Keeping Your Children Safe Around The Pool

I know it seems really far off, but summer is right around the corner.  For me here in Indiana, with another snow storm on its way, it can’t come soon enough.  I know that I have written about pool safety before but it is something that is extremely important.  Too many people lose their lives before their time is up.  In this post I will highlight some of the things that you can do to make sure that you and your loved ones have a safe and fun summer around the pool.  When many people think about pool safety, they think that because they and their family know how to swim that they are fine and do not need to take any extra precautions.  I am a firm believer that knowing how to swim is one of the most important parts of pool safety.  Unfortunately, it’s not good enough in many cases.  As pool owners, we need to take extra steps in an effort to keep our pool environments safe for everyone, and there are some basic precaustions that can be done to help keep your pool safe for everyone.

Teach your children how to swim.  This is the first step you can take to ensure that your children are safe in the pool.  While the ability to swim is important, when around water it is not always enough.  If you have children around the pool, it is very important to keep an eye on them.
Watch your children.  When children are swimming it is important to designate an adult to supervise.  Furthermore, supervision should be the only thing on that adults mind.  No social media, texting, or talking on the phone.  The supervising adult should be free from distraction. That adult must also be prepared.

Put together an emergency pool safety kit.  This kit should be kept near the pool anytime someone is swimming.  The following are some items that should be included in your pool safety kit.
1. First aid kit
2. Pair of scissors (for cutting hair, a pool cover or clothing that may become caught on something under water.)
3. A charged telephone for calling 911 in the case of an emergency.
4. A flotation device.

These are just some items that may help in the event of an emergency.  In addition to that, the supervising adult should make sure that children stay away from anything that could cause them to become trapped.  This includes drains, ladders, pipes, and any openings.  You can also share your knowledge and safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors.  Learning CPR, and staying up-to-date with it,  is another preemptive action you can take to ensure safety.  In an emergency, seconds count and knowing what to do will greatly improve the odds.

There are additional precautions that you can prepare with to help keep your loved ones safe around the pool.  They include installing a fence, or an alarm system, having a safety cover, refraining from drinking around the pool, and several others.  For more information regarding pool safety please see my other related blog posts or visit for up-to-date information regarding swimming pool safety.  There you can also see information on recalled pool and spa products as well as read stories that people have shared.  These are just some ways to improve the safety around your swimming pool.  Feel free to read my other blog posts and stay tuned for future posts as I strive toward posting once a day.

How To Maintain Your Vinyl Liner In Ground Swimming Pool

In recent posts, I have offered information on how to have your swimming pool clean itself.  Basically, this can be done by utilizing three types of technology;  one is the in-floor cleaning system; two is having a Venturi skimmer; three is using Ultra violet cleaning systems.  I understand that for some folks the upfront cost of installing these items is a bit more than they would want to dish out.  However, I think that it is important to understand that overtime these items will pay for themselves.  These items reduce chemical usage, increase overall circulation, and reduce heating costs.  So, with time the amount of money that you will save will far outweigh the initial cost of the items themselves.  That being said, I know that the some will still not want to add those expenditures to the cost of the pool installation, and they will need to know how to properly maintain their swimming pools.

Chemical Damage

To begin, I want to touch on the importance of water sanitation.  As I have stated in a previous post, the failure to maintain your water chemistry can have some adverse effects on your pool as well as yourself.  Improper water chemistry can damage the liner, steps, pump, filter, heater, and basically every component of your pool.  Granted, this will not necessarily happen immediately, nor will the components become damaged simultaneously, but the fact remains that the longer the water is unbalanced, the faster things will become damaged.  In addition to the risk of damaging your pools components and equipment, there are also very real health risks that are involved in having poorly maintained water.  (See my post titled Swimming Pool Safety – Recreational Water Illnesses.)  A number of health related problems can occur as a result of poorly maintained swimming pool water ranging from skin rashes to diarrhea.  In addition to that, if you have too much chlorine in the water, it can cause skin and eye irritation as well.  With those things in mind, it is important to have your water tested periodically, and if something is off you must add the appropriate chemicals to bring your levels back to their acceptable ranges.

Acceptable Ranges
pH: 7.4 – 7.6
Chlorine: 1.0 – 3.0 ppm
Total Alkalinity: 80 – 140 ppm
Calcium Hardness: 200 – 400
Cyanuric Acid: 25 – 50 ppm
Total Dissolved Solids: 500 – 5000 ppm

To avoid confusion, it is usually best to take a water sample from your pool to your local pool store.  They will usually offer water testing, and will be able to tell you what chemicals and how much of them to add in order to get your levels to where they need to be.


A big part of maintaining your pool is to clean it regularly.  this includes cleaning out your skimmer and pump baskets, and sweeping the pool to remove any debris.  Depending on the location of your pool you may have to sweep the pool frequently especially if your pool is located near trees.  (See my post titled Vacuuming Your In Ground Swimming Pool for more information.)

Swimming Pool Safety – Recreational Water Illnesses (R.W.I.)

Swimming pool season is just around the corner.  Many people will soon or have already begun to prepare by trying to lose those holiday pounds.  Although physical fitness is important for a healthy lifestyle, there are other things related to swimming pools that need to be addressed in order to maintain a healthy life.  In a previous post, I gave some information regarding how owning a swimming pool can be beneficial to your health.  Today, I will address the very real threat of Recreational Water Illnesses (R.W.I.).

I think that many pool owners neglect the fact that these threats exist.  For some, it’s probably just a lack of knowledge.  I think it’s time we stop basking in our own ignorance regarding health and safety.  While the lack of knowledge may not be ignorant in itself, the lack of having the will to learn is.  In the world today, we are exposed to many things that were not present in the past.  The best way to fight back, in my opinion, is to take preventative measures.  Get vaccinations, eat healthy, exercise, and take precautions regarding outdoor activities.  In the last two decades there has been a substantial increase in the amount of R.W.I outbreaks.  Before I get too far along, I want to give some background information.

What are R.W.I’s?

Basically, these are illnesses caused by germs and chemicals that are found in the water we swim in.  Some might say that the water they swim in is perfectly safe, because they treat it properly and keep it well maintained.  The number one chemical used to keep swimming pools clean is chlorine.  However, there are some germs present today that are very chlorine tolerant.  In fact, it may take anywhere from a couple minutes to a couple days to kill them.  This is more true if the chlorine levels in a pool are off.  Basically, if there is not enough chlorine to go around then some of these germs may remain.  Obviously germs are small, and it would only take a small amount to make you sick.

How are R.W.I’s spread?
R.W.I.’s are spread by swallowing contaminated water, breathing in the mist from a fountain or other water fixture, or by simply coming into contact with water that is contaminated by these germs.  They are not just found in private swimming pools either.  They can be present in public pools, water parks, water play areas (splash parks),  fountains, rivers, lakes, streams, and even the ocean.  In addition to all that, they can also be caused by chemicals in the water or from chemical evaporation if your pool is indoors.

What kind of problems do they cause?
They can produce a variety of infections, including gastrointestinal, skin, eye, ear, respiratory, neurological, and wound infections.  However diarrhea is the most commonly reported problem.  Cryptosporidium  has become the number one cause of pool related diarrheal illness.  “Crypto” has the ability to stay alive for days on end, even in a well maintained pool.  That is not to say that keeping a well maintained pool is futile.  Although “Crypto” is chlorine tolerant, most germs are not.  So keeping a well maintained pool is the first step toward fighting R.W.I.’s.

How does Cryptosoridium get into the pool?

That is a very good question, unfortunately the answer is not what you want to hear.  Cryptosoridium and other germs enter your pool through feces.  I’m not saying that someone has gone number 2 in the pool, however on average people have about .14 grams of feces on their under carriage. When they get into the pool some of that is rinsed off and enters the pool.  If someone in the pool is already ill with diarrhea their feces can contain millions of germs.  That means that it could only take one person to effectively contaminate and entire pool.  If you have a pool, or even if you just like to swim, then you have probably experienced the almost inevitable instance when you accidentally swallow a mouthful of water.  Even a small amount of contaminated water can make you sick.

What about other R.W.I. germs, how do they get into the water?
A lot of the other R.W.I.’s, such as skin, eye, ear, respiratory, and wound infections, are caused by germs that naturally live in environments, like dirt and water.  If proper disinfectant levels are not maintained in the pool, then these germs can multiply and have the potential to cause illness.  This is why it is important to keep your pool well maintained with the proper amount of chlorine.

How can we prevent R.W.I.’s?

In addition to properly maintaining the swimming pool (keeping chlorine levels where they need to be), there are a few steps you can take towards the fight against R.W.I.’s.  First, try to keep poop and pee out of the pool.  You can do this by washing with soap and water before getting into the pool.  After you are in the pool, it is a good idea to take bathroom breaks every 60 minutes or so.  Obviously, you will want to wash your hands afterward as well.  Also, although accidents happen, do your best to not swallow the water that you are swimming in.  If you are a parent of young children, then you will want to make sure that you are taking them to the restroom every 60 minutes as well.  I know that some parents and grandparents for that matter love to see the cuteness of a toddler swimming in diaper.  I am guilty of this as well.  No worries, if this is the case just be sure to change their diapers frequently and do so in the bathroom or somewhere away from the pool to prevent any waste from entering the pool.

Please visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information regarding healthy swimming habits, and as always… Be safe.


Vinyl Liner In-Ground Swimming Pool Steps

When starting the process of having a vinyl liner in-ground swimming pool built, you will have to talk to the builder and answer a series of questions about your wants or needs in regards to the pool itself.  These questions range from what size of a pool you want to what style of steps do you want.  Depending on the location of the pool, the builder will usually offer some suggestions.  Considering they typically have a lot of experience in building pools, you should probably consider their opinions.  After all, they are the professionals, and they have a better idea of what will work best for your pool.  However, once the basic size and shape of the pool are determined you will have to decide on what style of steps you want in your pool.  There are a few different options available.  I want to focus on a couple types / styles of steps that are available and give some information regarding each of them. (Some styles may not be available depending on your location and which manufacturer your builder uses.)

90 Deg. Corner Step
To start, let’s take a look at the basic fiberglass acrylic steps.  This type of step is pretty versatile and there are quite a few options available.  There are different types based on the location in the pool.  There is a 90 degree corner step, as well as steps that are manufactured to be placed in the center of the shallow end wall.  There are also steps that are designed to be installed on a radius, for free form / lagoon style pools.  There are also a variety of sizes available in each style.  You can get wide steps or more narrow steps depending on your preference.  The styles may also be available in either cantilever, or bull nose.
Radius Bull Nose
These two types differ in that the cantilever requires that a concrete form be installed to give it a finished look, and with the bull nose style the concrete is just poured up to the step without a form yet still has a nice finished look.
Radius Cantilever
Buddy Seat
In addition to steps, with fiberglass there are “buddy seats” available.  These are basically seats that are molded out of fiberglass and installed in the wall of the pool much like a fiberglass step.  So if a “buddy seat” is available, and is something you want in your pool, then it would probably be a good idea to go with a fiberglass step in order to maintain a uniform look to your pool.  Also, depending on the manufacturer, the fiberglass steps come with a limited warranty.  This will allow you peace of mind knowing that they are manufactured such a high degree that the manufacturer is confident in them enough to offer a warranty.  In addition to that, there are usually a few different colors you can choose from, the most common being white.
Liner Over Step – Full Shallow End
Liner Over Step With Bench
Another type of step is called liner over step.  This type of step allows for the pool to have a completely uniform look.  With this type of step the liner will actually be installed over top of them.  In my opinion, this style is very aesthetically pleasing.  This style also can be made in almost any configuration, and is capable of being placed in any location of the pool wall.  They can be made to be corner steps, or be made to span the entire width of the shallow end.  The corner steps can also be made to have “benches” in them, giving swimmers a place to just sit and relax without being in the way of others that might be entering or exiting the pool.  This type of step offers pool owners a high end look to their pool without the high end cost.
These are a couple examples of possible vinyl liner in-ground swimming pool steps that are available.  So, if you are thinking about having a vinyl liner in-ground pool installed, talk to your builder and see what step choices are available.  After seeing what these steps look like, and having read some basic information regarding them,  now you just have to talk to your builder to see what is available.

Vacuuming Your In Ground Swimming Pool

When you have an in-ground swimming pool, or any pool for that matter, there will probably come a time when you will need to actually clean the pool.  However, if you have an in-floor cleaning system you may find the need to physically clean the pool no longer necessary.  For those of you that do not have an in-floor cleaning system and live in an area where there is a lot of debris that gets into the water, you will need to clean the pool from time to time.  This includes sweeping the pool floor and skimming off the debris that is floating on the surface.  The following are some steps you will need to take in order to effectively clean and vacuum your pool.

I always begin by getting out the equipment I will need.  This includes the extension pole, the vac hose, the vac head, the brush, and the skimmer net.

Next, attach the skimmer net to the extension pole and start skimming the debris off the surface of the water.  If you regularly clean your pool, you typically will not have much debris to remove from the surface.  If the amount is in fact minimal, you can usually just dump the net off to the side of the pool, and it won’t make much of a difference.  On the other hand, if there is a substantial amount of debris floating on the top of the water, or if you do not wish to
dump the net off to the side of the pool, you can always just bag it.   I always start with this step just to make it a little easier to see the debris that is
ing on the pool floor.  When you finish skimming off the surface of the pool, you will want to clean off the net and remove it from the extension pole.  Before you get to the vacuuming of the pool, it is a good idea to attach the brush to the extension pole and use it to brush the debris off the steps.  Now you are ready to start vacuuming the pool.  On newer swimming pools, the skimmers and main drain are tied together at the pump through a valve right before the pump.  You will want to isolate one of the skimmers to adequately vacuum the pool by turning the valves at the pump so that water from the pool going into the pump is only coming from one skimmer.  This will increase the suction from that skimmer and give you the most power to vacuum the pool.  Next, you will want to attach the vac head to the extension pole, and then attach the vac hose to the vac head.  There are a couple ways to go about attaching the vac hose to the skimmer.  Some might have what is called a vac plate that will fit perfectly into the skimmer and create a seal.

If you do not have a vac plate, you can just remove the basket from the skimmer and insert the end of the hose directly into the opening at the bottom of the skimmer.  Before you do either of these things, you will need to bleed the vac hose of the air that is in it.  What I always do for this is just hold the vac head over the return of the pool.  This will force the water coming back to the pool from the
pump to got through the vac hose.  You will want to hold it there until water comes out of the end of the vac hose.  At this point, you are ready to attach the hose to the skimmer either through the vac plate or directly to the opening at the bottom of the skimmer.  When you get that done, you should notice that the vac head becomes a bit more difficult to push across the bottom of the pool, and you will see that it is picking up the debris on the bottom.  At this point, just push the vac head around the bottom of the pool to get all of the debris off the bottom and walls of the pool.  Be careful not to lift the vac head out of the water.
doing that will cause the pump to lose its prime and you will have to let it catch up again.  If there is a lot of debris to be removed, you may notice a loss of suction at some point before the pool is entirely clean.  When or if that happens, it is the cue for you to backwash the filter.

To do that you will want to turn the pump off and switch the multi port valve of the filter to backwash.  Be sure to roll out you backwash hose to where you want the water to go.  Then turn the pump back on and let it run for a a minute or so.  Then turn the pump off again and switch the multi port valve to rinse.  Now you will turn the pump on again and let the water drain until the sight glass on the side of the multi port valve is clear again.  Finally you are ready to turn the multi port valve back to filter and continue vacuuming.  You may need to bleed the vac hose of air again.  Once you finish cleaning the pool you may want to backwash again.  Either way, you can remove the hose from the skimmer, clean out the skimmer basket and put it back into the skimmer.  At this point, you will want to turn the pump off and clean out the pump basket of everything you just swept up.  Then, put it back into the pump, replace the cover and start the pump again.  Congratulations you have successfully vacuumed your pool!
Now you can neatly put your equipment away, and go about your way or stick around and enjoy your clean pool.

What are the Benefits of Owning a Swimming Pool?

If you are thinking about purchasing your very own in-ground swimming pool, you might be wondering what the benefits are to having one.  Today, I want to outline four of the key benefits that I feel are important when deciding if a pool is right for you.  These four benefits apply to recreation, health, aesthetics, and value.

Recreation is on the forefront of anyone’s mind who is thinking about getting a swimming pool.  If you have children then a swimming pool is a great way for your family to spend time together.  A lot of people love to spend their time on a hot summer day in a swimming pool.  Many families who do not have a pool of their own find themselves planning a day at the local public pool.  This includes spending money for everyone to get in and have a good day.  In addition to that, they have to load up the family in the car and drive to where the pool is located.  The other thing that might weigh on the minds of the parents is the cleanliness of that public pool, and/ or the chemical content of the pool.  It is no secret that public pools have a reputation for being somewhat dirty, and often are maintained poorly.  Not only do you have to think about the cleanliness of the pool, but if it is a hot summer day you are likely not the only family taking a trip to the pool.  When you get there, it’s probable that the place is packed full of people which not only makes the day not as much fun, but might decrease the safety factor of the pool.  With more people jumping in, going down slides, and running around the pool area it is easier for a parent to lose track of what their own children are doing.  Having a pool of your own will alleviate these concerns by allowing your family to take a more leisurely approach to a day of swimming.  You will not have to do much planing ahead of time, which will reduce stress on the part of the parents.  There will also be no need to drive across town to an over crowded, dirty pool and spend the day with people you don’t know while constantly trying to keep track of what your kids are doing.  Instead, you can wake up in the morning, have a nice breakfast on the patio overlooking the pool perhaps and relax knowing that there is no need to rush to get the day started.  You can just have a relaxing day by the pool knowing that your children are in a safe environment while having fun and getting exercise.

Having a pool of your own also allows you to host your own weekend pool parties where you can invite you friends and neighbors over and have a nice cook out without ever leaving the comfort of your own home.  Your pool can act as your own personal oasis, where you can get rid of the stress of the work week and just relax.

Health Benefits is the next topic I want to comment on.  Swimming is a very good way to exercise.  It is very low impact, yet provides the opportunity to build muscle mass, and improve your respiratory endurance.  Because it is low impact, it is also a good way for people with arthritis or other joint related problems to get exercise without injuring themselves.  Another group of people that this low impact type of exercise benefits is pregnant women.  My wife and I recently had a baby boy, and I have seen the discomfort, and loss of mobility that a woman goes through while carrying a baby.  Swimming allows them to get some relief from constantly carrying around the extra weight of a baby.  That being said the toughest obstacle becomes the bathing suit.  Guys, they look beautiful; that’s all that should be said about it. Moving on, now.  I suffer from a bad back, and have found that when my back is causing problems for me it helps tremendously to just get in the pool for a while.  It reduces the pressure on my back, which allows me to better relax, which in turn allows my back to feel better when I get out.

Another benefit to having an in-ground swimming pool is that it can improve the aesthetic value of your backyard.  I know many people who take a lot of pride in what their backyard looks like.  People can spend countless hours and a ton of money on making their landscaping just right.  A swimming pool is a great way to improve the look of your backyard.  There are a wide variety of design styles to choose from when deciding on what kind of a pool to get, and there are many ways that you can landscape around a pool.  With the right style of pool you can turn your average backyard into a tropical paradise that will be the envy of all of your neighbors.

You will find yourself and your children spending more time out doors.  The Deck will become a place for early morning coffee, lunch with the family, cookouts with the neighbors, and drinks with the friends.

The last thing that I want to talk about is that having an in-ground swimming pool can actually raise the property value of your home.  It does however depend on the market you are in.  In some places, if the pool is well maintained and compliments the architectural style of the home, it can raise the value from 8% to 15%.  It also depends on the buyer.  If someone is looking for a home with a pool and is ready for the commitment of  pool ownership, then a pool can act as the deciding factor when it comes time to purchase a new home.

Do I Need a Fence Around My Swimming Pool?

For some people, installing a swimming pool and purchasing a fence go hand in hand.  Some might wonder if installing a fence is absolutely necessary.  After all, they are already spending money on the pool itself and may not want the additional cost of installing a fence.  It is important to know that depending on where you live a fence may be a requirement.  Usually the state you live in will dictate if a fence is needed, however, in some places it is the county that will decide if a fence is required.  Furthermore, depending on if you live in a neighborhood as apposed to the rural countryside, the neighborhood association may have their own requirement for a fence around your pool.  Lastly, in some locations you will need to have an auto cover on your pool whether or not you have a fence, and some places will allow the use an auto cover instead of a fence.   Being that there are several possible sources that necessitate a fence, it is best to do the research ahead of time.

The requirement for a fence is for safety purposes.  It acts as a barrier between the pool and anyone who might try to gain access to it.  That includes neighborhood children as well as your own children if you have them.  Having a pool without a fence is typically viewed as a liability and having a fence will also help to protect you from legal action in the event that something does happen.

In addition to that, I strongly recommend having a fence installed around your pool area if not the entire backyard, even if you have an auto cover.  I also recommend that it entirely enclose the pool.  Having multiple barriers to overcome might be enough to prevent anyone from trying to gain access to the pool without your permission.  If you have children and are planning to use the house itself as one side of the fence barrier, meaning that the fence encloses only three sides of the pool area and the house seals off the fourth, then it would also be a good idea to install some kind of alarm system.  There are a few options of alarm system the you can choose from.
One would be installed on the doors and windows leading to the pool area, and would sound once the door or window is opened.

Another alarm would be installed pool side and would be activated by motion around the pool or in the pool.  I know that children have the ability to be right next to you one minute and in the next they are out of sight.  Just remember that it only takes a matter of minutes for a submersion injury to occur.

If the fence encloses all four side of the pool, you should make sure the fence is tall enough that it cannot be easily climbed.  Again, a pool side alarm system would be a good investment.  Also, make sure that the gates are self closing and self latching, with the latches out of reach of small children, and the door opens away from the pool.  Children tend to be pretty good at problem solving.  They may be try standing on a chair to reach the gates latch.  With the gate opening away from the pool, if they do get it unlatched then they will soon realize that they are standing in the way of it opening.  This is a good idea and may be what causes them to give up trying.  If they do gain entry to the pool area, this would be a situation in which an auto cover would be very beneficial.  It would act as another barrier between them and the water.  They would either need to know a code and how to properly enter it to get the cover open, or they would need to have a key to be able to remove the cover.  With kids, it is important to remove any temptation to gain access to the pool area and put as many barriers between them and the water.

Another thing to help eliminate the temptation of gaining access to the pool area is to remove any toys or objects that might draw a child’s attention.  After a day of swimming, clean any pool toys from the pool and put them in a place out of sight.  This will help to prevent a child from trying to enter the pool area to retrieve something that they played with earlier in the day.  I know these might sound like a lot of steps to take, but they are well worth it.

When it comes to deciding if you need a fence or not, it is best to research ahead of time.  Check into state laws, county codes, and association rules.  Some places will require them, and others may not, but regardless of if a fence is legally required or not, it is still a good idea to install one around your swimming pool.  Additional safety measures never hurt, and you might find that they are well worth it.

For more safety information visit



How To Have Your Vinyl Liner In Ground Swimming Pool Clean Itself – Part 2

This is part two of my “How To Have Your Vinyl Liner In Ground Swimming Pool Clean Itself” series.  In part one, I gave details on how Paramount’s in-floor cleaning system works.  In this post, I will discuss how adding a Venturi Skimmer will aid that in-floor cleaning system.
To begin, I want to give a bit of background information to explain how a Venturi Skimmer works.  The Venturi Skimmer utilizes the natural phenomenon known as the “Venturi Effect”.  This phenomenon occurs when a fluid that is moving through a pipe is forced through a narrow section.  The result is a decrease in pressure and an increase in velocity.  That is the best explanation without getting too technical.  It was named after the man who discovered it, an Italian Physicist named Giovanni Batista Venturi.  So, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into how it applies to swimming pool skimmers.
I have been in the swimming pool industry for almost ten years, and I have never seen a pool without a skimmer, because a skimmer plays an important role in the cleaning process of the pool.  It is a part of the filtration system in which water is pulled from the pool by the pump, sent through the filter which removes fine particles of debris and other small thing that you wouldn’t necessarily want in your swimming pool.
 Then the water is either sent through the heater, or heat pump if you have one, and returned to the pool to start the cycle over again.  In addition to that, the water that passes through the skimmer is strained of all the larger debris that might be floating on the pools surface, such as leaves, sticks, grass clippings, fuzz, and the occasional frog, toad, newt, etc.  Without a skimmer all of that stuff would remain floating around in the pool until it is physically removed by you, the pool’s owner. The skimmer also allows you to sweep the pool.  Whether or not you have a pool, most people have seen an image of the typical “pool boy” with a long pole in his hand, cleaning the pool.  What he most likely is doing is sweeping the pool.  For that, he takes a long, specially designed hose and attach it to the port in the skimmer that is pulling the water to the pump.
The other end of that hose is attached to a vac head which is also attached to the pole in his hand.  This allows him to effectively remove dirt and debris that has settled on the pool walls, and floor without having to physically enter the water.  That is the basic function of a skimmer, and it requires the suction of the pump to do so.  With the Venturi Skimmer, it is a little different.
To begin, let’s look at a plumbing diagram.  You can see that it functions like a standard skimmer, because it draws water from the pool to the pump.  This process will remove the debris from the surface of the pool.
However, unlike a standard skimmer, some of the water coming back to the pool from the pump is sent back through the bottom of the skimmer through the narrower Venturi tube and back to the pool.  This action creates an additional cycle, bringing water in through the mouth of the skimmer and sending it directly back to the pool.  What this does is double the amount of skimming power without increasing the energy usage. Another benefit of this type of skimmer is that you could actually shut the suction from the pump to the skimmer completely off.
 This would allow the full suction of the pump to go to the main drains, and because the water being returned to the pool through the skimmer the Venturi action would still take place, allowing the skimmer to still effectively remove debris.  This would assist the in-floor cleaning system that relies on the main drain to remove debris from the pool.  By having full suction to the main drain, it would maximize its cleaning ability, and you would still get the benefits of the skimmer removing debris from the surface.  On top of all that, this type of skimmer works very well with low flow, variable speed, or two speed pumps.  Regardless of what setting those pumps are set to, the Venturi action still allows for exceptional debris removal by the skimmer.
To see this type of skimmer in action, check out this Venturi Youtube video, and other related videos.
You can also get more information specifically about Waterway’s Renegade Venturi Skimmer here Waterway Renegade Venturi Skimmer

What to Expect During the Vinyl Liner In-ground Pool Building Process

When people decide to have an in-ground swimming pool built, they are often not sure what to expect.  Because they don’t know what to expect, they often get nervous about the building process.  For many people, when they visualize the installation of a pool in their backyard they often skip the actual build process all together and jump from what their backyard currently looks like to what their backyard will look like after the pool is built and the landscaping has been done.  This may cause some concerns for people who suddenly see a backyard full of dirt, metal, and pipes all over.  So, I just want to give some insight on what to expect.  That way when you see that “mess” in the backyard you can rest assured that the end result will be what you visualized it to be.


Ideally, the building process shouldn’t take too long, and it starts with the layout. This will often be done by someone from the pool building company and the homeowner, allowing them to get the position of the pool just right.  Next will come the dig, which usually lasts the duration of a day.  The “dig” usually includes digging the hole, building the walls, running the electrical, doing the initial plumbing, and pouring the footer/collar around the pool.  Initially, the dig will look larger than what the actual pool will be.  The reason for this is to allow room for the plumbing and support braces to be installed.

Once the walls start to go up, your pool will quickly start to take shape.  Many times I have heard a homeowner say that they didn’t realize how much dirt there would actually be around in their backyard after the dig.  You have to realize that there will be literally tons of dirt coming out of where you pool will be.  Some of it will be taken away in dump trucks, and some will be left for the final grade to be done.  Some builders will even opt to back fill the pool with it.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  Using dirt to back fill will save money and, if done properly, will not affect the structural integrity of the pool.  If the builder is planning on back filling with dirt, they need to know that dirt will settle.  That being said they may want to add some extra support for the concrete deck, and it is a good idea to compact the dirt in layers to minimize the amount of settling that occurs.  If back filling with dirt is the plan, then the homeowner must realize that the amount of dirt left in their backyard will be substantial.  Some builders will only back fill with a non settling material, such as stone chips or pea gravel.  If this is the case, then the amount of dirt left in the yard will be considerably less.
Either way, be prepared to see some dirt in your yard.  Once the hole is dug and the walls are up they will run the plumbing lines, and electrical conduit to the proper places around your pool.  Sometimes, if the construction crew is large enough you might see them doing this as the pool is still being dug and built.  Once those lines are ran, the next step will be to square and stake the pool.  After that, they will level the pool and install the support braces.  They may also use a couple different types of braces.  Some will help to support the deck around the pool and other types will help when it comes time to straighten the walls.
When the pool is level and squared, and the braces are on, the builders will straighten the walls and pour the footer/collar.  After the collar is poured, they will double check to make sure the pool is still level and all the walls are straight.  If your pool is not a rectangle, there will be no need to straighten the walls or square the pool.  The collar/footer will need to cure overnight.
The next day will be dedicated to back filling the pool and preparing to pour the walks around the pool.  Some builders might back fill and do the bottom before pouring the walks around the pool.  I have always
poured the walks before doing the bottom mostly to help keep things clean.  I find that if the bottom is done before the walks, then it is almost inevitable that the pool water will become littered with debris, dust and even concrete from pouring the walks.  So, the builder will either do the bottom then the walks or the walks and then the bottom.  Either way the process for either step will be the same.  Because I am accustom to pouring the walks first, I will describe the process in that way.
For the sidewalks, they will put down a layer of stone, set up the concrete forms and build a rebar grid around the pool to aid in giving the concrete more strength.  Usually, this step requires the duration of the day so they probably will not pour the concrete until the following day.
When they come back the next day, they will do some last minute prep work and wait for the concrete truck to arrive.  Once that truck gets there, it’s go time.
At this point the crew will be rushing around to get the concrete laid out and finished the way they need it to be.  Remember that concrete doesn’t wait for anyone, especially on a hot day in the blazing sun.  Once the concrete is finished to their standards they will clean up.  The concrete needs to cure overnight and in some cases a little bit through the next day.  The next day will be dedicated to sawing the walks and preparing the pool for the installation of the bottom.  I always hate sawing the walks especially if they are stamped.  You spend all this time getting everything just right only to chop them up.  Well, that’s just me being a little dramatic: the walks need to have cuts made in them to help keep them from cracking.  Most concrete workers will tell you that concrete will always crack, and it’s just a matter of where.
 So, the walks are cut up to kind of let the concrete know where to crack.  Then, in order to remove all the concrete dust that the saw caused, the walks will be pressure sprayed.  Usually, the rest of the day will be spent cleaning up the pool to get ready for the bottom.  In some cases, the bottom may be done on this day as well, but usually there is too much to do to prepare, so the bottom will have to be done the following day.

The next day the bottom will be done.  There are a couple ways to do the bottom.  Some builders use a pool base made out of vermiculite and cement.  Others will use a mixture of masonry sand and cement.  Either way the end result is a smooth finish that will become hard enough to walk on.  The bottom will typically take all day, but once it is finished they will install the liner.  Once they install the liner, they will usually cut out all the areas that need to be removed, such as the step, skimmers, returns, main drains, etc.

After that, it’s time to fill the pool.  A good sized pool will take a couple days to fill with the hose, or in some cases you can fill it using a water truck, or fire hydrant, which will only take a couple hours tops.
The day after the bottom is done and the pool starts filling, they will usually come out and do the grade and plumb the system.  This basically means that they will smooth out all the dirt that is laying around to make it look as nice as dirt can look, and get the pool filtration system up and running.  From there, your pool is basically finished.  If you are having an auto cover installed, then that might take another few hours.

This is the basic process of how a vinyl liner in-ground pool is built.  There will most likely be variations to the process from builder to builder.  Like I said before, some will do the bottom and install the liner before they pour the walks around the pool.  Some might have a number of things happening at the same time, like plumbing the system and installing the auto cover or whatever they can do to save time and money.  Another thing to be aware of is the weather.  Mother nature plays a huge role in this timeline.  Some things can not be accomplished properly in the rain.  If the rain is so bad that it creates a muddy mess in your backyard, builders will have a hard time getting heavy machinery back there, like dump trucks or cement trucks, which will delay the process.  So, keep those things in mind and understand that things like this happen especially in the spring time.
Know that these guys are out there under the blistering sun working very hard, and occasionally getting hurt so you will be happy with the end result. If things are progressing slower than you would like, or if you see a dirt mess in your backyard, just know that it’s all part of the process and that they are doing what they can to get it done fast and get it done right.


in ground pool

What is the Ideal In-Ground Swimming Pool Design?

For people who are thinking about getting an in-ground swimming pool, the time will come when you will have to make a decision regarding what type of swimming pool you want.  For some this may be a bit of a overwhelming experience as there are a lot of choices.  You may find yourself asking the question, “What is the ideal in ground swimming pool design?  The answer is not specific, there are things to be considered.  Don’t get too worried, though. There are some steps to you can take in order to make this decision a little easier, and your builder can also give you some good insight on what may be the best design for you.


First, you will want to look at your backyard and figure out the size of pool that would work best.  To do this, determine the location and orientation of where the pool will go.  Typically, you will want the pool in an area that gets a lot of sunshine.  The sun plays an important role, because it can help keep costs of heating the pool down, as well as offer the swimmer a nice atmosphere in which to swim.  Most people avoid areas where the majority of the pool will be shaded.  Also consider that if the pool is close to trees, there may be a significant amount of debris from the trees that will end up in your pool.  That will increase the time you spend cleaning the pool and decrease the time you will get to just enjoy it.  Depending on where you live there may be a requirement to have a fence as well, and that would be something to consider regarding the position of your pool.  Another thing to consider is who will be spending the most time in the pool.  If you have children that will be spending their summer vacations around the pool, you may want a design that will better accommodate their wants.

This could include factors that would affect the design, such as a deep end or a volleyball net.  If the goal is to have more of a place for leisure and the kids are grown and away, then you may want to consider a shallower type pool.  Unless you and the spouse frequently plan on having cannon ball contests, of course.  If you do have children and want something fun and exciting, I would like to caution you on installing a diving board or slide.  I know that they are fun, but the standards for residential pools with diving boards fall short in my opinion.  There are rules that builders must follow when installing a dive pool regarding depth, and distance from the slope of the pool.  Typically, to save on cost of building the pool, the pool will be built at the minimum depth, and distance allowed.  It may be difficult to visualize but this minimum requires that the dive be executed perfectly every time.  There is not much room for error in this.  A poorly executed dive could result in injury.  Slides are the other thing I would caution about.  They have their own set of rules and, if not installed properly, could again result in injury.  In addition to that, there may come the day that the kids are no longer satisfied with just sliding down, and decide it may be more exciting to try jumping from the top of the slide into the pool.  I know this one from experience, and I will never forget the look my mother gave me when she saw me jump off the slide.

Once you get those details hatched out, you will want to consider whether you want a basic rectangle pool, or if you would prefer a more free form, lagoon type pool.  The difference is in the aesthetics; some find that a pool with curves looks more visually pleasing.  The other thing to consider is if you will want an automatic pool cover.  I highly recommend having an auto cover installed for a number of reasons.  They help with heating the water, which will keep costs down; they help fight water evaporation, which again aids in saving money; they help keep debris out of the pool, which saves on cleaning; and they act as a safety feature preventing kids or others from accessing the pool without permission.  There are a number of different auto cover designs so they can be installed on virtually any style of pool.
Another thing is the visual appeal of the pool.  Are you looking to impress? Are you more interested in functionality? Do you want a combination of the two?  With the technology available today, a pool can be made to suite any need you may have.


Honestly, the best way to go about deciding on what is the ideal in-ground swimming pool design is to talk to your builder.  If they are a credible company, they will surely have the experience to help aim you in the right direction.  Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed, let the builder offer some suggestions, and share you thoughts, concerns, and ideas with them.  They are there to help you, and you should have the pool you have always wanted.  Do some research, Google Images is full of examples of spectacular pools and is a good resource to use to get some ideas.  Also look into builders in your area.  If you live in an area where there are multiple builders, it is important to do some research.  I understand that cost is important, but keep in mind you get what you pay for.  Some builders are there to make a sale, and others are there to get you what you want and do the job right.  You really do need to do the research on the company.  Ask questions like, how long have they been around, and do they have a store front? I know the second question might seem irrelevant, but most people don’t want Mr. Joe Humbum with a pickup truck and ladder charging a substantial amount of money and giving them a muddy hole in the ground.  Also, the cost should reflect their work.  Look online for reviews of the company and the work they do.

There maybe a number of things to consider when deciding on the design of the your swimming pool, but with the proper research and help from a credible builder, the experience should be exciting and fun, and the end result should leave you feeling like you have made the right choice in both the design and the builder.