Rebates

Hayward is offering rebates on many products this summer!

Hayward has a promotion running right now and it ends on September 6th, 2015. They are offering up to $100 in Visa Prepaid gift cards. Read on to find out which products qualify. Minimum purchase price is required.

RebateSalt Systems

The family 40k gallon Aqua Rite salt systems is receiving a $75 rebate. This is for complete units only (controller and salt cell). The qualifying products are: Aqua Plus, Aqua Rite w/ 40k Gallon Cell, Aqua Rite Pro w/ 40k Gallon Cell, and Aqua Rite Extended Life Turbo Cell.

This is the perfect time to install an Aqua Rite salt system since the price of the equipment is only $1044.00 after rebate (tax and labor not included).

If you need a smaller cell, you can get a smaller rebate. Hayward is offering $50 back on their Aqua Rite system with a 25k gallon cell and they will give you $25 back on an Aqua Rite with a 15k gallon cell.

Automatic and Robotic Cleaners

RebateThe following cleaners all qualify for a $100 rebate:

AquaNaut 200/400

Navigator Pro and Pool Vac XL

AquaVac 500

TigerShark QC

The TigerShark & SharkVac XL qualify for a $50 rebate.

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Automatic Pool Covers

Automatic Pool Covers

Automatic Pool CoversIt may seem like an odd time of the year to bring up pool covers, but many of you will be pulling the cover off of your pool soon, so what better time to think about its condition. Many of you have pool covers made from a material akin to a tarp and held down by water tubes. A giant step up from this, we find safety covers, which attach to anchors mounted in the deck with straps and springs. Safety covers are quite dependable, come in either mesh or solid varieties, and typically last ten years with few problems. Moving up one more step, automatic pool covers provide pool owners with a solution that is safe, can easily be used year round, and that removes itself at the push of a button.

How do they work?

Automatic pool covers are usually installed on rectangular pools, although it is possible to install them on pools with irregular shapes. The cover must have somewhere to roll up and store itself, so either a below deck pit or an above deck box must be constructed. If installed at the same time as the pool is built, a pit can easily be made. Whichever way, a long rod that rotates is used to roll the cover up and this rod is attached to a very strong, low rpm motor. Along each side of the pool, a track is installed. These tracks carry a high strength rope from one end of the pool to the other. The cover attaches to this rope and when the motor is activated, the rope begins to move, thus pulling the cover along the tracks, covering or uncovering the pool.

Maintenance

Automatic pool covers are made out of a solid material. This means that they hold water on the surface when it rains. This water must be pumped away with a sump pump before the cover can be operated. Usually, a special pump made for pool covers is used to accomplish this task.

As always, you can contact us directly for more information about automatic pool covers or any other swimming pool products.

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Safety Fences vs Alarms

As we head into Spring, you may be concerned about the safety of your swimming pool. Pool alarms and safety fences are a couple of options available to help ease your mind.

I am not going to recommend specific products in this article. Instead, this is meant to be very general information for someone new to swimming pool safety. Remember that pool alarms or safety fences should never replace the supervision of young children or pets.

Safety FencesSafety fences are typically a colored mesh material fencing installed in sections a very short distance from the pool. It is easily removable and allows you to have some freedom if hosting a pool party. When installed, it can make the pool feel a little claustrophobic. It is for this reason that I am not a big fan of safety fences. The installation process consists of drilling 1″ holes into the concrete with a core drill. These holes, obviously, must be drilled with extreme precision to make sure the safety fence is perfectly vertical and taught. A gate can be installed for easier access to the pool, but this is not standard with every safety fence. As you can see in the photo, cleaning the pool becomes a bit harder since there is less room to walk around the perimeter inside of the fence.

Pool alarms are an alternative to a fence. They typically mount on the edge of the pool and detect fluctuations in the surface of the water. Some of them simply float on the surface. Essentially, they monitor for something falling into the pool by sensing small waves. Personally, I don’t see pool alarms very often at all, safety fences are much more common. The problem that I see with a pool alarm is that you may get a lot of false alarms from wind, tree debris, birds, etc.

 

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Test Strips vs Reagents

How do test strips compare to traditional liquid reagents?

With spring right around the corner, now is a good time to think about how you test your pool’s water. The two most popular options are instant read test strips and liquid reagents. My preference, as a pool service tech, is clearly the liquid reagents, but many consumers buy test strips. Let’s look at the two in greater detail and learn about their advantages and disadvantages.

Liquid Reagents

Taylor K-2005Taylor makes a test kit, K-2005, that should take you through an entire season of water tests. At a price less than $45.00, I would buy one of these every year. You can test for free chlorine, total chlorine, pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid. It also includes a book that teaches you why these tests are important and let’s face it, we can all use a little education about these tests. After fifteen years in the business, I am not ashamed to admit that I still reference my Taylor test kit book from time to time. It has detailed charts that tell you exactly how much chemical to add for making adjustments to your levels. Using liquid reagents to test your pool water may seem daunting, but if you to learn how to do it (it’s not hard), you will get accurate results and precise knowledge about your water.

Test Strips

AquaChek Test StripsI would recommend test strips only as an alternative for someone who refuses to use a liquid reagent test kit. Check out these AquaChek 7 strips if you want an easy water test. Test strips have multiple pads on them that change color when dipped into water. You then compare these pads to colors printed on the test strip container. You can judge the chemical levels by matching the colors. My problem with test strips is that the colors often don’t seem to match properly. Personally, I find the degree of error is so great that I might as well just guess at the levels. Test strips are beneficial if you simply want to know if there is chlorine in the water, but I could never recommend this product to someone looking for a precise reading.

Conclusion

In case you could not determine my preferred way of testing pool water from what I wrote above, it is liquid reagents. There really is no comparison between using reagents and test strips. My advice, take the time to learn how to use the liquid reagents and never look back.

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Paint – 5 Reasons Not To

PaintPools and paint…

Every year I get requests to do something that I just refuse to do. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to most people, but I can tell you that the negatives far outweigh the positives. Please, I beg you, don’t paint your gunite pool!

5 Reasons to keep the paint out of your pool

  1. If the paint is not applied at the correct temperature or the surface is not prepared well, it will lead to bubbling of the paint. These bubbles, big and small, become fragile, like an egg shell.
  2. The paint will chip and peel off of the pool surface. For most, it’s not a matter of if, but when, and once it starts, it gets worse and worse.
  3. All of those chips of paint have to go somewhere. If they are big enough, they block the bottom drain grate or get stuck in your vacuum hose. Small ones make it into the pump and the really tiny ones clog up the filter.
  4. Painted surfaces tend to stain easier from fall leaves or metals. These stains are unsightly and require expensive stain fighting chemicals.
  5. When you decide to resurface the pool correctly, with new plaster or pebble, the paint must be sandblasted off completely. This adds thousands of dollars to a resurfacing project.

Hopefully you have found my reasons to not paint a pool before painting it. If not, it may be a bumpy ride over the next few years. Usually, it will look great at first, although showing dirt more (bonus reason). Then, after a season or two, the problems will start, ultimately leading to a need for a proper resurfacing solution.

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Surface Stains

If your pool has surface stains, try one of these great products for immediate results.

During this time of year, it is easy to get surface stains from all of the leaves and debris that fall into the water. Some surfaces suffer from staining more than others, but with the right products, those stains can be eliminated almost instantly.

Stains can be caused from a variety of metals or organic contaminates. Knowing what type of surface stain you have is essential to treating it properly. The type of stain can be determined by testing for metals in the water or by using a sample of different products to see which one lifts the stain better.

Back in the spring, I had a customer requesting a stain treatment on an above ground pool. The vinyl liner walls were completely black from the stain. I suspected that the metal rails around the top of the pool were dropping rust into the water, thereby introducing iron into the pool. I brought out a Jack’s Magic Stain ID Kit to see which product would be most effective. This confirmed my hunch that iron was the issue and we treated the pool according to the directions with amazing results. The customer was ecstatic and had me maintain the pool for the entire summer. The key to this sort of result is to follow the directions exactly. The product I used, for example, reacts against chlorine. The stain product and chlorine effectively cancel each other out, so to make sure the stain treatment worked, I had to let the chlorine lower to zero before treating the stain. It is also useful to use a stain sequestering product when treating a stain. Jack’s Magic Magenta Stuff is great for this purpose.

More recently, I have encountered severe surface stains in two pools that I maintain on a weekly basis. These stains were caused by leaves and should not be too hard to get rid of. Both of the pools have been painted, which I never recommend doing. I think that the painted surface contributed to the rather quick staining. I have used two products with good results on these pools. The first is called Pool Stain Treat. This 2 lb container will treat 20000 gallons of water, so buy enough for your size pool. I find that you may want to use a little more than you think is necessary. The second product that I have success with is called Stain Free. Stain Free is a natural stain fighting product and works much like ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Again, the key to having great success with any stain removal product is to follow the directions exactly. The photo below is immediately after adding stain treatment to this pool. It really works quite fast.

Surface Stains

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Polaris Rebates

Polaris offers rebates during the off season

Polaris 9350Polaris rebates are currently available on three of their pool cleaners.

The first is $100 off on the Polaris 9350 Sport and lasts until January 31, 2015. It is only valid if you spend $999 or more on the cleaner. Contact us, if interested, for the best price on this robotic cleaner.

Download Polaris 9350 Sport Rebate

Polaris 3900 SportSecond up, we have a $125 rebate on the Polaris 3900 Sport. It will be available until March 31, 2015 and requires you to spend at least $899. Contact us for our best price on this cleaner.

If you don’t mind the risks with buying products online, the Polaris 3900 Sport is currently available on Amazon.com for only $675, which would be less than the rebate would make it.

Download Polaris 3900 Sport Rebate

Zodiac MX8The last rebate is for the Zodiac MX8. This is a suction side cleaner, meaning it works with a skimmer or dedicated vacuum line. This is a $100 rebate when you spend at least $499 on the cleaner before March 31, 2015. Once again, contact us if you would like to price this cleaner.

The Zodiac MX8 is currently available for from Amazon.com for $375 if you are willing to buy it online to save about $25.

Download Zodiac MX8 Rebate
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Feature Interview

Recently, I was interviewed by Kristen Bosse of GeorgiaStateHomes.com regarding advice on keeping your pool up and running. Below is a link to the interview and I’m sure when you finish reading my interview, you will find more beneficial information on their site.


Check out my interview, How to Keep Your Swimming Pool Up and Running on Georgia State Homes, one of the top sites for Georgia real estate, including Kennesaw, GA homes for sale. Georgia State Homes also services South Carolina real estate and North Carolina homes for sale.

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Freeze Protection

Freeze protection only helps if it works.

I touched on this subject in my last post and I have written at length about it before. It is worth repeating every year though, so hopefully some of you will read and benefit from it.

We are entering into that cooler time of year that I enjoy so much. For you, this means that you may be closing your pool or you may need to make sure the freeze protection circuitry is working properly. Let’s take a look at how you can test your freeze protection to ensure proper operation.

First and foremost, our company, Epic Pools, can test your pool’s freeze protection for you. Just call us if you would like us to schedule a visit. On the other hand, if you like to do things yourself, it is a pretty simple process to check the freeze protection out. Read on to find out how.

Locate the air temperature sensor.

Freeze ProtectionThis sensor usually will look one of two ways depending on the type of control system you have. The simplest standalone freeze guards will have a copper wire poking out of the box. Some will just be a wire, others will have a “bulb” on the end. The bulb, as I call it, is just a slightly enlarged copper tube about three or four inches long. In some cases, the wire may be coiled up inside the enclosure, not even poking outside of the box. Either way, you must gain access to this copper wire to perform a test on it. If this involves accessing any high voltage compartments, care should be taken to not be shocked.

Freeze ProtectionThe other type of sensor is standard with most pool automation systems. These systems include Zodiac’s AquaLink RS, Hayward’s AquaLogic or ProLogic, and Pentair’s Intellitouch systems. There are two temperature sensors on these control systems. One checks the water temperature and the other checks the air. We are looking for the air sensor. Typically this sensor is hanging somewhere near the power center box at the pool equipment. Most of the time, it will be located directly underneath the box and may not be attached to anything.

Get a glass of icewater.

Next, you will need to turn your system off. If you have an automation system, make sure it is in Auto mode and not Service or Time Out. Take your glass of icewater to where the temperature sensor is and stick the sensor into the water. Within 15 to 20 seconds (usually much less), the pump should turn on, indicating proper function of the freeze protection. Once the pump turns on, pull the sensor out of the icewater and allow it to warm back up, at which point the pump will turn back off.

Conclusion

That is it! You have tested the freeze protection. One word of caution – even if the pump turns on and operates properly, your valves all need to be set correctly so that water is flowing through all plumbing. If any pipe needs to be left off, it should be winterized properly to ensure it doesn’t freeze. If anything did not work for you or you just need help, give us a call and we will check things out further.

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Pool Closing

Professional Pool Closing May Save You Money

Many of you do not realize the dangers that winter poses to your pool. Ice is a powerful force and, left unchecked, it will destroy anything trying to contain it. That’s why it is important to have a pool closing performed. Technically a pool closing means to winterize your equipment and plumbing, then covering your pool. As an alternative you can make certain that your equipment is running and water is moving through all of the pipes whenever it is cold enough to freeze.

Pool ClosingFirst, let’s look at the option to have us perform a professional pool closing. This is just a general overview and should not be looked at as a guide. Every pool is different and requires individual assessment. What works for one pool may not work for another and some pools should not be closed at all. That said, our standard pool closing consists of cleaning the pool, adding winter chemicals, removing any railings, and draining a small amount of water. We typically remove the directional fittings from the wall returns and then blow air through the entire system, plugging off the returns to keep water out. This insures that the pipes are empty and will not freeze. Once the pipes are blown out, we remove all drain plugs from the equipment, allowing any remaining water to drain out. Timers are disabled and electrical breakers are turned off for the winter. At this point, we cover the pool and you can forget about it for a while.

Freeze GuardThe other option you have is to make sure the pool is running any time the temperature is below freezing. This can be accomplished manually by turning the pool on as needed or with a device commonly referred to as a freeze guard. The problem with turning the pump on manually is that people tend to forget things. It seems simple at first, but somewhere along the way you may forget, and it only takes one time to cause terrible damage. You could just leave the pump running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but most people would never run their pump like that during the winter. That is why a freeze guard is an important device for any pool left open during the coldest months. If you have an automated system like the Jandy AquaLink RS or Hayward AquaLogic, there is freeze protection built in. It should still be tested to make sure it is functioning each year. If you have a mechanical time clock, you can have freeze protection added alongside the timer. Once again, it is important to verify that the freeze guard is operable every year. Even with freeze protection installed and working, you must make certain that water is able to flow through every pipe and there is one last worst case scenario; what if there is a power failure? Many times during our worst freezing weather, power lines fail and leave us without power for hours or days. This is enough to convince many people to just close the pool and be done with it.

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