Platinum-Poolcare Aquatech LTD BBB Business Review

Renovating a Pool? Get Started Here

from the APSP

Need a make-over? With an APSP member professional at your side, you can enhance your home's value and reveal new opportunities for enjoyment with a refreshing upgrade or new treatment. Here are seven ways to renovate or restore your pool:

1. Resurface. Resurfacing an in-ground concrete pool restores beauty and comfort to cracked or roughened surfaces and extends the pool's functional life. For pools with a vinyl interior, a replacement liner in a new pattern can transform your pool overnight. Fiberglass pool owners can also consult with an APSP member professional for the product that will make your pool look like new.

2. Add a water feature. Install a waterfall or fountain to bring the sound and beauty of moving water to your outdoor environment. Water features like a dramatic spillover create a strong focal point and provide a dynamic addition to an otherwise ordinary pool.

3. Add a hot tub. Experience the relaxation of a soothing soak or the health benefits from warm water therapy. There's a hot tub for every need, every setting, and every budget.

4. Install new tile. Just as a new backsplash transforms a kitchen, new tile can set the tone for your beautiful new look. By selecting from the vast tile options available, you'll make the most dramatic improvement in appearance for the greatest value.

5. Enhance your surroundings. Consider a new or updated pool deck. You can extend the look of interior flooring to experience an outdoor family room with man-made or natural materials. Stain existing concrete. Or brush up dated, cracked or stressed concrete patios with a thick overlay and new finish. Add a sound or media system, or even an outdoor kitchen or fireplace for greater enjoyment.

6. Consider new lighting. Lighting not only enhances safety, it also adds a touch of beauty and pizzazz. Halogen and fiber optic lighting can add striking color to a nighttime poolscape. And long-lasting color-filled LED replacements can create an entirely new mood with little or no modification to an existing pool.

7. Think technology. New automatic cleaning systems have units that "walk" along your pool floor. These newer systems require practically no supervision. And you can still swim while the system cleans your pool. Digital controls make operating pool equipment easier than ever, letting you control lighting, heating, and cleaning with the touch of the button or with your tablet or smartphone. And upgrades like a salt chlorinator system or a solar cover and heater can improve both functionality and efficiency.

Keep in mind, you don't have to do everything at once. Pool renovations can be done over several seasons, allowing you to make the improvements and fund your investment at a pace that works for you. Of course, to ensure you get the most for your money, you'll want to hire an experienced pool contractor. An APSP Certified Professional will help ensure that your vision is transformed into reality — safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively. Find an APSP Certified Building or Service Professional here.

Pool Toy Gift Ideas

from poolcare plus

Spring is just around the corner and it's time to think about reopening your swimming pool. Many pool owners love to watch their children or grandchildren play in the pool and provide pool toys to keep them entertained. Age-appropriate toys for the pool help children practice swimming and learn to love the water.* But what types of pool toys are best for which age groups? Here's help:

Infants and Toddlers: Children age nine-24 months love floating activity centers, which allow them to stay busy with attached toys like squirters, rattles, and stacking rings while enjoying the pool. Baby rings and puddle jumper baby seats are also popular pool toys for children up to 25 pounds.

Age Three to Six: Children five and younger like "driving" a float in the shape of a plane, car or boat; pocket seats help them feel more secure as an adult pushes them back and forth in the pool. Depending on their comfort level in the water, children age three to six can be introduced to water wings and kickboards to help them improve their swimming ability.

Age Six and Up: Children who can float and swim well enough to enjoy playing in the water will love Dive Dudes, spinning characters that kids dive for when these pool toys float to the bottom of the pool. They'll also have fun with battery-operated characters that swim around the pool in random patterns. You and the children can stay active with an energetic pool paddle ball game. And of course, both kids and adults love classic pool toys like water guns and splash balls.

Selecting a variety of pool toys ensures that children who use your pool will never get bored. And you'll have a wonderful time too – whether you just watch or jump in and join in the fun!

*Pool toys are not safety devices. Alert adult supervision is required whenever any child is in or near your swimming pool.

Why Choose LED Pool Lighting?

Posted by John Keene, Pool FYI

High-Definition Lighting That Lasts

The growing popularity of color-changing LED lighting for pools and spas is primarily due to the brilliant-lighting effects of newer systems. The difference between old technology (incandescent) pool lighting and LED pool lighting is like comparing a standard definition television to a high-definition television—the colors and visual quality are simply stronger, brighter and more appealing.

Many pool owners also choose LED pool lighting because it is a more eco-friendly option. Not only do LEDs use far less electricity, an LED light can last six times longer than an incandescent light of equal brightness.

The Most Energy-Efficient Lighting Available

An LED (or light emitting diode) is a small semi conductor device that converts electrical energy directly into light. Since there is no filament, an LED does not heat up the way an incandescent bulb does, which wastes up to 80% of the electricity routed to it to produce heat rather than light. An LED light like the Pentair IntelliBrite® 5g White LED provides a noticeably brighter light while using 86% less energy than an incandescent bulb—resulting in significant energy savings.

Brilliant Colors for Unmatched Visual Appeal

The main attraction of LED lighting is the stunning visual appeal and ability to change up the lighting to suit any mood or event. Today's best color-changing LED pool lights feature numerous light options—from static colors like blue, green, magenta, red and white to dynamic pre-programmed light shows that enhance nighttime poolscapes with rich and vibrant colors. Plus, most allow you to also choose the speed at which the colors change, further allowing you to achieve a particular ambiance.

Choosing the particular color or light show for your pool is usually a simple process of stepping through the selections until you find your desired setting. Other systems allow you to include a dedicated controller to make choosing and programming your lights even easier and synchronize LED lights in your pool, spa and landscape.

LED Lighting Outlasts the Competition

The typical life span of an incandescent light is 5,000 hours, whereas LED lights have been proven to last 30,000 to 50,000 hours. The reason for their extended life is the durable, solid state technology, which has no internal filament to wear out.

In the past, LED pool lighting has received negative feedback because if one LED burned out all of the LEDs would stop working, similar to old holiday lights. However, new LED pool lighting systems like the IntelliBrite 5g Color LED will continue to work even when one of its LEDs burn out.

Learn More About LED Lighting

If you would like to discuss or learn more about LED lighting and other pool lighting options, visit the resources listed below or talk to your local pool professional.

Thursday, 16 May 2013 09:59

10 Steps to maintaining a clean pool

10 Steps to Maintaining a Clean Pool

from Guardian Pool Fence

If you're lucky enough to have a swimming pool and also lucky enough to have the sun to use it then keeping it clean is all important. You want a pool to be fresh and inviting for everyday use and so you can get the most from this refreshing pastime.

By taking a constant but thorough routine with pool maintenance you can cut down on the work in the long term and also save on a lot of money. It also means there's no need for last ditch attempts to sort something out when something goes wrong. So, here are ten tips to keep your pool sparkling clean and healthy.

  • Maintain the pool by keeping an eye on the pool chemistry a few times a week in summer and around once a week in winter.
  • Keep a close eye on the skimmer basket and clean it out weekly or even more-so if it needs such care.
  • Keep an eye on the hair and lint filter. This will need to be emptied every few weeks and you should ensure that a build-up doesn't occur.
  • Water levels are also something that need inspection and should be adjusted if needed. Ideally they should be at the center of the tile.
  • The in-line chlorinator needs a weekly check-up and if it needs adjustment then you should do so. Check the chlorine readings and ensure they are in the unit to ensure adequate levels of chlorine.
  • Clean the filters. These should be cleaned after a storm or every couple of months. The best way to remember this is to base it around something you do a couple of times a year. If you've extra elements this can be a lot easier to do, if not you will need to use chemicals to clean the filters. Make sure to use eye and glove protection when doing so and make sure the filters are rinsed well.
  • The tile area on the outside of the pool should be cleaned on a weekly basis when the pool is in use or less so when it's not. This can be done by using pressure washing services and will help keep your pool spic and span from build-up.
  • Always keep the chemicals you use stored in the dark and away from direct sunlight as this can cause issues with them.
  • If you do not have an ozone system your pool won't need to be shocked. However, if you do need to shock it does it at night. People swimming soon afterwards should use a non-chlorine shock to clean the pool. Alternatively, it's possible to do so by running your pump for a full day and night with your ozone system. Just ensure you're on 24 hour circulation.
  • Cracks can turn into bigger problems. These should be dealt with through silicone and as we all know prevention is better than cure.
  • Keep vegetation and animals, as well as fertilizers away from the area as they will feed algae in the pool.

These tips should help you keep your pool clean and perfectly usable.

***

Jacob Ryan is a lover of swimming and the great outdoors and also enjoys fishing.

The Hot Tub – A Bubbling Bath of Positive Health Benefits

november 14, 2012 by shelly from Filbur Manufacturing

What's not to love about a hot tub? With its health, social, and home-improvement benefits it's a veritable hot pot of positives. Add to that the strides that hot tub manufacturers have made in energy efficiency and environmental friendliness, and one's hard-pressed to find a reason not to invest in what used to be considered solely a luxury item.

Health benefits are many, including relief for the 1 in every 3 Americans that suffer from arthritis. The heat, buoyancy, and massage elements exercise and relax the muscle joints, relieving pain and making daily tasks and movement in general more comfortable.

Relief for insomnia, which affects almost 60 million Americans, is another huge hot-tubbing benefit. The obvious stress relief it provides is a great sleep aid in and of itself, but there's more to it. According to a recent study in the scientific journal Sleep, a drop in body temperature can help to ease your body into a deeper, more relaxing sleep. Therefore, it is suggested that you soak in hot water (103° F) about 90 minutes before bedtime. This causes the body's internal thermostat to pull your temperature down, enabling sleep to set in with more ease.

Probably the most surprising benefit, though, is the effects in reducing blood sugar in Diabetes Type 2 patients. A study at McKee Medical Center reports that patients who spent 30 minutes per day in a hot tub recorded a 13% decrease in blood sugar levels, better quality sleep, and a great overall sense of well-being.

Even if you don't suffer from one of these ailments, a hot tub is a natural aid in stress relief, blood pressure, headaches, and the acceleration of the healing process. As with any type of therapy, it is important to consult a physician before soaking in a hot tub if you have health concerns.

OK, so there's got to be a negative, right? Well, the closest we could find is the maintenance of this bubbling tub of bliss...and that's even a stretch as far as negatives go. This does not have to be overwhelming or difficult. My friend in the industry, Matt Giovanisci, has created a great visual guide for easy hot tub maintenance and was good enough to share it with us. And, tomorrow I'll share it with all of you!

Published in General Interest

Is Your Pool Covered?

Posted by Leah Clark, Pool FYI

Swimming pool covers offer a variety of benefits to pool owners, but with several styles to choose from it's important to have the right cover to meet your needs. If you're thinking about adding a cover to your pool make sure you consider factors like climate, pool size and what you want the cover to accomplish. Below are the three most common types of pool covers.

Solar Covers

Solar covers or solar blankets as they are sometimes called are great for your pool, your wallet and the environment. They transfer heat from the sun into your pool water and prevent heat from escaping, which gradually raises the water temperature by up to 15 degrees. At the same time, solar covers reduce chemical and water loss from evaporation. All of these results save you money by lowering chemical, water and heating costs. Plus, they are easy to cut and shape to fit kidney, oval or irregularly sized pools.

Winter Covers

A winter cover is primarily used to safeguard your pool from winter weather, debris and other undesirable items that could possibly enter the water. With two main styles—solid and mesh—pool owners have a choice to make when it comes to winter covers. A solid cover blocks out the sun and prevents algae growth throughout the winter, but needs to be maintained to prevent build-up on top of the cover. A mesh cover doesn't block out as much sun light which means a little more water maintenance come spring, but it does allow rain and snow to pass through the cover for easier winter care.

Safety Covers

Protect your swimming pool, pets and family with a safety cover. These tough, long-lasting pool covers are strong enough to support people and pets, yet light enough to easily install and remove from your pool. They are typically held in place by deck anchors that, when the cover is not in use, recede flush into the pool deck for improved safety and appearance. Besides preventing access to your pool, safety covers have excellent winter protection making them a dual purpose cover. They can be found in solid and mesh to meet any pool owner's preference, but are usually the most expensive of the three.

For additional help or recommendations when it comes to swimming pool covers try our dealer locator to find a local pool professional.

CONSIDER THESE RESOURCES WHEN ADDING A POOL COVER TO YOUR POOL

Articles & Blogs:

Swimming Pool Covers Help You Save Money, Energy and Water

The Blue Goes Green: 5 Earth Friendly Solutions For Your Pool

May Is National Water Safety Month

Pool Priorities—Safety First! 6 Critical Layers of Protection

Have information to share about Pool Covers? Add it Now!

Video:

Do Liquid Solar Covers Really Work?

Automatic Pool Cover

Swimming Pool Cover Chicago

Have a video to share on Pool Covers? Add it Now!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013 10:58

Top Trends in Outdoor Decorative Concrete

Top Trends in Outdoor Decorative Concrete

Decorative trends that help create an outdoor retreat

by Anne Balogh, ConcreteNetwork.com Columnist

Do you want to be on the cutting edge when it comes to using decorative concrete outdoors, and dare to go beyond a simple ho-hum driveway or patio slab? Creative contractors are always experimenting with new looks and applications for outdoor concrete, often in response to the desires and changing lifestyles of their customers. Here are some of the hottest trends we've been noticing at The Concrete Network, based on recent outdoor projects concrete contractors have shared with us. Hopefully, they will spark your imagination and embolden you to take on projects that rise above the ordinary and break new ground.

Creating Backyard Adventures

More people are taking "staycations" in their own backyards and using concrete to create mini theme parks, complete with faux-rock water features, concrete garden bridges, firepits, a sculpted concrete pool with water slides, and even a ship-wrecked concrete boat.

Going Back to Nature

With the growing concerns about our environment and preserving our natural resources, more homeowners are using concrete because it's a sustainable, eco-friendly building material. Plus, it also has an organic look and feel that can enhance and even mimic the surrounding environment. See these projects for ideas.

Concrete Mimics Natural Stone

Natural Pool Designs Brought to Life

Concrete Lava Rock Driveway

Custom Concrete Furniture

With its year-round weather resistance and ability to be molded into any shape, concrete is being used to create permanent backyard furniture, from patio tables and benches to outdoor concrete pool tables. This custom concrete furniture offers lasts a lifetime and never needs to be painted or refinished. See more examples.

Outdoor Fireplaces

Outdoor fireplaces continue to grow in popularity, with the trend in outdoor rooms fueling the fire. According to Scott Cohen of The Green Scene, homeowners are catching on to the fact that concrete fireplaces and other outdoor enhancements are a great way to add value to a home. And the cost of this outdoor ambiance is often more affordable than most people think. Learn more.

Videos: Outdoor Fireplaces and Fire Pits

In this series of 7 videos, landscape designer Scott Cohen of The Green Scene explores all the options with outdoor concrete fireplaces and fire pits, including precast fireplaces for small spaces, custom fireplaces that coordinate with the existing landscaping, fire pit design choices, and even combining a concrete hearth with a waterfall for the ultimate backyard showpiece.

Platinum Pools installs EasyTurf Artificial Turf for Customer's Dog Run in Barrington Hills, IL

Platinum Pools, a chicago outdoor living company based in Wheeling, IL, is proud to offer EasyTurf for its swimming pool and outdoor living customers. EasyTurf is the industry leader in Artificial Grass in the United States.  

IMG 0158

Platinum Pools and EasyTurf eliminated a bad problem for this homeowner by removing her muddy mess and installing a clean, comfortable dog run for her 4 Great Danes.

Why Easy Turf is perfect for Pets

Un-mark your turf today and save thousands!

Now you can have a dog AND a beautiful lawn!

EasyTurf artificial grass for dogs, with its revolutionary drainage capabilities, along with its realistic look and feel, make it the number one choice for pet owners. Because of its unmatched artificial dog grass durability, EasyTurf has proven to stand up to the most challenging of pets and its low maintenance features make keeping a beautiful, problem-free lawn all year long easy. Plus, over time, EasyTurf artificial grass for dogs saves thousands of dollars in maintenance and watering.

Here's why dog owners love EasyTurf artificial grass for dogs:

• MaxxFlow drainage makes dog grass clean up a snap

• Discolor and stain resistant grass for dogs

• Most dogs will give up digging

• Fixes dogs killing the grass

• Muddy paws and dirty pets are a thing of the past

• Non-toxic and hypo-allergenic artificial dog grass

• Eliminate water waste and fertilizing

Dog-friendly. With the pedigree to prove it.

EasyTurf artificial grass for dogs saves you money since little or no maintenance is required. Muddy spots and dog urine stains are gone. Dog waste and dog urine won't discolor or stain it; dogs can't dig through it and don't chew it. You spend less time cleaning your dogs since EasyTurf artificial grass for dogs prevents muddy paws and dirty pets, and helps you maintain a pleasant, safe environment for your pets. Your artificial grass is always available, no down-time for maintenance, watering or fertilizing. Relax, knowing this artificial grass for dogs has a 15-20 year life expectancy.

The difference is in the dog urine drainage!

Every inch of the MaxxFlow™ artificial grass backing drains freely with absolutely zero absorption. That means dog urine odor won't be a problem, and it even stands up to ALL pets, pet waste and dog urine. The backing also incorporates an integrated weed barrier which eliminates the need to purchase and install a separate one, saving you time and money. Remember...not only will EasyTurf artificial dog grass provide you with beautiful and useful artificial grass landscaping; it will also give the peace of mind that you have a clean, safe lawn for your pet.

Benefits:

• Drains clean: It requires no chemicals for dog urine odor found in another artificial grass or natural grass

• 100% permeable backing makes dog urine clean up a snap

• Most Realistic artificial grass for dogs

• Unique multi-color blades match the look of real grass

• Best Draining artificial dog grass – Drains better and cleaner than real grass

• Inherently antimicrobial and hypoallergenic dog grass surface

• Safe and non-toxic dog grass infill

• Artificial dog grass helps keep pets clean

• Artificial dog grass that is fertilizer and pesticide free

• Artificial dog grass dramatically improves water conservation

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A comfortable dog is a happy dog!  This Great Dane loves his new EasyTurf which Platinum Pools installed for him in Barrington Hills, IL.

 

Other uses for EasyTurf

Artificial grass applications have expanded greatly since 2010. An artificial grass turf product that was once only used for sports fields and small front yards, has expanded into all facets of outdoor landscape and surfacing.

EasyTurf artificial grass lends itself to many surface applications because of the extraordinary advantages it offers over other landscape and outdoor surfacing options. EasyTurf has also expanded indoors now offering indoor golf, play and training surfacing, while bringing all the benefits of field-training indoors without the mess; all while standing up to the strict fire-safety standards.

  • Swimming Pool Landscaping!

          Durable, Safe, Chlorine and Salt Water friendly pool-side landscaping

  • Synthetic Grass For Commercial Landscaping

          Commercial-grade synthetic grass applications

  • Artificial Grass Color & Design

          Outdoor living goes to the next level with colored artificial grass landscape designs

  • Lawn Monograms – Artificial Grass Logos & Family Crests

          NCAA logos, family crests and more offer new ways to personalize your outdoor living space

  • Artificial Turf for Tennis Court Surface

          Ultra-realistic simulated organic grass and clay court surfaces

  • Artificial Turf Landscape Applications

          Realistic, beautiful water-conscious landscape

  • Artificial Grass Green Roofs

          Low weight, water conscious compliment to green roof living and design

  • Commercial & Home Golf Putting Greens

          "True-Roll" custom backyard home putting greens

  • EasyTurf Grass Play Surface is Far Superior to a Rubber Playground Surface

          IPEMA Certified, Beautiful, safe, clean playground surfacing

About Easy Turf

EasyTurf is a professional synthetic turf company. We pride ourselves on offering the finest product and customer service in the industry. There are a variety of sources for synthetic turf landscaping, ranging from small turf companies to even your landscaper. Only EasyTurf offers the experience, quality and proven successful history to get the job done correctly the first time. Typically, other turf companies promote low cost turf that doesn't look as good, last as long or drain as well as FieldTurf.

EasyTurf, Inc. has been Southern California's exclusive FieldTurf® dealer for the residential and commercial landscaping market since 2000, offering the highest quality synthetic grass landscaping and golf green products and installations available. With over 7,000 installations in their region, EasyTurf is by far the largest synthetic grass distribution company in the country.

Besides offering the finest products available, the company's commitment to excellence and superior customer service has been the main driving factor towards their success and rapid growth.

EasyTurf has been an innovator of synthetic grass landscaping and has taken a leading role in educating consumers thereof. The acceptance of quality synthetic grass landscaping as a popular alternative to natural grass, and as a viable solution for problem lawns has also assisted EasyTurf's corporate growth and dominate market share.

Recognizing their market leading position, in May of 2010, FieldTurf, Inc. the industry dominant manufacturer and installer of sports fields worldwide, acquired EasyTurf to take charge of the development of the residential and commercial synthetic grass markets for the North American region. This development will allow FieldTurf to quickly become the major player in these rapidly growing and high demand arenas.

"Forming a partnership with EasyTurf will allow us to rapidly expand our already successful existing dealer network, accelerating our growth on a national level," said FieldTurf President Eric Daliere. "EasyTurf has been recognized for many years as the leader of the artificial grass landscaping industry which makes this joint venture a very exciting and historic announcement."

"Entering into this agreement with FieldTurf allows us to build off of the company's unparalleled reputation for product innovation, safety, and leadership in environmental responsibility," stated EasyTurf president David Hartman.

The Most Realistic Look and Feel

EasyTurf's monofilament fiber and color blends give it a natural look, unlike any other competitor's turf. Our newest Supra and Lush series artificial grass looks exactly like the real thing. Your friends, family and neighbors won't be able to tell the difference between your new EasyTurf lawn and an expensive, professionally-manicured natural lawn. It's so realistic, you'd have to see it to believe it!

Benefits of Replacing Natural Sod

Maintaining a natural sod or grass lawn can be a daunting task. From watering to fertilization, maintaining natural grass and sod lawns can be nearly impossible in Southern California. Recently, for these very reasons, synthetic sod grass lawns have become very popular. An EasyTurf artificial sod grass lawn requires little maintenance, no mowing or watering, stays green year round and lasts from 15 to 20 years, making it the ideal solution for problem plagued natural grass and sod lawns.

Being an Educated Consumer

No matter who you choose to install your artificial turf, you will be making a considerable investment. Make certain that you have done your research and that you make the choice that will serve you for years and years to come. EasyTurf invites you to do your homework. Contact the BBB and The California Landscape Association for references, and check out existing installations of the company's turf. Also, research the manufacturer of the artificial turf products you are considering. Please visit our Consumer Awareness page for more information about making the right synthetic turf choice for your project.

Be sure to check out the enclosed video from the San Diego Humane Society about EasyTurf

To learn more about EasyTurf, click here

 

 

Opening Your Pool

from Pool FYI

Spring is here! And with it, the fun and excitement of swim season. Now just one thing stands between you and a watery good time: the chore of opening your pool. Of course, you can delegate the job to your pool professional, which ensures a quality job and saves you work. But if you're a little handy and have the time, here's a step-by-step guide on what needs to be done.

Get it ready.

First, get out what you'll need. Pull last fall's pool chemicals out of storage. They don't last forever, so replace the ones whose label says they've expired (and during the season, use up your old ones before the new ones). Also round up any hardware you removed for the winter, and get replacements now for any missing pieces.

Okay, you're back from the store. Clean the winter cover and the poolside decking. If the cover has standing water on it, use a submersible pump made to remove it. Then take off the cover, clean it off, and let it air-dry to prevent mildew before you fold and store it.

Get it together.

Assemble what needs assembling. Reinstall the pump, railings, diving board or whatever else you removed last fall. Take out the plugs from the filtration system and replace the return outlet fittings. (Life lesson: Save them all in one place.)

Get it full.

Most pools need the water level brought up to normal at the start of the season. This can be done with your garden hose. Or, for larger pools, you may be able to save money by paying a service to truck in the water.

Get it up and running.

Find the winterizing plugs and other parts removed for winterization (often stored in the skimmer basket or pump basket). After the filter system is put back together, fill the pump basket area with water and fasten down the pump lid. Clean the filter cartridge, or backwash the filter and add sand or DE (diatomaceous earth) as needed. Light the pilot on the pool heater according to the instructions.

Get it crud-free.

The grossest stuff first: If your pool has solids in the water, fish 'em out—literally. Don't depend on your pool system, pool cleaner or vacuum to remove them, or you could find yourself with clogged underground pipes or a choked pump. Use a big leaf net instead.

If your water is somewhat dirty or cloudy at this point, no big problem. (If it's black throughout or slimy green, that definitely is a problem—one that can be fixed, but requires its own set of steps for which you'll want to consult a pool professional.)

Assuming your water does not resemble the La Brea Tar Pits, now is the time to start up the pump. Check for leaks and proper operation. There should be no major leaks (a few drops on Day One are no cause for panic), skimmers should work smoothly, the pump shouldn't make any screeching noises, and you shouldn't see bubbles entering the pool from the returns.

Get it in balance.

You want the pump running when you take the next step: shocking or "super-oxidizing" the water with chlorine (also true when you're adding any other chemicals, for that matter). For those with liner pools, be kind to your liner—do not toss chlorine granules directly into the water. This can discolor the liner or even destroy it. Better to mix the granular shock chlorine in a bucket, then add that mixture into the skimmer while the system is running.

Use your water test kit to adjust the water chemistry to recommended levels. For the first 72 hours or so, keep checking it often and running your circulation system around the clock. If the pool was especially dirty, you may have to keep re-cleaning your filter, too.

Get wet.

When the chlorine level has dropped back to normal and your water is crystal clear, you're all set to jump back in. Enjoy the swim season!

Pool Party Games

from Aquatech, via Gohlke Pools

We are all familiar with pool games such as relay races, Marco Polo and chicken fights, but following are some that you might not be familiar with:

Swimming Games

Steal the Bacon-Form 2 teams of an equal amount of players and each team numbers off. Each team sits at the opposite end of the pool. A non-player then throws a ball (nerf, tennis, or ping pong balls work well) to the middle of the pool and calls a number belonging to a member of each team. The players whose numbers were called race to retrieve the ball and take it to their side of the pool without being caught by the other player. A player successfully returning the ball to his side receives 2 points and a player successfully catching the opponent receives 1 point. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Ping-Pong Race-We have all played games similar to this one, but probably not in the pool. For this race, players line up at one end of the pool with a ping pong ball. The goal is to blow the ping pong ball, without touching it, to the other end of the pool. The player whose Ping-Pong ball reaches the end of the pool first wins.

Floating Ball Pick-Up Race-This game is played on top of the water using floating objects such as Ping-Pong balls or tennis balls. It is important to have several dozen of these balls. It is best to mark the balls so that they represent different point totals. Someone puts all of the balls in the pool. When the race begins, participants try to get as many balls in a predetermined short amount of time. When the time is up, add up the balls or point totals, document the score, and continue playing several rounds until someone reaching the predetermined point total is declared the winner.

Tag Games

Sharks and Minnows - This game is good for a large group. One person is the shark and starts in the middle of the pool. All other players are minnows and start out of the water on one side of the deck. The shark yells out "minnow!" and the minnows must jump in and try to swim to the other side of the pool without being tagged by the shark. The minnows that get tagged become sharks and the game is replayed until only one minnow remains. That person starts the new game as the shark.

Towel Tag-All players place a towel or any other item that can be balanced on their head. One person is designated as the chaser. The chaser attempts to tag the other players. Whoever is tagged becomes the new chaser. If a player loses the towel that is balanced on their head while being chased, that player becomes the new chaser.

Chicken Fight Tag-This is also called horse and rider tag. Player's pair up and ride piggyback. One pair is designated the chaser. Only the rider can be tagged or can tag. The chaser pursues other pairs until a rider is tagged, then they become the new chaser.

Shark-Shark!-You have probably played this game, but it is still a good one. One participant is the shark and gets in the middle of the pool, while the other participants get on the other end of the pool. When the shark yells out "Shark-Shark"! all other participants must get to the other side of the pool without being tagged by the shark. Tagged participants become sharks. The last remaining participant is the winner.

Races

Chicken Fight Races-This is also called horse and rider races. Player's pair up and ride piggyback. All participants are lined up on one end and race. The team reaching the finish line first wins.

Leap Frog Race-This was played by most everyone in PE classes in elementary school and is probably even more fun in a pool. The teams line up, and the last players in line are the frogs. The other participants get in a crouched position with their hands on their thighs or knees. The frogs then jump over each teammate in front of them and then become crouched. The last person in the line then becomes the frog. This is continued until the end of the pool is reached, with the team reaching the end first winning the race.

Innertube Race - This is fairly self-explanatory. Each participant sits in an innertube at one end of the pool; someone says go and the participants race to the other end of the pool.

Sport Games

Volleyball-Volleyball games are available at Gohlke Pools. Some pool owners purchase a regulation net and anchor it to fence posts, trees, etc. allowing the net to cross over the pool. Either way, it is a great game for larger groups.

Basketball-Basketball goals are available at Gohlke Pools. This game is better for small groups.

Baseball-Typically it is played in the shallow end of the pool with bases being approximately 10'-15' apart. Typically, a ball hit out of the far end of the pool is a homerun.

Football-This game is self-explanatory and is also quite fun.

HAVE FUN & BE SAFE!

Submitted by: Gohlke Pools, Denton, TX

Published in General Interest
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