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Creating a Pool Oasis

A swimming pool is a place for relaxing, washing away the cares of the day, and spending time with family and friends. The ambiance of the pool environment should reflect the feel of an oasis. There are multiple ways to accomplish that and the following are just some of the ways pool owners can enhance the overall pool experience for themselves and guests.

Greenery

Nothing says oasis like the lush beauty of plants around the pool. Foliage has the ability to change the entire look of the pool area and make it a place where guests want to linger. It can include potted plants and beds, along with a variety of palm tree species planted directly in the ground – but not so close that the roots will damage the pool or debris will find its way into the water. Plants also provide an added level of privacy.

Water Features

Excluding the sound of splashing in the pool, the sound of water has a calming and relaxing effect on the psyche. The installation of fountains and waterfalls are often overlooked when planning a pool environment. A mini island in the middle of the pool is also an option that adds a distinctive touch.

Lighting

Lighting has become an essential element for pools. The right illumination choices can dramatically change the way the pool is perceived. LED lights offer a myriad of options that are less expensive to operate than traditional bulbs and they’re eco-friendly. Lighting can be installed to give the impression of a hidden underground grotto, gently moving tides, or any other inviting effect.

Create a Fantasy

Each person has their own vision of how their personal pool oasis should appear. Some want a highly landscaped and manicured look, while others prefer a wilder, more natural appearance. There are no set rules about what an oasis should look like. Creating a fantasy pool oasis of their dreams will be a different vision for everyone.

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Drowning Prevention: Home Safety Tips

A backyard pool is one of the first things that people think of in connection with drowning prevention, but it’s far from the only danger. There’s a multitude of water-related hazards around the home that aren’t even on the radar of most people. The majority of threats affect children, but the elderly and disabled are also at increased risk. Even skilled swimmers can drown.

As little as .067 ounces of water per pound of body weight entering the lungs can result in death. It occurs when the liquid enters the voice box, causing it to spasm and close. It’s a situation that can occur several hours after an individual is originally affected. The following are some essential tips to minimize the potential for drowning.

Never Leave Children Unattended

Youngsters should always be within arm’s reach of an adult anytime they’re near water. Drowning is the primary preventable cause of death for children ages 1-4 from pools, ponds, lakes, and even small streams.

Know how to Swim

Teaching children to swim is one of the best ways to prevent drowning. That doesn’t mean that adults should relax their vigilance.

Eliminate Distractions

Everyone should put away their phones when they’re around water. It only takes a moment’s distraction for disaster to strike. The tip applies to adults watching children and for the safety of adults themselves. Alcohol is also a distraction that should be avoided.

Water Containers

All tubs, buckets and kiddie pools should be emptied as soon as they’re no longer being used. Children less than a year old can drown at home from water left in a bucket.

Install Fences

Every pool and hot tub should be encircled by a fence at least four feet in height to prevent an accident, along with a gate that locks automatically. It’s also helpful to install an alarm that will alert individuals should the gate be opened.

Toilets

Children can and do drown in toilets. They’re fascinated by the water and if they lean far enough, they can tip over into the toilet with no ability to right themselves. Toilet seat locks are available and it’s a good idea to keep bathroom doors closed.

Know CPR

CPR is a skill that everyone should know, along with how to respond to various types of emergencies. Always keep a fully stocked first aid kit on hand at home, along with a shepherd’s crook or life ring with a rope if there’s a pool. It’s always better to be “over-prepared” than risk a life.

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Hosting a Safe Pool Party for Kids

Every parent knows how quickly children of any age can get into mischief. Youngsters are curious and have no comprehension of the dangers a pool can present. For anyone planning on hosting a pool party for kids, there are a few basic tips that should be followed to ensure everyone has a happy time but remember that safety should always be the top priority.

No Unaccompanied Children

This should be clearly stated when you issue the invitations. Each child must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult. It may seem harsh, but make it clear that unaccompanied children will not be allowed to attend.

Have a Lifeguard

If there’s someone that can be trusted to act as a lifeguard, ask them to do so. If no one is available or willing to take on the responsibility, hire one from a reputable company.

Establish Health and Safety Rules

Set safety rules and make sure that each parent receives a copy of them when the invitation is issued. It will help reduce problems on the day of the event and be sure to post them on the premises where they’re easily seen. Some basics include no diving or running in the pool area, and no food or drinks are allowed in or near the pool. All children that aren’t potty trained must wear a swim diaper.

Stock up on Essential Supplies

It’s inevitable that children will arrive without floaties or sunscreen. Floaties are essential for any child that has limited swimming experience or skill. Sunscreen is equally important. Children are at increased risk of sunburn in the late morning and early afternoon, and the potential increases due to the sun’s rays being reflected from the water in the pool.

Take Regular Breaks

Even though children are surrounded by water, they can easily become dehydrated. Make sure everyone takes regular breaks and they have plenty to drink. Get everyone out of the pool periodically and offer them juice and tempting frozen treats.

Prepare for Potential Emergencies

Despite the best laid plans and precautions, the potential still exists for an emergency. Hosts should be trained in CPR, have a fully stocked first aid kit ready, and keep a phone close to hand. It’s also a good idea to check and make sure the event is covered by the homeowner’s policy.

Prepare the Pool

A pool party is no fun if there’s algae growth or the pH levels are off. To ensure that the water is perfect for swimming on the day of the big event, consult with a pool specialist. Explain what’s needed and when the celebration will take place. A pool professional can ensure that the water is sparkling clean, safe, and inviting for the party.

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Small Pools for Tight Spaces

If you’ve always dreamed of having a pool but don’t think you have the space, there’s good news. There are a wide variety of small pools that are making a big splash with homeowners across the nation.  You can choose from in-ground, above-ground, and pools that can be installed indoors and outside.

Properties are getting smaller and compact pools are the perfect solution for narrow or small lots. They provide all the pleasure of a pool for cooling off, relaxing and entertaining for those that don’t have the space to install a standard 20×40 pool. Small pools have expanded the range and options for homeowners. They’re being placed in front yards, garages, extra rooms, and even as the focal point of a central courtyard.

It’s important to understand that the small pools of today are typically not for swimming in the traditional sense. They’re hybrids that are shallower and combine the benefits of a pool with a spa and can be used for relaxing or a centerpiece for entertaining. Their small size means that homeowners can often have the luxury of a pool with other elements such as decks and patios.

As pools have evolved to accommodate small spaces, they’ve picked up a variety of names to differentiate between them and their larger cousins. Small pools are called everything from wading pools and cocktail pools to plunge pools or a shortened version known as a spool. The different designations are typically used to identify the usage.

Compact pools can be customized in a myriad of ways. Specialized shapes can be created that accommodate the specific needs of the property, such as oddly shaped and unused corners of the real estate. Small pools can be raised or sunken and the only limitation for a small pool is the imagination.

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Is a Saline Pool Better for your Body?

One of the biggest trends in the world of pools is the saline swimming pool. They’re an alternative to traditional pools that require large amounts of chlorine to maintain the health and hygiene of the water. A saline pool still contains chlorine, but in much smaller amounts.

Some research indicates that saline pools may be healthier, simply due to less exposure to the chemicals required to maintain a traditional chlorinated pool. A combination of chlorine and ammonia is often present around the surface of swimming pools. Since there’s far less chlorine in a saline pool, it can be better for those with allergies or asthma and less likely to cause lung inflammation.

Many integrative medical professionals recommend saline pools over chlorinated options for skin detoxification and lessening of skin inflammation as it provides an antimicrobial effect. In traditional Chinese medicinal practice, saline pools are said to lower stress and have a calming effect on the nervous and immune systems. Salt water also acts as a natural exfoliator on the skin, which can have a beneficial effect for people with skin conditions ranging from acne and psoriasis to eczema.

Lower chlorine levels than traditional pools means that saline pool water is gentler on the eyes and skin of swimmers. An added benefit is that saline pools typically won’t turn hair green or give it a bleached out appearance.

It’s important to understand that a saline pool isn’t the same as swimming in the ocean or soaking in the Dead Sea. A saline swimming pool will still need regular checks, adjustments and maintenance the same as a traditional pool. The chemicals and processes of a saline pool are different than that of a chlorine pool, making it essential that owners obtain the services of a professional to ensure the water is tested and maintained correctly.

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Why a Solar Pool Heater makes Sense

With Florida’s temperate climate, it may seem counterproductive to install a solar pool heater, but it’s actually a smart investment, particularly for those that use the pool infrequently or don’t utilize it as often as they’d like. It ensures that the pool water will be at the optimal temperature anytime people are ready for a swim.

Even with Florida’s mild winters, temperatures can dip low enough that pool water becomes too chilly for swimming. A solar pool heater utilizes the power of the sun that’s freely available. It’s an environmentally-friendly way to reduce the cost of gas and electricity that’s normally used to heat pools.

An added bonus is that a solar heater can work efficiently for up to 20 years, twice as long as traditional electricity-based systems. Depending on the heater model and size of the pool, a solar pool heater can pay for itself in 1.5-7 years.

The heaters enable anyone to swim year-round, even if the area experiences an unseasonal dip in temperatures. A properly installed solar heater that’s appropriate to the size of the pool can maintain water temperatures at an average of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit under normal weather conditions. Typical operating temperatures will also depend on the orientation of the solar panels, how often the pool is used, and by the number of swimmers.

Each solar pool heater system is specifically designed for the individual pool. It will require the services of professional that can calculate all the variables involved to deliver a heating system optimized to meet the desires and expectations of the pool owner.

A solar pool heater represents one of the most cost effective ways to warm pools. They have very little ongoing expenses in terms of operational costs and require little maintenance. Today’s solar heaters encompass manual and automatic controls and can even be operated with an app on mobile devices for complete convenience.

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pool cleaning

7 Reasons to Hire a Pool Maintenance Company

A swimming pool is a lot of fun. It can also require a significant amount of time on your part for maintenance. If you’re unfamiliar with the type of chemicals it needs, when to apply them and appropriate amount, you can end up damaging the pool and making it unusable. There are multiple reasons why homeowners should hire a professional pool maintenance company that include the following.

Saving Time

For those that travel frequently, have children, and other pressing obligations, finding the time to use the pool can be a problem, let alone cleaning and maintaining it. A professional pool maintenance company can perform all the tasks needed in a fraction of the time required by the average homeowner.

Expert Knowledge

A pool maintenance company has the specialized knowledge required to perform a variety of tests on the pool water and apply the correct chemicals at the optimal time to maintain pH levels, minimize the growth of algae, and keep water sparkling bright.

Regular Maintenance Schedule

A pool maintenance company will do more than simply clean the pool and apply chemicals. The company will place the pool on a regular schedule of maintenance to head off situations before they can become problems.

Comprehensive Inspections

Older pools can develop hairline cracks, chips, and other defects. A pool maintenance company will inspect the floor and walls of the pool during maintenance procedures.

Pool Repairs

If a defect or crack is found during an inspection, pool professionals are able to provide the complex and complicated repair services or complete resurfacing if needed. They’re also experienced in the repair and replacement of pool pumps, filters, heaters, and plumbing.

Customized Service

Services can be customized to the desires and individual needs of the homeowner. All pools aren’t the same, nor do they require the same services on the same schedule.

Peace of Mind

Nothing can compare with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the pool is always in optimal condition and ready to use.

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Pool Problems not to try to Fix Yourself

There are many tasks associated with pool ownership that you can easily fix or repair yourself. There are also some situations when you should definitely call a pool professional. Trying to fix some things will only lead to bigger and more expensive problems in the long run. Some of the situations you should leave to the professionals include the following.

Cracks

Temperature changes can affect the water in your pool and can make the soil around it expand and contract. It can result in cracks in the walls or bottom of the pool. In some situations a crack can be repaired, but you may also need to have the entire pool resurfaced. If you have water levels that aren’t what they should be, the culprit could be a crack. Pools should be resurfaced every 3-7 years.

Broken Heater

A defective or broken heater will leave you with a cold pool due to insufficient water flow. It can also interfere with the air flow required for the heater to function properly. If any of the controls aren’t functioning correctly, you’ll need the services of a pool professional.

Blocked Pipes

The pool’s plumbing is not something you want to attempt to fix on your own. Pipes can be clogged with leaves and debris and a broken pipe may present as dirty water or the filter make not be working properly. It requires an assessment by a professional.

Broken Lighting

If your pool has lights and they stop working, call a pool professional immediately. Electricity and water is a recipe for disaster that can even turn deadly. Don’t let anyone in the pool until it’s been fixed by a pool expert.

Grout Discoloration

You may notice the grout in your pool has been discolored and it’s more than just an aesthetic concern. Tiny particles of dirt, grim and debris can become lodged in grout. It can grow a variety of unsavory things in the pool and throw off your pH levels. You may need an acid cleaning that should only be performed by a pool professional.

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Decorating the Pool Area this Season

Decorating for the holidays is a fun and colorful tradition that can take many forms. Anything that can be adorned with bright lights will be and Florida swimming pools are no exception. It’s not surprising that pools would get a taste of the holiday spirit. The climate enables people to celebrate and entertain outside around the pool, even if they’re not swimming.

Trimming the Trees and Bushes

One of the easiest ways to create a Christmas-themed wonderland is by trimming the trees and dressing up the greenery around the pool area. Large inflatable ornaments can be purchased to hang from larger trees. They can also be inflated and decoratively tossed in the pool. LED light nets are available that can be artfully draped over bushes.

Lighting the Way

Lights are an important part of the season and homeowners can choose from light strands with bulbs in multiple shapes that can be strung throughout the pool area. Rope lights are also an option, though the glow is muted compared to traditional lights. Icicle lights take their name from their shape and are always popular. Setting lights to twinkle mode will allow them to reflect off the water for additional effect.

Outdoor Inflatables

Whether it’s Santa on a sleigh, a snowman or a snow globe, there are dozens of inflatable Christmas-themed “statues” with which to decorate. The bigger-than-life inflatables also come in popular movie characters with a holiday touch.

Floating candles

For simple, elegant and eye-catching decorating, consider candles floating in the pool. Just don’t use candles and inflatables in the pool at the same time!

Imagine It

Most holiday themed decorations in December are centered around Christmas, but don’t forget the possibilities for New Year’s Eve entertaining. Streamers, inflatables, balloons and other brightly colored decorations are available for New Year’s. The beauty of the season is that New Year décor can be combined with Christmas around the pool to encompass the full spirit of the season.

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The Perfect Temp all Year Long

A heater is the ideal solution for a swimming pool if it’s going to be used year-round. They keep the water at an even temperature, allowing people to swim, stay fit, and entertain whenever the mood strikes. There are different types of swimming pool heaters and individuals will have to make a decision on which is best for their particular situation.

Solar Pool Heaters

Powered by the sun, solar pool heaters can be real energy savers and pay for themselves in 1.5 to 7 years, depending upon prevailing electricity costs. They can be extremely cost-effective. A solar pool heating system involves the installation of solar panels, typically on the roof of your house.

They’ll require a specially designed system to accommodate the size of the pool, the temperature owners want to maintain, and the orientation of the solar collectors. There may also be specific codes and regulations governing their usage. Solar heaters typically last longer than heat pumps and gas heaters and can also be used to cool the pool.

Gas Pool Heaters

A gas pool heater operates on natural gas or propane and has the benefit of heating pools faster than solar options or a heat pump when water is initially heated. They provide on-demand heating and remain the most popular method. A knowledgeable professional will be required to determine the appropriate size of the system.

An expert will factor in humidity levels, night temperatures, wind exposure, and the volume of water to be warmed, along with the desired water temperature. Scaling in the heat exchanger or burner can reduce efficiency over time.

Heat Pumps

They’re energy-efficient and utilize heat from the surrounding air to warm the water. They’re particularly effective in warmer climates, but not when the air temperature is 50 degrees or less. A professional is required to determine the size pump that will fit the volume of water to be heated and for the desired temperatures.

Temperatures can fluctuate due to multiple factors ranging from the time of day, the number of swimmers, seasonal variations in ground water temperatures, and the amount of water that may have been replaced in the pool due to splashing and evaporation. They can also be combined with solar elements.

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