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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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Commercial Pool Maintenance

Anyone that operates a commercial pool knows how stringent the rules are for cleanliness and hygiene. To obtain that superior level of sanitation, a variety of actions must be taken weekly and monthly to ensure the safety of all that will use the facility.

Commercial pool maintenance is a complex, complicated and highly-technical service. It requires scientific knowledge and experience that only a specially certified pool technician can provide to ensure all health, safety, and code requirements are being met.

Those operating a commercial pool at their facility are focused on the customer experience. A pool is an integral part of that, but owners have little time to devote to balancing chemicals or the equipment needed to conduct detailed inspections. That’s where the services of a commercial pool maintenance company will save time, money, and ensure guests won’t see a “pool closed” sign.

Chemical Balances

In addition to pH levels, calcium and chlorine, there are other types of chemicals and elements that must be maintained in a delicate balance to ensure the pool ecosystem is safe and hygienic. Proper chemical balances will be affected by the pool’s water source, the number of people using the pool, and even how sunny or cloudy the weather is. A pool professional can test the chemical levels upon each visit and adjust them accordingly.

Pool Cleaning

Cleaning a pool is far more complicated than simply running a robotic cleaner around the pool. Commercial pool maintenance includes specialized pool vacuuming and a thorough brushing that reaches every corner. Tiles and filters will also be cleaned. Pool filters are the first line of defense for a sanitary pool and that requires regular cleaning and emptying of baskets.

Inspections

A commercial pool technician will have the knowledge required to perform detailed pool equipment inspections and make repairs if needed. It’s an essential service that will minimize the potential for break-downs before they can occur. Inspections of the pool itself are critical to identify even the smallest of cracks, peeling or leaks.

Hire a Specialist

Maintaining a commercial pool to ensure it meets health, safety and code requirements requires specialized knowledge. A certified pool specialist will be able to detect potential problems, areas of concern, and will utilize state-of-the-art equipment, techniques and strategies to maintain pools at the highest level of cleanliness. Attributes that commercial pool owners should also seek in a pool company include resurfacing and remodeling services should those services become necessary.

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Common Pool Maintenance Mistakes

Everyone wants to save money, but a DIY approach to the swimming pool isn’t necessarily a good idea. It can actually cost you money in the long run, make the pool unusable, and cause damage. The following are some of the most common mistakes that people make when trying to service the pool themselves.

Automatic Pool Cleaner

A robotic cleaner may sound like a time saver to remove algae, but it only succeeds in pushing it around the pool. The mesh bags used by automatic cleaners quickly become clogged and instead of capturing algae it’s simply stirred up within the pool.

Brushing

Failure to give the pool a thorough and regular brushing results in scum build-up that’s unpleasant and unhygienic.

Calcium Content

Balancing the calcium hardness in the pool extends the life of everything from the vinyl liner to the filter. Too much calcium will make the water cloudy.

Filter

You want the pool to look clear and sparkling and to obtain that appearance the filter should be run a minimum of eight hours each day. Less than that and the water can become contaminated with all types of unwelcome elements.

pH Levels

The pH level in pools requires close monitoring to ensure the water is appropriate for swimming and to prevent damage to equipment. A pH level that’s too acidic will damage filters, pumps, heaters, vinyl liners, automatic pool cleaners and solar blankets.

Shocking the Pool

Pouring “pool shock” directly into the pool can set up a chain of events that will be expensive to repair. Pool shock is concentrated chlorine. When poured directly into the pool, t sinks to the bottom and bleaches the vinyl liner, which then becomes brittle. It’s only a matter of time before the liner fails and leaks occur.

Testing

There are a number of things that a pool should be tested for each week beyond the pH and alkaline levels. To ensure a safe and sanitary pool, you’ll need to test for calcium hardness, salt, copper, iron, and chlorine.

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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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Pool Lighting

Backyard Nightlife: Why LED Lights are Awesome

Lighting for the backyard is one of the most often overlooked features for safety and entertaining – and it can be one of the most frustrating. The lighting provides a warm and inviting atmosphere for sharing good times with family and friends, but can also attract unwanted insect pests. LED lighting technology provides a myriad of illumination advantages over traditional bulbs and an LED alternative exists for every type of existing fixture.

Saving Money

One of the biggest attractions of LED lights is that they’re much cheaper to operate than traditional bulbs. They’re 80 percent more efficient and don’t use as much electricity.

Versatility

LED lights are available in multiple colors, allowing homeowners to customize their backyard decorating and take control of their illumination solutions in any situation. They encompass the full light spectrum, enabling individuals to create distinctive looks for any themed event.

Longer Life

The average life span of LED lights is approximately seven years and the longevity can even extend up to 10 years or more, depending upon differences in usage. As a result, they require very minimal levels of maintenance. LED technology doesn’t use filaments and they’re not glass-based, making them more resistant to bumps, shocks, vibrations, and fluctuations in temperatures.

Safety

LEDs produce more light with fewer fixtures than traditional bulbs and provide greater visibility for family members and guests. They can significantly reduce the potential for trip and fall accidents. They emit a fraction of the heat of ordinary light bulbs and remain cool to the touch, meaning they can be used in areas where children and pets frequent.

Eco-Friendly

Aside from using less power to operate, LEDs minimize light pollution. They cast illumination specifically where they’re directed without “bleeding” out into adjoining areas. LED lights can be recycled and don’t contain toxic components such as mercury.

Fewer Insects

One of the great things about LED lights is that they don’t emit the type of UV light that insects find attractive so there will be fewer bugs fluttering around – and everyone wants that!

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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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Making your Life Easier with a Pool Maintenance Company

At some point, every pool owner will contemplate hiring a professional pool maintenance company. While you may only look at the financial outlay, there are many factors to consider. Hiring a pool maintenance company has a multitude of advantages.

No Chemicals to Keep on Hand

Pools require chemicals to keep its appearance sparkling, control the growth of algae, and maintain the proper pH balance. Maintaining those chemicals securely and inaccessible to children and pets will require a locked storage space. A professional pool maintenance company provides the required chemicals so there’s no need to keep them on the premises.

Time

Time is one of your most precious resources and few people want to spend that time caring for the pool. If you must endure long commutes or are frequently away from home, you simply don’t have the time to adequately care for the pool. A specialist will keep it in pristine condition and ready for you to enjoy the moment you walk in the door.

Maintenance and Inspections

Keeping a pool in optimal condition requires testing pH levels, knowing what chemicals to use, and when to apply them. It involves regular cleaning of filters, maintenance of heaters and plumbing, and inspections for damage. Pool owners can learn by trial and error, or hire a pool company that has specially trained experts that can perform all of those jobs quickly, efficiently, and correctly the first time with advanced technology.

Repairs and Resurfacing

If you want your pool to remain in top condition, hire a professional. They can address staining or provide an acid wash if applicable. The specialists will be able to detect existing problems as well as potential areas of concern. A full-service pool company will be able to make repairs or completely resurface the pool as needed.

Investment in Quality

With a professional pool maintenance company, you’ll be able to spend your time on more pleasurable pursuits with the knowledge that your pool is always ready and in top condition. Hiring a pool maintenance company is convenient, cost effective, and a smart way to protect your investment.

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Pool Renovation: Surfaces to Consider

Today’s swimming pool owners have a wealth of options available for a pool renovation. The appearance of the backyard pool is important from an aesthetic perspective, but it also affects cost, renovation time, and longevity. Individuals can select from dozens of colors, no matter what material they decide upon for their renovation.

Fiberglass

A smooth finish and resistance to ground shifting has made fiberglass a popular option for pools. It’s longer lasting than plaster or concrete, and resists staining from chemicals and algae. It can be applied over other finishes.

Diamond Brite™

Easy to maintain, it cures quickly and can be acid washed periodically to maintain its brilliance. It’s comfortable on swimmers’ feet, resists staining and fading, and is one of the most durable on the market. The finish is created with natural quartz and is resistant to damage from chemicals, the elements, and sunscreen. It’s also easy to clean and maintain.

Pebble

This is a good choice for those that want to create a natural look and is particularly inviting when surrounded by plants and other greenery. A pebble finish is resistant to chemicals and stains, doesn’t require grout, and is quite durable.

Plaster

For those that simply want to update the finish on their pool, plaster is the most economical but it also requires more maintenance and will require periodic re-plastering or painting. Exposure to pool chemicals, the elements, and even sunscreen can cause discoloration and lead to deterioration. A highly decorative glass bead aggregate is also available that gives water a shimmery appearance.

Quartz

Long lasting and durable, quartz feels smooth to the touch for swimmers and makes cleaning the pool easier. Quartz also enhances the play of illumination on the water, whether it’s mood lighting or sunlight.

Tile

While tile can take a considerable amount of time to install and is one of the more expensive materials, it has the benefit of lasting for many years. Individuals can choose from tiles of porcelain, ceramic, stone and even glass. They can be arranged in multiple designs and patterns for an artistic look. Glass is the most expensive, stone gives a textured feel, and ceramic and porcelain can be hand-painted.

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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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Can Germs be Spread in a Swimming Pool?

For many people, the sight of a pool with sparkling blue water is equated with a clean and hygienic environment. What many don’t realize is that pool water doesn’t have to be dark, murky or discolored to be filled with bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even parasites.

Chlorine is regularly added to pools to help control the growth of germs, but it also requires time to work. The effects aren’t immediate and some parasites are highly resistant to chlorine. If someone swims in a pool with a contagion, it can easily be spread to anyone else that uses the pool no matter how much care is taken to maintain waters in a hygienic manner.

The human body can be host to all sorts of germs, sometimes long before an individual even show symptoms. When it comes to swimming pools, the most common types are those that result in gastrointestinal distress and the typical transmission vector is fecal matter. The germs found in pools pose the greatest risk for children, the elderly, and people that are pregnant. It’s particularly dangerous for those with a compromised immune system.

Swimming is an activity that’s fun and healthy. There’s no reason that anyone should deprive themselves of the pleasure of a pool. However, germs are everywhere and there’s no way to avoid them or completely eradicate them from personal environments, but there are steps that can be taken to control them.

The potential for infection is just one of the reasons why the services of a pool professional are invaluable for mitigating the spread of germs via the pool. A professional is aware of the specific hazards associated with pools and is able to treat the water with the right chemicals at the correct time to maintain the cleanest and most hygienic environment.

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