Pool & Spa Outdoor Blog

Swim Year-Round with Swim Spas Plus

Swim Spas Plus - TulipaniWhile it may be the end of pool season for many pool owners across the country, it doesn’t mean you need to pack away your swimsuits till next spring. You can stay in shape and swim year-round by purchasing a “swim-in-place-pool” known as a swim spa. These stand-alone units can be installed indoors or surrounded by a heated enclosure, allowing for year-round swimming even in seasonal climates.


By having your own swim spa at home, you can swim laps and do aquatic exercises at your convenience. Most swim spas also include therapy jets and seats at the opposite end of the swim current, giving you the experience of a pool and hot tub in one.


These combo units are becoming more affordable. One model, offered by family-run corporation Swim Spas Plus, is 19 feet long and sells for $13,900. With its dual temperature controls and seating for up to four people, this unit is a great value.


Swim Spas Plus offers a wide range of swim spas to fit every need and budget. Its models start at $9,900 for compact units and go up to $29,900 for its largest “party spa,” which includes an adjacent hot tub with seating for up to nine people.

Swim Spas Plus is a division of Tulipani Enterprise, Inc., established in 1976 by owner/founder Vittorio Giovanni Tulipani. For more info, visit www.swimspasplus.com


NEGU Golf Classic Raises Funds to Help Children Fighting Cancer

Erik & Jessie Rees - NEGU Foundation Golf ClassicOn Sept. 12, 2011, the NEGU Foundation held its first Annual NEGU Golf Classic in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. The event, presented by Clarient and sponsored in part by Zodiac Pool Systems, raised money to increase awareness and provide encouragement for kids fighting pediatric cancer. With over 130 golfers and more than 200 attendees at the dinner and fashion show, the event was a huge success.


The Never Ever Give Up (NEGU) Foundation was started by 12-year old competitive swimmer Jessie Joy Rees who is fighting an inoperable brain tumor and was inspired to help other children fighting cancer. Jessie was a member of the one of the top swim teams in the U.S. (the Mission Viejo Nadadores) for four years when she was diagnosed in March 2011.


Jessie came up with the idea of JoyJars™ filled with toys and activities to give to other pediatric cancer patients while they are in the hospital. The NEGU was founded to support this cause, and more than 500 JoyJars have been distributed in just four months to encourage kids to keep fighting and to maintain a positive attitude.

"We're truly blessed by the amount of support and generosity we've received,” says Jessie’s father Erik Rees, who runs the NEGU Foundation. "We're looking forward to many more events and the opportunity to encourage thousands of kids fighting cancer. We're just getting started!"


All proceeds from the NEGU Golf Classic will be used to help the NEGU Foundation continue to provide hope and encouragement to children fighting cancer.

For more information on the NEGU Foundation, and to purchase JoyJars and make donations, please visit www.inegu.org.


Pictured above: Jessie Rees and her dad Erik Rees


Photo courtesy of The NEGU Foundation and Zodiac Pool Systems, Inc.; Photography by Bob Ortiz Photography

10 Steps for Closing Your Pool for the Season

With the Labor Day holiday over, pool season will be ending in many areas of the country. If you live in an area with a seasonal climate, you’ll probably be closing your pool in the next few weeks. Here are 10 steps to follow when winterizing your pool.


  1. 1.  Consider your timing. While you may be ready to close your pool by mid-September, the ideal time is when daytime temperatures begin to range in the low 70’s to 60’s—closer to mid-October. Once the water temperature is lower, there is less chlorine demand, meaning it will last longer over the winter.  Also, winterizing chemicals last about four months so it’s best to close the pool in the fall to prevent algae blooms come springtime.


  1. 2.  Do a visual inspection. Make sure the pool structure and all equipment are in good working order. Replace broken equipment and repair any structural defects before closing your pool to prevent further damage over the winter.


  1. 3.  Test chemical levels the week before. Approximately three (3) to seven (7) days before closing the pool, make sure the water is chemically balanced and adjust levels if necessary. Imbalanced water can corrode the pool surface and cause scale to build up. Chemical levels should be as follows:


        pH: 7.2 – 7.6
        Alkalinity: 80 – 120 ppm
        Calcium Hardness: 175 – 250 ppm
        Chlorine: 1 – 3 ppm

    Not familiar with these terms? View our Water Care Glossary>>


  1. 4.  Add winterizing chemicals. Mix any granular winterizing chemicals in a bucket to make sure they are totally dissolved before adding them to the pool. Undissolved granules can settle on the pool floor and stain the liner. Allow the chemicals to circulate in the pool so they are evenly dispersed.


  1. 5.  Drain the water to recommended level. Drain the pump and drop the water level down 12 to 18 inches below the return lines so that any water in the plumbing lines can drain back into the pool. Then plug the jet and skimmer holes to prevent water from getting in, which can freeze in the pipes and cause them to crack.


  1. 6.  Shut off equipment and timers. A pump can be damaged if it runs without proper water flow. With the water level drained for winterization, it’s important to make sure any timers are disabled so that the pump does not accidentally start.


  1. 7.  Put on the pool cover and secure it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper installation of your pool cover. Edges should be sealed tight so that wind cannot get under the cover and allow debris and leaves to enter the pool.


  1. 8.  Store chemicals properly. Keep pool products in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from other products such as paint, fertilizers, gasoline, and any flammable materials. Make sure products are tightly sealed in their original containers and inaccessible to children and pets. Contact the product’s manufacturer or your local hazardous waste facility to learn the proper disposal of pool chemicals.


  1. 9.  Prevent access to the pool. A swimming pool is less likely to be supervised during the winter months, so it’s important to have several layers of protection in place to keep children and pets safe.


  1. 10.  Practice off-season care. Make sure rain and snow has not caused the water level in the pool to rise or put too much pressure on the cover. Use a pool cover pump to drain off excess water so that the cover does not stretch out or sink. Also remove any heavy debris or fallen twigs that could damage the cover. Do a couple quick inspections in the late fall and early spring to make sure the winterizing chemicals are still working.

  2. Visit our Pool Covers Buyers’ Guide for a list of pool cover companies and resources.


Vote for Pleatco’s Perfect Pool Guy/Gal

Pleatco Perfect Pool Guy/GalEvery year, Pleatco hosts the Perfect Pool Guy/Gal contest as a way to honor the hard-working men and women of the pool service industry. Now that all the entries are in—it’s time to vote!

Voting ends Sept. 30, 2011 so be sure to view all of the nominees and get your vote in now!
Vote for the Pleatco Perfect Pool Guy/Gal >>

Prizes: Both the Perfect Pool Guy™ and Perfect Pool Gal™ 2011 will win a new major prize from Genesis 3 Design Group - a G3 Certified Service Professional Program valued at over $5,000! PLUS a trip for two to Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Resort for the International Pool, Spa and Patio Expo 2011 as well as Pleatco products and other gifts worth more than $2,000.


Barbecue Grill Recipes and Frozen Dessert Ideas

Labor Day weekend is all about the last hoorah of summer. Many or you will be enjoying a poolside picnic or a good old-fashioned family barbecue. You may have already stocked up on hot dog and hamburger buns, ketchup, mustard, and all the fixings. But you may want to try a new recipe or two to mix things up.


Check out a few of our favorite grilling recipes that feature entrees, sides, and even a dessert:


  •      Honey Grilled Vegetables
  •      Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
  •      Mediterranean Grilled Wisconsin Mozzarella Skewers
  •      Maple-Mustard Country-Style Spareribs
  •      Mixed Berry Pizza

See all five lip-smacking grill recipes >>


If you already have the side dishes and main course covered, how about a fresh and fruity new dessert? These frozen dessert recipes are prefect for any Labor Day party or backyard barbecue:


    Watermelon Granita-Filled Lime Cups
    Ginger Peanut Ice Cream
    Blueberry and Citrus Sorbet “Layer Cake”

See all three tasty frozen dessert recipes >>


Let us know how these yummy dishes score at your Labor Day barbecue. Have a great holiday!

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