Tips on how to use social media

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Here are a few tips on how to use social media for personal or business use and I put a light touch on SEO, but first…

I’ve been messing around with social media since around January/February 2009, around the time a US Airways Airbus A320 , had lost power in the engines and made an emergency water landing in the Hudson River.Twitter-Logo-300x293

A chap named Janis Krums was in the same location going on a ferry towards New Jersey When as the plane was landing he took aphoto with his Smart Phone of the partially submerged plane in the Hudson River. He transfered the imiges to his Twitter account, he then completely forgot this when he leant assitance and the rescue of the A320 airliners passengers.

There was so many image views of the crash that the story crashed the TwitPic servers That’s the app that allows Twitter account holders to send pics and updates using the limit of 140 characters with their Twitter updates or ‘tweets,’ as they are known.

This plane crash incident also brought forth some very thought-provoking “sparks” into this new media platform as opposed to the old new media communication.

That is when I first opened an account with Twitter. I have a non-business username, and my busines name was @ospreypools. (Which has since changed It wasn’t till later that year when (and not out of choice) I began building my business website, which then lead into content writing and onto the “ever changing SEO.” Since 2008, my pool business wasn’t doing so well as expected despite the govenrment declaring the UK was on the road to recovery the swimming pool business was up and down with sporadic leads coming in, and then, until last year 2014, when after the worst winter storms on record, took their toll on the business, the work was scarcer than last year, I decided it was time to place the pool business on the back burner for a while, and concentrate on something I really do enjoy doing which is social media, the website designing and the “Mystic SEO”.

As with anything to do with the web I realised that this social media stuff, the websiteLinkedin-logo - Copy designing, and the SEO is all one heck of a steep learning curve, and these are all related to each part one way or the other, and there’s no way in the world other people or even I can understand all of it!

However through the past 7 years I’ve picked up a few tips and realised several others and I’d like to impart some of this gained knowledge to those of you who are perhaps new to social media.

A quick glance over the subject “SEO”(Search Engine Optimisation)

This is mainly for website owners that are trying to get to the top pages of Google or Bing’s search results page.

This SEO stuff is another bemusing thing that businesses try to get their heads around for their websites, but as soon as you think you’ve cracked it, and your on the first page; bosh! It has been moved back down again and only Google and Bing know the secret to the mystical SEO, and Google has recently released a new algorithm called “Pigeon” so the goal posts move again (All for the good of seach results), and needless to say, much depends on content so the clue is there!

So that is the short brush over about SEO.

On with the social media thingy!

First off, keep it simple, don’t rush it, and remember this ‘social media’ stuff is new. Twitter for example has only been going since March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and Google+ since June 2011, so it’s not that long ago!

So here are some of the Do’s and Don’ts in Social media (It is not rocket science and you don’t need to buy books as most of the information is all there on the Internet when you research it on Bing or Google)

Shall we start with some of the “Do’s!”

  • Do begin with joining some social media websites, (Obviously). It cost nothing butGooglePlus-Logo-02 - Copy your time. My social media websites are Twitter • Facebook • Pinterest • LinkedIn • Digg • Google+ • Stumbleupon and a few others!
  • Do choose the social media sites you are most comfortable using. Some love FB (Facebook) while others prefer Twitter and so on!
  • Do write your profile on each social media website (But also see the Don’ts below).
  • Do a quick read up on each social media site. Revise a few times to get the gist of the website as you’ll never take all the information in one go, unless you are a smart Alec like me!
  • Do get yourself a WordPress blog (wordpress.org not wordpress.com) Integrate the WordPress blog into your website, for example my blog is: www.ospreypools.co.uk/blog and http//:spinningwebdesigns.com/blog Notice the “/blog” at the end of the website address? Either the host of your website can do this automatically or you or your webmaster will have to do it for you as it can get complicated to install.
  • If you use the WordPress.com blog you cannot integrate this into your ownwordpress-logo- - Copy website. It is separate to your website and your site will come after e.g. It will look something like this: http//:www.wordpress.com/your-website.
  • Do write articles, but not about selling something, it’s a turn off write about the subject/subjects you’re into and occasionally off topic, like I have with this article, which has nothing at all to do with my profession.
  • Do leave your website link at the bottom and link to one or two other websites, and let them know you have linked to their website. (They may ask you to stop the link)

And now the “Dont’s!” about social media.

  • Don’t divulge to much personal information about yourself or anyone when filling out your public profile. You do not know who is reading it. So keep it basic; give a bit of bio about yourself, i.e. I keep chickens and live in London…
  • Don’t tell anyone, and do not type your passwords or other personal information to any social media site or website if you don’t know them. There are plenty of rogue websites out there only to eager to relieve you of your personal details and more. So just be on your guard.
  • As above! Don’t click on links in theses social media websites if you’re not sure of them. It is far better to use Google, Bing, Yahoo, or other reputable search enginesGoogle+ to find what you want to search for. Some links are very bad and can cause all sorts of problems including again stealing your passwords.
  • Don’t if at all possible overkill with the sell! sell! push push pushing of your wares goods products and sevices… It is and can be a turnoff. It’s not easy to do this because you want to announce to the world what you do or have to sell, but if all you do is “Tweet” about your products or services you will not have many people following or looking in on your website.
  • By all means say something or tweet about what you do, what you are doing and what you’ve done, along with some images. but if you offer to supply a service or goods it’s a bit of a balancing act where as I mentioned this can be a turnoff to other users. If you’ve nothing interesting to say or offer except to tweet, “buy my products now! (Unless you know there is a strong demand for your products). And buy my services today. the tweet message will be a waste of time.
  • It is better to post or tweet something along the lines of (Say like myself a swimming pool installer)

Example”  A Twitter Tweet (or it can be Facebook post)

The Tweet

“Old liner out Pool cleaned New stone copes, Underlay, Liner… What a difference itTwitter-Logo-300x293 makes” goo.gl/HBCw0v pic.twitter.com/PTGNUFgwae .

Remember 140 characters only and include ones from the links and images.

Not quite selling the service and the new liner product (plug (; ) However it is more likely to draw attention to your business than just posting a sales pitch  “Get your bananas here” 2/6d a llb (Old pounds shillings and pence.)

Liner pool

  • This is where writing articles about your subjects what you’ve done etc. should attract traffic to you. However it is not a problem when you occasionally push your products onto the stage but don’t overcook it.
  • Don’t spam others (This is more or less the same as above) You can get your account suspended or even a ban. So don’t spam.

You’ll never get through all popular social media sites; it’s just too much and too many to do, so just choose a favourite 1 or 2 (or more if you can manage it). Use the other social media websites that you don’t use Pinterest too often to submit your articles. Talking of managing, use a social media manager like Tweet-Deck (Which is free to use) Hootsuite (Not sure if this is free) or something similar. (I’ve been brought up on TweetDeck even though it plays up now and then (I’m loathed to change)

But it’s horses for courses! I like TweetDeck with all its faults but others can’t stand it andPinterest-logo - Copy use another social media manager.

Social media sites that I mostly use are LinkedIn Twitter, FB, and squeezing in Google+

Social media sites I should use more often is Google+ Pinterest MySpace Stumble-upon Digg and a few others…

It takes time to learn so don’t rush it.

I hope this helps I’ve never looked at books but that’s not to say there aren’t some good ones out there, I just Googled the info (occasionally).

By the way when using social media; as well as connecting with people in the UK, you can communicate with people all over the world.

John Cox TnISPE(Cert)

www.socialmediatweets.co.uk | www.spinningwebdesigns.com
Monmouth and London UK

In the 70’s I came to live in Swansea from West London (Notting Hill), I then worked in Cardiff and the Bristol areas and now I live in Monmouthshire. Nowadays I still occasionally dabble with swimming pools but my heart is in social media | website designing and SEO.

Swimming Pool Enclosures

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pool-enclosuresSwimming pool enclosures

Is it worth having a pool enclosure?

In our UK weather? Yes! I would certainly say so, an enclosure not only keeps out the wet weather you can extend the swimming season at the beginning and near the end of the year (Spring and autumn) or when there’s never-ending rain and showers.

Why have a swimming pool and only use it for just 5 months of the year? A  pool enclosure is well worth every penny.

We’ve renovated a swimming pool inside a pool enclosure during a cold February, when occasionally some days had frost on the ground outside the enclosure, and the sun was shining bright, so with the solar gain, it became quite warm inside the enclosure, eventually, we had to change into T-shirts and shorts… It was that warm, and warm enough to swim in… Amazing!
If you enjoy swimming then using your pool for as long as possible is a good thing isn’t it? An enclosure would be an ideal addition to your swimming pool, unlike an outdoor pool with no enclosure where you would normally wait till late spring before you start using your pool again.
Autumn is upon us now, and the days have cooled down, but occasionally the odd warm days do come along, and with a pool enclosure, there doesn’t have to be the worry that the weather will change or it’s not looking good and too cold to go swimming.
Here are the benefits of a pool enclosure:
•    No need to keep looking at the weather forecast or worrying about the evening light disappearing.
•    It can be cooler outside but lovely and warm inside the enclosure.
•    No leaves, very little debris falling in, so much less time wasted on pool maintenance, vacuuming and back-washing the pool filter.
•    Saves wear and tear, because some of the equipment is used less often

Swimming pool enclosurepool enclosures-1
•    You use much less pool chemicals.
•    Using less heat and fuel, saving you money on your fuel bill.
•    Less wear and tear on the heater, the pool pump, and filter.
•    The pool enclosure is an additional room to your main home.
•    Increases your property value.
At the end of the season while other pool owners are considering winterising their pools, you will still be using yours.
Your swimming pool enclosure is also an extra room in your home.
So consider is it worth using your pool for longer, rather than having to winterise the pool and closing it down for 6 months of the year?
Instead of using the pool from April to September extend the use of your swimming season by an extra 12 to 14 weeks, or maybe all the way through the winter.
John Cox TnISPE(Cert)
Gloucester Bristol London Cardiff

Replacement swimming pool liners

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Replacing a swimming pool liner is not always that straight forward to do…

Every swimming pool is different. Some pool liners take longer to change than others, mainly because of the way the swimming pool was constructed.
There could be other related problems for example the linerlock edge has worn or has come loose, and the liner has detached from it.
One swimming pool in Gloucester UK had gold fish and plants in the water with about 3 ft (1 metre) of sludge in the bottom of the swimming pool. We had to employ the services of a sludge gulper. We should have called it a pond although I must mention when an owner doesn’t want the use of a swimming pool again, we do offer a service option to convert the swimming pool to a wildlife pond or a natural swimming pool. You wouldn’t know there was a swimming pool by the time we finished.
Replacing the pool liner on other swimming pools occasionally takes more time than we wish, and as mentioned above it’s mainly down to several things like poor construction, or maybe the fitting and faceplate unions are defective, or the pool pipes are leaking and new pipe lines have to be installed.
Often the swimming pool structure needs minor repairs to the walls and the base of the pool where the floor is either made up of a sand screed or the poor mix of cement and sand screed is washed away through leaks in the pool liner.
Other times it may be the pools outlets are in the wrong position, for example a deep suction inlet maybe too close to the pool floor, other items for another example with a concrete tiled pool conversion to a liner pool where the fittings have to be changed and either two new drains or deep suction inlets (over a 2 metres apart for safety reasons) have to be built in.
Sometimes the pool owner wants to change the heating system or replace the old pool coping and paving area, in which case, these jobs are usually completed before we replace the pool liner.

Swimming pool maintenance

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Top tips on swimming pool maintenance

Here are some good tips on swimming pool maintenance and also opening your swimming pool for the spring.

One job you may want to think about having done which if needs be, is repairing or replacing the pool liner and checking the pool plumbing system for leaks.

Secondly, when you first peel back the winter cover its most likely your pool water may Swimming poollook slightly green to a dark green colour with leaves and debris on the pool floor, (although with this amount of rain this winter it may not be so…

However before you add any chemicals to the water, remove debris and leaves off the pool floor otherwise if, you have topped up the water (which you should have done bearing in mind all valves are closed) just below the liner-lock (If of course it is a liner pool) and added chemicals and then when you vacuum the pool out, you would have wasted the valuable pool chemicals you’ve added previously.

So here are some top tips for you to read this evening on swimming pool maintenance

1. Removing the debris cover from your swimming pool.
Better if 2 people remove the swimming pools winter debris cover, but 1 person can do this swimming pool maintenancecan. Carefully remove the winter cover and place the stainless steel anchors in a bag. Spread the sheet out on the garden and clean loose debris and leaves with brush and a hose. Let the winter cover dry off to avoid mould staining. After fold up and store away with the anchors in a dry area.
2. Cleaning the stone copings and the surrounds.
Before you do anything with your swimming pool brush in sections a weak water/chlorine solution’ (being careful and wear protective clothing when mixing to manufactures instructions and using.) onto the coping and the pools surrounds and once treated gently hose down avoid splashing yourself and other objects like plants etc.  Next pressure clean and brush the copping and with water.
3. Brushing the swimming pool walls down.
Gently brush the pool walls using a pool brush to remove any green algae and other materials.
4. Check pool pump and filter.
Check the swimming pool pump basket for leaves and debris. Also how long ago did you Maintaining a swimming poolhave filtration media (usually sand) changed? Filters become less and less effective over the years you would benefit from periodic change at least every 3 yrs. Use regular back washing during the use of your swimming pool.
5. Cleaning the tileband.
Begin with cleaning the tileband (Waterline) using the correct pool tile & liner cleaner.
6. Leaf net cleaning off the surface.
Remove any surface debris or leaves off the pool water with a leaf net and dispose.
7. Vacuuming the pool.
Connect the pool cleaning equipment together. Fill the pool hose with pool water, place the hose in the skimmer with the skimmer basket still in, or attach to the vacuum point. Begin vacuuming the swimming pool.
8. Shocking, super-chlorinate, oxidising.
These terms all means the same, but most people say “Shock a pool” because that is what a Pool cleaningdose of chlorine does to any algae or bacteria. It’s the same as when you add bleach (which is composed of 5% chlorine, the rest is a carrier) to your kitchen. Add the chlorine to the water and mix (When mixing the chlorine granules remember to add chlorine to water and not the other way round). Obviously the amount you add depends on the condition of the pool water, and how effective the winterising treatments were, shock the pool water the pool appropriately and follow the chemicals instructions remember to have the filtration system running.
9. Testing the water is in balance.
For the chlorine to work effectively the pool water has to be balanced. pH has to be at the correct levels between 7.2 and 7.6. Total Alkalinity need to be at the correct level (80-120 ppm) and Calcium Hardness levels, so use a test kit to check there preferable before you add the chlorine. Remember do not mix different swimming pool chemicals and always read the manufactures instructions.
10. Retest the water after 24 hours.
After the swimming pool winter cover has been removed cleaned dries and stored away. The pump and filter checked, the pool is running and has been cleaned, the pool water tested and shocked, leave the pool running and retest the waters pH and chlorine level after 24 hours, and dose the water as necessary. Once you have the swimming pool in a
Balanced condition, continue to regularly maintain your swimming pool to keep it healthy and crystal clear. After roll out the solar bubble cover over the swimming pool.Pool chemicals
When you are ready, pool need to be opened and you don’t want to go through the hassle of removing the winter cover filling cleaning and treating the pool with chemicals give your local pool installer a call, and if your lining needs replacing let the pool engineer know so he can inform you what the costs are to renew your pool liner.

For help or advice with swimming pool maintenance, we cover most areas including Cardiff Bristol Gloucester and Hereford

John Cox TnISPE (Cert)

10 top tips winterising swimming pools

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10 Top tips for closing down your swimming pool

Now that autumn is here you might be thinking about winterising your swimming pool for the coming cold months. We have some tips here at Osprey Pools to help guide you through the maze of things to do when you decide it’s time to winterise your swimming pool.

It is most important that you winterise your swimming pool for a number of reasons, one being water freezes, and you don’t want it damaging your pool equipment like filters and pumps. This can end up costing you money when it comes round to using your pool once more and find that you have leaks all over the place

You also need to maintain the water inside your swimming pool to keep it as clean as possible over the winter months so when the warm weather arrives it will be easier to get the pool up and running again.

Here are some of the top 10 tips for closing your swimming pool:

  1. When closing down your pool for the winter make sure you check the pH of the pool water to make certain it’s balanced
  2. Then check the total alkalinity and calcium hardness.
  3. Balancing the water in this way will help to protect the pool’s surface from etching and staining and it also activates the sanitiser to keep the water healthy.
  4. Shock your pool and use winter swimming pool chemicals like algaecide to preserve the water in your pool to keep it looking clear and blue (but not dark green) ready for your summer season.
  5. Take off your solar pool cover, clean it down and either store it away or leave it on the roller, covered.
  6. Vacuum the pool, backwash and rinse the filter clean the pump basket out of debris.
  7. Now place a winter cover over the swimming pool, this will keep out most leaves and debris that might have normally fallen in. If you have children or pets you might want to consider a safety cover to stop anyone or thing accidentally falling into the swimming pool. These safety covers can save lives as children or pets and wild creatures can get tangled in a normal winter cover and drown. Automatic Pool covers are the best. Remember to place the automatic water pump to clear any water that accumulates on top of the cover.
  8. Make certain that you just have cleared out all of the water from your pump, heater, plumbing, and filter. Drain your filter by unscrewing the plug at the bottom of it. Remember to open the air valve for all the water to drain out. Do the same to the pool pump; try to make sure you get the last trickles of water out. You need to remove any chemicals from the feeder as these will damage your pool equipment.
  9. Before you begin this next operation you should check with your dealer or pool installer if the pool water can be lowered in your pool. If it is fine to lower your pool water then drop the water level so that it is just below the skimmer and returns only. If your returns are positioned much lower down in the pool, you might want to consider asking your local pool dealer or pool company who installed your pool if this is OK to do.  Clean the skimmer basket out and remove from the skimmer place a plastic bottle about half filled with sand in the skimmer so it floats and place in the pool several plastic containers half filled with sand or similar so they float. this may help take up ice expansion during a freeze.
  10. Over the winter months you may need some intermittent maintenance on the pool. Check the balance of the pool water. Top up the pool water with more sanitiser and algaecide, there may be a need to remove some of the winter’s rain water that has topped the pool up over the months.

These top tips are meant for pool owners in the UK and only as a general guide to assist you in closing your pool this winter. In other countries like the USA the climatic conditions can vary substantially across states and in some cases are very different from the climate here in the UK, where we have the jet streams and warm Atlantic current keeping us in a temperate climate for most of the year.

Make sure your read any and all instructions that came or are associated with your swimming pool including the labels on the pool chemicals and any pool equipment that came with it.

If all this winterising and closing the pool down for the winter is too time consuming or an inconvenience for you, give us a call on 01600 861 851 we are local to Chepstow Usk Raglan and Monmouth. Also close to Lydney Ross-on-Wye and Cinderford and the Forest of Dean. We are willing to travel much further afield to Abergavenny Newport Cardiff Gloucester Hereford or Bristol.

Rainwater harvesting

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Rainwater harvesting. Your very own water supply

Drought and hosepipe bans could be a thing of the past if a rainwater harvesting system is installed.f-line-5000-litre
The dry weather and drought in 2013 made the news, and the storms rain and flooding is making big news in 2014, but although we have most of the reservoirs full and enough rain has fallen that we may think will last us a lifetime, should the dry weather return to the UK we may be back into a drought situation once again.

Rainwater harvesting

Will we be back to the same pattern with the threat of climate change, droughts, hosepipe bans, and problems with water shortages again?
Why not use the rainwater from your roof instead of letting it pours away down the drains most of which ends up back into the sea if it ever gets there

Saving the free rainwater for yourself will help you do 4 things

A.    Conserve your use of mains water, thereby saving you money on your water bills
B.    Help the environment in the long run. So more water for Rivers streams and aquifer and drought years.
C.    Best of all, (for you), no hosepipe bans will affect you
D.   This is “your water” that you saved for a “Rainy Day” (Or should be “ your Dry days”)

Use the stored rainwater for home and garden use:

  • Swimming pool, spas, and hot tub owner’s
  • Watering gardens, dry lawns and greenhouses,
  • washing cars, watering plants and vegetables.

No more hosepipe bans, no more concerns of how you will top up your swimming pool or water your garden.Rainwater
Don’t wait and relying on government and the water companies to sort any water shortage problems out if they ever occure again

So the next time it pours down with rain, think about installing a rainwater harvesting system. You could save yourself a lot of hassle every time there the threat of water shortages and save money on your water bills.
John Cox TnISPE(Cert)
Monmouthshire Gloucestershire Bristol Herefordshire Gwent

Installing a new swimming pool

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Building costs of Installing a new swimming pool

Working out the costs of building your own swimming pool is not as difficult as it seems. Just follow these simple steps

How much does a swimming pool cost to build and what’s the best time of the year to to build it?

There’s no good time of the year to have your pool installed, but in my opinion the best times to have a swimming pool constructed (dispite any inclement weather) is between October and the beginning of April. If you’re unlucky enough to get a wet winter, then consider  the extra cost of covering the pool area while it is under construction. If you wait until the warmer spring and summer seasons arrive, you may find many pool builders will be busy and rushed off their feet with swimming pools that will need maintenance & attention and you may have a wait while for your pool to be installed.

So here are a few things that you need to investigate about building a swimming pool.

  • You’ll need to know your budget cost +10% for eventualities… It always happens, no matter how well a build of any type is planned, for example, you may not know what is beneath your garden in terms of subsoil or rock. In one particular pool installation, when excavating, they found loads of discarded apple tree roots buried deep down and the location of the pool had to be moved to another spot. Another excavation revealed a high water table that was only 1ft (300mm) below the ground surface. Also you may change your mind about a pool design or add something like more pool lights, an automatic cover or make the pool bigger.
  • If you’re not sure what to do or where to begin, it’s worthwhile seeking advice from a swimming pool builder or an architect who is familiar with constructing swimming pools, as these are the experts you need to consult with on this type of construction.
  • Swimming pool installations are a specialised area of construction, and it’s not a good idea to employ a general builder who may have scant knowledge of building a swimming pool of any type. The important thing to remember when sourcing someone or an installer to build your swimming pool is this; “constructing a pool is not the same as building a house or an extension”. There can be many pitfalls during and after construction, so please bare that in mind. Concrete pools in particular are much more expensive to build, and take a very long time to construct, this is mainly due to their curing & drying times, and if they are not constructed to the correct specifications, they may be susceptible to leaking and extra cost to correct the failure…

Before arriving at the cost of building your swimming pool, you’ll first need to know what type and the shape of pool you want.

Your budget: How much are you willing to spend on a swimming pool? Remember when sizing your pool to include the cost of possible accessories like a plant room for your filter and pump, heating, heat retention and debris cover, walk in steps, underwater lights etc, also what type of decking and surrounds you fancy and how wide you want the flooring around your pool.

DIY or professional built swimming pools. Are you building the swimming pool yourself? There are no sour grapes here, but a word of caution… If you don’t have knowledge of building swimming pools, then don’t attempt to build the pool yourself without getting experienced help, even if you are very good at DIY or you are a builder, there are a few pitfalls and pot holes you should be aware of and you do need the advice and guidance from an experience pool installer, otherwise it could end up costing you a fortune if you get it wrong, and I’ve seen a few clangers about that we’ve had to come in and put right…

Do you want a concrete or liner pool? After you’ve considered whether it is a self build or obtaining the services of a professional, the next stage is which type of pool do you want for your budget. Now if it’s a concrete tiled pool, then these are more than twice the cost of a liner pool and they take up to 3 times or longer to build. So unless you have major bucks, and time is not a problem for you, then a concrete tiled or rendered and tiled pool is fine.

Liner pools and building your swimming pool with concrete blocks panels or timber? Let us assume it’s a liner pool that you want and it is to be built by a pool builder. The next thing to consider is which wall materials to use, i.e. build the swimming pool with timber (wooden pools come in kit form) panels or building with concrete blocks? Concrete block construction is, in my opinion best option. It is a much more solid construction than the other two, but does use more materials.

The ‘panel pool’ and ‘wooden pool’ on the other hand are easier to construct and uses less materials. The drawback with wooden pools is they are really only short term, most have a 10 year warranty and there is the potential for the timber to eventually rot in places. Basically they are a cheaper method of building a swimming pool and even though there is less excavation with these wooden pools (If required to install the pool in ground), the installation costs are not far off the same as a concrete block or panel pool.

Panel pools are fine however they are not as stable or as strong as the concrete block method of construction, especially if the panels and the supporting stays are fixed incorrectly, and panel pools can be more costly to buy.

So you’ve chosen the type of materials. The next stage is the design, shape, and size of the swimming pool…

The design and shape your swimming pool will determine the cost… Most swimming pools are rectangle, however if you don’t like straight lines, then a kidney shape is available. You could have a random shape however once again these will cost more to build and take longer to construct.

What size swimming pool do you require? How long, how wide, how deep do you want your pool to be? Obviously the bigger the size of pool the more it will cost and the longer it will take to construct. If you want your pool for looks then a reasonably large swimming pool say 15ft x 30ft is plenty big enough. Liner pool sizes can start from as small as 12ft x 8ft (This size is usually for exercise pools) on to 10ft x 20ft and up to 20ft x 40ft.

However if you like to swim and enjoy exercising, but have tighter budget cost and you lack the space where to locate the pool, consider a smaller size swimming pool with a counter current fitted. There’s much to be saved in construction costs, build times and the future running costs with smaller exercise swimming pool, and you can have an endless amount of time swimming against a current of water without the need to turn end to end in the swimming pool.

Swimming pool enclosure. One other thing is to consider installing a swimming pool undercover. The swimming season can be extended by many months or all year round by building swimming pool in a solid building or a purpose built enclosure. Planning and building control permissions may be needed for these so seek advice from your local authorities or ask the pool installer to take this role on for you.

The benefits of a pool enclosure are these:

a) They ensure that you do not waste heat energy stored in the water from the heated water or the suns solar gain.
b) Besides keeping the water at a comfortable temperature, the air temperature remains warm, free from draughts. A solar or heat retention cover is still needed to decrease evaporation
c) In the summer you are unlikely to use the heater, and this will save you money on your heating costs. There is additional savings on the use and cost of chemicals and water, also save you time and work keeping the pool maintained as there is less debris and bugs that will enter the swimming pool.

Now you’ve chosen one of the options and estimated the cost of  your swimming pool, you will want to know where the best place to locate your swimming pool? Read more

John Cox TnISPE(Cert)

London Gloucester Bristol UK

The pool water balancing act

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The pool water balancing act

To get clean sparkling swimming pool water, balancing the water is about getting its chemical makeup just right and the pH of the water just above 7swimming_pool_a

What is pH?

pH is a measure of the acidity of an aqueous solution (Water). So an aqueous solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be “acidic”, and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are neutral or alkaline. Pure water has a pH very close to 7.

Balancing the swimming pool water

The pH scale is numbered 1 up to 14

1 = Acid and 14 = Alkaline

The pH of pool water on the scale 1 to 14, needs to be above 7 (between 7.2 and 7.6)
How to get your swimming pool water sparkling

There are 3 basic elements to getting & maintaining clear, sparkling pool water.

Get these 3 factors under control, and you may have the perfect inviting sparkling swimming pool.

However, let these 3 factors get out of control and you will have problems, from a green pool to cloudy water, skin irritation, chemical stains and scale formation, the list goes on and it can take days to get your pool back to balance.Pool cleaning

Prevention is better than cure.

To keep your swimming pool sparkling here are the key 3 points to keep a check on:
1. First key to sparkling, clear, swimming pool water is the Total Alkalinity Level:

  • Total Alkalinity (TA for short) is the measure of water’s resistance to change in pH of water. A higher TA acts like a buffer.
  • Another way of looking at this is the TA is like a “shock absorber on a car It stops the car bouncing around erratically.
  • So the higher the Total Alkalinity, the harder it is for the pH to change. The ideal range for Total Alkalinity levels is between 80 to 120 ppm. (Parts per million)
  • Make sure you check the total alkalinity levels once a week

2. Second key to sparkling pool water is the pH Level:pool_maintenance

  • Maintaining a proper pH balance is one of the most important and basic areas of good pool care this helps keep your pool crystal clear. The ideal range is between 7.2 -7.6.
  • You should check the pH levels once a week.
  • Use pH+ or – the raise or lower the waters pH level.

3. Third key to a sparkling swimming pool Proper Sanitation:

  • Whether you are using traditional chlorine or non-chlorine products, you cannot underestimate the importance of good sanitation with your pool water.
  • Sanitising is imperative to keeping clean the pool water, killing all bacteria and safe for swimmers to user.
  • Sanitising furthermore kills all microorganisms, including bacteria and algae, and removes unwanted contaminants from the pool water.
  • Pool water that is sparkling and that’s pleasant to the eyes is most important to pool owners.

Some swimming pool owners don’t enjoy the chemistry bit of swimming pools trying to understand all the jargon of what to do and why each chemical does a certain thing.
Keep these 3 key factors for pool water balance right, and your pool water will stay sparkling and in balance

Replacing swimming pool liners

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Replacing a liner on tired looking swimming pool is like having a brand new pool.

Fresh and clean Pool liner looking, with a perhaps a different colour liner or pattern.

Install a replacement pool liner for summer 2017. Osprey Pool Installers work in most local areas including Lydney Monmouth Newport Chepstow Usk Ledbury Ross-on-Wye Hereford and Gloucester

Before installing a new pool liner Have the stone coping and deck pressure cleaned. There’s nothing worse than changing a liner only to realise after that the surrounds look bedraggled…

Look around the swimming pool and list the items to be repaired or replaced. Look for any loose or chipped coping stones. You may want to replace these as they can be a danger to swimmers

Check the pool decking. If you have paving around your pool you should check for loose, cracked or wobbly paving. This again is unsafe for pool users and should be repaired, relayed or replaced before you start using your swimming pool

It’s nice to see an old swimming pool look revamped and new again. a new pool liner makes all the difference, and a good idea is to take some photo’s of your swimming pool as it is now, during and when the pool liner is replaced and the pool is finished.

Call or email Osprey Pools if you need help or adviceJust to remind you, we cover most areas of England and Wales, from Monmouth and Usk to Chepstow across to Lydney and stroud in Gloucestershire UK

The cost of surveying is around £150.00 to £250.00, and for more complex shapes the cost to survey is more depending on how long it takes to survey and measure. Fitting a replacement pool liner begins at around £750.00 depending on the shape and size of your swimming pool and where your’re located in the UK.

Swimming pool leaks

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A crack has appeared in my swimming pool! What should I do?

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My liner swimming pool is leaking help

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Swimming pool leaksMy swimming pool is leaking. How do I find where it’s losing water from?

If your pool has sprung a leak, obviously it could be anywhere in the pool or the pipe runs. This is where it takes awhile to do the leak detection work begins.

More often than not It is more than one leak. When a pool begins losing water it’s often the experience that the pool is losing water from more than one place in the swimming pool system.

Here’s a simple example; a swimming pool owner says their pool is leaking and needs a repair. The investigation reveals that the pump is leaking. The pump is repaired or replaced and the pool is re-commissioned. The swimming pool is left for several days to see if the water level drops… The pool owner calls back and says; “It’s still losing water, although not as much as before”. The continued investigation then reveals the leak to be in the pipe work.

The example above shows the fact no one can presume there will be a “single leak” in a Pool linerswimming pool, therefore the assumption has to be that potentially, there could be many other places a pool could be losing water from

Why do several leaks seem sometimes appear at the same time? It’s like several number 11 London buses arriving at the bus stop all at once?

Leaks can be down to any number of causes. Frost is one weather condition that will cause a leak, especially if it’s severe lasting over several days. The pool may have been winterised, but perhaps the owner has not taken extra precautions like making sure the pump has been drained or if you cannot drain the pump then cover and insulate it.

Obtain the services of a good swimming pool installer, they can calculate the amount of water lost over a measured period of time, This requires a “process of elimination” meaning the pipes may be tested first or a visual inspection may reveal the problem, and the process moves on from there, eliminating sections of the pool and pool system.

Sometimes it’s nigh on impossible to find a pool leak. Another good example of this isSwimming pool where the ventilation systems are designed in such a way that the incoming air skims the water and the moisture off surface; basically the water is evaporating at a much faster than normal rate and makes it appears as though the pool is leaking when in fact it is not.

So the significance of these examples are although you may detect a single leak and repair it, there is always the likelihood of another area in the pool system where the water could be losing water.

John Cox TnISPE(Cert)
Tewkesbury Ledbury Worcester Stroud

 

Liner pools prices

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What is the price of a liner pool?

Most swimming pool installers will either supply a liner pool for a customer to build themselves as a DIY project, or supply and install the swimming pool for you. The prices for swimming pools depends on many factors for example:

  • If it is to supply a swimming pool only. This is where the customer excavates and installs the swimming pool and then landscapes the area.
  • Or the pool installer supplies the swimming pool only and gives practical help and advice when requested during installation i.e. advice on marking out, or later installing the pipe work and the pool liner.
  • Or a swimming pool is installed by the pool installer and usually included in the price is constructing the surrounds, garden walls, changing rooms and landscaping around the swimming pool.

Swimming pool prices can begin from around £5,100 for an out of ground swimming pool and as they get larger and more complex can rise as to £30,000 or more for an in-ground pool. An indoor pool is a little more expensive because apart from the cost of swimming pool enclosure, new building regulations that were brought out a few years ago, demand that indoor swimming pools have to be insulated. However the cheaper out of ground swimming pools look quite attractive and can be made to look like an in-ground.

John Cox TnISPE (Cert)

Building a swimming pool part ll

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How to build a swimming pool. (Liner type) Part II

Read this before you begin building your swimming pool.

What is the next stage in building a liner swimming pool?Pan Pond

Part I, was the first basic stages and now it’s the actual commencement of  building your liner pool beginning with: .

  1. Level the area to be excavated.
  2. Marking out the pool and the over dig.(For the walls and foundations).
  3. Excavating the hole for building the liner pool.
  4. Laying the concrete block wall foundations.
  5. Setting out swimming pool wall corners (allowing extra on the dimensions for rendering and the pool underlay).

Before you begin the next stages , i.e.building the walls etc, you need to have ordered from your suppliers part of the swimming pools equipment, which should contain the following:

  • All the pool fittings, including the pipes, outlets, and face plates.
  • Liner-lock and corners to lock the liner in position.
  • Stone coping to finish off the top of the pool.
  • Pool underlay
  • Pump and valves
  • Filter and filter media
  • Pool heating

It would be unwise to order your pool liner at this moment just in case (for some unkown reason) your measurements are wrong and your pool liner does not fit properly.Swimming pool

When setting out your pool walls make sure that everything is square the walls are level. You are a allowed a small margin of discrepancy but it’s preferable better to be spot on with the measurements, rather than out of square or level, also when you have reached the top of the four pool walls it must be level all the way around the top.

Pool liner

  • If you are placing 2 drains on the floor of your pool set these up not less than 2 meters apart before concreting the foundations, so the pipework comes under the foundations. Remembering to cover and protect and protect the drains & pipework.
  • If you are using deep suction points instead of main drains place these into the wall at not less than 2 meters apart also
  • As the pool build progresses fit the returns, pool light (if any), and skimmer(s) into the wall.
  • Once the pool walls are built, it’s time to render the corners to a radius or insert radius corners in and render the pool walls.
  • When the render has set, the next stage is to fit the liner-lock (on the top edge of the concrete blocks in place remembering to allow a small lip (over shooting the top edge of the block wall), for any underlay that’s fitted.
  • Begin back filling behind the pool walls (Once the walls have had enough time to set).

    Pool_enclosures

    Pool enclosure

  • Start laying the pool coping and point up, lay the paving or decking of your choice around the swimming pool, after this start to clean the base down and remove any lose debris. Set up the string lines for the finished screed and begin screeding the sloping walls and the pool base. Once this stage is completed take the dimensions of the pool  and submit them to your local swimming pool installer who will order the pool liner for you.
  • Fit the pool the gaskets to the skimmer main drains returns etc. Fix the underlay onto the pool shell and finish off the pipe work connections and valves to the pump and the filter. Get the services of a qualified electrician to connect the pool pump according to instructions. Do not switch the pump on till the pool is ready.
  • On liner day, fit the liner using a vacuum to draw the excess air from behind the liner, and begin to fill the pool with water. during the filling and when there is enough water weighing down on the drains and just the water level just below the other face plates (And this is the very tricky part of liner installation), carefully place the face-plates over the drains, returns and skimmer faces making sure you line up the screw holes and begin to screw the face plates on. If you get the wrong holes the liner may leak and you’ll have to try and patch it and start again so preferable you need to get this right the first time.
  • Once the swimming pool is ready, prime the pool pump with water and start it. When the pool is circulating water, carefully read the instructions on any chemicals that need to be added to get your pool water clean sparkling and healthy

If you require any help with your pool installation or would prefer a pool installer to commence and finish the swimming pool installation, contact us here at Osprey Pools. We cover most areas from Pembroke and Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury Worcester Oxford and London. Give us a call on 01600 861 851

Pool renovations

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Swimming Pool Renovations

Spring is here. The UK eclipse has been and gone. The General election is around the corner. Tme to consider any renovations that are needed on your swimming pool before the hot summer months arrive?

If you’re not using your swimming poolhave those repairs done now while the pool is out of action or maybe a complete pool renovation that you’ve been considering for the past year.

Restoring your swimming pool to its former glory:

  • The pool coping stones may ony need a pressure clean but if they are rough to touch and hard to clean up it maybe worth renewing the old worn out stone coping.
  • At the same time pressure wash the pool deck or change it to something more modern and contemporary.
  • Any cracks in the pool should be repaired, there maybe structural defects in the swimming pool shell that need further investigation.
  • Replace or repair lose or defective rendering or floor screeds.pool-renovations
  • If the pipework is leaking it’s sometimes best to replace all the pipe runs rather than repair one section in case the pipework leaks in another section months or years later.
  • Sometimes the skimmers and outlets turn a brownish colour and become brittle. Again it would be best to renew old skimmers and outlets.
  • If you have a liner pool and it’s leaking or the liner colour has faded and has pinholes in the vinyl  fabric better to replace the old pool liner
  • If your pool is a liner type sometimes the liner-lock sometimes detaches or breaks in places and this needs replacing.
  • Change any rusted steel panels (panel pool) to an alternative fabrication (block-work or new insulated panels).
  • Re-grout or refurbish tiles and mosaics.
  • Re-plaster the finish or reline with an on-site vinyl lining.

Choices you could consider are:

  1. Have your swimming pool renovated and looking brand new again.pool-renovated
  2. Build a new a new pool within the existing pool.
  3. Construct a pool in different location. This has been done before where the existing pool is beyond help.
  4. Choose to back-fill your existing pool and change it to a garden or put decking across in case one day you or the next owner of your house decides to want the pool reinstated.
  5. Converted to a pond this can be easily done to make it look like a natural pond with plants and waterfalls.

Decide a start date on renovating your swimming pool. The rule is the longer it’s left the further the pool will degrade and the more expensive the renovations on the swimming pool becomes.

Swimming pool leaking

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Finding a leak in a simming pool is easy said that done!

Please excuse the cliche but It’s almost like looking for a needle in a haystack.

One or two major concerns about leaks on swimming pools are that water leaking from a swimming pool could potentially be undermining the foundations of the pool walls and possibly any nearby buildings. Early leak detection and intervention is needed to prevent the posisbility of this happening.DSCF4062

Detecting and then repairing the swimming pool as soon as possible will save on further potential problems further along the way.

The other concerns are the cost of losing so much water, pool chemicals and the waste of heating the swimming pool water. So if you suspect your swimming pool is leaking there are a number of steps you could take below…

These step by step approaches below will eliminate some of the suspects in finding where the pool is losing water from.cracked_pool__shell

  • Take a close look for holes or a tear in the liner if it’s a concrete pool look for tiles that have blown off.
  • Can you see any cracks in the pool walls or floor? A crack in the rendering could potentially be where the water is leaking from and further investigation may be needed to determine the extent of possible damage to the swimming pools shell
  • Look carefully at your roman end or pool steps, there may be slight cracks on the treads or the rises so have a good look over the sides of the steps.
  • Sometimes pool skimmers crack due to poor maintenance or old age and deterioration.
  • Outlets (Returns and main drains) and underwater lights are obviously more difficult to get at to check for leaks, so unless you know what to do,  it is best left to a swimming pool expert to determine if there a leak around these fittings.
  • With concrete pools it is often either a breakdown of materials of poor workmanship that causes the leak, not properly sealing around the inlets, skimmers and main drains on concrete pools.
  • Check around hand rails as well.
  • Inspect around the filter, pool pump, valves, multi-port s, and filter lid, pipes, & connections.
  • Look at the heat exchangers, and pool heater. These can corroded and for other clues check underneath for fittings for wetness look for puddles of water.
  • If we are fortunate to have weeks of hot weather or you have an indoor pool use the bucket test.

Leaking concrete pools

This type of pool is the worst for leaking. Shotcrete and Gunite or pools are notorious for Swimming poolleaks. Constructed the wrong way the structure will eventually breakdown become nothing more than soggy paper cup, primarily because the water has seeped through the finished  lining be it tile or render and has aggravated the matrix of the concrete breaking  the bonds that hold the shell together.

Concrete swimming pools are built with reinforced concrete walls and flooring, several coats of waterproof render covering the shell, followed by tile-bands and marble type render finish, or covered with mosaics or tiles which are fixed on with waterproof adhesive and grouted. The plumbing system is installed during the construction process and that is the finished product.

When a concrete pool “shell begins to leak, it’s usually in more than one place and there may be underlying problem with the construction itself.

Patching and re-rendering the pool is not always a good idea and you may be throwing good money away. The only answer apart from fibre glassing the pool is to line the shell with a heavy duty 1.5mm thick vinyl liner with a felt underlay. These types of liners have 10 year guarantee

For help and more info contact John on 01600 861 851/0789 2208 3001

Exercise pool

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What are the benefits of an exercise pool?

There are many good reasons why it’s worth buying an exercise pool. For one, if all you want is to keep fit these are excellent machines for this plus it saves you travelling to the gym.

These days you can have a much smaller swimming pool installed that does the same if not better than a medium to large size pools.

These smaller pool can be fitted with a counter current, either free standing or built in to the swimming pool, so you can swim against a current of water for as long as you want to swim.

Swimming against a counter-current is better known as “resistance swimming” you can do water-aerobics (also known as aqua-aerobics).

Here is a list of great benefits that a smaller pool with a counter current can offer you from the fitness and health factors to the swimming pool installation:
•    The counter current speeds are adjustable, you can have a gentle or challenging swim.
•    These swimming pools are the treadmill of the swimming world.
•    Great for swim practice if you’re in a swimming club or entering competitions.
•    You feel fit and you less tired as you use too.
•    You have bundles of energy, able to get things done without feeling exhausted.

This is a “one piece swim-spa” with integrated counter current
•    You become healthier and your body is more able to withstand the odd virus bug much better.
•    You find a reduction in aches and pains and you are able to do many more tasks than your use too during the day.
•    You are able to think clearer, work problems out better.
•    Your skin tones up (less spots and blemishes).
•    Because the exercise pool is a compact size it is an ideal if you do not have room to install a traditional swimming pool.
•    The dimensions of an exercise pool need only be 3.9m Long x 2.4m Wide x 1.15m Deep (12 ft x 8 ft x 3ft 6″ in depth).
•    There are less material to excavate and remove. Fewer materials to transport and use in an exercise pools construction. The build times for an exercise pool are faster.
•    You use less water which turns into low costs in water bills. There is less chemicals use, and your heating costs are much lower.
•    There is less of your time used up in cleaning and maintaining the swimming pool.
•    You can install a pool enclosure, and because of the smaller size of the pool the enclosure would be less expensive to erect.
•    These exercise pools can be purpose built to your specifications or you could buy one as a “one piece unit” (Swim-spas)
Happy swimming…
John Cox TnISPE(Cert)

Renovating your swimming pool

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Structural repairs to defects and renovating a concrete or liner swimming pools

If it is looking worse for wear and need a structural repair, or damaged and you’re thinking of renovating your pool, then here is a quick renovation guide to help you decide and where to replace or begin with the new renovations:

Obtain an estimate or quote for renovations and remember, when choosing an installer; “cheap estimates or quotes to repair defects and renovation doesn’t always mean they are the best”.

  1. If you’re going on a long holiday, or when you  close it down for the winter, then consider having the repairs or renovations done when it is not being used.
  2. First up and around, clean the stone coping and pressure clean the decking or replace, do some repairs or update the surround with updated materials.
  3. Replace old coping, add new paving in the renovation
  4. Renovate structural defects in the concrete or liner shell.
  5. Check for damage to the walls, sand and cement render repair, or floor screed repairs.
  6. Repair or replace blown tiles mosaics and rendering defects to concrete pools
  7. Old  leaking pipes.replace and repair or complete pipe renovation
  8. Replace aged leaking skimmers and outlets.
  9. Renovating new liner-lock; the bit that holds the liner in place…
  10. Renovation repairs to liner panel pools that have defercts and are badly corroded that may need to be replaced to an alternative fabrication.
  11. Structural renovations on concrete swimming pools, new tiles and mosaics to replace the lost tiles, damaged by frost.
  12. About  concrete pools, you could have the shell re-plastered, or if it has been leaking and the defects cannot be fixed, reline it with a vinyl liner.

Other alternatives available for structural renovations:

  • Construct a new one within the existing shell.
  • Install a new one in different area of your garden.

If it is leaking and beyond repair and renovations:

  • Use the area to install a rainwater harvesting system.
  • Instead of costly repairs and renovations,back-fill your pool
  • Change it to a garden pond
  • Decking across in case you or the next owner decided to reinstate it.
  • Converted to Kio or wildlife pond. This can easily be done and can be made to look natural with plants and waterfalls.

These are some of the options to consider.if your concrete or liner swimming pool is looking shabby and you’re thinking it’s in need of renovating. of structural alterations.

Options for installing a swimming pool liner

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What are your choices when replacing a new swimming pool liner?

Here’s some ideas for you to mull over when choosing a new liner for your swimming pool

  • You could have the same colour pool liner, or a similar pattern.Pool cleaning
  • Or go for something completely different. There are many more colours and patterns available’ plenty to choose from.
  • You could also have new felt underlay fitted this helps protect the liner from the hard backing and it’s soft underfoot.
  • If the pool coping looks worn and dull, consider replacing them and the pool decking if it’s looking a bit shabby and worn.

By doing taking the actions above, your swimming pool will look almost like brand new again.replaced-liner-2

So what are your options for installing a pool liner?

  • First idea is the pool installer arrives, and if conditions are acceptable can measure the pools dimensions while the water is still in the pool. Then place the order for the pool liner, and once it has arrived, empty and remove old liner, clear the pool shell, install  the new lining.
  • Second option is to have your pool emptied and the old liner removed. Survey and measure your pool for a replacement liner and when the lining arrives, the pool installer can fit the felt underlay (if needed) and liner for you.
  • The third option is for you measure for a Pool linernew liner. The pool company places the order. When the liner is ready they come back to fit the liner for you.
  • A forth option is if you feel capable of changing the pool liner yourself, then you can ask the pool builder to survey and measure your pool after you have emptied it, they will supply you with the pool liner, again you or someone of your choice fits the pool liner for you.
  • Option five. This option is similar to the third, if you only want the pool liner and you’re competent enough to fit the liner yourself and you don’t mind measuring the pools dimensions, The pool installer supplies you with the pool liner only, and you fit the pool liner.

So there are a few options to consider when you think it’s time for installing a new swimming pool liner. For more information on pool liners and other accessories, contact Osprey Pools, we can advise you on the best corse of action for your swimming pool.

How to build a swimming pool

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DIY pools are a popular and cheaper way to build your very own private swimming pool.

However it’s handy to be aware and avoid some pitfalls at the beginning, during and at the end of your swimming pool build.

  • If you enjoy dabbling in DIY, you could start with building your own above ground pool. There are many different kinds of above ground pools on the market these days. Most come in kit form with an instruction manual and DVD on how to build your pool.
  • It does help if you have some knowledge of construction, and depending on how much experience you do have, and following the instructions in the manual to the letter, building a pool yourself can be relatively easy.
  • You could buy and build an above ground wooden panel pool. These again are in kit form.
  • You will need to build a level concrete base for the structure to rest on.

Above ground poolsFun pools

Now, if you don’t want a wooden pool to look like an above ground pool then build the structure partially in the ground and build timber framed decking around the top of the pool to make it look like an in-ground pool.

There is a different specification of construction altogether when installing a swimming pool in-ground using concrete block or panel methods.

These in-ground swimming pools come as kits with wall panels or without the panels. The pool kits that are without panels use concrete blocks instead to build the pool walls. The pool kits are supplied with felt underlay and a 30thou (0.075mm) thick vinyl liner to fit inside the pool structure.

These swimming pools are more complex to construct than the above ground pools. If you have a reasonable knowledge of construction then you should be able to build the pool yourself, but there are many factors and pitfalls to be aware of as building an inground swimming pool is not the same as building a BBQ, a house, or an extension.

So it may be best to seek advice before and during construction from the swimming pool company who supplied you the pool kit or elsewhere.

Employing sub contractors and outside help

By employing outside help to build your swimming pool you can oversee the pool build yourself. Again I would suggest you employ the services of a swimming pool installer to advice you on everything from:swimming pool location

  • The location of the pool.
  • The methods of construction
  • What pitfalls to look out for.
  • The pool plumbing system.
  • Advice on surrounds and landscaping.
  • Through to commissioning your swimming pool.

All the above options come with instruction manuals and DVDs to help you build your pool, but more help and information on building your own pool on a budget visit our website and contact us with your query.

Heat Pumps and Solar Heating

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Solar heating panels or air-source heat pump

By Osprey Pools

Which of these heating systems are more efficient for a swimming pool in the UK?

For and against 

For: Air-source heat pumps

  • Operating costs: Low.
  • Approximately has a ten year life span.
  • Has a low carbon footprint.
  • Energy-efficient.
  • Location: Minimal space required.

Against: Air-Source Heat Pumps

  • High initial purchase cost.
  • Slow heating.
  • Require average air temperatures of10°C or higher to operate efficiently although there are heat pumps that operate to lower temperatures.

For: Solar heating panels

  • Operating costs: Low.
  • Approximately has a 15 years life span.
  • Has a low carbon footprint.
  • Energy-efficient.
  • Supplement to main pool heating.

Against of Solar Heating

  • Expensive to buy and install.
  • Slow to heat pool water and sustain.
  • Not very efficient as they require sunshine to operate.
  • A larger area is required to site the solar panels.

If you lived in a Mediterranean country where there are many days of warm sunshine then they are both equally good. However, the UK has a temperate climate, and the heat pump has the edge over the solar panels mainly because the UK doesn’t get enough sunshine to warm the solar panels it does not warrant the investment.

The two heating systems both depend on the weather, although as mentioned you can purchase heat pumps that operate at much lower temperatures (down to – 15°C).

Much depends where your swimming pool is located and what type of landscaping and surrounds you have. For example; if your swimming pool is surrounded by four walls you have a sun trap, which is ideal for an air source heat pump to operate, as it depends on air temperature and the transfer of warm air to heat your swimming pool water.

Air-source heat pumps operate very effectively in warmer temperatures because there is a lot of heat energy locked up in high air temperatures. However the cooler the climate the less efficient the air-source heat pumps operates.

An air-source heat pump has to work much harder and for longer periods of time in a low temperature environment to transfer the heat to your swimming pool.

Solar heating panels work by collecting heat from the sun, (Solar gain) and transferring this heat to your swimming pool water.

Solar heaters operate very efficiently in areas that see a lot of sunlight, but are less effective on cloudy, rainy days which in the UK we are more familiar with, hence why they are not as good as an air-source heat pump (At least in the UK)

Location

Most air-source heat pumps use less than 3m2 of area, making them ideal to be positioned almost anywhere in your in your garden and out of sight. They’ve even been known to have been positioned in greenhouses for obvious reasons.

Solar heaters require a large surface area and equal to the surface area of your swimming pool. Solar panels can be positioned on your roof or if you have enough space in your garden and are usually unsightly disrupting your landscape.

So to summarise (for the UK at least), heat pumps are an ideal heating system for swimming pools as opposed to gas oil and direct electric heating systems. Solar heating is a good supplement to the main pool heater if we have good summers with enough sunshine.

John Cox TnISPE(Cert)

Liner or tiled pool

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Concrete and tiled swimming pool or a liner pool?

A short explanation on the merits of two different types of swimming pool construction. Tiled concrete pools and liners pools

Concrete swimming pools

  • First a tiled concrete pool is basically a waterproof concrete shell, the surface of the pool is finished with tiles, mosaics or a marble type render.
  • The marble render is used in conjunction with a tile band laid around the top edge of the swimming pool and a tileband on the floor parallel to the pool walls usually about 3 mosaic tiles wide.
  • Concrete pools are much more expensive to construct
  • Some specifications and methods of concrete pool construction take up to 6 months or more to complete. Liner swimming pool
  • A liner pool is much different to build as it involves installing a purpose made vinyl lining specifically designed to mimic a concrete pool.
  • In fact to the untrained eye you would not know the difference until you looked very close at the surface and touched the walls.

Swimming pool with a liner

  • The construction is totally different as (believe it or not) the shell is designed specifically “not” to be water proof not to hold water as the pool shell/structure relies on the pool liner “only” to hold the swimming pools water in.
  • Because of the liner pools specific design, the liner pool is much quicker and dare I say it “greener” to install than a concrete pool with less subsoil to be excavated and building materials to use.
  • A concrete pool is more than twice the costs of a top of the range liner pool.
  • Also the construction of the concrete tiled pool can take a tremendous amount of materials to build.
  • Thirdly It can take three to four times as long to construct a tiled pool as opposed to  a liner pool.
  • However a concrete tiled pool is more flexible when it comes to different “designs” more than liner pool, as the liner pool is governed by the way a made to measure pool vinyl liner is made.
  • You can have a liner pool of any shape or size but this would require “on-site lining” where the liner is welded to the shape of the swimming pool on site.liner-pool
  • Take into account when excavating your swimming pool of what is beneath your feet.
  • In our area of Monmouthshire Wales, there is a wide range of subsoil’s, including rock (limestone), clay and pit sand.
  • This is the same across the border into Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.
  • In and around the capital of Wales, Cardiff, there’s a geologist’s treasure trove of different subsoil’s and rock.
  • Where you may find clay in as particular location, just a few metres away there’s likely to be rock or even a running spring.

So when deciding to build a swimming pool, try to find out what type of subsoil there is below ground.

It can make a big difference to where you position your swimming pool and the final costs of installation.

Finding pool leak

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There are 8 steps the pool owner can do to help find a pool leak

The major concerns are that a leak or leaks (if large enough and unchecked), could be undermining the pool foundations and possibly any nearby buildings.

Apart from this, if there is a severe frost, the leaking may have an impact on the surface finishes of the swimming pool resulting in render and tiles being blown off, (usually the tileband and just below depending on the severity of the frost), so detecting & repairing the swimming pool especially this time of the year, while you’re not using your pool may save on future problems along the way.

Look at some of the steps you could take below…

We have a step by step approach to finding where the pool is losing water from.

  1. Checking the liner for holes or a tear in the vinyl liner fabricFilter, pump, and valves
  2. Pool steps may have hairline cracks in the shell so have a good look over.
  3. Look around returns and skimmers for cracks.
  4. Main drains and underwater lights are obviously more difficult to get at, don’t forget hand rails as well.
  5. Not properly sealing around the inlets, skimmers and main drains on concrete pools can lead to a pool losing water.
  6. Check around the filter, multi-port, valves, and the pump and filter lid, pipes, and connections.
  7. Damaged heat exchangers, and pool heaters can corroded or leak through check underneath for puddles
    Water can easily escape through the pool Shell so look for cracks in the tiles or render on the walls and floor.
  8. If we are lucky to have hot weather or you have an indoor pool then it may be an idea to use the bucket test

Leaking concrete pools

This type of pool is the worst for leaking. Take gunite or shotcrete pools for example. If this type of pool is constructed incorrectly it will (over the years) become nothing more than soggy paper cup, mainly because the water has aggravated the of the concrete and breaking down the bonds that hold the concrete together

These swimming pools are constructed with reinforced concrete walls and flooring, several coats of waterproof render covering the shell, followed by tile-bands and marble type render finish, or covered with mosaics or tiles which are fixed on with waterproof adhesive and grouted. The plumbing system is installed during the construction process and that is the finished product.

The trouble is once a concrete pool “shell begins to leak, it’s usually in more than one place, and there may be underlying problem with the construction itself.

Patching and re-rendering the pool may not work and you may be throwing good money away. The only answer apart from fibre-glassing the pool is to line the shell with a heavy duty 1.5mm thick vinyl liner with a felt underlay. These liners are guaranteed for 10 years.
These are the steps the pool owner can do to help find a pool leak

Found a new home and it has a swimming pool!

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For sale! A six bedroom house with a swimming pool

A property with a swimming pool is up on the market, or a house has come into your possession with a swimming pool attached.

You very interested in buying the home, but a not too sure about the pool, in more ways than one:

Stumbling block:

If the pool isn’t the problem but you’re concerned that there may be defects with the extra added cost of fixing the pool or back filling it, then it’s a good idea to have the swimming pool surveyed.Swimming-pool-new-home

A survey can be a useful tool when making an offer on your desired property

  1. A pool survey is a good bargaining tool for discerning house buyers as it may find defects and potential problems that might incur the need for immediate repairs, replacement or renovations that can cost thousands of pounds to put right.
  2. A survey then, gives you leverage on the purchase price of the property. A pool survey can be an aid to the buyer in negotiating with the seller’s asking price.
  3. A swimming pool that is in need of refurbishments or a replacement swimming pool liner, should not put you off buying the property. Pools can be a great asset in more ways than one.
  4. A swimming pool survey can give you a good indication on the state and condition of the pool and could save you pounds in the long run.
  5. Surveys are not a waste of money but are a good investment, and well worth every penny when you know the faults of any item whether it’s a vehicle, a property or a swimming pool.

If you’ve moved into a new home that has a swimming pool, and you are not sure what toHouse with a pool do or where to start and how to get the pool running or maybe you have a swimming pool and not used it for many years, but you need swimming pool surveyor to look at the pool to inspect if it is running correctly you want to contact your local pool installer for help and advice.

Inspecting the swimming pool yourself

If the winter debris cover is still on the pool, If it’s safe to do so peel it back to inspect the condition of the swimming pool. The water may not be a pretty sight, or the pool looks green, the liner (If it is a liner pool) looks discoloured, the water level may be low so you don’t know if it is leaking, the plant room where the filter pump and heater is located looks like it has seen better days…

  • So where do you begin?

    Dilapidated Pool Survey

    A dilapidated pool What is the cost to renovate?

  • How do you clean the water, and get the pool running again?
  • Do you empty the pool clean and refill it?
  • Should you even contemplate emptying the swimming pool at all?
  • And if you did would it cause any problems or damage to the pool shell or liner?

First of all, swimming pools are tricky items to deal with, and I’m not just saying this to scare anyone from surveying the pool themselves. Howeverone  make the wrong decission could cost the pool owner dearly for example:

  • If a pool owner or portential buyer decided to drain a concrete pool to inspect it, there are set procedures to draining a concrete pool to avoid thermal shock. and if your location has a high water table, there is the potential for the swimming pool to “lift” out of the ground, and damage the pool structure.
  • If you’re not sure of what you are doing with a pool then my advice is, don’t touch it, but do call a swimming pool installer and ask for help. The pool engineer (Installer) will either inform you what’s wrong with the pool
  • Or if the pool is working correctly, how to get it up and running again and to get the water looking sparkling and clean.swimming pool maintenance
  • If there is something wrong with the swimming pool, it may need to be checked over to see if it is leaking or if the filtration system in sound working condition. This once again is best done by a swimming pool engineer who knows where to look and suggest the recommended action to take, however there are particular things you can do yourself.
  • If the pump and all the pool equipment is connected then fill the pool to just below the top of the tile band (be careful if it’s a liner pool you do not over fill).
  • Wait 48 hrs to see if the water level drops.
  • Obviously if the level falls, then you know you have a leak somewhere that needs repairing.
  • If you have concrete swimming pool , then a pool leak is either in the shell of the pool or in the filtration system i.e. skimmer, drain, returns pipes, filter, pump etc.
  • With a liner pool it could be the vinyl liner is damaged, or the gaskets leak.
  • If you do have a liner pool see if you can spot any tears in the fabric.
  • You may decide to go ahead and empty the pool of water and clean it down

But here to recap is a note of caution.

  1. Do not empty the pool unless you know what you are doing. Emptying a swimming pool incorrectly may cause irreversible damage to the pool.Pool chemicals
  2. For example the pool lining may shrink and will not fit back in position once the air has been in contact the surface of the exposed vinyl liner.
  3. There are potential dangers that can affect a concrete pool which could lift out of the ground if a pool is emptied wrongly!
  4. If “you” do decide to empty your pool, do have a life belt available and another person preferably two other people with you as a precaution, so if you accidental get stuck or fall in the pool, then there’s someone’s there to rescue you or get help.
  5. Emptying a pool is not as easy as it sounds either

One thing you need to know:

  • There is a long period of time that must be taken to remove water from a concrete pool otherwise the shell may suffer from thermal shock.
  • Where you will dump the water, as there is a tremendous amount of water in a pool?
  • You have to find out if the pool water has no chemicals like chlorine, etc.
  • You cannot just dump the water anywhere.Concrete-pool-conversion
  • However if the water is green and full of pond life then there’s the likelihood that it may be safe to dump on your lawn.
  • As a precaution it may be best to have the water tested as you don’t want the water damaging your lawn or something that’s contaminated seeping into your grounds.
  • There must be no run off of water into a neighbour’s property or into municipal drains. Check with your environment agency.
  • The safe option is to have a tanker collect and remove the pool water but again check there’s no high water table or better still call a pool engineer.

Now this all may seem a nuisance and even some of it difficult to understand but it’s not! As long as you do it in bite size pieces and not try to do everything at once.

If you can though; check with the previous owners and ask them if they had the pool installed do they know what the ground conditions were like when the pool was excavated.

If you need advice about your swimming pool, and maybe you would like a tutorial on how to operate your pool just call us, we may be able to help you.

Once you get to know your new home and the idea of how to operate a swimming pool it may take several times to get use to operating the switch gear but once you get the hang of it then it’s plain sailing for you but anything new is a pain to learn as we all know.
John Cox TnISPE(Cert) London Berkshire Guildford Alton

Draining a swimming pool after flooding

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Draining a swimming pool after flooding

After a flood you may be wondering if the swimming pool has overfilled or if your pool is full of silt, debris and any other undesirable muck and maybe you wanted to investigate to see what damage the flood may done, but before you go pumping the water out, please stop for a moment…

Draining a swimming pool after an area has flooded, or at any other time can potentially damage a concrete swimming pools structure or as with a liner pool the vinyl liner could float and get damaged.

You could potentially cause more damage by draining your pool without proper advice and guidance on how to proceed… (Read below a simulation you can try and see what could happen to a swimming pool)
The ground water maybe higher than normal due to the flooding and if you have a concrete pool it is possible that draining the pool could result in the pool lifting out of the ground  or if you have a liner pool, could disturb, move or float the vinyl liner.
If you feel you have to drain the pool, then seek advice first hand.

So why does a swimming pool lift out of the ground if you begin to drain it?
A good example of why a pool will lift is in this simple experiment which takes a few minutes to do, so you can see for yourself why you should not drain a swimming pool. All it takes is a kitchen sink, a plug, a plastic kitchen bowl (which replicates your swimming pool) and water.

Follow the instructions below and see what happens to the plastic bowl (which remember replicates your swimming pool) This is a simulation of the same thing that could happen to a concrete swimming pool if you begin to drain it after a flood or if it’s a liner pool the liner will float like a plastic bag.

  1. Put the plug in the kitchen sink to stop any water draining away.
  2. Place a plastic washing bowl in the kitchen sink and fill the plastic bowl with water till it’s about 2 to 3 inches (50-75mm) from the top of the bowl.
  3. Begin to fill outside the plastic washing bowl (you’re now slowly filling the main kitchen sink with the plug in) till it rises to almost the same level as water is in the plastic bowl.
  4. As the water outside the plastic bowl rises higher you should notice the plastic bowl of water moving a little.
  5. Continue to fill the main kitchen sink a little more and you will again notice the plastic bowl begin to rise and float.

So this is what could happen to your swimming pool if you begin to drain the water down from inside the pool. As the ground water outside the swimming pool is near the same level or higher because you’ve began draining the water out of the swimming pool, the pool may begin to lift.
You may think this is impossible for a swimming pool to float, but look at the biggest ships in the world floating on the high seas, some of these huge container ships with weighing over 650,000 tonnes…
A swimming pool could weigh as much as 80 to 100 tonnes or even more. It’s a lightweight…
So if water can float a ship that heavy what do you think high ground water level will do to your swimming pool?
So the advice is do not touch the pool because the water level outside the pool (The water in the possible saturated ground) may still be too high, or if you consider it safe to drain your pool you do so at your own risk.
If you are in any doubt or you’re not sure what to do, get in touch with your local pool installer. Don’t leave it to chance otherwise you could end up doing some really serious damage to the pools structure which may render the swimming pool useless.
John Cox TnISPE(Cert) Gloucestershire Buckinghamshire Hampshire Berkshire

Building a swimming pool Part I

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How to build a swimming pool. Part I

To get you going on your swimming pool project,  here are a few tips on the different methods of swimming pool construction,

  • What to be aware of befre building a pool for the DIY enthusiast or builder.
  • Some of the pitfalls in installing a swimming pool
  • Why some modes of construction take longer to build than others, and more…

Liner pool is a much safer option to build than constructing a concrete pool, mainly because a concrete pool takes months to build, partly due to the waiting times in the building stages rather than the actual construction, i.e. the drying & curing times of the concrete structure and the final finishes. Even when this type of pool is completed, it takes about a week to fill an average size concrete tiled pool with waterAutomatic pool cover

A concrete block and liner pool is much quicker and easier method.

Also,if (for some reason), there was, (over time), any some small movement of the pool shell structure (behind the liner), then the vinyl lining would take up the slack and move with it, and should still not leak, where as with a concrete tiled pool, the water pressure and weight inside the pool is that great that any ground or wall movement (no matter how small) would eventually cause a crack in the structure and the waterproof concrete shell would become compromised, leading to water leaking away from the pool.

Filling, or patching the walls and base of a concrete constructed swimming pool with waterproof stop may also become inadequate to prevent a leak.

If a liner pools structure or shell moves, then the vinyl liner moves with the shell stopping the pool water from leaking out.Liner pool

So how to build a swimming pool.

Well you begin with where you’re going to get rid of the topsoil and subsoil from the pool excavation. Secondly, locate the pools position, and then where the finished level (Datum see No.1) is to be i.e. the pool decking/floor level.

  1. Start by creating a datum point. This is where you would like the top of the pool to finish, i.e. at the same level as your patio perhaps then top of the patio is your ” datum point”.
  2. Mark out the area of the swimming pool using more wooden pegs or clearly marked steel bars.
  3. Allow for foundations (over-dig) and mark out again using and string lines and lime to mark the lines for digging (this is the area that will be excavated).
  4. Bring in the excavating machines and lorries (or dumpers).Swimming
  5. You may not need the above (lorries) maybe just a dumper if you are keeping subsoil on-site.
  6. Once the area is dug, climb down to the excavated area and mark out again with pegs and string lines where the foundations are to be sited.
  7. Quantify and order your materials. Remember to go over a little on some quantities.
  8. You can always use the excess around the pool or sell it.
  9. Begin to lay the foundations.
  10. Once foundations have set hard then it’s time to build the pool walls to the correct measurements making sure the pool is dead square and level.pool enclosures-1

So in summary these are the basic 1st and 2nd stages combined for how to build a swimming pool:

  1. The marking out.
  2. The excavation.
  3. The foundations.
  4. The pool walls.

There is more to building a swimming pool than these steps described above, but it gives you an idea of what’s involved when you begin building  a swimming pool.

That is how to build a swimming pool part1.

More to come in ‘how to build a swimming pool’ part part 2

John Cox TnISPE(Cert)