Swimming Pool Opening
When we bought our home in 1989, we had mixed emotions about the pool that was in the yard. On one hand, we thought that our sons would eventually enjoy it (they were 4 years old, and a few days old, respectively when we moved in). On the other hand, I'm not comfortable swimming, but Lauren enjoys it.
I tell people that I can swim to save my life, and if you see me swimming, I'm actively saving my life. I'm not sure that I'll ever be at ease doing something that if I stop doing it, I die < vbg >. I do rather like floating around in the pool.
Here are a few photos of the opening of the pool for the 2000 season (click on the photos for a larger view).
As you can see, New Jersey requires a 4 foot high lockable fence around swimming pools. I tell people that it's so no one can steal the pool during the night.
After years of using a canvas cover with water weights, and fighting the swamp that formed atop the cover, in 1996 we decided to install a mesh cover that attaches to the walkway with springs. This is a safer design, but it does let some silt get to the bottom of the pool, as you can see on the top right photo. It takes a few days of filtering (with a Hayward DE filter) and some "waste vacuuming" to bring the pool to pristine condition, shown below.
Over the years, I've learned more than I ever wanted to about the care and feeding of an in-ground vinyl pool. Ours is 18 feet at the widest point, and about 35 feet long. The deep end is 9.5 feet and the shallow end about 3 feet deep.
The pool was constructed in 1975, and we got a very long use out of the original liner, however, in 1998 it was time to replace it (it could no longer be patched, and it was losing water). We opted to go with a dark colored liner to help retain the heat, and we like the rather funky look it gives. It does not pay for us to heat the pool, because if we try to extend the season we have two things working against us: If we open earlier than June, we can't keep up with the pine needles and dogwood berries. If we try to close later than the beginning of October, it seems that every leaf in Bergen County falls in our pool, so we've resigned ourselves to a short season.
Also in 1998, I decided to go hi-tech with the chlorination system. Rather than using the granulated Lithium that we'd traditionally used to sanitize the pool, I installed a chlorine generator (then marketed by Kreepy Krauly company, who also makes the pool cleaner robot I use).
The chlorine generator is a rather interesting device, the instructions called for a one time adding of nearly 450 lbs. of salt into the pool (which gives the water a nice softness, and is about 1/3 the salinity of a teardrop). The electrode shown above splits the sodium chloride into chlorine that sanitizes the pool and then recombines with the free sodium so the cycle can start again. This allows the pool to be chlorinated unattended, and saves me a couple of hundred dollars a year, and fussing with, chemicals for the pool. The initial cost of the system pretty much paid for itself in two seasons of use. More information can be found at the Pure and Clear web site (we have the "inground" model).
This type of chlorine system is rarely found in the northeast, but is widely used in areas of the country that have longer (if not constant) pool seasons. Because local pool supply stores make a substantial profit selling chlorine, there is little incentive for them to stock chlorine generators. My experience with this device over the last two seasons has been terrific, it performs as advertised.
Our boys have evolved into water loving creatures, and they enjoy having their friends over for pool parties. With the experience I've gained over the years, if I ever give up computers, I can always fall back on the fast paced career of being a pool-boy.
Update summer 2004:
After six years, the generator cell in the Kreepy Kleer needed replacement. However, after tracking down the manufacturer, they informed me that cells were simply not available.
Because I did not appreciate the company's lack of support for their legacy products, I decided to replace the chlorine generator with one from another manufacturer. I bought an AquaRite.The AquaRite's control unit measures the pool's salinity, and has a flow sensor to shut down the cell if the pump is turned off.
The cell mounts by the filter, rather than in the pool, which makes it very easy to remove for the winter (I installed couplings so the cell and sensor comes out as a single unit).
All in all, it's a much better unit than the Kreepy Klear.
I wasn't happy about spending the money, but considering that the Kreepy Kleer was at end of life, it was just a matter of time before switching to something else anyway.
Copyright © 2000 by Zenreich Systems. All rights reserved.
All text and photographs copyright © 1999 - 2017 Zenreich Systems. All rights reserved.