Love to swim in my pool!
Whew! Well another summer is coming to an “official close”, but that doesn’t mean we do not have a few more good weeks of fun and swimming left.
I am writing this from a little respite from the lake and we are expecting an awesome weekend with highs near 80 degrees. While, this time of year usually spurs a mass exit from the backyard BBQ’s and pool parties as school sessions begin we can usually count on some more warm weather to continue through September in the form of an Indian Summer.
Personally, I close the pool as late as possible. I will most likely still swim until the cold nights no longer justify keeping the heater on. I still will run the pool as Beans our golden will still find it necessary to play ball or just cool himself off! Once it does get cool, I also turn down the running time of the filter to 5-6 hours a day and the pool will remain clean.
It is a personal preference when to close your pool, for some with children, school brings a myriad of projects, sports and other activities where the pool is no longer used. Others who are not fortunate to have heaters will no longer be able to dip their toes in because they have no desire to swim in uncomfortably cool water. For me, if I am not swimming I can still enjoy the site of the pool and running water versus the pool closed up with the cover on it thinking about when the first snow fall may arrive!
If you are ready to close up the pool, book your appointments early as service companies get booked quickly. For those of you with spillover spas you will be using the spa for weeks to come, just don’t wait till the very last minute to close. As a general rule I tell people to close at the time where the leaves are getting ahead of you and you no longer can keep up with scooping them out. Always close your pool chemically balanced, and clean; and your springtime opening will be less tedious.
If this weekend is your last pool party then please have a safe and fun weekend. If you need further tips on closing your pool, you can find a previous blog post on the subject. I will however suggest that in ground pool owners have their pools professionally closed to assure your lines are properly winterized. With that it has been a pleasure working with customers and subscribers helping them enjoy their pools during what was it seems was a short summer, but it was a good one just the same.
Fortunately, the news of Ushers’ sons near drowning will hopefully have a happy ending but I would like to use this news to bring attention to what is really important when you are a swimming pool owner, parent, and caretaker of young ones near a swimming pool.
Some may consider this as opportunist, but I am using the famous singers name because I am hoping more people will read this and then in turn implement and walk away with a little more information that may save their child’s or other loved ones life. I am a big proponent of education in the area of pool safety so we can inform more people on the safety options and issues a pool owner needs to consider.
First some statistics:
Drowning is the 2nd leading cause of injury/death in the USA in children under 15 years of age
67% of all drowning events occur in backyard spas, pools and bathtubs with the majority occurring while the child’s supervisor assumes the child is safe indoors. (Door and gate alarms can help with accidental drowning’s by alerting adults when young ones leave the house without adult knowledge.)
A child can drown in as little as 2-8cm of water in as little as 30 seconds, less time than it takes to answer a phone call.
In the news today was a particular incident. According to news reports, Ushers’ son was entrapped by a drain cover which can be either a main drain that suctions the pool water up into the filter or a low suction line which is usually on the wall of the pool but just as powerful and dangerous should they not have the proper drain cover attached. Skimmers are also considered suction lines.
In recent years the Virginia Graham Baker Act (VGBA) was enacted to prevent such accidents. Commercial pools were required to update all their main drain covers and low suction line covers as well as other requirements to make the pool safer so that if someone or something blocked the drain the pump system would automatically turn itself off. Various Safety Vacuum Release Systems (SVRS) were created to be added to existing pools and new pools to eliminate entrapment.
Although the technology and materials are available, there are many existing pools where the need to update the system is not always mandatory so there are many pools out there with older drain covers and no SVRS so it is up to the pool owner to update. This is just one layer of safety a pool owner should be considering.
In this most recent tragedy involving Ushers’ son, what could someone do to prevent this from happening again: Update all the main drain and suction covers to be in compliance with VGBA, and of course inspect pools often to make sure all covers and safety equipment on the pool are secure and in proper working order.
If this situationon happens and you are the adult at the pool you should have someone or yourself immediately turn off the pool pump, have someone call emergency services and bring the person who is entrapped to the waters surface and if unconscious and not breathing begin CPR until emergency personnel arrive. The key of any adult supervision is to have your wits about you and staying calm so the proper steps can be taken to save a life. I like to tell our customers to always have someone who is knowledgeable in CPR whether it is mom, dad, an older sibling or the nanny.
There are so many different layers of safety available to the pool owner; while you may not be required to have all of these I do not see why a pool owner would not have every precaution available. Accidents will happen of course, and I do not know the full story of Ushers’ particular situation, I can only wish that he and his family have a happy and healthy outcome, but once again the wake up call has rung so please take a look at your own pool and make sure you are the safest you can be.
For more layers of protection and safety for your swimming pool go to: http://www.amazon.com/author/propoolgirl for guide books on Water Safety or check out our blog which has many articles on safety at http://prospectpoolsllc.com/blog
For CPR instruction and update courses visit http://www.redcrossrefresher.com/q/adult-cpr/refresher-4-keeping-beat/
Information regarding the Virginia Graham Baker Act can be found at the Consumer Product Safety Commission website at http://www.cpsc.gov
As we turn the corner into the month of August, adults tend to move far ahead of themselves by thinking of what’s to come. Already, back to school ads are playing on the television, and some have begun thinking of the holidays coming down the line in a few short months. UGH!
Let’s not forget that there is still more summer to live and enjoying the outdoors with your family and friends is always a fun memory to put into our hearts.
If you own a swimming pool you continue to enjoy the joys of outdoor BBQ’s, pool parties and are planning for the final hurrah on Labor Day. Children are still on school vacation till the end of the month or after Labor Day.
If you do not own a swimming pool, you can still plan camping trips, and other vacation jaunts and family fun.
If you were thinking of a building a swimming pool but couldn’t decide there is still plenty of time to move ahead with your project. Late summer and fall are perfect times for building, there is no hurry to get the pool in before a holiday party, you can plant your lawn and landscaping around the pool without worrying about the hot scorching sun burning everything before it germinates and you have the entire fall to prep your backyard dream so that in the spring you are ready to go. We actually build several pools each fall and work right up to Thanksgiving with our projects.
Now I suppose as we move towards September the average family will begin thinking of the actual pool closing. Personally, we close our pool at the latest possible date, when the leaves dropping in the pool start to overcome the time I want to put in scooping them out. Generally we close in October, and for some of our customers they will close that late as well. My rule of thumb is close as late as possible and open as early as possible and usually you will open your pool with very few problems with the clarity of your pool water.
I find in our area, once the kids go back to school, parents want to close up this chapter of the year and shut the pool down. Our most popular week for closings is that week after Labor Day; even though there is still more swimming time to be had. But I also understand that children go right back to their busy schedules of school and after school activities where the pool may not get used.
So what should you be planning ahead for when thinking of closing the pool down? Well, for one I am a big proponent of the Safety Cover. The newer mesh ones have a tighter weave and have UV protection so that nearly 99% of the sunlight is blocked from entering the pool leaving you with a nice clear and clean pool at the time of your opening. The other advantage is that it is a taut cover held to the ground with springs so there is no standing water that needs to be pumped off it through out the winter, and it will not fall in the pool leaving you with a spring mess.
Of course it is a safety cover, which means that when you throw a ball out for the dog and he runs across it each time he won’t fall in the ice cold water. Also these covers are built so that children who may wander across the cover may get their feet a little damp but they will not fall into the pool.
Your other cover options are the old fashioned tarp type cover that covers the pool and is held down by water tubes. These will collect water on top and if you do not pump the water off regularly the cover may fall in dragging what ever leaves and debris on top of the cover with it. This is why I caution people not to use cinder blocks or bricks because if they go in the pool they may cause damage to your pool liner or surface.
Above Ground pools will use the tarp type of cover as well which is held tight to the pool by using a cord that goes around the cover. A pillow or tube can be placed in the middle of the pool prior to putting the cover on. This helps the water to fall toward the edges of the pool theoretically to help with the siphoning of water off the cover when it rains and snows.
TIP: If you are using water tubes or air pillows fill these with air only about 75-80% full. Leave some space for them to expand and contract.
If you need a new cover don’t wait until the last minute. We measure for safety covers and custom order each cover, meaning we go out and measure the pool and stairs and any other cut outs, waterfalls and other features that the cover will need to fit over. When the cover is installed we will need to drill holes in the concrete to install the grommets which the springs attach too. This is the labor intensive part of the project.
Can you do install the cover yourself? I am sure there are some handy people who can, but sometimes there are over 30 holes to drill, and placing them so the cover fits properly can be an art especially if you have water features. You also want to think of all the money you spent on your deck and ask yourself if you feel confident enough to do the project. If you have blue stone or other materials for your decking think twice before drilling. We normally include your pool closing and installation with the price of a safety cover so consider that when you call for quotes on a cover.
Also pertaining to your pool closing is what chemicals to use. Yes there are closing kits out there but really just keep it simple. We use shock and algaecide, and for an in the ground pool we blow the lines out and add antifreeze to the lines and skimmers. We also use a gizmo or plastic plug in the skimmer which may help the skimmer from cracking should water freeze in there.
TIP: Bring your pump and filter once empty of water inside to the garage, basement or shed. If you have a sand filter, drain the water completely. If you have a cartridge filter, soak the cartridge in a filter cleaner solution and if you have a DE filter clean these as well and do an acid wash every other year or so to keep them at their best.
TIP: Don’t forget to turn off electrical breakers for the pool equipment.
For more pool maintenance questions and tips check out my swimming pool books at http://www.amazon.com/author/propoolgirl
If you follow these suggestions your spring time opening will be a breeze.
Lastly, if you own an in ground pool I will concede to the do it yourself owners that opening is quite easy, but if you have any doubts, closing your pool is a little more involved. Every year we get those who did not blow out the lines properly or winterize their heater correctly and they face the beginning of their swimming season with an expensive fix. Close the pool professionally and if you want to save some money, open your pool yourself if you are budget conscious.
For you lower east and west coasters, here is where we may be a little envious as you obviously have a longer swimming season than most of the country but we still have at least a full month to push the swimming envelope and our Fall season is spectacular. Plan those parties and enjoy the outdoors when ever possible. That means shutting those video games down and turning the television off and actually socializing with the ones you love! Have fun and make those memories!
Visit us at http://www.prospectpoolsllc.com or read more helpful blogs at http://www.prospectpoolsllc.com/blog/
Well it is a common question we get when customers come in and ask what they should do to keep their pool clean and clear while they are away on their summer vacation.
Of course the easy answer would be to have a relative or neighbor keep an eye on the pool by testing the water and making sure that the filter and pump are running properly. But what if you aren’t familiar with your neighbor or have no one that can stop over to check on your property?
Here are a few ideas for those of you without the manpower. Pool ownership is always easier if you are as hands free as possible and in todays standards there are many gadgets and pool supplies to make this happen. Whether you are an in the ground pool or above, first and foremost would be to add a timer to your system. This device allows you to preset times of operation of your pool filter and pump on a daily basis. As an example you can set your filter and pump to turn on at ten in the morning and shut off at six in the evening. This eliminates the need to physically be there to operate the pool.
Another hands free system is to use some form of automatic chlorine feeder such as a salt or mineral system. If you have your filter and pump coming on automatically then chlorine will be infused into the pool water eliminating the need for daily doses by someone. There are even controls which will dispense other chemicals such as PH balancers, but if you are going away for a week, just having the timer and chlorinator will help you come back to a pool that is not a swamp.
If you don’t have the automatic timer and chlorinator your options are somewhat limited. You can fill a floater full of chlorine and have that floating in the pool, but you will need a physical person to turn the pool on and off during each day in order to get proper circulation. Some people will just shock the heck out of the pool and deal with it when they get back which certainly can be an option, but when you do return make sure you check all your chemical levels before you go swimming. In the summer heat such as what we have been experiencing a pool can turn green pretty quickly without proper operation and care.
Another question for you may face before you go away for a week of fun is whether you are leaving your pool safe and secure from others entering the pool area. Before you leave take care to leave gates locked, alarms on and hopefully a neighbor who will keep an eye on your property. Hmm! Getting to know a neighbor may be a trend here. Just remember to reciprocate.
While it is entirely up to you, think first before offering the use of the pool to others such as friends, neighbors and family while you are away. No one knows your property like you do, nor are you free from liability should something happen while you are away. If you do decide to allow guests, have important numbers such as emergency numbers prevalent in the pool area, leave your contact information and if you have a trusted pool company you use regularly leave their number in case there is need of repairs.
Finally, upon return remember there are still a good amount of vacation days at home to use around your pool so keep up your maintenance and safety diligence throughout the summer. We have been having a great swimming season thus far and in these recent heat waves we have been using our pools heavily so don’t ignore or put off repairs which can keep others safe or be more costly later on.
** Upon the news of another near drowning this week, I think we can prove ourselves to be more diligent in watching our young children by using all the safety nets available to us. Adult supervision, gate, door and window alarms are paramount when young children are at a home with a pool; please take a moment to check yours?
For more safety ideas and swimming pool tips visit my author website at http://www.amazon.com/author/propoolgirl or take a look at our website at http://www.prospectpoolsllc.com
Hi everyone! Well, it took a while but summer has finally arrived and with a vengeance!
We are now on our third day of 90 and above and yes, being the humans that we are, we are already complaining about the heat. Funny, two weeks ago we were at the opposite end of the spectrum with the nights being cooler than usual.
I am going to be brief here so that you can go back to your summer festivities. I often get asked “when should I run my pool filter?” and “for how long?”. I also know many of you have been maybe cheating a little and only running the filter for 4 or five hours and I am going to tell you the money you think you may be saving on electric service will bite you in the you know what in the dollars you are going to spend to treat algae and other chemical issues that will occur if you don’t run your filter long enough.
On a normal summers’ day, I would advice running your filter a minimum of 8-10 hours a day and usually in the day time. If you are in the midst of a heat wave then even longer if your pool is being heavily used. If you have a variable speed pump this will not be such a big deal electrically as you can run the pump on a lower speed if you like and turn the RPM’s up if there is heavy use. If you have a single speed pump, then sorry but running the pump goes with the territory of pool ownership and keeping your swimmers safe.
Remember, if you have an automatic chlorinator, ozonator, salt system etc. that is connected to the filter system your sanitizer is only as good as the amount of time you run the filter as the chlorine is infused into your pool while the pool is running. I will advice you also to test your pool water and make sure all your levels which include, free and total chlorine, alkalinity, ph levels, hardness and cyanuric acid are within the balanced levels. Balanced water chemistry will keep your swimmers safe from skin irritations, germs and bacteria and keep your pool equipment running at peak performance. All these things can cost a pretty penny should you decide to cut corners. For example I have seen heat exchangers leak within a few days on pools considered acidic (lack of PH and Alkalinity). These can be very expensive parts to replace.
I’ll give you a for instance on how one chemical save money on another. Cyanuric Acid levels can help block the sun’s UV’s from draining the chlorine from your pool. Many people do not test for stabilizer (CYA) but will find they may use less chlorine when their levels are at the proper level. Dollars in your pocket!
Here is a myth debunked: If your eyes are burning or skin is itchy, the most likely culprit is not the chlorine but low alkalinity and ph levles! Also if you think your chlorine is too high because you can smell it you actually smell the spent chlorine and most likely should test to make sure your levels are between the 1-3 ppm.
One last thought before I let you back to your pool activities, safety should always be in the forefront of your planned parties and gatherings so always have adult supervision, a properly operating pool with chlorine levels between 1-3ppm and levels of safety through out your backyard activities. Have a great and safe Holiday weekend everyone!
Marco! Polo! I was reminiscing last night with my usual insomniac self, reflecting about what we used to do when we were kids during our summer vacation. Although I didn’t have a swimming pool myself my aunts house was a welcome destination quite often as well as going to the reservoir for a swim. When we weren’t playing in a body of water we were still outside playing various games, going to the park, doing arts and crafts and other fun stuff.
Since the holiday is coming up, indeed, parents are likely to be looking for activities for their children to enjoy so why not bring back some of the oldies but goodies we use to enjoy at their age. You may even feel like joining in the fun as you make new memories for your kids. Here are a few ideas for pool party events and backyard fun.
Marco Polo- choose a player to be Marco and have him keep his eyes shut. This player will shout Marco! And the rest of the players shout Polo; leaving hints of where they are. A new player is picked when Marco tags a player.
Whirlpools-have everyone form a chain and follow the parameter edge of the pool, going around several times until the current carries them, then tell them to try to switch directions and see if they can swim against the current.
Dive games-There are several dive games out there using fish, sticks, hula hoops but if you don’t have those available use quarters. Toss into the pool and have kids dive for them. (Remember to remove them afterward)
Chicken-this is a good one for older kids, have one person sit on the shoulders of another. The person on top wrestles with another pair until the first one topples into the water.
Beach Ball Races-Using two beach balls have two players pushing the balls with their noses till they reach the other side, the victor being the first one to get to the other end.
Relay Races-This is a swim race with kids on each end of the pool. When one reaches the end another kid jumps in and swims to the other side. This continues until the first team goes through all their players.
Best Cannonball Contest-Have a contest on who can perform the best cannonball.
Group games can provide hours of fun for kids and adults alike. A few I remember playing as a kid are;
Tag- One person is selected as it and must tag another person to make them it.
One, two, three red light!-Again one person turns their back on a group and closes their eyes and counts slowly while the group scatters. The counter goes one, two, three red light and then turns around at which point the group must stop and be completely still right where they are. If one person moves and doesn’t freeze they become it.
Badminton-this game is simple and fun and requires a net, rackets and birdie which you hit back and forth like tennis.
Dodge Ball-Using a soft bouncing ball (nothing hard please) a person is selected to be in the middle of group. Dodging the ball as someone throws it at you is the premise of the game. There’s no malice in playing this as a group of kids and each takes turns being the dodger. For those who are into political correctness lighten up or don’t play it. Dodge ball was a fun game for years.
Volleyball-This game is easily played in the pool or yard and is just as much fun if you don’t have a net. You can use a regular volleyball or just a plain old type bouncing ball. See which team can keep it in the air the longest or how many times you can go back and forth without missing.
Bocce and Croquet-Simple games yet require so strategizing and gamesmanship! Equipment is needed for these games but rather inexpensive and can be fun for the entire family.
There are so many more pool games and outdoor games to be discovered and created just use your imagination and go wild! The point is to get out and enjoy the weather, and each other. Why not leave the technology in the house for a few hours and do something physical and social. Create your own summer memories instead of watching reruns or playing video games?
Let me know what your family favorites were when you were growing up! firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great 4th of July. Remember to supervise be smart and safe! Happy Birthday America!
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Often, I am asked this very question whether a solar cover will make a difference in the temperature of the pool water?
First, lets get a few facts straight as to what the proper use of a solar cover is and the actually purpose as there are many misconceptions about what a solar blanket does and doesn’t do. These blue or black blankets are sized to your swimming pool and can be useful in holding in the warmth your water already has. It is important to know that the solar blanket is not a pool water heater. The blanket is usually made out of a resin or polymer plastic and is known by the bubbles that sit on one side of the blanket. (Similar to packing material) They come in various levels of thickness and most have a higher warranty coverage in alignment with the thickness.
A solar cover is useful in increasing by a few to several degrees the warmth from the day’s sun and holding it in when the nights become cooler. The solar blanket can also enhance the efficiency of your pool heater by letting less warmth escape as well as help stymy evaporation when atmospheric temperatures are conducive to condensation and evaporation.
Some towns in our area require a solar blanket be part of the new swimming pool package if a heater is planned on being installed. Not quite sure I agree with that as there are some situations where a solar cover is not appropriate, mainly being the concern of safety for children and pets.
There are also products called liquid solar blankets made from a form of alcohol which is easier to use as you just let the liquid leach into the swimming pool and replace every 30 days or so. You do not see it or taste it and I find they work fairly well. The benefit of a liquid solar blanket is it also eliminates the struggle of putting on and taking off a regular cover which can be quite tedious especially for one person even with a solar reel.
Environmentally, the liquid solar cover may leave less of a footprint than that big bulky blue plastic thing that ends up in the dump in 3-5 years. I personally think the liquid solar market will continue to grow and is the future of heat saving technology.
Of course, I will point out that the regular solar blanket is often used as an additional barrier to keep leaves and other debris out of the pool (not its purpose)but for the most part they are to be used for retaining heat and preventing evaporation.
Please note that a solar blanket is not to be confused as a safety feature, it will not prevent children or pets from falling in the pool and can actually hinder rescue efforts as they may get tangled up in the blanket while trying to free them selves to get out. For other safety tips visit https://amazon.com/author/propoolgirl for this and other swimming pool guide books.
TIP: When the weather becomes very warm keep your solar cover off during sun light hours. Algae can blossom when the cover is kept on during intense heat spells.
**Almost forgot, put solar cover on bubble side down!
This week has been sort of crazy but not as bad as previous years because of the unusual cool weather we have been having here. This doesn’t preclude us from still getting the frantic calls from customers who all of a sudden decide to open their pools two days before the holiday expecting it to be ready for their pool party.
This is usually the time we get a bunch of calls about heaters not working and questions as to how to turn their pea green pools into clean and crystal clear blue pools. Procrastinators beware! There is no magic pill that gets the pool clear in a couple of hours, and most companies while attempting to accomodate their regular customers can be booked through the holiday weekend. So what do you do? Take a deep breathe and remember this is the first of many pool party opportunities available to pool owners this season. Own that you procrastinated and begin to work on your pool by opening and cleaning the pool yourself. Openings are not so bad and there are instructions on my blog site http://www.prospectpoolsllc.com/blog/ It takes some effort but if you don’t begin you will never find yourself sipping that margharita by the pool this weekend.
If you are having a party this weekend, try to open today and keep the filter running, add starting chemicals such as shock and algaecide, and vacuum the pool. If you have a lot of algae and debri on the bottom, vacuum until you can’t see anymore, clean your filter out and once everything settles back to the bottom, vacuum again. Start your chlorination as soon as you open the pool and keep an eye out on your filter pressure to assure your filter runs as efficient as possible. A clear sign that you need to clean out the filter is when the water pressure pushing back into the pool is down to a trickle.
Now, I know how the human mind works and you may be thinking of throwing everything and anything into the pool in an attempt at getting the pool cleaner and faster; but sometimes less is more and you don’t want to waste your dollars on more chemicals than necessary. Get your test strips out and test the water and add what is needed. If the label on the clarifier says 4-6 ounces per 10000 gallons follow those instructions; I know you are so tempted to tell yourself if 6 ounces are called for why not the whole quart, the pool will clear up faster right? Not necessarily so, you may make a bigger mess by clogging up your filter with all that clarifier. If you have a sand or DE filter and your pool is dirty you will certainly need to backwash and you don’t want to backwash your cash right out of the pool do you? Another common mistake is to add too much algaecide, if you use the cheaper kind of algaecides you can end up with suds or foam in your pool. So follow the chemical’s label instructions as there is a reason for them.
For those who have had their pool open and are ready to have their holiday event congratulations to you! Remember to keep safety in mind at all times to have fun and safe swimming. Always have an adult supervising the pool when there are children swimming, stay within touch distance of any child who can not swim. Make sure your safety line is installed and pool alarm is functioning correctly to keep those little ones safe. If you are having libations please remember DO NOT DRINK and DIVE and if you are the designated supervisor Don’t Drink. For more information of water chemistry and pool safety visit http://www.amazon.com/author/propoolgirl. As we begin the official start of the season lets all keep an eye out for eachother.
If you are stressing, keep it light hearted, it is just a pool folks, if you are swimming later than planned there will be more days to swim, no need to stress. Remember, Memorial Day is for remembrance of those who gave dearly for each of us. Thanks to all our milatary and their families for they make the ultimate sacrifice. We thank you for your service!
This is a touchy subject discussed among ourselves in the pool retail industry but also one that has affected not just the swimming pool industry but more and more mom and pop businesses in any retail situation in downtown USA.
I will not sit here and speak for everyone in my industry but use our own experience as one to ask you the consumer to consider your local pool store the next time you think about buying a pool heater and other swimming pool equipment online. I have to admit I am bias as I think you should support your local businesses in your community as they often will be supporters of the community by giving back to youth organizations, sponsor charity events and usually give back to the community regularly. By supporting local business owners you also are continuing the flow of currency in your community allowing others to benefit from a robust local economy resulting in an increased tax base versus having no local business in town and having to accept an increase in personal taxes to support the town budgets. Often times the economics of purchasing everything on line does not resonate or enter our minds but it is time as consumers we think before we buy.
I am not going to sugar coat the facts, a brick and mortar store has the added expenses of rent, mortgage, employees, insurance, taxes, licensing and the carrying of inventory that online sellers may not, hence the differences in pricing. Years ago when this phenomenon began, most retailers didn’t pay attention and perhaps naively thought online retailing was a fad and that changes didn’t need to be made to their own business. Now that everyone sees that online sales continue to grow, the issue for myself and others is how to combat competition with pricing that is well below what we as a dealer can get from our own distributors. I admit it is quite frustrating to have someone who says they can buy what you sell lower than what you can purchase it for yourself.
Answering this conundrum is not always obvious as manufacturers play what I call the MAP game in which anyone they sell their product to is not supposed to sell below the MAP price, however I can tell you online today there are retailers selling way below these prices and nothing is being done to curtail the unfair disadvantage to mom and pop retailers across the country. They are volumn driven, not necessarily service driven.
You the consumer may very well think that’s too bad for you but great for me because I am getting the product at the cheapest price out there. Yet there are a growing number of products being sold that is not OEM or original to the manufacturer but fakes or seconds and refurbished. You need to be savvy as to the quality you are getting for the price as well as be informed to know about warranties, service and return procedures. Some products when purchased on line may come with no warranty by the manufacturer if purchased on line. Let me give you a few examples that I have had in the last couple of years.
I had a customer who purchased a brand name heater on line from a popular discount site, the same kind we sell but we were higher priced (our price did however include installation and our one year warranty for labor). This customer received his heater, and then called the gas company to hook up the gas line and another company to plumb the heater into the filter system, he felt embarrassed to call us because he didn’t buy from us. From day one it didn’t work, he contacted the company he purchased the heater from and it took a week to get a call back. They diagnosed the problem on the phone, and told him to call a local company to remove the part and send it back to them so they could replace it. By the third week of trying to get someone to remove the defective part he called us to see what we could do for him. He was obviously embarrassed and called us as a last resort because he didn’t purchase the heater from us, he was a good customer however, so we were able to speak with our brand name representative and had the approval to change out the part for no cost to the pool owner with in two days using a part from our inventory. In another situation, a customer called us for a price on a new cell for his salt generator. He said he could purchase it on line much cheaper and I warned him to make sure he purchased the correct cell size and that is was an official OEM part or the manufacturer would not honor the warranty. He called me later in the day to order his cell from us as the one he saw online was not an OEM cell, and was for 9000gallon pool and not 40000 like he had. He thanked me for pointing out what to look for and thought he would rather pay more and go with someone who is “watching his back”.
There are many more situations I could convey but these two give a good example of what your local business has in the way of value to you the consumer. So part of my answer is that a community business has to offer something of value that gives you a reason to pay a little more for our service and product. For us we continue to offer a service of convenience, solid quality products and a service and construction crew with over twenty five years of pool experience. We honor the warranty of the products we sell. We carry the parts to what we sell so you are never waiting a week for something to be shipped. We offer the in store knowledge of pool water chemistry, and knowledgeable staff that can usually walk you through a problem without spending money for a service call.
All of the above are just part of what we need to do to compete. In addition, we have funded updates on increased technology, customer loyalty programs and the addition of inventory in the lower to mid price ranges so that we can appeal to all types of budgets. For many who think the big box stores, discount warehouses and catalogues have cheaper prices for chemicals and accessories, I challenge you to check the pricing at your local pool store. I am actually lower in pricing for most common pool chemicals than these giant retailers and you get the benefit of someone who knows what they are talking about and selling to you only what you need.
For most of our long time customers they see the value of shopping locally. I know it is tempting to opt for price only but perhaps you could benefit by checking out your local pool supply retailer. We have all had to make changes to compete but for most of us our service has always been one of constant value. I don’t know where the mom and pop stores will end up ten years from now, I do know that it is all our responsibility to respond and change with the market and for the consumer to understand why it is important to be there for your local markets and what role they play in their choices.
For our customers, we thank you for choosing our company as we are aware that you have choices, we look forward to moving ahead with more to offer you.
For more information see my book on Purchasing Swimming Pool Equipment and other swimming pool guides at http://amazon.com/author/propoolgirl or contact me at email@example.com
Visit our site for swimming pool info www.prospectpoolsllc.com
Every year in May we are getting our swimming pools open and ready for one of the biggest holidays of summer, Memorial Day. Through out the month of May and the entire swimming season we are asking our customers and pool owners nationwide to ask themselves if they have inspected their pools and upgraded and installed as many layers of safety they possible can. Some of these layers involve some monetary cost and others do not and either way as a responsible pool owner you will have as many layers as possible.
A few of these layers of pool safety include such items as automatic covers, pool alarms, and gate, window and door alarms. This is a great time to install new batteries in your pool alarms if required (a good time to check your fire alarms at the same time)check your barriers and fencing to make sure that there are no gaps in coverage or holes where small children can climb under or ways they can climb over. Many times a child will climb a tree or airconditioning unit sitting next to the fence to gain access to the pool area. Do your gates remain closed and self latching and are the latches locked and out of reach of small children? If you have sliding doors with entry into the pool area from your home have you installed door alarms so you can be alerted if a young one leaves the house. Don’t forget the windows that may lead to the pool area as well can be enticing entry levels for kids. The majority of drowning incidents often occur while the parent or guardian thought the child was indoors!
Once you begin opening the pool, check items such as your electrical cords for frayed ends and test your outside GFI protection to see that it is functioning correctly this just takes a few minutes of your time. Take a walk around the pool area and notice any tripping hazards, sharp materials from the pool structure itself that can protrude and cut or leave splinters in children’s feet. Check your heater area for any smell or odors of gas leaks? Call the proper professionals if you have any question regarding your pool equipment.
If you have a deep end pool, install a safety rope that goes across the width of the pool before the pool bottom transitions from the shallow to deep area. This will alert swimmers that there is a point where pool becomes deeper. Make sure all your drain covers and suctions ports are securely attached. Absolutely no one should be allowed into the pool if low suction or main drain covers are missing. Also replace your skimmer and pump baskets should they be cracked as well.
One of the most important layers of safety is YOU! Adult supervision is so imperative to having a safe and fun swimming season. When you are the designated adult to watch the pool it is important that you do not become distracted even for a few moments. Become familiar with your pool and your little swimmers. Some children will have different levels of swimming skills and confidence. Your judgment and ability to keep everyone safe is your responsibility. If you have non swimmers in the pool it is not enough to just throw water wings on them and have them hang by the stairs or onto the edge, you should be in the pool with them within touching distance.
Should an emergency happen, you will want to have a phone available to call for medical assistance, in addition I strongly suggest that CPR should be one of your mandatory skills. The Red Cross has programs and classes in various local settings as well as on line refresher courses visit their site at http://www.redcross.org/takeaclass
These safety ideas are just a few of the safety layers necessary to keep your swimming pool oasis safe and fun for the upcoming swimming season. For further information visit our site www.prospectpoolsllc.com or our blog at www.prospectpoolsllc.com/blog For books related to Swimming Pool Water Safety and other pool subjects visit ProPool Girls’ author site at
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