Time to cover up!

posted Oct 11, 2018, 11:19 AM by Natalie Venmore-Hardman

It’s that time of year again, sweater weather! And that means it’s not just time for us to cover up but in many cases our pools too. Our options for buying pool covers are almost as vast as our options for sweaters these days and it doesn’t stop at type of cover, there are many customizable options depending on your criteria, you really can have whatever you want. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, the best way with anything is start at the beginning, so let’s do that. Why do we need a pool cover? Safety? Warmth? Cleanliness? All of the above? Well...yes! All of the above are important but your personal situation may determine one thing to be of greater need than another. Here, we will break down the three most common style of pool cover to help you determine which is best for you.

“The Classic” - What we like to call the classic is a standard winter cover. The classic does a good job at keeping out debris and sunlight. We want to limit light to prevent algae growth and of course, do not want months worth of Fall and Winter debris to clean come spring. This cover will certainly help with these things. The classic is held in place by long, heavy water bags which some do not find aesthetically pleasing. They can also be hard work to place and remove so if you cover your pool yourself you may want to take that into consideration. In addition, this cover will not hold a lot of weight so heavy rainfalls may mean you need to pump some of that excess away, another chore you likely do not want. While a classic is likely the most affordable option to buy it also tends to have a shorter lifespan, often just two or three seasons.

“The Safety” - The Safety is most commonly known as a safety cover. A fantastic load bearer, great for areas with heavy snows. It is typically mesh so allows water to pass through it, the downside of that is that you will open a pool to less than perfect water in the Spring. She is great at keeping out debris. It looks a little like a trampoline, anchored into your deck space, it certainly is secure but not everybody’s favorite thing to look at.The price point is certainly higher than that of the classic but, when looked after, you should get many more years out of her.

“The Auto” - The Automatic Cover, our favorite, pretty much does it all and at the touch of a button. Keeps out debris, light and much bigger things (yes, we have pulled a deer out of a swimming pool). It works beautifully as a solar cover, keeping the warmth in thus economically a good choice and a no brainer if you keep your pool open and heated year round.The auto is a wonderful asset with regards to safety, if you have children or animals it is a fantastic safety barrier (though we continue to recommend pool areas be fenced and locked at all times when not in use and supervised by an adult). This gal really does it all. Her price point may be the highest of the group but you will likely make savings elsewhere. The lifespan of these is long with the ability to maintain and repair if something does go awry, we know auto covers that are 20 years old and still going. To top it all off, they look great, so you know your backyard oasis will look it’s best day or night, summer or winter.

Whichever cover you choose and for whatever reason the best advice we can give is to look after them well and always seek advice from your pool professional!

Cleaning your pool after a storm

posted Oct 1, 2018, 12:53 PM by Ryan Wheeler

Brrrr, it’s getting chilly out there. Fall brings some fast changing weather, all of which can play havoc with your pool and spa. Keeping your pool and tub open through October and even the winter is possible but it’s time to take a little extra care and look out for those temperature swings, high winds, rain and storms. Storms and falling debris can leave a real mess in your backyard haven and leaving these messes untreated only make more work for you, with a few simple tips we can help you keep you pool or spa in tip top shape following a storm.

There are 4 steps we like to remember: Check, Clean, Test, Treat!

Check - Checking your pool is the first and possible the most important step following a storm and it can be really simple. Head out to your pool or spa and check in and around. What are we dealing with? Dust and leaves, large debris, obvious damage? The best thing you can do is assess the situation and know your next steps. In areas that suffer severe weather such as hurricanes or tornadoes that damage could be extensive, it is always important to check for suspected leaks and you should call your pool professional for help and advice.

Clean - So you’ve determined how much debris is in your pool. Be sure to move anything large, like branches, lawn furniture etc first. Then it’s time to decide how best to clean from here, know the capabilities of your skimmer and pool vacuum, be sure not to overload them, a heavy amount of leaves and other debris could cause you more issues, so be sure to go ahead and remove as much as you can - or call your pool professional.

Test - A storm ,debris and heavy rains can have a dramatic effect on your pools chemistry so it is important to check chemistry after a storm and before adding more chemicals. You have likely discussed chemical balancing with your pool professional or have experience maintaining it. If, however, you are not sure or are out of supplies your pool professional will be happy to help.

Treat - Now that’s you have tested it’s time to treat. Often times a heavy amount of debris can warrant a shock treatment, however, that is not always the case. Every storm, every pool, every environment provides a different set of circumstances so be sure to treat according to your tests and again, when in doubt, call your pool professional!

Falling back to nature!

posted Sep 24, 2018, 7:28 AM by Ryan Wheeler

September 22nd marked the official end of summer and the beginning of Autumn. The mornings are already a little chilly, the leaves yellowing and the evening sun just a little lower in the sky. We can even smell the pumpkins spice everything wafting in the breeze.

Fall, not only a beauty to behold, is a great time to get back to nature. Whether you like to camp, hike, fish or hunt there are a plethora of exciting and relaxing activities to get into and Colorado may be the best place to do them. The cooler temps make for fantastic hiking and there are an abundance of trails in and around our beautiful Rockies. Heading up into the mountains is highly recommended as the Aspens change color, if you can, take the trip mid week to avoid crowds and be sure to have your camera at the ready. Fall provides some of the most picturesque scenes so whether you are planning a 10 mile hike or stop for an impromptu half you’re sure to to capture some beautiful memories.

If camping is more your thing then, again, fall is a great time for it. Bothersome insects are on the decline, cool nights and morning provide the perfect temps for snuggling down and wildlife are seen in abundance as many prepare for their winter slumber. Though we might be tempted to light the campfire and toast those ‘mallows it remains incredibly important to always check for fire bans. Though some may have been lifted, many remain in place, so know before you go and keep everybody safe!

Finally, whenever we are out enjoying nature, be it hiking, hunting or anything in between it remains most important to leave no trace. Pack out what you pack in folks, don’t leave junk and trash for others to clean up or for wildlife to become entangled in. We are lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, let’s be sure to keep it that way so all, including the flora and fauna can thrive, flourish and enjoy. Happy fall ya’ll!!!

It's not over yet!

posted Sep 17, 2018, 7:13 AM by Ryan Wheeler   [ updated Sep 17, 2018, 7:16 AM ]

Labor day has come and gone, the kids are back at school and the leaves are slowly changing but it looks like Summer isn’t quite ready to pack it’s bags and depart. With near record temps here in Colorado there’s still plenty of backyard fun to be had.

If you’re lucky enough to have kept your open past Labor Day it’s important to maintain its cleanliness, especially in these high temperatures. Warm weather and sunlight are the perfect breeding ground for algae and the summer dryness paired with fall winds create excess dust and debris just dying to float right on into your pool. So what can you do to maintain a clean, healthy pool? Well folks, it’s business as usual! Even though your summer schedule has come and gone your pool schedule shouldn’t. Every backyard environment is different so whatever you do during the summer month should be kept up for as long as your pool is open. Regular vacuuming, chemical balancing and daily covering are all important in keeping your pool clean and swimmable through the fall months. Having a weekly cleaning service is by far the best way to keep your pool in top condition and allow you more time to take advantage of the extended Summer.

So what if you closed your pool already? No need to worry, there’s plenty of fun and bargains to be had. September is a great time of year to snap up some backyard bargains. Check out your local department stores, grocery stores and garden centers, pick up some super fun backyard games for discounted prices, maybe some project pieces for the deck or accessories for your grill. The stores need to move that stuff out to make way for the holidays so you can benefit from their need for space.

Moving into to fall also means something else exciting, a matter close to our hearts here at Duck’s...Football! That’s right, we are huge football fans here and one of the things we love most about football is the food. The extended summer weather is perfect for keeping the grill going longer and tailgate food tastes especially good right from the grill. So dry rub that pork butt, season the wings and fire up the grill. Whether you play, watch or ignore football, I think  we can agree that sharing a backyard bite with our loved ones is a perfect way to enjoy the remaining Summer sun.

So folks, remember, it’s not over yet! With or without your pool there’s fun to be had and memories to be mad, so dive in, play the silly game, indulge in BBQ and Fly Eagles Fly!

Closing for the season! The reasons for professional pool winterization

posted Sep 4, 2018, 9:28 AM by Ryan Wheeler

The kids are back at school, Labor Day is fast approaching that a golden colored leaf  I see on that tree? Here we are, glassy eyed, getting ready to wave goodbye to another summer and being faced with the decision to leave our pools open or close them for the season. Some are lucky enough to have an indoor pool or an automatic safety cover so staying open makes more sense. For those of us who don’t have these things have you ever wondered why, in fact, we close our pools for the season?

We are here to share with you the importance of proper winterization and why it is best left to the professionals.

Why do we close our pools?

There are many reasons to close your pool for the season and while your neighbor may close for one reason you may close for another but here are some of the benefits to closing your pools for the cold winter months:

  • Protecting your equipment! We all know how important (and costly) our pool equipment is. In order for your pool to perform at it’s best and live a long, healthy life it’s equipment needs to be in top condition. Keeping your pool open can lead to damage caused by freezing temperatures.

  • Energy Saving! Keeping your pool open for the winter requires your pump to be running in order to prevent your lines from freezing. Keeping your pool at a swimmable temperature through the winter requires you to keep your heater running (unless of course you are a polar bear). Running your equipment all winter, through harsh conditions will have an impact on your energy bill thus you can make some savings by switching off and closing down.

  • Maintaining - Saving Time & Money! Keeping your pool running requires maintenance. If you keep your pool open, either you or your pool guy (or both) will need to keep on top of maintenance. Winter storms and Fall leaves cause plenty of dirt and debris which will negatively impact your pool if not kept on top of.

  • Emergency situations! It’s the middle of January, it’s a white out, bitter winds, already several inches of snow on the ground and CRASH! Down comes a tree limb. Power out! You grab your flashlight, sigh at being cut off amid your favorite show and then it hits pool equipment running! The rest, you can imagine, is mayhem!

  • Safety! If you have young kids or wiley animals then you know the stresses concerned with keeping your loved ones safe around the pool. Investing in a safety cover, better yet and automatic cover, and closing up for the winter you can be reassured that your pool remains safe through the winter. Sometimes not having to worry every time you hear the doggy door or notice the kids are quiet is a nice thing!

In short getting your pool properly winterized saves you time, money and gives you peace of mind, and I think we could all use a little more of that!

And for the lucky few who are able and willing to stay open for the winter, we are here, come rain, snow or shine to help take care of your pool needs year round.

9 out of 10 pools use Pentair....and so do we!

posted Aug 24, 2018, 8:32 AM by Ryan Wheeler   [ updated Aug 24, 2018, 11:15 AM ]

Did you know nearly 9 out of 10 of the 2017 Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) Gold Award-Winning Pools use Pentair equipment? Why? Quite simply Pentair consistently produce products that delivers top performance, ease of use and forward thinking design. Everything about Pentair looks, feels and works immaculately. We, along with so many industry professionals including pool builders, architects and landscapers, have not just an appreciation for Pentair products but a complete confidence. We know that when we use a Pentair product we have quality assurance, we are providing the best for our pools and their owners. Whether we are looking to create a nighttime ambiance with lighting, precise control of water flow for water features or an intelligent smart control system to control your pool or hot tub from your smart devise, Pentair has it all and they look darn good doing it! 

4 Tips To Grill Perfect Steaks

posted Feb 19, 2016, 11:56 AM by Ryan Wheeler   [ updated Feb 24, 2018, 1:09 PM ]

Your pool is more than a relaxing place to cool off on a hot day. It's a lifestyle. Grilling is one of my favorite parts of this lifestyle. Perfect your grilling technique with these simple tips.

Prepping your Steak

Thoroughly dry your steak. Season liberally with salt. There are mixed opinions on how long to allow the salt to sit on the surface of the steak. Some like to do it up to 24 hours in advance. I prefer just an hour or two. This helps to pull more of the moisture from the surface. This may seem counter-intuitive but making sure the surface of the steak is dry actually ends up with an amazingly moist final product. Brush both sides of your steak with oil and give your steak a nice dusting of fresh cracked pepper just before grilling.

Don't Grill a Cold Steak

About a half an hour before grilling remove your steaks from the refrigerator. Allowing your steak to come up to room temperature is vital to encouraging something called the Maillard reaction. Basically this is the chemical reaction that takes place as your steak browns. It is also responsible for the amazing and delicate flavors that make steaks so irresistible.

Use a Hot Grill

We are looking for a temperature around 550F at the grill grate. This usually correlates to about 500F on the hood thermometer. Remember to give the grill grate a nice coat of oil and keep at least one of the burners off for propane grills. For a charcoal grill make sure you leave some space not directly over the coals this is known as a two zone method. If you have a large flare up place your steak in this cool spot and close the lid. The flare up should extinguish itself in seconds as it will use up the oxygen under the lid quickly.

Allow your Steak to Rest

When your steak is done to your liking remove it and place it on a cutting board. Then loosely tent with foil and leave it for 5 minutes. These last moments are vital to allow the steak to reabsorb it's moisture. If you cut into it immediately you allow those juices to run out. Keep in mind the steak will continue to slowly cook so pull it off the grill just slightly rarer than you like it.

Insider Insight

It’s easy to forget about your pool in the cooler temps.  Did you know algae starts to grow at 60 degrees? Open your pool when daytime temps are consistently above that.  This may be earlier than you're used to but will guarantee you open a clean pool.  Also it is easy and inexpensive to maintain during the cool spring months.  Plus it’s ready for that first fun pool day!

Ryan Wheeler
Duck's Pools

I've been in the pool industry since my teens. I've managed retail stores, designed pools, sold spas, been a head of service and CPO as well as managed entire pool renovations.  

5 Tips to Prevent Winter Damage to your Pool

posted Feb 12, 2016, 11:37 AM by Ryan Wheeler   [ updated Feb 24, 2018, 1:09 PM ]

Pool damage can be ugly and expensive!  Use these simple tips to protect your pool.

Drain Rain and Snow Melt

Over the past few weeks we have had some big snows followed by warmer temps.  With the potential for lower temps over the following weeks this is the most important thing you can do. For vinyl pools you can get water behind your liner or damage to the bead.  If you have a gunite pool it’s even more crucial.  If the water has risen to your tile line and refreezes it make crack or cause tiles to fall off.  I recommend Little Giant pumps.  See Tip #4.

Check Your Skimmers

Make sure your winterization device is holding up.  People use lots of different methods to winterize skimmers.  If you're unsure what was used they all serve one basic purpose. To crush under the pressure of the ice instead of cracking the plastic of the skimmer.  If yours fails use a shop vac to completely drain skimmer.  Then, using swimming pool antifreeze pour half gallon in skimmer.  Recap the remaining half gallon and place in skimmer.  Done!

Inspect Your Cover

The weight from almost 3 ft of snow can put quite a stress on your cover and it’s attachments.  Visually inspect everything.  Double check any water bags or lawn anchors.  If your cover falls in the pool it can open you up to a host of problems.  Best case is still weeks of cleanup in the spring.

Take Care of Your Cover Pump

Cover pumps are great tools to prevent damage during the winter but they can also be damaged by the freezing temps.  To keep them in good shape you only need to do 2 basic things.  Don’t let them run dry!  They can deal with a lot more heat than most motors but they also use the water to cool themselves.  15 minutes of running dry no problem, 6 hours not a good idea.  Also bring it in when you're done using it.  Some contain switches to sense water level.  These switches and other sensitive parts can be damaged if allowed to freeze.

Don't Forget Your Water

Over the winter your water will separate into layers.  These layers can potentially have harmfully low (or high) PH and other balances. When your pool thaws use your cover pump to circulate the water.  Remove the hose and drop it to the bottom of your deep end for a 12 hour cycle.  This is also a great time to use a 60% Algaecide to help keep your water clean and clear.

Insider Insight

It’s easy to forget about your pool in the cooler temps.  Did you know algae starts to grow at 60 degrees? Open your pool when daytime temps are consistently above that.  This may be earlier than you're used to but will guarantee you open a clean pool.  Also it is easy and inexpensive to maintain during the cool spring months.  Plus it’s ready for that first fun pool day!

Ryan Wheeler
Duck's Pools

I've been in the pool industry since my teens. I've managed retail stores, designed pools, sold spas, been a head of service and CPO as well as managed entire pool renovations.  

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