Pool Closing Tips

 Helpful Fall Pool Closing Tips!

pool closing

It’s that time of year! WE had a blast over the summer and now sadly our swimming season is coming to an end. We have compiled a few helpful tips and recommendations for your pool closing.

In-ground pool closings….

Tip: It is best to wait until the water is below 65 degrees F  – colder water temperatures slow the growth of potential algae in the pool.This also means you may want to turn off your pool heater in advance to let the water temperature lower in your pool before you add in your closing chemicals. Warmer pool water depletes the pool chemicals faster than cold water.

Clean …..

Clean dirt, leaves, and other debris from the pool – making sure your pool is free from dirt, debris and other phosphate eliminates a food source for potential algae.

Balance…

Bring in a water sample to Spartan Pools to ensure proper water balance for winter, it will prolong the life of your pool. You’ll thank yourself in the long run…

Add in the winter chemicals and any balancing chemicals as needed. IT is important to have the proper level of alkalinity, PH, and calcium. If left undone,                    liners could potentially wrinkle and concrete could form pits. Yikes!

Water Level…

For Mesh covers lower the water level to the low end of the skimmer

For Concrete pools lower the water well below the tile line.

For standard covers you may leave the water level at mid- skimmer if we are closing your pool.

If you are closing the pool on your own, some choose to lower the water below the skimmer and returns. After you insert the winter plugs you may want to        consider putting a little bit of water back in. Why?  Because If you have a yard that gets saturated with ground water in spring it would cause your liner to float. It may float when the ground water is at the same level as your pool water. When it  lays back down after the ground water has receded  it doesn’t always want to go back in the same position and you may end up with wrinkles on the floor.

Be sure to….

  1. Have plugs, water bags (if applicable), and covers out by the pool for the closing.
  2. If you are closing the pool yourself you will want to use an air compressor or a shop vac to blow out the lines and equipment.
  3. Take the trippers off of your timer
  4. Empty any chlorine tabs or sticks out of skimmer or chlorinator (if applicable)

Winter Covers…

If you are using a standard style cover water bags are recommended for holding the cover down. If you use bricks or other heavy and sharp objects they could potentially harm your pool if they were to fall in.

Check for any holes in the cover and consider replacing it if it looks like it will let in too much of the fall debris. Think of debris as algae food.

There are many standard cover replacement options to choose from with different warranties. You will often find a good, better, or best selection to choose from. You can decide if  you would rather go with a cover that is inexpensive and may only last you a year or a heavier cover that will have a longer life and warranty with it.

Other than a standard cover, some may choose to go with a safety cover that often resembles a trampoline.  These are anchored into the concrete or wood deck to help provide stability in the cover.  You may choose between a mesh safety cover that lets the water run through or a solid safety cover that will need to have the water pumped off. Again, these covers also come in a variety of durability and grades of mesh.  It is recommended to see samples of these covers ahead of ordering and are often custom made for you particular shape of pool. If you are seeking more information on these covers to see which would be right for you, you are welcome to give us a call and we can discuss your pool in particular.

 

Call for your appointment

Of course, we offer the services of closing your In-Ground pool for you with various options as to how involved you may or may not want to be. It’s best to call the store for those options and prices.

Appointments often fill up quickly. It is not uncommon to be scheduling appointments 2 – 3 weeks out unless you called and scheduled your appointment well in advance.

 

 Above Ground Pool closing check list…..

  1. Make sure the water is properly balanced and debris is cleaned from the pool.
  2. Circulate the closing chemicals  1/2 day  – 1 day prior to closing. If you are able to circulate the chemicals after the water is drained down you may do that as well.
  3. Drain down the water below the skimmer and return line.
  4. Remove the hoses from the skimmer and return.
  5. Remove the drain plugs from the bottom of the equipment.
  6. Secure the air pillow in the middle of the pool.
  7. Put on the winter cover and cinch it down tight.  If you are in a windy area you may want to use cover clips or cover seal wrap to surround your pool cover.
  8. Empty any chlorine tabs or sticks out of skimmer or chlorinator (if applicable)
  9. Disable the pump timer (if applicable)

 

Tip: If you do not have a mesh cover you will want to pump off any excess water that may collect on the cover through out the fall, winter, and spring.

 

Have a safe fall/winter!

 

Going On Vacation? Pool Care Tips For Travelers

With the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, sometimes it’s nice to get away from it all for a few days. When we do manage to pull ourselves away, we expect that vacation to be relaxing and stress free, right? No one should that spend time worrying about their pool or worse yet, coming home to a green pool! So follow these easy tips and don’t let pool anxiety ruin your vacation!

Before You Leave

ensure your pool is free of visible algae and debris. Skim and vacuum any leaves etc as necessary then empty your skimmer and pump baskets. You want to leave with a well-balanced pool with chlorine, pH and alkalinity in their ideal ranges. Test at home or bring in a sample for a free analysis in store prior to your departure. Next, shock the pool and double up on your pool’s recommended weekly maintenance dosage of Backup 2 (algaecide).

Circulation

Leave your pool uncovered so it can breathe. Leaving a pool covered for an extended amount of time can throw off your pool’s pH and alkalinity. Set your pump’s timer to run for a minimum of 10-12 hours per day. It’s a lot more reliable than asking a friend or neighbor to come over and turn the pump on and off. If you don’t have a timer, consider running your pump 24 hours a day until you return. The pump can handle it and your water will likely look better with the additional circulation/filtration. Don’t have a timer? Consider getting one!

Sanitization

If you have a chlorinator, fill it up. If you don’t have a chlorinator and your pump is running less than 24 hours a day, we recommend using Smart Sticks directly in your skimmer. Smart Sticks are designed to form a protective skin over the stick once the water flowing over them stops (when the pump isn’t running) so that the stick doesn’t dissolve as quickly as a traditional chlorine stick or tablet. Add one Smart Stick weekly for every 5,000-7,000 gallons of water. If you are running your pump 24/7, use standard sticks or tablets, and as they dissolve more rapidly, plan on recruiting the help of a friend to refill as needed! If you have a saltwater pool, ensure your salt levels are in the proper operating range for your model (generally 2900-3400 ppm). Also, ensure you have no error messages on your salt system’s control panel.

Hire a Sitter

Enlist the help of someone you trust to check on the pool periodically.  More often than not, they’ll do it free of charge if they can use the pool while you’re away. It’s advised to have your “pool-sitter” empty your skimmer and pump baskets, and even backwash if you have a sand filter. Give them our phone number (989-792-5351) for any questions or concerns that may arise. Worst case scenario, our service crew is available* to assist as needed.

Enjoy Yourself

By following these steps before your trip, you can better enjoy your time away from home without the worry of returning to a green pool. Just remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of chlorine!

*service fee applies- based on scheduling availability

Huge Energy savings with Variable Speed Pumps!

Saving you money with Variable Speed Pumps!

Consumers Energy just released they are giving a $350 rebate for those who purchase and install a Variable Speed pump!
Now thru July 15th!

This is huge! It closes the up front cost gap between a regular pump and a variable speed pump!

Plus… experience an average Energy savings of $250 per season! If you usually keep your pump running 24/ 7 during the season you will save a whole lot more! The average is taken if you run your pump 10 – 12 hours per day.
Hayward has a great calculator to plug information in about your current pump you have to see how much you will save by upgrading to a Variable Speed pump.
 Click here to see your savings!

Normally the warranty is 1 year on the equipment, but Spartan Pools is a Hayward warranty center.

What does this mean to you?
By purchasing the pump and having us install it you will also get a 3 year full warranty!

Give us a call and we will see if this is the right choice for you!

Be sure to take advantage of the rebates they will expire July 15th, 2017!

Variable Speed pumps

MAINTENANCE SERVICES

MAINTENANCE SERVICES

Spartan Pools knows swimming pools. We’ve been installing, servicing, and repairing pools and pool equipment in mid-Michigan since 1961. The advantage of choosing to work with Spartan Pools is much more than bottom line; it’s peace of mind.  If you live in the Great Lakes Bay Region, we will be happy to send our service technicians out to your pool as quickly as we can.  Pool cleanings, openings, and closings are our bread and butter.  Ask about Early Bird Specials!

Pool Construction

Pool Construction

Pools are Built on Trust, Experience, and Quality

Spartan Pools specialize in Vinyl Liner Inground Swimming Pools. A vinyl liner allows you to pick the style, color, and design of your pool, as well as protect your pool from Michigan’s ever-changing climate and conditions. You pick the size and shape, as well as what features you desire (e.g. diving board, slide, lights, fountains, stamped/colored/textured concrete, etc…), and we do the rest.

Spartan Pools is with you from the beginning of your pool planning to the end and every summer after that. We dig the hole to spec; aided by laser technology and years of excavation experience. We set in place galvanized steel panels and cement them in to form sturdy, lifetime guaranteed, pool walls. We create a hard-bottom pool floor that withstands Michigan’s harsh weather conditions. We install only the most high-quality liners from suppliers we trust. We do our own flat work. We do all this for you to ensure the pool you get is the pool you want. Accept no substitutes!

We make sure (every step of the way) that you have invested in a quality pool that affords every bit of relaxation and enjoyment you and your family deserve. Our pools are backed by an unmatched warranty/guarantee for your peace of mind.
Spartan Pools has been installing inground pools for more than 50 years. Drawing on experience, rigorous training, and the use of cutting-edge technology, our crew of knowledgeable installers will have you swimming in the lap of luxury this summer and every summer in the future.

 

Liner Replacement

Is your liner starting to show its age? Do wrinkles, holes, and tears in your vinyl liner have you losing water and losing patience? Has the liner in your pool started to fade or become too brittle to trust? It may be time for a new liner.

Spartan Pools has been installing liners in the Mid-Michigan and Great Lakes Bay Region for half a century. We have the experience and know-how to replace your old liner and have you swimming in luxury and comfort in virtually no time at all. The crew of pool technicians at Spartan Pools will measure your pool to its exact liner specifications, drain the pool, remove the old liner, and install a new liner of your choice. Liners are available in hundreds of unique size, color, and design choices.

Liner, labor and new water are warrantied. We will even take a water sample and bring your pool back to where it was chemical. Satisfaction is guaranteed.

If your concrete deck is need of attention, we do that too! We will remove, and replace your deck with all new reinforced concrete. Even the copying and plumbing of your pool (if it is in bad shape) can be replaced at the time of a reline.

Send us a message via poolpros@spartanpools.com or call us at 989-792-5351 for your no charge estimate.

Keep it fun! Keep it Safe!

Keep it fun! Keep it Safe!

Pool Safety is the number one most important aspect of pool ownership.  A swimming pool is a great way to relax and have fun, but it does harbor very real dangers that must be met with responsibility and respect.  Spartan Pools is here to help educate you on proper pool safety rules and practices.  However, the following information serves as a starter guide/checklist designed to help promote and support safety awareness and education in and around residential swimming pool areas. This information is not intended to be used as an exclusive reference for consumers (and others) to ensure that proper safety installation, operation, measures, and equipment have been met.

Here are several safety tips to get you started:

ADULT SUPERVISION
Adult supervision is the #1 most important safety guideline for all swimmers.  At least one adult (who is not swimming) should keep a sober eye on the pool and everyone in it.  This person should not be afraid to enforce pool safety rules and should understand the importance of safe practices in and around any open body of water.

Fencing
It is required that all inground pools have a fence installed which encloses the swimming pool area.  The fence should be a minimum of 4-feet high. Many different types of fence are available to suit need and style preference. Such as Chain link, wooden, ornamental, even thick hedges, etc…
Important: Present ideas/plans to your local building code office before proceeding.

Safety Covers
A non-penetrating mesh cover that completely covers pool can be installed easily, blocking access to pool water.

Alarms
Some people have opted to put an alarm in or near their pool, which triggers a loud sound to warn parents or guardians. Alarms include, but are not limited to door Exit/Home Security, Fence Gate, Pool, etc…

Rope and Float Line
Safety ropes and float lines can be placed across the pool to visually alert swimmers to the separation of deep and shallow end of the pool.

Life Ring, Shepherd’s Crook (Hook)
Life rings (or preservers) and other life-saving devices should be kept near the pool within plain view and easily accessible.  These devices are used to pull someone from the pool to safety.  Periodically check and keep all safety equipment in proper condition.

Emergency Information and Safety Kit
A first aid kit is always a good idea to keep in a safe and convenient location. Periodically check to make sure the kit is well stocked with all the essentials. Most importantly, remember to post all CPR, emergency (911 or other) contact information and warning signs in a visible spot near the pool.

Safety Drills:
Perform regular pool safety drills to remind everyone what to do/where to go in the event of an emergency in or around the pool.

Outside Telephone:
A cordless, or cellular phone is convenient and a good idea especially if you need to call for help or information quickly and without leaving the pool area.

Sunscreen
Skin cancer is a very real threat.  Always wear sunscreen!  Choose the level of protection that’s right for you and use it! Even on cooler, cloudy days, the sun’s ultraviolet rays can burn and damage skin cells.

Cleaners, Chemicals, and Maintenance
All cleaning and maintenance supplies should be kept in a locked storage area, away from children and pets. Always check supply labels for proper storage requirements and expiration dates.

Chemical Spills
Spills happen.  Practice care and caution when applying chemicals to the pool, always read the directions, and in the event of a spill:

  • USE EXTREME CAUTION!
  • Be sure that no contaminant is present. Some common contaminants are household cleaners, detergents, bleaches, solvents, ammonia, fertilizers, gasoline, or kerosene.
  • Wear protective gear (safety goggles, rubber gloves, etc…)
  • Isolate the spilled material in a clean, dry container away from other stored chemicals, preferably outside the house or shed.
  • Use only clean, dry brooms, shovels, and containers. DO NOT use a vacuum cleaner
  • Separate spilled material from the original container. NEVER return spilled material to original container.
  • NEVER put spilled material in any sewer or drain.
  • Small amounts of clean, spilled material can be added to your pool water. Check water chemistry to avoid imbalance.
  • IF ANY EVIDENCE OF A FIRE OCCURS, EVACUATE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY AND CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT!!

We hope this helps keep your summer fun happy and healthy!  If you have any questions, concerns, or additional tips about pool safety please feel free to contact us and we will be glad to help.

Operational Tips

Operational Tips

Important! This is to be used as a general overview only. Possible options make it impossible to cover every aspect. The operating manuals that came with your equipment should be read first including any safety items.

GENERAL POOL OPERATION GUIDELINES

  • Important – The water level inside the pool should always be greater than the ground water outside the pool – this is true regardless of the type of construction.
  • Never drain a swimming pool unless advised to do so by a qualified pool professional. Almost all repairs and water quality problems can be fixed without draining the pool.

POOL CARE:

Pool Care falls into five categories. A clean clear pool requires:

  • Circulation
  • Filtration
  • Cleaning
  • Water chemistry
  • Testing

POOL ANATOMY

The first thing you need to know is how a pool functions. Refer to the diagram below to develop an understanding of how a pool system is designed to operate.

NOTE: The information presented in this section is not intended to depict all pools. We understand that pool design and plumbing methods vary widely. Accept this information on the basis of understanding an average pools operation system.

The pool equipment and plumbing are designed to keep water moving. The suction-side of the system pulls the water from the pool to the pump. The pressure side of the system delivers the filtered (and sometimes heated) water back to the pool.

  • Circulation: is provided by the main pool pump. Water is drawn out of the pool thru the bottom drain or the side skimmer. The water is then forced thru the filter media then back to the pool, possibly passing thru a heater or chlorinator. The pump should operate (on average) 12 hours. Ideally, operate your pump 24 hours per day.  THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KEEP IN MIND IS THE POOL WATER MUST CIRCULATE COMPLETELY AT LEAST ONCE DAILY.  A general guideline for this is to check out the GPH (gallons per hour) of your pump.  If you can figure out the gallonage of your pool, figure out how many hours the pump must run to fully circulate the pool.  Regularly check the pressure at the filter and the flow back to the pool. Check to see if the pressure is 10-12 lbs higher than when the filter was clean or if the flow appears reduced. This would indicate it is time to clean the filter. Refer to your filter guide for specific directions on how to do this.Regularly check the baskets at the skimmer and pump for debris. If necessary, shut off the pump and remove these for cleaning. Often when you first start your pump or when the basket is removed from the pump it will be necessary to re-prime the pump before restarting. This process requires removing the pump lid and adding water to the pump, replacing the lid and restarting the pump. Usually, all valves can be left in their normal operation position. The pump may require 2-3 minutes to work the air out of the lines.
  • Filtration: A filter removes particles that can cloud the water and compete for your sanitizer’s attention. Refer to your filter guide for information on how to clean the filter.
  • Cleaning: Vacuuming and brushing the pool surface helps to prevent many problems. Even with the use of automatic cleaners, it is recommended that you regularly brush the pool surfaces Algae and bio-film can cling to the surface and make a starting point for algae and other possible problems. For most pools the procedure to manually vacuum the pool is as follows: First, the pump should be started and the filter cleaned. (Refer to your filter and pump guide if necessary). Next, attach the vacuum head to the pole, then attach the vacuum hose to the head (if the hose has a swivel cuff at one end, care should be taken to attach the swivel end to the vacuum head. Set the head into the pool. At this time the vacuum hose needs to be filled with water. This can be accomplished in a couple of ways: Either grab the hose where it comes from the vacuum head to the surface , then continually push the hose under water until you reach the loose end or hold the loose end over one of the returns (with the pump running) until all the air is forced out of the hose. Hold your palm over the free end (to keep the hose full of water) and pull it to the side skimmer. Remove the skimmer lid, set the “skim vac” over the basket and attach the hose to the “skim-vac”.Note that you may or may not have a “skim-vac” (it looks like a shallow funnel, it’s the main purpose is to allow debris to get caught in the basket at the skimmer, which is often easier to clean. Also be aware that on some pools it is necessary to push the hose thru the skimmer opening (in this case the “skim-vac” will most likely have an elbow ). Some older skimmers do not have a “skim-vac” or other vacuum plate and were designed to attach the vacuum hose to the bottom of the skimmer or could be connected to a side wall suction port, bypassing the skimmer altogether. The last method is most commonly seen on pools with gutters (no skimmers) and sometimes on pools without a bottom drain.At this point, water should be flowing thru the vacuum head & hose, thru the pump into the filter and back to the pool. Some air may have entered during the hookup step and may have to work its way thru the system. Because most pools have more than the side skimmer providing water to the pump and because the pump will find it easier to get water from these sources than to draw water up thru the vacuum hose, it will most likely be necessary to restrict or stop the water from these other suction lines in order to provide proper suction at the vacuum head. Try moving the vacuum over debris. If too little suction is present check to see that the pump didn’t loose it’s prime. Reprime the pump if necessary or start to turn off lines feeding the pump (other than the line the vacuum is attached to, this line needs to be fully open) until the suction is adequate to catch the debris. Conversely if too much suction is present, it makes it difficult to move the vacuum head. Open any suction lines that allow the pump to get additional water. “How much” is often a matter of personal preference. Too little suction can make the task of cleaning the pool slow and tedious whereas to much can make moving the vacuum head a feat requiring some strength.

    Once regulated to your liking, the vacuum is moved methodically over the pool floor lifting debris that will catch in the baskets and filter. After a while, the baskets may become filled and/or the filter may become dirty, reducing water flow making it difficult to vacuum. You will have to stop the pump, remove the vacuum hose connection, clean the baskets and filter, then start over. If only a light amount of debris is present, you may be able to clean the entire pool in one cycle. If a large amount of debris or algae is present may require several cycles. If the later is the case, there may be a more practical approach. Many filters have 6-way valves that allow you to pump water from the pool directly to waste by placing the valve in the waste or drain position. Important: do not confuse the waste/drain position with the backwash position. Never vacuum a pool while the filter is in the backwash position. Also, be aware while vacuuming to waste that you are removing water from the pool at a rapid rate. It is helpful to start with a pool overly full and keep the source water hose adding makeup water as you proceed. This method is best used to remove approximately 70% of the debris from the worst areas, then switch back to normal procedures to finish up. It allows you to save time in cases where it would be necessary to stop to clean the filter several times. This procedure can also be used when the debris is so fine that the filter is having trouble catching it and is being returned to the pool. Some types of algae fall into this category.

  • Chemistry: Adding the proper products at the right time helps to prevent corrosion, scale, algae, bacteria problems and helps keep water clear, clean, attractive and safe. Review the Water Treatment page for more specific guidelines concerning water chemistry.
  • Testing: Testing helps tell us what chemicals to add to maintain proper water chemistry. Proper water chemistry helps to prevent disease, protects the pools surfaces, equipment and provides sparkling clear water.Sanitizers are added to the water to control the growth of disease-causing bacteria. Two families of products are used to accomplish this task. Halogens are the most common. Chlorine and Bromine both fall into this category, with chlorine being the most common. Chlorine is also a powerful oxidizer and is often used as a shock or Burnout® to help rid the pool of perspiration, oils, and contaminants too small for the filter to remove. The second group is called Biguanides. Biguanides are polymer compounds that disrupt the cellular activity of bacteria.These compound are found in non-chlorine products like BioGuards Softswim ® program.It is important to note that many products are not compatible and mixing them can be dangerous. Consulting with the knowledgeable chemistry people at Spartan Pools can help you to select a program that best suits your needs and to help balance cost with convenience and ease of use.

    All of our programs use a 3-STEP approach to producing safe clear inviting water. Before starting a 3-step program be sure to have your water properly balanced. This sets the stage for your program to work properly and it prevents corrosion and scale from damaging your pool and equipment. The PH, alkalinity, calcium hardness and temperature all have an effect on the pool’s tendency to be corrosive or scale forming. This 3-STEP approach always starts with sanitizing to prevent bacteria. The second step requires oxidation to clarify the water. Finally, add an algaecide to help prevent unsightly algae.

    The water should be tested 3-4 times a week for the variables that can change quickly (ph, total alkalinity, and oxidizer levels) plus have a complete workup after your initial fill or spring start up, then 2-3 times during the summer and again prior to fall closure. This complete testing is done by bringing a sample of your pool water into Spartan Pools, Inc. where our lab testing includes tests for those elements that do not readily change and therefore do not need to be tested as frequently. There is no charge for this in store testing.

    Our hope is to educate our customers so that pool care is easy and problems are few. Our pool care guide, equipment guides, and store personnel are all valuable tools to further your education. Also each spring we sponsor a “Pool School” where customers learn and ask questions. Should a problem arise, you may need to provide information about your equipment type, brand, and model numbers. It is a good idea to organize all your literature in a common folder.

Losing Water?

Losing Water?

Locally, Spartan Pools can do the leak detection for you from start to finish. However, if you are interested in saving time and money you can do so by completing the following testing.First, determine if the pool is losing water. This may sound odd, but it is not infrequent that customers think they have a leak but evaporation is the problem. Evaporation can account for as much as ¾” daily in our area.

First, determine if the pool is losing water. This may sound odd, but it is not infrequent that customers think they have a leak but evaporation is the problem. Evaporation can account for as much as ¾” daily in our area.

IS THE POOL LOSING WATER?

  1. Mark the water level
  2. Put the solar cover in place in the pool.*
  3. Measure the water loss in 24 hours (For best results, care should be taken to avoid testing during a rain)
  4. Initial test inches lost ______________

If the pool is shown to be losing water, perform the following test to help determine why:

First make sure that water is not dripping out of the backwash, bottom of the pump or that you have some obvious plumbing leaks. A small drip accounts for more water than what you would think.

  1. Refill the pool to its normal water level and mark the water line.
  2. Turn off the pump.If the pool is equipped with a timer, be sure to disable it.
  3. Put your winter plugs into the returns and plug off the skimmer.
  4. Shut off the valve that controls the bottom (main) drain, at the front of the pump.
  5. Put on the solar cover to prevent evaporation.*
  6. After 24 hours check the water level.
    1. If the pool does not loose any water the problem is in the lines or filter.Call Spartan Pools at 989-792-5351 to schedule a service call to pressure test your lines.
    2. If the pool continues to lose water, the problem is in the liner, main drain or possible the light. Call a diver who inspects liners and patches holes/plugs main drains.
    3. If no leaks in the liner are found the diver will plug the main drain. Once this has been done you can contact have the main drain line pressure tested.

Our standard leak detection service requires the pool bottom be clean, the water clear and in good balance. There must be a minimum of 2 feet of water in the shallow end for the diver, if required.

* If you do not have a solar cover, you will have to do what is commonly called the bucket test.Place water from the pool into a 5-gallon bucket. Mark the water level in the bucket and mark the pool water level. By comparing the water loss from the bucket with the pool you should be able to determine if the loss is equal to or more than evaporation. Both the bucket and the pool will evaporate at the same rate.