Selecting your spa

hot tub -Skovish (607x404)Are you enjoying the great sleeping weather that’s soon approaching, with temperatures dipping into the 50′s overnight?

While it’s true that you’re probably getting better sleep, you’re also probably preparing for what’s coming next – pumpkins, autumn leaves and a Skovish pool that’s closed for the winter. If the latter has you in a funk, maybe it’s time to consider installing a Skovish spa!

The benefits of relaxing in a hot tub, even in the dead of winter, is well-documented… so much so that some people can actually write it off on their income taxes when it is prescribed by their doctor. If you’re hooked on the fitness routine you started in your Skovish pool, look into a swim-spa, a cross between a stationary bike and an underwater treadmill.

If you’re looking for social engagement through the winter, well, it’s said that you never know how many friends you have until you get a spa!

There are a lot of reasons to get a Skovish spa and you may even add a few more following a wet test at our retail outlet. Let’s first get down to the basics:

  • Location – Are you going to put your Skovish spa indoors or outdoors? In either case, place it on a flat, level surface that isn’t going to shift. From there, you’ll want to be near water and power sources, with good drainage nearby, and far enough away from structures so you can easily get in to make repairs.
  • Distance – If you’re going to use an outdoors spa in the winter, don’t place it too far from your back door. You’ll want to lay a walkway from the house to the hot tub, too. What seems like a few steps in the summer becomes a treacherous slide when everything freezes over!
  • Power Source – Make sure you know what voltage you can dedicate to the hot tub. It can make a difference in the size of the spa and hydrotherapy features you can fully operate. If electrical work is required, it must be done by a qualified electrician who will issue a certificate to show conformity. It requires a suitable fused spur with an isolator and an R.C.C.D. of maximum 30 milliamp trip rating. The spa can be hard-wired back to the breaker or wired via a suitable waterproof outdoor connector, if it conforms to regulations.
  • Friends – If you’re looking forward to evenings in the hot tub with friends, you’ll want enough room to comfortably entertain. Looking for medical relief? That’s another story! For that, you might prefer the swim-spa.

The bottom line? Come prepared and we’ll do our part in matching your needs with the perfect spa, long before the snow flies!

A midnight dip

37278396 - private swimming pool at nightWant to make the most of your Skovish pool?

Extend your swimming hours … into the evening! With a few tweaks, you can add a few hours of relaxation, exercise, socializing or all of the above. And if you find yourself in need of, say, the perfect float to enjoy the starlit sky, check out our outlets in Luzerne and Shickshinny!

Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • While the water may hold some of the day’s warmth, the night air can give you a brisk wake-up call when you step out of the pool. Make sure to keep large, luxurious towels close at hand to quickly bundle up, or better yet, invest in a plush robe. And a Thermos of hot cocoa might provide a welcome respite as you soak up the poolside atmosphere!
  • Always swim with a buddy, especially at night. And if you’re planning to party, let the neighbors know ahead so they can plan accordingly. Why not invite them to stop over and join the fun? Keep in mind, your community might have noise ordinances in place. If that’s the case, be sure to respect those limitations.
  • Relax. Let the water soak away the day’s tensions and wind down with a leisurely lap or two around the pool. According to studies, it’s a sure way to sleep better that night. (Skip the coffee, by the way. It will do more than just heat you up!)
  • If you find the night addictive – some smooth jazz playing in the background, a candlelit dinner waiting at the poolside, quiet time with friends – consider adding a few night-friendly pool features. You’ll always want to provide lighting at night but to set the mood, there’s nothing like Hayward’s LED lighting. How about adding a fire pit? Come talk to us and we can explore your options!

Poolside essentials

18531332 - life buoy on  a wooden paneled wall with copy spaceYour Skovish pool is in place, the water features bubbling, the landscape turning your backyard into a resort-like retreat.

While you probably went into this with the perfect bathing suit in hand, there’s still a little more shopping to do to make your poolscape complete. It’s time to accessorize, something you can do in a leisurely style as you get a feel for how you’ll use this new playground.

And you’ll find most of everything you need at our outlets in Luzerne and Shickshinny!

Here are few things to think about:

  • Safety first! In addition to the fundamental life buoy hanging on the gate, pick up a life hook and rescue pole. It’s fashioned to “hook” someone struggling in the water so that you can pull them to safety, even without their cooperation. When seconds count, it’s a life-saver. Other things to consider: a cell phone prominently placed and dedicated to calling 911, a plastic-encased poster showing how to perform CPR and, of course, a first-aid kit for the minor bumps and bruises that come along.
  • Make yourself comfortable! That’s key… not only should your patio furniture look good, but it should feel good, too. Of course, you’ll want it made of materials that withstand the weather, though you should still store it away for the winter. From there, look for versatility. An ottoman can double as seating when you have a crowd. And while you’ll want the occasional table, something you can use for an intimate pool-side brunch, you can also put benches to use in a pinch to set out an assortment of finger-foods at your next pool party. Another consideration: Look into an awning of sorts that will give you a shady corner. In the heat of summer, it’s a welcome chaser to a quick dip in the pool.
  • Let’s get this party going! From family-friendly affairs to cocktail hours, there are things you’ll want to keep close at hand. Start with unbreakable glasses; the last thing you want is broken glass underfoot. Gather an assortment of pool toys, noodles, inner-tubes, beach balls and more. A few floats are always fun; have you seen the one shaped like a huge slice of pizza? And toss in some goggles, swim boards and Coast Guard-approved life jackets for your novice guests. Finally, invest in a big, weather-proof storage bin where you can keep them when not in use.

This gives you a start; as time goes on, you can add the floatable Bluetooth speakers, mini-fridge, and other fun embellishments. Enjoy!

Stormy weather

13251888 - rainbow colored umbrella s in heavy rain to use as backgroundAre thunderstorms rolling through your world?

Window-shaking crashes of thunder, waves of lightning, and rivers swollen to overflowing with the resulting rain – we’re seeing it all! Hopefully, you know to stay out of the water when lightning strikes!

But did you realize your Skovish pool needs special attention once things settle back down? Once power is restored and it’s safe to venture outdoors again, gather up your pool supplies and follow this post-storm checklist:

  • If you have enough warning before the storm, make things a little easier on yourself later by moving patio furniture, grills, pool toys, and plants into your garage. It’s no fun fishing them out of the pool when a heavy wind sends them flying! Throw a little algaecide in the water, getting a head start on fighting contaminants. And turn off your pump and disconnect your electrical lines. If you have covers for your equipment, now’s the time to use them!
  • Following the storm, clear debris from your skimmer and pump baskets – watch for any critters that may have taken refuge there – before turning on your pump and filter. That will remove the smaller debris from the water.
  • Now head for the surface debris! Use a skimmer for the leaves and such floating on the water and using a hose, hit the deck, spraying away from the pool to keep the debris from going in the water.
  • Pull out the vacuum and clean the bottom of your pool, again targeting the debris settling there. This is a good time to get rid of any excess water. Turn your filter to “waste,” hook up your backwash hose and turn on the pump, removing enough to put the water level about halfway up the skimmer window.
  • Once all is back in order, check your chemical balances. Storms are known to throw them out of whack and it’s not a bad idea, after a major thunderstorm, to give your pool a shock treatment. Rain often lowers your pH and again, you’ll want to make sure to add the necessary sanitizers to fight any organic contaminants the storm brought in.

When you’re all done and everything’s back in order, go ahead and jump in! You deserve it.

The beauty of vinyl

lit rock pool skovish (1000x667)Don’t let history scare you away from a vinyl-lined Skovish swimming pool.

Back in Grandpa’s day, pools were pedestrian, cookie-cutter rectangles surrounded by uniform concrete decking. Even the color was non-negotiable in most cases.

But those days are long past. Technology and our customers’ needs have changed with time. Today, vinyl liners have a stronger infrastructure, there is more durable vinyl and we have a better understanding of pool maintenance. Vinyl liners make a lot of sense.

They’ll also save you money. Here are a few more reasons to go vinyl:

  • It feels good. Vinyl is soft to the touch and won’t scrape your feet. That same nonporous surface is resistant to algae, which takes an entirely different concern off the table. With the right maintenance and chemical balance, you could go more than a decade before replacing a liner (and even that costs a fraction of resurfacing a concrete pool).
  • When it comes to design, you’re only a sketch away from your dream. Vinyl offers great versatility in shape, size and color unlike, say, fiberglass shells that can only go 16-ft. wide. It’s the perfect anchor to your private retreat. We pride ourselves on creating a backyard paradise.
  • Finally, vinyl-lined pools go with the give-and-take of soil expansion. That’s particularly important if your ground freezes in the winter.

Give us a shout and we can talk about what best meets your needs. At Skovish Pools, our care doesn’t end with installation. Through the various services we offer and the essentials we carry at our Luzerne and Shickshinny outlets, we are literally a phone call away from anything you need down the road.

How high’s the water, Mama?

32995600 - blue clear water in the swimming poolSummer is here, and it’s time to put your Skovish pool to good use.

You’ve probably checked the chemical levels already. We’re hopeful you’ve also headed to our stores in Luzerne and Shickshinny with any questions or for supplies. You’ve run the pump, changed the filters and checked for leaks.

Chances are good you’ve added some water in preparation for the coming swarm of people seeking to escape the summer heat. For most of us, there’s one appropriate level–full–and that’s what we maintain throughout the season.

In reality, though, your water level affects your pool equipment, water loss and chemical levels.

Here are a few things to consider before you haul out the hose:

  • Use your pool’s skimmer as a guideline. If your water is too full and covering the skimmer opening, debris floating on the surface will pass right by. But if the level falls below the opening, you stand the chance of drawing too much air into the system and possibly burning up your pump. What’s the happy medium? Somewhere between one-third and halfway up the opening.
  • Once you make that adjustment, you won’t need to refill the pool as often. That’s because the factors that lower water levels, such as evaporation because of wind blowing across the surface and water splashed out of the pool, disappear when you keep it a couple inches lower than usual. Keeping the pool covered when it isn’t in use to cut back on water evaporation and the amount of chemicals needed to maintain the right balance.
  • Play particular attention to water levels after a big rainstorm, during a heat streak and after you’ve vacuumed the pool. All affect water levels and will probably call for action.

If you have any questions or concerns about water levels or other pool-related issues, we’re always just a phone call away.

Tell-tale signs

63942798 - configuration update program repair setting installation conceptIt’s been a long winter, and nothing sounds better than a quick dip in your Skovish pool. You’ve balanced the pH, rinsed the laundry detergent out of your swimming suits and brought out the beach towels. It’s party time at the pool.

We know the feeling. That’s why we love what we do at Skovish Pools. We bring the experience home to you.

It’s also why we’re diligent about catching any problems with your pool or equipment while they are still manageable. Chemical treatments, mechanical adjustments or simple patches can all be useful.

Meanwhile, you can help us by keeping your eyes and ears open to anything that seems a little off-kilter. Here are a few tell-tale signs that trouble might be brewing:

  • If you notice a sudden drop in the water level, more than you can explain by evaporation or an especially vigorous pool party, start looking for leaks. If you’re losing more than 1 in. a day, it’s time to call in the pros. Catching the problem early can save you time and money.
  • A sudden change in the color of your water indicates possible problems with your pump or filter. If the water is a murky green, you might have an algae problem. Start by cleaning your pool equipment’s filters and baskets. Follow up with a shock treatment if chemical levels indicate an imbalance. Throw in an algaecide, especially this time of the year. Always feel free to ask for advice when you pick up your pool chemicals at our Luzerne and Shickshinny stores.
  • Your pool is foaming, and your hair is turning green. Sounds like you’re using too much of a good thing, particularly algaecide. Scale back on the copper sulfate, and the problem should disappear.

Always remember, help is only a phone call away. At Skovish Pools, we don’t disappear when the installation is done. We’re there for you for the life of your pool.

Play by the rules

71213509 - group of children jumping into outdoor swimming poolSwimming season is almost here, and you’re probably in the middle of preparations. That’s true whether you’re installing a new Skovish pool or visiting our stores in Luzerne and Shickshinny for maintenance supplies.

Here’s something you might add to your list: a list, ironically enough, of your swimming pool rules.

Pool owners know well that a swimming pool draws family and friends to the backyard, especially when the Pennsylvania sun starts beating down. That’s one of a Skovish pool’s benefits, particularly if you love company—well-behaved company, that is.

Now is the time to establish which kinds of behavior are OK in your pool. Be specific. Although you might think it’s common sense to get out of the pool when you need to use the bathroom, others might need to see it in writing.

How about the cousin who shows up wearing the world’s skimpiest bathing suit? Now’s the time to tell her (or him) that this is a family affair. All swimmers should dress accordingly.

Here are a few tips to consider as you assemble your personal do’s and don’ts:

  • Alert all guests to the rules to avoid singling anyone out. Doing so also allows you to give fair warning rather than forcing you to chase down little runners or play tough guy after the fact. Come up with your list which, along with no running, might include no diving, no glassware, no peeing in the water, no unsupervised kids and no babies without swimming diapers.
  • Email your rules to the people who are most likely to share your pool this summer. You can open with a friendly welcome, remind them to call before coming over (and to bring their own towels!) and ask that they review the rules with others in their family. Close your note by letting them know you are looking forward to lots of fun this summer. That’s all you need to say!
  • OK, it’s not quite that easy. You might want to post the rules on your pool fence as a reminder. You’ll probably have to enforce a few of the rules. It comes with the territory. But because you gave advance notice, you can notify parents when their children break the rules.
  • Post on your fence a notice with CPR instructions and details about where First Aid and safety equipment are stored. Hopefully, you’ll never need them. But if an emergency occurs, it’s best to be prepared.

Happy swimming!

Summertime in the spa

21492697 - happy couple relaxing in hot tub. vacation.Are you one of the many people who puts their backyard spa on hiatus for the summer?

Say it isn’t so! With a few tweaks, your Skovish hot tub can become a destination for all seasons. In fact, summer might become your favorite season of all.

Here are some recommendations to keep in mind:

  • Turn the temperature down. Instead of aiming for 104 degrees Fahrenheit, go for somewhere between 85 and 90. You can also save on energy bills by letting the sun do what it does best. (But be sure to continue using your cover to prevent evaporation.)
  • Start using your spa in the early morning or late evening. Let its warming waters work out the day’s stresses. It can get your day off to a good start and set you up for a good night’s sleep.
  • Have it both ways. Drench a towel in cool water and wrap it around your neck or across your forehead as you slip into the hot tub. It’s a new level of feeling refreshed.
  • Remember to wear sunscreen just as you would in a pool, and be sure to stay hydrated. Give your spa some TLC by maintaining its chemical levels and by watching for algae. A little prevention goes a long way in saving you grief later on.

So what are you waiting for? Your summertime spa awaits.

Fuming over foam?

9316960 - girl in foamFoam isn’t always such a bad thing.

It’s downright decadent when you’re slipping into a warm bubble bath. And who doesn’t like a good head of foam on a root-beer float?

But if you’re stepping into a fluffy cloud of foam in your backyard spa, well, it’s time to do some troubleshooting. When the water gets thick with contaminants, it builds into a foam when it hits the air jets. Many spas sport dozens of jets, so that can be a lot of bubbly.

What should you do? Here are a few pointers.

  • Start by checking your chemical levels. Make sure everything is in order, including your total dissolved solids (TDS). Ideally, your spa’s TDS count will come in between 1,000 and 2,000 parts per million (ppm). If it’s a little higher, check out LeisureTime’s Foam Down, which stops foam and helps prevent it from coming back.
  • If TDS numbers top 3,000 ppm, you’ll need to take more drastic measures. It’s time to drain and refill the spa, a maintenance routine you should normally do every three to four months. Take advantage of the opportunity to scrub everything down. We have LeisureTime Spa supplies for the task at our Skovish Pools and Spas locations in Luzerne and Shickshinny. Get rid of any lingering contaminants, and be sure to rinse your filters, too.
  • The best cure of all is prevention. What causes foam in the first place? Shampoo residue, along with laundry detergent, body lotions, make-up, deodorant and spilled drinks. It’s all stuff you can keep in check by showering without soap or shampoo before getting in the hot tub and by rinsing your bathing suit.

Lastly, keep your head out of the water. That’s probably one of the easiest fixes of all!