Pool & Spa Outdoor Blog

Why You Need a Pool Cover Pump for Your Winter Cover

Pool Cover Pumps







Wayne Automatic Pool Cover PumpFor many pool owners around the country, the month of October signifies pool-closing season, which means it’s time to winterize and cover your swimming pool until spring. Closing your pool for the winter is necessary to protect the structure against damage from freezing water as well as keep it as clean as possible until the next season.

Once your pool is winterized and covered, there is still one more bit of maintenance you’ll have to perform: preventing water and debris from accumulating on the cover.

Fallen leaves, rain, and snow regularly collect on your pool cover throughout fall and winter (and even early spring) and can cause the cover to collapse or sink if too much weight builds up. Additionally, salts and other pollutants in the water can break down the fibers in the cover. A pool cover pump quickly and effectively removes excess water from your winter pool cover, helping to prevent damage and possible replacement. Pool cover pumps are available in manual or automatic operation.


Manual Pool Cover Pumps

Manual pool cover pumps, which are less expensive, need to be physically turned on after a rain shower or when a large puddle of water has collected on the pool cover and then manually turned off. Automatic pool cover pumps are operated by a water-sensing microprocessor which detects when water has accumulated on the cover and automatically starts the operation of the pump to remove the water; the pump turns off once the water reaches below a certain level.


Wayne Pool Cover PumpAutomatic Pool Cover Pumps

Automatic pool cover pumps provide worry-free, efficient operation and extend the life of the pump because it only works when it has to. “It also gives the homeowner the freedom to leave the pool cover pump unattended, without the need to plug it in or turn it on and off, greatly reducing the time and fuss of pool cover maintenance,” said Matt Dempsey, Sales Director at WAYNE Water Systems, a leading manufacturer of residential water handling systems. The company recently introduced the Wayne® Pool Cover Pump which senses freezing conditions, and turns the pump off to prevent damage in the case of ice build-up. Included with the product is a check valve, to prevent water from running back into the pump, which causes unnecessary cycling, and a unique positioning rope to help properly position the pump at the lowest spot on the pool cover. “These safeguards and the accessories included make this a smart investment for homeowner’s looking to reduce pool maintenance,” says Dempsey.




Photos courtesy of Wayne Water Systems

How to Design a Sunroom - Tips & Design Ideas

Tips and Ideas for Designing a Sunroom







Sunroom Addition


There are many benefits to adding a sunroom to your home, but before you lay the foundation, you’ll need to first think about its design.

Here are some tips on how to design a sunroom to match your home and lifestyle.


1. Choose a Sunroom for Your Needs

There are many ways to use your sunroom. How you plan to use the additional living space will help you determine the best type of sunroom for your needs.

Types of Sunrooms:

·     Screen Room: Also known as a patio enclosure, a screen room is an extension of your existing patio, deck or balcony. A screen room is ideal in the summer months and in warmer climates as it allows you to enjoy the outdoor experience without having to worry about insects or other pests.

Screen Room Sunroom


·       
Three Season Sunroom: A three-season sunroom is constructed with both screens and single-pane glass windows and doors. This type of sunroom offers more protection from inclement weather and cooler temperatures than a screen room and is ideal for those who would like to use the room during the spring, summer, and fall months.

Three Season Sunroom


·        
All Season Sunroom
: As the name suggests, all-season sunrooms (or four season sunrooms) are built for those who plan to use this space throughout the year. These rooms are built with energy-efficient double-pane glass windows to reduce the loss of heat in the winter, as well as reduce the heat and UV rays in the summer. They will also typically be installed with more insulation and an HVAC unit for heating purposes in the winter months. If you live in a season area with cold winters, you’ll need a four season sunroom to use the space year-round.


Four Season Sunroom




2. Determine the Size and Location

It is important to consider factors such as where in your home the sunroom will be located, how much sunlight you’ll have in that area throughout the day and the traffic flow in that space before actually building a screen room or sunroom.

Sunroom Size:  

·         How you plan to use your sunroom will help determine how spacious it should be. A nook, home office, or pet area might be relatively small. On the other hand, if you plan to use your sunroom as a spare living room or for entertaining, you’ll need a bigger space.

Sunroom Living Room



Sunroom Location:

·         While the general rule of thumb is to follow the light, it’s important to take into account the area in which you live and what you will be using the sunroom for when deciding the location. For example, a north-facing sunroom will let in the least amount of direct sunlight; however, this may be a more pleasant location if you live in a warm climate zone because it will minimize the amount of heat the room absorbs. An east-facing sunroom catches the morning sun and provides shade during the afternoon; it’s a prime location if you’re an early riser or plan to use the room as a breakfast/morning nook. A west-facing sunroom is a good location if you are home in the afternoon or evening as it receives the most amount of sunlight later in the day. A south-facing sunroom receives the greatest amount of sunlight throughout the day and is recommended if you live in the cold, northern regions. 

·         Also consider how the sunroom will flow with the rest of your home. If your sunroom will be used for dining or entertaining, consider building it off of the living room or kitchen and making it more of an extension of that space. If used for quiet relaxation or reading, close it off with French doors or locate it away from commonly used areas to minimize traffic flow.

Second Story Sunroom



3. Select the Right Materials


There are two types of materials commonly used to build sunrooms: aluminum and vinyl.

Aluminum has been traditionally used for sunrooms because it provides great structural support, is lightweight, low-maintenance, and cost effective. However, aluminum it is not a good insulator and is best suited for screen rooms and three season sunroom designs.

Aluminum Three Season Sunroom



Vinyl is a more recently used material for sunrooms and is strong, durable, and more thermally efficient than aluminum; it is a better choice if you plan to heat and cool your sunroom throughout the year. Vinyl sunrooms are more expensive than aluminum sunrooms but are easy to clean and relatively low maintenance. Experts suggest repainting vinyl siding every 7-10 years because vinyl expands and contracts with the heat overtime, which can produce cracks and peels in the paint.

Vinyl Sunroom



4. Choose a Roofing Style

The roof plays a major role in the design and overall appearance of the sunroom. Typically, your contractor will work within the confines of your home’s current architecture to keep the design similar.

The most common sunroom roofing options are gable, single-slope, existing and glass.

·     Single-Slope Roof: A common roofing choice, the single slope roof (also called a shed or studio) is formed by extending a roof from any part of the home in a single-slope. A single-slope roof is the most versatile option because it complements a wide range of architectural styles, including Prairie and Ranch.

Sunroom with Single Slope Roof



·     Gable Roof: Also known as an a-frame or pitched rood, the gable roof slopes down in two parts at an angle from a central ridge. A gable roof is preferred for architectural designs that feature a gable roof, such as Cape Cod and Craftsmen house styles; it can also add visual interest to home’s with a flat roof or varying heights, like Raised Ranch and Split-Level Ranch house styles.

Gable Roof Sunroom



·     Existing Roof: This roof is formed by installing glass or screens between the posts in your existing patio, porch or balcony.

Sunroom under Existing Roof



·   GGlass Roof:  A sunroom with a glass roof is also known as a solarium Glass roofs are available in both gable or single slope designs and can feature a straight or curved corner (called an eave) where the roof meets the walls.  A curved eave gives the sunroom a unique polished look and is best fitted for modern or contemporary style homes.

Glass Roof Sunroom

Photos courtesy of Patio Enclosures by Great Day Improvements, LLC



This post was written by Lindsey Gregory.

Gazebos: Enclosures for the Garden


Backyard America Outdoor StructuresGazebos make a great addition to any backyard landscape. Placed poolside, in a corner of the garden, or on the patio, these attractive stand-alone structures define the perfect spot for relaxing or entertaining outdoors while offering shade from the sun and shelter from the rain. Gazebos come in a range of sizes, shapes, and materials. Consider these factors to help decide the best gazebo design for your outdoor space.  

Use – Some people use a gazebo as a place to relax and enjoy a beautiful day with their loved ones, while others use it as a dining area for entertaining outdoors. A gazebo can also be used as a shelter for a hot tub or serve a purely ornamental purpose as a focal point in the landscape. Knowing how you plan to use the gazebo will help determine what size and shape to look for. 

Location – The location will also decide how big of a structure—and possibly what shape—you can accommodate. It’s important to place the gazebo where it will best suit your needs. If using the gazebo for outdoor dining, you may want to consider a location near the house for easy access to the kitchen. For quiet relaxation, an open spot in the back of the yard may be a better choice. 

Style – A gazebo is as much a decorative item as it is a functional item, so it’s important that its design blends with the rest of your home and landscape. To complement the simplicity and clean lines of a contemporary style home and garden, select a square gazebo with minimal adornments. A traditional hexagon-shaped gazebo with a cupola and intricate detailing on the railings and arches will match the Old World elegance and architectural style of a Colonial or Victorian home. 

Maintenance – Some types of gazebos will require more upkeep than others. Wood, for instance, requires staining every couple years while wrought-iron needs a protective coating to prevent rust. Vinyl is nearly maintenance-free, needing only a periodical spray with a hose.

­Photo courtesy of Backyard America Outdoor Structures

4 Spa Shopping Tips

How to Buy a Hot Tub



Follow these 4 spa shopping tips to make sure your hot tub purchase goes smoothly.

1. Test it out. The best way to ensure that you buy the perfect hot tub is to try it out. Many retailers have hot tubs set up in a separate area of the showroom so customers can experience a particular model before they buy. During your test soak, pay attention to the comfort and depth of the spa's seats, placement and pressure of the jets, and the footwell space. Also try out all of the options so you can easily choose which ones you really want. 

2. Take control—remotely. Having to get up to adjust the settings of your spa can make your hot tub experience less than enjoyable. Consider whether the convenience of a remote control system will enhance your soak. A floating remote control lets you adjust the pumps, water temperature, and any accessories (TV, radio, etc.) from any seat within the spa. An in-home control panel allows you to monitor and adjust the spa settings from inside your home, so you can have a nice warm tub waiting for you. 

3. Select a cover. If the hot tub model you buy doesn’t come with a cover, make sure you purchase one. A cover is essential for safe and efficient hot tub operation. The best covers are made of marine-grade Naugahyde,® resistant to mildew growth, and meet ASTM International (American Society for Testing Materials) standards, which ensures that they not only retain heat but guarantee their use as a safety cover.

4. Ask about upkeep. Maintenance is an important and necessary part of hot tub ownership. Ask your dealer if the model you’re looking to buy includes features that will help make upkeep easier. Many hot tub manufacturers offer automatic sanitizers and dosing systems that reduce the time, effort, and amount of chemicals it takes to maintain your hot tub.


Visit our Hot Tubs & Spas Buyers' Guide for a list of leading hot tub companies and product information.

Photo courtesy of Hot Spring Spas, Watkins Manufacturing

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