Q & A December Newsletter

April 9, 2010

1. Why do I get a water puddle in the middle of my winter cover?

A. If your cover is solid, water will accumulate on top. It is a good idea to keep up to 1 inch of water on the cover at all times. However, more than 1 inch will cause the middle of the cover to sag and may stretch the material. If your cover is a mesh material, water will drain into the pool, causing the pool water level to rise. Keep a submersible pump under the cover approximately on the top step. By keeping the water level at that point you can avoid a water puddle in the middle of the cover. For more information read today’s article on Winter Cover Pumps. BONUS – With a pool and spa combination water can collect over the pool and over the spa. To avoid a puddle over the spa, place something under the cover to create a dome effect on top of the cover, usually called a ‘spa ball’ or ‘spa pillow’. This will force the water to run off and prevent water accumulation over the spa.

2. Should I cover my equipment for the winter?

A. It is recommended that only the heater be covered. If you plan on covering the heater, use only a recommended custom heater cover that will allow the air to breath and prevent condensation. WARNING: Do not use a standard tarp. This will create condensation which has an extremely low pH and will cause rust, corrosion, and damage to equipment.

3. When is the best time to schedule my pool opening?

A. We schedule openings on a first come first serve basis. You can call our office now or anytime to schedule a date. Generally, our spring / opening brochures and agreements are mailed around Valentine’s Day. By the end of February the most desirable days are booked solid.

For answers to your questions… send your questions to: info@gorlinpools.com

EXTEND YOUR SWIMMING SEASON WITH AFFORDABLE POOL HEATERS

April 9, 2010

Adding a heating system to your swimming pool can extend your swimming season by several weeks or even months almost doubling the enjoyment and exercise the pool brings to you and your family.

Pool heaters are the fastest method, and they are generally best used for either intermittent or maintenance heating. Heaters are also frequently the method of choice for those who like to swim regardless of the weather. Pool heaters burn fuel, usually either natural gas or propane, in a combustion chamber and transfer the resulting heat into the pool water, raising its temperature. Gas heaters typically last for eight years or more. They do require annual cleaning maintenance due to the extreme temperatures inside the unit and the changes from summer to winter.

Pool heat pumps are electrically powered. They extract heat from the air, provided it is at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit, and transfer the heat to the pool water. Heat pumps can maintain pool water temperatures up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit by making use of hot air energy. Heat pumps are extremely efficient (600%) and have a very low cost of operation because they require very little electricity to function. Head pumps typically last for eight years or more and also require annual cleaning maintenance.

As both types of heating systems come with their own benefits and drawbacks, the option that will be best for you will be a personal decision that depends on all of the above factors. No matter which type of system you ultimately choose, however, a high quality heating unit will always provide you with effective swimming pool heating and an extended swimming season. When selecting a gas swimming pool heater, you need to consider the following:

Surface area of the pool
Coldest ambient air temperature
Maximum wind – MPH
Months of operation Availability of natural or propane gas
Location of installation and proximity to the gas supply

For more information on Gorlin Pools please visit us online at http://www.gorlinpools.com.

YOU BENEFIT FROM A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR POOL SERVICE COMPANY

April 9, 2010

Your pool service company can make owning and operating a pool fun, safe and affordable – and isn’t that why you wanted a pool in the first place? Having a good relationship with your pool service company will ensure that they understand your needs, your concerns, the condition of your pool, its equipment, and its surroundings. Plus they will be able to anticipate problems as well as solve them, ensuring that you have maximum availability of your pool and the level of safety that you need to feel comfortable.

To ensure a good relationship with your pool service company, it is important that you are clear about your needs and expectations, and that you communicate those to your pool service professional. Both parties want the relationship to be successful and to last for the long-term. You can start the relationship off right with clear communication that establishes your needs and expectations. Take the time to get to know one another and ask questions. After all, your technician will be working in and around your home. Let your technician tell you about themselves and their services, so that you know which options are the best match for your circumstances. Become familiar with the office staff and never hesitate to ask questions or make requests concerning your water environment.

For more information visit Gorlin Pools online at http://www.gorlinpools.com.

3 MONEY SAVING POOL SERVICE TIPS

April 9, 2010

1. Make sure that your pool water is at the proper level for closing. If your pool is being closed professionally, this will avoid labor costs for a crew to stand around while they have to lower the water. If you have a tile line, the water level should be drained to below the tile line, since surface water will freeze and expansion could cause tiles to crack. You should not have to drain your pool below the skimmers.
2. Seal pool cover edges to prevent debris from entering the pool, if you are closing the pool yourself. If you are using water tubes, fill them to only about 85% capacity and seal them tightly. Do not overfill tubes – allow enough slack in tube for the water inside to expand when it freezes. If tubes are leaking – replace them. Don’t try to repair them.
3. Do not use a floater that contains a strong oxidizer (chlorine or bromine), and do not throw chlorine or bromine tablets into the pool. The floater can stick against the wall and stain or bleach you’re the wall, especially a vinyl liner, and tablets will sink to the bottom and can damage your pool’s surface.

Avoiding Freeze Damage During The Fall

April 9, 2010

As temperatures begin to drop overnight into the 40’s and 30’s, there is a slight chance of freeze damage to swimming pool equipment and above ground plumbing. The swimming pool heaters are especially susceptible. Water is always passing through the pool heater, even when it is off. However, moving water will not freeze. So, to prevent damage, if the night time temperature drops below 38, keep the system (all pool or spa pumps) on. More information at Gorlin Pools and Spas.

SAFETY AND LAYERS OF PROTECTION

The number of pools, spas and hot tubs continues to grow each year, while the number of child drowning is in decline. However, any body of water represents a risk, particularly for children under five years of age. For that reason, the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) recommends “Layers of Protection” for pools, spas and hot tubs.

The concept of Layers of Protection is simple: In addition to employing adult supervision, pool, spa and hot tub owners should use several devices to warn of a child’s presence or delay his or her unsupervised access. These layers of protection act as a backup to but should not replace vigilant adult supervision, and may include:

A barrier, e.g., a fence, that is at least four feet high and completely surrounds the pool
Infrared detectors, which sound when the area around the pool perimeter is entered
Door exit alarms to warn of entry into the pool area
Fence gate alarms, which sound when the fence gate is open/opened
Automatic power safety covers
Manual safety covers
Pool alarms, which sound upon detection of accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water by detecting wave motion or acoustic changes

Additional information is available from the professionals at Gorlin Pools & Spas, or online at www.apsp.org.

Q & A

April 9, 2010

1. Is there anything I can do to prevent my pool from opening “green” or “black”?

1. Answer – Testing the water chemistry at the closing and closing the pool with the water properly balanced will go a long way to keeping the water clear for the opening. If your pool is closed more than 5 months a chemical boost in mid winter is a good idea. Pull the cover back in the deep end, test the water and add the necessary portions. Remember to circulate the water with a submersible pump for proper disbursements of the chemicals. A small amount of chemicals applied one time in mid winter could save you money and time at the pool opening. Often, these “winter watch” services can be provided for you. Check with your service company.

2. Do I have to balance the water before I close it?

2. Answer – It is always important to keep the pool water balanced. However, the most important time to balance the water chemistry is before the pool is closed. When you think about it, during the season the filter is running 8-12 hours per day, you add chemicals weekly, and you vacuum often. During the winter, the cover is on, the water is stagnant and not being filtered plus no chemicals are being added. When the cover is on the pool you forget about it. No one pays attention to their pool during the winter. However, this is when the most amount of damage can and does occur. The northeast, freeze/thaw cycle and un balanced water chemistry are your worst enemies.

3. Is it OK to let water accumulate on top of the winter cover?

3. Answer – If you have a “water bag” cover a little bit of water is good. You should try to maintain 1” of water on top of the cover all the time. Caution and attention should be placed at the center of the pool where the weight of the water will sink the cover and to much water can accumulate there, causing the cover to pull and fall into the pool. This 1” of water will help to keep the cover in place and prevent it from blowing in the breeze. Caution and attention to safety however is vital. Drowning can occur in 1” of water on top of a “water bag” cover.
If you have a “safety cover” with mesh material the cover should remain dry all winter. If snow accumulates, leave it alone until it thaws and drains through the mesh cover and into the pool. If you have a “safety cover” with solid material a submersible pump “MUST” be used to prevent water from accumulating on top of the cover. These covers are not designed to carry the weight of the water. The extra water weight could cause to cover to tear.

4. When should I open my pool? When should I schedule the opening?

4. Answer – I never tell anyone when to open their pool. That is up to you and your family. The tradition in my family is to open the pool on March 1st every year. Then, we close the pool in the morning and that after noon we have Thanksgiving dinner. 9 months with the cover off. No I’m not crazy. I don’t actually swim in the pool that early, or that late. However, my pool adds to the quality of my life and my life style. With the cover off and the pool open, the sound of the water and the vision of that clear, crisp, shinny blue makes me feel good. So, while my neighbors are inside in March and April or October and November, I’m on my deck, sipping coffee, reading the paper and enjoying the sights and sounds of my pool. To conserve energy and save money I run the filter on an abbreviated schedule and I won’t run the heater unless I know I’m going in that day or the next day. If that sounds good to you…try it. I have photos of my pool opened in March with snow falling on the floating rafts and toys. We love that photo!

Now, most service companies offer the opening schedule on a first come first serve basis. You should call in February or March after looking at a calendar and determining what day you would like to be swimming. Schedule the pool to be open two weeks before that day but schedule it in February or March.

For more information visit our website at http://www.gorlinpools.com.

SAFETY COVER OPTIONS

April 9, 2010

Are you tired of looking at your messy pool cover during the winter? Is your cover always loaded with wet leaves, dirt and debris? Do you constantly have to clean the cover after every rain or snow? When a hole is torn in the thin material all the pool water turns green or black, creating a mess at the pool opening. Patching the cover is a waste of time. Caution: have you seen what happens if a person walks out onto these “water bag covers”? First, they sink. Then, the cover traps them and the water pressure holds them down. The answer to all these problems is solved with a “Safety Cover”. Winter safety covers are an excellent investment for your pool in the off-season and we recommend them. They protect children and pets from falling into the pool and also keep debris and leaves out, while helping to maintain the water level in the pool. Winter safety covers come in numerous configurations and materials, from solid materials to mesh materials and springs to rubber straps. For your protection it is important that the cover meet or exceed ASTM safety standards. Our safety cover experts can recommend, size, and our factory trained installers can install the right cover properly for your needs.

Automatic safety covers represent a significantly greater level of safety. They are also more expensive, but they eliminate the risk of drowning for children, pets and even adults when closed, and are simple and quick to close, encouraging their use throughout the year. Automatic covers also work to retain the water temperature. As long as the cover is closed when the pool is not in use the water temperature should not vary much.

We would be happy to discuss cover options with you and help you find the right choice for your pool.

For more information visit our website at http://www.gorlinpools.com.

CHLORINE GENERATORS AND SALT WATER POOLS

April 9, 2010

“Salt-water” pools are increasingly popular and many feel they are easier on the skin and more refreshing than traditional swimming pools. These pools are not chlorine-free. They use a chlorine generator to maintain the level of chlorine necessary to prevent algae growth.

The chlorine generator cell produces chlorine constantly by converting salt into chlorine. (You may recall from high school chemistry that salt is comprised of sodium and chlorine.) The amount of salt required in the pool water is very close to the human salt taste threshold, but only about one-tenth of the salt contained in ocean water. Your teardrop has more salt in it than the water.

Chlorine generators do not eliminate the need to maintain correct pool water balance, but they do eliminate the need to purchase and handle chlorine or shock, and they produce a healthier and more natural swimming environment. They also have the advantage of reducing calcium scum at the pool’s waterline. There are many brands, makes and models available on the market. As an investment, they can pay for themselves in a few years. Caution: installing the proper generator for your pool is important. Call us for help with sizing the proper chlorine generator for you.

For more information visit our website at http://www.gorlinpools.com.

THE BASICS OF FILTRATION SYSTEMS

April 9, 2010

Pool filters play a key role in the health and beauty of your pool, removing pollutants, debris and bacteria and keeping the water clear to discourage algae growth.

There are three basic types of filters: Sand Filters, DE (diatomaceous earth) filters and cartridge filters.

Sand filters use layers of sand to trap dirt and debris as the pool water is pumped through the tank. The dirt and debris builds up, requiring that sand filters be backwashed. Backwashing is a procedure that involves reversing the water flow to clean the sand in the filter. Sand filters are the least expensive to maintain and replace, but also the least effective at removing small particles (50 microns) from pool water.

DE filters use Diatomaceous Earth – a porous powder – to filter the water. These filters function similarly to sand filters. They also require regular backwashing to function efficiently. Every time the filter is backwashed it requires the replenishment of DE. They offer excellent filtration (8-10 microns), removing particles one-tenth the size of the smallest particles that sand filters can trap.

Cartridge filters use a synthetic material and typically have a larger surface area than other filters. This reduces clogging and maintenance frequency. In fact, cartridge filters usually require only one or two cleanings per season, making them a top choice for most pool owners. The filtration effectiveness of cartridge filters (10-15 microns) falls in between those of sand filters and DE filters. However, neither your eyes or my eyes can tell the difference in the water between a DE filter or a cartridge filter. Maintenance of cartridge filters is also simple. The cartridges are removed and rinsed with a hose – no backwashing involved, no wasted water (GREEN ENVIRONMENT). We inventory all types of filters and filter parts for your convenience and we can help you decide witch filter would be correct for your pool. Our certified plumbers and mechanics can replace your existing filter while improving the hydraulics of your system at the same time, resulting in an energy savings for you.

For more information visit our website at http://www.gorlinpools.com.

POOL SURFACES: BEYOND PLASTER

April 9, 2010

Beauty is only skin deep. If that’s the truth then the “skin” or surface of your pool should be as beautiful as possible because you’ll be looking at it for years to come. Your guests don’t care about how the pool was built or what’s underneath it all, do they? NO! They only comment about the finishing touches to the pool, the tile, coping and plaster. Over the past ten to fifteen years, many new products have become available and popular with consumers and contractors. Common options for pool surfaces in addition to plaster include fiberglass, tile, or paint.. Whatever the choice you make, the resulting surface, beyond aesthetics should be smooth, non-skid, strong, and be durable to last a long time.

Fiberglass is less expensive than many alternatives, but must be applied carefully. In colder climates such as ours, freezing and thawing can damage fiberglass, although this damage can usually be repaired with patching or recoating. A fiberglass finish can be to smooth slippery is not done properly.

Tile is the most expensive to install initially, coasting about twice as much as the other options. Tile also lasts the longest, however, it does require maintenance, including re-grouting.
Paint and coatings, including vinyl based materials, most of the time do not require a major rehabilitation of the pool for application, but may require annual recoating. Caution should be taken not to mix different base coats on top of one another. If the original base is vinyl you should not apply an epoxy base on top of the vinyl. Another concern to be aware of is having to many coats of paint on top of one another. Often, to achieve the best results, it is best to sand blast the existing paint off the surface and begin with the bare substrate. They also have significant downtime associated with drying time between coats.

Plaster remains the first choice for most consumers and contractors. With new advances in technology and the addition of quartz, pebbles, and stone, there is no limit to your choices in colors or textures. Plus, plaster will last a long time giving you years of maintenance free enjoyment. There are many products and variations available for pool surfaces. If you are contemplating a pool or considering resurfacing your existing pool, we can help you consider the options that best suit your budget, aesthetics and tolerance for maintenance and downtime. Plus, our team of professional craftsman will amaze you with the results they can achieve. When you call, don’t forget to ask to see samples of our work.

For more information visit our website at http://www.gorlinpools.com.

Page 1 of 212