Spring Pool Opening Tips

spring pool opening tips

Spring is here, which can mean only one thing; that swimming time is near. Even though the weather in Phoenix has been nearing 90 degrees most days, and the water is beckoning swimmers forward, the pool isn’t quite ready for those swimmers. At least not just yet.

There are some necessary steps every pool owner must first take in order to ensure the pool is both clean and safe for swimming. We at Platinum Pools and Spas, are here to help you through the process of opening your pool, by providing you with the following “Spring Pool Opening Tips”.

#1. Prune trees and hedges: The biggest enemy to keep your pool free of debris: nearby trees and hedges. It can be frustrating to skim debris from your pool, and then an hour later, encounter more debris which is why we recommend pruning back any trees and/or hedges that are in vicinity to the pool.

#2. Clean Up Surrounding Plant Debris: Before removing your cover (see: tip #4), you should clean up plant debris from the pool’s surrounding areas – pool deck, patio, nearby planting beds, etc. – to avoid it all winding up in your pool thus making your job at cleaning the water that more difficult.

#3. Check Your Supplies: There’s no easy way to say this: pool chemicals and cleaning supplies do expire and dry out. This is why you should always check expiration dates! If something is past its recommended expiration date, it should be properly disposed of, and replaced with new chemicals. The same rule applies for dried-out chemicals.

#4. Remove Cover: Now that you’ve spruced up your pool’s surrounding area, and checked your supplies, it’s time for the unveiling (if applicable). After removing your cover, it is important to clean, fold and store the cover properly to avoid having to purchase a new one after the swimming season has come to an end.

#5. Adjust Water Level: If you have an automatic water leveler, then you can skip this step. If your water’s level is low, use any garden-variety hose to fill the water level in your pool back to its normal level: typically, about the middle of the skimmer opening or halfway up the waterline tile.

#6. Test the Water: Once the pool is up and running (give it 24 hours), it’s time to test the chemical levels, using a test kit. You can also take a sample of your pool water to your nearest pool supply store. Whether home testing or having a professional test your water, here are the safe and proper levels for your standard, chlorinated pool:

  • 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

#7. Thoroughly Brush and Vacuum Your Pool: Clean leaves, twigs, and other debris from both the pool’s surface and bottom by thoroughly brushes it with a wall and floor brush. This is also the time that you should dust off your algae brush and pool vacuum. Be sure to remove any debris from the leaf basket as well.

#8. Clean Pool and Deck Furniture: To ensure your outdoor oasis is ready come warm water (for me it’s personally still too cold) you should take care to ensure that all pool and deck future is clean and in good shape. Replace any furnishings that are unstable or rotted. Also check all rails, slides, and ladders to ensure their bolts are secure.

Happy Swimming!

Swimming… Benefits for Asthmatic Individuals!

Platinum Pools

In The Swim: Blog

There is a huge number of people who use swimming as their main form of exercise. It’s easy on the joints, and fun to do! For individuals with asthma, you can assume that a physical exercise, like swimming, could be detrimental to an individuals health. Something that requires intentional and controlled breathing, seems like a terrible idea for someone who deals with asthmatic troubles.

Although, interestingly enough, there are no studies that have proven that swimming causes issues for someone with asthma. Which is good news! In fact, the warm and humid atmosphere can actually help improve and ease breathing troubles. Swimming is one of our favorite forms of exercise, but the general rule is, ANY exercise is ideal! It can help with several areas, such as sleep, energy, and most importantly, respiratory and circulatory systems. Backyardpool

Typically, swimming is not linked to triggering asthma attacks. The natural moister in the air, from the pool, makes it easier to breathe, compared to other land-based activities. Obviously, we advise you to take caution while using swimming as your form of exercise. We recommend being very careful about the pH and chlorine levels. This can cause breathing issues, if there isn’t a proper balance.

Let us help you improve your exercise life, and your home aesthetics, by walking you through the process of installing a new pool. For any other questions, you can contact us at: PLATINUM POOLS AZ or call us at: (480) 888-9200

Natural Swimming Pools Gaining Ground

natural swimming poolOver the past couple of years, natural swimming pools and ponds have gained a lot of attention. While there is some debate of the definition of natural swimming pool vs natural swimming pond, they are essentially the same thing. Basically, it’s a body of water isolated from normal ground water via a membrane whose water is filtered through natural elements such as gravel, rocks, and plants as opposed to being disinfected with chemicals such as chlorine.

Natural swimming pools were first introduced in Austria and Germany in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Since then, they’ve become very popular in Europe with over 20.000 existing and over 100 of those being public pools. Word spread to the American market in the 2000’s and NSP’s have been gaining momentum here in the states. The first public natural swimming pool is currently being built Webber Park in Minnesota which is expected to open in 2015.

The pools filtration works in stages. Traditionally, a natural pool consists of a swimming zone and a regeneration zone. The swimming zone usually looks like a normal swimming pool with a square or oval shape. The regeneration zone is often located next to close by the swimming area and consists of plants and rocks which filter the water biologically. The plants are key as they absorb many of the nutrients that would typically contribute to algae growth.

Because a natural swimming pool is filtered through biological means it takes some time before the pool finds it’s ‘balance’. Although you can usually swim in them immediately, the biological equilibrium can take two or three years.

It’s worth noting that just because the pool is built using natural elements, it does not mean there is less maintenance. Since the regeneration zone contains plants, a certain amount of attention will be needed to remove dead plants and prune existing ones. You still will need to keep your pool free from debris such as twigs and leaves, especially since leaves can decompose and create microorganisms that cause algae growth. Once a natural pool finds it’s balance, however, maintenance becomes much easier.

There are other factors that determine the feasibility of a natural pool such as geo-location and climate. For example, areas where water can reach an average temperature of 82 degrees might allow harmful bacteria which is resistant to natural filtering. Certain climates may also not support the types of plants that are used for natural pool filtering although gravel-filtering can sometimes be used in those cases.

Protect Outdoor Furniture from the Sun

In Arizona, there is no escaping the sun. It bears down us relentlessly during summer months causing us to retreat indoors or into our swimming pools for relief. But the sun also can take a toll in other ways around the pool area. Patio furniture often takes the brunt of the sun all day and the effects soon become obvious with color fading, dried out cushions that tear easily, or faded finishes on wood furniture. Here are some suggestions for protecting your outdoor furniture.

Fabric
If you are going to use fabric covered cushions on your outdoor patio furniture, there are few things you can do to help protect them. Perhaps the most obvious is to purchase covers for your furniture or store you cushions away when they are not in use. The type of fabric makes a difference as well. For natural blends try to get cushions covered with cotton or wool blends. Fabric blends with nylon and polyester are usually less likely to fade. There are fabrics that are specifically designed to withstand the sun such as SunBrella and SolarWeave.

Wood
Sun can cause outdoor wood furniture to dry out, crack, and splinter after prolonged exposure. Therefore, wood needs some sort of coating whether it is stain, varnish, or paint to help resist the effects of the sun. If paint is an option, try to use outdoor or latex paint as that will give you maximum protection against the sun. To keep that natural wood look, use an outdoor varnish that is UV light resistant as well as a water repellent, especially if the furniture is place near the pool and prone to being splashed.

Metal and Plastic
For metal and plastic furniture you will want to purchase a UV furniture protector spray. Much like sun block protects your skin, UV furniture plastic keeps harmful UV rays out that cause slow color fading. Keep in mind you will need to apply the product regularly to maximize it’s effect.

Outdoor and Patio furniture can be expensive so it’s important to protect it from the sun to keep it looking great. At the end of the day, keeping your outdoor furniture out of the sun or covered will be the best way to protect it from the damaging effects of the sun but following the tips above will help as well.

Teaching Children Swim Strokes

teach basic swim strokesIn a couple of years, we will all be watching countries competing against each other in a variety of swim competitions for the 2016 Summer Olympics. So now is a perfect time to start teaching your children basic swim strokes to help them understand what happens in swim competitions as well as provide a great way to exercise and become stronger swimmers. There are four basic swim strokes to teach your children.

The Crawl, or Freestyle
This is the most popular swim stroke that most of us are use to. Basically, you float belly-down while propelling yourself by moving your arms in a windmill pattern and simultaneously kicking your legs in a fluttering motion. The challenge of this technique is developing a breathing pattern by turning your head to the side occasionally between strokes.

The Backstroke
One advantage of the backstroke is that your face is not in the water. On the other hand, it’s hard to see where you are going! Floating on your back, you propel yourself using a similar windmill motion as the crawl, just in reverse, as well as kicking your legs in a fluttering motion. The challenge here is propelling yourself with equal force from each arm to keep from veering off course and running into other swimmers or the wall.

The Breaststroke
As your child becomes a stronger swimmer, you can move up to more advanced swim strokes such as the Breaststroke and Butterfly. The Breaststroke is an involved technique where the body bobs up and down as you propel forward. The arms begin basically in a prayer position in front of the chest, moved forward and then to the side and back to thrust forward before being brought back to the original position. The leg kick is similar to the way a frog kicks in the water which is probably the simplest way to describe it. This stroke takes a lot of coordination and practice before your child will be comfortable performing it.

The Butterfly
Strength and timing are key here. Starting face down, the arms are rotated together in a windmill fashion while the legs and feet should stay together, kicking in a motion reminiscent to a dolphins tail. The trick is to undulate the body in a motion to maximize the effectiveness of the arm and leg movements while being able to take a breath by raising your head between strokes. This stroke takes a long time to learn and perfect, so encourage patience when your child is learning this stroke.

Of course if you don’t feel comfortable teaching your children these techniques we highly encourage you to enroll them in lessons.

Here is a short video that demonstrates the swim strokes we’ve discussed here:

Benefits of LED Lighting

LED lightingOne of the easier ways to change the aesthetics of your pool is to upgrade the lighting in your pool. Especially popular these days is LED lighting. LED lighting is a great alternative to regular incandescent bulbs for a variety of reasons.

First, LED lights will last longer. The typical incandescent light has an expected life span of 2000 to 3000 hours. That means if you run the light 12 hours a day it will last about six or seven months. LED lights on the other hand have an estimated life of 30000 hours or longer. That’s approximately 10 hours longer than an average bulb!

Another advantage is that LED lights are much cooler than regular bulbs. Heat from traditional bulbs often cause the light fixtures gasket to contract and expand. This usually results in having to change both the bulb and gasket when bulbs go out and this means more time in labor when it comes time to replace the bulb. But because LED lights run cooler, they don’t create problems with the gasket.

There is a significant difference in wattage required between traditional bulbs and LED lights. A typical incandescent light bulb for pool use runs between 300 and 500 watt. Compare that to newer LED lights that run between 45-70 watts to produce the same amount of light. It’s estimated that and LED light will save you approximately $114.00 per year compared to regular bulb. If your pool requires more than one light, the savings can add up quick. It’s true LED lights are more expensive initially, but that money is quickly recouped in energy savings. Some energy companies even offer rebates for having LED lights installed.

LED lights are more aesthetically pleasing as well. LED lights seem to just penetrate the water better and have a higher color temperature. There’s a wide variety of color options with LED lights as well. It’s also easy to match with other lighting you may have in your backyard or patio.

If you are interested in having your current pool lighting system upgraded to LED lighting, please call the pros at Platinum Pools.

Remote Pool Management from Hayward

Hayward Remote Pool Managment AquaConnectMost of us lead pretty busy lives and have to set aside time to work on our swimming pools only on weekends. But Hayward has recently introduced AquaConnect which will allow you to remotely control functions of your pool, spa and backyard via the internet. There’s even an app for iPhone® and iPad® for even easier access to your pools management

AquaConnect is perfect for when you are on vacation or simply on the road. The system allows you to control anything that you can from you pool controller. You can monitor your pools and spa settings, check your pH and sensitization levels to help create or maintain perfect water chemistry. No more waiting for the spa to heat up after you get home from work as you can turn the spa heater on before you get home. You can turn lights on and off, activate waterfalls and turn on sprinklers from anywhere.

AquaConnect actually gives you four different ways to manage pool, spa and backyard functions:

    AquaConnect Web allows you to use any device connected to the internet to manage you pool system from anywhere you are

    AquaConnect Apps gives you access via smart phones or tablets.

    AquaConnect Home Network lets you control your pool and spa from any device connected to your home network.

    AquaConnect Home Automation integrates with your existing home automation system so you can control you pool and spa on the same system you control your home theater or lights with.

The system not only provides a superior level of convenience, it also allows you to conserve energy and save money as well. Be sure to visit Hayward’s website for more information.

Constructing Your Pool – Time Frame

building-custom-poolWe were recently asked by a client if we started building a pool in February, would the pool construction be completed by summer time. It’s a good question but one that is hard to answer. Really what it comes down to is the scope of the project. Will it just be a swimming pool? Will you have a spa attached? Will there be work on the surrounding patio area? Do you want specialized pool tile and decking? These are just a few of the questions to consider when planning a pool build.

But to give you a general idea, here is a quick rundown on the typical pool build process.

Layout – This is when a project manager will visit your yard and make all the necessary calculations and measurements. The outline of the pool and placement of pool equipment is marked as well.

Excavation – Every in-ground pool starts with a big hole in the ground. This step is where the tractors and dump truck show up and dig the ground where the pool will be.

Plumbing – Here is where all the lines of your pool filtration system, jets, and other water features are installed and pressure tested.

Steel Reinforcement – A skeletal structure is built based on the design and load weights required for your pool. This will ultimately support the shell of your pool.

Electrical – Any wires required will be laid to connect power to the pool pump and filter from the house. Wires will also be ran for lights in the pool and surrounding lighting features.

First Inspection – This is the point where the city will come and inspect the pool build to make sure all municipal codes are being met.

Shotcrete – This step is where we build the concrete shell of your swimming pool using a technique called shotcrete. This method is to ensure the highest degree of strength and longevity.

Water Features and Hardscapes – During this step, we’ll add a rock waterfall, landscape lighting, fire pits, barbecues or other hardscape or water features.

Deck and Tile – Here is where the deck and tile that you have chosen is poured and installed.

Cleanup and Final Inspection – Crews clean up all the debris and the city comes back for a final inspection.

Pool Start-up – It’s finally time to start up all the powered mechanical equipment to insure everything is running smoothly and properly.

So, as you can see, there are many, many steps in building a pool. This is why we would advise you to be wary of any pool company that promises to build a pool within 30 days or less. You can be sure they are skimping on quality somewhere, and will cause you many headaches in the future.

If you are considering having a pool built, the best bet is to call Platinum Pools. We will go over all the options and give your realistic expectations on how long your pool build will take!

Pool Inspirations

There’s many ways that you can upgrade your current pool. Here’s a list of ways that you can improve the look of your swimming pool and create an idealistic backyard environment.

  • Design
  • Water features
  • Fiber optic lighting
  • Landscape lighting
  • Fire pits
  • Retaining walls
  • Planters
  • Fireplaces
  • Outdoor Kitchens/Custom BBQ’s
  • Fencing
  • Decking
  • Patios & Walkways
  • Replacement Pool Equipment

So today we thought we would share a gallery of some of our Platinum pool builds that exemplify how some of those changes can improve the look of your swimming pool.

Save Money

Save money with Platinum Pools energy saving products!

When Platinum Pools and Spas build’s or remodels your pool or spa, we use many energy efficient products to help you save money. Our EcoStar variable speed pump, for example, can save you up to 90% on energy costs over a single-speed pump. We also offer highly efficient filters, heaters, cleaners, and LED lights that will save you money and keep your pool or spa running smoothly.  Our goal is to utilize new technologies and new ways to improve pool and spa design, to help you save on costs over the lifetime of your pool or spa.  If you are ready for a new build or to remodel your pool or spa, please contact the pool and spa construction experts at Platinum Pools today!