Pool Maintenance Saratoga New York

Pool Level Dropping? Is It a Leak or Evaporation?

This article comes from Angie’s List.

Pool Level Dropping? Is It a Leak or Evaporation?

Is the water level in your pool dropping? Test to see what’s causing the loss.

What causes pool water evaporation?

There are three main factors for evaporation: Exposure, temperature and humidity levels.

1. Exposure.

The more your pool is exposed to the sun and wind, the more evaporation you’ll see. A screened pool will evaporate less than an unscreened pool. A pool surrounded by a fence, trees or a structure will evaporate less than a pool that’s facing an open sky. A pool that isn’t on a lake, golf course or other large piece of land will evaporate less than a pool that is.

2. Temperature.

Throughout our cooler months in Central Florida, we see a significant contrast between the high and low temperatures, sometimes in excess of 25 degrees. This allows your pool to heat up during the day and evaporate all night. In fact, if the sun is down and you turn on your pool light, you’ll likely see a mist above the pool. This is the water evaporating and it does this all night, every night.

3. Humidity.

High humidity equals very low evaporation, whereas low humidity equals high evaporation. The air is like a towel or a sponge: The more dry it is, the more water it can hold. In other words, ladies, if you know your perfectly styled locks will fall as soon as you walk outside, you can expect very low evaporation from your pool.

These factors vary greatly from area to area and from season to season. For example, Arizona summers are dry, whereas between daily showers and 100 percent humidity, Florida summers are wet. Therefore, evaporation is high during an Arizona summer but very low during a Florida summer.

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Pool Safety Checklist: Childproof Your Pool

This article comes from Angie’s List.

Pool Safety Checklist: Childproof Your Pool

According to the CDC, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional, injury related death behind motor vehicle crashes. Additionally, the American Red Cross reports more than 200 children drown in backyard pools every year.

A lot of pool-related accidents are preventable. Follow this checklist to childproof your pool and ensure everyone enjoys the water safely.

Swimming lessons and pool rules

Invest in swimming lessons, or take the time to personally teach your child to swim. Children as young as 6 months can take some sort of water orientation or swimming class.

And just as you have house rules, you need to set pool rules. Among them should be no running, no swimming without supervision, and any inexperienced swimmers must wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets when in the pool.

Consider pool alarm systems, fences and gates

Set an alarm to go off when any doors or gates leading to the pool open. Aside from house alarms, make your child wear a wrist alarm. It looks like a watch, but will sound when it gets wet. You can also install a pool alarm that detects movements and disturbances in the water.

Construct a 4-foot fence around the pool, or call a professional to install a fencing system for you. Use a secure gate with a self-closing latch to keep the young ones out of the water.

Also, securely attach a safety cover to the top of the pool when not in use. Keep water from collecting on top of the cover. A child can drown in just a couple inches of water.

Additional emergency preparedness for the pool

Stow pool chemicals away in a locked area. Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration.

Ensure your household is equipped to deal with water emergencies by having the proper rescue equipment, such as a safety ring buoy or rope. Enroll the family and caregivers in water safety, first-aid and CPR courses. Stay up to date on certifications.

Remove ladders, stairs, slides and diving boards from the pool when it isn’t in use, if at all possible. These only entice a child to go into the pool. If removal isn’t an option, cover them with some sort of barrier.

Install anti-entrapment safety drain covers. A pool or spa service professional should be able to help you with this.

Keep them off the deck or away from the pool when you aren’t using it.

Nothing beats an undistracted adult monitoring the pool. If you can’t be that person, designate someone you trust to keep a watchful eye over your children when they’re in the water.

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Do I Need a Pool Inspection?

This article comes from Angie’s List.

Do I Need a Pool Inspection?

A pool inspector will help identify potential hazards and necessary repairs, and advise you of options to rectify any problems. Afterwards, the inspector will give you a full written patio report, usually within a day or two of the inspection, or email you a copy.

Ask for a copy of a completed report before you hire an inspector to make sure his or her work is thorough and to your standards. When reviewing a sample report, check that the inspector has handwritten comments and not just a quick “check box” type of list.

Diagnosing pool problems

Donning an arsenal of tools and an encyclopedic body of knowledge, your inspector is like a detective for pool problems. But first, the inspector will start with the basics, identifying the:

  • Pool size
  • Pool depth
  • Type of pool materials used in construction, such as poured cement, fiberglass, or vinyl
  • Age and manufacturer

The inspector should do a visual inspection of the area around the pool and the pool itself, looking for warning signs of potential issues, such as cracks in the surface. The inspector will also check that railings, ladders and diving boards are built to standard and securely fastened, and things such as the filter casing are in good working order and properly installed. Your water will also be tested for proper levels of chlorine, calcium, pH, and alkalinity.

Check pool equipment

The “under the hood” report requires an even more detailed look at the moving parts. The plumbing inspection will check that pumps are working properly and using correct water pressure. If a problem with poor filtration or water pressure it detected, your inspector will recommend an additional round of tests by a leak detection specialist. The inspector will also look at the main drain to see if it is up to code.

The inspector will check that all motors and pumps are in working order; the timer system is properly wired and in good working order; the heater works; and check for condensation in any lighting fixtures. It’s also important to have them check that wires are properly grounded, that proper safety controls and GFIs are in place, and that all electrical codes have been followed.

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Preparing For Summer With Pool Safety Tips

This article comes from Angie’s List.

Preparing For Summer With Pool Safety Tips

Many homeowners dream of adding a swimming pool their backyard, but just like a new puppy, once you get one, you take on a lot of responsibility. Here are some safety tips to make sure your family gets the most enjoyment out of it.

Upgrade your drain covers.

If you have the flat, old-fashioned drains on your pool, upgrade to the one that falls under the new federal standards. These drain covers are especially good at preventing hair from getting caught in the pool and will greatly reduce the risk of someone drowning in your pool from entrapment.

Don’t get sucked in.

Install an automatic suction cut-off device on your pool’s pump. When the device detects an increase in pressure, which is what happens when the drain is blocked, it will automatically shut off the pump and release the pressure.

Having this device is always a faster way to release pressure than having an adult run over and turn off a pump. If you’re going to a friend’s house to swim, check out the suction on the drain before letting any children near it.

Fence your pool correctly.

Your swimming pool should be enclosed with a fence at least 4-feet high. Pool gates should open away from the pool and should be self-closing and self-latching.

Get the right cover.

A pool safety cover that meets the American Society for Testing and Materials specifications will provide an added layer of protection. The cover also reduces heat loss and water evaporation.

Be sure to secure the cover on all sides and corners so a child cannot slip under. Don’t let water accumulate on the cover.

Alarm your pool.

In-pool motion detectors and alarms will let you know if someone is in the water. They are available for doors, fences, in pools and as a clip-on for children or pets.

Rope it off.

Place a rope across the pool to alert swimmers to the separation of the deep end from the shallow end of the pool.

Add another drain.

If you’re building a new pool, install two drains. This will cut the pressure from each drain in half. Often the suction from a lone drain can hold down 400 to 500 pounds, which is too great a force for a young child, and many adults, to escape.

Post emergency instructions.

Make sure you have CPR instructions, warning signs and emergency numbers, such as 911, posted near the pool. Have a telephone handy in case you need to summon help.

Lock up your chemicals.

Store all pool chemicals in a locked location.

Practice active supervision.

Never leave children unsupervised in the pool or outside the pool. Do not count on barriers to keep children from reaching the pool. No barrier is foolproof.

Learn how to swim.

This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many homeowners with pools have family members who can’t swim. If you have a pool, make sure everyone in your family knows how to swim.

Children are never too young to be enrolled in a swimming program.

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Above-Ground Pool vs. In-ground Pool

This article comes from Angie’s List.

Above-Ground Pool vs. In-ground Pool

Trying to decide between an above ground and in-ground pool? There’s a lot to consider.

Above-ground pools cost less to install

One of the biggest reasons homeowners choose an above-ground pool over an in-ground pool is the cost. An above-ground pool costs a fraction of the price of an in-ground pool and it’s a good option for homeowners with a small backyard.

A homeowner can pay as little as $500 for an above-ground pool or as much as $20,000, although most of the models he sells cost between $7,000 and $8,000. That compares with an average starting price of about $38,000 for an in-ground pool in his market, but doesn’t include the cost of a pool patio deck, fencing or landscaping.

The average lifespan of an above-ground is 10 to 20 years. However, higher-end models can last decades.

Above-ground pools install and disassemble quicker

An in-ground pool can take six to eight weeks to construct. hat doesn’t include days off the job because of rainfall. An above-ground pool can be erected in one day.

If you expect to move in several years, or worry that prospective home buyers won’t want a pool, an above-ground pool can be removed just as quickly. Depending on the condition of the pool, it may be reassembled at your new home.

However, you may need to buy some replacement parts because some may be old or damaged when the pool is being taken apart.

Above-ground pools have lower maintenance costs

An above-ground pool holds about half the water of the average in-ground pool, and debris tends to enter above-ground pools from overhead, rather than being windswept across the ground.

Consequently, you’ll spend less money on chlorine and other maintenance supplies and time cleaning an above-ground pool, because an above-ground pool isn’t a permanent structure, it’s unlikely your property taxes will increase, although your insurance rates may.

In-ground pools last longer

Perhaps the biggest advantages of in-ground pools are longevity and curb appeal. If properly constructed and maintained, all in-ground pools can last for decades.

However, in-ground pools will eventually need a major repair, such as a new liner, surface or equipment.

In-ground pools offer more design options

Above ground pools are sold in two shapes; round and oval. And they typically are no deeper than six feet. You can design and build an in-ground pool in any size, shape, and depth you want, which can make them more attractive than above ground pools.

Another advantage of in-ground pools is that the water stays warmer because the vessel holding the water sits in the earth.

Repairs costs more for in-ground pools

If you choose an in-ground pool, more often than not, your property value will increase. An in-ground pool may even entice homebuyers who weren’t looking for a house with a pool to reconsider.

If it’s kept up, they may even pay extra for that.

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Hot Tub Filter - Jay's Precision Pool Services, Saratoga, NY

When Should I Replace My Hot Tub Filter?

This article comes from Hot Tub Focus.

When Should I Replace My Hot Tub Filter?

If the chemicals or filter aren’t doing their job properly then the water can become smelly, discolored and unpleasant. Not only can this be damaging to the hot tub itself but it is also a health hazard to anyone in the water.

If you keep to the recommended time scales of changing your hot tub filter every year you will not go far wrong. This is particularly true if you follow the simple maintenance schedule below as well. However, in some circumstances, you might find that you need to clean or change your filter more often. The signs that you need to change your filter are as follows:

1. The water in the hot tub isn’t clear.

Remember that this could also be because of an incorrect chemical balance. However, if the hot tub filter is clogged or dirty the flow of water will be impeded and the water will cloud up more easily.

2. There is an obvious leak or crack in the filter itself.

This doesn’t happen very often but if there are visible signs of failure than replace the filter asap.

3. When you clean the filter you can’t get it really clean.

Even after using a cleaning solution and a filter cleaning comb/water wand the filter is still dirty. In this case, you need a replacement.

4. Restricted water flow.

This is when there is a difference between the pressure of the water going into the filter and the water coming out of it. If there is a big difference then the filter is blocked or clogged up and needs a good clean or changing.

5. Blocked filter.

The filter seems to get blocked more easily and you need to clean it more often.

What will happen if I don’t clean or change my hot tub filter?

So, you now know everything you need to know about when to change your hot tub filter. But why is it so important to do this? Apart from the fact that your water will become smelly and discolored and possibly start to harbor harmful bacteria it is also possible that you will actually damage your hot tub. One of the most common hot tub faults is damaged or burned out pump motors. This is generally caused by the pump overworking to pump water through a dirty filter. Changing and cleaning your filter is a quick and easy job which not only keeps the water in your hot tub fresh and healthy but also enhances the life expectancy of your hot tub as well!

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Hot Tub Services - Jay's Precision Pools, Saratoga, NY

Why Do Hot Tubs Dehydrate You?

This article comes from Hot Tub Focus.

Why Do Hot Tubs Dehydrate You?

Most of us know that when we are thirsty we need to drink more and when we are getting a headache we are probably dehydrated. So why is it that so many people still managed to suffer the effects of dehydration when in a hot tub?

It’s hard to sweat in a hot tub

First of all, bear in mind that it’s actually quite hard work for our bodies to sweat and keep us cool in a hot tub. You will probably be almost completely submerged up to your neck in water that is above your body temperature so the only part of the body that gets chance to really cool down is the head. This is a relatively small area compared with the rest of our body surface area and so we can start to sweat profusely.

You don’t notice sweat in a hot tub

The second problem is that you don’t really notice that you are sweating so profusely in a hot tub because you are already wet! You might not realize how much sweat you are losing because you are wet already and it doesn’t register in your mind that you need to drink until it’s too late and you are well on your way to becoming dehydrated.

Hot tubs are often in very hot positions

This isn’t helped by the fact that hot tubs are often located in sheltered sunny spots. This is great for keeping the hot tub warm and also for when you are getting in and out of the hot tub and lounging around but, if you are submerged in very hot water and the sun is beating down on your head as well, you will have a very hard time not to overheat.

Not exercising / out of mind

We also tend to associate sweating and keeping hydrated with exercising and working hard. Being in a hot tub is the complete opposite of this and so we are just not in the right frame of mind to drink regularly.

Drinking alcohol

However, when we do drink in a hot tub many of us go for an alcoholic drink. This fits in really nicely with the chilled out and relaxed vibe of the hot tub experience but alcohol is well known for dehydrating you. This puts an even greater strain on the body which is already working hard to keep cool and hydrated. Adding alcohol into the mix makes the risk of dehydration much higher.

Hot tubbing after exercise

Many people also like to jump into the hot tub after a workout or exercise. This is great as it relaxes muscles and is a great way to rejuvenate your body. However, you might already be overheated or dehydrated from exercising even if you are not experiencing any of the symptoms as yet. Getting into the hot tub will fast track the dehydration and cause you to start feeling unwell more quickly.

Forgetting how long you have been soaking

Finally, it can be very hard to keep track of how long you have been in a hot tub. In many ways this is great because you will probably be in a very relaxed state, unplugged from your phone and maybe just chatting to family or friends. However, if you do lose track of the time you won’t be able to stay in your hot tub for the recommended 15 – 30 minutes or so before you will possibly start overheating and dehydrating. Even if you have water and are trying to remember to drink losing track of time or getting absorbed in conversation is an easy way to forget to regularly take sips of water.

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Winter Hot Tub Tips

This article comes from Hot Tub Focus.

Winter Hot Tub Tips

Here are some of the top tips to help you get the very best from your hot tub over winter:

Preplan any routine draining

Firstly try to time it so that you don’t have to drain and refill your hot tub in the depths of winter if at all possible. Few of us enjoy working outside in the freezing cold and, if the temperature is around freezing point or below when you try to do this job it will be much more difficult. The risk of standing water freezing inside the hot tub is increased and if you drain the old hot tub water over the garden it will take ages to disperse and may well freeze into a slippery solid block of ice.

Most hot tubs can go from between 3 and 4 months between water changes so, if you change the water as late as you can in the Autumn you may well be able to get through until the worst of the winter weather is passed before you need to change it again.

Keep up with your schedule of routine maintenance

It might be tempting not to go out into the cold regularly to maintain your water chemistry but it is just as important to keep up with the routine jobs as it is in the Summer. In fact, bearing in mind that you will want to avoid changing the water for as long as possible keeping up with your water chemistry is doubly important. In theory at least if you keep your PH levels correct and your sanitizer working at it’s optimal level then you should be able to avoid a full water change for up to four months. It will also help a lot if you have a shower before getting into the hot tub in that dirt, debris and impurities from your body will be washed away rather than going into the hot tub which will build up and cause problems. Obviously you should try to do this all year round but in the winter, if you are trying to avoid changing the water, then it becomes much more important.

It’s also important that you try to remove the hot tub cover every week throughout the winter and allow it to dry out. This can be a bit challenging in the winter months due to the weather but, if there is a warmer or a dry, windy day, then letting the hot tub cover “breath” will significantly help to reduce moisture damage and lengthen the life of the cover.

Check your hot tub cover

Your hot tub cover will be vital over the winter as it will be the primary means by which the water keeps hot. Obviously hot air rises so, if your cover is worn, waterlogged or doesn’t fit properly then you will be losing a lot of heat through it and this will be reflected in your energy bills.

Firstly, make sure that the cover still fits properly and that the fastenings are effective. Then check for any obvious damage. Tears in the vinyl can be problematic as there is a risk that the vapour barrier beneath it will be tor and letting moisture through to the foam core. If you core starts to collect moisture it slowly becomes waterlogged and becomes heavier and heavier until it is almost impossible to lift off the hot tub. In extreme cases the water will freeze inside the core effectively creating a massive block of ice sitting on top of your hot tub.

Not only is the weight of a waterlogged hot tub cover problematic it will also severely lose it’s insulating capacity as the water content increases. If you know that you have either a poor quality or a waterlogged hot tub cover you need to think very carefully about the practicality of running the hot tub through the winter without replacing it. You will waste a significant amount of energy and, in some cases, find that the hot tub struggles to keep up to temperature.

Use the hot tub’s freeze protect mode

I guess this is winter hot tubbing 101! Most hot tubs will have a freeze protect mode which will sense when the air temperature is getting close to zero and keep the hot tub’s circulation pump going to keep the water moving and prevent it from freezing. You can just keep this switched on all the time even if you intend to keep the hot tub at working temperature over the winter as a back up in case the water temperature falls or you programmed the hot tub incorrectly.

Use the jets sparingly

Your jets and blower add cold air from inside the hot tub cabinet to the water. In summer this isn’t so much of a problem as the air will be relatively warm but, in winter the air being introduced could be 40 degrees centigrade or more lower! This will obviously lead to a rapid decrease in the water temperature meaning that your hot tub will have to work harder and use more energy to make up the difference. Using your jets is nice however, if at all possible use them sparingly during the winter months when it is very cold.

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How Long is it Safe to Sit in a Hot Tub?

This article comes from Hot Tub Focus.

How Long is it Safe to Sit in a Hot Tub?

So, how long is it safe to sit in a hot tub? A good recommendation is between 15 and 30 minutes in your hot tub. As an absolute maximum 45 minutes to 60 minutes is recommended. Anything over an hour is considered risky.

However, there are a number of variable factors to be taken into consideration. Some people could be at serious risk by spending too long in their hot tub and be putting their body under unnecessary strain without even realizing it.

So, the guidelines above are a good general starting point. Things will change though depending on a number of variable factors.

The outside air temperature.

If it’s really cold outside your body will probably cool more quickly (especially if you are not fully submerged) and you will be able to comfortably stay longer in the hot tub. Similarly, on a really hot day, you may overheat much more quickly. You may well be even overheating or dehydrated when you get into the hot tub with can make things worse.

Your physical health.

If you are in good physical shape then you can, most probably, safely stay in the hot tub for the recommended period of time without any issues. However, if you have a heart condition, blood pressure issues or are pregnant it can be a good idea to avoid hot tubs, reduce the temperature/time you are in the hot tub or at the very least get the advice of your doctor. Children are also less good at regulating their temperatures so should be in the hot tub for less time than recommended for adults.

Your physical makeup.

Apparently, women can withstand heat more comfortably than men. This is to do with body and muscle mass – it would stand to reason that more petit people would have a different reaction to extreme heat than larger people? I’m not basing this on fact but it seems like a reasonable assumption to make.

How deep you go into the water.

Think about it. If you are totally immersed right up to your neck then there is less exposed body area for the heat to escape. Your face is probably in a cloud of steam as well adding to the heat build up. If you are only waist deep then there is plenty of exposed skin area around your vital core and organs to help dissipate the accumulating heat.

Water temperature.

Ok, this is obvious! But, if you are wanting to extend the amount of time that you can safely and comfortably stay in the hot tub then reducing the temperature a little will make a big difference! Most people like the water somewhere between 36 degrees C and 39 degrees C with 40 degrees C being the absolute maximum.

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Should I Leave My Hot Tub On All The Time?

This article comes from Hot Tub Focus.

Should I Leave My Hot Tub On All The Time?

Leaving your hot tub on all the time seems like a waste of electricity. After all you probably only use it for a few hours per week. I decided to look more closely into the question of leaving the hot tub running all the time and this is what I discovered.

So, should I leave my hot tub on all the time? Yes, you should leave your hot tub on all of the time. Hot tubs are designed to always be switched on and it’s more economical to keep the water hot than it is to heat it up from cold each time you want to use it.

Why Are Hot Tubs Left On?

The main reason is that it takes a relatively small amount of electricity to keep your hot tub going once it has reached the correct temperature. This is particularly true in the summer if you have a good quality cover and if your hot tub has a high level of insulation. In fact, it’s possible that your hot tub will use very little energy in this situation.

However, the colder the ambient temperature is the more energy it will use to keep hot. Also, if your hot tub hasn’t got particularly good insulation then it will use more energy on a day to day basis to keep warm. Despite this, the general advice is to keep your hot tub running all the time as a number of issues and problems can occur when the hot tub is sitting idle.

When Should I Switch My Hot Tub Off?

There are some occasions when it’s obviously necessary to switch your hot tub off. The most obvious is when you are draining, cleaning and refilling it. It’s recommended to do this every 3 months or so to keep the water in the best condition and to keep the hot tub in as fresh and clean condition as possible.

You might also have a period of time when you know that you are going to be away or definitely won’t be using the hot tub. If you are to be away for a week or more it doesn’t really make economic sense to keep the hot tub running all of the time. You might also decide that winter hot tubbing just isn’t for you in which case the hot tub will need to be carefully drained and prepared for the winter months.

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