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.

 

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!
Dec 15

The Big Cover Up

Water is our most precious resource. Using a pool cover helps conserve water as it can almost eliminate evaporative water loss. I’ve noticed in the past year, many pool covers being sold online through eBay and other web pages. I guess pool owners are attracted to this method of purchase due to convenience and price! This makes me wonder, how important is product quality to pool owners these days? Perhaps it’s no longer the driving factor behind many peoples’ purchasing decisions?

You see, the quality of a bubble type pool cover is not easy to determine at all. Even for an expert, the formulation of the plastic cannot be confirmed without sending it to a laboratory for some very expensive and specialised tests. Now, thickness is a measure that is pretty straight forward to check, but in most cases you would need a measuring tool like a micrometer to be sure the thickness is what has been stated. The final factor is the reputation of the company you are buying from, and their stated product warranty (including the fine print!) and how easily you can make a claim. So how does a pool owner decide all this when buying online?

I believe a pool owner will “take a punt” in many cases when buying online, if the price looks low enough. But do they know what this could cost them in the long run? If the brand they choose is a brand they have seen in their local pool shop, then this makes it a little easier. They may feel reassured that if their local pool shop sells this brand of product then it’s probably a good quality product – and this is a fair assumption. But if they don’t know the origin of the blanket material (ie; not Australia) and they don’t know the brand or have no rapport with the company selling it, then the only reasoning they can use to purchase is price. The statistics on pool cover evaporation performance can look good no matter what the quality of the cover. For example, you could cover your pool with “Cling Wrap” and this would stop evaporation, just like it stops food drying out in the refrigerator! It would not last too long as a pool cover, but on paper, “Cling Wrap” would rate very well on evaporation performance.

I’ve been around a long time and there is a saying that goes back as far as I can remember which is “you only get what you pay for”. When you consider this, then buying an unknown brand of pool cover, online, from a company you don’t know, is very risky in my view. I know there are pool covers coming into Australia from overseas that are very low in price, but the quality of the plastic for our climate is not good enough to make them last a reasonable amount of time. “Seven months before it started to fall apart” was mentioned to me about a pool cover that was made in China. If you do the sums, a $200 pool cover that lasts less than a year, will cost you at least five times the price of an Australian made cover, over the time the locally made cover will last. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great products made in China, but so long as they are branded and sold through known companies, you have some assurance the goods will perform. If not, you have a reputable avenue to make a warranty claim. So for my money, the choice is clear. Save money and buy an Australian made pool cover, one that has been formulated specifically for our harsh Australian climate, and is a well recognised brand. You’ll be glad you did your homework and be rewarded by years of hassle-free service.

Dec 03

My backyard, is it indoors or outdoors?

The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) annual trade show in Las Vegas last month was focused on Swimming Pools, Spas and Backyard Living. It was obvious to me, when looking through the exhibitors’ booths, that the line between the backyard and the house is not as defined as it used to be. We are now seeing outdoor kitchens as part of our BBQ areas and back doors have been replaced with folding walls in many new home designs so the outdoor entertainment area becomes part of the house. The question this raises for me is, how too will the Australian Pool & Spa industry bridge this line between the house and backyard?

Some innovators have already started…. One thing I noticed was the number of pool and spa accessories that were available, to make the time a pool owner spends in and around their pool more pleasurable. Some of these items included light shows – not just for the pool, but for other water features. Even illuminated floating lights as part of your outdoor table display, fountain or pond. There were Plasma TV units that were in waterproof housings so they could be installed adjacent to the pool without the worry of getting splashed and damaged. Designer spa covers in fabrics that would match patio awnings and outdoor furniture cushions also caught my eye. One top of the range Spa was set up like a “home theatre” with six reclined moulded seats that were covered with jets to pamper you while you listened to music through waterproof surround sound speakers that extended from the spa deck – all this while watching a large screen plasma TV that magically elevated from within the Spa at one end. How great does that sound? The challenge for our industry is to ensure that all these accessories are functional, so they become more widely used and therefore more affordable.

I will admit upfront that I am not a great fan of automated pool covers, due to the fact that the most successful of these covers need to be incorporated into the pool design before the pool is built. I find that new pool owners often don’t plan that far ahead and therefore many of these automated covers are not an option once the pool is built, without major construction work on the pool surround. However, I did see one cover at the show which I thought was fantastic. It was a load-bearing aluminium cover in sections sized between 1200mm and 2400 mm wide. It looked like timber decking and it automatically rolled off the pool using a remote control and stacked the panels below or above the ground. The example shown had a pool with a false wall at one end and the cover magically slid underneath the wall while the pool was in use. When the pool was covered, you had a great deck area that could be used for all types of activities. How fantastic is that?