Swimming Pools

Wild water fun

Ready to beat the heat? Installing a swimming pool in your backyard is a great way to stay cool in hot weather, is perfect for entertaining guests and can increase the resale value of your home.

Types of Swimming Pools

In-ground pools are a smart choice if you've got a large budget and enough space. In-ground pools are dug into the ground, usually to depths of eight feet or more. The hole is covered with a pool frame and walls which are in turn covered by a pool liner, which prevents water from escaping and provides a smooth surface for sensitive feet. In-ground pools are best installed by professionals because of the skill and heavy machinery necessary to build the pool.

Advertiser Links for Swimming Pools

Until only a few years ago, above-ground pools were aluminum and vinyl structures that required hours of manpower to install and fill. This is still a popular design, but inflatable above-ground pools, while generally slightly smaller and shallower than traditional above-ground pools, are incredibly easy to assemble. Inflatable pools are made of vinyl and usually feature an upper rim that is filled with air. The pressure from the water as it fills the pool keeps the sides rigid and prevents the pool from collapsing.

Both in-ground and above-ground swimming pools can benefit from a pool heater, which will keep the water warm enough for swimming. The deeper the pool, the colder the water will naturally be.


Both in-ground and above-ground pools must be kept clean with a pool pump that circulates water through a filter, cleaning it of debris and re-circulating the water back into the pool. Without a pool pump, your swimming pool will quickly fill with grass and dirt. Look for pumps that can circulate the entire contents of your pool within 10 hours.

You'll also need to monitor the levels of chemicals in your pool. Chlorine and bromine are popular choices for sanitizing the water in your pool and killing off algae and bacteria. Use a pool test kit or test strips to determine the chemical levels in your pool and adjust your water treatments accordingly.

Keep your pool free from any sharp objects like broken glass, sticks and broken plastic toys that can cause tears in the pool liner. Such rips need to be repaired to prevent water from leaking out of the pool and damaging the support structure.

Swimming Pool Safety

Many cities have bylaws that demand pools be surrounded by a gated fence to prevent children from falling in. Children should always be supervised around a pool, and you should have a life ring close by in case of emergency. If you own a pool, you may want to take lessons in CPR so that you can help someone who is drowning.

Many people are unaware of the serious dangers pool drains present. The water pressure that pushes down on pool drains and the suction of the pool filter can create powerful vortexes that can trap anyone who gets too close to the pool drain. Most pool drains have anti-vortex covers, but if the cover is broken and a swimmer touches the pool drain, he or she can become trapped by the suction. Have a professional inspect your pool drain at the start of the swimming season when the pool isn't completely full and know where the drain shut off switch is in case of emergency.

Hot Tubs and Spas

Looking for a soothing place to work off the day's stress? Many homeowners are opting to install hot tubs and spas on their decks or in their gazebos. The powerful jets of a hot tub provide relaxing hydrotherapy that massages tense muscles. Hot tubs are usually made of acrylic and are permanent fixtures, but some can be dismantled and moved indoors or even deflated and moved from house to cottage.

Be sure that you install your hot tub on a solid surface and think about the view you will have from your hot tub. Gravel, pressure-treated wood and patio stones are all good bases on which to install your hot tub. Be sure your spa is positioned close to an electrical outlet and hire an electrician to help with the hook up.

Hot tubs need to be treated with chemicals similar to those used in swimming pools. Depending on the style and size of hot tub you have, you may be able to use once-a-week or three-times-a-week chemical treatments.

Pools and hot tubs are great places to relax after a long day. It's best to consult with a professional on any major pool or spa installation and keep up on routine maintenance to extend the lifetime of your oasis.

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