Author: Sara May

Poop Happens — How Long Before It’s Safe to Swim Again?

Pool Chemicals for Clean Pools

We love our kids and pets, but they often find the most curious ways to make more work for the adults in their lives.  Take the backyard swimming pool, for example.  We spend countless hours every month ensuring that the pool stays clean and safe for our family and friends.  We clean the filters, we test the chemical balance in the water and adjust the pool chemicals as needed, we scrub the sides and bottom of the pool regularly to remove dirt and debris, and more.  So, when one of our beloved children (furry or otherwise) decides to use the pool as the drop zone for their poop, we understandably freak out.  What now?

The first steps are probably obvious — clear all the swimmers out of the pool and then remove the offending poop from the water.  But, then what?  How long will it take before it’s safe to go back into the water?  Well, it depends on what’s in the poop.  Poop can contain the E. coli bacterium, the Hepatitis A virus, the Giardia parasite, and/or the super nasty Cryptosporidium parasite.  Not many private pool owners have the desire or ability to test the poop to find out what kind of contaminants it contains, but it is important to note that the disinfection time varies greatly depending on the contaminants that the poop introduced into the pool water.

The best approach is to take the most cautious route in case water is contaminated with the hard-to-kill and chlorine-resistant parasite Cryptosporidium.  Disinfecting means hyperchlorinating the pool water by increasing free chlorine to either 10 parts per million (ppm) or 20 ppm.  The difference comes with the amount of time you’ll have to wait before it’s safe to swim again.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), increasing free chlorine to 10 ppm means you’ll have to wait approximately 26 hours before swimming again.  At 20 ppm, swimming can resume after about 13 hours.  If you’re using a chlorine stabilizer, though, the game changes a bit.

For full details about what to do when you’ve had poop in your pool, read the CDC’s instruction sheet on “Hyperchlorination to kill Cryptosporidium.”  Additionally, instituting a mandatory pre-pool time potty visit for both kids and pets can help prevent future accidents.



Tips for Pinpointing a Swimming Pool Leak

Diver Looking For Leaks in Pool

Do you suspect that your pool has a leak?  Have you noticed a larger than average drop in your in ground or above ground swimming pool‘s water level? Determining whether there truly is a leak 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.

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 Health Benefits of Home Saunas

Home Infrared Sauna

For years, many people have chosen to pay membership fees to gyms just so they can use the sauna and enjoy its many health benefits.  Home sauna usage, however, has been increasing more and more in recent years.  Home saunas have traditionally been seen as 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.

Some of the health benefits that can be attained by using a home infrared sauna include the following:

  • Infrared saunas increase circulation in the body, which helps improve the body’s overall function.
  • Infrared waves penetrate the body and provide soothing relief for aches and pains without causing any harmful effects to the skin.
  • The soothing heat, which can reach up to 141 degrees, helps the body relax and allows stress and tension to melt away.
  • 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.
  • Spending just 30 minutes in an infrared sauna can burn up to 600 calories, making it an effective component in any weight loss regimen.
  • Time spent in a sauna helps improve the look, feel, and overall health of the skin.

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.

How to Make Pool Cleaning a Thing of the Past

Robotic Pool Cleaner

Most people would probably say that they’d love to have a swimming pool in their backyard, but many decide not to because they feel the maintenance that goes along with a swimming pool is too much to handle.  In the past, cleaning a swimming pool had been a time consuming activity, unless we could afford a pool service company to do the work for us.  These days, though, pool owners can rely on modern technology to do the dirty task of cleaning the pool.

Robotic pool cleaners bring together computer technology and robotic innovation to create an automatic pool cleaner that cannot be beat.   Once a robotic pool cleaner is placed in the pool and turned on, it will independently vacuum up all the debris, dirt, and algae it comes in contact with on the pool’s bottom, walls, and steps.  Robotic pool cleaners even work around drains and ladders.

The most current models of robotic pool cleaners are designed to detect the size and the shape of your swimming pool.  They “remember” this information, which ensures that each pool cleaning is consistent, thorough, and effective.  Additionally, many robotic cleaners have self-programming software that automatically scans and calculates the most effective pattern of cleaning that is required.

Even though robotic pool cleaners carry a higher price tag than most other automatic pool cleaners, pool owners who have them believe the initial investment is worth the amount of time and energy saved as a result of using a robotic pool cleaner.  Thanks to robotic pool cleaners, people can spend more time enjoying the pool rather than cleaning it.

Thoughts of Summer Provoke Pool Float Fancies

Dreaming of Summer

Even though I’m still wearing my winter weather gear, I’m thinking ahead to warmer days when I can soak up the sun at the pool and the beach.  Nothing is more relaxing than floating on calm waters while being bathed by the warm rays of the sun, so finding just the right pool float is a big deal.

Many times, I prefer to float solo, but I like to be prepared with refreshments so I don’t have to leave my comfy lounger every time I need a cool drink.  That’s why I love the Oversized Cooler Couch.  This one-person pool float has a handy built-in cooler that holds ice and drinks.  With two drink holders, this float makes it possible to enjoy soda on one hand and water on the other.  The other advantage of this particular pool float is the position of the reclined back.  It’s not fully reclined, and it’s not completely upright, either.  It’s just right for reading a book or magazine, or for taking a comfortable cat nap.

Oversized Cooler Couch

Sometimes, I feel like floating with a friend…or five.  The Cabana Islander Pool Float is a serious float that can support up to six people.  It has a removable cabana top that can be attached when the sun is too strong, or detached when we want to warm things up.  There’s even a center swim porthole, a boarding platform, and a 16 quart floating cooler that can be tethered to this impressive floating wonder.  When I crave conversation with friends but I don’t want to leave the water, the Cabana Islander delivers.

Cabana Islander Pool Float

Frigid temperatures make summer feel like a distant dream, but until it arrives, my thoughts can be filled with fantasies of floating on the water and basking in the warmth of a bright, summer sun.