How a pool professional replaces an automatic pool cover

I strongly recommend contacting a professional when it comes to this type of swimming pool maintenance.  The following is for educational purposes only and in no way do I recommend attempting to replace your automatic cover on your own.

In the world of in ground vinyl liner pools it is no secret that there are a couple of components that will need to be replaced from time to time.  I would say that the biggest of these components is the liner itself.  Typically a liner will last anywhere from 5 to 10 years.  As with anything there are some exceptions to this.  Depending on how a person takes care of their pool I have seen liners that are anywhere from twelve to fifteen years.  Conversely I have replaced liners that were a mere two years old.  There are several variables that come into play that can affect the life of a liner.  I can remember one specific example in which I replaced a liner that was only a few weeks old.  That one was a result of a lot of holes put in the liner from the son of the home owner.  He and his friends thought that it would be fun to use the telescopic pole and attempt to pole vault over the pool.  This resulted in many many holes in the liner at the bottom of the pool.  They may have been able to be patched but the homeowner insisted that the liner be replaced.  The point of all this is to show that there are variables that come into play.

The other larger item that will need to be replaced from time to time is the automatic cover.  It is important to understand that not all pools have an automatic cover.  However homeowners with pools that do have an automatic cover will have to have them replaced from time to time.  The life of a cover is similar to that of a liner, and will be subject to the same variables that affect their life.  There are a couple of things that play a larger role on the cover than they do on the liner.  One is the sunlight.  Sunlight will start to fade the color of the cover itself and the UV rays from the sun will begin breaking down the material.  Over time the material will become more and more brittle and need to be replaced.  The other thing that will affect the life of the cover is the fact that it is a moving component.  As with anything that moves it is subject to wear and tear as they say.  This will result in a need to replace the cover as well.  So how does a pool professional replace a cover?

This is a task that requires some know how and an understanding of how the cover functions.  One thing that I always check is the condition of the pulleys.  If it is the first time the cover is needing replaced then it is likely that the pulleys are still in good condition and will not necessarily need to be replaced.  Next, the pool will need to be open.  This will allow the installer to more easily remove the cover when the time comes to do so.  The rope guides will need to be removed prior to removing the cover itself.  The rope guides are located at the end of the tracks on both sides of the pool closest to the cover box. (The box is where the motor and reel are located)  Once the rope guides are removed, the leading edge of the cover will be able to be taken out of the track.  At this point I would cut the ropes as close as possible to where they attach to the cover itself.

The next step will require the help of another able bodied person.  Now that the leading edge is free from the tracks and the ropes are no longer connected, the leading edge bar can be removed and the cover can be pulled out over the pool.  Be aware that because the cover is no longer in the tracks it will likely begin to sink.  Now that the cover is pulled out over the pool, it can be removed from the reel inside the box.  Typically there will be several screws holding it to the reel itself.  They will need to be removed and depending on their condition, they may be able to be used again on the new cover.  Now that the cover is no longer attached to anything, it is ready to be folded up and disposed of.  Again this part is easier with another person.  Typically my helper and I will do this by pulling the cover off the pool three feet or so at a time folding it up accordion style as we go.  This may take some muscle depending on how much water is sitting on it.  Once the old cover is off we would begin the process of installing the new one.

Now what we have is an uncovered pool with the ropes from the old cover still in the tracks.  We leave them there for the time being.  They will come into play again while installing the new cover.  Typically the new cover will come rolled up and wrapped in a piece of cover material.  It will be laid out just behind the box on the deck. (Typically the deep end of the pool)  Before we get that far we will make sure that the area is cleaned up and free of anything that may tear or scratch the new cover.  From my experience most covers will have a warning label on them, usually in the center of the leading edge.  This label should face up.  If not then the cover is upside down and will need to be corrected.  Once the cover is laid out the way it should be we would go on to the next step.

This is where the old ropes that are still in the tracks come into play.  Both ends of the ropes will be protruding out into the box area one end is that which we cut free of the old cover, and the other end will be going through a series of pulleys and attached to the motor.  The end attached to the motor will have to be removed from the motor and pulleys.  This will give us two free ends of the rope on both sides of the pool.  We will tackle these one at a time.  Over the years I have learned a trick that makes running the new ropes a bit easier.  Instead of removing the tracks from the wall, which is time consuming and can be a bit tedious, I will leave them in and just attach the new ropes to the end of the old ropes which are already in the track.  To do this I use an awl, a propane torch, some string, some electrical tape, and some magic lube.  First I take the end of the old rope that I cut from the cover, heat up the end of the awl with the propane torch, and push it through the rope about an inch from the end.  The ropes are vinyl so when the hot awl goes through it the area around the awl will melt, leaving a nice open hole.  I do this again with the end of the new rope.  Now I will take my string and run it through each of the holes I made in the two ropes.  I will then cut the string leaving enough excess to tie the ends together.  It is important to butt the two ends of the ropes together rather than overlapping them.  Once I have the string tied in a tight not I will wrap the ropes and string up with electrical tape.  I want to be careful not to build up too much electrical tape around the ropes.  I want to try and make the taped area not too much thicker that the ropes themselves.  Now I will apply a good amount of magic lube to the taped area to make sure it slides through the track as easily as possible.  Next I will pull the new rope through the track by pulling the old rope out.  I will pull from the end that was previously attached to the motor.  Once the taped area reaches the pulley at the other end of the pool it will become tougher to pull.  With some steady and gentle pressure the taped area will slide through the pulley with the help of the magic lube, and become easier to pull again.  If I were to pull too hard, the string would break and I would have to remove the track and feed the ropes through by hand.  Once the taped area comes back out of the track in the box I can cut the old rope free of the new rope and now I have the new rope in place, and ready to be run through the pulleys in the box, cut to the proper length and attached to the motor again.  This process will be repeated at the other side of the pool with the other rope.  Once that rope is through it will go through the proper pulleys, cut to the proper length and attached to the motor.

Now I am ready to attach the new cover to the leading edge bar and insert it into the tracks.  I will then replace the rope guides at the end of each track.  There will be some slack in the ropes and I will again need the assistance of a helper to operate the switch while I ensure the ropes get wrapped up properly.  Once all the slack is out of the ropes, my helper will continue to operate the switch to close the pool.  The new cover will begin to slide out over the pool and I will go back and forth to make sure that the cover is sliding through the rope guides properly.  Once the cover is entirely over the pool we are ready to attach the end to the reel again.  Again depending on the condition of the screws we took out of the old cover, we will use them again to attach the new cover.  If they are in bad shape I will use new screws to attach the cover to the reel.  Once the new cover is attached to the reel I will have my helper start to open the pool.  I will make sure that the cover wraps around the reel properly.  After that it is a matter of running it open and close a couple of times to ensure that it is functioning properly.

As with anything regarding in ground swimming pools it is almost always best to leave it up to the professionals.  There are many components and things that require experience to assess and properly address.  In addition to that most reputable pool companies will guarantee their work so if something does happen they will come back and take care of it.  I never recommend taking on anything of this nature by yourself.  It is always best to leave it up to the professionals.

Swimming Pool Safety Tips

Swimming pool safety is probably the single most important part about owning a pool.  After all, the fun of owning a pool goes away if it is not safe.  Even though I consider my pool safe I am always on alert when I have people over.  Especially if those people include kids.  I have written several posts about how to be physically safe in the pool.  The fact is that I have probably covered most precautions that can be taken to remain safe in the pool.  Today I am going write a post to refresh the memories of those who have already read my previous posts on this subject.  If this is your first time reading one of these posts then pay close attention, the information within is especially valuable if you have children.

To start I want to discuss the things that you can do to help ensure the safety of those using your pool.


  Being that there have been a few instances this year already of people being shocked in their pools, or community pools I want to stress the fact that you should have the electrical components of your pool inspected each year.  If you see that the light in the pool has water inside of it or even if it has algae starting to grow then that is a sign that there is a leak in the light.  A leaky light can be a dangerous thing.  Today more and more builders are using low voltage lighting in the new pools that they install, however years ago all the lights installed in pools were the standard 120v.

Bad Idea!!!

Another thing to watch out for is people using electrical devices too close to the pool.  I understand that having a radio playing while people are enjoying the pool is a very nice luxury, however just make sure that it is either running on batteries or that it is at least five feet away from the water at all times.  Obviously water and electricity do not mix so do your best to not get an unfortunate reminder.

Overhead wires are another concern of mine.  Not that they are going to suddenly fall into the pool or anything, but there is a degree of danger that is associated with them.  Think about what you do in regard to pool maintenance.  I know that a lot of people will vacuum their pools at least once a week.  Keeping that in mind, what things do you need to vacuum your pool.  Does a long aluminum extension pole come to mind?  This is where the concern lies.  When someone is vacuuming a pool they are focused on the bottom of the pool and not necessarily what is above their heads.  Aluminum conducts electricity quite well and one slight touch of the pole to an overhead wire could very well be a horrible mistake.  Just be cautious please.


Having a fence around your pool goes a long way in keeping people safe.  Many states require a fence around the pool.  Some will allow you to have either a fence or an automatic pool cover.  Check your local building codes to determine what is needed at your pool.  If you do end up getting a fence around your pool there are a few things that you should keep in mind.  One is that the fence should be at least 4 feet tall.  I would personally go a little taller on it but that is ultimately up to you.  Another thing that you should be aware of is that the gate to access the pool area should open away from the pool, and have some kind of automatic latching mechanism on it at the top so that it cannot be left open.  You may be wondering why it matters that the gate opens away from the pool.  Think of it this way, if the latch to open the gate is at the top then a little person attempting to gain access to the pool area would have to get a chair or something to stand on in order to reach it.  More than likely they will place it right in front of the gate.  If they do get it unlatched, making sure it opens toward them would add an even bigger challenge and likely force them to give up.  Does that make sense?  If the chair they are standing on is in the way of the gate opening then they will be more likely to give up trying to gain access.  You could even go as far as installing an alarm system on your gate, or having motion activated lights in the pool area to deter anyone from trying to sneak in at night.

Automatic Pool Cover

This is an added bonus to the safety of your pool.  In case you are not aware, there are covers available that allow you to open and close your pool at the touch of a button, or the turn of a key.  Typically this is something that would have to be installed as the pool is being built, but if you have one then you are a step ahead in the pool safety game.  These covers will usually come with either a code activated key pad or an actual key that you will have to turn and hold to uncover and cover the pool.  Obviously if you don’t have the key or don’t have the code then gaining access to the pool will be much more difficult.  These are not always required but they definitely add to the safety of the pool area.

Clean up the pool area

This is more for if you have smaller children in the house.  The theory behind this is that if a lot of pool toys are left scattered around the pool after “pool time” is over then small children might see them and be tempted to enter the pool area to retrieve a toy that they remember having fun with earlier.  If you as the adult were to remove the pool toys from the pool area, or store them in a deck side container of some sort then you will have effectively removed the temptation to enter the pool area later on.  Along with this idea is the notion to have an ordinary looking chlorine feeder in the pool rather than one that looks like a dolphin or alligator or whatever.  Cute little alligator or dolphin chlorine feeders in the pool may look like toys to smaller children and possibly give them that temptation to enter the pool area again.

Have an undistracted, responsible adult supervise children in the pool

The key words in this are “undistracted”, “responsible”, and “adult”.  This does not mean teenager, with ear buds, and a Facebook friendly smart phone.  The supervising adult should be alert and capable of reacting quickly.  Great grandma and her life alert pendant might not be the best supervisor for the swimming pool.  Ideally the supervisor should be an adult and have the understanding that they are there to watch the swimmers.  They should be unconnected from the internet and have no other distractions while they are supervising.  Although being tuned into your smart phone while supervising is a bad idea, actually having a phone nearby is a very good idea.  In case an emergency were to occur you would be able to call 911 without having to leave the area.

Make a Pool Safety Tool Kit to keep near the pool

You can put anything you want in this kit but there are some things that you should definitely have in there.  Below is a short list of the must haves in your pool safety too kit.
1) A first aid kit
2) A pair of scissors – to cut hair, clothing, or a pool cover it needed.
3) A charged telephone  – to call 911 in the event of an emergency.
4) A floatation device – Foam noodles, water wings, and little inflatable rafts are not life saving devices – They are toys and do not replace the need for supervision by a responsible adult.

There are many other ways to ensure the safety of those using your pool.  For more information regarding pool safety please check out my other blog posts with “Safety” in the title.  You can also check out This website will give you the most up to date information available on how to remain safe in the pool.  You can also find more general and specific information on vinyl liner in ground pools by checking out my other posts.


How to Get the Most out of Your Swimming Pool Season

Here in northern Indiana and most northern states I’m sure, we have a relatively short period of time in which we can use our swimming pools.  Typically our season is from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  So we really have about 3 months in which we use our pools the most.  Many people aim to have their pools closed by Labor Day, and they don’t re-open them until the following Memorial Day.  There are exceptions to this as well.  However for most people this is the way it goes every year with their pools.  So how do we get the most out of our pools?  Lets start with extending the season a bit.

Their are a couple ways in which the pool season can be extended by a pool owner.  I know that not all pool owners are interested in extending the season but some may be.  It all depends on how likely you are going to use your pool when the air temp is not the warmest.  The obvious thing to do is to have an indoor pool.  While this may be obvious, it is not very practical or even attainable for most people.  The next idea is to heat your pool with a gas heater rather than a heat pump.

Using a gas heater may cost a bit more but it will prolong the swimming season.  A heat pump
uses the air temperature around it to heat the pool.  This is just fine when the air temperature around it is in the 80’s or 90’s but if the air temp is below 65 then it will not do much for your pool.  A gas heater on the other hand will heat your pool in any temperature.  This is because it relies on the use of natural gas or propane to heat the water.  This will allow you to get an early start on the year and allow you to keep your pool open well past Labor Day.  The down side to this is that in colder temperatures you will likely need to run your heater almost constantly.  As soon as you turn your heater off the cold air will suck the heat out of the water very quickly.  Running your heater this much will cost you quite a bit of money.  However there is a way in which to reduce the amount you run your heater yet still maintain warmer water temperatures.  Really there are a couple of ways.

First and foremost the average vinyl liner inground pool will lose heat through the walls of the pool.  Many pool walls are made of galvanized steel and the steel is not the best insulator.  If the ground outside the pool is cold then that cold will transfer right through the walls of the pool and affect the temperature of the water.  However Only Alpha Pool Products’ composite pool wall is a very efficient insulator and will help to keep your water at the desired temperature.  So if you haven’t had the pool built yet you may want to look for a builder that installs Only Alpha’s pools.

Another way you can keep the heat in your pool is to have a Automatic Pool Cover installed on the pool.  This will most definitely help keep the heat in the pool.  These types of pool covers are becoming more and more popular partly due to the fact that they are so good at keeping heat in the pool.  The benefit comes from being able to easily open and close the pool.  Now pool owners are able to close the pool each night, or anytime the pool is not in use.  By having this ability they are able to protect the heated water from the cool nights and lock in all the heat of the day.  When you combine this technology with a gas heater you will have the luxury of keeping your pool open well into the fall without running into a problem.

When thinking about ways to get the most out of your pool another thing that comes to mind is maintenance.  There is nothing more irritating than having to spend a lot of time and money on maintaining your pool.  The best way to avoid this is to periodically check your chemical levels and keep them where they need to be.  Once they get too far out of whack it can be difficult to get them back and you will be spending more time maintaining your pool than enjoying it.

Another thing you can do is more for you and the family.  Use your pool, plan events ahead of time to give the kids something to look forward to.  Have pool parties for your friends, eat dinner outside by the pool from time to time, and just spend your free time pool side.  You can even think of fun games for the kids to play in the pool.  For the parents having a beautiful in ground pool in your backyard is the perfect setting for a romantic evening with a candle lit dinner and drinks by the pool.  The possibilities that arise when you have your very own in ground pool are endless.

For more swimming pool information please check out my other posts.  They all relate to the wonderful world of the in ground swimming pool, and I try to cover every topic.  If you have any thoughts or questions about any of the information in these post please don’t hesitate to ask.

Auto Cover – Things to look for

Today I am going to use this opportunity to give you the pool owner a heads up when it comes to automatic covers.  There are several different manufacturers of automatic covers and they all have something in common.  Each company is striving to better your swimming pool experience.  They make all of the components that go into an automatic pool cover.  Some even make coping that goes around the pool.  The interesting thing about the coping around the pool is that not all types of coping will work well with all types of automatic covers.

Brief Auto Cover Explanation:

Top Track

When it comes to automatic covers there are a couple different styles you can choose from.  They are what is known as under track, and top track.  The difference is the way that the tracks of the cover are mounted.  Let me clarify what I mean by “track”.  An automatic cover consists of several different components that work together to make the cover work.  Basically you have the cover, ropes, pulleys, track, motor, and drum.  There are several other parts and pieces that go into them but for my purposes today what I have listed will suffice.  The tracks will stretch the entire length of the pool and houses the ropes for the cover.  The ropes are attached to the cover and run through the tracks to from one end to the other, around a pulley and then back again.  From there they are attached to the motor.  When you turn the key, flip the switch or enter the code, (depending on the model) the motor winds up the ropes causing the cover to pull out over the pool.  Then when you open the pool again the motor turns the other way causing the drum to rotate which winds the cover itself up onto the drum.  Now depending on the style of cover you have you will either have the tracks installed underneath the coping of the pool in a special opening specifically made for the track, or you will have the tracks exposed on the top of the deck.

The Problem:

Both types of covers work well but there is one main thing that you will want to watch for.  You must understand that a top track cover will rub on the coping of the pool.  This is normal, that is just the way that they are designed.  To ensure that nothing gets damaged as far as the cover itself or the coping, the manufacturers also make a specialized coping specifically for top track covers.  This type of coping is made to prevent any damage from occurring.  Now you may be wondering what type of damage I am referring to.  Typically you might find that due to the constant rubbing of the cover on the coping your cover itself may wear out prematurely, or depending on the type of coping used you may see the paint on the coping rubbing off.  Some builders will pour the deck so that the coping itself is concrete because they know that the cover will rub.  This type of situation is unfortunate but is also not all that uncommon.  Some builders are either unaware of this issue or they just don’t care.

The bad part is that unless something is done to prevent this rubbing from occurring, the problem will continue to happen.  There have been instances where people have repainted their coping only to have it rub off shortly thereafter.  There have been instances where they have repainted the coping multiple times using multiple types of paint only to have the issue persist.

How did this happen?

Let me advise you that unless something is done to prevent the cover from rubbing the coping the problem will always be there.  You can repaint the coping as many times as you want using a thousand different paints but I assure you that the paint will inevitably wear off.

So if this happens you will want to know who is at fault.  You might think that the manufacturer of the coping is using the wrong type of paint and you might try to contact them to make the repair.  This is not the case.  If the coping on the pool is a painted aluminum coping then you have the wrong type of coping on the pool to accommodate a top track auto cover.  That type of coping is not made to have something constantly dragging across it.  Think of it this way.  If you take your brand new car to an automated carwash only to find that the bristles or something have cause scratches on the roof of the car, you wouldn’t go home and contact the manufacturer of the car and tell them that they didn’t put the paint on well enough.  It’s the same type of situation.  So now you might think that you need to contact the auto cover manufacturer and let them know that their cover is damaging the coping.  That is a good idea, unfortunately they are going to ask what type of coping is on the pool.  When they find out that it is a painted aluminum they are going to tell you that they never recommend using that type of coping.  They might also tell you that they manufacture a type of coping specifically for a top track cover so that this does not happen.  At this point you are probably getting irritated so you call the builder.  Ah yes the builder, the one who went against the cover manufacturers recommendations and put that type of painted aluminum coping on the pool with a top track auto cover.  Now you finally have the one responsible.  Now you have to think back to when you met with the builder way back when you first started planning your pool.  Did you decide on that type of coping?  Did the builder inform you of the problem associated with that type of coping and a top track cover?  Did they themselves recommend that coping?  How are they going to fix it?  How much will the repair cost?  Who will pay for it?

The solution:

These are all very good questions, but regardless of the answers you still have this coping that has paint issues.  I know that this is a stressful situation and I am sure that you will want it taken care of as soon as possible.  So of course you will want the coping repainted.  That will look good for a little while but eventually its going to need more paint, and then more paint.  Are they going to repaint it every couple weeks?  Not likely.  You will need to have something in place to keep the cover from rubbing on the coping.  Unfortunately most auto cover manufacturers do not make any type of wear strip.  You might be told to try using a blower under the cover.  This might work a little but I fear that from time to time you would get some rubbing on the coping.  Another option is to bust up the concrete remove the coping and replace it with the proper type, however this would be expensive.  You really need some type of barrier between the coping and the cover.  My recommendation is to have the builder get in touch with their pool manufacturer.  There are plastic strips that pool manufacturers use on their fiberglass steps that secure the liner around the step.  This plastic is available in a few different colors and could be used as a wear strip.  It is thick enough to protect the coping from the cover and it comes with a beauty piece that would be installed to hide the screws.  All you would see is the plastic strip itself and no screws.  The other benefit of this material is that it is manufactured for use in swimming pools so it would not look out of place acting as a wear strip.  Once you have that in place on the top of the coping you could touch up whatever areas need it and you will find that the cover would no longer rub on the coping wearing the paint down.  This is an unfortunate occurrence and sadly is not uncommon.

Think Ahead:

I am posting this simply to help you the homeowner from having to deal with the stress of having this issue on a brand new pool.  If you are thinking about getting a swimming pool with an automatic pool cover, be sure to talk to your builder about this type of situation.  Be aware of what is going on with your pool during the build process and don’t be afraid to ask questions.  After all this is your pool, your property, and your hard earned dollars going into it.  If you see something that looks questionable say something about it.  At the very least you will understand what is going on, and it could be something that the builder has over looked and potentially save you from a huge headache later and a lot of money to repair.  If you catch it during the build process it is likely that is can be changed or fixed with no additional cost.

I have many other blog posts related to a lot of different swimming pool issues and concerns.  Please take the time to check them out.  There is a lot of good information and you have the ability to ask me anything pertaining to them.  Please feel free to ask questions, make comments, or give me your thought on various topics.

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.

automatic pool cover

Benefits of Having an Automatic Pool Cover

You may have noticed in your area that more and more people are getting inground swimming pools.  Furthermore, you might have noticed that more of these pools are designed with automatic pool covers (auto covers).  So, you may be wondering what benefits do automatic pool covers contribute to your pool.  Well, as a pool builder I know some of the added benefits of an auto cover.  One of the most important advantages, to me anyway, is that an auto cover adds an exceptional layer of safety to your pool. Before I get into all that, I first want to give you all some background information to give you a better idea of how an auto cover works.

Automatic pool covers use a system of tracks, ropes and pulleys to unfurl and retract the cover from a pool.  They operate by using a key switch or touch pad and a motor attached to a drum. While the operator holds down a button or turns a key,  the motor turns and either winds up the ropes to drag the cover over the pool, or it turns the drum to reel up the cover and remove it from the pool. With these components working together you experience several benefits.

One advantage is that the cover can not be removed from the pool without having the key or knowing a code (depending on which type of cover is installed).  This will prevent children and others from having unpermitted access to the water, allowing the owner peace of mind and reducing the risk of accidental drowning of loved ones and liability as a homeowner. Some other types of covers, such tarps, solar covers, etc., are not designed with safety in mind. These cover designs can become entangled should a heavy object fall on top of them, and quickly submerge under the water. An automatic pool cover is fully capable of supporting hundreds of pounds without the risk of entrapment.  Most manufacturers of automatic pool covers will advise against walking across the covered pool unless in a case of emergency, but there is a certain level of assurance knowing that if something or someone steps out onto the cover that they could step off again.

Be sure to check the pool safety standards set by your location when deciding on a cover or a fence. Different areas have different codes when it comes to swimming pools.  Most places will require that a fence be installed around the swimming pool area.  Some locations state that a fence is not necessary if a pool already has an automatic pool cover.  In my opinion, there is no such thing as too much protection.  So, if the means are there, building a fence in addition to having an automatic cover would only provide more safety.

Having an automatic pool cover also affects the pool directly, making maintenance easier and more cost effective. An auto cover helps to keep debris, such as leaves, dirt, stones and mulch, out of the pool.  The wind contributes to this quite a bit, but having an auto cover will greatly reduce the amount of debris that falls into a pool.  Auto covers also allows the homeowner to save on chemicals, and reduce pool water evaporation.  A pool sitting in the hot summer sun without a cover is susceptible to losing water and chemicals through evaporation.  A pool with an auto cover over it will lose much less because when the pool water evaporates, it will be trapped and condense under the cover only to fall back to the pool again.  Another advantage is that having an auto cover will reduce the cost of heating the pool. Heat rises, and swimming pools lose a lot of warmth on cool evenings. An automatic pool cover acts as a barrier, trapping the heat in and keeping the cold out, especially at night.  Another benefit of automatic pool cover is that it can actually extend the life of pool equipment.  Pumps, heaters, heat pumps, and filters are required to keep a pool clean and heated.  If a pool is constantly losing water, chemicals, and heat, the owner will have to run the equipment more frequently, especially if the pool is in a high debris area.  Heating, cleaning, and filling the pool so often will increase time spent on maintenance, as well as the costs of water, chemicals, and electrical service.

If you are thinking about getting an inground swimming pool, I would highly recommend getting an automatic pool cover.  The cost of maintaining a pool without one would soon outweigh the cost of getting the auto cover to begin with.
Find more information online at automatic pool

Swimming Pool Safety

Swimming Pool Safety
If you are in need of more information, check out This is a link to a government website that is full of useful information.  Information used in this blog was obtained from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.


Despite the cold and snow, the pool season is around the corner.  It maybe further around the corner for some, but still, it’s there.  There is never a bad time to start thinking about swimming pool safety, and with the season approaching one must ask themselves, “Am I ready?”  Some new pool owners might be wondering why there is such a push for swimming pool safety, or what can they do to make sure that the season goes off without a hitch.  I intend to give important information about these topics today.

There are a few main factors that increase the risk of  drowning, such as lack of swimming ability, lack of barriers to prevent unsupervised swimming, lack of close supervision, failure to wear life jackets (they are not just for the lake), alcohol use, and seizure disorders.

So, what can you as a parent and pool owner do to keep your favorite summer past time safe? To start, swimming lessons help greatly. Take the time to teach your children how to swim or give them the opportunity to take classes.  Next, as the adult you should learn CPR.  In the event of submersion, every second counts.  The sooner CPR is started, the better the chance there is of improved outcomes.

LIFE JACKETS, LIFE JACKETS, LIFE JACKETS!!! “Water wings,” “noodles,” and other air filled toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe.  Supervision is key, there should always be a designated adult to watch young children in and around the pool. The younger the child is, the closer the adult should be. Children preschool aged and younger should always be within reach of an adult.  Keep in mind that drowning can happen quick and quietly.  Supervision should be the only thing the designated adult concerns themselves with.  IPhones, Facebook, Twitter and all other distractions can wait.  If someone in or around your pool area is subject to seizures, that person should have their own personal supervisor.  For us older folks, we need to avoid alcohol.
  I know that this may sound like a drag to some. Lets face it: cold drinks, middle of summer, pool parties. They all sound like a blast, right?  The truth is that alcohol obviously affects the brain, slows reaction time, and impairs motor function.  Those, my friends, are absolutely necessary when swimming.  Unfortunately, the combinations of drinking and swimming is what took my friend’s life at such a young age.  In addition to that, adults under the influence are different than a small child in a panic.  One difference is that they may not know their limitations.  The other is that adults are obviously are larger, and in a rescue attempt might actually put the child in danger.  Another important thing to avoid is allowing swimmers to “hyperventilate” before swimming under water, or holding their breath for long periods of time.  Those actions could result in what is know as “shallow water blackout”.  Lastly, be aware of the weather conditions. Pools and lightning do not mix.  When I was young, my family and I were swimming when the clouds started getting dark.  We heard what sounded like thunder followed by a strange sizzle, and at that time my mother said it was time to get out.  When we started unfolding the solar cover that had been draped over the railing of the pool deck, we noticed that is had evidently been hit by lightning as we could see by the melted, blackened plastic that stuck together as we unfolded it.
In addition to the tips in bold  above, it is a good idea to have an automatic safety cover if your pool is in ground, or a fence, which would be beneficial to both inground as well as “above” or “on” ground,  they will help keep children away from danger.  In the case of a fence, use a self latching model or a self closing gate that open outward, and keep the latches out of children’s reach.
  There are many other products available to help protect your loved ones, including alarms, and automatic door locks.  Also, you should keep the pool area clear of pool toys when not in use.  This prevents the child from being tempted to enter the pool area to retrieve such things. These are some of the best pool safety tips for keeping you children safe around the pool.  Follow these guidelines and have a fun filled and safe swimming pool experience.
If you are in need of more information, check out This is a link to a government website that is full of useful information.  Information used in this blog was obtained from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Also take the time to check out these links as well: healthychildren.orgredcross.orgconsumer products safety commision