Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Swimming Pool Filter FAQ

Swimming pool filters can be complex, or at least seem that way, and there always seems to be a bunch of questions regarding the use, care, and cleaning of filters.

There are probably too many pool filter questions to answer in just one blog post.

But, today you're going to learn the answers to three of the most common questions I see regarding pool filters.


1. How often should I backwash?

Truth be told, it depends.

It depends on how much the pool is being used and how dirty it gets during normal use. The general rule for sand filters is to backwash once each month and to tear down twice each year. For DE filters, both procedures should be completed six times per year or more.

2. Why is there dirt flowing back into my pool?

Frankly, it's usually because of poor assembly after a cleaning or a torn grid.

First off, de-assemble your filter and check everything. Put the filter back together carefully and start using it again. Watch it for a week or two to make sure it's working properly.

3. Which filter is best?

A better question... is there a "best" filter? This is subject to debate and my purpose in this blog post is not to do product reviews.

With that all said, all filters will generally do a good job of keeping your pool clean. Most importantly, remember to stay committed to a consistent schedule of cleaning and to size your filter correctly.

Filter cartridges have a reputation of being easy to maintain, and this has been the case for me for many years. However, if you have a large pool that rivals something William Randolph Hearst had then a cartridge filter may not work for such a big pool.

So using a filter that is compatible with your pool size is always a good idea.

Know your pool, enjoy your pool. Good luck!


Paul Ottaviano
How to Build a Deck for an Above Ground Pool

P.S. - Sometimes the best filter for you is the one that is just easiest for you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Above Ground Pools? Hmmmm...

Last night I was having dinner at one of my favorite local restaurants. I know the owner and manager well. They always come over and say hello... ask how things are going. It's that kind of place.

Both came over to chat with me individually. When they got around to asking me about my business I replied the way any enthusiastic business person would, I talked about it glowingly.

I explained how on the Internet I was going to help swimming pool owners by giving them valuable information they can use, and why... because I thought there wasn't a lot of great information resources available online. And many of the people who could use a good information resource were above ground pool owners, especially those wanting to build an above ground pool deck.

Neither seemed to be that familiar with the Internet, so I spared them the juicy technical tid-bits of having an online business. But with them being owners of a nice restaurant I figured they would at least understand the basic dynamic of a business giving people what they want.

Simply put, there are people like you who want swimming pool information and tips... be it pool deck construction or getting rid of algae. And for those of you who own an above ground pool you represent the fastest growing swimming pool in the country... and not just in the Northeast US either.

So it's only logical I explained. Our readers are demanding quality swimming pool information and we can supply it. It's Good Business 101.

Both looked at me quizzically as if to say, "Above ground pools? Why those?".


Obviously they don't know that more above ground pools are sold in the US each year than any other type of swimming pool. Or they could've just been suffering from the bias many in-ground pool owners have towards their above ground cousins... that they're unfairly seen as somehow representing those of us who are "less fortunate".

I couldn't disagree more.

Above ground pools are a logical choice for people who have a short swim season because of tough winter weather, regardless of their means. They're also a good choice for people who don't want to deal with something like the excavation for an in-ground pool.

Regardless of why you chose an above ground pool one thing is clear, you made a wise decision and you're hardly alone in getting one.

After explaining this confidently I was still looked at weird as if they were saying, "Yeah, whatever. Good luck with that buddy."

In my younger years I would've possibly taken that to heart. I've brought a lot of business to their fine restaurant over the years and I wasn't expecting that kind of reaction for one of their better customers. After all, I'm a regular.

But these days it's fine by me if others don't "get it" when it comes to what I do. They're not the type that would build an above ground pool deck anyway... or even have a pool... that said, I would be surprised if they even swim.

The only thing I care about when it comes to above ground pools is you, our readers and customers. Those of you who are interested in swimming pools, and building a pool deck, are the people I hope find value in the information I provide to you... and I believe you will.

And as for my restaurant friends, ten bucks says they get an above ground pool if they ever move to upstate NY.

Best regards,

Paul Ottaviano
How to Build a Deck for an Above Ground Pool

Friday, December 7, 2007

Save Time on Pool Deck Railing Installation

We've noticed that a lot of you are looking for help when it comes to building railings for your pool deck.

This does not surprise us because railings not only have be to up to specific codes but they can also be a part of your deck that showcases something distinctive about your personal style.

With that all said, your pool deck railings will also be a major focal point for you and your guests. It is one of the first things people will see on your pool deck.

People will lean on your deck railing, leave drinks on it, or rest their hand on it as they have conversation... all sorts of functions are served by the railings. So don't overlook it while planning and building your above ground pool deck!

Here are a few tips to help your deck railing installation move along smoothly...

1. Make the parts of your railings uniform and even.

- Cut every piece of each part at the same time.
- Use a 10" power miter saw with a stop at the length of your finished pieces.

2. Work on a flat surface off-site.

- If there is room on your deck you can use a flat surface there.

3. Space your balusters consistently.

- Use scrap plywood.
- Cut the scrap plywood so it's the right distance between balusters.
- Use it to space your balusters consistently.

Remember, your above ground pool deck construction doesn't have to be a hard labor camp. Yes, it's hard work that requires attention to detail but by knowing the secrets professionals use you can make the process not only productive but gratifying as well... even fun.


Paul Ottaviano

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Pool Man Frustrated

What is it about swimming pool service, aka "the pool man", that makes him loathe his job so much?

I don't know about your town, but around here it seems like every other pool man has an Ol' Man Wilson grumpy attitude... or is a flake and shows up when they feel like it... or they just disappear in the middle of the night, but continue to bill me anyway.

Perhaps it's that Buttermaker "I just want to go coach the Bad News Bears" syndrome... the pool service pays for the beer and if there is enough beer, no need to rush to my swimming pool.

Now most of the time our pool man shows up when he's supposed to and does a good job. And I'm not sure anyone really enjoys brushing or skimming pools ten times a day unless they just love being outdoors. I mean, I skim once a week during the summer and I don't even look forward to that.

But as any good swimming pool owner knows, it has to be done... and someone has to do it.

So let me get on with my story here...

Recently we had some relatively strong winds... it happens... and this left an unusually heavy amount of leaves in my pool. You would figure the pool man would come as scheduled and just clean it, since that is what he is paid to do.

And he did. But not without some reservations.

When I came home from work I saw a handwritten note that my dear pool man had left behind... it went something like this...

"Please tell your lawn men to not blow leaves into the pool. I had to clean up their mess and that's not fair."

Now maybe our pool man was just having a bad day and needed to vent. Still, it wasn't our "lawn men". It was our weather, you know... the wind.

That note was like someone publishing a novel and then telling his fans that he doesn't want too many autograph requests at a book signing... because then he'll have to actually work.

So I said, "I'll do it myself... I don't need no pool man!"

Then after visiting our local swimming pool supply store I realized how much I would have to spend on a automatic pool vacuum, chemicals, and then of course I would have to actually do the work.

Nothing against you DIY'ers, I love doing-it-myself for a lot of my pool things and part of why I'm online is to help you build an above ground pool deck and to help you get to know your pool.

But bringing you all of this swimming pool information through my website and newsletter is a full time job and sometimes at the end of the day I prefer a relaxing float or swim in my pool, rather than pool related work. I'm sure you know what I mean.

So despite the pool man's bad day, I decided that he does a good service for me and my pool. And he does it right. So, I might not "need" his help... but I do want his help.

As always, enjoy your pool!

Best regards,

Paul Ottaviano

P.S. - Usually I bring you swimming pool tips and quality pool deck information with my newsletter and blog. But today I thought I would share with you a personal tid bit regarding my pool serviceman... okay, I vented... but sometimes we can all learn something from grumpy Ol' Man Wilson.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Know-How: Pool Deck Building Codes

Before and during the construction of your above ground pool deck you will have to get to know your local building codes. Do the research before you plan, double check as you plan, again before you start building, and while you are building.

Checking codes twice, three, or four times might sound like overdoing it. But, in my experience you can never be too prepared and never too informed... especially when investing your time and money into something like the construction of an above ground pool deck.

I can't stress this enough... don't defy the codes or your local building inspector. Most building codes are there for the safety of you and your family.

1. Building Codes

Most cities have building codes to make sure your new pool deck is safe, secure, and of good quality. Some cities will consider your new pool deck a permanent addition and will require specific materials, heights, depths, etc.

Visit your local building department before you start building.

2. Easements

Right-of-way rules ensure that your local utility companies have access to their lines.

But, this could prevent you from building a pool deck where you initially wanted. Some communities have strict easement laws so knowing where you can legally build your above ground pool deck before construction is an obvious time and money saver.

3. Zoning Ordinances

This regulates the use of your property and the addition of new structures to it. Generally, this includes minimum distances from property lines and the size of your deck.

4. Deed Restrictions

Some cities have restrictions on architectural styles so they can maintain property values.

This doesn't mean that you cannot build a good above ground pool deck that suits your needs. It just means that there may be a few checks and balances for some aesthetics.

With that said...

Please remember to do some research on building codes and visit your local building department before planning and constructing your pool deck.

As always, enjoy your pool!


Paul Ottaviano