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.

 

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.

 

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 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.