Protect your back while closing your pool

36455544 - young adult man, personnel cleaning the pool from leavesIt’s closing time!! That is, it’s the time of year where backyard swimming pool owners are starting to close up shop for the season … or at least making plans to do so.

Unless you’re a new pool owner, you most likely have this process down to a science. You prep you gear. Make sure you’re not missing anything and have everything ready to go. If you ARE a new pool owner, click here (it’ll help!)

Irrespective of you pool ownership tenure, though, it’s always important to remember that protecting your swimming pool over the non-swimming months comes SECOND to protecting yourself.

Put another way: you shouldn’t injure yourself while closing your pool … this is especially important to remember if you are one of the estimated 80 percent of Americans adults who have suffered from back pain in their life.

With the pervasiveness of this sort of injury, it’s paramount that pool owners focus on injury prevention while closing and winterizing their swimming pool. Remember, this process involves picking up boxes of chemicals, wielding awkward brushes and nets, lugging around hoses and pool covers and ultimately, repeatedly bending over and twisting at the waist.

The good news is that using proper technique while completing these tasks will all but eliminate your risk of injury.

Click here to get some simple, easy-to-follow tips for protecting your back while closing your pool (or doing anything else for that matter!).

Hot-tub Halloween!

21967631 - group of halloween jack o lanterns and decor with black backgroundJust because you might have outgrown trick-or-treating (it might seem a little creepy to do as an adult), it doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun this Halloween.

Heat up your cauldron, or rather, your Skovish spa, and invite a few friends over for a spook-tacular celebration. The real fun is in the planning and with that in mind, here are a few timely tips:

  • Prepare! Pick up some cheap carpet runners and use them to create a water-absorbent path from the back door to the bathroom. Put out a few extra towels for those who forget to bring their own. And think ahead where you want guests to put their wet swimsuits. Otherwise, you might walk in on a soggy pile in the corner!
  • Thinking of putting some dry ice in your hot tub for effect? Don’t do it! It will quickly lower the temperature and pH level, and having so much concentrated carbon dioxide in your face isn’t cool. Opt instead for water colored by LED lights or pool water dye – blood red is popular this time of the year! Or, rent a fog machine for the night.
  • Set the mood with some music, especially if you have a sound system built into your Skovish spa. You can only play “Monster Mash” so many times… use your creativity and come up with a fitting soundtrack for your soiree. “Werewolves of London,” anyone?
  • When it comes to creating some perfectly bone-chilling drinks and munchies, let your imagination run wild! But keep a few things in mind. First, hot tubs and alcohol don’t mix! Serve cocktails inside, away from the water, after you’ve shut the hot tub down. Or check out these mocktails, alcohol-free drinks that you can serve (in plastic goblets) in the spa. In planning your menu, think of finger foods (figuratively, or literally in the case of cocktail sausages with an onion fingernail). These foods don’t need a plate. If you want to get more elaborate, save it for indoors.
  • Got a laptop? Bring out some scary movies, some classic Bela Lugosi, the campy “Evil Dead” or the always popular Freddy Krueger. And enjoy them in clips – you shouldn’t stay in the hot tub for more than 20 minutes, or 45 minutes if you turn the temperature down a few degrees. You may choose to create a viewing area where guests can relax while waiting to go back in the hot tub!

Now doesn’t this sound like a lot more fun than walking the neighborhood in search of a candy bar? Happy Halloween, everyone!

Stormy weather!

78716042_S (2)With all the hurricanes, tornadoes and more hitting the country, the residual storms heading our way seem tame in comparison. But that doesn’t diminish the devastating effect a strong storm can take on your Skovish pool.

Taking precautions before the storm, such as sloping the area surrounding the pool by quarter-inch increments away from the pool, definitely help. Store patio furniture and pool toys in a secure area. As for leaving your pool cover in place, opinions differ. Some point out that it could be damaged by flying debris; others say it will prevent the evaporation that escalates with strong winds.

Take the severity of the storm into consideration in deciding what’s right for your pool. But you should cut power to your pool equipment and cover it to protect it from excessive water. You want your equipment in prime condition when you’re cleaning up after the storm!

Here’s a few more post-storm tips:

  • Do not empty your pool. While you can lower the level to allow for added water (using your pump’s backwash feature) don’t take out more than a foot. Without water, your pool could pop out of the ground, especially if the ground around it becomes saturated, further increasing the pressure.
  • Use your skimmer – and a lawn rake if needed – to remove bulkier debris from the water. Smaller particles can be picked up by the pool vacuum. Make sure you empty your skimmer baskets and clean the filters. This is also a good time to check your pool equipment and make sure nothing was damaged in the storm.
  • Once you’ve scrubbed things down and turned the power back on, it’s time to give your pool a shock treatment. (After light rains, simply test your water and adjust chemicals as needed.) You’ll then want to test your water and put the chemicals back in balance. Finally, turn on your filtration system and run it until your water tests clean.

Visit our outlets in Luzerne and Shickshinny for pool products and advice on proper pool care. Remember, we’re always only a phone call away!

Feeding your (swimming) addiction

Caldera-Vacanza-2014-Salina-WhitePearl-Espresso-Lifestyle-01 (750x1000)Here are a couple of cold, hard facts about the Skovish pool in your backyard.

First, admit it, swimming is addictive! It feels good to slip into the water and, with buoyancy removing all pressure from the joints, race around like a kid again. Because water offers much more resistance than air, you can get a real work-out.

With the endorphins racing, you’re high on life!

But you live in Pennsylvania and that means, unless your pool is inside, it will soon close for the season. Sure, there are a few people who cocoon themselves in a wet suit and squeeze out a few extra weeks. But if you’re not a polar bear, it’s time to call it quits when the average temperature drops below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unless …

  • Check out your community indoor pools. Local schools often open their pools to residents, usually for a small fee. Is there a YMCA nearby? They also offer exercise classes, lap times, and simple recreational swims. The down side? Because it is public, you could face a larger range of contaminants, leading to everything from athlete’s foot to more serious water-borne diseases.
  • Plan your vacations accordingly. To twist a familiar phrase, it’s summertime somewhere. With bathing suit in hand, you can find a welcoming beach (or all-inclusive coastal resort with 14 pools – don’t laugh, it’s true). Click here to find some popular island escapes.
  • Finally, our personal favorite. Check out the spas at our Luzerne and Shickshinny outlets. It’s the best of both worlds, relaxing in the warm jets of a hot tub between the exercises that burn more calories than you can imagine. It’ll be right outside your door, ready whenever you are. Bring it on, and be ready for bathing suit season when you open your Skovish pool next spring!

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.