Archive for the ‘Winterize’ Category

Preparing Your Swimming Pool For Joquin

Bob Russell | October 2, 2015 in Eco-friendly,Pool,Pool chemicals,Pool safety,Pool Service,Sanitizers,Uncategorized,Winterize | Comments (0)

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Preparing For Heavy Rain And Winds

 

A check list and some frequently asked questions:

 

1) Secure or store deck furniture.

This includes: Tables, umbrellas; anything that can be blown by strong winds and become a potentially damaging projectile

2) Automatic pool coversIf your pool is still open: During periods of heavy downpours, we recommend opening automatic covers so heavy rain can fill the pool and not your closed cover. Heavy rain on top of your cover (a foot or more) could damage it. 

We also recommend this because, should your area lose power, the cover will be “stuck” closed. A sump pump cannot keep up with this volume of rainfall- especially if power is out.

While using your cover pump to remove accumulated water, be sure to run pump discharge into skimmers with system running so water is filtered and added to pool beneath cover.  

If you have a “Grando” or similar style floating automatic pool cover that drains off into pool, your decision to leave it open or closed should be based on the risk of wind-blown branches or debris which could damage your cover.

Yes, your pool will get messy with blowing leaves. This is a preferrable outcome to expensive repairs of a damaged auto cover. Leaves and branches can be scooped and picked out of the pool afterwards.

 

3) If you can winterize your pool before the storm arrives, do it!

 

4) Water table issues: Pools located in areas where ground water can surge should NOT be pumped too low. It is almost always okay if your pool overflows! Consider the following:

Do not lower pool water level excessively to “make room” for heavy rains. There is a real risk of floating a swimming pool or buckling the shell if pool water levels are too low during prolonged periods of heavy rains where water tables surge. Leave pool at normal winter water levels (between bottom of tile and 11″ below bottom of tile.) 

The risk is greater with pools in flood-prone areas including properties adjacent to the LI Sound. An overflowing pool is preferable to an opened hydrostatic relief valve (which requires a diver to re-set). Hydrostat valves can open and become stuck open when water table surges up and above water level inside pool.

The exception to this rule is the odd situation where an overflowing pool creates other problems that must be avoided (you know who you are).

 

Q: What about pool chemicals?

A: Normal levels pool chemicals are diluted during heavy rains and will  NOT cause damage to grass or gardens this time of year. Chlorine dissipates rapidly on the ground. Don’t worry about pool chemicals hurting anything should your pool overflow during a heavy downpour.

 

5) If you are a Glen Gate Client, we will reach out to those in hard hit areas. If you are not a client and need assistance please feel free to inquire about our services by contacting our office at 203 762-2000.  

Our Pool and Property Care teams specialize in storm clean-up.

 

6) If you have a significant amount of landscape soil wash into your pool- call us to assess the situation. It may be we can save the water. In some heavy wash-in situations we may advise draining and cleaning out the pool.

 

7) For those of you on the coast-  Let your pool fill. Your pool structure is safest when full should a wave come inland and reach your property; or there be severe flood tides.

For now, we hope you and your property are safe and sound!

Call if you need anything!

Bob and the service team at Glen Gate Company

 


Pool and Spa Winter Maintenance

Bob Russell | February 12, 2015 in Equipment maintenance,Pool,Pool equipment,Pool safety,Pool Service,Sanitizers,Winterize | Comments (0)

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Winter And Your Outdoor Pool/ Spa

New England winters are long and harsh. You may have noticed :)

Protecting your outdoor pool and spas however, is pretty basic.

Here are 4 basic things you must do to protect your outdoor pool and spa:

1) Make sure the water is balanced and sanitized when pool or spa is closed.

If you are unclear how to do this, I suggest you consult with a professional.

There is a science to minimizing winter damage through good water chemistry.

This step is critical to protecting your investment and conserving water.

2) Make sure circulation system and all related plumbing is properly winterized.

The reasons for this may be obvious- ice can break or damage just about anything. As a pool inspector I am still amazed at how much ice damage I see. My advice, hire a professional to handle this aspect of seasonal maintenance. If you prefer to do it yourself, make sure you obtain good instruction from a professional.

3) Minimize damage to masonry by keeping ice below pool tile and coping.

Pool tile that is rated as “frost-proof” can be misleading. Ice against pool tile expands and contracts every day as temperatures go up and down, this will break any tile and can also lift pool coping off it’s setting bed. Masonry damage is very expensive to repair.

Winter ice must be maintained below tile. Care should be taken to NOT exceed the levels specified by your winter cover installer as the cover is designed to float on water when bearing the weight of heavy snow. Typically you should not exceed 8″ below the bottom of pool tile.

Maintenance of ice levels in pools often requires 3-4 pump outs between fall closing and spring opening- this is based on average rainfall.

4) Utilize a good quality winter safety cover to keep pets and people safe as well as keep fall debris out of pool.

Our #1 reason for using a good quality winter cover is safety.

#2 is to keep the massive amounts of leaves and debris out as these will overwhelm the sanitizer and allow pool to turn green with algae by spring.

Failing to maintain clear, sanitary water will encourage staining of the finish that will require draining pool to remove. Unsanitary water also provides a breeding place for mosquitos.

 

There are other things a pool owner should be aware of, such as protecting critical components such as heater and filter, but these are the (4) critical things for protecting your investment.

For more information please contact Glen Gate Company.

 

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Snow And More Snow!

Bob Russell | March 8, 2013 in Equipment maintenance,Pool,Pool chemicals,Pool equipment,Pool renovations,Pool Service,Sanitizers,Uncategorized,Winterize | Comments (0)

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It’s been a snowy and rainy winter.

What can we expect when we open our pools in a couple months?

Here is a short list of general things to check out after a snowy/ rainy winter:

Check for winter cover damage. Heavy snow can pull out wall anchors; cause sharp coping to rip through cover; heavy snow on a winter cover can pull deck anchors and deck stones towards pool causing related masonry damage.

Check heaters for mouse damage- during periods of deep snow, mice move into heaters- more than usual.

Water chemistry- heavy snow and rains means your water chemistry has changed. Of primary concern is:

a) Sanitizer levels- these must be maintained to keep water clear and algae-free until opening day!

b) Calcium Hardness- rain water contains about 0 ppm calcium. After about 18″ – 36″ of rain between September and May, a pool’s Calcium Hardness has been diluted making the water “softer” and more aggressive towards plaster finish. Water left in this state for too long will cause finish problems.

For more details on these and related issues we recommend you consult with an experienced and licensed pool service professional.

If you are interested in our pool services, please contact us!

Meanwhile, Memorial Day Weekend is only 12 weeks away!

- Bob


Preparing For Sandy

Bob Russell | October 26, 2012 in Pool,Pool chemicals,Pool safety,Pool Service,Uncategorized,Winterize | Comments (0)

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Preparing For Sandy

Seems like only a short while ago we were preparing for and cleaning up after Irene.

As a Pool Owner, here are some things you should know in a short check list format:

1) Secure deck furniture.

2) Automatic pool covers- Sandy is being called a “Superstorm” because she is merging with a winter storm as she chugs up our coast. This means a LOT of rainfall and flooding over a few days.

If your pool is still open, we recommend opening automatic covers so heavy rain can fill the pool and not your closed cover which could become severely damaged.

We also recommend this because, should your area lose power, the cover will be “stuck” closed. A sump pump cannot keep up with this volume of rainfall- especially if power is out.

(If you have a Grando style automatic pool cover which drains off into pool, your decision to leave it open or closed should be based on the risk of wind-blown branches or debris which could damage your cover.)

Yes, your pool will get messy and filled with leaves. This is a preferrable outcome to a severely damaged auto cover. Leaves and branches can be scooped and picked out of the pool afterwards.

3) If you can winterize your pool before the storm arrives, do it!

4) Water table issues: Pools located in areas where ground water can surge should NOT be pumped too low. It is not the end of the world if your pool overflows! Consider the following:

An overflowing pool is preferrable to an opened hydrostatic relief valve (which requires a diver to re-set). Hydrostat valves can pop and become stuck open when water table surges up and above water level inside pool. It’s just not a good idea to remove large amounts of water to “make room” for the heavy rains. You are putting your pool at risk.

Normal levels of winter pool chemicals are diluted during heavy rains and will  NOT cause damage to grass or gardens this time of year. Chlorine dissipates rapidly on the ground. Don’t worry about your pool over flowing during heavy downpour.

There is a real risk of floating a swimming pool or buckling the shell if it is left empty or partially empty. Leave pool at normal winter water levels (between bottom of tile and no lower than 11″ below bottom of tile.)

5) Contact your pool service professional for special situations or if you are unclear what to do.

6) For downed trees and property damage- please feel free to contact us if you are in our area.

Our service team specializes in storm clean-up. Rest assured we will keep an eye on things.

If you have a significant amount of landscape soil wash into your pool- call us to assess the situation. It may be we can save the water. In some heavy wash-in situations we will need to drain and clean out the pool.

For those of you on the coast- just let your pool fill up as rains increase. Your pool structure is safest when full should a wave come ashore or there be severe high tides.

For now, we pray our customers are safe and their homes protected from trees, high winds and floods.

Call if you need anything!

Bob and the service team at Glen Gate Company

 


What To Expect After A Mild Winter

Bob Russell | March 10, 2012 in Pool,Pool chemicals,Pool Service,Sanitizers,Summerize,Winterize | Comments (0)

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For pool owners in Fairfield, Connecticut and Westchester, New York the winter of 2011-2012 was one of the mildest on record

Here’s what you can expect for your pool (and what we are seeing in our pools):

  • Chances are your winter floaters are empty by March.  Under average winter conditions [chlorine] floaters last till mid-May.
  • Without an established layer of ice, pools will warm up much quicker.
  • Though winter was mild, we still had plenty of dilution- 2011 was described locally as, “the wettest year on record,” with plenty of rain falling after pools were closed and through much of the winter.

Between warm weather and dilution, the sanitizer level in your pool water is very likely running near or at zero right now. Sanitizers, such as chlorine, are critical for  preventing the emergence and growth of plant life (like algae) and bacterias in your pool.

Q: Under these conditions, what should a pool owner do?

A: Here’s what we do, and it’s not as hard as it might seem.

Over the next few weeks, we will visit our Client’s pools, peel back a portion of the winter cover and re-load the winter floaters. That should be enough to keep the water clear and algae-free until opening.

Q: What will happen if I don’t do this?

A: You’ll most likely have a green pool and be breeding mosquitoes when you pull the cover off in May. A green pool is not only more labor-intensive to open and get clear, but will cost you about 2-3X as much to open.

At your service,

B

p.s. Since I’m giving advice let me toss in two more things:

  • Spray for deer ticks. I pulled one off the other day and am being treated for lyme disease as I write this. According to our in-house experts, this is going to be a bad year.
  • Once you’ve treated tick habitat, put up the hammock and set out the Adirondack chairs. The folks at Agway told me today it will hit close to 70 this week (and as all experienced Hammockers will tell you- this outdoor “sport” is best enjoyed before the bugs are out in force and after the ticks are under control).  :-)

Pool Work In Winter

Bob Russell | December 25, 2011 in Pool,Pool equipment,Pool renovations,Pool Service,Uncategorized,Winterize | Comments (0)

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Equipment enhancements and plumbing projects.

November and December can be tricky times of year to do such work, but if the weather is cooperating, I say, “…go for it!”

Generally the ground is well-frozen in January and this frost layer can be as deep as 18″ or more.

Still, If you can get such projects out of the way now, during the “off season,” there are some big benefits including these:

1) Most service companies are happy to do the work now when pools are closed. They actually prefer to do these sort of projects, while things are a bit quieter. Also, you may find a service company more willing to negotiate on costs this time of year.

2) The risk of a delayed spring opening is reduced. Things get very busy very fast for pool companies in Spring, especially if the winter is prolonged by March snowfall and colder weather.

3) Landscape repairs over trenches get an early jump in Spring. Anything dug up in December will be well settled by Spring. Lawn repairs will not be delayed.

So, if you can, I recommend doing the project or installation now. Not everyone thinks this far ahead, but for those who do, these and other benefits can be realized by May the following season.

May you and your family enjoy a wonderful holiday season and prosperous new year!

Bob


Water and Ice Levels

Bob Russell | October 19, 2011 in Pool,Pool Service,Winterize | Comments (0)

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In the Northeast, the average swimming pool is covered and “winterized” for 6-7 months or approximately 31 weeks.

 

 

 

 

Here is a short list of service issues, relating to water and ice levels, that we focus on after pools are winterized and covered:

1) Maintain water levels in Fall: When a pool is closed and covered in September or October, we typically lower water levels between 13″ and 11″ (respectively) below the bottom of tile- Why? Because with average rainfall water levels will be back up and close to bottom of tile by early December; this is when we do our first round of pump downs. Average rainfall in Fall is about 1″ per week.

2) Maintain ice levels in Winter: During Winter months we modify our acceptable water level ranges to:  8″ below bottom of tile (maximum) and bottom of tile (minimum). The main reason for this is snow. A pool safety cover is engineered to sag and rest on top of water. By keeping water or ice levels in this range we protect the tile from ice damage and also the winter cover from snow damage.

A note about  water tables: In areas where water tables can rise dramaticvally during heavy Fall rain we do not remove as much water in September and October.

 

Look for my next post about pool care during months when pool is closed. Coming soon!


Spring Is Here! How To Start Up Your Pool Fast! Part 1

Bob Russell | April 27, 2011 in Pool,Pool chemicals,Pool finishes,Pool Service,Uncategorized,Winterize | Comments (0)

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It was a winter of heavy snowfall, a Spring of heavy rainfall…

 

Heavy rains filled our rivers and pools this past few months...

 

Question: What Impact Do Harsh Winters Have On Your Pool Finish?

Answer: It means precipitation has changed your water chemistry and diluted your pool water. This year you will find that your pool water is more corrosive than usual. (e.g. calcium hardness is very low) These things must be corrected at your pool opening; but what is the effect on the pool before it is opened?

A [plaster] pool finish has a high calcium content. Pool water is “hardened” with calcium chloride in order to protect a pool’s finish. This is an important part of the overall balancing required to maintain pool water that is neither corrosive or scaling but water that is just right.

A pool finish can get pretty “beat up” when water is soft (as far as calcium goes). To make matters a bit worse, we are also finding (THIS year) that our pools have a generally low pH and Total Alkalinity. Taken together these factors make for more-than-normal corrosive water. This is one of the primary factors that lead to degredation of finishes while pools are closed.

This year, pools in our area have had about 2-3 feet of new water added from snow and rainfall! Water from snow and rain is not quite like your city or well water. Rain water is very soft and what is in the atmosphere often winds up in your pool.

Key Point: Swimming Pool water will tend to be very soft and corrosive this Spring- more than normal .

Next up: Other pool challenges brought on by dilution from rain water, and how to protect your investment.

 B


Winter Pool Dreams

Bob Russell | January 11, 2011 in Pool Service,Uncategorized,Winterize | Comments (0)

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This is a picture of a pool on the New England coast. I took this almost exactly a year ago today, January. 2010.

Looks great doesn’t it? What do you think, is this pool okay? 

Today, it’s under a foot of snow and we have a lot more coming. So, why be concerned at all about a swimming pool in the winter? Just cover it and forget it till Spring… right?

Let’s take a look under this pool cover for a moment. Same pool. Same time. Here’s the picture:

Fortunately, this Client had signed up for a “winter watch and pump down service.” During a routine check, our service technician found that the water level in this pool had dropped suddenly and substantially.

Had we NOT caught this, a Nor’ Easter (like the one coming up the coast as I write this) could drop a foot or so of heavy wet snow on this cover. With the pool water this low, even a new and strong safety cover would have been damaged or ruined.

Point: Make sure you keep track of your pool’s water levels throughout the off season.

I saw another pool last winter where water and ice levels were not kept below tile and coping. This pool easily sustained about $20-$30,000. in damage as ice lifted the beautiful granite coping and broke tile. Ouch! The pool Owner didn’t even know this had happened because the damage was hidden by a snow-covered pool cover.

I didn’t make a service agreement sale that day but their existing service company had some explaining to do along with some warranty work in the Spring!

Ice is perhaps the most powerful natural force on earth.

Your beautiful pool safety cover does a nice job covering up the pool for the winter months: Besides looking nice, it keeps leaves out and gives you peace of mind. That said, in the Northeastern United States, pool service is a 12 month thing.

This is just a friendly reminder. Don’t forget the pool! “Out of sight, out of mind” is not a good approach as a pool owner in this part of the country. If you cannot keep an eye on it yourself- and we understand, people are busy and pumping down an ice-covered pool is hard work! For peace of mind, consider hiring a professional service company to keep an eye on your pool this winter for you.

Do I have a service company in mind?

Yes, yes I do.

Enjoy your winter!