My Ideal Swimming Pool

There I am

I have been installing in ground pools for quite some time now, and I think that gives me a pretty good idea about what components would make for the best in ground pool.  Today I just want to give my readers my personal opinion on what I think would make a great pool.  Everything that you are about to read is my personal opinion based on my experiences as a in ground pool builder and service technician.  Obviously that goes without saying that you may feel differently about certain aspects of an in ground pool.  If I were to build a pool for my family today this is how I would do it.

What type of pool:

Beautiful Vinyl Liner Pool

To begin, I would decide on what type of in ground pool to install.  I have personally installed vinyl liner pools as well as one piece fiberglass pools.  I have yet to install a concrete pool and I am not all that interested in doing so.  For me I think the best route would be to go with a vinyl liner in ground pool.  I would be too concerned about having a one piece fiberglass pool pop out of the ground if I ever had to drain it down for any reason.  In all honesty that is a very real threat when it comes to one piece fiberglass pools.  There are also plenty of photos online that will back up that claim.  The expense in repairing something like that would be too great for me.  In addition to that I really do like the idea of being able to change the look of the pool simply by changing the pattern on the liner.  In regard to the concrete pool, I feel that it would just cost too much.  Traditionally a concrete pool is a symbol of social class.  With that in mind builders are able to charge more.  In addition to the high initial cost of the install I am very aware of the fact that concrete cracks.  It is just a matter of when and where.  There is no preventing it.  At some point it will crack and it will loose its aesthetic appeal.  I don’t know about you but if I am spending a large amount of money on something, I want it to look as good as possible.  That being said I feel that to get the best bang for your buck the way to go is with a vinyl liner in ground pool.  You will get a pool that is structurally sound and won’t leave you wondering how to repair a crack in the bottom.  In addition to that they are very aesthetically pleasing and can be made to fit any back yard and personal taste.

The design:

Free Form Style Pool

This part is really up to personal taste and backyard space.  My back yard is big enough to accommodate any size pool really so for me it comes down to the style.  I am partial to the free form pool.  I tend to be drawn to the curves and organic layout rather than the basic geometric rectangle pool.  I am not one to be too flashy so I would probably go with a smaller pool probably along the lines of something that would fit into a 16’x32′ space.  There are endless possibilities in regard to the shape so for that I would want to sit down and draw it out.  Did I mention that I am married, so naturally that would affect the design.  In the end we would come up with something that we are both happy with, but as long as she is happy I am cool with it.  Anyway that is a general look into the design I would choose.

The Deck:

Beautiful Decking

I have seen all sorts of decking options for vinyl liner in ground pools.  A lot of people choose to use pavers around their pool.  For me this wouldn’t work well.  I am more of a concrete type guy, however there are some things that I would do to give the pool more of a high end look.  To begin I would start with a 1′ stamped border all the way around the pool.  The color would have to be chosen with my wife of course.  Then I would utilize a slightly different color to give the pool some contrast, and again my wife would help with this.  I have also seen a lot of pools that have some grass around them, and I really like the look of that so perhaps I would try to include it in my pool as well.  Again keeping with the organic look of the pool, the deck would also have to be free form with plenty of curves.  I am not a big fan of the “cookie cutter” type pools where your pool looks strikingly similar to your neighbors.  I like to have some aspect of originality without going over the top with it.

The equipment:

Paramount’s 6 Jet Swing Sweep System

Swimming pool equipment has come a long way.  We now have all sorts of things available to use on our pools to give use the best possible swimming pool experience.  So with that in mind I would certainly utilize modern technology in my pool.  To begin I would install the Swing Sweep system by Paramount.  This will allow me to spend more time enjoying my pool and far less time actually cleaning it.  This system uses what are known as SwingJets to push any debris down to the specially designed main drain where it will be removed from the pool.


Jandy Versa Plumb System

As far as the equipment at the filter pad goes I would use a Jandy pump, filter, and heat pump.  Jandy has specific pumps, filters, and heat pumps that work with their Versa Plumb system.  The Versa Plumb system is basically a pre-determined way of plumbing the equipment.  It comes with all the necessary pipe and fittings to do so.  The benefit is that it increases efficiency and hydraulics.  This will allow me to save money in the long run.  In addition to that I would use an Ultra UV and Clear O3 from Paramount as a way to clean the water itself.  This will dramatically reduce the amount of chemicals I will need to put in the pool.

AquaLink RS One Touch

One last thing that I would do is install an automation system by Zodiac to complete my ideal swimming pool.  With Zodiac automation I can control all the aspects of the pool from the comfort of my home.  Think of it like a thermostat on the wall.  From there I can adjust the temperature of the pool, the speed of the pump, and I could even change the lighting.  In addition to that I could also get the iAquaLink which would allow me to do all of those things from my smart phone.  There are so many things that can be done using this automation that can make your pool your own backyard oasis.

These are just some of the things that I would do if I were installing a pool in my own backyard.  Throughout the years I have had the privilege of working with some of the best products on the market.  What you have just read is a combination of the best of the best that I would certainly use on my own pool.  The purpose of this post is simply to give my readers an idea of what is out there for their pools, and what I find to be the best.  For more information on vinyl liner in ground swimming pools check out my other blog posts.  For more information on Paramount Pool Systems check out their website at You can find more information on Zodiac/Jandy at

The Best Gas Heater for Your Pool – Features and Benefits

I would venture to say that most of the time, when someone has a brand new inground vinyl liner pool installed they typically also have a heating device installed.  There are several different types of heating devices that

one could choose from.  Today I am going to spend a few minutes to talk about gas heaters.  Specifically the Jandy LXI heater.  However before I get to that I want to talk about the differences between a gas heater and a heat pump.  I would say that these are probably the two main sources of heat that people choose for their pools.  So what is the difference?

To start it is important to understand that the initial costs of these two are a bit different.  You will be spending more on a heat pump up front than you would on a gas heater.  However the heat pump will likely save you money in the long run.  A heat pump is a very efficient way to heat your pool.  You will save money due to the fact that you won’t have to pay for the natural gas or LP that you would if you had a gas heater.  The downside comes from the fact that a heat pump is limited to what it can do.  A heat pump will only work well when the air temperature around it is 65 or above.  Generally anything below that will cause the heat pump to struggle.  This is because the heat pump uses the air around it to heat the pool.  Conversely a gas heater will work well in any climate.  This could potentially prolong the pool season.  Another con for the gas heater is that they will have to be turned on and off to get the temperature that is desired.  A heat pump on the other hand controls more like the air conditioning in a home.  You would just set the desired temperature and the heat pump will bring the pool water to that temp and shut off.  If the water drops below the desired temp then the heat pump will again turn on and adjust the temp to where it needs to be.  Another downside of the heat pump is that this adjustment may take days depending on the difference between the current pool temp and the desired temp.  For instance if a pool was just installed and filled with cold water, and the heat pump is set to 80 degrees F then it will likely take a few days for the pool water to reach that temp.  On the other hand a gas heater could have that water to the desired temp in a matter of hours.

Before deciding on what type of heating device to get, it would be wise to do some research before committing to one over the other.  Not everybody can comfortably afford the higher cost of running a gas or LP heater, and the features may be different depending on the brands of equipment you may be looking into.  This brings me to the title of this post.  Jandy LXI Heater – Features and Benefits.  If you are already doing some research then I want to give you some facts about the LXI Heater so that you can make an informed decision.  I also want to point out that the information you are about to read can be found at along with information on their entire line of equipment.

Things to know about the Jandy LXI Heater 

* Exceeds environmental standards for low NOx emissions – this will allow you to enjoy your pool more, knowing that the heater was designed with the environment in mind.

* Automation ready – easy integration with Jandy’s AquaLink controller as well as other control systems.

* Built in freeze protection

* Exclusive maintain temperature function available – this will keep the pool temperature where you want it without having to manually turn the heater on and off.

* High efficiency heat exchanger is standard – this will lower the operating costs to provide greater savings.

* Feature rich control panel is standard – equipped with a user friendly, back lit display and simplified menu for ease of operation.

* Low NOx combustion and hot surface ignition system – provides maximum performance in any weather conditions.

* Built in one touch automation – allows for easy switching from pool to spa.

* Available in 250K and 400K BTU sizes – There is a heater for any size pool.

* Smallest equipment pad footprint – takes up the smallest amount of room on the pad out of any heater on the market.

These are some of the benefits and features of the LXI heater.  I provided this information to show my readers what is leading the pack in regard to gas heaters and their capabilities.  In case you read this and are wondering about the automation aspect of the heater you should know that with the AquaLink automation system the heat can be adjusted with the touch of a button from the comfort of your home.  The days of manually adjusting your heater are over.

For more information on heaters and heat pumps please check out my other blog posts related to heating.  You can also check out my other posts to gain more information on vinyl liner in ground swimming pools and products related to them.

Best Inground Pool Light Available

There have been some significant technological advancements in the swimming pool industry within the last 10 or so years.  These advancements have made products better and allowed pool owners more time to just enjoy their pools.  One of these advancements comes in the form of the underwater light for your pool.

Years ago there were only large, bulky, metallic lights available, and they were wired into a 120 v circuit.  It has become very evident that this is not the best way to make a light for a swimming pool.  One downside is that these lights are not the brightest.  They only light up a small area of the pool.  The other problem is that the gasket system of these lights often failed resulting in water leaking into the light housing.  If you know even the littlest thing about electricity, you know that water and electricity are not two things that work well together.  This fact has resulted in some tragic events taking place.  Even to this day we hear about people being injured or killed by faulty pool lights.  Zodiac has taken the steps to remedy these issues.

They have created a new style of pool light that is not only brighter but it also runs on low voltage, eliminating the risk of electrocution.  In addition to that they have the capability of changing colors.  The Jandy Pro Series Nicheless LED light delivers bright, efficient, and reliable lighting to your pool for up to 50,000 hours of enjoyment.  These lights are designed to be smaller and can be installed just 4 inches below the waters surface.  These lights are also 100% non-metallic so there is no need for bonding.


There is also no requirement for a traditional niche and they can be installed in a standard return fitting.  This will allow homeowners some piece of mind knowing that they don’t have a enormous hole in the liner where the light is cut in.  They offer 9 vibrant colors and 5 different light shows.  The amazing thing is that they can be hooked up to Zodiac’s RS or Z4 automation systems and if you have more than one light in your pool they can be synced together so that they are always on the same color.  They can also be controlled by Zodiac’s iAquaLink.  This allows the pool owner to control the lights through their smart phone or any other internet capable device.  If that is not something you are interested in they can also be controlled with a regular light switch.  However if that is the way you want to go, be advised that in order to change the color or light show you will have to turn the light off and on.  The colors change by killing and restoring the power to them.  They are so small that for larger pools, in order to have adequate lighting you may need more than one.  However they are safer than traditional pool lights.

Another benefit is that they are fully compatible with Jandy Pro Series Standard LED lights.  These are larger LED lights that still function on less power than the traditional white lights.  Again these two styles of lights can be used in conjunction with one another and synced together through their automation systems.  As stated above they will last for up to 50,000 hours.  However if there should be a problem then they can be easily replaced and you won’t have to break the bank to do so.

The right lighting can transform even the most ordinary looking pool into a work of art.  For more information on Jandy Pro Series Nicheless LED pool lights visit  There you can also take a look at a wide variety of products offered by Zodiac Pool Systems.  For more information on vinyl liner in ground pools please check out my other blog posts.

Zodiac Automation

As technology gets better and better, automation is getting more and more prevalent in the swimming pool world.  Leading the swimming pool automation industry is Zodiac Pool Systems.  Zodiac offers several different types of automation for your pool to make life easier and more enjoyable.  Although they offer a couple different systems, today I am going to focus on their AquaLink RS system specifically.  I am not going to go into the technical aspects of the system.  Instead I am going to focus the bulk of this post toward the features of the system and what it can do.

The AquaLink RS system will allow you the convenience of being able to change variables about your pool and spa with the touch of a button.  From spa temperature to sanitizer generation, all the main functions of your equipment can be adjusted by simply touching a button.  There is more to it than that.  This system allows you to control individual pool and spa equipment from the comfort of your home, and automate daily pool equipment functions such as filtration, sanitation, and cleaning.  Below is a list of control features that come standard with the system as well as a few that are optional.  This list can also be found at Zodiac’s website by following this link

AquaLink Standard Control Features

Remote control of your entire system:  Immediately control all pool equipment with a single touch.  Manage your pool and spa temperatures, jets, cleaners, lights, heater, and more.

Equipment Protection:  Sophisticated sensors ensure automatic freeze protection.  Heater cool down and system lockout modes keep valuable equipment running smoothly, protecting your investment.

Automatic Monitoring and Scheduling:  Allows you to custom program to suit your lifestyle.  Monitors status of equipment functions, keeping your pool sparkling clean and ready to use.  Scheduled automation will maximize energy savings.

Automated Filtration:  Automatic and efficient filtration cycles allow you more time to relax.

Automatic Spa Control:  Switch from pool to spa with the touch of a button or automatically at a set time.

Water Feature Control:  Set your water features to perform at your command.  With one touch your backyard will come alive with relaxing sounds.

Pool and Spa Lighting:  Create a mood or just brighten the backyard for an evening swim.  Effortless and fully customizable from within your home.

Landscape Lighting:  Dim pathways, thresholds, safety lights and more at different times or all at once.

Solar Heat Priority:  Maximize energy efficiency by prioritizing solar energy to heat your pool.

Optional Features

Control From Any Internet Device:  Monitor, adjust or program your pool’s equipment form anywhere.

Computer Control:  Set up programs, boost the heat in your spa, and check the temperature from your personal computer.

Whole Home Automation:  Integrate AquaLink with your current home automation systems for both indoor and outdoor enjoyment.

These are some of the capabilities of the AquaLink RS automation system by Zodiac.  To see more innovative products from Zodiac check out their website at

Equipment I Will Need for My Vinyl Liner In Ground Pool

Thinking about getting an in ground swimming pool?  Then I will first recommend that you get a vinyl liner in ground pool.  There are other types of in ground pools that you can get but in my opinion the vinyl liner in ground pool is the best bang for your buck.  I am not going to get into the reasons that I feel this way at this point but if you would like more information on why I personally feel this way please check out my blog post titled “Why My Vinyl Liner In Ground Swimming Pool is Better Than Other Types of In Ground Pools” or “Types of Swimming Pools and Which is the Best”.  These two posts go into detail about the different types of swimming pools and the pros and cons related to each.  The reason for this post today is to let you know what type of equipment you will need on your swimming pool.


Heat Pump

To start we need to identify your expectations of your swimming pool.  Are you the type of person that does not like to add additional chores to your list?  Are you like me and find that doing certain light chores is more relaxing?  The reason we need to ask ourselves these questions is to figure out how much you want to do as far as maintaining the pool.  Also if your pool is in an area that gets a lot of sun you may decide that you don’t want a heater or heat pump on the pool.  In my opinion though if you are spending the money to have a pool installed then you may want to go ahead and get the heat pump or heater anyway just in case.  It is better to have it and not need it rather than need it and not have it.  So this brings me to my next point.  Heater or heat pump?  The difference is that a heater uses natural gas or propane to heat the water and the heat pump uses the air temperature outside to heat the water.  There are some drawbacks and benefits to each one.  For instance a heater has the ability to heat the water quickly and in lower temperatures.  The downside is that the heater costs more to operate each month.  A heat pump is electric and does not require a gas line to be ran so the initial install will be a bit cheaper for you.  Also running the heat pump costs significantly less than a heater.  The downside of this is that a heat pump will not heat the water in lower temperatures and it generally takes longer to heat the water.  However once the water is up to the desired temperature the heat pump will kick on and off to maintain that temperature.  For more information on heat pumps and heaters please check out my blog  titled “Gas Heater V.S. Heat Pump.

Once you get that figured out you will have to decide on if you want an automatic pool cover installed.  For this decision you may want to check your local codes that regulated swimming pools in your area.  For instance here in indiana it is state law to have either a auto cover or fence around your pool.  That may be the case in other states as well or there may be a variation of that law.  Ideally if you have the means, it is a good idea to have both.  A fence is a good safety measure to keep unwanted guests out of your pool or neighborhood kids.  The automatic pool cover will do the same thing and in addition to that will help keep the cost of heating the pool and chemical cost down as well.  I am big on safety and I feel that having two or more barriers to get past is safer than just one.  many auto covers require a code or key to operate and a fence will help prevent children from gaining access to your pool area.  For more information on swimming pool safety please check out my blog posts with “Safety” in the title or visit which is a government website dedicated to keeping pool users safe.

Now you will have to decide on how much time you want to spend on maintaining the pool.  In recent years some pretty dramatic steps have been taken to lessen the amount pool owners will have to spend on maintaining their pools.  I have gone into great detail about this subject in several of my blog posts.  However just to recap, Paramount Pool Products have a number of products that will keep the cost and time of maintaining a pool down considerably.  Their Swing Sweep system is a wonderful in floor cleaning system that will literally clean debris out of the pool for you.  In addition to that it promotes better circulation of both water and chemicals.  That alone will help keep the cost of heating the pool down.

If that is not something you are interested in then you might be thinking about an cleaning robot of some sort.  If this is the case I would most definitely recommend Jandy’s Polaris 9550 Sport.  This product comes with pre programed cleaning patterns as well as the ability to control it with a handheld motion sensing remote much like that of a certain video game system.  This is something that could turn a chore into a fun activity for the kids.


There are also a few other products by Paramount that I would recommend in addition to the Swing Sweep system.  Their Clear O3 and Ultra UV can be used in combination to dramatically reduce the cost of pool chemicals for you the pool owner.  If you were to use these items in conjunction with the Swing Sweep system and Venturi skimmer than you could potentially have a maintenance free swimming pool and could then use all of your spare time to just enjoy the pool.  I have also posted about these items in the past including the Venturi skimmer for you to take a look at and I assure you                                                         that you will be intrigued.

AquaLink Z4


AquaLink RS One Touch

Another line of very intriguing products are Zodiac’s automation systems the AquaLink Z4 and AquaLink RS.  Both of these systems allow you to sit back and let the pool take care of itself.  The RS system is a little more complex as far as what it can do but both of these systems are designed to be user friendly and allow you the pool owner to make certain changes to the pool at the touch of a button.  One of the coolest things is that you can now hook up these systems to the internet and access them from your mobile device.  Out of town? Forget to turn down your heat pump?  Leave the water feature on?  Just pull out your phone and turn it down, or turn it off without burdening a neighbor to go over and do it.

These products are all things that are available today.  for more information look at my other posts, or go to the websites,  Talk with your builder to see if they offer these products and if not you may want to consider another company.  These products work well and could potentially create a very relaxing environment free of the stress of pool maintenance.

Zodiac Pool Products – Technology at work

I frequently talk about the technology associated with swimming pools today, and how it is far different from what was available in the past.  Today I plan on doing the same thing only this time I will focus on Zodiac products including the different things they offer to help make your pool “high tech.”  Years ago everything was basically manually operated, and very little was offered in terms of automation.  Today Zodiac offer the best of the best in terms of automation.  They have even gone to the extent of creating a device that will allow the homeowner to make changes to their pool without being anywhere near it.

Zodiac’s Aqualink RS systems and Z4 system remove the need to go out and manually change elements of the pool.  Now you can do so as easily as turning on the air conditioning in your house.  These control systems can reduce energy usage, operation costs, and chemical needs associated with your pool.  They also come with an energy smart programming capability which allows you to set the filtration run times, and chlorinator outputs to be automatically adjusted to suit your seasonal needs.  They basically provide complete control of temperature, water features, pool light settings, pump speed, filtration needs, and  chemical needs.  They can also be programmed to do certain things at certain times of day or year.  The AquaLink RS system is also fully integratable to home automation systems,  Another major part of this automation is that it can also be controlled through their iAquaLink from anywhere.  The iAquaLink is a device that allows you to control these elements of your pool from anywhere through your smart phone, or any electronic device with internet access.  This means if you leave on a trip and suddenly wonder if you remembered to turn off the pool pump, you can do so without having to call someone to go over to the house and manually shut off the pump.  You can also check the water temperature and make changes needed without having to physically be there to do so.
The Z4 is designed to control a maximum of 4 of the main functions of the pool such as the pump, filter, booster pumps, or lighting.  Basically you have 4 circuits and can choose for things to run using the Z4.  It can also control 3 valve actuators.  A valve actuator is a device that can open and close valves so you don’t have to manually do it.  So with the push of a button you can activate deck jets, waterfalls, or water slides without leaving the comfort of your chair.

The Z4 is aslo compatible with the iAquaLink so it’s automation can be controlled through your device.  This is just the beginning of what Zodiac has done with technology.

So you have all this automation to be able to fine tune certain variables of your pool but what about the fact that you sometimes might get leaves and other debris in the pool.  Well Zodiac had got you covered there as well.  They offer the best when it comes to suction side cleaners and robotic cleaners that are unrivaled by any other company.  Zodiac’s MX8 is a suction side cleaner, meaning that uses the skimmer suction to clean.  It is also a low flow cleaner so it will effectively clean your pool even if you have the pump speed set very low.  It cleans better and faster than any other cleaner and has greater vacuum power, a wider cleaning path, and the largest debris inlet available.

Zodiac’s line of Polaris robotic pool cleaners are by far superior to anything else I have seen on the market.  These cleaners will make cleaning your pool a fun activity rather than a dreadful chore.  They offer vortex vacuum technology, which provides 25% more vacuum power and 4 x the debris capacity.  It also features an easy clean filter canister allowing you to simply shake out the debris or spray it out with a hose.  You will not have to reach in with your hand to clean out debris ever again.  Another nice feature is that is has what they call an Activemotion Sensor.  This gives the cleaner the ability to automatically control its position at all times.  If it flips over then the sensor shuts it down and it will flip back over and start running again.  What I find most impressive about this line is that they offer an easy lift system on the 9550 sport, the 9450 sport, and the 9350 sport.  What this does is remove the need to pull the cleaner back to you by grabbing the line and physically pulling it in.
Instead there is a button on the caddy that you will press and hold which causes the cleaner to spiral to the surface.  When the cleaner is pointing at you simply let go of the button and the cleaner will move to the edge of the pool on the surface and stay there until you pull it out.  The other Awesome feature that is only available on the 9550 sport is a remote control capability.  Just a remote control would be awesome alone but this remote system functions like that of a Nintendo Wii.  All you have to do is tip the controller in the direction in which you want the cleaner to go.  So now cleaning the pool is something that your kids will fight over.

These are just a few products that Zodiac has to offer.  To see a larger list and get more information visit Zodiac’s website at