Aquavisions Creates Custom Gunite Spa with Outdoor Living Area

What to Consider When Selecting Pool Furniture

So you’ve achieved a beautiful outdoor space complete with a patio, hardscaping, and a glistening swimming pool. But your project is not yet complete without pool furniture. You would think that furniture is only a minor accessory to your overall space, but that’s not the case. In fact, the furniture you bring into your pool area can have a major impact on how you use the space and how well it hosts guests. Take a look as we go down the list of things to consider when selecting the right pool furniture to fit your lifestyle and budget.

How do you plan to use each space?

First think through how you plan to use the various spaces around your pool and in your backyard. Do you enjoy entertaining large crowds, or will it mostly just be you and one or two other people? Maybe it’s a combination of both. Do you enjoy lounging and laying out, or do you want more space dedicated to outdoor cooking and dining? Best all off, your space can meet a combination of these wants and needs, if you plan it out right. Section off your space into smaller areas and designate which one will be for lounging, which one will be for eating, and which one will be for activities or entertaining.

What are your dimensions?

Sectioning off the various areas of your overall space will allow you to answer this important question. How large is your space and what is the right size furniture for that space? You may fall in love with a large outdoor sectional sofa, but your space may simply not allow for it. Before you start shopping, be sure you know the maximum dimensions for your furniture, as well as what combination of furniture will work best. For your lounge space, do you need 2 or 6+ lawn chairs? Do you have room to include any side tables, an umbrella, or something else? Mapping out your furniture needs and knowing your dimensions will greatly help you on your furniture shopping journey.

How will you store the furniture?

Another big consideration is how you will store all of your outdoor furniture. Having a lot of comfortable furniture to fill out your space is great, but it can be problematic when it comes time to storing it in the off season. Do you have space in your basement, garage, or shed? Can the furniture weather the winter outdoors? Don’t make the mistake of buying bulky furniture with cushions that doesn’t easily condense or stack, or you’ll be left with the challenge of storing it all properly.

What’s your budget?

After you’ve invested in creating a beautiful outdoor space, you will need to think about what is a reasonable budget for your pool furniture. Remember, you don’t need to purchase everything in the first year. This can be a multi-phase process as you use the space and learn what you want and need. It’s smart to visit friends who also have outdoor spaces to see what type of furniture they have and ask them for pricing and recommendations. Be sure to set a budget for this year, and stick to it. This will help to guide your purchases and prioritize what you buy this year.

What features are most important?

Finally, think about your must-haves and your nice-to-haves when it comes to furniture. You may need to make some concessions when it comes to getting what you want while sticking to your budget. For example, when it comes to lounge chairs, what features must you absolutely have? For some that’s cushions, for others that’s the ability for them to adjust and lay completely flat. These must-have features should guide your purchases, but also be prepared to let go of a few nice-to-have features in order to stick to your budget and overall design vision.

Selecting the furniture to bring your outdoor space to life should be a fun process, not a stressful one. Keep in mind that the search should be enjoyable, and it doesn’t have to be done in a week, a month, or even a year. It can be an ongoing process as you carefully design a space that is perfect for you and your family.

Have you furnished your pool space and have some tips to share? Or are you look for more advice for your own space? Join in the conversation by leaving a comment below.


The Hottest Pool Trends for Summer 2020

Summer 2020 is heating up and so are this season’s pool trends. If you’ve started designing your dream pool, or are even considering a pool project in the near future, you’ll want to be paying attention to the new and emerging trends that could help take your pool to the next level. Take a look as we “dive” into more detail on five of the top pool trends we’re seeing designed into all sorts of swimming pools this summer.

Unique Textures

This year is the time to take chances and try new and interesting textures for the finish of your swimming pool. For custom gunite swimming pools, a huge advantage is that you can select exactly the texture you want for your swimming pool. Some people love an extremely smooth and soft surface that glides under their feet as they swim. While others enjoy a more textured finish where you can feel the variations of the smooth pebbles embedded into the gunite. Best of all, there is no wrong choice. If you’re currently building a swimming pool, or dreaming of doing so, be sure to ask your pool company about all of your options because there may be more out there than you think!

Darker Pool Hues

Another popular trend this summer is designing pools with darker tones of finish. Why you might ask? There are several benefits to doing this. First, the darker colors helps your pool water to warm faster and to stay warm. It also hides minor dirt and debris better than a very light finish where nearly everything shows. Finally, it creates a natural, lagoon-like pool that blends in well especially here in Central Pennsylvania, with the natural colors of our lakes and creeks. Keep in mind that whatever color you choose will always look darker in the shade and lighter in the sun. This is why it’s so important to try out your samples in both types of settings.

Natural Entries and Stairs

Another hot feature for new pools this summer is incorporating natural entries and stairs so that you don’t have to have ladders or other means to enter the pool that can disrupt the design. Stairs and slopes that are naturally incorporated in your custom gunite swimming pool can really give it that “wow” factor and make it feel like a resort. Best of all, these features require little to no maintenance, unlike ladders which can rust or become broken over time. If you’re thinking of building a swimming pool, be sure to talk to your pool company about options for built-in stairs and slopes to achieve this great look.

Different Levels of Hardscaping

Another great trend we’re seeing this summer is varying level of hardscaping in the backyard. This allows for the hardscaping design to work with the natural elevation of your property without too much additional excavation, beyond what you’re already doing with your pool project. Better yet, the different levels of hardscaping really help to separate your spaces so that they can feel private and be used for different activities. For example, an upper level to your patio might be better suited for sitting or dining. Whereas a lower patio right near your pool is great for lounging and sunbathing. Plus, the stone stairs and landscaping you use to connect the spaces will create a stunning first impression for guests.

Shade and Shelter

And for our favorite trend of summer 2020, it’s shade and shelter features. It gets hot here during the summer in Central Pennsylvania! Come late July we can expect temperatures to rise as high as into the 100s. One of the best things a pool owner can do is to consider incorporating an element of shade or shelter such as a pergola or pool house. These can range from a full on house-like feature, or be kept simple with a wooden frame that ivy can grow on for shade. Choose what best fits your lifestyle and budget. We promise, come those dog days of summer, you won’t regret it!

Which of these pool trends would you want to see incorporated into your dream pool? Tell us by leaving a comment below.


How to Enjoy the Outdoors While Social Distancing

Earlier this month, Pennsylvania’s Governor ordered a stay-at-home mandate through the end of April to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus through social distancing. People are instructed to only travel for necessary and life-sustaining needs like groceries and medical appointments.

Fortunately, this stay-at-home order allows and encourages people to get outside for fresh air, exercise, and activities. However, people should stay within a 15 minute distance of their home when walking, biking, hiking, etc. As you can imagine, this has us all feeling like we’re in a bit of a glass cage right now. Especially for larger families or those with active children, getting outside is essential for burning off energy.

No matter what type of outdoor space is available to you – big or small, full of entertainment or simply an open lawn, there are a lot of opportunities to find fun in these challenging times. Take a look as we offer some ideas for enjoying the outdoors while social distancing.

Outdoor Family Workouts

You don’t have to be a fitness instructor or athlete to start partaking in outdoor family workouts. Best of all you can get in a great workout with little to no equipment, especially if you can make use of your outdoor space. Head to an open part of your yard, or driveway and make a game out of various exercise moves. Push-ups, squats, jumping jacks, sprints, lunges, frog hops, burpees, and so much more can be combined with a quick and fun workout geared toward all abilities.

Fun with Water

Spring is here and days are already starting to feel like summer. Before we know it, we’re going to need a way to stay cool in the heat. With the unknown of whether public pools will be open this season, having your own swimming pool is now that much more awesome. There are endless ways to make use of your swimming pool all throughout the summer, and especially in quarantine. Don’t have a pool? No worries. If you have a baby pool, garden hose, a few buckets, and maybe a piece of tarp laying around you can quickly create your own mini waterpark which will add some cool (and comic) relief to a hot and sunny afternoon.

Scavenger Hunt

Create a scavenger hunt for the whole family. Think of your property and what you’re most likely to find, obvious and no so obvious, then create your “hunt” list. Rather than making people pick up and carry around whatever they find, have them take photo evidence with their phones. Then you can compare pictures and tally up points. Beyond searching for objects, make it a challenge of who can get photos in certain poses or at certain places on your property. If you get creative, this can give you hours of fun.

Nature Spotting

Once you’re tired out from all the walking, hiking, biking, swimming, and whatever else you find yourself doing outside during quarantine, take a seat – outside of course. Then, sit still and quiet and write down everything you see and hear. If you pay close attention you’re likely to see and hear things you wouldn’t have otherwise. Try doing this a few times each week to see how sights and sounds change as spring progresses into summer. You’ll view the world in a whole new way.

Corona Olympics

So the 2020 summer Olympics were postponed, but that’s all the more reason to host your own “Corona Olympics.” Think of obstacles and activities you can set up outside and assign a point system. Get inspired by real summer Olympic activities (within reason of course). If you have a pool, there are a ton of competitions you can create from this alone. Even if you just have a driveway or small outdoor space, think of track and field activities. And you certainly don’t have to stick to real Olympics events. Get creative and have fun! Most importantly, make sure you create something you can use for your gold, silver, and bronze medals.

Imaginary Amusement Park

This final idea is an especially fun one for kids (of all ages). Take a seat outside in your lawn, or on your back deck. Regardless of how big your yard is, let the sky be the limit. Take a pen and paper and have everyone in your family sketch out what their dream amusement park would look like if they could create one right next to the house. Who can build the coolest coaster? Who can come up with the most exciting layout? Once everyone’s done, lay them out and compare the pieces you like most from each version. For bonus points, collaborate on combining your favorite elements into one final version that you can share in coloring. This will be a keepsake you’ll want to hang on to for years to come.

From everyone at Aquavisions, we hope you are staying safe and well during these extremely challenging times. While we all work to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19, we know there is still much joy to be found in simple moments with family like the ones we’ve outlined above.

How are you planning to enjoy the outdoors while social distancing this spring, and possibly into summer? Share your creative ideas by commenting below!


Summer 2020: There's never been a better time to have a swimming pool

With the start of a new decade, it’s safe to say we all had a bright outlook on what 2020 would bring. What any of us could not possibly have anticipated was a spring and (now possibly) summer spent in quarantine with kids out of school a whole 2+ months early.

With all that has transpired, our expectations of summer 2020 have also changed. On the bright side, there are still so many things to look forward to, and one of those is the start of swim season. As pools begin to open throughout this month and into next, let’s take a look at just a few reasons why those who have access to a pool this summer will be feeling particularly grateful.

Reason #1 There's Never Been a More Acceptable Time to Open Early

2020 will certainly be a memorable year for many reasons. For the swimming pool industry, we will forever remember this as the year a record number of pool owners chose to open their pools as early as March. You heard that right! In Pennsylvania, we very well could expect snow through April, yet with COVID-19 shutting down everything from government and schools to churches and parks, no one wants to take the chance that their swimming pool may not have the help of a professional pool company, like Blue Diamond Pool Services, to make sure it's ready for swim season. We get it - and we're ready to serve!

Reason #2 Public Pools and Lakes Could Look a Lot Different This Summer

We know that the Governor’s stay-at-home order will go to the end of April, with many speculating it will continue well beyond that. If that does become the case, May and June will be particularly trying months as people long for outdoor activities beyond walking and sitting outside. For those who normally utilize a public pool or lake to stay cool in the summer, it’s hard to say if these will still open on time, or at all, given the importance of social distancing. So, those who have a private pool in their backyard are particularly fortunate going into summer 2020.

Reason #3 Swimming in the Summer Never Goes Out of Style

With the start of each new swim season, when the covers come off pools and they’re cleaned and filled to perfection, it’s like a whole new world has opened before you. It’s hard to remember when you last swam (even if it was just last fall) and you can’t wait to jump in. Having a swimming pool this summer gives you guaranteed access to long, sunny days filled with splashing, floating, and lounging.

Reason #4 It’s a Silver Lining of Quarantine and Working from Home

Right about now, especially with the announcement of schools closing for the school year, families with swimming pools are really excited they can spread out a bit more in the coming months, while still adhering to the stay-at-home order. The only downside is that those of us still trying to work-from-home will be that much more tempted to take a Zoom call from a raft, or pack it up early to join the rest of the family by the pool. Everything in moderation, even moderation!

Reason #5 It’s Great Form of Exercise Right at Home

With more than a month under our belts in quarantine, we can all feel the effects of getting a bit stir crazy or bored with our at-home workouts. With a swimming pool, you can exercise outdoors, in the sun, while still staying cool. And it adds a great variation to all those walks and runs. And for people with joint or back issues, swimming is low impact and great for all abilities. So for those with a swimming pool this summer, be sure to make use of this great exercise option before you resort to the raft or lounge chair.

Things are bound to look a lot different for all of us this summer to various degrees. For those who already have a swimming pool in their backyard, we’re certain you’ll be feeling extra grateful to have this outlet with schools closing early and working from home. We hope you make the most of it, and use this extra family time to make some great memories!

Regardless of whether you have a swimming pool or not, what are something things you are looking forward to experiencing this summer? Tell us in the comments below.


Unique Pool Houses Designed to Inspire

Throughout our years of building custom gunite swimming
pools in Central Pennsylvania, we have seen a good number of pool houses
incorporated into the backyard design. Every pool house serves a unique purpose
for the people and families who plan to use the pool on a regular basis.

For some, it’s all about function and convenience. A nearby
bathroom and changing room, space to store snacks and drinks, and the ability
to lounge near the pool, but in the comfort of shade all are hot selling
points. But in addition to function, some pool owners look to design a pool
house that aims to add a “wow” factor – something that makes the space perfect
for entertaining crowds both large and small.

Take a look as we examine the design and function of four Aquavisions pool projects that happen to include some very unique pool houses. And a big thank you to Gary Knaub, owner of Fine Art Photo in Lemoyne, for his excellent photography work!

#1 Natural Beauty

This natural feeling, open-air pool house hits the right balance of shade and solitude while still feeling accessible to the pool and a part of the backyard entertaining area. Though you are just mere steps away from the pool and the main house, this pool house is a cabin-like retreat that calls in you and invites you to stay a while.

#2 Better Than a Resort

I think most of us would be content to call this pool house home, at least during the summer months in Pennsylvania! You can only appreciate its full beauty once you’re inside and looking up at its intricate peaked ceilings made entirely of wood and with up-lighting to perfect the ambiance. Imagine the smell of the steak on the grill, the warmth of the fireplace, and the sights and sounds of this colorful pool and water features in the evening!

#3 Statement Piece

This pool house draws you in from the moment you first enter the backyard space. When’s the last time you’ve seen a pool house with wainscoting and ceilings with beam detailing? The colors and décor makes it feel both sophisticated and inviting. The best part? You don’t have to choose between a fireplace and a television – here you have both!

#4 Margaritaville, Pennsylvania

This pool and pool house is Jimmy Buffet approved. Well, not officially but one look at the swim up bar with built in bar stools and you’ll see what we mean. The sunken living room and open air grilling space should provide anyone who loves to entertain with some major inspiration for their own outdoor space.

If you could design
your dream backyard space, would it include a pool and pool house? What special
features would be most important to you? We can help you explore all your
options and bring your dream space to life. Contact us today to get started!


When is the right time to open your pool for the swim season?

We promise – warmer weather is waiting right around the corner. And if you believe what Punxsutawney Phil said, you should be planning for an early spring. Regardless of the weather predictions of a groundhog, it’s not too soon to be thinking toward opening your swimming pool for the swim season. Take a look at a few pieces of advice we’d like to share to ensure this process is smooth and enjoyable for you.

Consider how soon you
plan to use your outdoor space.

As you are trying to determine the right time to open your
pool for the swim season, start by considering how you plan to use your outdoor
space, and how soon. Think beyond your swimming pool. It’s likely you have
hardscaping and patio space surrounding your pool, or a patio or deck you may
wish to use in the spring months. The reason this is important is because you
should consider whether you want to be looking at a covered pool, or an open
pool during the late spring months which can be prime time to be outside. Even
if you aren’t swimming quite yet, looking at an open people is arguably the
better view.

There are benefits to
being the early bird.

In Central Pennsylvania, it’s not likely you’ll be wanting
to dive into a swimming pool in April – or much sooner. However, there are
benefits to being among the first to open your swimming pool, even if it is a
few weeks before that first swim of the season takes place. First, your pool
company will thank you. Their schedules get incredibly full - and fast - as
more and more people want to open their pools into May and early June. Offering
to “go early” will ensure your pool gets open well ahead of swim season. An
additional benefit is that this also gives your pool water time to acclimate.
It will warm naturally as it’s exposed to the sun, even if the air isn’t very
warm yet. This will save you on heating! Finally, you will have time to ensure
all your pool’s chemicals are well balanced and everything is in working order
so when you’re ready to dive in, nothing will hold you back.

Contact your pool
company early.

No matter when you determine is the best time for you to
open your pool for the swim season, once very important piece of advice is to
contact your pool company early, if you plan to use them to open your pool.
Other pool owners will be calling them as well, some as early as January or
February! Why? Because everyone wants their pool opened when they want it
opened, and they don’t want any surprises. To ensure you’re on your pool
company’s schedule, contact them sooner than later. They will appreciate the
ability to plan in advance.

Learn from one year
to the next.

Finally, every year as a pool owner will teach you something
new. Reflect on the timing of opening and closing your pool last year. Is there
something you wish you did differently? Think like Goldilocks. If one year was
too early, and one year was too late, consider how this year you can get it just right.

Whether you’re just
beginning to explore the idea of building a swimming pool, or you’re looking
for advice to better maintain the pool you own – let’s talk! Contact
Aquavisions today
for expert pool advice.


What Is It Like to Own a Pool in Central Pennsylvania?

The region in which you live will have a large impact on your
pool ownership experience. The temperature, seasonality, and terrain of where
you call “home” will all play a role in various things you should consider when
exploring your options to build a swimming pool.

Specifically for Central Pennsylvania, there are some key
details that will make owning a pool in this region different from other
locations. Let’s take a look at a few unique aspects you should consider.

In the
dead of summer, you won’t want to leave your pool.

In Pennsylvania, we are fortunate to experience all four
seasons. That also means that in the summertime it can get very hot and stay
hot for quite some time. Typically about mid-July there is a week or two of
extreme heat moving into the triple digits! This is the time of year when
Central Pennsylvania pool owners are very grateful to have convenient access to
cooler waters. It becomes almost necessary to be in or near a pool in order to
enjoy the outdoors during this season.

Even when it’s not stifling hot, the months of late May
through early October are ideal weather conditions to enjoy a pool. This gives
us a pretty hearty swim season which quickly validates investing in your own
pool.

A custom
design can help with challenging terrain.

Particularly in Central Pennsylvania, there can be hilly and
uneven terrain. If you backyard is not perfectly level, it can create
challenges when designing your pool. One option is to excavate; however, rock
is also common in this area and can be hidden underground until you encounter
it when you’re digging up the land. These are great reasons to steer toward a
custom pool design that can be tailored to your property and allow you to solve
these challenges in creative and cost-effective ways.

If your backyard slopes and you don’t want to, or can’t level
it out, a custom pool with an exposed rock façade or infinity edge could be
great solutions. Additionally, features like a tanning ledge or built in bench
seating can reduce the amount you need to excavate.

Mind your
filters.

While Central Pennsylvania is known for its lush greenery, this also means debris from trees and bushes can wind up in your pool and ultimately in your filtration system. Pools with automatic cleaning and filtration systems are a great help for keeping your pool clean even when leaves are actively falling into it daily. However, you want to be sure to empty your skimmer baskets frequently so your pool can function properly and to avoid any damage to your filtration system.

A heating
system helps extend your swim season.

Incorporating some form of heating system into your swimming
pool will give you a longer length of time to enjoy your pool each year. With
the ability to heat your pool, you can open your pool sooner and close your
pool later, while maintaining a comfortable water temperature your whole family
can enjoy. When it comes to heating your pool, you have the option of gas,
solar, or electric heat, so be sure to talk to a trusted pool professional
about which one is right for your pool design and lifestyle.

Proper
winterization is key.

Finally, properly closing or “winterizing” your pool at the
end of the season is very important for Central Pennsylvania pool owners in
order to preserve the beauty and quality of their pool. Proper winterization
also helps to ensure that when you go to open your pool at the start of a new
season, there are fewer possibly surprises like damage to the pool’s structure
or contaminated water. For pools with a more complex heating or filtration
system, or a custom cover, it may be wise to hire a professional pool company
to close your pool for you so you can rest assured that it is done thoroughly
and correctly.

Are you curious to learn more about what it could be like to have your
own swimming pool?
Contact us today for a no-obligation conversation!


Tips for a Smooth and Enjoyable Pool Building Process

Designing and building a custom gunite swimming pool doesn’t
(and shouldn’t) be a stressful or drawn out process. When you find the right
pool company to meet your needs, it should actually be smooth and enjoyable! At
the end of it all, this experience should be a wonderful memory for you and your
family, made better only by the many years you’ll spend enjoying in your new
backyard oasis.

If you’re hesitant that a swimming pool project may be more
than you can handle, take a look at these tips for streamlining the process and
setting yourself up for a positive experience.

Establish
a clear vision for your pool, but stay open-minded.

It’s very helpful to begin the process by first understanding
your goals for your backyard space. How do you plan to use the pool? How many
people will you entertain on a usual day, and do you desire a space that can
ebb and flow to accommodate various numbers of guests? Websites like Houzz will
help to give you some ideas of possibilities and help you determine styles you
do and do not like.

The flip side of this coin is that while it’s great to have a
clear vision, you should also stay open-minded that certain things may need to
change to accommodate the size and shape of your backyard, your budget, and
restrictions based upon property lines or township requirements. A trusted pool
professional can help advise you on all of these things.

Begin the
process by doing your own research to start.

If you do an internet search for pool companies in your area,
you might be overwhelmed by the many options available to you. While an
internet search is a great starting point, you then need to narrow down your
results by doing further research. What type of pool are you looking to build?
What skills and qualifications are most important to you? Answering these
questions, and then doing your research on the companies who align with these
qualifications will help you identify the top two or three pool companies with
whom you should call and schedule a time to meet. This way, you’re not
overloading your schedule and possibly wasting your time with dozens of pool
companies who aren’t quite the best fit for your particular job.

Have your
initial meetings early.

Maybe you’ve only started to day dream about having your own
swimming. It’s not too early to talk to someone! If you feel confident that a
pool project is in your future, even in the next two to three years, it’s worth
having some initial conversations with potential pool companies.

First, these meetings will open your eyes as to what the pool
building process really entails; it will also help you get a ballpark figure
for the appropriate budget for your project. You will then have the information
you need to determine the direction and timeline of your project. Is this something
you want to pursue in the next 12 months, or is this now something you feel
like you want to wait on in order to better determine your design or save
toward your budget? The answer to this question and more are valuable things to
be gained from your initial meetings.

Let
quality and customer service guide your selection process.

The pool company you ultimately select as you professionals
to design and build your pool will have a large impact on your experience with
the project. This is why doing your research and having initial meetings early
is so important for a smooth and enjoyable pool building process. To help guide
you toward the best selection for you, let quality and customer service guide
your decision. What company has the most experience building the type of pool
you desire? Do your personalities ‘mesh’ well? Remember, these are people you
will be working closely with over the course of the next year or more. When you
base your decision on quality and customer service, you are likely to find a
company who will deliver your expected results.

Be
realistic about your project timeline.

Another tip for making any home project more enjoyable is to
be realistic about your project timeline. Things tend to take longer than we
would like them to. Managing your own expectations from the start will help
reduce stress or feeling like you’re behind, when really you’re right on track
by industry standards.

“Sleep”
on major decisions, but don’t overthink it.

At various points in your pool project, you’ll be faced with
large decisions that will greatly impact the look and functionality of your
pool – not to mention the cost. While it’s important you take these decisions
seriously, don’t drag things out for weeks or months. Give yourself a few days
to reflect on your options, do some research, ask a trusted friend, and then
make your decision and move on. Not only will this help keep your project on
deadline, it will prevent you from overthinking things.

Stay
focused on your “why.”

Finally, keep your eye on the prize. The goal of your pool
project is to create a fun and welcoming space where you can relax and create
memories for years to come. There are many ways this can be achieved.
Throughout the building process there may be changes and challenges that will
cause you to adjust your initial plan. By staying focused on the “why” of your
project, you will keep a level head and a positive perspective.

Are you ready to take the first step toward building your dream pool?
There’s no need to be intimidated by or nervous about the process.
Contact us today so we can paint a clearer picture of what you
should expect when working with Aquavisions.


Gas, Electric, and Solar: A Breakdown of Your Pool Heating Options

The ability to heat a swimming pool drastically expands the seasons in which you can use a pool, especially in areas that aren’t warm year-round. Many of our pool owners will start swimming well before Memorial Day and long after Labor Day, sometimes putting off closing their pools until October or November. And for those who have spas, many will opt to heat these all winter long.

So what are the best options for heating your outdoor water features? There are a few different types of heating systems available for custom swimming pools and spas. Each one has unique characteristics that may make it the best option for your setup. Let’s take a closer look at the three main options and the pros and cons to consider for each.

Electric
Heat Pump

In a typical installation, this style of heater is utilized
for its ability to maintain a desired temperature in your swimming pool
and extend the usable season of your pool. This is NOT a quick, “on-demand”
heating system, it requires a little bit more forethought and planning to work
efficiently.

The heat exchanger in the heat pump “pulls” heat from the
outside air temperature and transfers it to your pool water. The warmer it is
outside, the quicker your pool water can get up to temperature. For this
reason, it is not the best choice if you want 84 degree pool water when it is
50 degrees outside! It is also not a good solution to heat up a spa that may be
designed as part of your pool project.

Clients often look for spa water temperatures in the 98 –
104 degree range. A heat pump will not do the job. However, most of our clients
are only looking to gain an additional month of swimming early in the season
(May) and a month on the back end of the season (September/October). A heat
pump is a great way to get consistent pool temperatures of 82 – 84 degrees
during those months.

The energy efficiency of the heat pump comes from slowly warming
the water up. It will take a few days for the heat pump system to get your
water up to those temperatures…so plan accordingly. There are also times during
the hottest parts of the summer when your pool starts to become too warm to be
refreshing. Heat pumps can now be installed to actually help keep your pool
cooler! Be sure to ask your pool professional if this may be an option worth
exploring.

Gas Heaters (Natural Gas or Propane)

If natural gas is available and installed at your home, you
will be able to connect a heater to your gas meter to take advantage of what is
already available to you. If natural gas is not an option at your residence,
you can purchase or rent a propane tank to supply the fuel necessary to install
a gas burning heater.

Both natural gas and propane heaters come with a couple of
installation options and challenges that need to be considered. For natural gas
applications, the pool heater that is being installed has certain requirements
for the volume and pressure of gas needed to operate the heater correctly. Your
pool professional will need to coordinate with a plumber who is certified to
install gas lines and hook ups to make sure that the system installed on your
residence will meet these requirements.

There may be instances where the size of your gas meter or
supply lines need to be upgraded to meet these requirements. For propane gas
installations, you need to have a tank that supplies the gas to your heater. If
you do not already have one or need a larger one, you can sit a tank above
ground or choose to bury your tank. With either option, your tank needs to be
within 100 feet of an area for a gas tanker truck to park and refill your tank
as needed. So consider this as you are designing your project.

Unlike Electric Heat Pump pool heaters, gas heaters are
designed to quickly heat up your pool or spa and have the ability to get water
temperatures up to 104 degrees. For that reason, if a built in spa is part of
your project design a gas heater is your ticket. The gas heater has a dual
thermostat, so it can be utilized to heat both the pool and the spa. You can
set the pool temperature to 84, but when you feel like slipping into the spa
for some relaxation you can boost the spa temperature up to 102 with the same
heater. This heater selection is better for that on-demand, “having a pool
party this weekend” type of customer. If you use it as a consistent pool
heater, you will burn through gas quickly! Be prepared for some hefty gas bills
if you have a larger swimming pool.

Solar or
Geothermal Heating Systems

These systems are a little less common in the Northeast part
of the country, but are available options. These two types of installation will
require coordination between your pool contractor and a professional contractor
that specializes in that particular system. There are many different options
available to consumers on solar heating systems, it is just a matter of finding
what works for you.

Geothermal systems are typically installed with a new home
being built where a geothermal heating source is already being planned for. One
thing is for sure though, these systems work and are environmentally friendly!

Dual Heat Systems

Here is where we can get creative! We can combine any of
these options to get a pool heating system that is truly custom. For example: If
you have a pool and spa combination, we can install an electric heat pump to
consistently keep both bodies of water at 84 degrees and also install a gas
heater just for the spa to “boost” the heat up to 104. You could also
supplement these heaters with a solar or geothermal system to further customize
your options.

The most important takeaway is that you have options! Technology
is constantly growing and improving, so be sure to seek the advice of an
experienced pool company who understands what’s available on the market, and
can present you with the best options for your pool project. With the
investment you’re making in your pool, you want to be sure you get exactly what
you want – and that you have a pool that is comfortably and functional for your
lifestyle.

If you have
additional questions about the right heating system for your pool or spa, contact
Aquavisions today
and we can help you!


What You Need to Know About Building an Indoor Pool

When a homeowner wants to build
an indoor pool (especially in the Northeast), it’s often so that they can enjoy
it year-round. And that might be a good reason to do it, especially if the
client is a competitive swimmer or training enthusiast.

Other times, it is for health or
therapy reasons since swimming offers a low impact and buoyant exercise that is
good for the joints. Additionally there are all sorts of different specialized
equipment for underwater exercise including treadmills, pull up bars, and swim
jets where you swim against a current of water.

Dehumidification

The biggest difference in doing a
pool indoors as compared to outdoors is the need for dehumidification systems
to “treat” the room. Moisture and interior surface materials (drywall, wood,
insulation, etc.) typically don’t interact well!

It is imperative to hire a good
HVAC company and designer to ensure that the moisture in the room is being
addressed. Windows will need air returned onto them to prevent condensation and
fogging, air handling units need to take moisture out of the air, and the
heating/cooling system will need to interact with the pool water temperature to
make sure that the room itself doesn’t feel like a rainforest.

The contractor that is building
the structure around the pool should also help provide guidance on finish
materials that are suitable for wet conditions. Because of the complexity
created by all of these moving parts, it is important to hire an experienced
pool construction firm that is comfortable working with timeframes and
schedules of other contractors involved in the project.

Impact on Project Cost and Timeline

The pool will be one of the first
things started on the project but, will be the last to finish since adding
water to the pool is the final piece. There is typically not a large change in
how much the pool will cost compared to an outdoor pool. The big difference is
what you will need to spend on the dehumidification system of the room itself.

Don’t skimp on this system! Protect your investment and make sure that your system will keep the room comfortable and your materials protected. Also, indoor pools are generally smaller than outdoor pools. Because of the cost associated with the actual room construction and dehumidification systems required, the room size will dictate the pool size.

Experienced with Indoor Pools

Aquavisions has had the pleasure
of completing several indoor pool projects for clients over the years. One of
our most recent projects is a small to mid-sized pool as part of a new home
construction. The house is located on a unique lot that overlooks a famous
Pennsylvania trout stream in the State College area. The slopes and elevations
of the terrain, along with the water table elevation required the services of a
commercial construction company to build the foundation(s) of the home.

Once the foundations were in
place, Aquavisions came in and installed the concrete pool shell within those
foundation walls. The end product allows the clients to gaze out of their
windows (while swimming in their pool!) and enjoy the view of the tumbling
stream beyond. As part of the building process, the home builder had to build a
bracing structure within our pool shell and constructed an entire floor OVER
our pool so that they could continue to work on the rest of the home. Then we
came back, peeled that floor away, and completed the indoor pool project. It
was quite a magnificent end product!

If you would like more information about building an indoor pool, or
any pool, contact Aquavisions today
to start a conversation.