What is the point of having poll if you need to spend the best part of your Saturday cleaning it? Well every year more and more automatic cleaners arrive on the market you have all seen those little robots that automatically wonder the floor of your pool methodically cleaning every inch over and over again I named mine Bob. Yes I have pool cleaner money well spent after several years of looking and examining cleaners I finally made to plunge and now I wonder why I did not buy one earlier.

Today you can spend almost any amount of money on a pool cleaning system the top of the line and by far the best are the built in floor system a series of small water jets automatically pop up from the floor in a pre arraigned order and time and spray water to clean and rinse the debris in the direction of the drain and stirring up little bits to be filtered out by the filter. Obviously this in floor system is on the high end of the spectrum and is generally installed at the same time the pool is built as much planning and piping is needed to run such a system.

The other types of pool cleaners are the suction side or pressure side cleaners they operate using the filter pump. Some have brushes much like your home vacuum or small jets that direct the dirt into the onboard filter or the suction line of the main filter. These robotic cleaners follow a random pattern and may take several hours to completely clean the pool unfortunately they will not be able to clean in corners or behind ladders. Every type of pool cleaners have one thing in common they do not clean every part you ay still have to clean your tile and coping by hand, that is what your kids are for right? The biggest drawback to the robotic filters is the need to be unhooked when you want to use the pool while the kids have no problem unhooking Bob when they want to go for a swim Bob never seems to get hooked back up.

Robotic pool cleaners use electricity t power themselves around the pool using a spinning brush to dislodge dirt and send through their onboard filter system the best part about these is they do not require the pools filter pump to be on to run, no suction or pressure lines need to be hooked up drop the robot in the pool and stand back and let it do its job. The robotic pool cleaners are more expensive than the pump driven cleaners but are much less expensive than an in floor system. So whatever type of cleaner you are looking at be sure it is right for the material your pool is constructed out of, cleaners that work good on a concrete pool may not be suitable for a vinyl or plaster pool.

Closing It For The Winter

The nights start getting a little cooler (40 degrees or less), and pool owners recognize it as the first sign that the season is preparing to change. The days warm enough to swim reduce gradually until they regularly are out numbered by the days that are too cool to swim. At some point, it can no longer be denied, the pool season is over!

When it’s time to get ready to close up your pool, taking the time to do it right will prevent problems during the winter and help avoid delays opening the pool when the warm weather returns. About three days to a week before you will close your pool, begin preparing it. Adjust the water chemical balance to the following ranges:

pH: 7.2-7.6

Alkalinity: 80-120ppm

Calcium Hardness: 180-220ppm

Reduce filtering times gradually over a week

Once this is accomplished, shock the pool, following the package directions. When the chlorine level is 1.0 to 3.0, winter algaecide can be added and it won’t interfere with the effectiveness of the algaecide.

To avoid damage from freezing and/or snow, these items should be removed from a pool and stored for the winter:

Skimmer baskets (all pools)

Wall fittings (all pools)

Cleaners (all pools)

Ladders (above-ground pools)

Decks and rails (above-ground pools)

Solar covers (all pools)

Some pool covers require the water level to be lowered. Check the pool cover manufacturer’s recommendations. Use a submersible pump or the filter pump to lower water level if need.

Remove all plugs from equipment like pumps, heater, and chlorinator. Completely drain all equipment. If needed, blow out equipment so there is no water left to freeze and cause damage to the pool equipment. When possible, remove the pump and store indoors. DE filter grids and cartridges will need to be removed and cleaned. It is recommended to lubricate all o-rings and for gas heaters with cast iron plugs it’s a good idea to lubricate the threads.

The pool should be as clean and clear as you can make it. If you have been properly maintaining the pool, it shouldn’t be much work to skim and vacuum the swimming pool.

For in-ground pools if you can’t blow out the lines, add antifreeze, following package directions. Once lines are safe from freezing, install expansion plugs. For above ground pools, the lines can be disconnected. Putting large air pillows in an above-ground pool will help protect the liner.

When the pool is clear and the water is clean and at desired chemical levels, it’s time to cover it. A properly fitting cover is essential to proper pool closure.

Heating Your Pool For The Spring

As anyone who’s ever jumped into a frigid pool knows, a swimming pool heater is a handy gadget to have, especially for those cooler days and nights that hit every summer. People living in cooler climates usually like to extend their swimming days past Labor Day, and a heater makes it possible to enjoy that last bit of summertime fun before the leaves start turning.

Swimming pool heaters are generally offered with electric capabilities or, for more rural areas, propane or natural gas. In addition to the traditional heater, people today also have a choice of purchasing a heating pump as well as utilizing solar power through the use of a solar heating system, which is an energy efficient and environmentally friendly way of keeping that pool water warm during at least three out of four seasons a year.

In most cases the size and horsepower of a swimming pool heater will depend on the size of your swimming pool, or gallon capacity, and the temperature of your climate. It will take less energy and horsepower to heat a swimming pool on a cool Arizona night that it would in Minnesota.

In addition, whether your pool is above ground or in ground will also make a big difference. Most heaters come with an adjustable thermostat, which makes maintaining a constant temperature not only comfortable, but also energy efficient as well.

Most swimming pool heater options range in the 80-85% efficiency rating system, but some brands reach as high as a 95% rating. Try to avoid heaters that rate less than 83% or you’ll be spending more than an arm and a leg on your electric bills. Also, check the BTU’s that a swimming pool heater rates.

A BTU is the amount of energy that is needed to heat water by one degree, and most heating units offer between 75,000 and 400,000 BTU units. While the higher number will heat your pool in less time, they also cost more, so individual buyers will have to determine their savings quotient to determine which model will best suit their needs and utility budgets.

Heating pumps are also an option when comes to swimming pool heater choices. While original cost outlay is high, they utilize outside air to help warm water, so if you live in a warmer climate, this might be an option to look in to. Solar heating panels are also growing more popular among swimming pool owners around the United States.

Solar panels collect and store energy absorbed from the sun and can be used year round in sunny climates like Florida and California, as well as desert areas. Keep in mind however, that their use is based on weather patterns, so while they may be efficient most of the year, the winter months may prove frustrating.

Of all forms of swimming pool heater choices, the electric heaters are considered to be most energy efficient, though propane heaters come in at a close second. Price ranges for above ground pool heaters usually start at around $600, while those for in ground swimming pools run around $1,000.

No matter which type you’re thinking of purchasing, do your homework, shop around and make sure you know your options. Before you even start shopping for a swimming pool heater, know your basics.POOL SAFETY ALARMs –

What are the In Pool Options?

Vigilance is the best way to prevent a child from drowning. Nearly all pool mishaps happen in less than five minutes; the amount of time it takes to make a cup of coffee or a sandwich.

There are alarms that can help you promote pool safety. Pool safety alarms afford you extra protection for the ones you care about and love. They will help keep your children from becoming a statistic.

Pool Alarms come in 2 styles: Floating and Infra red Sensors

FLOATING/WAVE SENSORS

These alarms are mounted on the edge of the pool or in the pool. They are key activated, battery powered, and portable. Generally these alarms sense water displacement when an object weighing more than fifteen pounds enters the pool. When this occurs a signal is sent to a remote receiver which is either in the home or carried by the gardian. The receiver emits an alarm of approximately 85 decibels. This type of alarm can be used with pool covers, pool nets or solar blankets and have an adjustment that can reduce their sensitivity. They are affordable. The disadvantages to this system in some models include the portability, which means some can be removed for swimming and not replaced, and the fact that someone must be in the water before you are alerted.

FENCE/ WALL MOUNTED PASSIVE INFRA-RED MOTION DETECTORS

These all weather-designed systems may be mounted on a pool fence or wall and can also be installed in a spa, patio, or garage. They protect an 8-yard semi circular area by emitting a 110-decibel alarm that can be heard up to 50 yards away. These alarms, which are most effective when mounted on a pool fence or wall, are armed one minute after being switched on and possess a 5 second entry delay feature which prevents the device from going off immediately after it’s been activated. Unique features include both a movement and heat sensitive sensor that can only be activated by a small child or animal when performing movements and emitting body heat within its patrol range. 2 standard alkaline batteries or a DC power adapter run these alarms, which have a 12-month full replacement warranty.

POOL MOUNTED PASSIVE INFRA-RED MOTION DETECTORS

These alarms, which are some of the newest ones on the market, combine all of the important features found in other devices and are very affordable. Each unit, simultaneously detects both motion and heat of anyone passing by and will not give any false readings for inanimate objects. With this device a perimeter fence is not an integral part of the system as it is with most other systems.

This key operated unit runs on batteries or a DC power adapter and has a 24-hour warning signal for low battery power. With a 110-decibel micro siren this is also the loudest alarm on the market and can be heard 50-yards away. These alarms cover an 8.5-yard radius and a 150-degree area.

The Pool Mounted Passive Infra Red Motion Detector protects all children before they get wet and also keeps your pool equipment safe from theft.

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