THERE ARE FEW THINGS MORE FUN OR RELAXING THAN AN EARLY MORNING SWIM OR A SOAK IN A NICE WARM SPA AFTER A HARD DAY AT THE OFFICE.
With many new and beautiful styles of pools available today, it’s easy to find one that will add value to your home while keeping you happy and healthy.
Why buy a swimming pool? There are so many great reasons, including:
- Swimming is good exercise and a lifetime sport that benefits the body and the whole person.
- Regular swimming builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. It can serve as a cross-training element to your regular workouts.
- Pools offer a great way to take a break from the heat of the summer.
- Today’s pools are easier to operate and maintain.
- Owning a swimming pool is like being on permanent vacation.
- Children can learn to swim early, which helps them build confidence and prepares them for life.
- Pools open up many new avenues of fun. There are great toys for pools that will delight everyone in the family, from floats to boats to toys and everything in between.
- Today's pools offer great value for the money, and are extremely easy to maintain — many come with advanced electronics, remote control features and simplified operating procedures.
- Those who own swimming pools know their aesthetic value. Pools’ placement often makes them the center of attention in your landscape design. Swimming pools are beautiful and jewel-like; they attract, they reflect and, often, they inspire.
Here are some things to consider when buying a pool:
- Select the right type. Should you go with gunite, vinyl, fiberglass or above-ground models? Your contractor can help you decide which pool type is right for your terrain and your lifestyle.
- Shape and size. Your contractor can suggest a multitude of design options just right for you. From shallow and comfortable wet decks, to dramatic vanishing edges, the options are only limited by your imagination. Swim up bars, tanning shelves and more can be part of the pool designed especially for you.
- Finish with flare. Your contractor will show you many options to enhance the look of your pool water, such as decorative finishes and liners. Additions such as mosaic, glass or decorative tiles will customize your pool.
- How about a fountain? Fountains add movement and soothing sounds to your environment. From a gentle bubbling to a bold splash, fountains will also help keep your pool clean.
- Take it to the next level with a waterfall. Go chic with a gliding sheet of water over a granite ledge, or mimic a more natural look of water cascading over rocks.
- Shed some light on the subject. Enhance your poolscape while also making it safer with decorative lighting.
- Take control with the latest in automatic controls. Turn on your waterfall or set the lighting for an evening pool party, all with the touch of a button. Talk to your contractor about energy-efficient options for your pool. With automated systems, you can control the temperature, clean the pool, dispense the chemicals and cover or uncover the pool.
- Safety first. Safety items, including no diving and caution signs should be properly installed and/or displayed for the safety of all pool users. Discuss those issues with your contractor.
The intense heat, sun and rain in the Lowcountry will affect how pool owners will need to maintain their pools. Swimmers want sparkling water — they don’t want to see stains or discoloration. And they expect the equipment (pump, filter, chlorinator, heater and automated controls) to perform properly.
Here are a few suggestions to help provide a successful summer experience in and around your pool.
- Check your pump to make sure it is operating smoothly and efficiently. Clean any debris out of the pump basket. While you have the pump lid off, check the lid gasket or O-ring to make sure it is not cracked or cut and that it is free of dirt and grime.
- Check your filter pressure gauge to make sure it is operating and registering within the manufacturer’s guidelines. Filters need to be cleaned periodically. Look at your chlorinator to make sure water flows through properly.
- If you have a salt generator, make sure the cells are clean and the system is generating the desired amount of chlorine.
- If you have a heater, check to see it operates properly. If corrosion or rust is visible, you may be looking at problems in the near future. A defective propane heater is more than a nuisance; it could be a safety hazard.
- Test your pool and spa lights. Functioning lights go beyond the aesthetics of night swimming. They are fundamental to safety. They can also aid in observing any unwanted critter that may have slipped in your pool.
- The importance of properly balanced water cannot be overemphasized. Maintaining the right chemical balance in your pool throughout the season starts with testing the water. Getting the most accurate test results can only be achieved with a quality test kit or by having your local pool professional test a sample of your water.
- To maintain proper water balance, test the water with a quality test kit each week. Make sure the reagents are fresh. Add the proper chemicals to rebalance as necessary.
- Operate the pump for at least eight to 12 hours each day during the season. Pump motors are designed to run around the clock. The longer you run your pump, the more frequently your pool water completes a filtration cycle.
- Check the filter pressure and clean or backwash, depending on the type of the filter, as needed.
- Don’t stop with just chlorine when adding chemicals to the pool. A preventative maintenance approach can go a long way to adding enjoyment to your swimming, as well as extending the life of your pool finish and equipment performance. Use stain preventatives to keep spots from occurring and algaecides to keep algae from growing.