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Expert Advice - Items That Every Swimming Pool Needs

Owning a swimming pool is obviously fantastic but most pool owners struggle with the ongoing costs associated with maintenance, repairs, upgrades and even the "pool toys" themselves all add up. It can be very difficult to determine, for new pool owners, how and where you should spend your money on your pool since the list of potential things you need to buy is endless. Combine this with difficulty in getting straight forward, educated advice from pool and spa professionals and the average pool owner is left feeling a little bit exposed - too many things to buy and not enough knowledge to make an informed decision on their own.


The #1 Item That Will Save You Money For Your Pool

Variable speed pump versus single speed pump

Buying a variable speed pump is the single best thing you can do to save money on the operating costs of your swimming pool. By the time you need to replace a pump you are probably already jaded from how much your pool has been draining your finances so you start to shop around for the cheapest pump you can find. This is a big mistake. There are a lot of solid long term investments that can save you money down the road - a variable speed pool pump should be right at the top of that list.

Average in ground pool pump cost = $400
Average true variable speed pool pump cost = $1200

When you run a single speed pump around the clock it can get fairly costly in terms of electrical usage. A 1.5HP single speed pump would cost in the range of $150 per month to operate electrically. A variable speed pump will save as much as 80-90% of these electrical costs due to a motor running at much lower speeds (so as to meet the turnover rate for your pool, not exceed it many times over like a single speed pump does). On the conservative side let us say that the VS pump is 75% less to operate. This will result in a savings of $112.50 per month of operation. If we assume a 6 month pool season then the savings work out as follows:

$675.00 - Average electrical savings after 6 months
$2025.00 - Average electrical savings after 3 years
$4725.00 - Average electrical savings over manufacturers expected pump service life (7 years)

Total cost of a single speed pump (including purchase price and service life operation) = $6700.00
Total cost of a variable speed pump (including purchase price and service life operation) = $2775.00

Buying a variable speed pool pump can save you $4000 over the next 7 years by compared to a single speed pump. This is the single greatest efficiency improvement you can, and should, make to your swimming pool.

For reviews on all popular brands of VS pumps visit the page on variable speed pump reviews





The #1 Item that Will Prevent Damage To Your Pool

Pool owners live in fear of expensive repair projects for their pool. Since a pool renovation can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars, and many times you are forced into the repairs whether you can afford them or not, it is very understandable that pool owners worry about surprise repair costs. Choosing a quality builder as well as performing proper chemical maintenance to your pool are the best things that you can do to protect yourself against costly repairs down the road. There is however a very inexpensive item you can add to your pool plumbing system that will help to prevent the need for expensive repairs:




Not just for salt water pools - EVERY swimming pool should have a sacrificial anode installed. These units are designed to absorb the brunt of the damage caused by galvanic corrosion in swimming pools. Without this component the pool will sacrifice the weakest metals in contact with the water, which will result in advanced decay of these items (such as pool walls, heater core etc.). By adding a zinc anode to the pool system you provide a less noble metal to become the anode in the galvanic couple. In the most simple of terms, this device helps to prevent damage to metal items in your pool system and every swimming pool system should have a sacrificial anode .

The #1 Item To Make Cleaning Your Pool Easier




Cleaning the pool is no fun but swimming in a dirty pool is even less fun. Short of dropping a few thousand dollars on a fancy new robotic pool cleaner, or signing a pool maintenance contract, the average pool owner should invest in a high quality leaf scooping skimmer net to make skimming the pool surface easier. These deep leaf nets are are extremely useful for pulling out leaves from your winter cover during the spring pool cleaning (and fishing drunk Uncle Bob out of the deep end)

As a pool technician I have trouble understanding why every pool owner does not have one of these. The typical shallow leaf nets that many pool owners have are suitable for removing leaves one at a time from the pool but that is about it. Do yourself a huge favor and get a high quality aluminum deep leaf net .


The #1 Item To Help Drain Your Pool



Pool owners often believe that the main drain in the floor of the deep end of the pool is an actual drain of some kind. While there are some specific plumbing configurations that would allow you to utilize the main drain for actually draining the pool (isolated suction line directly from the main drain to the pump) most pools are not configured for this. In most cases the main drain will be plumbed as a non-pressurized equalizer line between the main drain and the bottom of the skimmer. This would effectively allow the pump to operate without losing prime should the water level in the pool ever drop below the mouth of the skimmer. Once the water level reaches the bottom skimmer ports (about 18" below the mouth of the skimmer) the pump will lose prime.

In this event the best option would be to connect your pool vacuum head to the telescopic pole and install the vac line into the skimmer suction port, just as you would to vacuum the pool floor. Just leaving the system like this will allow the skimmer suction port to actually pull from the bottom of the pool through the vacuum head. The problem with this is that the pump may still draw air in through the skimmer, which would break it if left unattended, or in a best case scenario the pump will lose prime with a foot or two of water left in the deep end. To make your life a ton easier, every pool owner should have a basic garden hose sized submersible pump. Drop it in the pool and in a few days the pool is empty.


The #1 Item To Reduce Your Chlorine Demand

Swimming pool owners want less exposure to chlorine and other harmful chemicals. Unfortunately chemical sanitizers like chlorine are required in order to keep the pool water safe for bathers. Instead of switching to salt water (which is still a 100% chlorine based system) you should consider adding an ozone generator to your pool system.

An ozone system creates o3 which is ozone. The 3rd oxygen molecule is a free radical and is not stable. It tries to become stable by attaching to things like organic debris or bacteria in the water, oxidizing it during this process. With a high output ozone system in your pool you can effectively reduce the amount of chlorine that you use by 60%-90% - you still need to have low levels of chlorine sanitizer in the pool however the ozone oxidizer does most of the work that the chlorine used to do so now you can use a lot less. Ozone also can be paired very well with salt water systems if you want the best of both worlds. For the Del ozone system shown here you will also need to order the Del Eclipse ozone installation kit which includes the tubing and the venturi system for drawing the ozone into the pool system.


The #1 Item To Have Fun With In The Pool

Other than your significant other, or booze, or both, the Sea Doo Dolphin Scooter is just about the most fun you are ever going to have in your pool. While made for children these units will easily drag around a full grown man (6' tall and over 225 lbs) and hold a battery charge for 1.5 hours.

When I was young the best pool toy that we had was a ball...and we were happy to have it. I mean, we would have preferred the Sea Doo Dophin Scooter hand-held personal water propulsion vehicle...but a ball was good too!

The #1 Item for "Dad" To Enjoy Around The Pool




While a new tie or some socks are the gift that all fathers really want, they are not able to use them in the pool which makes them less-than-ideal as a pool themed gift for dear old Dad. Why not get him something that he can really use in this pool toy golf pitch floating practice pad .

An astute parent would realize the benefit of both entertaining Dad as well as tiring the kids out since someone needs to swim around and collect all the shots that missed the floating pad. Getting a great gift for Dad can be tough but working on your golf game is certainly more interesting than just floating in the pool holding your noodle!


The #1 Item for "Mom" To Enjoy Around The Pool

The number 1 thing for Mom to enjoy around the pool, other than the pool boy, is a high quality floating chaise lounge chair . What better way to spend the summer than floating in the pool, reading, and sipping on a cool refreshing drink.

If you have used floating loungers before you have probably already learned that all loungers are not created equal. There are a ton of extremely low quality floating pool chairs on the market that are unlikely to last a season - assuming they are comfortable enough to use at all. This floating lounger is a little different than the norm and comes with fairly high review ratings from people who have purchased one. If you are looking for a pool themed gift for Mom this might be your best option.

The #1 Item That Will Make Your Pool More Interesting

alligator in the pool

A real, live alligator - it does not get a lot more interesting than that! Imagine how different (and more interesting) playing marco polo in your pool will be now. Or you want your kids to be better swimmers? A live gator will solve that problem lickety-split (or thin the herd).

You have never been to a real pool party unless you were sharing the water with an ancient killing machine, refined by evolution and unchanged in thousands of years. Gator Bro only wants to be your friend and help you have the most interesting pool on the block! You can't deny how interesting a live gator in your pool is - your party guests won't be able to take their eyes off of him. Mission accomplished!





Swimming Pool Steve

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