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What to look for in an automatic pool cleaner


With so many different kinds and brands of automatic pool cleaners, it can be very difficult and confusing to settle on the right one. Though you might know you’re in the market for an automatic pool cleaner, you might not know what to look for. Here are our tips for what to look for when shopping for an automatic pool cleaner.

The right pick for the right pool

The first thing to look for in a cleaner is whether it’s right for your pool. Make sure to pick an automatic cleaner that is specific to either an above ground or in-ground pool, whichever you have.

Compatible Equipment

Before picking a pool cleaner, you will need to know what your pool is equipped with. Does it have a dedicated cleaner line? Is that line a suction or pressure line? Make sure to pick a cleaner that is compatible with your equipment.

Cleaner Type

There are three main types of automatic pool cleaners: suction side, pressure side, and robotic. The first two are dependent on what toure pool is equipped with, but robotic cleaners are simply plugged in and dropped into your pool, and it’ll take care of the rest for you.

Suction side automatic cleaners are the cheapest option, as your pool needs to be equipped with a suction line.

Pressure side cleaners are middle of the road in terms of price, as they need to be coupled with a secondary pump.

Robotic pool cleaners are the most expensive, as you can imagine, since they’re quieter, smarter, and more efficient.

The best option for you depends on your use. Do you have a large pool that needs cleaning often? A robotic cleaner might be better suited for you. Do you have a smaller pool with a suction line? A suction side automatic cleaner will probably be your best bet. And a pressure side cleaner might be the right choice if you have a larger pool but don’t want to worry about frequent maintenance.

When shopping for an automatic pool cleaner, keep things like budget and maintenance regimen in mind. Are you ok with fixing your cleaner yourself? Are you seeing high energy usage from your current cleaner? In all likelihood, there is a pool cleaner that is perfectly situated for your needs and preferences.

Fall Pool Maintenance Tips


Fall Pool Maintenance

While summer is often the season of carefree cannonballs, fall brings with it added responsibility as a pool owner. Regular maintenance becomes significantly more important, and emergency maintenance and repair loom as a distinct possibility. Here we will give you the basics of how to keep your pool clean and beautiful through the autumn season.

Regular Maintenance

You should try to lock down your pool maintenance schedule so that your pool can make it through to the other side of winter looking just as inviting as ever. This includes:

* Skimming the surface for floating debris and picking up larger sinking debris before it enters the filtration system.

* Keeping your pool filter clean. The added debris and lower temperatures means your filtration system will be working overtime with a dirty filter.

* Closely monitor pool chemistry with your test kit to ensure proper pH and chemical levels. Note that lower temperatures means you need to use less chemicals.

* Brush your pool to prevent scum buildup on surfaces and cracks.

* Maintain water level. Lower water levels will leave rings on the edges that are a breeding ground for bacteria.

Fall Maintenance

When entering the season of falling temperatures and multicolored foliage, swimming pool care takes on a new phase. Even though you probably won’t be taking many –if any– dips, your pool needs even more attention than usual, so that winter’s (potentially) freezing temperatures don’t do any damage, and is ready for the next swimming season. Extra fall maintenance includes:

* Remove all floats and toys from the pool.

* Ensure your pool cover is clean and damage-free. A properly-fitting pool cover for outdoor pools is essential for keeping the entire system in peak performance.

* Remove leaves from in and around the pool area. Leaves big and small will quickly clog your filter and prevent water from being cleaned.

* Lower the water level of your pool. Water expands as it freezes, and could damage space-constrained equipment.

* Purchase a winterizer kit from your local pool supplier. These kits usually involve chemicals that prevent freezing and maintain water health during lower temperatures.

* Follow instruction specific to your pump and filtration systems for winter months.

* Continue to maintain water chemistry.

While Fall brings a few extra steps to pool ownership and maintenance, The payoff will come when your pool is crystal clear and ready for fun in the next pool season. This article serves as a brief overview of swimming pool care during the autumn and winter season, and there is much more to the process. Consult your local expert to learn the specifics for your pool setup.

How Often Should I Drain My Pool?


How often should I drain my pool?

Despite most pools having a filtration system, most pools need to be drained and refilled on occasion. But why should you drain you pool? When should you? How often? Below, we’ll give you quick tips on the when, where, why, and how’s of pool draining.

*Be warned however, draining your pool should only be done when the circumstances absolutely require it, and most people likely should hire professionals to undertake the procedure as draining imposes serious a serious risk of damaging the pool.*

Why should I drain my pool?

With differences depending on your climate and how often you maintain your pool, pool industry experts recommend you replace your pool water every 5 to 7 years. As pool water is subject to harsh chemicals, a potentially harsh environment, and biological remains such as dead skin, oils, and hair, pool water can no longer be effectively treated after those 5-7 years.

Pool water that is too old or has been unmaintained can also damage the surface of your pool. Environmental conditions can often lead to hard water, which will eventually leave calcium and mineral deposits that can easily damage pool tiles and grout. Maintaining your pool water is preferable –and cheaper– to repairing damaged pool tiles and finishes.

When should I drain my pool?

As stated in the previous section, most in-ground pools should be completely drained and the water replaced every 5 to 7 years. Exactly how often will depend on your maintenance schedule, how frequently the pool is used, and what kind of environment your pool is in.

Pools should be drained during the mild seasons to prevent unnecessary sun, heat, or moisture damage to the pool surfaces and filtration systems.

In almost all cases, pools should not ever be drained for cleaning, as this can be done underwater.

Pools should not be drained after significant rain or storms as the water table will add extra pessure to the bottom of your pool.

How do I drain my pool?

First, speak to a professional to determine whether your pool needs to be drained. Most pool maintenance can be done with the pool at least partially full. If you have determined your pool needs to be drained, but are not one hundred percent comfortable draining and completing the repairs yourself, hire a professional pool maintenance contractor or company. A botched draining will cost significantly more to fix than hiring experts.

The first step in draining your pool is to gather the required tools. You’ll need a sump pump, a bucket, and a hose with spray nozzle.

You can rent a sump pump from home improvement and equipment stores, usually by the hour or day. The pump should come with the pump and hoses.

Make sure to open the hydrostatic valve at the bottom of your pool before starting to pump the water. This prevents the hydrostatic pressure from lifting the entirety of your pool out of the ground. Opening the valve might require pliers. If there is water pressure from the valve when you open it, close the valve and cease the draining process.

Begin pumping the pool. Refer to the instructions provided by your rental supplier.

As the water level drops, spray down the edges of your pool to keep the edges clean and prevent sediment lines.

Once the water is below the level the pump can drain, use your bucket to scoop out what remains.

You’ve now drained your pool and are able to perform your repairs. Be warned, you should not keep your pool drained for any significant period of time, as this will likely result in basin damage.

*TO REITERATE*: Please do not attempt to drain your pool without significant research beforehand and without definite cause. Do not attempt if you are not 100% comfortable with the process, and consult a pool maintenance professional before attempting.

Saltwater vs Chlorine Pools


Salt Water vs. Chlorine Pools

Chlorinated pools have been the de facto standard for residential pools ever since their inception. Adding chlorine to your pool to maintain clean and healthy water is relatively simple and cheap. Today however, there has been a push towards salt water pools as the advantages of setup and maintenance seem to outweigh those of a chlorinated pool. We’ll look into the pros and cons of both, so that you can decide which is the better fit for your pool.

Chlorinated Pools


* Supplies for chlorine pools are already very prevalent and easily obtainable. Oftentimes, the chemicals are pre-measured, which means less math, and possibly less mess.

* Chlorine treated pools reportedly scrub bacteria from the water faster and more thoroughly.

* The majority of installed pools have a chlorine setup, so no extra upfront costs.


* Chlorine and chlorine additives are harsh chemicals, and can sting eyes, irritate skin, damage hair, and fade clothing.

* Regular cost of regular upkeep is more than that of a saltwater pool.

* Chlorine pools must be tested and balanced for pH levels regularly.

Salt Water Pools


* Salt water pools do not have the same level of salt as the ocean, and will not leave you feeling like you just walked out of it, nor does it taste significantly salty.

* No chemicals means no harsh effects in a salt water pool.

* Salt water pools are cheaper for regular maintenance.

* Maintenance also takes less time than on chlorine setups.


* High upfront cost if converting a chlorine pool, including new filtration system and initial base level of salt.

* Salt levels in the water need to be maintained, and pH levels need to be checked on occasion.

* Slower cleaning process means potentially dirtier water with very heavy use.

So there you have it. The decision between the two systems is up to you, but you should now be a little more informed on the choice, so that you have the right fit for you and your family.

Summer Pool Safety Tips


Enjoying good weather and a swimming pool can be one of the most enjoyable parts of summer. Follow these tips to help make sure your summer is a happy and healthy one for you and your family.

Guidelines to Prevent Swimming Pool Injuries

  • Never leave children unsupervised around water – even if they know how to swim, and regardless of whether you’re at a private or public pool.
  • Install a phone by the pool or keep a cordless phone nearby so that you can immediately call 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency.
  • Learn CPR and insist that babysitters, grandparents, and others who care for your child know CPR as well. Many local organizations, such as the YMCA, offer certification classes that are both flexible and cost-effective.
  • Post CPR instructions and 9-1-1 or your local emergency number near the pool.
  • Enclose the pool on all sides with a self-locking, self-closing fence with vertical bars. Openings in the fence should be no more than four inches wide.
  • Never leave furniture near a fence that could make climbing over the fence possible.
  • Always keep basic lifesaving equipment by the pool and know how to use it. We suggest having a pole, rope, and personal flotation devices. Be sure everyone using the pool knows how to use these objects to help a swimmer to safety (i.e. stay low to the ground when extending an object to a struggling swimmer so you don’t lose your balance).
  • Keep toys away from the pool when you’re not using them. Toys can attract children to the water.
  • Pool covers should be completely removed before using the pool, and put back on and secured correctly when not in use.
  • If a child is missing, make sure to check the pool first. Every second counts in drowning accidents.
  • Avoid horseplay and running near pool areas.
  • Follow all rules when at a public swimming pool, and only swim when a lifeguard is on duty.
  • Never dive into a swimming pool where you don’t know the depth. Only dive into a swimming pool area that is 6+ feet deep and has signs posted that diving is permitted.
  • Don’t swim during thunderstorms. Don’t swim until at least 30 minutes after the last time you see lightning or hear thunder.

There are many more tips to follow on the Pool Safely website, including information on the different types of pools and educational videos on pool safety.


5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Pool


Think you might be ready to take the plunge? If you’re planning to buy your first backyard swimming pool, you probably need a few tips to get started. Learn how to establish a budget, find a pool builder, and always remember to put fun on the list.

1. Create a lookbook.

It’s often difficult to put your ideas into words. Pool builders and designers appreciate when customers come to them with pictures from magazines, online swimming pool photo galleries, or even scenic photos taken on vacation. They give your pool builder a good sense of what you’re interested in and how to incorporate your style preferences into the swimming pool design. It also ensures that you and your builder are on the same page.

2. Find a credible pool builder.

Once you’ve made the decision to dive into swimming pool ownership, the best way to ensure a smooth building process is to choose a seasoned swimming pool construction professional. Check with friends, your local and regional pool builders associations, even the Better Business Bureau. Interview several candidates, and ask about their building philosophies. A good pool builder will offer examples of his work, provide references (be sure to check them), and be able to answer relevant questions. You’ll be working with this person for many months, so choose someone you feel comfortable with.

3. Decide what kind of pool shape you want.

Swimming pool design is critical to both the overall aesthetic you’re trying to achieve and what you can actually do in the swimming pool. Rectangular designs are perfect for people wanting a classic, timeless look. They’re also great for games and swimming laps. Kidney and free-form swimming pools can blend with the surrounding vegetation and appear more natural. They also lend themselves to waterfalls and grottos. Choosing the wrong shape may mean you have a swimming pool that doesn’t really suit your lifestyle as well as it could.

4. Establish a budget.

You probably already know what you’re willing to spend on a new swimming pool, but it’s important to speak with your pool builder to gather more information and get a sense of what your project will cost. Your pool builder will be able to listen to what you want and give you an estimate on what it will cost to make it happen. You may have to adjust your plans, or you may find you have the resources to add to your initial concept. Either way, it’s important that both you and your builder know what your budget is from the start.

5. Consider long-term costs.

Owning a swimming pool is actually quite affordable. Upkeep, especially if you take a few energy-saving steps (more on that below), can literally cost pennies a day. But it’s best to have an idea of what those costs are. Factor in how much water it will take to keep your swimming pool full, cleaning and water maintenance costs, and any accessories (pool covers, filters, toys, etc.) you’ll need to purchase.

Pool Safety Tips for Pets


There are some basics rules you can follow to prevent a tragedy when pets are around the family pool. First, your pet should always be taught where the steps in the pool are located, in case he falls in or gets in trouble while swimming. Even pets that are experienced swimmers can sometimes panic if they accidentally fall in the swimming pool. Pets that are too small to use steps should not be allowed in the pool.

Here are some other helpful strategies for keeping your pet safe:

  • A fence should be installed around the pool.
  • Install a pet-safe ladder in the pool so your pet has easy exit access.
  • Pets should not be allowed around the pool without supervision.
  • Pool covers are NOT a form of protection. Covers can be deceptive to pets, as they look like a solid surface but can give out and lead to an accident.
  • Familiarize your pet with water at a young age; don’t assume they can swim.
  • Consider purchasing a pool alarm system. These float in the pool and go off when there is a disturbance in the water.
  • Take your pet to the veterinarian immediately if a near-drowning or water injury occurs.

Pool Safety Tips


The best way to assure pool safety is to be informed and aware of your surroundings. Pools are for fun and relaxation, nobody wants to think about potential situations while they are trying to relax. You also don’t want to constantly worry about your pool being a potential hazard to others. To avoid situations are your pool, here are some Pool Safety Tips to consider before you plan to relax.

Water Safety Skills:

  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim
  • Learn to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly
  • Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency

Suggest Pool & Spa Equipment

  • Install a four-foot or taller fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools.
  • Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.
  • If your house serves as a fourth side of a fence around a pool, install door alarms and always use them. For additional protection, install window guards on windows facing pools or spas.
  • Install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water
  • Ensure any pool and spa you use has compliant drain covers, and ask your pool service provider if you do not know
  • Maintain pool and spa covers in good working order
  • Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm

There are many ways that you can prevent situations from arising in your pool but the most important thing to consider is just being ready. At The Pool Master Service, we take pool safety very serious. If there is anything we can do to help make your pool a safer place for you, your family, and those near your pool, please contact us.

Tami Gosselin, Realtor


I’ve been using “The Pool Master” for both my personal pool service as well as for my business needs. The Pool Master is right there at your service on a weekly service as well as whenever there is a issue, they take care of the problem right away. I highly recommend “The Pool Master” if you want top notch service at a reasonable price. Sincerely, Tami Gosselin, Realtor with Century 21 M&M and Associates.

Century 21 M&M and Associates

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