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Swimming Pool Blog - Tips, Advice, Technology & Chemistry

The Swimming Pool Steve Blog is an ongoing source for information, articles, videos and pictures relating to life in the swimming pool and spa industry. If you operate a blog, podcast or content driven website and you would like to feature Steve in an article please contact Steve directly via email

April 2017

Pool Plaster VS Paint - Concrete pool interior surface plaster versus paint broken down and compared over the course of 25 years to see if paint really is any cheaper than plaster over the long term. If you have a concrete pool then this is a very important article for you to read.

Pool Opening Mistakes - This article talks about some of the most common mistakes that people can make when opening a pool in the spring and how you can avoid these common (and often expensive) problems. If you have never opened a pool before but intend to do so this year then this article is a must read.

Pool Pump Troubleshooting - With the pool opening season around the corner this article is a troubleshooting guide for pool owners who have opened their pool but can not seem to get the pump running. If you are having trouble priming your pump, or if your pump will not run correctly, especially if you have just opened your pool for the year, this article will help you identify and fix the problem.

Swimming Pool Steve In Print - This page is a collection of links to major publications, news sites and other mainstream media such as magazines that Swimming Pool Steve has recently been featured in. This includes technical articles, satire articles, current event commentary and media mentions in newspapers, magazines and radio shows.

March 2017

Common Misconceptions About The Pool Industry - Swimming pool owners often develop preconceived notions about the pool industry and the people that work in it. This article talks about some of the most common misconceptions that pool owners tend to have as well as how these misconceptions came to be.

Pool Opening Tips - If you want to open your own swimming pool in the spring then this detailed article will walk you through the process from beginning to end. Learn tips from an industry expert about how to make the opening process go as quickly and as smoothly as possible including the cover, pumps, filters, heaters, salt water systems, ladders and handrails, lights, spring maintenance and water chemistry.

Pool Wall Rust Repair - Most vinyl liner swimming pools are built using galvanized steel wall kits. While these steel wall kits are very strong, and seldom require replacement, they can become rusted. This article explains why you would develop rust on the walls of a vinyl pool as well as how to fix them so you can hang a new liner in the pool safely.

Pools Without Chlorine - This article discusses the pursuit of chlorine free swimming pools and educates about the risks and concerns of operating swimming pools completely without chlorine or chemical sanitizers. If you are trying to find ways to reduce your chemical exposure from your pool then this is the article that you have been looking for.

7 Good Swimming Pool Maintenance Habits That You Should Adopt - In this article you will learn 7 important habits that you should adopt for maintaining your swimming pool to help you keep your pool operating for as long as possible for as little money as possible.

February 2017

Get Informed About Salt Water - This article, which closely resembles a rant, discusses the minimum information that you need to know in order to make an informed decision about using salt water in your pool. Every person who works in the pool and spa industry should be familiar with all of the information covered in this article.

Hayward Super Pump VS Pentair SuperFlo Variable Speed Pump Comparison - Both the Hayward Super Pump VS and the Pentair SuperFlo VS are designed for the same entry level variable speed pump market. This article compares some of the features of these pumps to help you decide which would be the right one for your pool.

What Is The Best Pool Heater? - In this article multiple swimming pool heater experts give their opinion as to which the best pool heater is. This article also talks about what causes a pool heater to fail and how long you can expect a new heater to last.

The Swimming Pool Hall Of Shame - The swimming pool hall of shame is a new and ongoing section where the best of the worst swimming pools are profiled through pictures, videos and stories. If you have a swimming pool experience that is worthy of the hall of shame contact Steve to discuss having your experience profiled here in this section.

Swimming Pool Industry Trade Licensing - The swimming pool industry lacks standardized trade licensing similar to how other recognized skilled trades operate. This article talks about how the pool industry still lacks an industry recognized trade license and why there is so much difficulty with implementing a trade license program.

January 2017

How To Convert A Vinyl Pool To A Concrete Pool - Converting a vinyl liner pool to a concrete pool is an extensive process. This article looks at this process and discusses the reasons why someone would want to convert an existing vinyl pool to concrete instead of just renovating it and using it as a vinyl liner pool.

Important Considerations For New Pool Shoppers - When you are researching and getting ready to have a new swimming pool installed there is so much information that you need to sift through that it can be completely overwhelming. This important article talks about some of the things that you should consider adding to your pool and backyard plans during the construction process. If you are shopping for a new pool then this article is a must read.

Common Pool Equipment Problems Explained - This article takes one example from the 50 video reviews of pool equipment installations and breaks down each deficiency and explains what the problem, and solution, is. The most common pool equipment problems discussed are restrictions to flow, signs of damage or leaks, improper salt water system installation and lack of pool equipment bonding.

Why You Should Never Ignore A Leak In Your Pool - This article talks about one of the biggest concerns for swimming pool owners which is extensive damage and repair bills from underground leaks. Even a small leak in your pool can cause serious damage if left unnoticed for an extended period of time.

Swimming Pool Steve 2016 In Review - This article takes a look back at 2016 and some of the adventures of a new digital nomad, Swimming Pool Steve. Included in this article is a video taken from half way around the world, as well as a picture of a surprise catch when fishing. With a trip to the other side of the world as well as a personal best fishing catch you might think these were the highlights of the year but the real highlight was a simple, age-old story about a father and his son.

December 2016

Salt Chlorinator Installation - Installing a salt chlorine generator is a do-it-yourself level project that most pool owners can do themselves. There are however some very important installation steps that you must do to make sure that you don't accidentally damage other components of your pool. This article will make sure you understand how to install a salt system properly.

Pool Pressure Testing - Swimming pool pressure testing is one of the worst offenders when it comes to congruency of technical process between pool companies. This article talks about standards in pressure testing within the plumbing industry and how to apply these standards to the pool and spa industry.

Concrete Pool Step Repair - Do you have a concrete pool that is experiencing failure of the step treads (especially the top step)? This article will help you to understand why this is happening and how you can repair your steps and permanently solve this problem.

The 2016 Canadian Pool & Spa Conference & Expo - The Canadian Pool & Spa Expo 2016 was from December 5 to December 8 in Niagara Falls Ontario. If you did not attend, or you do not understand why people would go to these events, this article will explain the specific reasons why your business is leaving money on the table by not attending. In this article you will also learn the most important question that every pool company should be asking their pool product suppliers.

Common Pool Industry Worker Personalities - After over 25 years of working in the swimming pool industry I have noticed that many of the "interesting personalities" I have met are actually not all that unique. Here are 17 specific personality types that work for almost every swimming pool company. How many of these personalities can you identify at your pool company?

November 2016

How To Market A Pool Company Website Online - If you own or operate a swimming pool company this article will teach you how to effectively market your company online, set up social media campaigns, how to get organic search traffic and how to grow the digital footprint for your business. If you need more traffic on your website this article will be a huge resource for you.

Swimming Pool Plaster Repairs - If you have a concrete swimming pool with cracks or delaminated areas in the plaster surface then this article will teach you how to mix plaster ingredients and patch your pool. Also included is information about the different ways that pool plaster can fail and how to fix these most common problems.

Vinyl Pool Floor Repairs - This article talks about the three main types of flooring in vinyl liner swimming pools and how to tell the difference between each. This information also covers how to make repairs to sand bottom pools, vermiculite bottom pools and grout bottom pools.

What Would The "Perfect" Pool Guy Look Like? - In the swimming pool industry it is a constant struggle to find reliable, honest and experienced workers. This puts a tremendous strain on human resources departments for pool companies. This article is a light hearted look at what attributes would make someone perfect for working in the pool industry.

Pool Liner Wrinkles - This article discusses all of the different ways that you can end up with a wrinkle (or wrinkles) in a vinyl pool. This includes information about measurement errors, manufacturing errors and installation errors for new liners as well as leaks and chemical damage for older liners.

October 2016

Pool Salt Water Systems - This huge article compares the chlorine output ability of every major salt water chlorinator brand including Hayward, Pentair, Jandy, Zodiac, CompuPool, AutoPilot, Intex, CircuPool and Solaxx. Also included is a breakdown comparison of every model that each manufacturer offers. If you are shopping for salt water this article is the most inclusive resource you will find anywhere.

What NOT To Do To Your Swimming Pool - Too many pool owners do not understand how to properly care for their pool. If you are guilty of having a swimming pool that you do not maintain well, or at all, then you should at least read these 8 things that you should definitely avoid doing to your pool.

Pool Leak Detection - Swimming pool leak detection is a complicated subject. In this article (and videos) you will learn a series of tests that you can do to narrow down and isolate the leak in your pool including information about evaporation, dye testing, structural leaks, plumbing leaks and pressure testing for swimming pool applications.

Pool Heater Installation - Most pool heaters will fail early as a result of improper installation. This article teaches you how to install a pool heater properly and most importantly what installation errors you need to avoid. Errors in installation will most likely cause the heater to fail early and will result in no warranty coverage for the heater no matter how old (or new) it is.

How To Install A Steam Shower - If you are looking for something unique to add to your backyard oasis (or inside your home) then a steam shower may have the benefits that you are looking for. Whether you are interested in a prefabricated steam shower unit, or designing a custom built steam shower room or bath house, this article will teach you what you need to know.

September 2016

Hayward MaxFlo VS Pumps - The Hayward MaxFlo variable speed pool pump is a great option for entry level VS pump shoppers looking for value. It has an affordable price tag when compared to other variable speed pumps and it has the ability to lower your electricity use dramatically. There have been three major revisions to the MaxFlo models and this article will help you to understand which models have which features.

Swimming Pool Steve on the "Homeowner with Danny Lipford" radio show - I was recently invited as a guest expert to be on the award winning radio show, Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which aired on 130 radio stations in the USA. We discussed the effectiveness of using solar heaters to extend your swimming pool season. My segment starts at the 28 minute mark of hour 2 (part 2).

Hayward Pool Heaters - This article details the Hayward Universal Digital pool heater including all BTU sizes this heater comes in. Also included is information about how to size this heater for your pool, vent hood adapters for both horizontal and vertical venting applications, as well as how to install your new heater properly.

Common Pool Closing Mistakes - Closing your own pool can save you some money but if you make a mistake it can end up costing you far more than you saved doing it yourself. Read this article about the most common mistakes that pool owners make when closing their own pool and how you can avoid these problems.

How To Get A Pool Ready For A Party - If you are planning a pool party then you are going to want to make sure that your water is heated, chemically treated and crystal clear for the big day. This article talks about what you need to do to get the pool ready as well as the timeline that you should follow to get everything ready in time.

Don't Forget These Items For Closing Your Pool - Since you only close your swimming pool once per year it can be very easy to forget some of the little things that you might need to get the job done. Check this list as a reminder to see if you have everything you are going to need to close your pool properly.

August 2016

Why Did The Olympic Pools In Rio Turn Green? - A swimming pool expert explains the possible reasons that the Olympic pools in Rio turned a bright emerald green color during the 2016 summer Olympics in Brazil.

Toronto Star Article On Green Olympic Pools - Recently the largest news publication in Canada, the Toronto Star, contacted me to discuss the reasons for the green swimming pools at the Olympic games in Rio. Here is the article that they were working on including my comments on the situation.

How To Clean A Pool Filter - Pool cartridge filters need to be periodically cleaned in order for them to operate normally. Many pool owners do not clean their filters properly which can result in poor water filtration and damage to the filters. This article will teach you how to clean a pool cartridge filter and more importantly what to avoid!

How To Winterize A Swimming Pool Heater - If you need to winterize your pool heater to protect it from damage during the winter season then this article will teach you how to winterize a pool heater and get it ready for cold weather.

Pool Pump Overheating - If you have, or you think you have, a pool pump that is overheating then this article will help you to understand exactly what is happening, what to expect next from your pump, and how you can prevent your pump from getting too hot again.

Is Salt Water Bad For Your Pool? - This informative article explains the truth about salt water in swimming pools. If you have salt water, or are thinking about converting to salt water, then you need to read this article to be informed about the risks of salt.

How To Close Your Pool & Open To Crystal Clear Water - If you want your pool water to be perfectly clean and crystal clear when you open it in the spring then follow these expert tips for what chemicals you need to add to your pool when you close it.

July 2016

Swimming Pool Tile Repair - If you have tiles in your pool that are cracked, chipped or fallen off completely then this article will teach you why tiles fail, how to prevent it from happening again, and how to properly install or repair swimming pool tiles.

Swimming Pool Safety Essentials - An important article on pool safety equipment that every pool owner should consider having. The idea with safety equipment for your pool is that hopefully you will never need it but you are much better off to have safety equipment and not need it versus needing it but not having it.

Things Your Pool Guy Is Too Polite To Say - This is a list of things that your pool guy is too polite to say to you (or just won't say). If you could read the mind of your pool technician then these are some of the things that they might be thinking but not saying.

How To Get The Most Life Out Of Your Pool - This article highlights common small problems that develop into bigger, more expensive problems for your pool in the future. Learn where you should NOT skimp on your swimming pool maintenance and upkeep.

Famous People Who Could Have Been Pool Builders - It takes a certain something to be a swimming pool builder. In this funny article Steve identifies famous people who had what it takes to be a pool builder had they not been led astray by being powerful, rich and famous instead.

How To Replace A Pool Skimmer - If you have a broken or cracked skimmer on your pool then this article will show you the process of how to replace a pool skimmer as well as first hand tips on how to deal with common problems that you might encounter. Both concrete pool skimmers as well as vinyl liner pool skimmer replacement is covered.

June 2016

How To Make Fake Rocks - Learn directly from Steve how to make fake rocks and artificial stone garden statues. Steve has perfected these techniques after thousands of hours of practice, trial and error to make realistic, strong and weather resistant fake rocks. You can use these techniques to make landscaping rocks, address stones, outdoor kitchens, waterfalls, sculptures, statues and much more.

The Hayward Ecostar VS Review - One of the most commonly asked questions emailed to Steve is about which variable speed pump is the best. While "the best pump" is a subjective question, this blog article looks at one of the best variable speed pumps, the Hayward Ecostar, in more detail. Flow rates, efficiency, comparison with the Pentair Intelliflo as well as important warranty information for USA and Canadian Ecostar owners.

How To Loosen Tight PVC Fittings - looks at the very common problem of stuck or seized PVC fittings, unions or valves and how you can try to open them. Learn which tools you can use to deal with this problem and which are better off left in the toolbox (or kitchen drawer).

The Pool Heater Checklist - is a list of common reasons why swimming pool natural gas and propane heaters tend to fail early. By following the steps in this article you will dramatically increase the service life you can expect to get from your pool heater.

How To Fix Pool Plumbing Leaks - if you have a suspected leak somewhere in your pool system, or in a known location such as with the pump, filter, heater, skimmer or returns, this article talks about common pool leaks as well as information about different repair options.

May 2016

Important Hot Tub Care Tips - talks about the most important hot tub chemicals that you are most likely NOT using properly. Spa water should be crystal clear and have no smell or foam at all. This article will teach you how to get your spa clean, clear and smell free.

Pool Customer Profiles is a funny and lighthearted article for people who work in the pool industry about the different types of pool owners and pool customers you will encounter in your life as a pool service technician.

How To Install A Pool Solar Heater will teach you how to determine how many solar collectors you will need for your pool as well as tips for installing a zoned bypass plumbing configuration for both manual as well as automatic control of a pool solar heater. Solar heating is the least expensive form of pool heating available - so long as you understand the limitations of this form of heat.

How To Open A Swimming Pool is a great article for pool owners looking to learn more about the steps usually involved with opening a pool for the season in the spring. This is one of the better maintenance tasks for pool owners to try to take on themselves.

What Is The Best Pool Equipment is the most common question that I receive from pool owners. This article looks at some of the motivating factors behind how to decide what is the best pool equipment for you to buy.

April 2016

Concrete Mixes 101 is a detailed article about how to work with concrete as well as a list of every common concrete mix recipe that you might need. There are also tips on how to get professional results as well as a list of which tools and materials you might need. If you are new to concrete, or looking to improve your understanding of concrete application then this would be a great article to start with.

Fact VS. Fiction - Common Myths About Swimming Pools is an interesting and funny article that dispels some common misconceptions about swimming pools and the swimming pool industry in general. Pop culture references, a working dog, a live bear and an homage to Spaceballs the movie...what's not to love?

March 2016

The Best Pool Toys is a look at they types of swimming pool toys and inflatables that are available for kids (and adults) now. If you are looking to make your pool party extra amazing - or simply want to have the most fun in your pool possible then this is the article to get you started.

Help For New Swimming Pool Owners looks at some of the less commonly discussed problems and questions that people new to owning, operating and caring for a swimming pool might not know yet. This article serves as a starting point for new pool owners to begin the process of researching and understanding how to clean, care for and maintain a pool.

Hand Held Pool Vacuum Reviews Similar to a dust buster style vacuum these hand held pool vacuums can operate on a battery charge which means they do not require an electrical cord like robotic pool vacuums or any hoses to be connected to the pool circulation and filtration system. This article looks at the different hand held vacuums on the market and compares the abilities of each model.

February 2016

How To Install A Pool Liner is a very detailed article that serves to discuss every aspect of measuring, ordering and installing a new pool liner. This first hand information is perfect for any person thinking of trying to install their own pool liner themselves since this is something most commonly left to the experts to do.

Pool Slide Reviews see all models of pool slide from S.R Smith as well as Inter-Fab compared side by side including both total height and seat height for each model. Also includes total deck area needed for each as well as general information how how to install a pool slide yourself.

January 2016

7 Common Mistakes That Pool Owners Make is a funny article designed to help pool owners (especially new pool owners) to understand some of the common mistakes that pool owners can make - and how to avoid them.

Pool Ozone Generator Reviews learn how ozone works in pools, how much you need to have to make a difference in the water as well as a side by side comparison of every brand, make and model of pool ozone generator including total ozone output from each.

The Swimming Pool Steve Video Blog is a candid, conversational video blog series where Steve talks about subjects relating to the pool and spa industry. Organized into YouTube playlists these video blog entries are simple enough for any pool owner to understand, and still in-depth and technical enough for experienced pool and spa technicians to learn as well. Have a coffee with Swimming Pool Steve and learn from an industry expert in these "one on one" lessons.

December 2015

Pool Pump Reviews for single speed pumps for above ground and inground swimming pools. This detailed review and buyers guide compares flow rates for every model of pump from all major pump manufacturers.

How To Paint A Concrete Pool with this tutorial from Swimming Pool Steve that gives pool owners the lowest possible cost approach to long term maintenance of their pool interior surface. Using this painting process you can paint the pool yourself and save many thousands of dollars!

How To Install A Pool Safety Cover including how to measure, order and install swimming pool safety covers for all types, shapes and sizes of swimming pools. This extensive article also includes concrete deck installations, interlock stone deck installations and safety cover installations into grass or garden areas. Also covered is exclusions such as step covers, slide legs, diving board bases, diving rocks and pool-side waterfalls.

November 2015

Swimming Pool Heat Pump Reviews by Swimming Pool Steve will help you to understand how a heat pump works to determine if one will meet your expectations for heat. Also included are calculations for sizing as well as general guidelines for how to get the most out of your investment in a pool heat pump. Compared in this buyers guide are all above ground and in ground swimming pool heat pumps from Hayward, Pentair, Jandy and Raypak.

The Online Hot Tub Buyers Guide reviews the difference between classes of hot tubs from entry level inflatable spas to permanent 220 volt hot tubs. If you are shopping for a new hot tub this article is a must read. Hot tubs are often purchased from dealerships much like purchasing a new car (and the prices are similar) but if you have limited access to local spa dealers and want to make an informed purchase online, then this article is perfect for you.

October 2015

The Pool Vacuum Cleaner Buyers Guide & Review by Swimming Pool Steve is an in-depth review of every brand, make and model of swimming pool vacuum on the market. This includes all suction based cleaners, pressure side cleaners and robotic pool vacuum cleaners including a breakdown of comparable models and features. It can be difficult to tell what the difference between different models is - but this article will help you to determine which pool vac is right for your needs. Models for both above ground pools as well as in ground pools are covered in this article.

September 2015

Swimming Pool Steve is featured as an industry expert author in Pool & Spa Marketing Magazine September 2015 edition with an in-depth look at one of the most misunderstood concepts in the pool and spa industry - Understanding the electromechanical process of galvanic corrosion.

August 2015

High pH Causes Extreme Calcification - A very interesting case study of a concrete pool where the pH and calcium hardness levels were left unattended in a running pool for almost a year. The result was extremely high pH and high calcium levels resulting in calcium to come out of solution and form crystal growth over the entire interior surface of the pool.

9 Items That Every Pool Should Have - In this informative and light hearted article, Swimming Pool Steve talks about some of the must have items that every pool owner should have for their pool. From the best gifts for Mom & Dad, to the most fun pool toy, to saving the most money possible operating your pool, this article is a must read for any pool owner.

July 2015

**Must see for pool owners!**Tips For Installing Pool Equipment - As part of a new ongoing feature, watch Swimming Pool Steve review installations of swimming pool and spa equipment, and discuss the deficiencies in these systems. Additional sections on pipe materials, plumbing fittings, glue, primer, valves and unions explaining some of the commonly used materials for installing pool and spa equipment. Warning - This article is HUGE and the page will take a minute to load!

May 2015

The Ultimate Salt Water Review & Buyers Guide - Are you thinking of switching to salt water chlorine for your pool? In this article Swimming Pool Steve discusses the most common brands and models of salt water systems available for swimming pools. Also covered are the myths and facts about whether salt water can damage your pool and information about do-it-yourself installation of a salt water generator.

April 2015

How To Clean A Dead Body From A Swimming Pool (and other really dirty pool solutions) - Every year swimming pool professionals get asked the same questions about how to clean up a dirty swimming pool. This article is the end of the line for this common question as Swimming Pool Steve describes how to clean the dirtiest of swimming pools!

February 2015

6 Things You Should Never Say To Your Pool Guy - Take a look at the lighter side of the pool and spa industry with this funny article about common things that swimming pool technicians hear from customers. Read this list and avoid the embarrassment of saying these six things you should never say.

3 Things To Buy For Your Pool Instead Of Salt Water - Before you go ahead and make the switch to salt water you should consider the risks as well as the benefits. This article outlines some of the common reasons that people buy salt water chlorine systems and 3 alternatives that you might want to consider instead of going with salt.

The Pool Builder Nightmare Questionnaire - Any person looking to have a new pool installed knows well the concern over how to find a reputable builder to work with. This nightmare questionnaire will put your pool installer in the hot seat with these questions designed to find out who really knows swimming pools and who just wants your money.

January 2015

Chlorine VS Bromine - Learn the difference between using chlorine versus bromine in your pool and spa as the chemical sanitizer and why one of these may be more suitable for you than the other.

December 2014

Pool Buyers Beware - Read an interview with Swimming Pool Steve that talks about the current state of the pool and spa industry and how this impacts customers currently shopping for pool installers.

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