Beat the Heat by the Pool this Summer

beat the heat

Don’t let the hot weather discourage you from enjoying the season. Instead, take advantage of this Arizona heat by going for a refreshing swim, either in your own backyard or by visiting one of the following venues.

After all, swimming provides countless benefits for both you and your children, including improving muscle definition and strength, building bone mass, reducing inflammation, decreasing stress, and burning calories.

Here are some venues to visit to beat the heat this summer.

Water Parks

Arizona is fortunate to be home to several water parks. Locals and visitors alike line up to get into Big Surf Waterpark. In operation since 1969, it is home of the United States’ first wave pool, which has been featured in many popular films including Just One of the Guys (1985) and Storm of the Century (1999). It is located in Tempe just off the 202 Red Mountain and McClintock Drive.

Also on the east side of town, you’ll find Mesa Golfland-Sunsplash, Arizona’s premier family fun destination. It features 30 exciting rides and attractions from thrilling waterslides to award winning miniature golf. On the west side of town is Wet-n-Wild, a massive 25-acre family water park tucked away in far north Phoenix. You can sometimes find discount ticket prices for these parks at Costco or through Groupon.

Public Aquatic Centers

The Valley has its share of community pools scattered throughout its many neighborhoods. The best part? They’re affordable! Swimming lessons, merit badge classes, and lifeguard training (junior and adult) are available at many city pools. Some of also available for private parties and corporate events. Visit any of the following links for additional information, including pool locations, hours of operation and amenities.

City of Apache Junction

Superstition Shadows Aquatic Center

1091 W. Southern Ave.

Apache Junction, AZ 85120

  • $1.50 admission for children (17 and younger)
  • $2.50 admission for adults (18 and over)

City of Chandler

Admission fees for all City of Chandler pools

  • $1.00 for children (2-17 years)
  • $2.25 for adults (18-54 years)
  • $1.25 for seniors (55 years and older)

Each of Chandler’s six public pools also feature weekly $1.00 family swim nights and free swim nights.

City of Gilbert

Admission fees for all City of Gilbert pools

  • $1.00 for children (17 and younger)
  • $3.00 for adults (18 and older)

City of Mesa

Admission fees for all City of Mesa Pools

  • Free for children under 6 months of age
  • $2.00 for children (17 and younger)
  • $4.00 for adults (18 and older)

City of Tempe

Admission fees for City of Tempe Pools vary, please visit their website for exact prices.

City of Phoenix

Admission Fees for all City of Phoenix Pools

  • $1.00 for kids (some city pools are offering free admission for children thanks to the Kool Kids program)
  • $3.00 for adults
  • $1.00 for seniors

Planning a Summer Pool Party

summer pool party

With temperatures rising throughout Arizona, one activity most people can’t live without is slipping into their swimsuits, and taking a dip in the cool blue waters of a swimming pool.

The only thing that beats diving in on a hot day is a summer pool party. There’s nothing like inviting some friends over, eating some amazing food, and lounging poolside. We have some great suggestions for invitations, decorations, food, games and of course, music.

Invites

Looking for a way to really wow your friends and family? Write your summer pool party details on an inflatable float or beach ball using a sharpie. You can choose any color sharpie you’d like. Be sure not to smudge the ink. For detailed instructions, click here.

Menu

No summer pool party would be complete without everyone’s summer favorites: burgers and hot dogs hot off the grill. Sandwiches, sliders, and chicken and pineapple kabobs are all low-maintenance options. Also, a refreshing snack, sliced watermelon. Don’t forget desert; perhaps a mixed berry cobbler or classic strawberry shortcake? Be sure to have lots of bottled water available to help your guests stay hydrated.

Activities

For fun activities that are family friendly, set up a few lawn games, such as Twister, Tic Tac Toe Frisbee and Jumbo Jenga. A quick Pinterest search will yield many other fun games. Additionally, a pool party can never have too many pool floats or pool noodles for guests to float around on, especially if there are children in attendance.

Decorations

If you’re hosting the party by the pool, be sure to set up a shady area or two for guests who prefer to relax in the shade. Add color to your pool by throwing in some balloons. With a little imagination, you can also create mini beach ball garland using paint, nylon string and Styrofoam balls. Get the tutorial here.

Songs for Summer

  • Firework by Katy Perry
  • School’s Out by Alice Cooper
  • Summer in the City by the Lovin’ Spoonful

How To: Cool Your Pool During the Summer

cool

During the summer months, Arizona’s extended run of triple-digit temperatures can heat a swimming pool to uncomfortable temperatures, making it feel like you’re stepping into a bathtub. If your pool has a depth of 6 feet or less, or receives a good amount of sunlight throughout the day, then you’ll likely benefit from adopting one of the following techniques for keeping your water temperature cool, crisp and refreshing.

Water Features

Water features are a fantastic way to add beauty to your pool while keeping the water cool. It’s a known fact that moving water stays cooler than stagnant water. Adding a simple fountain is one idea. You can also consider installing a sheer waterfall, spillway or pool slide to help accelerate the cooling process and keep the water clean.

Pool Coolers

Pool coolers are the perfect answer to uncomfortably warm swimming pools. An affordable, easy to install and energy-efficient solution, pool coolers are powered by an electric fan cooling system. The water circulates through the system, as airflow instantly removes the heat, and pumps the water back into the pool.

Shade Sails

Blocking your pool from the sun is one of the most effective ways to keep the water cool, but as most Arizonians know, shade is hard to come by in the Valley of the Sun. Shade sails are an increasingly popular option that can be placed in a variety of unique angles, giving the pool a very edgy, modern look.

Pergolas

A picture of comfort and style, pergolas can provide ambient shade with just the right amount of filtered light over the pool, provided they are correctly installed. Pergolas can be constructed using a number of high-quality materials including wood, stone, and rock. Aside from providing shade, they also help to add value to your home. Win-win!

Spring Maintenance Tasks for Your Pool

spring maintenance tasks

The weather is slowly but surely heating up, which means it’s almost time for one of the most relaxing activities in the world – lounging poolside with a glass of ice cold lemonade (if you aren’t already). By performing these few spring maintenance tasks, you can ensure that your experience will be sheer perfection.

Check Water Level: If you haven’t already, spring is a good time to check your pool’s water level, which should be in the middle of your skimmer opening or halfway up the waterline tile at all times. If it’s too low, the pump can suck-in air, lose prime and stop pumping. Add water accordingly using a garden hose. You could save a lot of time and money by investing in an automatic water leveler.

Check Filter Pressure: Every pool filter has a pressure gauge located near the top of the tank. The gauge, with its round face and 0 to 60 numbers, indicates system pressure in pounds per square inch (psi). Ideally, you should’ve recorded the normal operating pressure of your filter at installation, so you have a benchmark for all future readings.

Normal pressure signifies good pool circulation. This is the sweet spot, where you can sit back in that lounge chair, relaxing on a warm summer’s day. If the pressure gets too high, you will need to backwash the filter and clean the cartridge, or hire a professional pool cleaner to do this for you.

Check Pool Cleaner: An automatic pool cleaner can save a lot of manual cleaning of dirt and debris, but they do require regular attention, like all parts of your swimming pool do. Cleaners built with their own cartridge filter systems require frequent cleaning: just open the cleaner, remove and rinse with a hose. Pool cleaners can also stop moving/pulsating, get stuck behind a pool’s safety equipment, or their hoses coiled-up; requiring attention. If there seems to be a problem, have it professionally looked at.

Skim the Pool: Want a clean pool? Skim the surface of your pool water daily! Skimming helps to keep algae, stains, and cloudy water from occurring. To begin, you will need a skimmer net attached to a telescopic pole, making it easier to reach the pool’s bottom. You can choose between a flat skimmer or a bag skimmer – just make sure it’s durable. You won’t believe how many times we’ve seen a cheap skimmer break.

Opening Your Pool

opening your pool

As the days get a little warmer and a little longer, it easy for our thoughts to turn to shedding those extra layers, and spending long afternoons lounging poolside. Opening your pool for the summer season, however, requires more effort than just filling it up and jumping in. In business in Arizona for more than 25 years, Platinum Pools and Spas knows the importance of opening your pool for the season correctly. If a pool is properly opened, you can be assured proper operation and chemistry levels.

Get your summer season off to the right start in six easy steps.

Step 1: Check Supplies

While many swimming pool chemicals stay good for years if stored correctly, some pool-maintenance supplies like test strips and reagents expire more quickly, depending on the brand. Old supplies can give inaccurate results. If your supplies are expired, it may be better to discard them and replace them with new when you reopen your pool.

Step 2: Remove Leaves and Debris

Before removing the cover, remove leaves, dirt and general debris from the pool cover and surrounding deck or patio. For maximum cleanliness, with minimal effort, we recommend using a leaf blower. Any standing water should be removed as well. This will prevent dirt and debris from working its way into the pool.

Step 3: Uncover the Pool

Once you remove the cover, you will want to take the time to properly clean, fold and store it. Spending a few minutes now will save you money on the cost of a new cover. If you have the space, spread out the cover, spraying it off with the highest pressure your hose allows. Let dry. Then fold and store. The cooler the storage, the better.

Step 3: Check the Water Level

If you have an automatic water leveler, you can skip this step. For the pump to function properly, the water needs to be in the middle of the skimmer opening or halfway up the waterline tile. Add water accordingly. While waiting for the pool to fill, check and test all equipment including handrails, diving boards and slides for loose bolts.

Step 4: Check the Water Chemistry

It is important to test the water early. After a mandatory 24-hour run time, check the water’s pH level, total alkalinity, hardness of water due to calcium, and so forth. You can do this using test strips or take a sample of your pool water to your nearest pool supply store. Safe and proper levels should be:

  • Total Alkalinity – 80 to 120 ppm
  • pH Level – 7.4 to 7.6
  • Free Available Chlorine – 2.0 to 4.0 ppm
  • Calcium Hardness – 200 to 400 ppm
  • Stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid) – 30 to 50 ppm

*PPM – part per million

Step 5: Brush and Vacuum the Pool

Thoroughly brushing your pool’s walls is one of the most effective ways to keep your pool clean. Vacuum weekly to keep the water squeaky clean, increase the efficiency of the pool’s circulation system, and reduce the amount of chemicals you’ll need to add to it. Cleaning out strainer baskets at least once a week also helps to keep the pool clean.

Step 6: Clean Outdoor Furniture

Whether it looks like it needs it or not, you should make a point of cleaning your outdoor patio furniture regularly to prevent it from becoming weathered and faded by the elements, therefore making it last longer. Just fill up a bucket, get a sponge, and go to work. Let dry. Replace any furnishings that are unstable, torn or rotted.

Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy!

Backyard Improvement Projects in the New Year

 

backyard improvement

Despite our best intentions, only a tiny percentage of us follow through when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, such as losing weight, eating healthier foods, becoming financially secure, making more time for self-care. In fact, according to Statistic Brain, only 9.2% of people are successful at achieving their New Year’s goals.

How about adding a New Year’s resolution that provides numerous benefits including increased property values? Now – while it is still cold outside – is the perfect time of year to start planning backyard improvement projects for you and your family to enjoy during the upcoming spring and summer seasons.

Backyard Improvement Ideas

Swimming Pool: Nothing else can transform your backyard quite like an inground swimming pool. Whether you envision a tranquil lagoon or exotic oasis, building a swimming pool gives you the most opportunities to customize, therefore ensuring your creativity is expressed. Adding pool and landscape lighting can extend the time you get to spend with your loved ones outdoors well into the night.

Patio Decking: One of the biggest trends in outdoor design today is a custom pool deck. You can create a beautiful, albeit simple space for lounging using any number of popular material options including travertine, stone, pavers, cement, and composite. These materials are available in a wide variety of textures, designs, and colors. Best of all, these materials are designed with your safety in mind, as they are slip resistant.

Outdoor Fire Pits: Imagine sitting outside surrounded by your friends and family on a cool Arizona winter night, gazing up at the stars, embraced by the warmth of a crackling fire. Now imagine enjoying this picturesque evening in the comfort of your own backyard. A fire pit is one of the most common fire features homeowners choose to incorporate in their backyard improvement projects.

Built-in Spas: Built-in spas offer a relaxing element to your swimming pool, and can be used year ‘round, thus maximizing your return on investment. The benefits to these spas, however, don’t end there! A custom spa provides countless benefits including health, relaxation, family time, and romance. The design options for in-ground spas are as varied as the options for a custom swimming pool.

Winterize Your Pool

winterize your pool

A swimming pool is a great backyard feature that will add years of enjoyment to your home. It provides many benefits, one of the most important being an increase in property value, especially in the Phoenix metropolitan area. A swimming pool can provide families with the opportunity for exercise, rest and relaxation, and a place for socializing, all amplified by the convenience of stepping into your own backyard oasis. However, even in Arizona, there comes a time when you should take some steps to winterize your pool.

Use these tips to winterize your pool.

#1. Clean Out the Pool

The first step is clean out any leaves, insects, dirt and debris. Use your pool vacuum – or just fish them out with a net. It is also recommended that you brush and vacuum the sides, not just the bottom, of your pool in order to remove scum lines.

#2. Balance Water Chemistry

This protects the pool from corrosion or scale buildup. You will want to do this at least a week prior to actually closing the pool. Using a water test kit, adjust the water to the recommended levels of pH, total alkalinity, calcium (hardness), and chlorination.

Proper levels are as follows:

  • pH: 7.2-7.6
  • Alkalinity: 180-220 ppm
  • Chlorine levels: 1-3 ppm

#3. Add a Winterization Kit

Thinking of adding a winterization chemical kit? Do it now. These kits put high levels of chlorine and algaecide in the water to prepare it for the cold months ahead. Ask your pool builder or retailer about these kits today!

#4. Remove Pool Accessories

You will also want to remove any and all pool accessories. This includes ladders, wall fittings, hand rails, automatic pool cleaners, and diving boards to ensure your pool’s cover snugly fits therefor keeping out debris and insects.

#5. Cover Your Pool

Finish winterizing your pool by covering your pool with solid cover that keeps out debris. When shopping for a pool cover, look for one that will provide a tight fit, so that no debris or bugs can get in between the gaps.

#6. Prefer to Use Your Pool Year-Round?

If you would prefer to keep using your pool in the winter, you have a few options, including geothermal heating. Geothermal heating works by collecting heat from the ground, which remains a constant 70˚F, concentrating it and applying it to your pool’s water. This ensures a consistently warm temperature year-round.

4 Pool Features to “Fall” Into

pool features

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

As we head into fall a kaleidoscope of colors can be found right outside. Pumpkin flavored coffee, scones, and pies are readily available at your local bakery while Halloween candy and decorations fill the stores. Now is also the time to “fall” into pool redesign – particularly by installing one of the following pool features.

Added Warmth

As the days become shorter, and the temperatures dip lower, it’s time to bring some warmth back into your outdoor living space. Fireplaces, fire pits or fire woks tend to be quite popular because of their ability to be the center point of an evening of fun, with family and friends sitting and talking around the fire. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, fire features like these can be set up for natural gas or propane, as well as wood burning.

Outdoor Kitchens

A built-in kitchen is another great way to make a statement in any backyard landscaping or pool project. Typically, an outdoor kitchen includes a grill or some other cooking element (a pizza oven, perhaps?), counter and storage space, and possibly a sink and mini fridge. For elements that require plumbing, gas or electricity, consult with a licensed contractor who can help tap into your home’s existing utilities.

Built-in Spas

Built-in spas offer a relaxing element to your swimming pool, and can be used year ‘round, thus maximizing your return on investment. The benefits to these spas, however, don’t end there! A custom spa, built by Platinum Pools & Spas, provides countless benefits including health, relaxation, family time, and romance. The design options for in-ground spas are as varied as the options for a custom swimming pool.

Outdoor Lighting

A beautiful backyard landscape without an outdoor lighting system is like a pool without water. Technological advancements in lighting systems like LEDs can truly transform an area in the evenings or at night. Depending on the model you choose, LEDs can create light shows, either below the water or anywhere they are professionally installed. LEDs are far more energy-efficient than standard outdoor lighting systems.

Experience Total Control with Pool Automation

pool automation

How would you like to put your pool on cruise control? With an automated control system, you can automate maintenance functions like sanitization, heating and filtration, and control ambient features such as lighting and water features using only your smartphone or tablet. An automated control system can also save you money – often reducing energy costs by as much as 70 percent. *

Whether you include pool automation in the construction of a new pool or the remodel of your existing pool, you’ll make it easier than even before to spend more time with your friends and family, enjoying the many benefits of pool ownership. Pool owners considering pool automation have a number of different automated control systems available to them. Here are a few simple ways to get started with pool automation:

OnCommand®

OnCommand® is an affordable automated control system that can be installed on existing pools. It lets you control your pool’s pump, filter, heater, lighting and more, as well as set schedules for totally hands-off operation. OnCommand® can also be connected to an optional floating wireless remote for the ultimate in poolside convenience (sold separately).

Total Control with E-Command® 4

The technology and programming flexibility afforded by the E-Command® 4 ensures equipment runs at peak performance for minimum energy usage and cost. You can set schedules for your pool’s equipment or control them manually from a wireless remote (sold separately). With a built-in subpanel, this system is the easiest, most cost-effective way to incorporate time-saving automation when building a new pool.

Manage Your Pool and Spa’s Chemistry

Homeowners barely have to lift a finger to ensure a clean, chemically balanced pool ready for use at any time, with the Total Pool Chemistry® management system. With the ability to integrate Sense and Dispense, the Total Pool Chemistry® management system continuously monitors chlorine and pH levels, and automatically adjusts the water chemistry as needed. It doesn’t get any more convenient than that!

Add-Ons That Make Maintenance Effortless

System add-ons such as Hayward’s AquaConnect Interface give you the ultimate in streamlined control and monitoring. Compatible with Hayward’s line of automated control systems, this interface gives you the freedom to access, control and monitor your system from a smartphone, tablet or computer – anywhere and anytime. Just think how amazing it would be to have total control at your fingertips.

Are you ready to simplify your life with pool automation? Contact Platinum Pools & Spas today for more information on all of our available automated control systems and receive a FREE Hayward ColorLogic® LED Pool Light with any new or remodeled pool. *

*Free ColorLogic® LED Pool Light with the purchase of a new or remodeled pool project over $10,000 and if purchased by 10/31/16. Does not include homebuilder pool programs and/or previous discounts or offers.

Labor Day Backyard Bash

labor day backyard bash

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Labor Day may indeed by the official end of summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t soak up the last days of summer with one last backyard bash.

Labor Day, observed Monday, September 5, 2016, is a holiday devoted to honoring American workers and their contributions to the strength and well-being of our country. For most of us, Labor Day also means a day off from work and with school already back in session, the unofficial end of summer.

There’s a lot to celebrate about this Labor Day including American workers, the end of summer, and a new school year. So before you press the send button on summer, fire up the grill, throw some noodles into the pool, and invite your friends and family over for an enjoyable Labor Day Backyard Bash.

Here’s what you need to do for a memorable Labor Day Backyard Bash.

Send Invitations in Advance. With Labor Day just around the corner, literally, you’ll want to send invitations out via email or social media for the fastest response. It’s always a good idea to get a final head count at least a week before any event; but three days will suffice when you’re short on time.

Plan Your Menu. Labor Day is a great day for grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, and ribs served up with classic favorites such as potato and fruit salads. Don’t forget the chips and sodas/bottled waters. Need inspiration? Search Pinterest for “Labor Day party recipes”. Plan your menu in advance according to your tastes and budget. Prepare salads and marinades a day in advance.

Plan Fun Pool Games. Set up your volleyball and/or basketball hoop for lively fun. Plan to play games like Marco Polo, Watermelon Push Relays, Lap Races, and more. You might be surprised to find the adults having just as much fun, if not more, playing these games as the kids. For more pool game inspiration be sure and check out Pinterest.

Make Sure Your Pool is Swim Ready. Before your guests arrive, it’s a good idea to check your pool’s chemical levels, and run its filter for eight hours (this is something you should already be doing daily). After the party simply brush or vacuum your pool, add chlorine, and clean your filter to prevent the algae growth.