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Opening 101

This may seem like basic information for someone who has been a swimming pool or spa owner for a long time, but we see many customers who still struggle knowing the steps of a spring start up. Even customers who have been doing this for years still struggle due to the everyday daunting tasks of life! Don’t sweat it, we do this for a living and sometimes we even need a refresher in the spring!

For a spa, it is a matter of rinsing out and draining any excess antifreeze that may have been added for proper winterization, wiping down and cleaning out the shell of the spa as per factory recommendations (I prefer an all natural – all purpose cleaner and then going with a protective finish to the shell such as Leisure Time Fast Gloss). Don’t forget about your spa cover! There is a solution called Pristine Mist to wash the underbelly of the cover to help prevent mildew. A simple warm water and soap mixture should get the job done for the top, dry off and apply a UV protector, Sunstar makes a great product that we carry. The filters should be cleaned with a degreaser solution and rinsed thoroughly as well as dried fully before they are put back into the spa for better overall filtration. After the water comes up to temperature (water can change chemistry a bit after it is heated) test the water, sometimes metals can fall out of solution due to PH and Chlorine imbalances, your first step after a fill is to add a chemical such as Pristine Check to hold the metals that cause staining on the shell and filters…especially if you have well water. Capo makes a great pre-filter for the garden hose that removes most organic impurities. While filling the spa make sure to direct the hoses down into the filter compartment the best you can, this can help eliminate air bubbles that can cause hiccups in the pump. (For more information on caring for your spa refer to https://eaglepoolspainc.blog/2017/12/11/i-just-bought-a-hot-tub-now-what/ ).

Pools can be a little trickier. I’m not going to go into too much detail as far as the mechanics of opening because each pool and its equipment can differ. It is best to go to your local pool store and take pictures of their filter set up if need be, ask questions, and pick someone’s brain. A reputable pool store should have staff on hand that can help walk you through a basic filter hook up. In Ground pools can be a little harder to explain due to the different ways they can be plumed, if you feel more comfortable to have someone come out and open the pool for you, try and be there when they come out and watch the procedure. Take notes or even a video of the process. Some pool companies who are opening and closing are not balancing water chemistry or adding the products necessary for an opening, instead they are merely adding liquid chlorine or a low grade generic algaecide and over charging you for it. Many products need time to filter in the water before another is added.

After the pool has been running for a minimum of 24 hours bring a sample to your nearest pool store. The filtration and circulation of the water is important, the water lying on the bottom will be a completely different chemistry than the water on the top. Just like spas, pools also have traces of metals in the water. This can be due to fill water, copper algaecides or outside sources…either way it is important to start up with a scale and stain control of some sort so that the metals do not fall out of solution and cause staining. Balancing the chemistry of the water is imperative not only for the longevity of the pool but for whoever plans to swim. We have many customers complain about their Chlorine turning hair colors or burning their skin and eyes…It’s due to PH , Alkalinity, and metal issues…rarely is it due to over chlorination.

The basic four things that should be added during an opening (regardless of the sanitizer being used…SALT/CHLORINE GENERATORS, BROMINE, CHLORINE, PRISTINE BLUE, BAQUACIL, OZONE, MINERAL, UV…)

  1. Adjust PH &/Or Alkalinity
  2. Add Scale & Stain Control
  3. Shock (this can be a non chlorine shock if there is already sanitizer in the water, but the water needs to be oxidized) Be sure to use a shock that is safe for your sanitizer.
  4. Algaecide for prevention

This is the same order I have been using for our customer base for years (opening and closing) with no issues. Weekly maintenance for pools can vary depending on which sanitizer system is being used. We will touch on that topic at a later date!

Hot Water Therapy

Taking care of yourself should be priority #1. We spend so much time on making sure we are eating the best foods, going to the gym, taking our vitamins, learning holistic ways instead of pharmaceutical ways to heal our ailments, why are we not talking about Warm Water Therapy? Hot Tubs have been seen as luxury items for years, the truth of the matter is these should be necessities for anyone looking to heal their mind, bodies, and spirit at the end of the day. Hot water therapy Dates back to the Roman time period, only Hot Tubs now incorporate jet power which will only add to the increased healing benefits. Be sure to drink plenty of water, keeping hydrated is extremely important. Remember even though you might not be able to see it or feel it, you are perspiring while in the hot tub.

Buoyancy – When the body becomes submerged into the warm water, gravity is reduced up to 90% which relieves a huge amount of pressure from your muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. This will also help decrease swelling and inflammation as well being a large help to those suffering from arthritis. Buoyancy also makes stretching physically easier.

Arthritis – Warm water therapy will loosen your joints which decreases the swelling and inflammation. This reduces pain and actually has a prolonged effect after the person has left the Warm Water.

Blood Pressure – University of Oregon published a study that states regular hot immersions can lower your blood pressure. Passive heating actually raises the level of nitric oxide and dilates blood vessels while significantly decreasing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure with lasting affects after exiting the hot tub. This could be a help to those looking to decrease their blood pressure in a lasting way.

Back Pain / Fibroymyalga – Increased Flexibility according to the Medical Director of U.S. Spine & Sport, Vert Mooney, is extremely important when treating back pain. Because the Hot water Therapy increases your flexibility it is automatically decreasing stiffness. Decreasing swelling and inflammation with increased blood circulation makes Hot Water Therapy ideal for those managing lower back pain. Gentle stretching while in the hot tub stimulates blood flow to stiff and frozen joints making it much more comfortable for those in pain to stretch more easily inside the Hot Tub. Hot Water therapy allows your muscles to extend more so then being out of the water, you have more of a range of motion in the Hot Water then anywhere else. the reason is, it softens connective tissue through a thixotropic effect, a lot like plastic softens with heat, these affects on the connective tissue lasts after exiting.

The reduction of Lactic Acid in ones body is what causes soreness, when entered into the hot tub the increased blood flow helps reduce the Lactic Acid build up making it a preventer of the sore muscles. It is also used as a recovery tool by helping the joint and connective tissue heal faster due to the increased blood circulation that happens when using hot water therapy says Dr. Becker from the National Aquatics and Sport Medicine Institute. The heat of the water opens up your blood vessels which allows the blood to flow more efficiently through the body. With this you see an increase in oxygen and nutrients to the muscles helping damaged tissue. This is also going to clean toxins from the body quicker.

According to Ann Vincent, MD, medical director of the Mayo Clinics Fibromyalgia department, states flexibility lasts long after you exit the Hot Tub. Warm water exercises 2-3 x’s weekly have been reported by patients that it reduces their pain level as much as 40% and their physical function increased. The additional benefits they reported was an emotional boost and also helping with their sleep patterns

Restless Leg Syndrome – We have a customer testimonial that stated his RLS was cured after using his hot tub regularly. This can also affect your sleep due to uncontrolled leg movements. The jets of the Hot Tub will actually lower the tension on your muscles while also releasing endorphins to help manage stress NATURALLY while increasing your blood circulation making your muscles loosen.

Headaches – Lowering the tension on your muscles can help ease a tension headache. The heat and steam can help with any congestion one may be suffering from helping with sinus headache. The warm water dilating your blood vessels can also relieve symptoms regardless of where the headache may be stemming from.

Magnesium Levels – Most people are not getting enough Magnesium, adding some Epsom salts to your Spa can raise your magnesium levels up to 35%. Low magnesium levels can cause weakened bones, headaches, and feelings of anxiousness. Those who may be suffering with diabetes should stay away from extra magnesium, this can stimulate the release of insulin.

Mental Health/PTSD – The Autonomic Nervous system is the motherboard for bio-regulation. It is composed of two parts that regulate the bodies functions including our moods, emotions, organ system function, and physical state. The 2 sections of the Autonomic nervous system are the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous system. Dysfunction in the form of too much influence by either side can have negative effects on our emotional, mental and physical health. The body functions optimally when these two systems are in balance. Too much influence form the Sympathetic nervous system can lead to stress and several related physical, emotional and mental problems. Those immersing in a hot tub set at 102 degrees found the influence of the Sympathetic nervous system is diminished allowing the Parasympathetic influence to balance out. This leads to a greater sense of relaxation, peacefulness, calmness, and overall well being, those tested stated the balanced affect lasted well after they exited the hot tub.
In 2015 Dr. Bruce Becker also went as far to say it can help with Dementia/Stroke patients and their cognitive abilities, with increased blood flow to the brain creating more cognitive function which in turn is recovering the brain quicker from Traumatic Brain injuries.

Kidney – Functions of the kidneys becomes more efficient, edema is reduced which can be life threatening.

Sleep – Soaking in a Hot Tub for 20-30 minutes at least two hours prior to bed time could be the answer you’ve been searching for in regard to a great nights rest. According to Bruce Becker M.D. director of the National Aquatics and Sports medicine institute, only 20 minutes needs to be spent in the hot tub to feel the maximum benefits (this goes for joints and muscles too). Warm water raises the body temperature, your body will then enter a rapid cool down phase which is also helping your body relax. Ideal temperature for sleeping according to the National Sleep Foundation is between 60-67F Degrees.

Diabetes – Regular usage of Hot Water Therapy can actually reduce blood glucose levels while also improving blood circulation which in turn reduces the symptoms many Diabetics have due to poor circulation. In 1999 McKee Medical Center in Colorado conducted a three week study that showed improvements in body weight and blood sugar control as well as a reduced dependence on Insulin.

Cardio – The National Aquatics & Sports Medicine Institute show hot water immersion up to the neck causes a shift in blood volume. This is moving the blood from the extremities to the chest which will shift the increased amount of blood in the heart. Additional blood in the heart improves the heart function by increasing the volume of blood that each heart beat actually pumps through the circulatory system. This is also what happens when you are doing a cardio workout, in a sense tricking the body you’re working out without causing a strain on your heart.

A study was performed using the hot tub for a half an hour 6 days a week with no change in workout routine or diet, the participants lost 4 lbs in one month. Research shows after 6 weeks Another group sat in the hot tub for an hour at a time compared to men cycling on a bike. The study found those sitting in the hot tub were burning just as many calories as someone taking a half hour walk…without any physical activity other then just relaxing in hot water! The study showed a greater reduction in the average arterial blood pressure as well as their blood sugar levels peaking after eating being 10% lower then those who exercised.

Another win for those who enjoy sports, when warm water dilates the blood vessels allowing oxygen to feed your muscles can actually help an athlete perform at a higher level for a longer period of time. Do not just stop at stretching, you can do push ups or arm lifts against the side of the hot tub without feeling as if you are straining yourself to do so!

Hot Tubs are not just luxury items, they are here to help with your overall health and wellness especially when being used daily. Please consult your Dr. when starting any new health regime. Those suffering from cardiovascular issues can add stress to their heart if the water is too hot. It is also important to mention anything over 104 degrees in considered dangerous for everyone according to The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Don’t forget to stay hydrated!

References

1.) Bruce Becker, M.D.; National Aquatic Sports Medicine Institute
2.) Can you get the benefits of exercising by having a hot bath? July 12, 2016 http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-36744906
3.) Warm Water Works Wonders on Pain. arthritis.org
4.) Vert Mooney, Medical Director of U.S. Spine and Sport, spine-health.com
5.) Ann Vincent, MD, medical director of the Mayo Clinic’s Fibromyalgia Clinic in Rochester, Minn. arthritis.org
6.) Scott Webb July 2017; The Hot Tub Health Movement. aquamagazine.com
7.) newsweek.com Why taking a hot bath might be as good as exercise. Steve Faulkner 3/22/17. Loughborough University
8.) Research: Water Immersion Yields Neurological Benefits; Eric Herman 4/2017, aquamagazine.com

I Just Bought a Hot Tub, Now What?

Confused about how to properly maintain your hot tub? You are not alone. The number one thing recommended for those buying used or inheriting a spa is purging the lines. Airborne diseases such as legionnaires disease can hide in the lines of the spa if not properly treated over time. Hot tubs that have not been maintained properly by previous owners are a cause for concern and can lead to death! There are also pre filters that can be attached to your garden hose that will prevent metal, minerals, and other outside contaminants from entering into the spa, this is highly recommended for those with well water. Most all reputable Pool & Spa stores in your area should be able to test your water for you while also providing advice on how to maintain your spa over time…Keep in mind, there are many different ways to chemically treat your spa which we will handle in the next blog.

The number one complaint that I hear about is skin irritation, along with lung irritation, and burning eyes. This could be for a number of reasons, lets start with Bio-Film. Bio-Film which is resistant to all sanitizers and is difficult to remove, can cause high demand on sanitizers causing you to add more products which in turn raises TDS levels in the spa. Higher sanitizer levels can cause this irritation, It is important to at least purge your lines once a year to prevent Bio-Film build up. Usually the reason for rash’s and irritated eyes are due to a Alkalinity/PH issue. Hot Tub manufactures recommend draining and refilling the spa every 3-4 months to make balancing the water chemistry a little bit easier for users causing less issues down the line.

Cleaning your filters is also an important part of hot tub maintenance. They make many different types of instant cartridge cleaners as well as overnight soaks. It is recommended you clean your filters with the instant cartridge cleaner monthly with an overnight soak every time you drain and refill, this will get off any built up oils, grease, and minerals. Allowing the filters to completely dry before placing them back into the hot tub is an important part of the process, this allows the fibers of the pleated fabric to expand and fluff up to provide a larger filtration area. This can be inconvenient if you have only one set of filters. It is NOT recommended that you power wash your filters, this can actually rapidly age your cartridge filter and downgrade the filtration flow.

Although the pleated filters are a simple design, they are seriously worked, which is why it is recommended that you chemically clean them. Hot water therapy in a spa causes pores on the body to expand allowing oils and dead skin cells, debris from the skin and sometimes the protective oils on your skin which cause the spa user to complain of dry skin patches. To put this into perspective, 2 people in a 500 gallon spa release the same amount of body oils as 80 people in a typical backyard pool. ONE BATHER in a spa produces 3 pints of perspiration in ONE HOUR, think about that for a minute without wanting to throw up in your mouth. Another problem that can come from being in a hot tub for too long is dehydration. With the amount one perspires without even being aware, it is extremely important to stay hydrated…Alcoholic beverages do not count :). There are products such as natural enzymes that can help break down the bodily oils and debris so that your sanitizer does not get used up so quickly trying to attack those items and can work on killing bacteria instead! These enzyme products also help with filtration cleanliness and the reduction of water line rings.

Water chemistry can be a bit of an over load for some people. Chemistry was never my favorite subject either. The main thing spa users need to keep in mind besides their sanitizer levels are Alkalinity, PH & Hardness levels. A weekly test should be done to the spa water to insure the best user experience possible. Most people who complain of skin irritation believe it is because of the Sanitizer they are using, it’s usually caused by low alkalinity and PH levels making the water acidic and an unfriendly environment for your skin! Not only does the acidic water harm your skin and eyes but it can also be detrimental to the acrylic or fiberglass shell and the internals of the spa itself while also depleting your sanitizer levels. Calcium being too low can cause corrosive water which will break down metal fittings, heat exchangers and the spa shell itself as well as causing foaming issues. Too much calcium can lead to cloudy water, scaling on the spa surface as well as the internal spa equipment. There are sequestering agents that can be used which bonds to the calcium not allowing them to fall out of solution. This is even more important when it comes to hot water, the hotter the water is the easier it is for the calcium to fall out of solution.

blog spa phot

Soft Touch

This product could really change your pools over all look, quality, and feel when given the chance.  It is a powerful formula that is not impacted by sunlight or evaporation like many other chemicals on the market today for your swimming pool. Maintaining a level between 30-50 ppm (Dosage is 5 lbs per 5,000 gallons) can improve your sanitizer level efficiency between 35-50%. We are not just promoting it for this huge benefit alone, it gets better.

1.) Will work with ANY sanitizer system.

2.) Reduces eye and skin irritation.

3.) Water will feel softer & silkier, regardless of your salt or water hardness levels.

4.) Water will sparkle like never before!

5.) Maintain an ideal PH throughout the pool season which can be huge for those who         own Chlorine Generators (Salt System).

6.) Reduces filter cleaning time.

7.) Algaestatic properties helps prevent algae from producing.

8.) Acts as a natural buffer in the water helping prevent corrosion, another huge help for those with Chlorine Generators (Salt System).

Going into a little more detail, Soft Touch actually stops the algae cell from producing food (photosynthesis) while also stopping it from eating it (metabolizing). This happens due to the locking of special molecules in the cell called nucleotide co-enzymes. Soft Touch can also act a bit like a chelating agent with calcium by locking it up and not allowing it to cause scaling from precipitations of salts crystalizing on the spool. This process can be sped up with high PH levels which is also something Soft Touch can control.

There are many pool companies out there that may be trying to sell you unnecessary specialty products, this is not one of them. We have experimented and tested this product in not only our home pools, but also the 15 display pools that we have. We will never go without it again!

 

 

Soft Touch

Winterizing

This time of the year is a sad time for many pool customers in our area. With winter around the corner and the kids back to school, many are looking to close their pool down for the season. Sometimes a heat pump can extend the swim season in this area, but with no heater, the water temperature drops quickly this time of the year. There is no perfect time to close the pool. Keep an eye on the weather in your area. Indian summers are a possibility in this area. To avoid any issues when opening, close later then you think you may need to. Add liquid Chlorine or Algaecide again if you see the weather is hot after you close the pool down for the season.

There are many different ways to close down a swimming pool for the year chemically. What we have found works best is balancing the water chemistry, a dose of a natural enzyme, shock, Scale & Stain control, as well as an Algaecide. Some of these chemicals can die quickly due to high chlorine levels in the water. It is best to have your chlorine level brought up to an acceptable range so that you can shock with a non chlorine shock, allowing the enzymes and Algaecide to work to their full potential. Generic closing kits typically contain a non chlorine shock and a low percentage Algaecide.

Pillows, water tubes, plugs, pool covers and cover clips… Pool pillows are meant to go under Above Ground pool covers to produce a trough around the pool to allow for easy removal of water on the cover itself. Some find them to be a nuisance, if you prefer no pillow, you may just have to drain the water off the cover more often. It is extremely important to drain the water off of the pool cover, not just for the life of the pool walls, but also for the life of your winter cover. There are instances where if the water isn’t drained off the cover, the weight from the water on the cover will push the water inside your pool up and over the pool wall causing most customers to think they have a leak in their pool over the winter.

Water tubes are typically for customers who have In Ground Pools. They are used to secure the cover to the deck surrounding the pool. Above Ground pools could also use these if they have decks around their pool. Do not fill the water tubes all the way, water expands when it freezes and will cause the water tube to burst over the winter. It is important to use the proper plugs to close your pool properly. Your closest pool professional should be able to assist with this, there are different sized plugs for different openings. Pool Covers are usually 3-5 feet larger than the pool size, this is to ensure there is room for draping. Cover clips are used on Above Ground pools to connect the cover to the coping. If you are doing this all the way around the pool then typically a cable and winch is not needed. This stops too much wind from getting up underneath the cover. Cover Clips are ideal for those in windy areas.

Be sure to adjust your Alkalinity and Ph; Leaving the water too acidic can wreak havoc on your pool surface over the winter.

Salt Water Swimming Pools

 Just think about being on the beach, walking along the sand…then looking up at all the houses that are being pounded by the salt water. Think about winter storms and the importance of cleaning your car after the salt adheres to the finish.  While most people want Salt Systems AKA Chlorine generators attached to their pool, they do not realize the future damage being done to the surface and the underlining of the pool, which is caused by the 100’s of pounds of salt being added to the water. Most Above Ground pools actually void the warranty if the home owner attaches a chlorine generator.

     If you are thinking about salt, ask yourself why? Do you think it is non chlorine? Because it’s not. Do you think it is better for the environment? It’s not, some states actually prohibit pool owners from draining their salt pools because they are afraid of salt getting into the streams, rivers, and creeks. Do you think it’s maintenance free? Because it’s not. Do you like the way the water “feels”? There are other products that can give you that same feel, without spending thousands of dollars on a salt system. A chlorine level still needs to be maintained and typically a higher one than just straight Chlorine. Battling PH is also another issue salt customers run into due to the High PH of the liquid Chlorine the generator is making. Concrete/ Gunite customers, not only will you be fighting a high PH with a concrete pool, but now you will also be fighting PH fluctuations due to the Chlorine you are generating. You also need to stay away from Calcium Hypo shocks which can cause scaling on the generator. Scaling can also be caused by high PH levels and phosphates! Even fiberglass pools can be affected by Salt pools, scaling can end up covering the fiberglass shell if proper levels are not maintained. The cells need to be cleaned and a monthly maintenance product should be used as well to help prevent any scaling. The pool will still need to be shocked with either a liquid chlorine or a non chlorine shock when organics start building up in the water. Just be sure you are aware of all the options as well as the pro’s and con’s before making a decision. 

     There are so many different options for chemically maintaining a pool that do not involve the maintenance and corrosiveness of salt/chlorine generators. 

  1. UV/Ozone systems, you treat your drinking water with UV/Ozone, why not your pool water?
  2. Pristine Blue, which is a liquid copper based product added every other week and a non chlorine shock is also used weekly.
  3. The Frog Mineral system, which allows you to use less Chlorine than public drinking water to sanitize the water along with a non Chlorine shock.
  4. Baquacil, which is a soap based sanitizer and a Hydrogen Peroxide shock. 
  5. Bromine, which is slightly less harsh than straight Chlorine.
  6. Good old fashioned Chlorine tablets! 

     Regardless of what you choose to sanitize your water, it is always important to also oxidize/shock your pool every 7-10 days, after heavy bather loads, and heavy rainfall. Outside contaminants get into the water and will eventually build up over time causing some people to wish they never owned a pool. Even if the water is clear, SHOCK. A non chlorine shock can be used, this will still oxidize the water without raising your chlorine level. 

   Below are a few examples of the damage Salt can cause to a pool surface. 

First blog post

We as a pool store wanted to do something different. As a home owner it is hard to know if you are getting the best information possible when it comes to maintaining your pool that you and your family swim in summer after summer. We proudly have employees who have been with this company for many years and who have a plethora of knowledge. Some that was learned through experience and some that was obtained through experimenting and research. We hope that through this blog consumers can be given unbiased advice by pool professionals!