5 Tips for A Safe Pool Season

All pool owners need to have a safety plan, whether for monitoring the pool or ensuring proper water balance. In recognition of National Water Safety Month, the pHin team put together tips to brush up on pool safety for a safe season this year:

1.            Practice Swimming Skills

Basic swimming skills are needed before jumping into any body of water including pools, oceans, and lakes. The American Red Cross recommends mastering a few basic skills before swimming: before taking a swim, you should be able to enter water that is over your head and return to the surface, tread water for at least one minute, swim 25 yards, and exit the water.

2.             Establish A Protection Plan

When children are in the water, parents should be vigilant with no distractions, and stay no more than an arm’s length away from the child while they swim. If an emergency occurs, be prepared to help by knowing the signs of drowning, enrolling in CPR training, and always paying close attention to all swimmers in the pool.

3.             Know Your Limits

Take extra precautions, even if you don’t plan on going for a swim. Swimmers should know their physical limitations; don’t overexert yourself or get stuck in a situation that your body can’t handle. It’s also a good idea to save the cocktails for after the swim, to make sure you are alert aware and smart around water.

4.            Use Protection in and Around Water

Set up a game plan with your family for pool time. All pools should have a fence or some type of barrier surrounding them to prevent anybody from getting in the area without adult or pool owner supervision, and it’s a good idea to teach young children to ask permission before they jump in. Children and other inexperienced swimmers should also use life jackets or flotation devices when entering the water. Keep a first aid kit and phone in your pool area for quick access if an emergency occurs.

5.            Invest in Proper Pool Equipment

If your pool equipment isn’t functioning properly, you might run into some safety issues. Check if your pool cover is in good working order and ensure that your pool has proper drain covers. Check your water balance regularly to make sure it’s safe for swimming. While chemicals can be confusing, technology like pHin helps eliminate the guesswork. pHin floats in your pool water and constantly measures the water’s balance while providing real-time alerts if the pool is not safe for swimming.

During National Water Safety Month, the pHin team wishes all a safe and fun swim!

4 Reasons to Love Smart Water Care with pHin

The pHin Smart Monitor makes pool, hot tub, and swim spa water care easy.

pHin puts the power of technology, internet connectivity, and built-in analysis into the palm of your hands with the smartphone app and real-time alerts. Our pHin pool and hot tub owners have shared their success stories; here’s why they love pHin:

1.       Peace of Mind

Pools, swim spas, and hot tubs are a place for fun and relaxation. But the dangers of green water, hot tub rash, and bacteria build-up can make water care stressful. pHin takes the guesswork out of water care by simplifying the routine for bromine, chlorine, or saltwater hot tubs and pools with instant alerts and dosing instructions. With pHin floating, families can have peace of mind knowing whether their water is safe for swimming anytime.

2.       Instant alerts

pHin sends real-time information and notifications about your water balance through the app. When you’re heading home from work and want to jump in the hot tub, you can quickly check whether you need any chemicals, and what the temperature is.

3.       A chemist at your fingertips

New pool owner Aaron Richardson tried pHin when his pool needed daily scrubbing to keep from turning green. “I can read tables and do math, but the traditional pool care process is overcomplicated.” He bought pHin for help with chemical dosing, and right away the monitor changed his pool care routine: “When we started with pHin, it told us everything we needed to do, including shocking.” pHin calculates how much of each chemical to add to balance the water with no guesswork. Read more about Aaron’s experience with pHin here.

4.       Water data and “Kill Power”

pHin tests water chemistry differently. Instead of telling you how much chlorine is in the water, for example, it gives a “Kill Power” rating — an analysis of how the chemicals are working against bacteria. With the pHin Monitoring Subscription, you can also track your pool or hot tub over time, with water history charts and shareable data for in-person help from experts.

Have your own water care success story with pHin? Share with us on Twitter or Facebook.

pHin Reaches New Milestone: Over One Billion Water Samples Tested!

There are more than 15 million pools and hot tubs in the U.S., and even though water chemistry can be challenging, about 75% of owners test their own water. Maintaining healthy pH, sanitizer, and temperature levels requires water testing at least two to three times a week, which adds up to a lot of hands-on maintenance for pool and spa owners who’d rather be relaxing or splashing around.

pHin, was designed to streamline pool water care so families can just enjoy their pools without all the guesswork. Now part of the Hayward family, pHin has just reached an exciting new milestone: We’ve tested and analyzed over one billion samples of pool and hot tub water!

Because there are so many environmental factors that affect water chemistry such as usage, weather, water temperature, sunlight exposure and more, pool water can easily become unbalanced. pHin helps keep things in check by keeping a constant eye on the chemical levels. There are pHin monitors floating in  pools, hot tubs, and spas around the country, which have collectively taken over one billion samples!

When pHin takes a reading of the sanitizer, pH, or temperature that needs attention, it sends an alert to the user on the mobile app with instructions, so they know exactly what to do to keep the pool or spa water safe and ready for swimming. With a proven track record and years taking measurements pHin is family-tested and industry approved.

pHin is constantly improving to make pool care easier. Having taken over a billion water samples, the monitors provide families with exact instructions to balance their pool water with the chemicals of their choice from a growing database.

Join the families who are letting pHin take the guesswork out of pool care – learn more here: phin.co.

How to Approach Electricity and Pool Safety

When it comes to pool safety, swimming pool electrocution may be rare, but that comes as small comfort to anyone that has had their lives forever changed by it. Although it is not very common, as long as pool electrocution is still a possibility it is important that you understand the warning signs and know what to do to keep it from happening to you or someone you love.

Do Pools Pose an Electrocution Risk?

Typically, electrical accidents involving a pool fit into one of two categories: risky behavior (such as using radios, TVs, or extension cords near the water) or hazardous equipment (malfunctioning or improperly installed equipment, most often pool lights). The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is most concerned about the following electrical hazards in pools and hot tubs:

  • Faulty underwater lighting
  • Electrical wiring that has not been inspected in years
  • Sump pumps, power washers, or vacuums that are not grounded
  • Electrical appliances (such as radios and TVs) and extension cords falling into or being pulled into the water

According to the CPSC, these hazards present an even greater risk if the lighting, circuits, and nearby receptacles are not protected by Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupters (GFCIs).

It is common knowledge that water and electricity do not mix, but you should know that you don’t have to be in the water or touching the water to be electrocuted; holding a metal brush or net handle or touching a metal pool ladder that is in electrified water can also cause serious injury or even death. You can even be shocked simply by touching another person that is being electrocuted. Electrical shocks in swimming pools are very rare, but you should still know what to do in case of electrified water and what to look out for.

Signs That Your Pool is Electrified

Knowing the warning signs of an electrified pool is incredibly important and may save your life. Feeling a tingling sensation, the inability to move, muscle cramps, or feeling like something is holding you in place are all signs of impending electrocution. In addition, if you notice passive or motionless swimmers, panicked behavior, or swimmers actively avoiding an area or bather, these are all signs of possible electricity in the water. Also keep an eye out for any underwater lights that do not function properly. If a light is flickering or only working intermittently, get it fixed as soon as possible.

How to Keep from Being Electrocuted

The best and easiest way to keep your pool or spa safe from electrical hazards is through regular, timely maintenance. Upgrade your pool lighting as necessary. The newer the lighting, the less likely it is to malfunction and cause an issue. Have the electrical components of your pool inspected periodically to make sure you don’t run into faulty wiring. If you are building a pool, have all of the electrical components inspected before it is finished being built; if you are buying a house with a pool already installed, include a pool inspection before buying the house. It is important to watch for signs of faulty equipment (flickering lights, erratic movements, etc), but never attempt to do any of the electrical work yourself.

Keep any electrical equipment at least five feet from the edge of the pool. This is one of the most common ways for electrical incidents to happen in a pool. Monitor any children or intoxicated bathers. A watchful eye not only keeps them safe from slipping or drowning, but it may also notice the signs of an impending electrocution. Most importantly, make sure you have a plan if someone is electrocuted. You need to turn off the power, calmly and quickly get everyone out of the pool (making sure they do not touch any metal fixtures), and call an ambulance.

Preventive Measures

The first step in most pool safety as well as spa safety measures is preventive planning. Following any codes that might apply to your city or state, maintaining your pool, and having it checked out by a qualified professional are key to keeping you and your loved ones safe. Remember that electrocution can also be dangerous to those who are not in the pool. Make sure that you yourself don’t become a conductor to increase the chance for survival for both the victim and the rescuer. Print out or write an emergency plan on what to do in the event of electrocution.

Proper pool maintenance includes healthy water chemistry. Ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays balanced with pHin. It constantly monitors your water and tells your smartphone what you need to do to keep the water in your pool and hot tub healthy. Use it with your own chemicals for flexibility or get our single-dose, pre-measured chemicals delivered to your door. If you need someone to service your equipment, Pool Service on Demand connects you to local, qualified pool techs.

5 DIY Mosquito Repellents for Your Backyard

The post 5 DIY Mosquito Repellents for Your Backyard first appeared on Swim University.

What’s the deadliest creature on Earth?

Many would answer that question with the name of a large predator. The Great White shark, perhaps, or the lion. Some would assume a venomous killer like the scorpion or the cobra must top the list. While these creatures are dangerous killing machines, statistically there is a far, far greater threat.

When it comes to human lives, one creature is responsible for taking more of them than any of those mentioned above: the mosquito.

Deaths from mosquito-borne illnesses outpace those from Great White attacks, for example, by a factor of 60,000.

The diseases transmitted by the over 2,500 species of mosquito are deadly and debilitating. Among them are malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis, and (a relative newcomer to the Americas), the chikungunya virus.

We examined the pros and cons of several commercially available and DIY mosquito repellents. This will help you make informed choices about how best to protect yourself and your family from these pesky, and sometimes deadly, insects.

1. DEET

Originally developed by the military after World War 1, DEET is the most widely available insect repellent. It usually comes in the form of a spray or lotion. It has a distinctive smell that repels mosquitoes.

  • Pros: Effective repellent of mosquitoes, readily available.
  • Cons: Can cause irritation, can melt plastics, and can potentially cause toxicity in wildlife.

2. Picaridin

Popular in Europe since the 1990’s, Picaridin was introduced to the U.S. market in 2005 as a gentler chemical alternative to DEET.

  • Pros: Effective repellent of mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and gnats, less offensive odor, doesn’t harm plastic, less irritating to skin.
  • Cons: lasts 40% less than DEET, relatively new to U.S.

3. Lemon Eucalyptus & Citronella

Refined oils from the Corymbia citriodora tree, native to Australia, are commonly used as insect repellents. A similar compound can be derived from lemongrass, which is used to produce citronella oil.

  • Pros: 100% natural, generally effective (though not as effective as man-made chemical compounds).
  • Cons: Can be an allergen, can cause irritation, less effective than other repellents, completely ineffective against certain species of mosquitoes.

4. Pyrethrins

Pyrethrin is a natural derivative of the Chrysanthemum flower, used in commercial insecticides. At high concentrations, pyrethrins cause the nerves of the mosquito to fire in a frenzied fashion, causing death. At lower concentrations it can be used as a repellent.

  • Pros: Rapid disintegration in sunlight and air causing zero toxic buildup, effective as insecticide and repellent, relatively safe for most animals
  • Cons: Can be toxic at high concentrations (safe handling by a professional is warranted), can be harmful to cats.

5. Backpack Bug Spraying Companies

Offering a recurring service to protect your backyard from mosquitoes and other flying insects, these companies will typically require an ongoing service contract. The backpack warriors will fog and spray around your yard every 1-3 weeks during the times when mosquitoes are at their peak.

  • Pros: Effective when properly applied, helps kill mosquitoes in different life stages
  • Cons: Protection fades especially with weather, requiring multiple and frequent treatments, requires large volumes of chemical that may harm wildlife, does not degrade easily and toxicity can build up over repeated treatments.

Companies such as Bug Off, Mister! install automatic mosquito misting systems that employ carefully regulated pyrethrin mist through nozzles located at strategic areas of the backyard and home.

The service even includes a smartphone app to mist on-demand for special events, or when weather gives the mosquitoes a boost.

There are other methods of mosquito control. Planting certain plants (like lemongrass) that have repellent properties can ward the insects off, as can using fans to keep air moving. Other methods include building mosquito traps, removing standing water, and treating chronically wet areas with larvaecides.

Finding the right combination of methods is the key to keeping the mosquito population under control. Hopefully, this article from pHin can get you started in deciding how to best protect against nature’s deadliest pest.

5 Quick Tips for Safe Fun in the Sun

It’s National Sun Safety Week. The Entertainment Industries Council launched the special week through its Sun Safety Alliance to raise awareness. The alliance focuses on skin cancer prevention and education on the importance of sun safety by changing behaviors and lifestyles.

Here are some quick tips for safe fun in the sun, courtesy of the alliance:

1. Insect repellants can reduce sunscreen SPF by up to 1/3. If using both, increase the SPF of the sunscreen.

2. Over-exposure and sunburn can increase the risk of skin cancer. Check your local UV Index to plan your outdoor activities accordingly.

3. Look for shade, keeping in mind that UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Here’s a handy rule of thumb: If your shadow is short, it’s time to abort.

4. Color, darkness or cost of sunglasses doesn’t mean they block UV light. That’s achieved by chemicals adding to the lens material or by special coatings. Always choose sunglasses labeled as blocking 99-100% of UV rays.

5. Water, snow and sand reflect damaging rays of the sun and can cause sunburn any time of year. Protect yourself year-round by using sunscreen or wearing protective clothing.

And, if you’re enjoying your home pool or hot tub, make sure the water chemistry is kept in perfect balance with pHin. It monitors water quality, notifies your smartphone when the chemistry needs adjusting, and ships the chemicals you need right to your door. No more guesswork!