Author: Randy Sellers

Health Benefits of Home Infrared Saunas

Infrared Saunas and Health Benefits

Infrared Saunas

Advantages and Health Benefits of Infrared Saunas over Traditional Saunas

What is it about saunas that make them so attractive? The associated health benefits of saunas, especially infrared saunas, make them an appealing addition to many people’s home health programs. Infrared saunas differ from traditional saunas in that they use infrared heaters to heat bodies directly. On the other hand, traditional saunas heat bodies indirectly by heating the air surrounding them.

Here are some of the health benefits that can be attained by using an infrared sauna:

1. Infrared saunas increase circulation in the body, which helps improve the body’s overall function.

2. Infrared waves penetrate the body and provide soothing relief for aches and pains without causing any harmful efffects to the skin.

3. The soothing heat, which can reach up to 141 degrees, helps the body relax and allows stress and tension to melt away.

4. Regular sessions in an infrared sauna can help relieve ailments such as asthma, nervous tension, arthritis, bronchitis, rheumatism, sports injuries, joint stiffness, depression, anxiety, acne, the common cold, migraine headaches, muscle pain, and influenza.

5. Spending just 30 minutes in an infrared sauna can burn up to 600 calories, making it an effective component in any weight loss regimen.

6. Time spent in a sauna helps improve the look, feel, and overall health of the skin.

In the past, many people have paid membership fees to gyms just so they could use the sauna and enjoy its many health benefits. Home saunas, until recently, have been a luxury that only the wealthy could afford. Today’s home saunas, though, are affordable, easy to assemble, require very little space, and offer the same health benefits as saunas found in public facilities.

Besides health benefits, home saunas offer an additional benefit that no gym sauna can — privacy. Many people would agree that complete relaxation is hard to achieve when sharing sauna space with strangers. Whether you choose to use the sauna at home or at the gym, though, drinking plenty of water during and after a session in the sauna is essential for replacing fluids lost through perspiration.

Leaky Swimming Pool? Tips for What to Do

Tips for Leaky Swimming Pools

Above Ground Swimming Pool

Leaky Swimming Pool?  Tips for What to Do

Detecting and Fixing a Leaky Swimming Pool

Have you noticed a larger than average drop in your in ground or above ground swimming pool‘s water level?  If so, your pool just might have a leak.   Determining whether that is truly the case, though, and then locating the source of the leak, can present a challenge.

If your swimming pool uses an automatic fill system that keeps the water at a constant level, you may suspect a leak if you spot any of the following situations:

  • An out-of-the-ordinary increase in your water bill
  • Cracks in the pool deck as a result of settling earth
  • Existance of water puddles outside the pool that cannot be easily explained
  • An increase in your pool chemical usage

First, turn off your pool’s automatic fill system for at least 24 hours and keep track of the water level.  If the level drops significantly within that time, your suspicions may be right, and you may have a leak in your pool.

Another sign that your pool may be leaking is if there is air in your pump that is being blown into the pool. A leak in the suction side plumbing (from skimmers and main drains to equipment), may pull air into the lines where it will show up in the pump or be blown back into the pool through the returns. This condition can also be caused by an obstruction or blockage in the suction lines. Either situation requires immediate professional attention to prevent mechanical damage to your pool equipment.

Considering Evaporation — The Bucket Test

What about evaporation?  Before investigating your potential leak further, consider the possibility that evaporation may be the cause of your drop in water level.  A pool that is not regularly covered with a pool cover loses water over time through evaporation, but the amount of evaporation depends on environmental factors and local climate.  How much water evaporates from a pool can differ greatly from season to season, and from pool to pool.  To test whether your pool’s decreased water level is a result of evaporation, perform a “bucket test.”

Fill your pool to its normal operating level.  Place a bucket filled with water on the first or second step of your swimming pool, but do not completely submerge the bucket.  The water in the bucket should be at the same level as the water in the pool. This ensures that the bucket water is exposed to the same environmental conditions as the pool water.  Mark the water level inside the bucket as well as on the side of your pool.  After 24 hours, measure the amount of water lost from the bucket and from the pool using a ruler or tape measure.  If the bucket and the pool have lost the same amount of water, the cause is most likely evaporation and not a leak.  If, however, the pool shows a greater amount of water loss than the bucket, you are probably dealing with a leak.

Looking for Leaks

Before calling a pool leak detection professional, you can follow a few easy steps to determine if you have a pool leak and narrow the possibilities for where it is located.  Here are some of the more common areas where leaks can occur:

  • In and around the pool equipment (heater, filter, pump, etc.)
  • At fittings (lights, returns, skimmers, etc.)
  • In the liner or shell of the swimming pool
  • In the pool’s underground plumbing system

Any leaks in the underground plumbing will require professional attention, but you may be able to find obvious leaks in other parts of the pool using simple visual inspection techniques.

Check for drips or other signs of moisture around the pool equipment.  Also check to make sure that your multi-port valve is not positioned to allow water loss.

Underwater leaks in the pool fittings or shell can be identified with a dye test. You can make your own dye tester by using dark food coloring and a turkey baster or a plastic syringe. If using a turkey baster, slowly depress the bulb to allow a slow, steady stream of the dye to be injected into the pool.  Place a small amount of dye near the suspected leak. Liquid follows the path of least resistance, so dye will be drawn out of the pool where a leak is present. Test areas where potential leaks may occur, such as cracks in the plaster or tile, and places where skimmers, return fittings, or stairs join to the pool shell. Much of this testing can be done from the pool deck; however, you will eventually have to get into the pool with a dive mask to completely inspect the pool’s structure.

Don’t feel discouraged if you are not able to find the leak; most leaks are not visibly obvious, or they may be in parts of the pool that are not accessible, such as in the underground plumbing system. A qualified pool leak professional uses specialized equipment to find leaks.  This process can take as little as an hour or two, but more complicated jobs may take longer.

The Professional Approach

A pool leak professional will want to know as much about your pool leak as possible.  When did you first notice the potential leak?  How much water is being lost?  Provide the professional with your results from the bucket test, and describe any measures you have taken on your own to determine the location of the leak.

Most jobs will then involve a pressure test of your plumbing lines to confirm whether the leak is in the plumbing or the shell of the pool. Based on the results of the pressure test, the pool professional may use a variety of sophisticated electronic devices and diving equipment to pinpoint the pool leak.

Once the location of the pool leak is determined, the professional will provide you with several repair options that they will perform themselves or refer to someone else.

The longer a pool leak goes unnoticed or ignored, the more complicated and expensive the fix will likely be.  Because of this, pool owners should make a point to routinely check their swimming pools and equipment for any signs of leaking.  Preventive measures always pay off in the end.

Above Ground Pools, A Winning Combination of Beauty, Price and Durability

Above Ground Swimming Pools

Above Ground Swimming Pools

The Advantages To Owning An Above Ground Pool

Countless number of people long to spend the sizzling, humid days of summer lounging around a refreshing backyard swimming pool, but the expense of putting in a traditional inground swimming pool is often prohibitive.  Unfortunately, not everyone can spend a large sum of money for a high end backyard inground swimming pool.  Luckily, an economically reachable solution is absolutely obtainable.  Above ground swimming pools are a fraction of the cost to purchase, install, and maintain.  Admittedly, the appearance of an above ground swimming pool has not always appealed to homeowners, but the once lowly above ground pool has gained ground in terms of looks and prestige over the years and now serves as a beautiful and refined focal point in many backyards.

Manufacturers of today’s above ground swimming pools have succeeded in producing materials that combine quality and durability with aesthetic beauty.  Above ground pools, which are often constructed of industrial strength steel or aluminum and super strong resin, are specially coated with multiple layers to resist corrosion, scratching, and UV rays, but they are also accessible in plenty of beautiful, alluring colors and patterns to suit the most discriminating of tastes.

In addition to choosing an above ground pool with an adorning and decorative appearance, a homeowner can further enhance the appearance of an above ground pool by adding a pool deck, and surrounding the base of the pool with brillant and varigated landscaping.  Shrubbery, trickling ponds, and perennials are just a few of the landscaping options that allow an above ground pool to blend smoothly into the natural environment.

Homeowners who may still have reservations about installing an above ground pool in their yards may find comfort in knowing that they can have their cake and eat it, too, so to speak.  The first-class assembly and corrosion resistance of some above ground swimming pools make it possible for them to be installed as semi-inground pools.  Homeowners can achieve the appearance of an inground swimming pool at the undoubtedly more cost-effective expense of an above ground pool.

Today’s above ground swimming pools offer durability and charm at an affordable price.  This winning combination of characteristics can make those long, hot summer days play-out unwinding by your pool even more refreshing.

Winter Pool Cover Accessories

Pool Cover Pump

Pool Cover Pump

Three Essential Accessories for Above Ground Winter Pool Covers

Winterizing your above ground swimming pool involves a number of important steps such as giving the pool a good cleaning, ensuring proper balance of chemicals in the water, and lowering the water level to below the returns and skimmer.  Beyond this point, there are any number of additional accessories that could be used to keep your pool in good shape until next season.  The sheer volume of products available can feel daunting and confusing.  In essence, once the water has been prepared properly and you are ready to top it all off with a winter pool cover, there are really only three winterizing accessories about which you should be concerned.

Air Pillows

If you live in a climate where winter air temperatures drop below freezing, the first accessory you’ll need is an air pillow.  Air pillows absorb the pressure created by freezing water and protect your pool’s walls and liner. As the water in the pool freezes and expands, it will freeze inward on the air pillow rather than outward on your pool walls. Air pillows are placed under the winter pool cover on top of the water in the center of the pool.  To ensure that the air pillow doesn’t move out of place over the course of the winter, you’ll want to use durable string to tie it to two sides of your pool wall.

Cover Pumps

Next, you’ll want a pool cover pump to drain the water that collects on your pool cover throughout the winter months.   If accumulated water is not regularly removed by a cover pump, the weight of that excess water can damage your winter pool cover or pull the cover into the water below.  Either way, you’ll have a messy situation to clean up.  Cover pumps are available in manual models and automatic models.  Manual cover pumps require that you monitor the pump’s progress and unplug it when the water is drained.  Automatic cover pumps, often preferred by pool owners, sense and automatically start when water is detected on the cover and turn off automatically once the water has been drained.

Bags, Seal, or Clips

Finally, you’ll want to consider how to keep your winter pool cover from being blown around on breezy days, exposing your pool to the elements and ruining the hard work you put into winterizing.  There are many options available for keeping a winter pool cover in place, including pool cover wall bags, winter cover seal, and cover clips. Pool cover wall bags are designed especially for above ground pools and are positioned around the inside perimeter of your pool, fastened to your pool cover’s cable.  Wall bags should be filled only three quarters full with water to make room for the water to expand should it freeze.  Winter cover seal is another way to keep your pool cover in place, and while it looks very much like a large roll of plastic wrap, it’s really a tough poly blend film packed with UV inhibitors. Winter cover seal is wrapped around the covered pool several times to create a tight seal, which prevents wind as well as dirt from getting under the cover and causing damage and premature wear and tear.  Cover clips are a third option for securing your winter pool cover.  Cover clips are exactly that — handy fasteners that hold your pool cover in place. They grip your top rail like a clothes pin and hold securely throughout the winter season.

Keeping the winterizing of your above ground swimming pool as simple as possible will make the process less tiresome and time consuming.  A good quality air pillow, a manual or automatic cover pump, and a means of securing your winter pool cover to the pool are really the only necessary accessories you need to go along with your winter pool cover.  You’ll find that you don’t need any more than this to prepare your pool for winter and ensure that it stays in great shape until next season.

Swimming Pool Covers

Swimming Pool Covers

Pool Covers

Swimming Pool Covers Reduce Maintenance and Increase Safety

Pool covers serve two main purposes.  First, they can reduce your pool’s maintenance cost, and second, a safety cover can prevent a serious accident.  There are a variety of covers available, and you should be able to find one that meets your needs.  Or, you may decide to get two covers.  Four main types of pool covers are Solar Covers, Winter Covers, Safety Covers, and Leaf Nets.  They are made from different materials including mesh fabric and vinyl material.  Leaf nets and winter covers protect your pool from accumulations of dirt, leaves, and other debris.  Covers for in ground pools and above ground pools differ in use and design, but there are stock and customized covers that will fill the needs of most customers.  Each type of cover serves a different purpose.

Solar pool covers or blankets help save energy and water.  They will raise your pool’s water temperature by an average of ten degrees by absorbing sunlight during the day and keeping that heat in the pool at night.  A solar cover will reduce your water and chemical evaporation by up to 70 percent which can save gallons of water each month.  If you use a heater, the heat retained by a solar cover helps to reduce your heating costs which can mean a savings of up to 90% in the summer time.  Another advantage of a solar cover is that it helps to keep debris out of your pool, and that saves run time on your filter pump.

Winter pool covers are used mainly to protect the pool from winter weather and to keep tree limbs, leaves, dirt, and other debris from falling into the pool.  For an in ground pool, a solid winter pool cover is held in place with water bags placed around the edge inside sleeves attached to the cover.  An above ground pool uses the same type of solid pool cover, but it is held in place by a combination winch and vinyl coated cable assembly that runs through grommets in the cover.  Inflatable air pillows rest on the water under the cover to make stick and leaf removal easier and helps water to run off the cover.  A winter cover also blocks sunlight and inhibits algae growth.  A winter cover is an important part of winterizing your pool which makes your springtime opening much easier and less expensive.

So what does a leaf net do?  Leaf nets are lightweight covers made of an open weave material that fits over your winter cover or solar cover and helps you avoid accumulations of wet, heavy, saturated leaves and twigs on top of your winter cover.  These nets ensure a quicker removal of leaves and helps prolong the life of your winter or solar cover.  They can be used in any season and are a big help if your pool is located in an area surrounded by trees. The open weave allows water to pass through the net but will block twigs and trash.  Leaf nets make it easier to remove your pool cover.

Finally, we have safety pool covers which are the most expensive type of pool cover.  A safety cover is a maintenance cover as well as a safety barrier over your pool.  All safety covers must meet the requirements in the ASTM standards F1346-91 (1996); that means a cover must be able to support the weight of a small child or animal should they walk out onto the cover.  A proper safety cover is securely anchored into the deck area surrounding the pool and lies flat so there are no gaps between the pool and the cover that could allow a child to get under the cover and into the water.  Safety covers give the pool owner peace of mind that no child can fall into the pool.  Sharp objects can create a hole in your safety cover, but a good cover is made from material that will not run, so the hole will not automatically increase in size.  A hole can then be patched.  Safety covers follow the shape of the pool and have a proper number of anchors embedded around the pool to hold the cover in place.  Some covers require professional installation, but many can be installed by the owner.  Safety covers are available in a mesh or a solid material.  Mesh covers are lightweight and allow water, but not debris, to pass through.  Some solid covers also contain a mesh area for draining.

It is important to remember these points.  A covered pool will experience less freezing than an uncovered one.   A covered pool will require less work, be less stressful and less expensive when you open it up in the spring time.  And safety covers will protect children and animals from falling into the water.  Check out the different types of covers and decide which is best for your pool.  Look for a local professional if you decide on a safety cover and need someone to install it.