5 Easy Tips to Swim Safely in Your Pool This Summer

Boy Swim Safely in Pool

Your pool can be an amazing way for your entire family to have fun this summer. However, pools have a lot of hidden dangers that you need to be aware of. There is a right and a wrong way to swim safely. Without the proper precautions, a fun afternoon at the pool can turn into a nightmare. Drowning is a leading cause of death in children, but adults are also susceptible. According to the CDC, there are an average of 11 deaths due to drowning every day in the United States.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to protect you and your family from the risk of drowning. Follow this guide for the most important safety tips so your whole family can swim safely this summer.

1)     Never Swim Alone

The first rule of swimming is to always have a buddy. You are statistically more likely to drown if you’re in a pool by yourself. Children should always be supervised by an adult while in a pool or while near water. Supervising adults should be designated “water watchers,” which means that they should not be distracted while supervising others who are swimming. Do not text, read, or play games while watching swimmers. Water watchers should also have a phone nearby to call for help in case of a drowning emergency.

Even if you are at a public pool with lifeguards, an adult should supervise children while swimming. Lifeguards cannot see everything. If one lifeguard takes a break or is distracted, other lifeguards may not be able to see the entire pool area.

2)     Secure Your Pool

Many drowning accidents with children happen when children were not expected to be near a pool in the first place. If your pool is not properly secured when not in use, children or pets may be more likely to wander too close and fall in. By the time an adult notices they may be missing, it is often too late. Securing your pool properly when not in use is the key to making sure this doesn’t happen.

Make sure your inground pool is surrounded on all four sides by a fence or other barrier that is self-latching and out of reach of children. Four-sided isolation fences that separate the pool from the yard reduce a child’s risk of drowning 83% compared to three-sided property-line fencing.

Above-ground pools should have lockable covers or have the steps or ladders locked or removed so a child cannot climb in when they aren’t supervised.

You can also install door and gate alarms that will alert you when someone crosses into the pool area. There are even alarms that you can place in the pool that will sound when motion is detected in the water.

3)     Teach Proper Pool Etiquette

All adults and children in the family should be taught proper pool etiquette, starting with swimming lessons. Every member of the family should be able to enter the water safely, stay afloat, change position, swim for a distance, and then get out of the water safely. If you have small children or family who are not strong swimmers, they should wear lifejackets while near the water to keep them safe from drowning. There are many free and reduced-cost options for swimming lessons from local YMCA branches or Park and Recreation Departments, so check around and enroll your family ASAP.

Learning to swim, however, is only half of pool etiquette. You should never run near a pool; you could slip and fall in or injure yourself. Stay away from pool drains to avoid parts of your bathing suit, hair, or jewelry being sucked into the drain. Adults should always swim sober; do not ingest alcohol before or during swimming. Don’t bring glass bottles into the pool area either. They could break and cause a hazard. Make sure everyone swimming knows the pool rules, and as a pool-owner you should be prepared to remove any guests that may not be following the rules to keep everyone else safe.

4)     Keep Up with Maintenance

As a pool owner, it is your responsibility to make sure to keep up with regular pool maintenance. Letting any kind of maintenance slide could create a problem or pose danger to swimmers. Make sure that all your drain covers are working properly to avoid clothing or hair from being sucked into a drain. You should also ensure that any adult supervising your pool knows where the safety release system is in the case of a drain emergency.

You should stay on top of the chemical maintenance of your pool, as well. When used properly, chlorine kills bacteria and parasites in the water to keep you healthy. However, if the chemicals used to clean your pool are mishandled or misused, you could be at a risk for waterborne illness. And never leave chemicals unattended; keep your pool chemicals in a locked cabinet out of reach of children where they cannot be accidentally ingested.

5)     Create Layers of Protection

Adhering to all the above tips simultaneously creates what is called “layers of protection” in water safety. Just one prevention strategy often isn’t enough but combining them all together is what is the most effective in preventing drowning or other water-related injury. Preventing access to the pool when not in use, supervising, keeping up with maintenance, following pool rules and making sure all swimmers know the basics of swimming are a multi-layered strategy that works to keep people safe.

Have Fun and Stay Safe

Having a pool in your backyard is a big responsibility, but when safety procedures are followed properly, swimming can be fun for the whole family. Pools can be daunting to maintain by yourself, so if you’re ever in doubt or have any questions, you can call your friendly, local experts at Cincinnati Pool and Patio for help with water maintenance, safety equipment, and pool openings and closings. We can even inspect your pool to make sure everything is working properly; there could be something you’re missing that an expert would catch!

With all this in mind, have fun, be safe, and happy swimming!

Pool Opening 101: How to Open Your Pool for the Summer

Flotation Device in Pool for Pool Opening

Summer is just about here, and that means it’s time to think about swimming. If you’re a pool owner, you may have been longingly staring at your pool just waiting for the weather to be warm enough to enjoy it again. There’s nothing better than lazy summer afternoons spent by the pool. However, for even the most seasoned pool owner, there’s a lot of work that goes in to opening your pool for the summer season. The multi-step process can seem like a lot, but we’ve broken everything down into three simple sections so you can open your pool with ease. Follow our pool opening guide and you’ll be ready for summer in no time!

Step One: The Pool Cover

Your pool cover likely has gotten fairly dirty over the course of the winter. Standing water, leaves, and other debris are probably all floating on the top of the cover, creating a wintertime eyesore and a headache to clean up. But rest easy knowing that at very least your pool cover has done its job, and it’s just a couple simple steps to getting it clean and ready to store away for the summer.

Use a pool cover pump to remove the standing water from the surface of your pool cover. Once the water is gone, you can use a soft broom or skimmer to brush any debris from the cover that may still be left. Be gentle so as not to tear your pool cover. Try to remove as much debris from the cover as possible during this step, so that you don’t have much to scoop out of your pool later.

Once your cover is clean, get a friend or family member to help you remove the cover from the pool. Go slowly to avoid spilling excess debris into the pool water. Some will likely fall in anyway despite your best efforts. You can remove the rest of the debris later before you chemically clean the water.

Lay out your pool cover on a flat surface and rinse it off with the garden hose. Then, use cover cleaning solution or a diluted bleach solution to scrub and clean your pool cover. Use a soft broom or sponges to avoid damaging the pool cover. Rinse the cover and allow it to dry or dry it off with a leaf blower before storing it. Note that if you leave the cover out on your grass for too long, it may cause damage to your lawn, so drying the cover with a towel or leaf blower may be your best option to get it completely dry. Store the pool cover in an airtight, heavy-duty container with a lid to keep out bugs and other pests and to keep your cover in good condition for the fall.

Step Two: Prepare the Pool

Now that your pool is uncovered, it’s time to prepare it for use. First, take a moment to skim large debris from the surface of the water with a pool skimmer or net. Doing this first before adding water or turning on the filtration system will prevent large debris from getting stuck in the filtration system and causing a problem later. Take your time and remove as much debris as you can so the filtration system and chemicals don’t have to work as hard to clean the water.

Once the surface of the water is cleaned up, you’ll need to remove the winter plugs from your skimmers and reinstall the regular drain plugs in your pumps, filter, heater, or other equipment. You may notice some air bubbles as water flows back into the pipes when your winter plugs are removed. This is normal, and the bubbles will dissipate shortly.

With the winter plugs removed, reconnect your pool equipment and filter. You’ll want to inspect each component thoroughly to make sure it was not damaged over the winter before you turn the systems on for the summer. The pump, filter, heater, and other systems should all be inspected one by one. Clean your filter if necessary.

Lastly, you’ll want to reconnect and reinstall any pool accessories that you took down for the winter, such as ladders, slides, and diving boards. This is a good time to lubricate the bolts used for these items, and grease the hinges on your diving board, so be sure to check that everything is in proper working order before letting you or your family use the accessories.

Step Three: Water and Clean

Shew! We’re nearly there! Now that all the systems are working properly, it’s time to make sure the water is cleaned and ready for action. First, if you lost any water over the winter, you’ll want to refill your pool with the garden hose until the water level is even with the skimmers. Once you have the correct amount of water in your pool, remove any excess dirt that your filtration system may not pick up. Use a pool brush to scrub the walls of your pool and finish up by using a pool vacuum to vacuum dirt and debris from the pool floor and stairs. The water may still be murky at this point—this is okay! The chemicals will take care of the rest.

Next, balance the water in your pool. You can use a testing strip to determine which chemicals you’ll need to add to get the water to the correct levels. As a rule of thumb, for inground pools, the following levels are the baseline you want to reach:

  • pH – 7.2 – 7.6
  • Total Alkalinity- 120 – 150ppm
  • Calcium Hardness – 200 – 250ppm (Concrete Pools)
  • Calcium Hardness – 175 – 225ppm (Vinyl Pools)
  • Free Chlorine – 1 – 3ppm
  • Free Bromine – 3 – 5ppm
  • Metals: Copper – 0ppm
  • Metals: Iron – 0ppm

Follow package directions for each chemical used, and wear gloves if needed. Once your water is balanced, the last step to get crystal clean water is to shock your pool. Double shocking is recommended when opening your pool to kill any algae spores, bacteria, and other nasty stuff that may be lurking in the water. Two pounds of shock per 10,000 gallons of water is recommended but follow package directions when in doubt. Make sure to use safety goggles and gloves when pouring shock into your pool.

Now that you’ve added the proper chemicals to the water, it’s time to let them and your filtration system get to work! Allow the filter to run for 24 hours and test the water again before swimming. In the meantime, while you wait for the water to clean, use a broom or mop to clean up any dirt from your pool deck that may have accumulated over the winter. A clean deck will add that finishing touch to your pool space and make the water seem that much more inviting!

Ready for Summer!

Voila! Your pool is now open and ready for action! Get out the bikinis and board shorts and do a cannonball to celebrate a job well done. For more tips and tricks or to get expert advice on all your pool needs, get in touch with us! And if you’re unsure if you can open your pool yourself, or you just think you need a little help, you can always schedule your pool opening with us and our experts will do it all for you!

Retaining Walls for Pool

retaining walls

Retaining Walls for Pool

Retaining walls are usually used for sloping backyards. Sometimes a wall is used to add more room by cutting into a small hillside. While other times its to allow perimeter space around the pool. Some homeowners incorporate a retaining wall into a water feature, such as wall spouts or rock waterfalls.

SLOPE

One of the biggest challenges that pool owners run into is the grade of their yard. Very rarely is someone’s backyard completely flat. If you have a sloped backyard, then you’ve probably considered incorporating a retaining wall into your design.

Sometimes with some extra gravel and some creative backfilling, we can get by without the extra expense of walls. Sometimes walls can add to the aesthetics of the pool when incorporated properly.

Determining when a wall is needed is the most important thing. This can become a disaster for the homeowner if the pool goes in and no wall was put in place to divert water. What this means is that the rainwater coming off the slope is going to end up in the pool carrying with it all the dirt and debris that comes along with a storm.

The slope is usually determined by how much dirt is left from the excavation of the pool. Sometimes the homeowner will have some extra fill dirt brought in to help feather the slope out.

RETAINING WALLS STYLE

There are two main styles of retaining walls, both with their method of construction. Masonry walls are built out of either poured concrete or concrete block and faced with stone.

Segmental retaining walls are constructed of dry stacking pre-cast concrete block together. Segmental block retaining walls are the most popular for several reasons, including being very attractive and more budget-friendly than masonry walls.

Sometimes when there is a slope in the yard that goes down to a level spot where the pool can go, it may be possible to put in a French drain to catch the water before it runs onto the patio. If you have to cut into the grade of the yard to put the pool in then this will probably not be an option for you.

LENGTH

One thing to keep in mind is that you do not sell yourself short on the length of the wall. When the wall is tapering down it is good to carry it a few feet longer then what is needed to ensure that water does not wash around the wall and onto the deck due to trying to save a couple of hundred dollars.

WALL FEATURES

When doing walls, you should try to make the wall more than just a wall. You can do an elevated patio which is always nice. Another option is to put the wall right on the pool itself with a cascade or two in it. It is always nice if the wall can be 20 fiberglass pool with retaining walls 24 inches so that the wall can be used to act as a sitting wall.

Not all walls are designed to keep the water from running onto the pool deck. Sometimes the wall is there to keep the pool in place. When dealing with these walls it is a little harder to incorporate them into the project to make it play a role in making the pool look better. A lot of times with the proper backfill and compaction a wall can be avoided in these situations.

Perhaps your property is level, but you want to add a dramatic backdrop to your pool with a raised wall on the far side. On top of the wall, you can add water features, a raised spa or additional pool deck spaces. Retaining walls can be topped with small bushes to add greenery and act as a barrier to blowing leaves. They can also serve a safety function by restricting access on one side of the pool.

There is usually extra cost in the gravel that is needed and the extra time in prepping the ground. But it can be much less expensive than the wall itself. The area would have to lend itself to enough area for grading the slope out so that it is not to steep.

COST

How much do retaining walls cost? This is a pretty broad question with a variety of answers depending on which options you choose. Retaining walls are typically priced by the square foot, so the length and height will directly influence how much you spend.

The cost of segmental walls is also determined by the size and shape of the block used. Walls with multiple sized blocks are typically more attractive.

Have any questions about retaining walls or the pool construction process? Contact us here!

How To Get Ready For National Pool Opening Day

national pool opening day

National Pool Opening Day

There is a national holiday for each date on the calendar and also for every subject under the sun, but National Pool Opening Day is a holiday we can all rally round.

Schedule Your Pool Opening Today

As a pool owner, you understand there’s a lot of things that go into opening your pool. National Pool Opening Day is an amazing reminder to prepare for the summer season!

Test the Water First

Once you peel the winter cap and realize the challenge before you, begin by assessing your pool chemical levels. A good water test kit is important for testing your pool’s chemical balance.

When stocking up for summertime on pool shock and pills, don’t forget to purchase water balance chemicals for pH, alk, and calcium. You might also need an algaecide to control algae. And a water clarifier to remove finer particles out of the water.

Pool equipment

Examine the pool gear, mainly the filter and pump, but also other pool equipment like pool valves, chlorinators, heaters, cleaners, skimmers, ladders, slides and diving boards.

Start looking for any soil, mulch, trees or nearby plants that may get in the way of your equipment. Pool equipment does better in a sunny, dry location and not buried in bushes.

Pool cleaners have wearable components, and generally, require more frequent repairs than other pool equipment. Inspect closely for the cleaner parts that contact the surface, or debris totes or hose components that are worn.

Pool filters, either sand, DE or cartridge will need the filter press replaced at a single point. Sand lasts about 5 decades, DE grids for ten decades, and filter capsules 2-3 years for a good-sized filter. You can prolong the life and improve filtration by using a Pool Filter Cleaner before and after opening your pool.

Pool pumps have electric motors that will fail at some point in time, usually at spring startup, or at the hottest aspect of the summer. When your motor will not turn or trips the breaker, it might be a loose cable, triggered GFCI or it might be an engine that is fried. Pumping problems may be air leaking to the pump, or a clogged impeller, or the water level.

Pool Accessories

Pool Ladders, Slides & Diving Boards possess a lot of bolts that need to be checked for tightness. Notably the step treads, which can loosen over time.

Chlorinators are normally easy to care for, but the chlorinator lid o-ring needs to be lubed often to protect the o-ring from the chlorine.

Pool Heaters

If you have a pool heater, the best spring maintenance you can do is clean out the base of the device to remove any leaves, cobwebs, and anthills. Make sure the air vents and drain holes aren’t blocked in the cabinet. If leaves have collected inside a heat pump, or in addition to a gasoline heater exchanger, remove the heater top to wash out them.

Above-Ground Pools

Above ground, pools will join the hoses or pipes from the wall skimmer to the pool filter and then to the pool pump, and back to the pool return. Open the filter air bleeder, open the lines to be flooded by the valves and fill the pump with water. After being sure that the return and suction valves are available plugs the pump into a grounded electrical socket, and the pool skimmer and wall return aren’t plugged.

Inground Pools

Inground pools equipment reassembly is a bit more complicated, but it begins the same way, by screwing the drain wires back to the pump, heater, filter. Together with the water level up, pool plugs can be pulled out of the skimmer and wall contributes to flooding the lines. Contrary to Above ground pools, inground pumps sit above the water level. Fill the pump with water from a hose or hose, and seal. Open the filter air bleeder, open the return and suction valves, and then turn on the pump. Start-Up with a multiport valve on the ‘Waste’ place is a fantastic way to flush out the skimmer and drain, and it has much less resistance too, great for pumps that have difficulty ‘grabbing prime’.

 

National Pool Opening Day is the last Saturday in April. Make it your annual tradition to join us in welcoming spring by opening your pool! In case the final Saturday is too soon to start your pool, then join in by cleaning off your pool cover and prepping it to open when it’s warm enough. If you open the pool in May, it is the ideal time to examine your pool water.

If you need help opening your pool, contact us today!

How To Prepare For Your New Pool

pool opening

How To Prepare For Your Pool

Have you been dreaming about constructing your new pool but never had the time to make it happen? Now is the perfect time to start planning!

Here are a few questions you need to start thinking about to enjoy your backyard oasis!

What can I afford?

As with any large purchase or project, it is always a good idea to have a budget in mind. There are many components to include in your budget preparations – installation, decking, landscaping. Having a roundabout number in mind is a great step to take before visiting a dealer to get the process started.

How often will I use this pool?

Determining how you will use your pool can help determine what size you need, what special features you may want to add, and the overall feel of your space. Will you be using it mainly with your significant other, or will you frequently have family members and friends over for parties and get-togethers? Do you plan to play games, or is it simply for rest? These are easy things to think about to ensure that you have exactly what you want in your backyard space.

Do you have any questions about options, sizing, or if being a pool owner is right for you? Don’t hesitate to contact us here!

2018 Pool Trends Part 2

2018 pool trends

Pool Trends

2018 brings in a new year full of new possibilities and new ventures. One of the hottest 2018 pool trends going into the year is building a pool for your home.

Building a pool for your backyard starts off as an exciting experience, but can easily become a very daunting task.

To help you out, we’ve assembled some of our favorite 2018 pools trends.

2018 Pool Trends

Ledges

Adding extra ledges around your pool can give it a relaxing and resort feel to it. These ledges are generally no more than 12 inches deep. They’re perfect to sunbathe and relax in the sun while you still enjoy the cool water of your pool.

Automation

One of the newest trends to hit the pool industry is having a part of your pool automized. Features such as Lighting, pumps, temperature, cleaning, music, water features, pool covers, and more can be automized.

You can connect this to your phone or smart home device such as Google Home.

Have any questions? Contact us here!

2018 Pool Trends Part 1

2018 pool trends

2018 brings in a new year full of new possibilities and new ventures. One of the hottest 2018 pool trends going into the year is building a pool for your home.

Building a pool for your backyard starts off as an exciting experience, but can easily become a very daunting task.

To help you out, we’ve assembled some of our favorite 2018 pools trends.

2018 Pool Trends

Pool Heaters

With people wanting to get the most out of their pools, they’ve turned to pool heaters. With a pool heater, you can extend the life of your pool during the year. You’ll be open to open and close outside of the typical pool season.

Extra Water Features

To extend the impact a pool can have on a backyard, many homeowners are adding in extra water features in or around the pool.

People are creating anything from waterfalls to tanning ledges. These extra features can be a statement piece and functional.

Check back with us next week when we cover part 2 of 2018 pool trends!

Have any questions? Contact us here!

How To Properly Store Pool Chemicals

pool chemicals

Pool Chemicals

Having a regular supply of the necessary pool chemicals is essential to keep your swimming pool in good condition. However, to keep the chemicals themselves in good working order, it’s important to store them correctly. Here are some frequently asked questions about where and how to store pool chemicals.

What Kinds of Storage Containers Are Best?

Pool chemical storage is safest when the chemicals are stored in their containers. The product packaging provides safe storage.

The safest option for storing chemicals is to put the sealed containers into hard plastic bins with tight-fitting lids. Ideally, use several bins so that you can separate liquids and solids, and so that reactants such as chlorine and muriatic acid can be stored separately.

Where Should I Store Pool Chemicals?

The best place to store chemicals is in a cool and dry location. Your storage area should be well-ventilated.

Can Pool Chemicals Freeze?

In most cases, pool chemicals are more sensitive to heat than to cold. Some kinds of chemicals can withstand freezing, but it’s generally best to avoid exposing chemicals to extremely cold temperatures, as some may lose strength after cold storage.

Are Pool Chemicals Heat-Sensitive?

Some chemicals do react with heat, so it’s safest to store chemicals away from all heat sources, including sunlight. Pool chemicals should be in a cool and shaded area.

Check Your Products for More Information

While these are some good general rules to follow for safely storing chemicals, hazards can vary according to the different products you use. Most pool chemicals come with a Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS) that provides details of hazards and safe handling practices, so check these to make sure you’re staying safe.

Gave any questions about storing your chemicals? Contact us here!

Pool Closings Part 2: In-ground Pool Edition

in-ground pool

In-Ground Pools

With summer gone, it’s time for in-ground pool owners to close down their pools. Winter brings frigid temperatures and the resulting ice can cause thousands of dollars of damage to pools that aren’t prepared correctly. That makes properly closing down your pool an essential part of pool maintenance. We’d like to recommend these key steps to prepare your pool for fall weather and beyond.

In-Ground Pools

The first task in prepping your pool for its winter nap is to make sure the water chemistry is correctly balanced to last through the winter without corroding or forming scale on the sides of your pool. This will also keep the thousands of gallons you have in your pool clean and ready to use next summer.

Next, cycle the water through the pump and filter for a few days until chlorine levels to return to normal. Then add winter algaecide.

On closing day, clean the pool one last time. Be sure to use a brush on the walls and the bottom to clear any leftover algae or silt. Drain water from the pump, filtering, and heating systems.

It’s a general practice to drain the pool below the mouth of the skimmer inlet. The idea is to keep water out of the filter and pumping system. While this sounds convenient, freezing may be an issue if you have tile at the water line.

Looking for help closing your pool this year? Contact the experts here!

Tips on How To Properly Balance Your Swimming Pool

enzymes, pool

Balance Your Pool

With your swimming pool, it’s important to ensure that your water is properly balanced. This will help your pool stay clean and stay in the best shape for many years to come. This will also to ensure that your family and anyone else who swims in your pool is safe. Here are our best tips on how to balance your pool.

Balancing

Before you add chemicals into your pool, you should turn on your pump. This will circulate the chemicals you add throughout the whole pool.

When working with chemicals, you can only add a certain amount of each chemical per 10,000 gallons of water at one time. The amount depends on the chemical and your pool size.

If you need to add more than the maximum amount, add it slowly. You should add the max, then wait 6 hours before adding any more.

Alkalinity

Total alkalinity refers to the amount of alkaline in the water.

Adding alkaline material into your water first is the best method. It will act as a buffer for your pH scale.

pH

This is the acidity of the water. Ideally, you will want your water between 7.4-7.6.

Keeping your PH balanced will ensure the structure of your pool and equipment are not damaged from low or high levels.

Do you have questions about which chemicals you need for your pool, or how to balance your pool properly? Don’t hesitate to contact us!