Posts Tagged ‘Westchester’

“…Is my pool/spa safe?”

Bob Russell | June 30, 2010 in Equipment maintenance,Pool equipment,Pool renovations,Pool safety,Pool Service,Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Is my pool/spa safe?

I enjoy writing about the joy and recreational benefits of owning a pool or spa. When it comes to safety, things get very sober and serious for pool and spa Owners and those in the business.

In the last decade there have been several changes to standards and codes in the pool and spa industry.  The question I am asked most frequently is: “Is my pool or spa safe?”

Today’s safety codes are complex. Pools and spas are also complex. Most pool and spa Owners are bombarded with media hype, marketing gimmicks and general misinformation. I’d like to help. Here are the basic things I look for while inspecting a pool or spa. 

 1) Suction Outlet Covers: Floor and wall drain covers should be in place and secured by stainless steel screws. Residential pools and spas built since 2003-2004 are required to have two suction outlets that are spaced 3 feet apart.

Spa above with a single suction outlet- built before 2003.

2) Anti-entrapment Covers- In December of 2008, all [existing] commercial pools were required to install specially designed “anti-entrapment” suction outlet covers. Residential pools were to have existing covers replaced when they failed, or at the discretion of the homeowner. Note: The new covers are designed to prevent an object (such as a human body) from creating a seal over a suction outlet; they are also designed to prevent hair entanglement. As expected, these new covers are much more expensive than the old style; they are also made of extraordinarily strong material- unlike the older covers which are relatively easy to break.

Should you replace your spa or pool floor suction covers now?

That’s a good question to ask your service professional!

Some floor suction outlets (e.g. such as the single suction outlet pictured above) are more of a risk than others- it depends on how the pool or spa is plumbed.

The first and most important “layer of safety” is the most obvious: make sure the suction outlet covers are in place and secured.

Spa pictured above is fitted with an approved anti-entrapment cover.

3) SVRS Or, Vacuum Release System- A vacuum release system is an additional layer of safety that became law in 2005  for new residential swimming pools or spas

Vacuum release units (SVRS) vary in shape and size but are all designed to do the same basic thing: release an object that has made a seal over a suction outlet. 

Some ask, “…how can people get stuck on a main drain?” The answer requires a discussion of physics but in short, there can be tremendous force at a suction port that has been sealed. A one horsepower pump (for instance) has enough force to trap a grown man and hold him fast. Some drowning accidents have in fact happened in this way.

Pictured above is a common mechanical SVRS installed on suction-side of pump.

Is your pool or spa equipped with an SVRS?

Is it operational?

These are questions to ask your service professional!



When inspecting your pool or spa, look for the following  “layers of protection”:

1)      Secured and approved anti-entrapment suction outlet covers. This is the most important layer of safety!

2)      Dual suction outlets - pools built after 2003-2004. (A second outlet can be added to existing pools.)

3)      SVRS system (vacuum release) - required in pools built after April 2005. SVRS systems can be added onto any pool for an additional layer of [anti-entrapment] protection.


If you have concerns or questions about your pool or spa after reading this post, you should contact your pool professional and get your questioned answered! Safety is nothing to guess at.

Service – Don’t Build A Pool Without It.

Bob Russell | October 15, 2009 in Pool,Pool Service | Comments (0)

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Today, dependability is often at or near the top of the list in all our major purchases.

Many of the pools built today are complex.:

The pool pictured above has a raised spa and two filter systems. The pool pictured below has a raised spa, a waterslide and  a sophisticated sanitization system. BOTH pool/spa combinations have remote controls.

Like the high-tech “Smart Home” or the latest model car, today’s state-of-the-art pools require trained and licensed service companies and technicians to keep them in top form.

Pools in the Northeast are typically open for 5-6 months and closed for 6 to 7 months. In spite of this, the owners of both of these pools will tell you it is definitely worth it!

Beautiful pools like these require “beautiful” engineering. You may not think much about pumps, filters, heaters or remotes when you see a pool like this, but, I can tell you from experience, if there are equipment problems, or if the pool was not designed well hydraulically, you WILL think about them… and, a lot!

My job is to think about such things at the planning stage so a pool/spa Owner doesn’t have to think about it later. A residential pool is for recreation, family fun and peaceful relaxation. It shouldn’t be a headache or a distraction.

Low Maintenance- Easy To Use:

The “heart” of  the pool pictured below is nestled neatly beneath the house and sits on an equipment pad approximately 4′ X 12′. The equipment was selected, designed and built by service people. Smart move.

My first piece of advice is basic-  so basic it might be overlooked:

When selecting a Designer and Builder for your pool, of course you will look for great design and excellent construction credentials… but also, find a company with a strong service foundation. When Designers and Construction and Service people put their heads together, you will find that the end results are far superior to other one or two dimensional companies.

This is where the king swims daily before  meeting heads of state

This pool and spa is located in West Harrison, New York area.

In future blogs, I will be writing about various aspects of pools and spas in the Northeast and what it takes to get the most enjoyment from them- things a pool Owner will find helpful.

Please feel free to ask pool and spa related questions in the “comment” section below. We will be adding a Q&A section in future “waterblogs.”