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!

The vacation that never ends

34045243 - relaxing by the pool ; young woman relaxes by the pool with a laptopImagine a vacation–and this is a true story!–so wrapped around a resort’s 14 swimming pools that guests arrive wearing bathing suits under their travel clothes.

Although not everyone would go that far for a pool, most of us have seen the wonder that comes across our children’s faces when they wake up and remember that the beach is only a short walk away.

How many of us turn down a hotel if it doesn’t have a pool? And where do we head when we get a few days off? Chances are good we go someplace near water.

Now think about creating a home environment where the vacation never ends. You can have a getaway right outside your back door when you call on Skovish Pools and Spas to create your own backyard escape. Consider some benefits:

  • There’s no travel involved. You don’t even have to take time off from work to sit back and soak up the ambiance. It’s there whenever you’re ready, whether you’re looking for the spa experience or an invigorating lap around the pool. Dinner at the poolside? Just toss a couple of steaks on the grill and you’re ready to go.
  • You can share it all with friends and family. Or not. It’s up to you. You’re the one calling the shots. If you like to tap into your inner party animal on occasion, there’s nothing like a pool to set the mood. Whether you are planning a get-together for the kids or a romantic rendezvous under the stars, good times are only a few steps away.
  • You can add as many exotic details as you like. At Skovish Pools and Spas, we pride ourselves on integrating your new pool and spa into your landscape. We can create your own private paradise featuring LED lighting, water fountains, furniture and more. We’ve got you covered for the life of the pool.

And you know what? No reservations are required, either. This stay-cation is ready when you are. Stop by and see what we can do for you.

Out of luck

33069200 - chicago green river during saint patrick daySt. Patrick’s Day is coming March 17. If you’re thinking of throwing a little holiday soiree in your Skovish backyard spa, go ahead and sing a few rounds of “Oh, Danny Boy.” Make a batch of Guiness beer cheese dip. And dance a jig.

Just be aware that the luck of the Irish will run out when you start entertaining the idea of turning your spa’s water green for the occasion.

Yes, there are so-called safe vegetable dyes–for example, those used to turn the Chicago River green–but you’ll pay the price for a passing fancy.

Just say no for the following reasons:

  • It will upset your hot tub’s chemical balance.When you put your chlorine and pH levels out of whack, you’re asking for trouble. Bacteria infestations can occur, especially if you have a number of people sharing the tub.
  • If you worry about chlorine turning your hair green, you’ll worry even more about the lasting effects of green dye in spa water. Swimsuits, hair, skin, spa equipment and wet footprints from that mad dash to the indoor bathroom will all be green. Where do we begin? And who do you think will handle all of the post-party clean-up?
  • You could damage your spa and pool equipment. Is it really worth the risk?

A possible alternative is to turn your LED lighting to green and let it safely set the mood. Remember that Guinness beer cheese dip? Click here for the recipe!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Accessorize Your Pool

35556680 - bright beach accessories on pool backgroundThink about it for a minute: If your new Skovish pool or spa is the little black dress of your backyard getaway, what’s going to make it really stand out?

C’mon, ladies, you know this one: It’s time to accessorize!

A mug of steaming hot chocolate and a warm, plush towel within reach completes the picture around your winter spa. Doesn’t the image of sunglasses, a floppy hat and a good book leave you hungry for a poolside escape?

Fortunately, at Skovish Pools and Spas, we’ve got your back. Our Backyard Place staffers look far and wide to stock our retail stores in Luzerne and Shickshinny with the accessories you’ll need to fully enjoy your pool and spa.

Here are few accessories to consider as winter winds down:

  • We love our toys! We like to play in the water, whether it involves goggles and swim fins or floating basketball hoops. Although each season is sure to bring some new rendition of pool fun to the market–have you ever heard of the Swimline sphere?–it’s hard to beat the simple joy of a beach ball. Remember to tell your Skovish pool designers that playing games is a top priority for your family. That will help them decide on the appropriate depth for your pool.
  • Sometimes, we just want to sit back and enjoy it all. That’s easy enough in a spa–don’t fall asleep!–but we’ve got some poolside options, too. Whether you’re sharing a brunch at your patio table set or floating the afternoon away in total comfort, we have the accessories to make it happen.
  • Soak up the benefits of pool technology and products. That’s especially true if your pool-closet includes a robotic pool cleaner and an automation system that allows you to control it all with the push of a button. With Hayward on board and with our full line of LeisureTime spa chemicals, we can help you put everything in place.

Stop by our stores for even more ideas. Our Luzerne location, at 369 Main, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Shickshinny, located at 10 East Union, is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday.

Don’t believe it!

40376427 - portrait beautiful young girl with green hair

Pool and spa chemicals have come a long way from your grandfather’s day, but stories of their scary effects still haunt swimmers. The wisdom of the ages, passed along for generations, tells us the strong smell of chlorine means your pool is squeaky clean. (It’s just the opposite: The smell signals a high level of contaminants.)

It’s sometimes easier to blame the chemicals than to take responsibility for lax testing and maintenance. But we’re here to help. We’ll not only offer advice and a top line of Leisure Time chemicals at our Skovish Pools and Spas outlets in Luzerne and Shickshinny but also debunk what some take as common knowledge.

It just isn’t so! For example:

  • Chlorine does not turn your hair green. Instead, the guilty party is copper, an additive that guards against algae growth. Combat the effect by wearing a pool cap or immediately shampooing your hair after leaving the pool or spa. It’s another reason to consider that outdoor shower.
  • Chlorine doesn’t cause red eyes, either. In fact, this is caused by too little chlorine. It’s an easy problem to avoid through routine testing of your pool’s chemical levels. Avoid swimming underwater with your eyes open, too. This washes away natural tears. Pick up some goggles instead.
  • Sparkling-clean water doesn’t necessarily mean a sanitized pool or spa. Looks are deceiving, especially if you don’t shower before getting in, you allow dogs to share your space or you trust swimming diapers to catch everything that comes out. Clear water is a good sign, but it doesn’t replace a test kit. Test strips can signal trouble, but a test kit delivers a true reading of your levels.
  • No matter how clean it is, don’t drink the pool water. It’s not chlorine, a chemical found in our drinking water, but contaminants that you don’t want to put in your system. Although you can’t avoid the occasional swallow, it’s a good idea to swim with your mouth closed as a rule.

Need help with a particular problem? Stop by our Skovish Pools and Spas outlets, where we can help you find the right treatment for your pool or spa.

Hot! Hot! Hot!

61819393 - young beautiful woman relaxing in a hot tub.What’s putting the “hot” in hot tubs this year? Here’s a clue: It’s not just the heater.

Once looked on as a luxury, backyard spas are making their way into the mainstream. Maybe more people realize the health benefits they offer. For the conventional pool owner, a backyard spa also extends the swimming season. Or maybe it’s because new technology allows folks to customize their spas with LEDs, music and hydrotherapy options.

Here are a few of the other trends rising to the surface:

  • People are looking at bigger spas, especially swim-spas that offer room to move. A hybrid of sorts, the swim-spa allows you to swim laps against counter-currents and opens your hot tub to more friends. There’s also room for a swim-up bar like the ones you’d find at a resort.
  • Spas are getting smart. Following in the steps of smartphones and smart homes, pools now allow you to automate maintenance routines. Chemical balance? Check. Need a shot of chlorine? Check. A little stabilizer? Check. All of these actions can be managed from your web-connected smartphone or another mobile device.
  • They’re more energy-efficient, too. Tubs now come surrounded with better insulation, and covers really do keep the heat in. Additionally, many tubs now come with energy-consumption monitors and self-diagnostic controls. These devices are good for the environment and your wallet.

Stop by our Skovish Pools and Spas outlets in Luzerne and Shickshinny for a look at today’s backyard spas. You’ll be amazed!

Protect your skin

61837584 - protect sunscreen applied to the face of cute young girlAll summer, you were vigilant. You slathered everyone in sight with high-SPF sunblock. Now winter is here, and the sunblock is packed away with swimsuits, goggles and inflatable pool toys. They’re in hibernation until you open the swimming pool again in the spring.

Without realizing it, you’ve opened yourself to the same risk factors that sent you running for sunblock in the first place, whether you’re hitting the slopes or soaking sore muscles in your Skovish spa. Here are a few reasons you should continue to protect your skin in cold temperatures:

  • The winter sun is sending down the same UVA rays that wreak havoc in the summer. These rays age your skin and raise the risk of skin cancer. Rays can also be reflected back onto your skin by snow. Don’t just put on some sunscreen, repeat the process as often as needed.
  • Don’t forget your beautiful smile. Those lips need serious protection from winter’s one-two punch of sun and wind. Consider a soothing lip balm that includes sunscreen.
  • Finally, give your body a helping hand. Eat vegetables and fruits such as peppers, watermelon and tomatoes that are high in antioxidants. They’re good news for your skin’s health.

In all, it’s just one more stress you can scratch off your list before soaking in your Skovish spa. (We heard that sigh of relief!)