Pool Inspection, Are You Thinking of Buying a Home with a Pool?

If you’re thinking about buying a house with a pool, there are some important things you need to know — before closing the deal. A swimming pool is one of the most valuable assets in a home and it can be the place your family and friends share some of the best times of their lives.

Or it can be a headache that just won’t go away.

Get a Professional Pool Inspection. You’ll want to buy your next home with your eyes wide open.   But unless you’re a pool expert yourself, you’ll be wise to engage a professional pool service company to conduct a thorough inspection. You need one that’s been around some time and has experience with a wide variety of pools – and the many problems that can happen with them over the years. You pay for the inspection, so get one you can rely on.

Don’t Rely on a Home Inspector. Some buyers assume the home inspection covers the pool, but it’s rare when it does. Even if they offer pool inspections, many home inspectors do not have the required expertise to evaluate a pool. In fact, most home inspection reports include a disclaimer covering the pool.

Pools Have Complex Equipment. There are quite a number of moving parts to pools. Beyond the actual pool, which needs to be solid and leak-free, the pumps, heaters and filters need to be checked for proper operation. The electrical equipment needs to be inspected, as does the plumbing. Decking surfaces, safety covers and the hardware that secures them should be evaluated for condition and longevity.

Test the Pool by Running the Equipment. During a thorough inspection the overall operating condition of the pool and equipment is evaluated by turning the systems on to see if they run. Typically this is a visual inspection; keep in mind, you and the inspector have no right to take anything apart.

Get a Pressure Test for Leaks. If the company you hire doesn’t know how to pressure test the plumbing for possible leaks, you may be setting yourself up for expensive problems down the road. Certainly, you don’t want to have to schedule the pool for repairs before ever touching a toe in the water.

So before hiring a pool inspector, ask if the company performs pressure testing of the pool plumbing. Main drain lines and some water feature lines cannot be easily pressure tested, and that should be noted in their report. Check to see if the report includes a written estimate for any needed repairs.

Check the Main Drains. Another important aspect of an inspection—perhaps the most important aspect—is to make sure the pool is equipped with federally approved anti-entrapment covers on all suction outlets (drains) in the pool. Your pool inspector also needs to know applicable state laws regarding pools.

Use an Accepted Inspection Format. Depending on the company and the amount paid, pool inspection reports vary widely. There is a recommended format that was developed a number of years ago by the Northeast Spa and Pool Association (NESPA), which provides an objective basis for an inspection report.

Check the Fence. All communities require fencing or other barriers around the pool to prevent children from wandering into an open pool area. Specific requirements may vary from town to town, but all require functioning self-closing, self-latching gates. Your inspector should be very familiar with all aspects of safety pertaining to the pool and the surrounding area.

Settle the Pool Details, Then Close. When you buy a home with a swimming pool, you’re buying it “as is.” So before you sign the papers, know what you’re getting into. If you need to make a price adjustment based upon any work that might be required to restore the pool to good operating condition, you’ll be able to negotiate that before your real estate closing. Having money held in escrow to cover repair costs is an easy way to address any concerns that may have come up during the inspection.

 

Inexperienced Pool Builders Can Cost You Tens of Thousands of Dollars

More and more landscape companies are vying to build your pool. The more prudent choice is to select an experienced pool builder with a Landscape Architect on staff. To prevent costly problems, we suggest you download our important guide on what it will mean to you to hire an eminently qualified, professional pool builder with a Landscape Architect on staff to design and build your dream oasis.

The basic problem with a landscape firm that is dabbling in pool building is their expertise is in filling holes with plants and dirt. Designing, digging, and building a professional underground infrastructure, and then constructing a strong, long-lasting pool requires a completely different set of skills, knowledge, and experience. Your pool needs to be precision-built. You only get one chance to get it right. The combination of an Association of Pool and Spa Professional’s Certified Pool Builder collaborating with a professional Landscape Architect gives you the perfect solution for creating your backyard paradise.

FALSE SAVINGS

The few hundreds of dollars—even the few thousands of dollars—think you’re saving on the costs of building your pool without the right team, could actually cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

You need to seriously consider what happens if you encounter unstable soil, underground rock formations, expensive repairs, or high maintenance and operating expenses. Cheaper is not better—because it winds up costing more. What you want with your significant investment is a fair price that delivers the quality and durability you deserve.

You will be living with your builder’s work for years to come. So it’s wise to seriously consider the builder’s experience designing and building many types of pools in a variety of terrains with different types of soil. Your project needs to be done right.

For example, since 1972 B&B Pool and Spa Center has designed and built more than 1,000 pools. As a result, B&B’s master pool builders have been called in many times to resolve problems that inexperienced builders caused.

ONE TRUE STORY

B&B president, Craig Bagin, relates one costly incident, “It’s always sad when an owner falls prey to a low bid pitch, and then ends up having to deal with severe, expensive problems. We had a situation a couple of years back when B&B was bidding on a project to build a pool and landscape the property in Saddle River, NJ.

“The family had decided to add a gunite swimming pool and redesigned landscape to their beautiful home—especially for their two active young daughters. We lost the job to a landscaper who might have known about plants, lawns and shrubs, but who was out of his depth when it came to the structural requirements we deal with every day. By the time we were brought in to solve the problem, the family had missed out on two precious swim seasons.

DISASTER STRIKES

The contract was signed in February in hopes that the pool would be ready for the short Northeast swim season. In the middle of July, the first attempt at a pool was finished. As it was being filled for the first time, disaster struck—a crack spread across the middle of the pool because it couldn’t support the weight. Their dream pool turned into an expensive hole in the ground.

“Their first swim season was lost. They called us in hopes of fixing their pool, added Derek Bagin, Vice-President of Construction. “We knew that fixing the crack wasn’t possible. The underlying ground had not been properly prepared by the landscaper to support the weight of 35,000 gallons of water. To repair the pool properly the current shell would need to be removed and the pool completely rebuilt.

The landscaper assured the family that he could fix the crack—even so, the pool would not be repaired until the following swim season. As predicted, the landscaper’s second attempt also failed. The pool cracked in half again! Since the landscaper didn’t understand what caused the crack in the first place, his superficial repairs did nothing to resolve the underlying problem.

B&B COMES TO THE RESCUE

Once again the phone at B&B rang. After losing a second swim season, and with their daughters getting older, the family decided their only real option was to heed the advice of Certified Building Professional and B&B Pool and Spa Center owner, Craig Bagin.

As soon as the ground thawed, B&B’s team removed the damaged pool, prepared the soil and constructed a shell able to withstand much more weight than required—5,000 pounds per square inch (PSI) of pressure—and rebuilt their entire backyard. Derek Bagin concluded, “it was a costly mistake for the family, and hopefully a lesson others can learn from.”

A HAPPY ENDING TO OUR STORY

The happy ending to this story is that B&B finished re-building their pool in time for the swim season. By then the girls were another year older, but still young enough to have years of swimming and splashing with their friends.

It took three attempts before the Saddle River, NJ family finally got their beautiful, long-lasting swimming pool built beautifully by B&B. To think they could have had it right the first time and saved a bundle—and enjoyed those two irreplaceable swimming seasons with their daughters!

THE MORAL

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing it right the first time.”

 

How Your Health Benefits From A Hydrotherapy Spa Part I

NOTE: People with health problems should consult with their physicians prior to beginning any type of spa treatments.

As the population in America ages, we continue to search for the fountain of youth. Staving off the aging process is more than simply taking medications. There are proactive steps you can take to keep and even recover your health—without drugs.

All of us know there are important things we can to do to improve our health, but some advice isn’t easy to follow. Many healthy things we “should do” may be daunting or require great discipline and, especially, a lot of time. But there is one relaxing, soothing, and easy thing you can do to aid your health: relax in your own hot tub.

Think about it: you get to use a highly enjoyable creature comfort, which has a positive impact on your health and vitality. All the time you are gently unwinding in a warm spa, you receive the pleasures and medical benefits of its massaging jets.

You’ll feel better the moment you climb into the warm, welcoming water. Best of all, there are additional benefits you’ll get, while all you’re doing is soaking and relaxing—nothing more.

As you immerse in the water, it’s as if you feel the gentle pressure of a heavy, warm blanket snugly wrapping around your body. The gentle warm, full-body hug you feel causes the blood vessels in your skin to open. This important act increases your heart rate and circulation.

It accounts, in part, for the warm glow in your appearance after you emerge from the tub.

It’s almost as though you’re feeling the effects of exercise. The difference is that in a hot tub, your heart rate increase comes effortlessly . . . without the stress and strain of physical exertion. We know that stretching muscles also puts beneficial pressure on bones and connective tissues, which helps strengthen your bones and joints, since the stretching gently increases your mobility.

Owning a hot tub makes daily stretching easier and more enjoyable. The increased exercise reduces the risk of injury. The buoyancy of the water takes most of the pressure off your joints and muscles while improving your overall range of motion. With well-placed adjustable jets, you can direct the massaging action to focus gently on problem areas.

Today’s best hot tubs, like Sundance®, are restricted from rising above 104° F. You can always adjust the temperature to be lower, if you like. It’s vital for everyone to stay hydrated, especially those with heart problems and young children. So when using a hot tub, always have liquids nearby. When you set the temperature right, you’re family and friends can join you in enjoying the benefits of a good, muscle relaxing soak.

If nothing else, the prospect of relaxing during today’s hectic times is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health. Taking time to unwind from your daily activities can be restorative in many ways. With a hot tub located outside, you can be comfortable in the beauty of the outdoors no matter the weather.

Give It Some Thought

So whether you’re fit and coping with stress, or dealing with a health challenge, consider the benefits of a hot tub or hydrotherapy spa as a positive addition to your life. Visit B&B’s showroom and try out our heated floor models for yourself. There’s no better way to find out how much benefit you’ll get from owning a hot tub than by experiencing for yourself what one really feels like. You’ll remember the visit.

 

Honoring Our Veterans on Veteran’s Day

Summer is now long over. As we grow close to the end of another year, we’re coming upon a day on which we commemorate our Veterans. Originally named Armistice Day after the conclusion of the First World War, Veteran’s Day is an occasion on which we recognize how it is we came to be free.

Veteran’s Day is but one day in our lives, but for those who have suffered the consequences of war, and their families and loved ones, every day is Veteran’s Day. Thousands of brave men and women who served in the military are living with the wounds of war. B&B actively supports Wounded Warrior Anglers, an organization devoted to helping returning soldiers adapt to life away from the battlefield.

When you think of our veterans, remember that one of the most astounding facts about the United States of America is that for the first time in the history of the world a nation was founded on fundamental principles. America is not a nation founded on a shared culture or religion. It is built on the ideals of freedom and equality. This is a country created to permit you to pursue your life in your own way without interference.

This nation has for hundreds of years attracted people from around the world. Some are escaping the oppression of a tyrannical regime. Others are coming for the opportunities that await them. For whatever reasons people arrive on our shores, America is the place to come to build a better life. For this reason, America has always been a melting pot. As early as 1620, when the Pilgrims settled in Massachusetts, there were already over a dozen languages being spoken in New York City. We are a nation of volunteers. People come here because they want to live better lives.

Diversity brings with it complexities. Democracy has never been easy. In fact, no form of government has ever been easy, but democracy has its peculiar challenges, because in our form of it, every person has an equal voice in the election of our representatives. The vote is not only a great and cherished right; it is the most serious of responsibilities for our citizens. The vote you can so easily cast this November 8 is a right that many of our fellow citizens, the veterans, have sacrificed their very lives to protect.

In this highly charged election year it’s especially important to have your vote counted. The presidential campaign may have been largely contested based on the candidates’ personalities, but the real importance how the winner of the election will impact the direction the country takes. The election is not a popularity contest; it sets the direction for the country. What happens with your vote will impact the lives of your children and grandchildren.

Men and women have died to protect your franchise. Please honor their contribution. Cast your vote. Take up your responsibility as an American citizen and let your voice be counted. One of the things you learn in the military is that no job is too small. Every one of them needs to be done. So if you think your vote doesn’t count, think again. Exercise your right. Serve your country: VOTE!

 

Exciting Pool Renovations

You’re one of the lucky ones who own a pool. You bought your home and the pool was already in place. It’s been a few years, and this spring as you walk into the backyard, the patio shows signs of aging. In the pool you see the once bright liner has faded. When you venture behind the cabana the heater, pumps, and filters aren’t ready for the swimming season.

Plus, that little sapling near the pool—it’s no longer “little.” Its roots are spreading right into the shallow end of your pool.

So now what do you do?

It’s time for a backyard upgrade. The nice thing is that you already have a solid infrastructure in place. So if all you want to do is give your pool a bright facelift, you can polish and brighten what you have.

But maybe you want to do something more inclusive. Maybe it’s time to renew your outdoor environment with new features and luxury appointments. If you’ve come to that place in your backyard planning, take a few minutes to consider some exciting home/pool improvement ideas.

Where To Begin, What’s Possible, And How Much To Spend

The beauty of this moment is you have a world of appealing choices. Do you want to enlarge your pool? Would you like to change the pool’s shape? Maybe you’d like a beach entry, or the cascading sounds and sights of a dramatic waterfall? Do the kids want a waterslide? Or have they grown up and now you want to create a more natural environment for the view in your backyard?

Unless you are fortunate enough to have limitless funds to spend on your pool, you’ll want to create a plan that suits both your dreams and your pocketbook. Make your first call to an experienced pool company with a winning track record—that has plenty of ideas, know-how, and creativity to deliver the results you want. Let’s take a look at some of the imaginative ways you can renovate your pool and backyard.

Create a New Shape for Your Pool

Okay, so this isn’t the easiest upgrade you could imagine, but let’s say you’ve always wanted a more natural looking landscape with a freeform pool. Or maybe you want a better swim lane so you can do laps in the pool. Or maybe you want to redesign your pool into a clean geometric shape.

If you’re not concerned with preserving any of the old pool, you can build any type of pool your property can handle. Now you can put in a vanishing edge pool to take advantage of your property’s view. You can go so far as to have a rimless overflow pool, so you see nothing but water spilling from all sides of your pool. You can change your pool from a geometric shape to freeform or vice versa.

Enlarge Your Pool

Maybe, you want a bit larger pool. Don’t rush. If you’re going to enlarge you pool, some digging will have to be done. Once the backhoe bites into the ground where your larger or different pool will be, it’s too late to stop. So you need to hire a certified pool builder with the experience and skills to design and finish your pool in the way you want it done.

If you’re just adding to the old gunite pool, you may not have to remove the old shell. Just dig behind the existing wall and remove a section of the pool wall to open up the pool. Your pool builder will lay out the new section of pool with steel rebar grid and tie it into the existing shell. Once the framework is secured, your pool builder will spray the gunite onto the new shell section and let it cure. Then your builder can finish plastering, surfacing, and filling your newly enlarged pool.

Talk it out with your pool builder; they are happy to explain the process, the time schedule, and the investment.

Shrink Your Pool

Let’s say your pool is too deep. Maybe it was built to accommodate diving board. Your pool builder can readily install a new pool shell inside your old one.  If your pool is really suffering the pangs of time, this might be a solution to consider. You can make changes to the shape by adding new curves, and perhaps put in some new features. One note: if you have a vinyl pool, you may have to switch to gunite. Discuss this subject at length with your pool builder, including schedule and budget.

If you have a small pool, you might want to consider putting in a current generating SwimJet—which will turn your pool into an underwater swimming “treadmill,” giving you the exercise advantages of a lap pool in your backyard.

If you’re thinking about a pool renovation, download our Pool Builder Comparison Guide. You’ll be able look at a side-by-side comparison of three bidding companies to see how they stack up against one another.

Stay tuned for more about how you can renovate your pool. In the meantime, if you’re thinking about remodeling your pool make an appointment.

 

Covering Winter Care for Your Pool and Spa

By far the easiest way to keep your pool in top shape through the off season is to hire a Certified Service Professional® to handle all the responsibilities and inspections. Here at B&B, we service pools in Bergen County, New Jersey as well as Rockland and Westchester Counties in New York. Click on the link below and we’ll be in touch about your service needs.

If you want to do it on your own, here’s some advice to consider. Winters, especially in cold weather states like we have in the Northeast, can be hard on your pool or spa. There are some precautions you can take to ensure that your prized investments are protected from the elements.

The first thing to do before the winter arrives is to close your pool. This means draining the plumbing and preparing your pool to handle the changes in temperature. With storms and debris in the likely forecast, a strong cover is essential to protect the surface, coping, and shell of your pool. You can read our tips on closing your pool in our recent blog, “Closing Your Pool for the Season.” Just click the link.

Covering Your Pool

One of the most important things you can do to safeguard your pool is to install a protective cover. It provides you and anyone who visits your home an all-important layer of safety.

Before you cover your pool, you need to clean the pool thoroughly. You’ll wan to lower the water level slightly. Keep in mind that when water freezes into ice, it actually expands. Lowering the water level appropriately ensures that the to coping and tile surrounding your pool are kept intact and secure.

With a pool cover in place, water has a harder time evaporating. Less evaporation means you don’t need to top off the water as often, plus the chemical concentration in the water retains its balance more easily.

Choosing the Right Pool Cover for the Winter

Although there are several types of covers to evaluate most covers will only suffice for mild weather. If you’re located in a cold weather state, like we are, you need a protective cover for the off season when you close your pool.

Today’s custom pools often having unique shapes, which require a custom cover. A protective cover will need to be properly anchored during the cold weather months. When spring returns and you want to open your pool to enjoy the sights and sounds of your water features, your cover needs to be properly stored in a safe and dry environment.

A winter cover keeps the snow and ice completely away from the interior of your pool. Properly installed, a winter cover extends beyond the perimeter of the pool and is anchored to the decking.

Can I Use My Automated Pool Cover for Winter Care?

Here at B&B, we serve customers living in the cold weather states of the New York and New Jersey. If you live anywhere freezing occurs and you have this question, the simple answer to your question is, “No.”

According to B&B’s senior partner, Drew Bagin, “We never recommend using an auto-cover as a winter cover. For the best winter protection for your pool, we advise using either a mesh or solid deck-anchored safety cover.”

It’s true that during the swim season an automatic pool cover gives you added advantages. It lowers your operating costs by conserving heat. An auto-cover lessens the amount of evaporation and therefore the amount water used to keep your pool full, thereby reducing your chemical consumptions, and lowering the burden on your equipment.

Keeping dirt and debris from getting into your pool adds longevity to your pool and lowers your operating costs. However, winter comes, you’re best served by having a deck anchored cover. It will protect both your pool and your automatic pool cover.

Inspection Your Pool and Pool Equipment

Throughout the winter months—especially after a weather event—you should inspect the pool, the pool cover, the equipment and equipment pad for any signs of damage or potential problems. Making a visual inspection may be a bit of preventative medicine for your backyard treasure.

You don’t want to leave a snowpack on your pool cover, so it’s important to remove the excess. You want a pool cover pump that activates when water accumulates on the cover. Not only should it remove any standing water, it will prevent the build up of ice when the temperature drops.

Winter Watch

Consider engaging a qualified pool technician for a “Winter Watch” service. You’ll have a properly trained pool specialist inspect your pool, pool cover, equipment, and equipment pad for any issues that need to be addressed – before they become problems.

Although a properly configured and installed pool cover can handle the weight of a huge snowfall, having Winter Watch Protection means you’ll have a professional visting your property and taking care of any issues that arise due to the weather. Winter Watch is a great way to put your mind at ease.

 

Considering a Hot Tub or Hydrotherapy Spa for Your Home? (A Deep Dive Part II)

Shell Construction Must Be Sturdy and of the Highest Quality

What goes into a hot tub shell? To be clear, the shell is the part you sit in. There are two basic kinds of shells. There are inexpensive, vacuum-molded acrylic shells that are formed into the shape of a hot tub, or there are reinforced fiberglass/acrylic shells. The reinforced fiberglass/acrylic shells have textured or shiny surfaces made from acrylic.

Once the shell is made, manufacturers turn it upside down to add reinforcement. Most of them apply special resin to the underside of the shell. The resin forms a barrier against intrusion by vapor and moisture. The resin barrier prevents minerals and salts from penetrating the layers and delaminating the surface, or causing unattractive blistering. Once the resin barrier is in place, chopped fiberglass is sprayed in the shell. And here’s where the game changes.

Beginning at the low end of the market, you’ll find the box-store variety of spas. To keep the price down, once the chopped fiberglass is blown in, they’re done. Stopping at this point sets the hot tub up for serious problems, because the shell won’t be able to hold the weight of the water once it’s filled.

Problematic Work-arounds

Since the manufacturer can’t sell you a hot tub that’s simply going to collapse, they add a metal or wooden frame. That might sound like a reasonable solution until you consider that the weight of a full hot tub on the supports’ contacts creates pressure points, which can fail causing leaks and distortions of the tub.

The better companies apply enough fiberglass under the shell and then press the fiberglass to fill all the gaps and air pockets. This method of manufacturing the hot tub shell results in a self-supporting hull. Few companies do this, however, because the process is intensive in terms of both material and labor and, therefore, more expensive. Of course, the benefit is that when the shell is properly built, the pressure disperses evenly across all the surfaces. There aren’t any pressure points and your hot tub shell will last much longer.

Insulation in a Hot Tub is Vital

Turning to the functioning of the hot tub, we need to talk about the issue of heat loss and maintaining a comfortable temperature. Since air tmperatures and evaporative processes drop the water temperature, the more exposure water has to the air, the more heat loss your hot tub will have. Insulation is the key. The type of insulation used for hot tubs is foam. Simply put, the greater the amount of foam, the better the insulation—and the more money you will save on energy to heat your water.

Fully foamed hot tubs leak less than partially insulated tubs, showing the importance of quality workmanship in the product you purchase. In addition, the jets in the tub should be glued and clamped to the water pipe. Once water is flowing through the plumbing, the pressure and weight increase. As you turn the water and jets on and off, you pressurize and depressurize all the connections. Each joint becomes a stress point. When the tub is fully foamed, each stress point has extra support.

Old Days Had Old Ways

In days past, well-insulated hot tubs used polyurethane foam. There was a problem with this method, however. Over time polyurethane foam hardens. Once that occurs, if you ever need to service your tub, access is a big problem. To repair a leak or make any kind of repair, you have to break through the now hardened insulation. You’ll need a heavy-duty saw or a hammer and chisel.

How did manufacturers handle this problem? They avoided using polyurethane foam, and instead placed insulation around the perimeter of the cabinet and away from the shell. Unfortunately, this type of insulation is highly inefficient. Back in those days, energy costs were low and people weren’t particularly concerned about conservation of resources, so little importance was placed on the issue of heat loss. You either kept your tub hot all the time or, whenever you wanted to use it, you fired up the heater, warmed up the water and got in.

Other questionable insulation solutions exist. Some companies use a thin layer of bubble wrap stuffed inside the skirt. Other makers blow a few inches of expanding foam inside the skirt area. There are a number of problems with these methods.

First, there is little heat retention, which defeats the purpose of having insulation in the first place. Another problem is that this sort of random stuffing of insulation covers the motors that run the hot tub. Unlike the water, which you want to remain hot, engines need to be cooled to prevent burn out.

Once the bearings in the motor wear out, you are going to have more and more expensive problems. And once the motor stops working correctly, there’s a likelihood that it will simply go into disuse—which is not the way to get the most out of your investment.

Technology Improvements and Breakthroughs

Insulation technology has advanced significantly in recent years. The new foam being used today never hardens. It’s environmentally safe and has a host of other advantages. Filling the cavity is now simple, because you can inject as much as ten times more insulation, realizing much better heat retention. If you need access to service the shell or equipment, it’s a cinch. You simply cut out the soft foam out of your way. Once you’re done with the repairs, refill the gap with new foam.

You might ask, why not place the motor and heater outside the shell? There’s a benefit to having them inside. If you’re running pipes on the outside of the tub, they will be exposed to cold air. Now the water you’re heating is being cooled on its way to your hot tub. That journey will require much more heat than if your unit is self-contained. If you go through a really frigid period, your pipes could freeze up. Water expands when it freezes, and its expansion could severely damage your pipes and equipment.

Harvesting Heat to Save Money

What about using the motor heat, you may ask? When done correctly, the motor heat can be harvested to raise the temperature of the water. During the cool seasons, the proper reclamation of motor heat helps raise the temperature of the water and lower the burden on the heater and your energy costs. Of course when it’s hot in the summertime, the water in your hot tub will likely stay quite hot just from the transference of motor heat.

Here’s how it works: underneath the seating area in the cavity where the insulation is applied, there are hollows created by the shape of the seats. In these hollows, the insulation can be reduced without diminishing the heat retention. The hollows become the ideal place to set the motors, because there is airflow around them for cooling. Intakes can be placed to recycle the heat to the water.

Winter Care

Freeze damage is not covered under warranty. When we place the motors inside the shell, we can preserve the motor heat. The motor is also kept safe from outside elements, and is protected from freezing. Even in the event of a power outage or ice storm, the well-insulated hot tub will preserve the warmth like a thermos. Even if the power is out for a few days, in all likelihood you won’t have to be concerned about damage from a freeze.

If you ever plan to shut your spa off for an extended period of time during the winter, contact you service company first. It’s not enough to empty the tub. You have to have all the plumbing blown out because if there is water in the pipes, plumbing, filters, or pumps it will expand when it freezes and cause extensive damage.

Hot Tub Installation: Get It Right the First Time

If you’re placing your hot tub on a deck, the deck needs to be strong enough to support the weight of a full tub. If you’re planning to situate your hot tub on the ground, don’t be taken in by the pitch that a fiberglass shell can just be set on the grass. The ground needs to be prepared.

It’s not that the hot tub will be damaged when it’s placed on the ground. Preparation is necessary so that the ground settles evenly. If you don’t prep, the ground will settle out of level.

Make sure that whatever type of hot tub you’re buying, you don’t just drop it on the grass and skip ground preparation. Always have a proper base placed under your hot tub. Doing so will ensure a longer life for your tub and more time to enjoy all its benefits.

Buying a personal spa is one of the nicest things you can do for your health and well being. It’s a gift that will give you a lifetime of pleasure. Contact us at B&B Pool and Spa Center, we’ll be happy to answer your questions about what’s involved with spa ownership.

 

Closing Your Pool for the Season

Here in the Northeast pool closing is a sad but critical task that means the swim season has concluded for the year. It’s important for pool owners to know that your pool must be closed properly to avoid unnecessary problems and costly repairs when the next swim season is upon you.

As the days are now getting shorter, and the kids are back in school the time is right to close your swimming pool. The best time to close is when night-time temperatures start to dip into the 40s and daytime temperatures are in the 60s to low 70s. Close much sooner and you risk an algae bloom, much later and you could be fishing out a lot of leaves.

In case you’ve ever wondered how the pool professionals do it (or are thinking of doing it yourself), here are the basics:

First make sure your water is properly balanced, with appropriate levels of pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness. Next check to make sure the water is neither corrosive (undersaturated) or scaling (oversaturated).

Then lower the water to the appropriate level for winter. Vinyl liner pools can stay as they are, but the water in a concrete or gunite pool should be six to eight inches below the tile line.

Next, clean the filter. DE (diatomaceous earth) or cartridge filters must be disassembled so that internal parts can be removed and cleaned, while sand filters must be thoroughly backwashed.

Then blow out the return and skimmer lines to remove all the water from them, then plug them with either rubber or threaded plugs, depending on the type of pool (our retail shop can advise you). Lines that are not blown out can freeze and burst, crippling your pool and calling for expensive repairs to install new lines under concrete. If you’re closing your pool yourself, you will have to rent a blower or an air compressor to complete this step.

The next step is to remove the drain plugs from the filter, filter pump, heater, chlorinator and any other equipment that needs to be drained, such as a waterfall pump. Failure to drain the pool heater correctly can lead to water freezing in the heat exchanger and another expensive repair. Make sure to turn off the power on all equipment, so it doesn’t kick on later by itself. The gas needs to be turned off on the gas heater, on and off switches removed from timers, and any auto controls deactivated.

Finally, add winterization chemicals, including an algicide and stain and scale preventative. The chemicals needed vary according to the size of your pool and type of pool cover. Once these are added, we remove the ladders and install your pool cover.

If you’re closing the pool yourself, you can finally have the beverage of your choice and relax! If you would rather skip the work, and just relax, give your pool professional a call.

 

Choosing The Right Pool Cleaner

Now that summer has arrived. It’s time to spend more time enjoying the outdoors. Your pool is open.. This is the time when you might be thinking of replacing your pool cleaner—or even getting one for the first time. If you’re thinking of about your pool cleaner, here’s what you should keep in mind when you’re going about making your selection.

There are three main types of automatic cleaners. They work by suction, pressure or electric power.

Suction cleaners move around the pool vacuuming up dirt and debris. They are attached by a hose to one of the suction ports in the pool.  Usually, this port is inside the skimmer, but other pools have a dedicated port for a cleaner. Your pool’s circulation pump creates suction by pulling water from the pool, and runs it through your cleaner. The dirt and debris pass through the hose, pass by the suction port continues through the pipes, until they are trapped in the strainer basket at the filter. Some suction cleaners are equipped with brushes to help loosen the dirt.

Pressure cleaners use the reverse action of the suction cleaners. They attach to the water return of your pool’s circulation system. The clean, filtered water moving back to the pool powers the cleaner. A bag or net on top of the cleaner collects the dirt and debris. Some pressure cleaners are equipped with booster pumps. These pressure cleaners are not dependent solely upon your pool’s pump for their power. Pressure side cleaners typically—but not always—require a dedicated port as do suction cleaners.

Electric cleaners are a good option depending on how your pool was originally plumbed. This is because electric cleaners are completely independent of your pool’s water circulation system. They are powered by low-voltage electricity. Electric cleaners are equipped with built-in filters, which lessen the burden on the pool’s filtration system. This typically translates to lower energy use as well as increasing the life expectancy for your pool’s pump and filter. And by keeping the cleaner separate from your filtering system, you typically can expect to clean your pool filters less frequently. Electric cleaners are convenient to use. Some have remote controls that allow you to guide the cleaner from poolside for spot cleaning. Electric cleaners cost more initially, but they may be a good option if you keep in mind that your energy usage over time will be lower and the lives of your other pool equipment can be extended.

Which is the best solution for you?

It’s best to weigh the typical conditions and requirements for your pool against the benefits of the different types of cleaners and their particular benefits. For instance, if your property has trees that lose their leaves in the fall, pressure cleaners and electric cleaners handle the volume of leaves better than suction cleaners. Of the two, pressure cleaners may be the better option in a leafy environment since they are independent from the pool’s circulation system.

If on the other hand, you live in an area where sand or silt gets into your pool, suction cleaners are better able to handle the fine debris. You should keep in mind that if a large volume of debris clogs your suction cleaner, the resistance can stress your pool’s circulation system.   Although pressure cleaners also rely on your pool’s circulation pump, they connect to the discharge side of your filter, so the volume of debris doesn’t clog the filter system in the same way.

So, if you’re thinking about updating your cleaning system, you want to bring the information about the different cleaners to your conversation with your pool professional. Being prepared for the conversation will mean that you will be able to determine what the best solution is for your pool.

 

Celebrate July Fourth And Remember America’s Dream

It’s the height of summer. There’s no better time to enjoy your pool and backyard parties than the Fourth of July. This holiday is a time to celebrate and count the many blessings we have. It takes a lot for us to have the freedom and prosperity to enjoy life. It’s not something we should ever take for granted.

Celebrating with family and friends, enjoying great food and drink, and relaxing in the comfort of the holiday, we should just take a moment to reflect on what goes into making a day such as this happen each year.

After signing the Declaration of Independence and enduring the harsh terms of a long war with the British, America secured its future with one of the greatest documents ever written. When the Founding Fathers worked to construct the Constitution of the United States of America over the hot summer of 1787, they didn’t have the benefit of a swimming pool to dip into during their breaks. Maybe if they had, the tough negotiations that set our country on its way might have been resolved more easily. And while we’ll never know the answer to that question, we can attest to the fact that today we have such comforts available to us largely because of what our Founders did to make this nation possible.

Since that hot summer, we’ve been home to the innovators of many of the greatest changes the world has ever known—not that we’re placing swimming pools in the category of greatest changes—but pools are certainly one of the most enjoyable innovations that we now have. Today in the heat of summer, it’s possible to refresh yourself in the comfort of your own backyard.

Your pool is a great place to host a party to celebrate the birth of our nation. The crystal clean water is a safe place to retreat from the hustle-bustle world. Water can be pleasurable in many ways. Enjoy a little bit of temporary physical freedom. Unwind and relax as the water’s buoyancy frees you to move much easier. Share the laughter and good times with people you love.

So when it comes to celebrating this Fourth of July, enjoy it to the utmost and take a moment to remember the great ideas upon which this nation was founded. It took the grit and brilliance of our nation’s founders as well as the bravery and sacrifice of the men and women who serve and have served to make your party possible. Raise a glass to freedom. Make a toast to equality. And give thanks that you live in a country where you can live out your dreams.