pool’s needs, it’s always a good idea to obtain the services of a pool professional when the pool water turns green.

It’s important to understand that an algae bloom in the pool can result in infections of the eyes and ears, gastrointestinal problems, and skin rashes. Don’t ever swim in a pool with even a vague green tinge to the water.

The water in swimming pools turns green due to the growth of algae. The aquatic plant can grow extremely quickly when it has favorable conditions and can turn a pool green overnight. It can be the result of warm temperatures, a lack of proper circulation or filtration, chemical imbalances, and the presence of elevated levels of carbon dioxide, nitrates or phosphates.

Rain Storms

One way to avoid a green pool is to pay attention to the weather and cover the pool before it rains. The chemicals that are washed from the air during a rainstorm include nitrates, phosphates, and an extensive variety of organic materials. Rainwater also dilutes existing chlorine levels.

Debris and Filtration

Any debris should be removed promptly from the pool. Ensure that the filtration system is working correctly and the skimmer baskets aren’t clogged.

Cleaning

A robotic cleaner can provide considerable assistance in preventing a green pool. They’re an important tool, but typically won’t be able to reach corners. A pool professional has the specialized equipment required for a complete cleaning solution.

Water Levels

Pool chemicals are designed to work with optimal pool levels. Make sure pool water is at the correct level to enable chemical remedies to work as they should.

Chemicals

A variety of chemicals are required to keep pool water balanced and safe for swimmers. It’s essential that individuals check and monitor pH levels regularly. It’s an easy way to head off algae and green pool problems before they develop. If green water occurs despite the best efforts, call in a pool professional that can shock the pool, remove dead algae, and get the pool back to normal.

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Pool Lighting

Pool Lighting Options you will Love

Few pool owners think about lighting when they install their pool. It’s only afterward that they wish they’d had some form of illumination installed. Pool lighting does more than just add an extra level of fun for nighttime swimming and entertaining. It improves the pool’s visibility for an increased level of safety.

Pool lighting can be plain white, but most people prefer color-changing illumination. Lighting is available in a rainbow of colors and can be programmed to create light shows. The lighting can also be incorporated into fountains and other types of water features and modern technology enable them to be controlled with a phone app. The following are the most popular types of pool lighting.

LED

When it comes to LED lighting, pool owners can have their pools equipped with lights that are mounted directly into the pool walls. They’re mounted flush with the pool walls, don’t protrude into the pool area, and are quite durable. LED lights are brighter than traditional lighting options and they’re energy savers for cost-effective operation. They don’t require glass fixtures and that makes them safer.

Solar

For those that want solar lighting, plan on lights that float on top of the water and emanate light upward, outward or downward. They rely on built-in “batteries” for the sun to recharge. Some models require individuals to turn them on and off manually, while others can be controlled wirelessly. They’re typically round, but floral shapes are also available.

Fiber Optic

Fiber optic pool lights operate differently. The bulb is actually located in a dry box located on dry land near the pool. Light from the bulb travels through fiber optic cabling and into a specialized fitting in the pool wall, where it’s emitted into the water. One of the benefits is that the bulb is located above ground so it’s an easy matter to change it when needed, but the assembly also requires a fan to cool the bulb and the illumination level isn’t very bright compared to LEDs.

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pool owner

Top 10 Things Every new Pool Owner Should Know

Individuals should be aware that a pristine pool in the back yard isn’t the end of the pool process. Many new pool owners either don’t know what’s involved in maintaining a pool or assume that little is needed beyond cleaning the filter periodically.

The most important thing any pool owner can do is install the proper barriers and safety-related equipment to prevent children, the elderly and pets from drowning. The following are the Top 10 things every new pool owner should know – and be aware of before they have their new pool installed.

  1. A professional pool service is well worth the money. They’re highly-trained experts that are skilled in all facets of pool maintenance and can conduct repairs and perform replacements.
  2. Pool water must be tested weekly to identify imbalances to ensure it adheres to specific levels of cleanliness for safe swimming.
  3. There are a number of chemicals that pools require and individuals will need to learn what each type is for, how much to apply, and when to do so.
  4. Pools that receive frequent use or are utilized by large numbers of swimmers will affect pH balances and other chemical levels.
  5. Multiple factors can affect the chemical levels in a pool, ranging from UV light and bodily fluids to adding water and rainwater from storms.
  6. Despite the best of intentions, pool water can become cloudy or spawn algae growth that can require shocking the pool.
  7. Even salt water pools require a certain amount of chlorine and a salt water pool won’t be the same as swimming in ocean water.
  8. Never drain the pool, even if a hurricane is approaching. Modern pools are designed to drain away from homes. Be sure to turn off the power to all the pool-related equipment and secure the pool deck. The pool will take care of itself.
  9. Automated cleaning systems make owning a pool much easier. It’s still important to have a professional perform periodic cleanings and check for any peeling or hairline cracks.
  10. One dog is equal to 50 swimmers. Canines will place extra strain on the pool’s systems. It’s also an essential safety measure for pets that don’t know how to exit the pool and can drown.

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