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  • 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.

     

  • Featured Product: 4-Piece Cushioned Patio Set

    Pools

     

    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!

     

     

  • 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?

     

  • Ridding Your Pool of Algae

    Ridding Your Swimming Pool of Algae

    Algae growth is a very common problem among swimming pool owners. There is nothing dangerous about algae itself. In fact, you can purchase it in health supplements. However, algae is really good at converting sunlight into food and then realeasing waste. This waste creates an hospitable environment for harmful bacteria and other undesirable micro-organisms.

    There are over 20,000 species of algae, but only a few are ever found in swimming pool water. You can't really keep algae out of the pool--it is constantly landing in the water. It is not until sanitizer levels drop that algae becomes a problem. In just a few hours, algae can multiply and take over a swimming pool.

    Types of Swimming Pool Algae

    Algae is commonly identified and referred to by its color.

    Green algae is the most commonly found in swimming pools and is easy to prevent and treat (relatively speaking).

    Yellow--or Mustard--algae is more difficult to treat than green algae, but does respond to treatments.

    Black algae is not only unsightly, it can be very difficult to eradicate from your swimming pool.

    Pink algae is not actually algae, but a fungus called Paecilomyces Iilacinus. It creates white, pink, or grey colonies that are slimy.

    Treating Swimming Pool Algae

    The best way to deal with swimming pool algae is prevention. Proper water balance and sanitizer levels will prevent spores from taking over the pool. The most effective sanitizer is chlorine, which should be present in the water at a minimum of 1.0 part per million (ppm).

    Once you have an algae problem, you have some work to do:

    • Check the pH levels of the pool water. You want it to be in the range of 7.2 - 7.6. This will help the chlorine do its job more effectively.

    Use a monitoring system like our ePool Wireless Water Chemistry Monitoring System to get notifications sent to you when chemical levels are out of balance!

    • Shock treat the pool water with the pool filter system running. You need at least 10 ppm of chlorine.

    We carry several shock products. Check them out!

    • Circulate the water 24 hours a day until the algae is completely gone.
    • Brush the walls and floor of the pool thoroughly and then vacuum. Repeat daily until the algae is completely gone from the pool.
    • Purchase an algaecide formulated for the type of algae in your pool (green, yellow, etc.). Add it to the water according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add algaecide weekly to prevent algae from returning.

    Get FREE SHIPPING on our algaecide products.

    • If the algae problem does not significantly improve in 12-24 hours, shock the pool again.
    • Clean or backwash your filter to ensure any live spores are cleared out. Do this regularly as part of preventative maintenance.
    • Submerge all of your cleaning equipment (brooms, vacuums, etc) in algaecide overnight to ensure you've killed any spores that may be hiding on them.

    Note: Do not use the swimming pool until all the algae is gone and chlorine levels are back to 3 ppm or less.

    How do you handle algae problems in your pool? Got any tips or tricks to share? Tell us in the comments!

     

    Resources:

  • Protecting Your Pool From Wildlife

    It's coming--the time for getting back into the pool is just around the corner! But humans aren't the only ones that end up in the water when the pool covers come off. Wildlife often end up in the pool as well. From ducks to alligators to the neighbor's dog, your pool can easily become a local watering hole for critters in your area. Unless your dream is to discover a new species of frog, you probably want to keep animals out of the pool.

    The Dangers of Animals in Swimming Pools

    The primary reason why wildlife and pools are a bad combo is simply because the animals could drown. Squirrels and possums are famous for falling into the water and perishing when they can't escape. Not only is this a sad loss of life, the organic matter introduced into the chlorinated water can produce a toxic gas, introduce nasty bacteria into the water, and pollute the pool's filtration system.

    And if the animal doesn't perish, then you have a really angry possum in the water. Not really great for swimming with the kids.

    Also remember that if these animals can get into the pool, there's a very good chance small children can get in as well. A pool secured from wildlife is safer for children, too.

    Keep Wildlife Out of Your Pool

    Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep critters out. In general, it's easier to keep them out of above-ground pools, but you'll still want to take measures to secure the pool.

    Build a Fence -- In many places, there are regulations requiring pools to be fenced and gated, but even if you aren't required to have them they are a good idea. They'll keep bigger animals and kids from falling in.

    Have an Access Ladder/Gate -- For above-ground pools, install a ladder with a lockable gate to prevent little furry things from using the steps to access the pool. We carry an attractive one here.

    keep wildlife out of pools

     

    Invest in an Escape Ramp -- Sometimes all these wayward critters need is a little help out of the pool. Providing an escape ramp could be a lifesaver. There are lots of models available out there, and they are quite affordable. We like this one, perfect for smaller animals like lizards and squirrels:

    swimming pool escape ramp

     

    And Now Some Cute Animal Videos

    We certainly don't recommend having animals in your pool, but sometimes it can be funny to watch wildlife enjoy the luxury of a dip in the pool. Here are some cute videos of animals enjoying human swimming pools. Enjoy!

  • 8 Reasons a Private Pool is Better Than a Public Pool

    Maybe you're trying to decide whether or not to build a pool in the backyard. Or, maybe you're trying to decide between renting a house with a pool or renting an apartment with a shared pool. Whatever the reason, you might want to know why a private pool is better than a public pool.

    1. Public Pools are Gross

    Private Pool is Better Than a Public Pool

    This is the first reason why private pools are better because it is the biggest reason and contributes heavily to some of the following reasons. To put it bluntly, public pools are disgusting: according the the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the average swimmer deposits 0.14 grams of fecal matter in pool water, usually within minutes of first entering. Multiply that by how many people are going through your local community pool and, well, that's a lot of poop.

    It doesn't just stop there. One in five Americans admit to peeing while in a swimming pool. How many people were at the public pool last time you were there? Yeah. That's a lot of pee.

    Another gross number: about 35% of swimmers don't shower before getting in the pool. This means that they dive right in and within minutes contaminate the water with fecal matter, dead skin, loose hair, lotion, sweat ... you get the picture. The gross, disgusting picture.

    In a private pool, you know exactly who and what is in the water. You can insist on clean bodies only in the pool, and by limiting the number of people diving in you control the grossness they contribute to the water.

    2. Public Pools Will Get You Sick

    All that poop and dead skin in the water inevitably leads to bacteria. Yes, chlorine is there to kill off germs and sanitize the water, but there's only so much it can do. Every time you mix organic contaminants into the water, they consume chlorine, leaving less chlorine to battle off the stuff deposited by the next swimmer. Get enough swimmers, like in a public setting, and there's not enough chlorine to get it all before you accidentally swallow it.

    Next thing you know, you've got a recreational water illness (RWI). The CDC states that there has been an increase in RWIs in the past two decades. The most common is diarrhea, followed by gastrointestinal complaints, skin problems, ear infections, respiratory problems, eye infections, and neurological problems.

    With your own private pool, you control the cleanliness and therefore considerably decrease your chances of becoming ill from bacteria.

    3. You Can't Control the Chlorine

    Chlorine is good in that it disinfects, but it's bad because ... well, chlorine is just really bad for you. It was first used as a weapon during World War I, and it continues to contribute to a host of health issues, such as eczema, respiratory illnesses, and even certain cancers. Once you mix organic matter with chlorine, you get some potentially toxic chlorine by-products that have been linked to lung and skin irritation, liver and bladder cancer, allergies, and asthma.

    In a private pool, you can carefully monitor and control the chlorine levels for maximum safety and hygiene. Or, you can opt for a chlorine-free system rarely seen in public pools, such as ultra filtration, ozone, or salt water.

    4. Indoor Pools May Cause Lung Problems

    Private Pool Better Than a Public Pool photo by Dave Dugdale via Flickr

    Studies have been done that indicate that frequent swimming in indoor pools contributes to upper and lower respiratory problems such as lung congestion, sneezing, asthma, lung irritation, and other breathing difficulties. The problem is chloramine, the toxic by-product of chlorine and organic matter. The more chlorine and the more organic matter involved, the more chloramine you have. You can see the problem this can create in a public setting. Chloramines settle just above the water's surface where swimmers primarily breathe. Continued exposure affects bronchial health. There is evidence to suggest that symptoms can be worse for younger swimmers, to the point that many experts discourage parents from taking infants and toddlers to indoor swimming pools.

    Among private pool owners, only the most posh tend to have their own indoor pools, so this issue tends to be isolated to indoor community pools and school pools.

    5. There are Other People at Public Pools

    By calling them "public" pools we're pretty much accepting that other people will be using them. All sorts of people. We would never advocate an anti-social attitude toward your fellow human, but let's face it: other people can be trying at times. Using a public pool means sharing your swim time with people who may not be as clean and well behaved as you might like. With your own private pool, you have more privacy and more control over the company you swim with.

    6. Public Pools are Inconvenient

    First off, they have operating hours. Feel like a night time swim? Good luck finding an open public pool. Having a pool party at Christmas? Not a chance if you plan on using a public pool. A private pool lets you swim at any time, on any day. Do a few laps before dinner. Use the pool area for 12 hours straight or for just 15 minutes. And if you have a heated pool, you can swim most or all of the year during times when public pools shut down.

    Public pools often also have fees for their use. This might dissuade you from using them for just a quick swim, which means you lose out on the benefits of regular swimming.

    You also have to actually leave the house to use a public pool. With your own pool, it's just out the door. This means you'll probably use it more, and that means you'll be healthier from all that aerobic exercise in poop-free water.

    7. You Can Be the Host With the Most With a Private Pool

    Private Pool in Better Than a Public Pool photo by 1950sUnlimited via Flickr

    Some public pools have space available for parties, some don't. If they do, you still have to contend with other pool users, your guests may have to pay entrance fees to the pool, you'll have to make do with the facilities available, and you may have limitations on decorations, activities, and refreshments that are permitted.

    Instead, picture yourself hosting a party beside your private pool. Only your guests are present. You can decorate any way you like, serve what you like. You can plan activities in and around the pool without worrying about any facility policies or other swimmers getting in the way. Even better: you can party into the night without worry the pool will close down and kick you and your guests out.

    8. You Know Where Your Kids Are

    Got kids old enough to go to the pool on their own? With a private pool, you can keep an eye on your teen and her friends as they swim safely at your home. You know exactly where they are, who they are with, and what they are doing. Better yet, you don't have to drive a van full of kids back and forth to the public swimming hole--you can just kick them out the back door.

    Many public pools are terrific places--they can be a great place to get to know your neighbors, they provide a place for people to exercise and play, and they can be an oasis in the summer for people who don't have access to a pool of their own. However, if you have the means or opportunity, it's definitely worth it to choose the private pool every time.

     

  • The Benefits of Converting Your Pool to Saltwater

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    Due to media coverage surrounding environmental chemicals and how they affect health and the body, many people are decreasing the amount of chemicals they are exposed to and have made changes in various areas of their lives to achieve this.  Converting your pool to a saltwater pool is a great option for those who fall into this camp.  These setups are virtually chemical-free and offer more benefits than chlorine.

    There are some basic differences between a saltwater pool and a conventional chlorine-based pool.  Saltwater pools use a system like a Saltron Chlorine Generator to change the saltwater ions into chlorine to help sanitize your pool. The salt solution in the pool water is virtually undetectable and its concentration is less than that of human tears.  A Saltron system also has fewer odors, a more neutral smell, and tends to be less harsh on your skin and eyes.

    Saltwater pools have far less salt content than the ocean, but the same great benefits, including those that help your skin, stress levels, and overall health.  Swimming in saltwater is cleansing and will leave your skin feeling smooth and supple.  It increases moisture retention, rejuvenates the skin by detoxifying, and promotes cellular regeneration.  Saltwater also reduces the inflammation of joints and muscles, leaving your body relaxed and stress free.  The minerals in saltwater also offer health benefits.  The potassium present in saltwater is beneficial because your blood needs it after exercise. Magnesium helps in making your nervous system healthy. The sodium in saltwater keeps your body's fluid balance in check. The calcium helps in keeping your bones and teeth healthy.

    PoolsAndStuff.com carries many great saltwater pool options.  We have a standalone Saltron unit that you can add to any pool and two dark blue Premier pools that can be used with saltwater.  Visit PoolsAndStuff.com to check out all the available options.

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