Your New Swimming Pool - More Than Just A Cement Pond
Building a new swimming pool? Before starting your backyard project, take time to answer these questions and review your requirements for your new pool and spa.
The time is right, now is the time to build a new backyard swimming pool. Before you start the construction process, here are some questions to ask. Plan and scope out your backyard before you call the first pool contractor.
- What shape pool do I want? Rectangular or Freeform?
- What size pool do I want? The size of your backyard may dictate this.
- Is this pool mainly for exercise or just relaxing?
- If it is for exercise, are you planning to swim laps?
- Do you want a spa?
- Are you planning to heat your pool?
- How are you going to sanitize the water?
- What type of deck material do you want?
- Are you going to have any special water features such as rock falls, fountains or spray jets?
- What type of internal finish do you want in the pool?
- Are you going to maintain the pool yourself or hire an outside company to service the pool?
- Do you want special feature lighting for the pool / spa?
- What is my budget including landscaping, fencing and extras?
- I will need a survey of my property, do I have one?
After you have decided and answered these questions it is time to begin to search out a pool contractor. Ask yourself these 6 questions.
- Are these contractors fully licensed?
- Are these contractors insured? Check their liability and worker's comp insurance.
- Do these contractors provide custom design? Computer pictures or just hand drawings?
- What type of equipment do these pool contractors install? Major brand or inexpensive off brand products?
- What reference do these contractors have? Can we talk with their customers?
- Can we see pools under construction and completed pools by these contractors? Look at projects which would similar to yours (size, features, decking)
- Remember the lowest price is not always the best option, the least expensive product may be cheaper for a reason, investigate and find out why.
Your decision has been made and you have decided to contract with a certain pool contractor, before you begin the construction process, review the following for the type of optional items which will turn your new swimming pool into a backyard oasis and not just a "cement pond".
- How do you plan on sanitizing the pool and or spa water? - How are you going to accomplish this very important step? Traditional methods of chlorine tablets, granular chlorine or liquid chlorine are not the only methods being employed today. One of the best and most reliable methods is to use a SALT GENERATOR System. There are many of these units on the market today, research all of them for features and benefits. Keep in mind that these units have a large price range based on available features. These units produce chlorine in your swimming pool by adding standard table salt directly to the pool water. As the pool water is circulated through the cell portion of the salt generator, the salt in the water is changed into chlorine, the chlorine is added to the pool water and the salt goes back into the pool water solution. The salt is used over and over to produce the chlorine for your swimming pool. Through splash out and evaporation the salt is used up and additional salt will need to be added to the pool water for replenishment. A Salt Generator system is a great feature for any new or existing pool.
- If you have decided not to use a chlorine generator, consider using an inline CHLORINE TABLET FEEDER to chlorinate your new pool. These feeders are inexpensive and allow for the dosage of sanitizing agents into the pool water. Tablets are placed into the feeder and a rate adjustment valve allows for the correct dosage of chlorine into the pool.
- What about upgraded lights? - Automatic color changing LED LIGHTS are some of the hottest items on the swimming pool scene today. There is an abundance of manufacturers that are offering this type of pool and spa lighting. Don't miss out on the opportunity to have a spectacular place for entertaining, swimming and relaxing, color changing lights are the only way to go.
- Heaters - To heat or not to heat? How to heat, Electric, Gas or Solar. There are so many options here that need to be considered. ELECTRIC HEAT PUMPS offer energy efficient heat but will not offer fast heat. GAS HEATERS offer faster heat but are not as efficient as heat pumps. SOLAR HEATERS offer inexpensive heat but not always readily accepted in certain communities or the home's roof surface does not offer the required space for the installation of the solar panels. It is important to research all your available options for pool heaters before deciding which type will function best in your application.
- WATER FEATURES - Don't miss out on the opportunity to add some excitement to your new pool by adding the feature of moving water. DECK JETS, BUBBLERS and WATER FALLS all add unbelievable interest to your backyard paradise.
- AUTOMATED CONTROL SYSTEMS - Many types of controllers are on the market today. Controllers can be used inside the home and carried around for use by and inside the pool and spa. Controllers can operate a variety of components including the pump, lights, spa air blower, heater, yard lights and much more. Check out the many manufactures of these systems and choose the system which will best fit your budget and backyard.
- CUSTOM MOSAICS - Tile mosaics are available in a wide range of options, seashells, fish, underwater scenes, cartoon characters, trees, sports logos and just about anything else which can be imagined. Jazz up your pool and spa with tile mosaics.
- AUTOMATIC POOL CLEANERS - Once again there are many different models on the market today that will make pool maintenance much easier on a weekly basis. Three different types of cleaners are - SUCTION SIDE CLEANERS operate off the suction side of your filter pump, no additional pump is needed. If this is the type of cleaner you are planning on using, make sure your contractor is installing a separate line (typically 2") in the side of your pool (rather than using your skimmer) to "plug in' your suction side cleaner. These styles of cleaners vacuum the dirt and debris from your swimming pool and deposit it in the pump basket and pool filter. PRESSURE SIDE CLEANERS operate very much like a suction side cleaner except that these types of cleaners require a separate high pressure pump to operate. (The filter pump is not used for this type of cleaner) These cleaners typically have a bag which collects the debris from the pool which will need to be emptied on a regular basis. Additional piping will also be necessary to allow for the operation of this type of cleaner. The third sytle of automatic cleaner is an ELECTRIC CLEANER which is a self contained unit, plugs into an electrical outlet and cleans and vacuums dirt and debris from your swimming pool. The debris is collected internally in the machine and disposed of on a regular basis. All types work well, research the one which will function best in your situation.
TEST KIT - If you plan on servicing and maintaining your new pool yourself DO NOT purchase the least expensive test kit on the market. Purchase a kit that tests for free and total chlorine, pH, alkalinity, harness and cyanuric acid. Make sure your swimming pool contractor educates you on the usage of the kit and that you understand the importance of maintaining the correct balance of your pool chemistry.
CONGRATULATIONS! The pool is done and the water is crystal clear blue, your new backyard oasis has become your favorite place to just sit and relax. Your pool has been constructed just as you planned, features are in place that you wanted and the pool is the most inviting place in the neighborhood to just "hang out". Enjoy your investment!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ron Burr is the owner of One Stop Pool Supplies and also a State of Florida licensed swimming pool contractor actively building swimming pools and spas in South Florida. Ron has been involved in the swimming pool industry for over 30 years. Visit our web site http://www.onestoppoolsupplies.com to learn more about all the items which have been mentioned to make your new or existing pool more exciting.