Sep 07

The Nylex formulation will not be lost!

One of Australia’s most iconic brand names, Nylex, has recently gone into receivership and parts of the business have been sold off or liquidated.

The “Films & Fabrics” division which manufactured Pool Liner material and many industrial and domestic fabrics was liquidated, and has now stopped manufacturing.

One of the saddest aspects of this is that PVC (vinyl) film will no longer be manufactured in Australia, as Nylex were the last (Australian) volume manufacturer of this product. Nylex had so much experience in all their years of manufacturing PVC film, that I believe their knowledge and formulation of PVC for the harsh Australian climate made their product the best performer by far.

What does this mean to the Pool, Tank and Geomembrane industry going forward? Well, there was a chance that these tried and tested material formulations (or recipes if you like) would be lost forever, but thanks to the efforts of a few local companies, some of these proven products will continue to be available.

The Aqualux and Aquaforce pool liner products have now been taken over by a company called Swimlinings P/L, and will continue to be produced exactly as per the Nylex formulation. So even though the Nylex brand is no longer involved, the actual product that we know and trust will continue to be available, and will remain true to its original ‘recipe’.

Jun 22

Is your pool ready to swim?

Spring is here and, as the warmer weather coaxes us into the outdoors more, it’s time to get your pool ready to swim.

Is your pool too cold? Green and neglected? Full of leaves and debris? Or, all of the above? The solution is easy…

A cold pool is easily transformed into an oasis with a solar pool blanket. They raise your pool water temperature by up to 8 degrees C and can extend your swimming season by up to 3 months a year, so you can start swimming sooner.

A green pool usually means algae has started to grow in the water, due to lack of maintenance. Super chlorination is the quick fix, backed up with regular testing and adjusting to get the chemical balance just right for swimming again. Remember to remove your pool cover when super chlorinating!

If a pool full of leaves is getting you down, simply cover up with a fitted pool cover. There are many different styles available for both inground and above ground pools, salt water and chlorinated, specifically for keeping your pool leaf-free. They are cost effective and can pay for themselves in the first year, due to how much money you’ll save on chemicals and water. Plus, you’ll have more free time to swim in your crystal clear pool.

 

Jun 22

How long should a pool liner last?

Have you noticed in recent years the trend here in Australia and New Zealand toward an increased life span of (locally made) inground and above ground pool liners?

Does it make you also wonder, “How long should they last”?

In the past few years, large numbers of medium and large sized above ground liners have been imported from China and sold into our local market. And, it shouldn’t be too long now till we see how well they really perform in our harsh climate! As an educated guess, it’s likely they won’t last anywhere near as long as the Australian made liners.

I’m sure consumers are happy with many, many years of use from a locally made liner, but does this limit the opportunity for pool owners to update their pool look because the liner lasts so long? If my car exterior and interior looked as good after 10 years as it did the day I purchased it, I would be less likely to update it every 4 years. But as I drive it each day, the carpet looks a bit worn and the door trims have those scuff marks from the bottom of my shoes. You get the little dents and scratches on the doors from parking at the shopping centre and so you decide its time to upgrade.

This poses the question, “Would a pool owner be happier with a “new look” to their pool more often”?

Would they like to update the look of their pool to match current trends, as often as they change their furniture or paint their house? Or are pool owners deterred from updating their pool because there is plenty of life left in their pool liner and so they opt out because the current one is still doing the job?

My view is that you should expect a pool liner to last around 8-10 years for an Above Ground pool and 12-15 years for an Inground Pool Liner – but I know from experience that many last much longer. What do you think? How long should an Above Ground Liner last? How long should an Inground Pool Liner last?

Message me your thoughts…

May 12

True or False? Uncovering the myths about pool covers…

1. “You don’t need a pool cover with a heated pool.”
A. False. Yes, you do. More than one third of the heat you put into your pool can be wasted if you don’t cover it up. We as a society can’t afford to waste that much energy these days, particularly if your pool is heated using fossil fuels like electricity or gas.

2. “Pool covers don’t work that well anyway” 
A. False. Yes, they do. It is a scientific fact that a waterproof cover stops evaporation and reduces chemical usage.

3. Just use “floating rings” or this “new miracle chemical” that you cannot see, but somehow magically eliminates evaporation from your pool.
A. False, false, false. The simple fact is, if the cover is fully waterproof, it will stop nearly 100% of water evaporating out of your pool. Floating rings and invisible chemicals just don’t do the same job. Don’t be fooled by bogus claims. If it seems too good to be true, it very often is.

4. Do I really need a pool cover in the winter time?
A. True if you want to save water and pool chemicals. With a cover you can reduce the pool filter running cycle to save electricity too. Otherwise you will still spend the same on electricity running the filter and cleaning time keeping leaves and debris out of the pool.

5. Pool covers look ugly, don’t they?
A. False. Not at all, a properly fitting and maintained pool cover will complement any pool surround.

6. Pool Covers really save a lot of chemicals?
A. True. By keeping the Sun off the pool water and reducing the light entering the pool or sealing the top of the pool, they substantially reduce the chemicals needed. A pool covered with a floating cover will use around 2/3 less chlorine.

7. I have read that some Pool Covers save over 99% evaporation?
A. True. A Pool Cover made from a fully waterproof fabric (like a floating bubble cover) will stop almost 100% of vapour transferring through the fabric.

 

May 01

Fact #5b: Week 2 of “How often we fail, in our cover-up plan”

When planning a new pool or refurbishing an existing pool and surround, the question to start with is not “Do I need a pool cover?” but rather, “What type of pool cover do I need?”

Pool covers are an environmentally responsible part of owning a pool these days, but they are generally purchased after the pool and landscaping has been completed.

Keep your options open, by being smart and planning your pool cover in the beginning, when planning the rest of your pool entertainment area.

Start by asking yourself these questions…

• Will the pool be heated?
• Are there overhanging trees which will drop leaves into the pool?
• Is the pool exposed to high winds?
• Is it more important to reduce leaves, retain heat or reduce evaporation and therefore water loss?

Use the answers to these questions as the basis for choosing the right pool cover for you, so you can plan for it when designing your new pool area.

If you are planning on a fully automated cover, these cost many thousands of dollars and need to be built into the pool structure for best results. While these are expensive, they can make covering the pool as easy as pushing a button. However, if you have lots and lots of leaves, some styles do not keep all the leaves out of the pool, so choose carefully.

If your pool will not be heated and you have existing trees that shed their leaves, then a tie-down leaf cover is probably best for you. But if the pool is heated or you are looking to extend your swimming season with free heat from the sun, a floating pool blanket is your cover of choice.

Now that you’ve decided on the type of pool cover which best suits you, now think about the storage of it. Most floating covers will be stored on a Reel or Roller. These are popular as they are portable and reasonably lightweight. They are as wide as the pool by about half a metre deep. In your planning stage, ensure your landscaping allows enough room for the Reel. It is usually stored at one end of the pool, away from the gate or pool access.

If you have a lot of leaves raining down on your pool, you will likely choose a tie-down, leaf cover. These overhang the coping and keep out all the leaves and twigs, seed and blossom. Leaf covers have fixing points about 1 metre apart, most often fixed into the coping or pool surround. Plan your paving to accommodate these fittings. You need to allow enough space between the waters edge and any change in level, for the cover overlap and the tie-down fittings. A minimum of 300mm is ideal…

A leaf cover is usually rolled up like a tent and often comes with a storage bag. These are usually custom-made to shape for inground pools or readily available in standard sizes for above ground pools.

A properly fitting pool cover makes pool maintenance a breeze. It will give you peace of mind when you’re away for extended periods and have a leaf problem, plus you will help the environment by saving lots of water and pool chemicals. Be smart, and cover up…
Apr 08

Fact #5a: How often we fail, in our cover-up plan

When building a new pool or renovating an old one, there are two key accessories you need to consider during the planning stage.

They are often overlooked… What are they? Your pool cover and shade sail.

Pool covers and shade sails function best when they’ve been incorporated into your plans for the pool surround, from the beginning.

Planning for these upfront, allows you more choice for the type of cover which suits your lifestyle, as opposed to what fits your pool surround.

What I mean is, pool owners often limit their choices because they fail to plan for the necessary space to install the type of pool cover and shade sail which best suits their needs.

Let’s start with shade. In your planning, consider these common questions…

Q. How do I know where to put the shade sail over my pool?
A. As the sun (and therefore shade) moves throughout the day, start by deciding on the time of day and time of year you want shade over your pool. Then, at the time you’ve identified, use a broom handle or pool telescopic pole to create a shadow where you want it to shade. This helps you to identify where the perimeter of the shade sail needs to be located, to provide the shade where and when you need it. Often you’ll be surprised by the position of a shade sail to achieve your desired shaded area. Another good option is to talk to your Shade Sail supplier, who can advise the best shade sail position to achieve your shade needs too.

Q. I have young children who just wade on the pool steps, do I really need to shade my pool?
A. Yes, with young children you will want to shade the shallow area of the pool as well as the steps. These are the areas of the pool most young children play, so to protect them from the harsh Sun, make sure these
areas of the pool are shaded at the times they are most likely to swim.

Q. I need somewhere shaded to sit and supervise the kids, can I do this too?
A. Yes, you can shade parts of the pool itself and your pool surround. When you supervise your children while they are swimming, you may have a favourite lounge or chair position and this should be included in the shade footprint as well. Choose an area where you can sit and relax poolside.

Q. My pool will be heated, how will a shade sail affect this?
A. Shade sails do a great job of keeping the Sun and heat off the areas they protect. This means that there is less heat from the Sun to increase the water temperature, so you may need to have external heating like a solar pool cover and/or solar heating, to counter the shade affect and maintain your desired water temperature. A fully shaded pool can be 4° – 6° cooler in water temperature than an unshaded pool.

Q. Do you have overhanging trees that will drop leaves into the pool?
A. If so, you can adjust the shape of your shade sail to assist with protecting the pool from falling leaves. But you also need to ensure there is enough slope on the shade sail to stop leaves accumulating on top of it.

Q. I want more privacy when bathing, can a shade sail help?
A. Yes, a shade sail can absolutely give you extra privacy in your pool area. A shade sail normally has two opposing high fixing points and two low fixing points. You may be able to use these variable fixing heights to provide additional privacy for overlooking properties, so consider this too as part of your overall shade design.

Now you know where your shade sail needs to be located, the next stage of planning is to look at the surround and decide how it can be secured. A shade cover requires fixing points, some of which can attach to the house, but most are fixed to posts in the ground. Imagine if the posts you need could be integrated as part of the pool fence or pergola? What if the fixtures were discreetly located as part of the house? These now become options by planning the shade cover before the pool or the landscaping is completed.

Next week I will talk about planning for your pool cover.

 

Mar 19

Fact #3: Wrinkling of Liners in Indoor Heated Pools

The strangest phenomenon I’ve seen in my thirty-something years in the liner business is “wrinkling liner material caused by indoor heated pools”. If you read my recent blog about chemical levels you would conclude that this problem relates specifically to imbalanced pool chemicals, but this is not the case from my experience.

It first started in the 80’s when a customer contact us to say the pool liner in their 50 metre long pool, had grown about one whole metre in length. I almost didn’t believe them, so I went to see it for myself.

When I inspected the liner, sure enough, there were wrinkles and folds of liner all over the floor of the pool. It looked like the reverse of a dry creek bed, instead of open cracks, these were folds of PVC in a random crazed pattern. After a lot of investigation by the fabric manufacturer, the conclusion was that this phenomenon was a reaction to a pool environment that was made up of the following factors:
· Indoor
· Heated
· Commercial use
 (like a training pool or public pool)

Another case which proved the validity of the study result to me, was a school pool in a cold climate. It was built as an outdoor pool and used for two years without any noticeable liner growth. Then, the school decided the pool would get more use if it was covered, so a new building was built over the top of it. It became an indoor heated pool and within one year, the liner had grown to have large wrinkles all over the floor.

How can this be? What happens is, under these conditions, the PVC absorbs water and therefore expands. The expansion becomes visible as wrinkles and there also appears to be deterioration in the strength and flexibility of the PVC; in severe cases I have seen cracking along the creases.

Different solutions were trialled like, maintaining a level of cyanuric acid (not normally needed for an indoor pool), using a lacquered fabric, using a printed fabric, yet nothing solved the problem and so it was concluded that unsupported PVC was not suitable for pools with these environmental conditions.

The fabric manufacturers’ no longer provide a warranty for their PVC when used for this application and so it used at the risk of the Purchaser.

There are plenty of domestic pools that are heated and located indoors which do not show any problems, but many of the commercial pools under these conditions will exhibit the considerable wrinkling caused by this phenomenon.

Mar 10

Fact #2: Pool covers save water – but how much?

One of the questions I am often asked is, “How much water does a pool cover save”? We all know that pool covers save water by virtually eliminating evaporation when they’re on the pool, but how much evaporation does your pool have? It’s a valid question and one that, in the past may have been quite subjective.

Now, you can look at statistical averages on the government weather bureau website to see 10 year averages of evaporation in your area, and then make some sort of calculation from there. However, the nationally endorsed Smart Approved Watermark website has developed a handy tool for pool owners to calculate how much water a cover will save. I’ve just tried it for my own pool and it showed evaporative water loss of over 73,000 litres per year. Isn’t that a staggering amount?

How much would your pool lose in a year? Click on the link and see for yourself, then tell your friends about it.

Go to  and enter in your postcode and some details about the size of your pool and how often it is used. With a simple “click”, the magic number appears, taking all the necessary factors into consideration.

This means it’s really easy to justify why all pool owners should use a pool cover and just how much precious water they will save. So, try it for yourself and spread the word, to see how much we can contribute to sustainable water usage for Australia’s future, today!
Mar 03

Fact #1: what you must know about Salt Chlorinators and pool covers

One of the best inventions for pool owners is the salt chlorinator. When these were invented, they reduced the weekly cost of adding chemicals to the pool and, most importantly, they were an automatic dosing system which meant less time spent maintaining the pool.

Fact #1: These units are not fully automatic. When running, they are constantly dosing your pool, so you still need to monitor the chlorine level yourself. Most pool owners think that these automatic chlorinators are “set and forget”, but they are wrong! Checking the correct level of chlorine in the pool is critical for the health of your family.

It’s also important for the life of pool accessories too. For example, a pool cover is so efficient at reducing the amount of chlorine needed, that the chlorine production on the chlorinator should be turned down by two thirds, so it is only producing around one third as much chlorine as when the pool is uncovered. If the chlorinator is not adjusted, the level of chlorine in the pool gradually increases to a point where it starts to attack the pool cover and pool cleaner and is not healthy for swimming.Obvious signs of an over-chlorinated pool are:

  • The underside of the pool cover looks bleached.
  • Pieces of the pool cover start to flake off and you find them in the pool skimmer.
  • The automatic pool cleaner skirt and parts get sticky and discoloured.
  • Pool accessories that are in the water start to perish (like the cord attached to a thermometer).

How can you fix this? Unfortunately, once a high chlorine level has damaged your pool cover or pool cleaner, the damage cannot be reversed. But, you can easily check the chlorine level yourself with a standard test kit — or even easier, by using testing (dip) strips, then adjust the chlorine output to suit.

The good news for the future is that self-adjusting, salt chlorinators are being developed and released into the swimming pool market. These innovations check the chlorine level at regular intervals and automatically adjust the chlorine output to maintain an ideal, continuous level. Look for these in your pool shop or online, if you want the convenience of not having to check chlorine levels yourself, and to avoid damage to your pool cover and pool cleaner.