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.


Expert Advice on Closing Your Swimming Pool for the Season

EOnce Labor Day has passed, the weather begins to cool and
the leaves start to fall, pool owners naturally begin to think about when they
plan to close their pool for the winter season. There are many questions
surrounding this process including when is the best time to close a pool, and
what pool company should you trust with this important task.

To help us answer some of the most essential pool questions,
Mark Murphy of Blue Diamond Pool Services (Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania) joins
us to provide his expert input. Take a look!

Guide us through the
basic process of closing a gunite swimming pool for the winter season.

Blue Diamond Pool
Services
: When we close a swimming pool at least two service technicians
will arrive onsite. One technician will work pool side while the other focuses
on the equipment pad. While working pool side we will clean the pool one final
time and lower the water level approximately 3-4” below the tile band.

Throughout the process they will remove pool accessories
(fittings, ladders, railing, etc.) and prepare the pool to be covered, which
includes unrolling the cover, turning up anchors, and install cable systems.
While this is happening, the second technician is winterizing pool equipment
and clearing water from plumbing lines.

Finally some winter chemicals will be added and the pool
will be covered by both technicians. While closing the pool, we are proactively
giving the pool and filter system one final inspection for the year and making
note of any issues. No one wants to have a “surprise” next spring!

How does this differ
from closing other types of pools?

BDPS: Gunite
pools generally offer more options in and around the pool. Things like
waterfalls, water features, in-floor agitation systems, tile work, etc. all
impact the number of plumbing lines to winterize, the amount of equipment to
address on pad, where water level needs to be maintained, and how the cover is
secured.

What is the ideal
time frame to close a swimming pool and why?

BDPS: There is really
no right or wrong answer. We will close our first pool in August and our last
pool in December. Homeowners will keep pools open longer not to always use
them, but to keep the aesthetic of their back yard. Your ever-changing life
schedules will help to determine your pool closing, but in a lot of cases the
biggest factor is the surroundings of the pool. Keeping up with leafs can be
never ending, so finding a balance between enjoyment and hassle is what usually
determines each pool owner’s “right” time.

What are the risks of
trying a DIY approach to closing your own swimming pool?

BDPS: The type of
pool and the variables mentioned above will greatly determine whether or not a
homeowner should even think about tackling a pool closing on their own. Having
the necessary equipment to complete the job, the attention/know-how to get
every line blown and plugged, and the help to get the pool cover on and secure
are all essential to a thorough pool closing. If a pool is not winterized
properly the chance of pipes freezing and breaking is very real in
Pennsylvania.

Without an established relationship with a service company
getting issues corrected in the spring can sometimes be difficult with the
seasonal workload. By using a reputable pool service company it ultimately
should give the pool owner peace of mind and assurance that come next spring
their pool will be ready when they need it to be.

And one last piece of
advice…

BDPS: As the fall
season creeps in on us, swimming pools can become an afterthought. It is
important to maintain your pool until it is closed for the year. Leafs
compacting in the skimmer and strainer baskets will restrict flow and function
of filtration system. Letting water chemistry get away at the end of the season
can lead to scaling and interior finish imperfections.

And remember…what you
don’t do this year will potentially catch up with you next swim season!


10 Myths About Custom Gunite Swimming Pools - Debunked!

1Once you decide you want something, like the convenience and luxury of having your own swimming pool, there are few things that can hold you back. Many of these things prove to be myths or misconceptions once you pull back the curtain and learn the truth. 

This is exactly what we’re going to do for the
10 most common myths that often hold back hopeful pool owners from pulling the
trigger and starting their pool project. Let’s take a look at the truths behind
the matter and put to rest all the myths that might be holding you back from
starting the process of building your dream pool today. Take a look!

Myth #1: Gunite is way more expensive than
other types of pools.

Truth: Not necessarily. A variety of factors will
impact the cost of any type of swimming pool including: size, job site access
and topography, design, features, materials, and excavation requirements. The
unique design flexibility, material durability and longevity that gunite pool
projects provide can often offer the most “bang for your buck”.

Myth #2: Building a pool is a long and drawn
out process. 

Truth: Like any construction project, building a
custom gunite pool follows a certain process. However, this process can and
often does flow smoothly. Customers can have a large impact on the building
process by making clear and efficient decisions on pool design and material
finishes in the planning stages of the project. Furthermore, working with a
professional pool company with experienced project managers will keep your pool
project moving forward seamlessly.

Myth #3: A pool will cause my utility bills to
skyrocket.

Truth: It’s true that a pool, especially one that is
heated, will indeed increase your electric, water and possibly gas consumption.
But smart and efficient use of your pool will not cause your utility bills to
“skyrocket” more than what is to be expected. Variable speed pumps, proper
hydraulics and pipe sizing, and installing the most efficient heating systems
possible are a few of the options we can walk you through to maximize your pool
fun and minimize the utility bills.

Myth #4: Learning how to maintain the pH levels
of a gunite pool will be hard. 

Truth: Like most things in life, there is a learning
curve, but once you know what you’re doing it becomes easier. The same is true
of managing a gunite pool (or any other type of pool for that matter)! Our pool
professionals will teach you how to test the pool water chemistry and make the
necessary adjustments. It only takes a few minutes per week to maintain good
water quality and a balanced pH in your pool. And if you’d rather hand this off
to a professional, we can do that too!

Myth #5: All the decisions involved will stress
me out. 

Truth: When working with a professional and
experienced pool company, many of the major decisions will be made easy because
we guide you through every step of the process and provide sound
recommendations. It’s our responsibility to offer you the best pool design to
meet your wants and needs. 

Myth #6: It will feel like a second job
communicating with all of these contractors.

Truth: Again, this is a core responsibility of your
pool company to be the project manager and make sure everyone is effectively
communicating with one another. It’s our job to manage all the moving pieces
(see Myth #2) and to keep all parties informed of what’s going on and what the
next steps in the project are. We will work hard to ensure that the entire
process, from designing your dream pool, continuing on through construction,
and splashing in with the first cannonball is an enjoyable one!

Myth #7: Maintaining a pool is hard work. 

Truth: It’s fair to expect that there will be certain
responsibilities that come with owning a swimming pool, but these do not need
to require excessive amounts of your time. Simple and manageable maintenance
tasks, like cleaning out your filters and checking your pool’s chemical levels,
will only take a few minutes of your time throughout the week. This, compared
to the hours you’ll enjoy swimming in your pool each week, is a reasonable
trade off.

Myth #8: Maintaining a pool is expensive. 

Truth: Every pool we build is sanitized by a
salt/chlorine generator. Saltwater pools require only a few bags of salt
throughout the season, which are far less expensive than buying chlorine
“shock.” Our goal is to put the least amount of chemicals in the pool as
possible, which in turn reduces maintenance costs. While there are other costs
associated with maintaining a pool, like investing in a quality pool cover to
winterize your pool, these are long-lasting investments that are not required
annually. 

Myth #9: It’s cheaper/more convenient to use a
community pool or country club.

Truth: Building your own swimming pool is an
investment. While it may seem more convenient or less expensive to continue to
use a community pool or a country club, consider the long-term costs and
requirements. You will thoroughly enjoy the convenience of walking out your
back door to your own, private swimming pool. You are also likely to use it a
lot more! Additionally, the cost of other pool memberships quickly add up over
the years. You’ll never pay a membership to use your own pool. 

Myth #10: Opening and closing a swimming pool
each season will be stressful.

Truth: It’s so important to properly prepare your
swimming pool for the seasons, whether this is opening it for summer, or
closing it for winter. The good news is a professional pool company can make
this stress-free for you. Trusting a reputable service company to open and
close your pool takes the stress out of this task and may also reinforce
warranties provided by your pool builder and pool filter equipment
manufacturers.

If you spent this summer dreaming about having
your own swimming pool, what’s holding you back? Now that you know most of the
common hesitations are myths or misconceptions, let’s start making your pool
owning dreams a reality!

Contact us today to get started.


Are You Ready to Be a Pool Owner? Here's What You Should Consider.

AIf there was a single, most important question everyone should ask themselves before starting to build a swimming pool it is “Am I ready to be a pool owner?” In case your initial answer to this question is “I don’t know. What will it require of me?” then let us help by breaking this responsibility down into five key questions that will help you consider some important things.

How will you prepare non-swimmers to swim safely?

Pool safety is our top priority, as we’re sure it is yours. If you have young swimmers, or even adults who are not strong swimmers, it’s important to think about what steps you will take to prepare everyone who will be around your pool frequently to swim independently and safely. You may wish to sign children up for professional swim lessons early. Additionally, you should invest in life vests and life saving devices to have near the pool. Finally you should consider the many ways you can incorporate safety features and alarms around your home and pool to make sure children only have access to the pool when supervised.

Who will be responsible for pool maintenance?

The next big question is who will be responsible for pool maintenance. This includes everything from skimming out debris from the pool, emptying filters, keeping the pool area free of dirt and grass, and watching for any signs of wear and tear that may need to be addressed. Consistent maintenance, especially from the beginning, is essential for keeping your pool running at its optimal performance. This is also a great way to assign out some of these chores to family members to get everyone involved and feeling responsible for the pool!

Will you be diligent about monitoring and testing the water? 

This question is an important one. Being diligent about monitoring and testing your pool water will prevent large problems from arising down the road. Not only will you enjoy clearer, better looking water when your water chemistry is correct, your pool’s finishes and filtration system will also last longer. It’s possible to do this on your own, with the right training from a professional pool company. Or you can hire a professional pool company to monitor, test and adjust your water chemistry for you for a reasonable monthly fee.

How will you establish “pool rules” for family and friends?

Next you should think through your family’s pool rules and how you will manage guests wanting to use your space. Rules are important, not only to maintain control over who visits and when, but also for ensuring safety. Will you allow guests to stop by and use the pool when you’re not home? What do they need to know about using your pool and pool equipment? Are neighborhood kids allowed to swim without a parent or guardian accompanying them? These may seem like minor details, but the earlier you can think through your pool policies, the better prepared you will be to handle these scenarios and help guests understand your preferences and expectations.

Who will close and open your pool each season?

A final and very important consideration is who will be responsible for closing and opening your pool each season. The reason it’s important to consider this is because it’s not typically an easy DIY project. In many cases, you are better off working with a professional pool company, like Blue Diamond Pool Service, who is experienced doing this and who can ensure it’s done properly each and every time. Additionally, depending upon the style and shape of your pool, a custom cover or closing/opening process may be needed. For these reasons, it’s important to get input from a professional pool company, and to also budget for whatever costs may be associated with opening and closing your pool each season.

Depending upon your answers to these questions, do you feel you’re ready to be a pool owner? Or do you have another question you’d like to ask a pool professional? Contact us today so we can begin to walk you through our process for building custom gunite swimming pools.


5 Unexpected Benefits of Having Your Own Swimming Pool

5When thinking about the many reasons for wanting to build your own swimming pool, a few easily rise to the top. You want an easy way to keep cool in the summer, it is great entertainment for kids (of all ages!), you enjoy being outside, you want to feel like you’re on vacation all season long – and the list goes on. 

But have you considered some of the less obvious, maybe even unexpected benefits of owning a pool? Like how your whole family is more likely to stay active throughout the summer, or how your children will have the opportunity to become strong and safe swimmers? Once you add these following benefits to your full list of “pros,” you just might be ready to pull the trigger on building your custom gunite swimming pool sooner than later! 

1. Convenience and Comfort

Many people underestimate just how convenient and comfortable it is to have your own swimming pool right in your backyard. Gone will be the days of packing up all the swim gear, snacks, drinks, your own lawn chairs and towels and trekking the whole family out to a crowded public pool or lake. You control the water temperature, style of lawn chairs, types of towels, and much more. And you can actually float on a raft in peace!

2. You’ll Entertain More

Having a pool, especially during those dog days of summer, will instantly make you the friend everyone wants to know. This will give you a reason to reach out to friends and family and invite them over, when maybe you might not have otherwise. A pool is also an easy form of entertainment for guests of all ages. Put out some snacks and you’re ready to go!

3. Opportunity to Develop Strong Swimming Skills

No matter your age, having strong swimming skills is extremely important. Children (and adults) who grow up with frequent access to swimming will develop these skills much sooner, and can continue to refine them. With your own swimming pool, your children will get to practice almost daily under safe supervision. You could even have a swim instructor come to your home to provide formal lessons. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that!

4. Easy Option for Exercise and Activity

When you have a pool right outside your door, glistening in the summer sun, it becomes a lot harder to find an excuse to stay inside. When you spend the majority of your free time in or near your pool, you’re going to get a lot more exercise and activity than watching TV, playing video games, or surfing through YouTube clips on the computer. This is particularly important for children who are home during the summer. Additionally, swimming is great exercise than you enjoy at any age or skill level. Just remember to always keep pool safety a top priority and monitor or assist those who are not strong swimmers.  

5. Avoid the Hassle and Cost of Pool Memberships

Finally, you will be able to say goodbye to the hassle and cost of pool memberships. If you’ve ever had a country club membership to have access to their pool, you know just how quickly this adds up with initiation fees, membership dues, plus minimum monthly spends. Even public pool memberships can add up over time and be a hassle with the lines and fighting for a spot to put down a chair or towel. By eliminating this expense (and hassle), and investing it toward your own pool, it can help you make some wiggle room in your budget to further justify why building your own swimming pool is a smart, long-term investment.

Which one of these benefits would be enough reason for you to build a swimming pool? Or is there another benefit you’ve been considering that would make a pool project an easy “Yes!” for you? We encourage you to list these reasons out and really think about everything you could gain from investing in your own pool. Most pool owners’ only regret is not getting started sooner!

Ready to learn more? Let’s talk!


How to Pick the Right Finishes for Your Custom Gunite Swimming Pool

When
building a custom gunite swimming pool, you have so many options available to
you to truly make it a pool customized to your exact wants. Size and shape are
just the beginning! You will get to choose what features you want to include,
like built in seating, ledges, steps, fire features, infinity edges, and more.
Regardless of the combination of features you choose, there is one thing every
pool owner will need to decide upon when building their swimming pool – and
that’s its finishes!

Throughout
the process of designing and building your swimming pool, selecting the
finishes is one of the biggest decisions you will need to make. But don’t let
this stress you out! The good news is that with the guidance of your
professional pool company and the following tips, you’ll be well equipped to
make smart and stylish choices. Here’s a look at a few considerations you’ll
want to keep in mind when selecting your pool’s finishes.

Look at the big picture.

When
choosing the decorative tile border that will accent your pool, and the Pebble-Tec
finish for the pool’s interior, you’ll want to see how these elements
complement one another. Additionally, you want to keep in mind the color and
style of your hardscaping that will also play into the big picture of your
backyard space. While any one of these elements may look great alone, keep in
mind that they will impact one another when they all come together in your pool
area. Place samples of each piece side by side to visualize how they look
together.

Take lighting into consideration.

When
selecting your pool’s band of tile and interior finish, keep in mind that the
colors will appear different in various degrees of lighting. Your pool will
appear darker when it’s cloudy outside or when the sun is not directly
overhead. Alternately, colors will appear brighter and lighter on sunny days.
Consider the pattern of the sun in your backyard and also the look you want to
achieve most of the time. While there will always be variation in lighting, you
want to select the colors of finishes that work with the way the natural
lighting is in your backyard the majority of the time.

Test out both the look and the feel.

The Pebble-Tec interior finish of your pool comes in 48 different colors, but also keep in mind that it has 3 different textures as well. You can drastically impact the feel of your pool, literally, by the type of texture you select. Some pool owners prefer a very smooth, glass-like finish, while others like extreme texture. Still others like something a little more in the middle. It’s great that Pebble-Tec offers a selection for this very reason! When looking at samples, you will likely be feeling the dry texture with your fingers. Remember that this will feel different when it’s wet and felt by your feet. If at all possible, try to find a pool with that finish so you can see it in water and feel it under foot. Another reason why you'll want to see the finish when it is wet is because the color will darken up significantly, which is how it will look when the pool is filled with water.

Choose timeless over trendy.

Our
final, and quite possibly most important tip is when selecting the finishes of
your pool try to choose timeless over trendy. While there will certainly be
ways to incorporate new trends and technology into other elements of your
swimming pool, for the pool’s finishes, you want to aim for timeless. Why?
Because you want to be as happy with the colors and textures of your finishes
today as you will be 20+ years from now. If you go with a bold color now, it’s
likely you’ll grow tired of it overtime. A more subtle or natural color will
age well. You can always add pops of color in your pool’s accessories like
umbrellas, patio furniture, pillows and towels. These are far easier and less
expensive to change out over time. When it comes to your pool’s finishes, think
long-term!

Do you have another question related to picking
the right finishes for your pool? If you’re ready to begin design your dream
backyard, give us a call today!


Opening Day: Tips to Prepare Your Pool for the Swim Season

OWe can finally say with certainty – warmer days are ahead of us! This means that pool owners will soon be enjoying fun and sun in the water for many months to come. But to get to that moment, you must first accomplish the very important step of properly preparing your pool for the swim season.  

For pool owners who want a smooth and seamless pool opening – and we imagine that’s everyone – take a look at 5 things you can do to help your pool company provide you with top quality service and a well prepared pool.

1. Be proactive when scheduling your pool’s opening.

Keep in
mind that pool companies start booking their pool services well in advance,
especially for pool openings. When you’re ready to have your pool open, it’s
likely most other people who own a pool in your area have the same idea. It’s
smart to be proactive when setting the date for your service. Additionally, if
you have a special event or occasion for which you want your pool to be open
and looking its best, we recommend opening your pool at least two weeks prior
to that date. This way any unforeseen issues can be corrected in time and the
pool will impress your guests.

2. Make sure the pool is topped off with water before your pool service company arrives to open the pool.

When the
pool is winterized and closed for the season, the water level is lowered and
lines are blown out to prevent freeze damage. In the spring opening season, your
pool company needs to have enough water back in the pool to be able to start up
the pumps and filtration systems. Consult your service company to find out what
the proper water level should be for your pool before they arrive to open the
pool. If this step gets missed, it could result in the service company needing
to schedule a 2nd trip to your pool to start the system up, which will bring an
extra bill with it!

3. Have any necessary pool equipment and components available for the service company before they show up.

Typically,
your pool service company will leave some items for you to store for the winter
when they are done closing your pool for the season. These items might include
skimmer strainer baskets, plumbing fittings and plugs, ladders and railings,
and various other small items. An easy way to keep everything together is to
place them all in a plastic tub or bin for storage. When you schedule your spring
opening, make sure that your bin full of “pool stuff” is out by the pool or
somewhere that is accessible to your pool technician. If it is locked in a shed
and we don’t have access to it, we will have to reschedule and you may get hit
with a “trip charge” for our lost time.

4. Do a general clean up around the pool area.

Take a
broom or leaf blower and eliminate as much debris from around the pool as
possible. Also, clean up after any pets that may have been walking around the
pool area. Dodging doggy doo all day doesn’t make for a happy service tech! We
want to open your pool and have it as clean and inviting (although maybe a
little chilly to swim in yet) as possible. The more debris we have to clean up
around the pool, the less time we are spending on the actual pool, and the
higher your invoice will be!

5. Have reasonable expectations.

We pride
ourselves on going “above and beyond” the call of duty at pool openings so that
when we leave, the pool is sparkling and ready for the season. That being said,
just because we leave an immaculate pool behind as we pull out of the driveway
doesn’t mean a storm can’t roll through and blow a bunch of leaves into the
pool. There are always a few circumstances beyond our control that can affect
the status of a pool opening. We provide a full service opening for our
customers which means we vacuum all debris out of the pool, adjust the water
chemistry and start up all pool mechanicals to ensure everything is in proper
working order. Other pools service companies may just pull the cover off and
turn on the pumps…the rest is up to you! Different levels of services come with
different costs. So if you are shopping around for quotes to open your pool,
make sure you know what is included in the estimate for the service. Don’t make
the mistake of comparing apples to oranges.

Are you preparing to open a
swimming pool this season? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions or
for some expert advice. Contract us today!


4 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Your Swimming Pool

It’s hard to imagine that there are truly “bad” swimming pool trends or designs that could offset the luxury and convenience (not to mention fun!) of owning your own swimming pool. And in our experience, there are not that many at all! We live by the philosophy of “to each their own.” That’s the beauty of being a custom pool design company. Every client and every pool is unique – as it should be. What one person may love in a pool, may not be the other person’s cup of tea, and that’s quite alright.

Instead, we wanted to take a humorous approach as to how you essentially can’t go wrong with your pool design, so long as you are using quality materials and working with an experienced and professional pool company. So what are the four swimming pool mistakes you should avoid at all costs? Take a look!

  1. Copying someone else’s pool – exactly.

Foremost, where’s the fun in this? The whole concept of choosing a custom pool company is the ability to custom design your very own swimming pool, one that is unlike anything anyone else has! While it’s perfectly fine, and often helpful to show your pool company pictures of other pools you admire and may want to pull design elements from, you should want to have a truly custom design. Second, every backyard is unique in its size, shape, slope and view. How someone else’s pool fits on their property will not be how your pool fits on yours. All the more reason to embrace the flexibility and creativity of a custom pool design!

  1. Choosing short-term solutions.

The next mistake is choosing short-term solutions in an effort to save on cost or time, and as a result you set yourself up for higher maintenance or increased costs down the road. Sure, you can technically skimp on some technical aspects of your swimming pool, but you will only be shooting yourself in the foot. If you don’t install an adequate filtration system, guess who will have to make up for the slack? You will through more manual labor! It’s so important to properly budget for long-term, common sense solutions and technologies for your pool, to make pool ownership a joy and convenience long-term.

  1. Favoring glitz over function.

It’s so tempting to want to spend a large portion of your pool budget on features and finishes that provide that “wow” factor. And there’s no problem with doing so unless you then have to sacrifice function. Whenever you are making a design decision on your pool, whether it be its shape, size, depth, finish, and the list goes on, make sure you are also asking yourself (and your pool company), could this negatively impact the functionality of the pool. For example, if you’re not prepared for your electric bill to double due to the cost of maintaining and heating your pool and adjoining hot tub all summer (and possibly spring and fall), then you may wish to scale back on the depth or square footage to create a smaller pool.

  1. Not going with your gut instinct.

No matter how you slice it, building a residential swimming pool is a large project. There are many decisions you’ll need to make starting with what pool company you choose to bring your vision to life. The biggest mistake a potential pool owner can make is not listening to their gut instinct when it tells you what pool company will be the best fit, what budget is most reasonable for you right now, what design and finishes you should select, and countless other examples. Every step of the way you should be listening to these instincts and communicating them with your spouse or anyone else involved in your pool building project. To ensure you are fully happy with the finished project, your gut will almost always lead you in the right direction.

Is there another mistake you’ve seen made when people design their swimming pool? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below!


What’s the Right Swimming Pool Design for My Backyard?

When designing a custom gunite swimming pool, there are few limitations to what you can create. Everything can truly be customized to what you want. However, there are several factors that will impact what design will work best for your space.

Foremost the size and shape of your pool will depend upon your backyard and where your property lines are located. Additionally, the layout of your pool, including features such as fire elements or an infinity edge, will also be impacted by the size and sloping of your backyard. Finally, you don’t want to overlook how the design of your pool will also determine your hardscaping.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors individually to better understand how they can and will impact the design of your custom gunite swimming pool.

Size

One major benefit of a gunite swimming pool is that you are not limited by size. So long as you have the space, your pool can truly be whatever size you desire. Most often it’s your property that will determine the size of your swimming pool. What size of pool will best fit your space? How much of your property do you want to reserve for other uses? These are just a few questions to consider. You will also want to take into account your township’s rules and regulations for swimming pool setbacks and size, as this can have an impact on your pool’s design.

Shape

The next consideration of your pool design is shape. Again, building with gunite allows you infinite possibilities for your pool’s shape. For some property layouts, a geometric design is the perfect fit. For other types of properties, a free form design might better allow you to maximize your space. You may also have a personal preference as to the shape of your pool.

One of the most important things you should consider when choosing the shape of your pool is how you plan to use it. For example, if you want to be able to swim long, straight laps, you might be better suited with a rectangular pool. Or if you want your pool to provide various “nooks” where people can spread out to relax and socialize, a free form design can best accomplish this.

Location

As for the physical location and layout of your pool, this goes beyond simply “fitting” your pool on your property. You’ll want to consider how close you want your pool to your home. Some clients prefer a pool set further away from their home with an adjacent pool house for convenience. Others want to be able to step out their back door and be just feet away from water. Think of what will best fit your lifestyle and how you plan to use your pool, as well as the rest of your backyard area.

Features

Another important aspect of pool design is the addition of features such as a sun deck, fire elements or an infinity edge. With a gunite swimming pool you can incorporate all of these elements to truly customize your pool to be exactly what you want. Should you want built-in bar stools and a swim-up bar – we can do it! It’s important to consider all the features that are available to you and narrow this list down to just the ones that are going to accentuate your pool design without distracting from it. Then you can incorporate these elements into your design from the start.

Hardscaping

Finally you’ll want to consider your hardscaping while designing your pool. While a final hardscaping design doesn’t have to be ironed out exactly as you determine your pool design, it is helpful to have an idea of what you might envision. For example, should you wish to have a large patio with various levels and spaces, this type of hardscaping design will require more space, and a larger budget, all of which can impact your pool design. Your hardscaping will also have to adhere to your township’s rules and regulations for size and property setbacks, so this should be considered as well. All the elements of your backyard design should work together and complement one another, which is why it’s best to begin with a clear idea of what you want for hardscaping as you design your pool.

Are you dreaming of building a custom gunite swimming pool? It’s never too early to begin exploring the design process to get a better feel for what will make the best use of your space while incorporating the elements that are most important to you.

Contact us today so we can help you navigate the next steps!