What makes Aqualux better than a regular inground pool liner?

An Aqualux pool finish is a specialist, flexible pool interior which is designed for Australia’s harsh climate, to out-perform other similar pool finishes.

The Aqualux difference starts with the chemistry. Some products perform well under certain conditions, and others just don’t make the grade – and it is all in the chemistry.

First we need to understand a little about the conditions, and that’s why Aqualux was developed here in Australia, specifically for Australian conditions. By studying the environmental conditions, we have been able to see over the years how small adjustments to the chemistry have improved Aqualux, and increased its performance.

The performance is measured by the resistance to the environmental elements like the sun and the chemicals in the pool water (like chlorine and salt). By carefully monitoring the performance of the pool finish, and adjusting the chemistry little by little, Aqualux has become the ultimate flexible pool interior for the Australian environment. It has taken many years of testing and expertise, and the end result remains a closely guarded secret that many try to immitate, but none have sucessfully reproduced.

Australia’s climate punishes standard grade plastics. A standard inground pool liner might work quite adequately in Asia, Europe or the Americas, but bring it to Australia and its a different story alltogether. That’s why the formula is the key and how chemistry makes all the difference to making your pool finish longer lasting. We have our own chemist with almost 40 years’ experience, employed to make sure each manufactured batch of Aqualux is carefully monitored and quality tested to meet our strict standards.

This means you can be assured that your Aqualux pool finish has been expertly manufactured to suit Australia’s harsh climate. But it is still one of the easiest surfaces to keep the pool balanced and looking good ready to swim. It is soft and silky to the touch which means it is more comfortable to swim in for you and your family. No rough edges or scratches or scuffs to worry about.

Don’t just install another pool liner. Choose the finish that’s passed the test of time, and been the choice of thousands of pool owners across Australia since 1976 – an Aqualux pool finish.

Where on the pool should I position my reel?

If you’re putting a solar pool cover on for the first time, chances are, you’re also putting a reel (roller) together too. So where do you put it? Ideally you should make this decision before you install the cover, because some positions will require you to leave the cover slightly longer than others.

Don’t worry if you have already cut the cover to size. It’s not a big deal.

If you have a rectangle shaped pool, the standard approach is to place the reel at one end of the pool – slightly straddling the pool, so the blanket rolls easily on and off the tube without dragging across the coping. People normally put it to the far end, so its furthest away from where they will view it from.

The reel should sit at the end of the pool, hanging slightly over the edge, so that the cover does not drag over the pool coping when being rolled up.

This reduces wear and tear on your solar pool cover, and will help to get the best life expectancy from it. (Don’t forget to put the overcover on once it has been rolled up).

If you have an oval, kidney or other irregular shaped pool, the reel should be placed over the pool, at it’s widest point. When doing this, the blanket rolls from both directions, so it rolls faster and is easier to handle too.

When using this position, the blanket should be left a little longer in the length – if after attaching the extra length is not needed, you can trim it back then.

If your pool has a step, you can treat this as a separate piece, and simply fold it onto the main cover before rolling, enabling it to be rolled onto the roller. You can see in the image below how the step piece has just been flipped up onto the body of the cover, leaving it as a neat rectangle to roll up.

What is the thickest solar pool cover?

In Australia, we measure solar pool cover thicknesses by micron – and micron is just a measurement. A micron is very small – one-millionth of a metre in fact. To put it into real terms, a human hair is about 50 – 70 micron. In Australia, a 200-micron pool cover would be considered lightweight, and 610 is currently the heaviest that we are aware of. Anything over 610 would start to get very heavy and difficult to roll on and off of a pool.

At ABGAL, our thickest solar pool cover is 610 micron – Triple Cell. The next thickest and most popular selling solar cover is 550 micron from our Oasis Solar Cover range. Oasis 550 is available in Premium Blue, SilverBack and Clarity.

The benefit of heavier (thicker) solar covers is that they are more durable than a lighter cover, and will be more resistant to chemical damage and punctures.

Helping our Farmers – Our pledge!

We started our journey with Drought Angels back in 2019, when many parts of Australia were in severe drought, and we pledged to donate 40L of freshwater to Drought Angels, for every Oasis Solar Cover we sold.

Over the last couple of years, Drought Angels have evolved. While their mission has always been to support Australian farmers, their public focus was those who were specifically drought-affected. However, bushfires, plagues and now flooding have also affected our farmers – so while Drought Angels are still Drought Angels, and our pledge of 40L for every Oasis Solar cover remains the same, it no longer ends up with the farmer as 40L of water. Sometimes its stock feed or petrol – sometimes its a pre-paid visa card so they can pay a bill. We donate the financial equivalent, and Drought Angels passes that onto an Aussie farmer in need, in whatever format they need.

Drought Angels are here to provide disaster relief for our Aussie Farmers, and we continue to support them with our pledge of the cash equivalent of 40L, for every Oasis Cover.

Based on the front line in Chinchilla, in Queensland’s Western Downs, Drought Angels are in direct contact with those who are most in need and are able to distribute whatever aid is needed to those who need it most.

As of March 1, 2022, thanks to people like you, we have been able to donate the financial equivalent of 495,160 litres to Drought Angels, in support of Aussie Farmers.

Pool Covers & Evaporation

Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that a pool cover can save massive amounts of water.

Just how much varies depending on a number of factors (such as the surface area of the pool, the amount of wind, shade, water/air temperature). Anywhere between 2mm and 10mm of water every day is seen as an acceptable water loss – but this all adds up – and without rain or top ups, a pool can easily lose its entire volume of water – every year!

The single most effective thing a pool owner can do to save water is to buy (and use) a pool cover. To be honest, it doesn’t even have to be a proper pool cover – any sort of covering will help prevent evaporation – it’s just that a pool cover will be more effective, will last longer, and will be easier to use than say – cling wrap or builders plastic.

So how does it work? It’s all about evaporation. Evaporation is what happens when water turns into gas (such as steam, when you boil the kettle). Obviously your pool is not boiling like a kettle, but the theory is the same. When the water inside your pool is warmer than the air around it, evaporation will occur.  Without a cover, that water vapour will release back into the atmosphere – but with a pool cover in place, it can’t escape, and stays in your pool, where it belongs.

ABGAL Oasis Solar Pool Covers have been independently tested and proven to stop up to 99.84% of evaporation. They are Climate Care Certified, Smart Approved WaterMark Licensed, and Water Wise accredited, complying with water saving standards across all drought declared Australian states and territories.

Water Loss. Is it evaporation or a leak?

If you’re noticing your water level dropping faster than usual, it’s a good idea to check if its due to evaporation or a leak.

The first thing you should do is what they call a ‘’Bucket Test”.

How to do the Bucket Test:

  1. Fill a bucket with pool water, about 3cm from the top.
  2. Put the bucket on the first step of your pool.
  3. Turn off your pool pump.
  4. Using a permanent marker or pieces of waterproof tape, mark the water levels both inside and outside of the bucket.
  5. Turn your pool pump back on.
  6. Wait 24 hours, and compare the water levels.
How to do the 'bucket test'.

If the water level on the outside of the bucket has gone down more than the level on the inside, it’s likely you have a leak.

If the water level on the inside of the bucket has gone down by around the same rate, then your water loss is caused by evaporation. This can be resolved by using a pool cover.

My glass pool fence has exploded – how do I clean it up?

It’s one of the things you hope never happens to you. Maybe you were there and heard a loud bang – or perhaps, you didn’t know it happened until you looked at your pool and noticed a glass fence panel missing.

While it’s not common, it’s certainly not unusual for glass pool fences to suddenly shatter without warning. (Normally into a thousand pieces – all over the pool deck and sometimes inside your swimming pool!)

It happened to me just last week and this was the second pool fence panel to shatter in three years! On both occasions, we have been fortunate that no one was near the pool at the time, so all we’ve had to deal with was replacing panels and cleaning up the broken glass.

The first time, it just made a mess over my timber deck, but this time, a lot of glass fell into the pool. My pool has an Aqualux vinyl interior as they are so nice to the touch, and I must admit, I was a little worried falling glass may have cut through the surface.

I Googled “how to clean glass from your pool” and there were a few articles, but not many relating to an “exploding fence panel” so I thought I would share my experience to help others.

My immediate thought was to vacuum the broken pieces using the pool vac. I placed two skimmer socks inside the skimmer basket to trap any glass fragments and stop them flowing through to the filter. Then I connected the vacuum and proceeded to slowly move across the glass pieces.

This was my first mistake as although the fence shattered into small 10mmx10mm size pieces, many of them were clumped together and too big to fit through the vacuum head opening or suction hose.

So I changed tactics – this time opting for a handheld broom and long-handled dustpan.

This worked a treat!  Working very gently and slowly, I broomed pieces of glass into the pan, just a little at a time, so I could easily lift the dustpan out of the pool (without dropping any pieces) and empty the glass into a large bucket.

I repeated the process until I had swept up all the pieces that I could see. By the way, it is much easier to see glass in the pool in full sun as the glass reflects under the water.

After removing all the large pieces with the dustpan and broom, I vacuumed the entire floor area carefully to pick up smaller slithers.

Total clean up time took about 2 hours.

A week later, I am very happy to report that my pool fence company has replaced the panel, and my Aqualux pool finish was up to the challenge, and proved tough enough to withstand the glass and has no cuts or leaks!

Are you thinking of buying a robotic pool cleaner?

In the past, almost everyone used a suction cleaner or pool vaccuum, and we all became accustomed to swimming around the hose, and listening to that ‘tick tick tick’ sound whenever we were near the pool!vacuum hose

However, in the last few years, robotic cleaners have become quite affordable, so are gaining popularity with pool owners. But while it is true that a robotic cleaner can be used in any pool, not every robotic cleaner is suitable for every pool.

If you have an abrasive pool surface such as pebble, you’ll need a cleaner that is strong enough to scrub the surface clean, and durable enough to tolerate any wear against the cleaner skirting.

On the other hand, if you have a soft and flexible surface finish such as vinyl, you need to ensure a robotic cleaner has no sharp edges, and that the tracks and rollers are gentle enough to not cause wear on the pool finish. With all pool finishes, it is also important to ensure there is enough clearance on the underside of the robot to avoid rubbing and scraping against the surface.

So which is better to use? Robotic or suction? It really is a matter of opinion. Suction cleaners have been the norm for many years in Australia, and they generally do a pretty good job, for a very reasonable price. But all pools are different, and no cleaner is perfect (there is usually a corner or step, or some other spot in every pool where the suction cleaner always seems to miss!)

Plus you have to wrestle with the cleaner and hose when you want a quick swim as most pool owners just don’t bother to remove the vacuum from the pool. And when you do finally take the vacuum out, no one ever lays the hose out nice and straight, to minimise any effects of hose kinks on the cleaner’s performance. (Suction cleaners rely on the hose to help control the area they cover and the direction they take).

I’ve personally owned a number of suction cleaners over the years, and a couple of robots, so I thought I’d put together some of my thoughts, to help anyone who is tossing up between a suction cleaner and a robotic cleaner.

Robotic cleaners are designed to be put in the pool once or twice a week for up to 2 hours to roam around the pool in a random pattern and vacuum all the dirt and leaves from the floor and walls. The biggest issue I have with robots is the cleaning! That’s right – you need to clean the cleaner! They need to be cleaned every time they do a full pool clean.

I liked my suction cleaner’s handling of the dirt and leaves, it just sends it all to the pool filtration system. I found my sand filter much easier to clean than the cartridges of the robot – it was just a matter of switching off the pump, turning the valve, then running the pump until the waste water was clear, selecting rinse for a minute and then back to normal filtration. Quite easy really, and only takes about 7 minutes.

The robot takes about 7 minutes each time I clean it – and I have to do this at least every week – whereas I only backwash my sand filter every 4-6 weeks. However, I love the fact that my pool has NO cleaner in the water most of the time and no annoying “tick”, “tick” sound or the surface of the water rippled all the time.

And, when I go for a swim, I jump straight in and don’t have to remove the suction cleaner and store it alongside the pool edge. Now putting the robot in the pool and getting it back out requires a bit of strength, especially getting it out when as you have to wait for the water to drain out before lifting it otherwise it is quite heavy.

Now – the effect of the cleaners on your pool finish. The suction cleaners are often left in the pool all the time as some people choose to swim with them as it is easier. The problem is, for 8 or more hours a day in summer, the suction cleaner is rubbing over the pool surface. If you have an abrasive surface, this will wear the cleaner skirt and some other parts. If you have a soft surface such as PVC, the suction cleaner can rub and wear the surface over time, and if it doesn’t move evenly over all parts of the pool, you may see its common path in form of a wear track, usually around the wall to floor junction.

The concept of a robot being more compatible with all pool surfaces comes from the fact they are only used for a short period of time – BUT you need to make sure you have the correct tracks and rollers for your pool surface finish.

If your pool surface is quite abrasive, then the robot will have less wear on its tracks and rollers as it is only used for relative small amounts of time, but the wearing parts need to be compatible otherwise you will need to replace them quite quickly. If your pool has a soft finish, the robot makes sense as again it is only used for small amount of time, but you need to make sure the areas of contact with your pool finish are compatible so as not to create wear spots.

One of the considerations for your pool before you purchase a robot if you have a softer finish is to ensure the shape of the surface is free of sharp edges, and that there is enough clearance of the underside of the robot to avoid rubbing and scraping these edges, as the hard plastic of the robot body can cause abrasions.

If you ever suspect your robot has caused abrasion to your pool finish, just check the tracks and the underside of the unit – you will likely see some of the pool surface colour on it and maybe some worn plastic parts.robotic cleaner print rub off on tracks

So in my opinion, if you are on a budget or don’t mind swimming with the hose and cleaner, or removing it every time you swim, a suction cleaner will work for you.

If you want the clean look of a pool without a hose and cleaner 99% of the time and happy to rinse off the cartridges after every clean, then a robot will suit you.

Remember, no cleaner is perfect, but they sure beat having to set up the vacuum hose, handle and brush and cleaning the pool manually yourself!

 

Pool Shops: 5 ways to compete with online sales

Whatever products you are selling, odds are, someone can find it cheaper online. While instinct may be to ‘fight fire with fire’, the overheads attached to running a bricks and mortar pool shop means that price matching to online competitors is just not viable.  So what can you do?

1. Value Add. Yes, you can buy a solar pool cover online on ebay and a whole host of pop up discount stores. While many of them are cheap imported covers that will only last one season, some of the covers will be of comparable quality (sometimes even the same brand) as you are selling.  If you can’t afford to price match, you can always add more value. Adding value doesn’t have to mean giving away another $10 worth of product with every purchase – it can be extra service (such as free water testing or troubleshooting), specialist advice, a loyalty program, or even upselling with an installation service. What about a free loan trailer to take home large items that don’t fit in their car? By offering more than just a ‘product in a box’, you are adding value – and giving your customer more than they would get online.

2. Build a Relationship. Be their local pool shop. Be their ‘go to guy’ for anything related to their pool. Don’t be there for the quick buck and sell them stuff they don’t need – while it might work in the short term, they’ll wise up to it eventually, and will never trust you again. Ideally, you want every pool owner within a 15 minute drive to your shop to know who you are. They should know your face, and your name. When they buy on line, they buy from a faceless, nameless stranger, who may well be operating out of his mother’s basement (and probably doesn’t even own a pool!) When they buy from you, they are dealing with someone they know and trust, and are supporting a local business as well. Most people are happy to pay a little extra when it comes to buying Australian, and supporting local business.

3. Online Presence. While you may not be able to compete with them online pricewise, you do still need to be there. Social media such as Facebook and Google+ – and your own website.  There are plenty of free do-it-yourself online options these days. You can even set up your own ecommerce website. It doesn’t have to be expensive – with platforms like wordpress and shopify, you can have your pool shop online, with checkout facilities for less than $50 a month. While you are not likely to make millions, at least you are there, as a valid alternative. And if you don’t want to be posting parcels out, consider a ‘click and collect’ type option. Buy online then hop in the car and pick it up next time you’re driving past? Why not? Beats sitting around for days or even weeks, wondering when your parcel might be delivered!

4. Convenience. Above all, a local pool shop is convenient. You’re generally there 7 days a week, you can talk to them and offer advice, and you are just a short drive away. If they have a problem with their item, they can go and talk to you about it. This is an extra service – another value add – something they can’t get online.

 

Is there a special type of liner for an indoor pool?

 If you are renovating or installing a new PVC lined indoor pool, consider the type of PVC liner you are using.

Some people say all liners are the same, with the only difference being thickness, but that’s just not true. Most liners are made from a PVC film. This flexible, stretch fabric relies on the structure of the pool, and the weight of the water to maintain its shape. This works well in most situations, and with high quality options available, it’s an excellent surface finish for both above ground and inground swimming pools that are outdoor.

However, under certain environmental conditions (likely to be found in an indoor pool) the fabric of a standard PVC liner can sometimes start to ‘absorb’ water.

PH, total chlorine levels, ventilation and bathing load are all thought to be contributing factors. If the liner fabric begins to absorb water, it eventually expands the PVC, which then causes wrinkles to form in the pool. The wrinkles usually start on the floor of the pool, but can be all over the whole liner. If you look closely at a section of affected PVC, you can see the surface is weakened, and prone to forming tiny cracks that can develop into larger tears.

If this happens, there is no reversing of the process, and the life span of the liner is greatly reduced.

While many indoor pools are surfaced with standard PVC liners without any problems, there is always a risk of it occurring in the right (or wrong) conditions, and it is best to avoid the risk completely in indoor pools, by using a reinforced liner.

AquaForce is a specialist reinforced PVC fabric which is suitable for use in indoor pools. AquaForce features an internal reinforcing layer that keeps the fabric stable in indoor pools, and virtually eliminates the risk of wrinkling.

With a three layer design, AquaForce has a PVC base ply, a layer of reinforced polyester mesh, then topped with another ply of PVC. All three layers are homogeneously bonded together during the manufacturing process to be permanently fused. The mesh reinforcing layer stabilises the fabric and stops it from shrinking or expanding. 

Traditional PVC liners can be delivered to site fully welded in one piece, but AquaForce reinforced PVC liners are always fabricated on site, as they do not stretch or form to the pool shape.

The rolls of the AquaForce fabric are laid in the pool and overlapped to form seams that are welded on site. Edges are then sealed, to stop water absorption through the fabric itself. AquaForce liners can be fitted to any pool shape, as the liner is cut and shaped in the pool on site, allowing it to be fitted over steps and benches and down into deep ends of all style of pools.

 So if you are looking to install a PVC liner in an indoor pool, we recommend the use of a reinforced PVC such as AquaForce, to reduce the risk of wrinkling. AquaForce is also recommended for use on Commercial PoolsIndoor commercial pool, bunbury WA AquaForce liner.