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Pools and Stuff

  • What are the Benefits of a Saltwater Pool?

    Little Afro girl and friend splashing water in swimming pool

    Anyone who has ever taken a dip in the briny waters of the ocean can attest to the altogether-unique feel of swimming in saltwater. If you've been considering the addition of a new swimming pool to your backyard, it might be worth your time to consider investing in a saltwater swimming pool. More Americans are turning to saltwater pools, but what are the benefits in choosing a saltwater pool compared to a traditional, chlorinated swimming pool?

     

    First, Understand the Major Difference

    The biggest difference between a traditional, chlorinated swimming pool and a saltwater pool is the method of disinfection. When your traditional swimming pool needs more chlorine to prevent the buildup of contaminants, it is up to you or your pool maintenance service to test chemical levels in the water and add chlorine.

    Saltwater pools rely on a continuous disinfection approach. Most saltwater pools use slightly charged titanium plates to break down the salt in the water, and reform it into hypochlorous acid to disinfect the water on a continuous basis. As the saltwater passes through the titanium plates, a process known as electrolysis dissolves salt into the water to help disinfect the water.

     

    Gentle on the Skin and Eyes

    If you live in a portion of the country where water softeners are a popular fixture within the home, you're already familiar with the gentle feel of water treated with salt. Saltwater pools create the same sensation as your home water softener. The water feels smoother and silkier to the touch, and is less likely to irritate your skin when used on a regular basis. Additionally, saltwater pools are much less abrasive when your eyes come in direct contact with the water.

    For those who wonder how that is possible, having gotten sea water in their eyes, it's all in the salinity of the water. A saltwater pool doesn't have salinity levels anywhere near that of the ocean, with as little as 1/10 the salinity of ocean water.

     

    Safer than Chlorine

    Chlorine, whether stored in tablet or liquid form around your home, can be dangerous to store and transport. While the pool itself still produces similar chlorine byproducts through the electrolysis process, it doesn't require you to store chlorine in your home, which could threaten the health of any young children that may come in contact with and accidentally ingest.

     

    Less Maintenance

    There is no such thing as a maintenance-free pool, so anyone that advertises a saltwater pool as such is just trying to make money through deception. With that said, you'll be able to enjoy your saltwater pool with much less effort on your own part to maintain the systems. Because the electrolysis process uses salt in the water to create the chlorine byproducts that disinfect your pool, you no longer need to check chlorine levels in your pool on a daily or weekly basis and make your own additions to the water to balance levels in the pool.

    All you need to do is check the chlorine levels periodically, with most manufacturers recommending once a month, to ensure that your saltwater disinfection system is working properly.

     

    If a saltwater pool sounds like it would be right for you and your family, you can check out our selection of saltwater pools and filtration systems or feel free to contact a Pools and Stuff representative anytime!

  • Why a Solar Heater May Be Right for Your Pool

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    Now that the long, hot days of summer are coming to an end, and the evenings are starting to cool down, it might be time to consider a pool heater. Not just any pool heater, one that works for you, instead of against you. A solar pool heater is the perfect way to keep your pool’s temperature up on those soon-to-be-regular cool evenings. Pools & Stuff offers a variety of solar heaters that you can use for your pool.

    One great thing about solar heating is that it works to keep you [or in this case, your pool water] warm by circulating the pool’s water through the solar heater. Taking the heat from the sun and using it to heat the water, you are easily saving energy. Even on a cloudy day your solar heater still works as each solar heater absorbs any solar radiation it is exposed to. Despite the lack of sunshine on a cloudy day, you and your solar heater are both still exposed to solar radiation. Just make sure your solar heater isn’t obstructed by plants, sheds, or decks during optimal sunlight hours, because lack of exposure to the sun won’t let it absorb solar radiation. Other than that, your solar heater is bound to absorb the rays and heat that pool up. So even if you’re not seeing much of the sun, don’t forget to lather on that sunscreen before heading out to the pool!

    One of the solar heaters that Pools & Stuff offers is the SolarCurve Solar Heater. This heater works to lower the amount of time it takes to heat your pool and increase the heating capacity by 40% per cycle, at the same time. Wasting energy is not beneficial for anyone, and saving energy can bring down costs of your electric bill by quite a lot.

    People often wonder about the price of solar heaters for their pools. You can purchase many heaters at a relatively low price and because you will have this heater for several years you will be saving money. And you will be able to eliminate excessive pool heating utility costs.

    Another solar heater that Pools & Stuff offers is the Deluxe Solar Bear Above Ground Solar Heater. This solar heater is made of U.V. stabilized, tough polyethylene that is made to last several seasons under direct sunlight so that you can get many years of use out of your solar heater.

    Solar heaters have many positive features, making them a great resource. With low costs and a variety to choose from, you have several different routes you could take when managing the heating for your pool. No matter which solar heater you choose, maintenance will be minimal. Some solar heaters have automatic controllers, which makes handling them even easier. Regardless of whether your heater includes an automatic controller, all you should need to do is check your solar heater at the beginning of each pool season.

    Solar heaters may be the way to go for you and your pool! With simple features, you can easily install these solar heaters yourself, although a representative from Pools & Stuff is always willing to help or answer questions as needed.

     

  • Why Having Your Own Pool Is the Best Thing Ever!

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    Jumping into the cool, blue waters of a pool in the middle of a long, hot summer day is one of the most refreshing feelings! Watching the kids splash around, lounging on your favorite inflatable pool float and tanning in the sun is a great way to spend the day. Having access to a nearby pool is great, but having your own pool is so much better, for so many reasons!

    If you’re like most working families, finding the time to pack up the kids and head to the pool can be hard. By the time the workday has ended and the extra curricular activities are done, the public pool is probably closed up for the night. When you have your own pool you’re able to use it whenever you want. If you have kids and don’t have the time to drive to the pool, you can easily watch them swim out back. If they’re with a babysitter for the day, everyone can swim and at no cost!

    Even during the week, after the workday ends the pool is all yours for a quick swim. Summertime is perfect for night swimming, and is a great way to get in some quick exercise or just relax and wind down at the end of the day.

    Owning your own pool means that you can have as many accessories and toys as you want, without having to worry about them getting lost or stolen at the public pool. Kids have the freedom to toss around the beach ball, play Marco-Polo, or use a bunch of noodles, all while you float around in that lounge chair or raft. At a public pool, you don’t have the ability to bring a bunch of toys or play as many games. The crowded environment makes it a bit harder to lounge or relax in the pool, as you can’t use rafts in public swimming pools and if you have kids you’ll be more focused on where your child is at all times.

    The options are truly endless when you have your own pool! Say goodbye to that icy water; you can heat your pool up a bit for the cooler summer nights or keep the temperature lower when you need to cool off. You can add chlorine as often as you see fit, or even convert it to a salt water pool, either way you won’t be overwhelmed by a highly-chlorinated public pool.

    Depending on the pool or club you choose to belong to, the membership fees can be pretty pricey. Is it really worth it when you’re only getting to the pool once a week because of their hours? Cut the cost! The initial cost of purchasing your own pool, will quickly be outweighed by the savings you’ll recognize by not having a club membership. Plus, there’s no gas needed; your pool is right in your backyard!

    Whether you enjoy swimming laps to get your exercise in, or need a place for the kids to expend some energy, having your own pool, with unlimited access has lots of perks!

     

  • Chlorine vs. Saltwater Pools: Which One is Right for You?

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    There are many pros and cons to both chlorine and saltwater pools, and for some people choosing between the two can be a difficult decision. Ultimately, it’s about which works best for you and your family. Here are some insights into the differences between the two, to help you make the best decision.

    Saltwater Pools: Saltwater pools use dissolved salt in the water to generate chlorine. The saltwater chlorine generator creates a process called electrolysis to break down or separate the sale, also known as sodium chloride or NaCl. The chemical reaction created by the process produces chlorine in the form of sodium hypochlorite and hypochlorous acid, meaning a saltwater pool is not chlorine free, it just uses a chlorine generator instead of liquid chlorine, often used in traditional pools.

    Chlorine Pools: Chlorine pools use a liquid or granule chlorine solution that you pour into the water. The solution then breaks down into multiple chemicals that kill microorganisms and bacteria. Once the chemicals are done cleaning the pool, they either combine with other chemicals or are broken down into single atoms, either way, rendering the chlorine harmless. Sunlight speeds up the process, and chlorine must be added more often.

    Gentle on the Skin: Saltwater pools are known to be gentler on the skin than chlorine. Fewer individuals have reported irritation from saltwater and it tends to not have quite as an abrasive feel that chlorine does when it touches the skin. Although saltwater pools are not completely chlorine free, they are only about a tenth of the salinity of the ocean. This means saltwater pools don’t leave you with a salty feeling when you get out of the water nor does it have the taste ocean water does if it gets in your mouth. In fact, saltwater pools have approximately the same amount of salt as the human tear. This low salt level makes it easy for kids to open their eyes under water and not experience pain.

    Maintenance: Saltwater swimming pools tend to have a higher up-front cost because there is a large amount of salt needed to get the pool’s chemical levels ready for swimming. Once you achieve the correct balance, less salt is needed, overtime, to maintain the correct chlorine levels than traditional chlorine solutions. However, the permanent presence of saltwater can cause damage to pool toys, over time. To avoid this problem, when you’re done in the pool for the day remove all of the pool toys from the water. You can wipe them off or let them air dry as well.

    Having your own pool is a great source of entertainment and joy in the home, and with the introduction of saltwater chlorination systems there are now more options for maintaining the cleanliness of your home pool. There are both benefits and drawbacks to chlorine and saltwater pools, but depending on your own individual needs, one might be better for your lifestyle than the other.

    We hope this blog post helps you in your decision making process. If you have any more questions about which kind of pool is right for you, visit our FAQs page, or contact us today!

     

     

  • Featured Product: 4-Piece Cushioned Patio Set

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    The best way to make the most of your time with your pool is to enjoy it with floats, noodles, snacks, and your favorite people! But beverages and food near your pool is certainly not the safest idea. Keep it on the side for those swimming breaks or as you watch your kiddos swim away!

    One of the many products that Pools & Stuff offers is a 4-piece cushioned patio set. The set of furniture includes two, oversized armchairs, a loveseat and a coffee table… the perfect place to put those snacks! Available in two different colors, five-inch thick plush polyfill cushions come with your chairs and loveseat, letting you relax and enjoy your time to soak up the sun. These cushions are both mildew and moisture resistant, easy to remove and can be machine-washed.

    The items are relatively lightweight, keeping it easy to move if you decide to store the furniture up for the winter or move it from the deck or patio closer to the pool. These pieces are perfect for having some friends over to enjoy the summer nights with some drinks on the coffee table, or just for when you’re watching your kids swim about. You can even snooze away in the sun, as the cushions have been treated with UV inhibitors to help minimize fading from that strong summer sun. Just don’t forget to lather on that sunscreen before you lay out!

    Like the cushions, the table and chair structures have been made to last you several summers out by the pool. Made from corrosion-resistant cast aluminum material, these pieces are bound to survive the wind, rain, and splashes by the pool. The powder coating finish on all pieces allows resistance to scratching, keeping your furniture in good shape.

    The options are endless for how you can enjoy your summer with the Sereno Bay 4-piece patio set. It’s the perfect addition to your patio or deck, giving a comfy space for the family to enjoy after a day spent in the water, or for the friends looking to kick back after a long day in the office. You can easily pair this furniture set with one of the many umbrellas offered at Pools & Stuff to give you a little shade from the sun or to help the kiddos catch a break from the rays in their time out of the pool. You even have the option to pair it with an umbrella with lights, to give you some light at night during those night swimming sessions.

    Outdoor furniture is a great way to add entertainment space to your home. Move the party to the backyard with extra seating space and a place to put food and drinks. Why not make the most of your summers and your time with family and friends by the pool? You and your family are bound to enjoy those afternoon snacks between swimming sessions and lazy, relaxing nights lounging under the stars with this four-piece patio set. Just say hello to a happy summer!

     

     

  • The Perfect Pool Party

    Five young friends in swimming pool playing and smiling   Summer always means lots of fun in the sun, and of course time spent at the pool! Whether you want to throw a small get-together with some family or a larger party with a bunch of friends, there are some great tips here to help you have the perfect, safe and fun summer pool party with guests of all ages.

     

    Safety First!: A child’s safety is most important, especially when it comes to swimming. An easy and cute way to help make sure all kids are safe at your pool party is to fill your pool with lots of noodles. Kids can use noodles in games and activities in the pool, but they also keep kids afloat and allows them to take a bit of a break from swimming and rest by sitting on them. Keep a bucket or basket near the pool with some extra noodles in it for when you throw a big party and some life vests or arm floaters too. This allows younger children to go in the pool without a parent in the water, but still have adult supervision.

     

    Fun & Floating: From tubes to chaises to sofas --- you are not going to want to miss out on these perfect and comfy loungers that you can get for your pool party. After a bit, many people get tired of treading water or even standing around. These comfy mats allow you to relax, even with a drink on a chaise under the sun with friends at the party. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes allowing you to pick the right ones for your pool so that you keep it comfortable and not crowded.

     

    Organization is Key: With a crowded party you want to keep the stuff organized. In addition to a bucket or basket with some great safety tools, like life vests and noodles, be sure to store the toys that you’re not using at the time in an organization pouch. Pools & Stuff offers multiple pool organizers, including one with a hamper. These organizers will minimize the clutter in and around the pool and prevent items from getting lost or tripped over.

     

    Sun & Sports: When neighborhood kids are over and swimming around, a great way to keep them active and entertained is with water sports. With an easily installed basketball hoop or volleyball net for the pool, kids have lots of options of what to do at your pool party. Additional games like shootball or accessories like the Mermaid Swim Fin can be fun for younger children, both boys and girls. All of these accessories can be easily removed when adults want to hang out in the water, too.

     

    With lots of options of fun things to add to your home, your pool party is bound to be perfect! As always, feel free to search our website for more accessories to bring fun into your party. You can also contact your local Pools and Stuff with any questions or concerns.

       

  • A Guide to Caring for Your Above-Ground Swimming Pool

    Pools   If you've finally given in to the demands of your child or children to have a swimming pool installed on your property, you are no doubt relieved to no longer hear their constant requests and pleas. However, buying a pool doesn't mark the end of your concerns with that pool. For all the joy it will bring your family, it could bring you just as much stress if it is not properly cared for. This post is dedicated to providing you with an insightful guide to help care for your above-ground swimming pool.

     

    In-Season Care Routines

    The first routine you need to become familiar with is testing the water. Your pool's pH and chlorine levels should be checked twice each week. The ideal pH range is between 7.4 and 7.6, with a chlorine level of 1.0 to 3.0 parts per millions (ppm). The best time of day to check the pool water's pH and chlorine levels is at dusk, with a few caveats to keep in mind:

    • Ensure no one has been in the pool in the last four hours.
    • Don't test water within eight hours of rain or wind storms.

    Next, you'll want to clean the pool once each week, at a minimum. Common cleaning tasks include emptying the skimmer baskets along the side of the pool, and skim leaves and debris from the top of the water with the help of a skimmer net. If the bottom of your pool is filthy, it's probably time to invest in a pool broom at the very least, or a robot vacuum if you want the job done thoroughly.

    Consider adding two types of chemicals to your pool to clean it off. Apply a pool surface cleaner to the waterline along your pool walls to eliminate stains along the side, and rub it in with a brush to reach deeper spots. Add a large dose of chlorine, known as shocking the water, to eliminate algae and other contaminants. Do this step no more than once a week, or the water could develop a chlorine level that is too high.

    Last but not least, run your filtration system on a regular basis during the summer. If you keep the water running constantly, you are less likely to see dust, dirt, and environmental pollutants ruin the quality and appearance of your pool.

     

    Off-Season Routines

    Prepare the water in your pool for the winter by cleaning it as you would during the summer months. Remove all the objects from your pool, including ladders, diving boards, slides, and any other accessories that might be submerged underwater. Drain the water from your pool's pump, filter, heater, and associated tubing. If water freezes in these pipes, tubes, and systems, it could severely damage your pool.

    Now that it is prepared, you can lower the pool water level. Do not drain your pool all the way, but rather, lower it down to a level just below the lowest pool return. If you have decorative tiles on your pool that are below the lowest return, you should further lower the level below those tiles.

    With the water drained to lower levels, take time to inspect your pool. Look for cracks, leaks, or other types of damage that need to be addressed. Allowing these issues to persist through harsh winter temperatures may only exacerbate the issue. Cover the pool for safety, both of the pool's fixtures and those who might be in your yard during the winter.

     

    If you cannot find the tools, equipment, and chemicals you need to care for your pool during the summer and winter, you'll find all the pool chemicals and cleaners you need here.

     

  • Creating the Perfect Environment around Your Backyard Pool

    Little girl in a swimming pool

     

    Once you install a new pool in your backyard, you should be prepared for your home to become the gathering point for all your friends, family members, and neighbors. There's a difference between hosting some guests in your backyard, and entertaining those guests. With the addition of these must-have accessories, you'll create the perfect environment in your backyard to entertain guests around the pool.

     

    Slides

    Kids aren't generally picky when it comes to a pool. If there's water and the chance to swim around, children will hop right in and enjoy the cool waters. If you want to give them something more to do, you can purchase a slide such as the Typhoon Slide or Turbo Twister Slide to give the kids a chance to enjoy a waterpark thrill in the comfort of your backyard.

     

    Umbrellas

    Everyone enjoys the sun's warm glow, but if you're going to be spending the whole day outside around the pool, you'll inevitably want some shade to escape those warm rays. There are countless options when it comes to selecting an umbrella for use in the backyard. Canton umbrellas with collar tilts are common choices, due to simplicity. They can be used as standalone umbrellas, or placed next to seating areas.

    Bimini Cantilever umbrellas are portable and use heavy stands that sit off to the side, casting shade over a larger area without having a stand in the middle of a seating area. Of course, there are also umbrellas included in seating arrangements, where the umbrella stand comes up through the center of a table to cast shade over those seated at the table.

    A unique option is the Blue Wave Light. This accessory can be added to most umbrellas, and provides light under the umbrella as you enjoy those warm evening breezes outdoors around your pool.

     

    Pool Stools

    If the primary users of your backyard pool are older children and adults, pool stools offer a great option for in-pool seating that creates a unique experience. These LED Pool Stools are adjustable to three- or four-foot depths. They are not fixed to the bottom of the pool, but rather, feature a weighted base that helps hold them in place. An included remote control allows you to fade, flash, and change colors on a whim, adding brilliance to the nighttime ambiance around your pool!

     

    Fountains

    Even if you purchase a simple swimming pool for your backyard, you can add a fountain at any time that adds entertainment to your backyard. The Raindance Deluxe Spinning Fountain comes with its own water pressure valve, universal adapter kit, transparent, flexible plumbing, and anchor that allows you to install and remove the fountain as you choose.

    Your pool doesn't have to be the only source of entertainment in your backyard. While there is nothing wrong with a pool alone, adding a few extra accessories can transform a backyard with a pool into the ultimate entertaining area that will leave all your neighbors feeling jealous.

     

    Do you have pool accessories in your backyard? Which one is your favorite?

     

  • 8 Steps to Get Your Pool Ready for Summer Swimming

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    Now that the coldest days of winter are finally behind us (hopefully) and the world is turning green again, it is time to think about the hot days of summer and the pool in your back yard. Whether you have a huge in-ground swimming pool or a smaller above-ground one, you will no doubt enjoy many summer days and nights swimming, hanging out with friends and just having fun with your family.

    Getting your pool off to a great start now will mean less maintenance and more fun later. Here are eight steps you can take today to get your pool ready for swimming season tomorrow.

     

    1. Drain and Remove the Pool Cover

    Drain as much water as you can from the pool cover, then carefully remove it and set it aside. Clean the pool cover carefully before storing it. A clean pool cover will last longer and be more durable.

     

    2. Add Water as Needed

    You probably lost a good deal of water to evaporation over the winter months. Now is the time to bring the level back up to normal. Use a hose to fill your pool to its normal level.

     

    3. Reconnect the Pool Equipment

    After the water level is back to normal, you can reconnect the equipment you disconnected for the winter season. That includes your pump, filter, heater and anything else that you normally use on your in-ground or above-ground pool.

     

    4. Remove the Winter Plugs and Reattach Your Drain Plugs

    You will need to remove the winterizing plugs you used in your pump, filter, heater and pool cleaner over the colder months. Store those winterizing plugs in a safe place and put your regular drain plugs back where they belong.

     

    5. Clear the Pool Antifreeze from Your Drain Lines

    If you used pool antifreeze during the winter months, you will need to discharge it before getting your pool ready for summer. Be sure to discharge the antifreeze safely and dispose of it properly.

     

    6. Check Your Skimmer and Return Lines for Winterizing Plugs

    Do not forget to remove any winterizing plugs from your return lines and skimmers. You will want to wait until all of the pool antifreeze has been properly discharged before removing these winterizing plugs.

     

    7. Begin Turning Your Pool Equipment Back On

    After the antifreeze has been discharged and the winterizing plugs removed, you can start turning your equipment back on. You will want to prime the pump and start the circulation and filtration system to keep your pool clean. You will also want to open the relief valve on your filter (if it has one) and bleed any extra air from the system.

     

    8. Test Your Water Chemistry and Make Changes as Needed

    The next step is taking a sample of your water and testing its chemistry. Even if your pool chemistry was in perfect shape when you closed up for the season, you will probably need to make a few adjustments. You can use a home test kit to determine the pH and other values, and feel free to contact us with any questions you might have about testing your pool’s chemistry.

     

    When you first saw pools for sale, you dreamed of having such an oasis in your back yard. Now that you have your own pool in place, it is time to care for it properly so you can enjoy it for a long time!

    If you have any further questions about how to get your pool ready for the warm weather ahead, contact us today!

     

     

  • 6 Essential Safety Tips for Your Backyard Pool

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    Having a swimming pool in the back yard is a lot of fun. With a pool in place, you and your family can vacation without ever leaving home, but before you take your first swim you need to take safety into account.

    The good news is that a few simple, commonsense safety precautions can prevent most swimming pool problems. Here are some things you can do, right now, to secure your pool and keep your friends, family members and neighborhood children safe.

    #1. Invest in Family Swimming Lessons If you have a pool in your backyard, every member of your family needs to know how to swim. It does not matter if Grandma just plans to do water aerobics or Junior plans to stay at the shallow end. A single mistake or moment of carelessness could be tragic.

    You can take swimming lessons at the local YMCA or gym, or hire a coach to give lessons at your home. No matter which approach you choose, the peace of mind you receive will be well worth the cost.

    #2. Exceed Local Fencing Requirements Many townships impose fencing requirements for both in-ground and above-ground pools. Find out what those requirements are before you build, then exceed them.

    If your township requires a three-foot fence, build a four- or five-foot one instead. Top it off with a childproof lock and make sure all gates are self-closing.

    #3. Insist on Safe Behavior Horseplay and other unsafe activities are a common cause of pool accidents. Insist on safe behavior around the pool at all times, and do not waver from that commitment.

    Enforcing these safety rules, consistently, is vital, especially if you have children. Your kids will be watching what you do, and if you are not consistent they may let their guard down when you are not around.

    #4. Store Your Pool Chemicals Safely Water is not the only potential danger in your pool. The chemicals you use to clean the water, disinfect the pool and balance the pH can also be dangerous. Store all of your pool chemicals safely and in the original containers. Mixing the wrong chemicals can create toxic fumes, and those kinds of errors are more likely if the chemicals are removed from their original packaging.

    #5. Keep a Flotation Ring and First Aid Kit by the Pool Your pool should include safety devices like floatation rings and first aid kits. If you have a large pool, placing a floatation ring at each end (or each corner) of the pool is a smart idea. If your pool is a small one, you can probably get away with a single ring; just be sure you know where it is at all times. A first aid kit is another important line of defense, so keep it close by whenever anyone is swimming or hanging out by the pool.

    #6. Check Drain Covers Before Every Swim If the drain cover becomes loose or fully dislodged, long hair, jewelry and loose clothing can easily get sucked in. That could trap swimmers under the water and even cause a drowning. It only takes a minute to check the drain covers, so make it part of your everyday routine.

    Installing a pool in your backyard should be a fun and exciting experience, and with the proper safety measures, you can ensure that it will always remain that way! What about you, do you have any safety tips for families with a backyard pool? What about rules for “pool time?”

    Contact us if you’d like more information on our selection of pools, and pool accessories!

     

     

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