Last week, Seaworld announced that it will end its Orca breeding and entertainment program. This key decision renewed a controversial and intriguing discussion about pools: are they good for animals as well as humans? We are well familiar with the benefits of pools for humans; they provide us with a wealth of healthy opportunities both physically and socially. Not only does the pool provide us with exercise and social opportunities, but the chlorinated water (in a properly balanced pool) helps any skin abrasions (cuts, poison ivy, etc.) heal as well. But for animals such as the Orca, pools represent the antithesis of health and well-being, as evidenced by the CNN documentary "Blackfish". These highly intelligent, majestic apex predators are meant to roam the ocean with their natural families, or pods, instead of being confined to a pool that in no way mimics their natural habitat. Even with the prevalence of salt generators, it must be noted that those generators transform salt into chlorine (which then sanitizes the water), and chlorine is a chemical that in no way provides benefits to the whales. This is indeed a hot-button issue, but although pools provide an abundance of benefits for humans, the same is not true for the incredible creatures of the sea, especially the Orca.
Even though snow is in the forecast for this weekend, it is never too early to start thinking about your pool. The start of the pool season can be overwhelming, whether you do it yourself, or have us open it. Here are a few helpful hints that will not only make opening the pool easier, but will make your summer pool maintenance a breeze as well.
Open the pool early. Most people open their pool when they are ready to use it, around late May. However, it is much more beneficial to open the pool well before that, for many reasons. First, the air temperature is cooler (we suggest opening when it hits 65 degrees), meaning algae growth is minimal to none. It also means that chlorine burnoff will be minimal, making the necessary levels easier to maintain. Balancing water chemistry in general is easier, since the water is not subjected to extreme heat and usage. Starting the season with a balanced pool will make it much easier to maintain throughout the summer. Opening the pool early also gives you plenty of time to address leaky hoses, missing plugs, etc. By the time the warm weather comes around, all you'll have to do is jump in!
Decide what sanitizer you're going to use at the beginning of the season. Been thinking about switching to a salt generator system? Or maybe you'd like to ditch chlorine altogether for a Baquacil (non-chlorine) sanitizing program. If it's the former, you'll have to allow for installation, which will need to be booked in advance. By late May, the schedule will be quite full, whereas if it's scheduled early, an appointment will be much easier to obtain. If it's the latter, keep in mind that the chlorine levels need to read 0.00 before starting it, or else a reaction will occur with the chlorine and Baquacil (the water will turn green) and additional treatments will be required. It's definitely not the type of thing you'd want to switch to in the middle of the summer.
Schedule service work, openings, pool/liner installations early. Again, if you call us in late May to schedule a liner replacement, etc., keep in mind that by then we may be booking up to a month in advance. If you stop in and get the ball rolling in March/April, scheduling, coordinating details, etc. is much easier; you'll beat the rush. When spring temperatures become stable, we can get started on roadwork (your pool), and by the time summer weather arrives, your pool will be swim-ready!
With summer approaching, it's time to start thinking about opening (or purchasing) a pool, and planning time to enjoy it with friends and family. And while chilling poolside presents a great opportunity to unplug and spend quality time with loved ones, most of us would still keep our cell phone, tablet, etc. nearby. We've all been there - enjoying a carefree day by the pool, soaking in the sun with family and friends, when it happens: someone cannonballs into the pool, creating a tidal wave splash. We turn in horror to check our phone sitting in the shade nearby. Did it get wet? Is it working? Damage to a device is awful and inconvenient, and it can be frustrating when it occurs because of a tiny amount of water. Not only do we rely on them for calls, emails and social media, but they are also expensive and sometimes difficult (and inconvenient) to replace. But fear not, because we have compiled a list of waterproof tech gadgets that will keep your tech high and dry, leaving you free to enjoy a summer full of fun in the sun!
Phantom Aquatics Waterproof Backpack Dry Bag
This accessory is great poolside, or to bring on a trip to the beach, hiking, and camping trips, too. 100% waterproof, it floats safely when dropped in water, and protects contents from dust and dirt as well. It boasts a unique seamless construction a two-way roll top sealing system, padded shoulder straps and lumbar support.
LifeProof Fre iPhone 6 Case
This case is waterproof and has a built-in screen protector. It can be submerged 6.6 feet underwater for an hour, and can also withstand being dropped from that same distance. The full enclosure design also means your device is sealed from dirt and dust as well.
BOOM Swimmer Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
This bluetooth enabled wireless speaker has a sleek design with a tail that can be looped, twisted or snaked, providing endless mounting possibilities. The tail can also be removed altogether, and use the suction cup (included) to attach it to a nearby smooth surface. The bluetooth technology means that you can pair the speaker with your smartphone and play music from there. The best part? The Swimmer is rated to be immersed in water for 30 minutes, and has a built-in rechargeable battery that offers up to 18 hours of audio playback.
JOTO Universal Waterproof Bag
This universal waterproof sleeve can also help keep your devices and other valuables from getting waterlogged. Its universal nature means you are able to store things like your phone, cash, wallets, ID, and jewelry safely and securely.
With the pool season right around the corner, here are some easy and inexpensive DIY projects that will give your backyard an instant upgrade. Check out the photos in the slideshow below!
Give pots a makeover with glow-in-the-dark paint
Re-purpose an old planter or purchase a new one at a store like Ikea for as little as $1, and spray paint it with glow-in-the-dark-paint. Not only will it add a unique ambiance to nighttime swimming, but it will also pull double-duty as a night light!
Keeping with the glow-in-the-dark theme, Bring game-time to nighttime with glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bracelets
The heat of competition can prevail long after the sun sets. All you need is to affix a wooden stake or metal pole in the ground, and glow-in-the-dark bracelets and necklaces transform from concert jewelry to cool ring-toss pieces.
Paint stones for your garden. Do it yourself and give your yard a Pinterest-worthy look, or have your kids paint some rocks and create outdoor mementos. Either way they'll be a cool conversation piece!
Create a colorful bird nesting area. Get some extra tenants for your birdhouse by adding an adjacent nesting area. All you need is some yarn and to hang a metal or wooden basket (or add the yarn to your birdhouse itself), and the birds will be flocking to it in no time. When they come to the birdhouse to eat, they'll stop at the nesting area to digest. Not only will it be "aww-inspiring", but the yarn will also add a colorful pop of color to your backyard!
Bring ordinary pavers to life with exterior latex outdoor paint. Brighten up your outdoor patio with a can of exterior latex outdoor paint. Not only will it create a colorful aesthetic, but it will also provide extra protection from the elements. When choosing paint, keep in mind to purchase paint that is non-glare and is low-sheen, and be sure to apply two coats.
Spray paint outdoor chairs. There's nothing worse than having to seat your summer guests on old or worn metal chairs. We all have them. A colorful can of Rustoleum or Krylon, available at your nearby Lowe's, will give them a fresh, cheery appearance. Not only will they look brand-new, but they will add a pop of color to your outdoor festivities. Whether hosting a barbecue or watching the kids swim in the pool, these chairs will add extra zest to any summertime occasion.
For more ideas, see the full list at http://www.lifehack.org/articles/money/30-budget-backyard-diy-ideas-that-will-make-your-neighbors-jealous.html