Prep Your Pool for Winter Hibernation

Homeowners in Northern, cooler states are expecting temperatures to drop over the next few weeks. When the first autumn leaves fall, it’s time to start closing your pool for the season – A general rule of thumb is to wait until outdoor temperatures start to steadily fall below 65 degrees. To avoid damage or other issues next pool season, follow these steps and precautions:

  1. Clean the Pool

Before it can be closed, you’ll want to get your pool as clean as possible. Using a vacuum or skimmer, make sure there are no leaves or other debris floating in the water. The pool walls and stairs should be scrubbed with a brush to break up any algae build up. You’ll want to get your pool as clean as possible before it’s closed for the season.

  1. Lower the Water Level

As you’re getting your pool ready for the off season, drain water to avoid problems with ground water and temperature levels if/when they drop below freezing. How much water should you drain? That depends on the climate of the area you live in. If temperatures are generally cold in the winter, you’ll want to drain the water 4 to 6 inches below the tile line to avoid any potential issues with freezing water.

  1. Check and Clean Filters

Even through the winter, check on your filters regularly to make sure they are running properly and keeping the water clean and safe. Pool filters help remove debris from the water but can’t do their job properly if they aren’t cleaned regularly. You’ll be thankful later – this step will help to preserve the lifespan of the filter system and keep your pool clean during the off season for an easier opening in the spring.

  1. Adjust Chemical Levels

Before you close your pool for the winter, test the water’s chemistry levels and get it balanced. Closing your pool with unbalanced levels will make it difficult to open it up the next season. For help checking and correcting the balance, you can turn to pHin. The pHin Smart Water monitor will help you understand if your pool is balanced with color coded discs. pHin’s simplified chemical dosing instructions will help you understand how much of each chemical needs to be added to get the water balanced.

  1. Set to Winterize

pHin has a special setting for winter: Pool owners can get their monitor and pool ready for hibernation by tapping on the “subscription” icon on the app homepage and click “winterize pool.” Then they can remove pHin from the pool and store it in a safe spot until next season.

3 Ways pHin Removes the Guesswork Out of Water Care

Keeping pool water balanced all season can be stressful. But for many pool owners, measuring and adding chemicals is a lot of guesswork. Converting the ppm of chlorine in the water to how much chlorine to add can be a challenge, even for veteran pool owners.

Instead of making the wrong measurement that can leave your pool water over chlorinated or cloudy, technology can remove the guesswork.

pHin is a powerful new product that has built-in analytics that make water care easy for any pool or hot tub owner. The device floats in the pool and measures the water over 1,000 times per week, using the information to make pool water care easy for anyone. Here’s how:

Easy-to-Read Status

How do you know if your water is safe before you jump in? With the pHin app, pool and hot tub owners can easily see whether their water is safe, needs action, or is unsafe. A color-coded disc on the home screen provides at-a-glance status:

If the water is out of balance, a red disc will alert users indicating that the water is unsafe and requires action. When water is balanced and safe, a blue disc will indicate that the water is ready to go.

Alerts and Instructions

pHin is also proactive, it sends alerts in the app or via email when the water is out of balance or needs action, like adding shock or chemicals.

Instead of guessing how to fix the water, users get step-by-step instructions about which chemicals to add and how much of each chemical is needed to bring the water back to a safe level. pHin’s app also features detailed graphs of the pool’s chemistry levels in the past giving pool owners easy access to their pool’s chemical history.

Chemical Database

pHin works with leading chemical brands to provide customized chemical dosing instructions based on the brand of your choice. Users can simply scan any supported chemical’s barcode and pHin will calculate exactly how much of the chemical you need to add to the water. pHin recently doubled the number of scannable chemicals, you can see the full list of scannable chemicals here.

pHin takes the guesswork out of adding chemicals to your pool with easy-to-read alerts, action notifications and instructions, and customized chemical dosing instructions. pHin handles the pool chemistry guesswork so you can simply add the necessary chemicals and enjoy!

Chlorine or Bromine? How to Choose the Right Sanitizer for Your Hot Tub

After you’ve bought your hot tub, how do you decide whether bromine or chlorine is right for you? Both chlorine and bromine are popular hot tub sanitizers, but they get the job done differently.

When making the choice between a bromine and a chlorine hot tub, consider factors that impact upkeep, such as maintenance, effectiveness, sun exposure, and more.

Maintenance

Maintaining a hot tub for safe soaking and relaxing can be a challenge. Chlorine hot tubs require more active maintenance and attention than bromine hot tubs since pH levels can rise quickly and bromine is less affected by these pH fluctuations. Chlorine hot tubs also can’t handle large swings as efficiently as bromine hot tubs, requiring s more attention to prevent water from turning cloudy or green.

Recommendation: If you want to spend less time maintaining your hot tub, bromine is your best bet.

Effectiveness and Efficiency

The environment of your hot tub might help decide which chemical system is right for you. While bromine is better at killing bacteria and viruses, chlorine is better at attacking algae.

Efficiency is also a factor – Chlorine acts faster than bromine, but dissipates quicker because it breaks down faster in high water temperatures. Once the chlorine is used, it needs to continue to be replaced with fresh chlorine. On the other hand, bromine tablets take longer to dissolve, but dormant bromine salt stays behind even after the active bromine has killed off unwanted organisms. The bromine can be easily reactivated into active bromine multiple times, which makes it last longer.

Recommendation: It’s a matter of personal preference, depending on what works best for your particular situation. It may be worth trying both options and seeing which best fits your needs and lifestyle.

Water Temperature

Hot tubs have different chemical demands than pools, and the temperature you want your hot tub can also be a deciding factor between chlorine and bromine. Chlorine functions best between about 65 and 99 degrees, and it quickly turns into vapor at around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Bromine is less effective at temperatures below 75 degrees, but it thrives in hot water environments, especially over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Recommendation: Bromine is better suited than chlorine to handle the temperature of the hot tub and to combat the buildup of waste materials in hot water.

Cost

Many people choose chlorine because it’s less expensive —  at first. Although bromine can cost  20% or more than chlorine, it can give you more bang for your buck.  After it’s added, bromine can easily be reactivated after it has killed all the bacteria which means that, over time, you’ll use less bromine and spend less money.

Recommendation: This is a pretty even decision depending on whether you want to spend less up front, but purchase more often or whether you want to spend a little more up front and have the product last longer.

Sun

If your hot tub is in a sunny spot, you need to consider the effect of UV rays. Chlorine can be protected from the sun with the right amount of stabilizer. Bromine is broken down by the sun faster, which means you will need more to compensate for the UV breakdown. However, when bromine is broken down by the sun’s UV, it leaves behind dormant bromine salt (sodium bromide), which can be reactivated by additional bromine or non-chlorine shock to perform additional sanitization.

Recommendation: Chlorine will help combat algae development and has higher tolerance for the UV rays.

Personal Considerations

Chlorine has a very distinctive odor,  can be an irritant to sensitive eyes and skin, and can also be damaging to hair. Experts say that bromine protects the eyes and skin better, and emits less odor than chlorine.

Recommendation: Bromine is less harsh across the board but still provides quality sanitization.

What Do the Experts Say?

We asked our chemistry expert to give his pick between bromine and chlorine for hot tubs:

Bromine! It remains effective in a wider range of pH levels (7.0 – 8.4) than chlorine (7.4 – 7.8), and therefore, it can better protect your water from bacteria and viruses. Also, bromine in itself is a strong sanitizer. At a high pH level of 7.8, only about 25% of chlorine is active, but bromine remains efficient. And its byproducts, bromamines (a combined substance), produce their own sanitizing action, making bromine an even more powerful bacteria and virus killer. As an added benefit, that bromine already in your water can be reactivated using potassium monopersulfate after it has killed the bacteria. Reactivated bromine means less chemical use and bigger cost savings for you in the long run.”

How Do I Decide Whether Bromine vs Chlorine is Right?

If you want to try bromine instead of chlorine, or vice-versa, you’ll need to drain your hot tub and flush the lines, refill and enjoy. Make sure you keep the bromine and chlorine separate, including the containers, tablets, and granules. Chlorine and bromine combined will create negative chemical reactions that can be unhealthy and even dangerous.

Once you’ve got everything back online, test it for a week or two and decide if it works better for you and your hot tub. Regardless of your choice never underestimate how crucial it is to keep your hot tub clean, sanitized and healthy so that you can enjoy all the benefits.

If you need help monitoring and managing the chemicals for your bromine or chlorine hot tub, consider a smart monitor like pHin. With its built-in analytics, pHin  will take the guesswork out of f how much and how often to add chemicals by sending exact instructions to your smartphone.

Keeping Your Pool Balanced After Rainfall

Between summer thunderstorms and hurricane season, rainfall can have an impact on pool water balance. The acid and contaminants in rainwater can cause the pool’s pH levels to rise, affecting the chemical balance of the water.

You can plan for rainfall by adding chemicals before and afterward to keep your water balanced. Here’s how:

Before the Storm

Being proactive and making sure the pool water is balanced before and during rainfall will help you keep the water in good shape throughout the season. Keep an eye on the weather in your area so you know when rain is on the way: When you’re expecting heavy rain, actively check the pH and chlorine levels of your pool and add additional chemicals accordingly.

After the Storm

Even after a mild rainstorm, pool chemicals can become diluted. In addition to your regular pool water maintenance routine, it’s especially important to check the water after rainfall. When the rain has stopped, check the pH level of the water first. If the pH is below 7.0, add more chlorine to the pool before you increase the pH, adding chlorine will typically increase the pH on its own.

If your chlorine level is low, you will need to add more chlorine until levels are back to normal.

Keeping track of your pool’s chemistry levels is difficult, especially after they’ve been altered by a rainstorm. You can keep an eye on your pool water status during the rain without even needing to grab your umbrella with the help of pHin! The pHin Smart Monitor sends real-time updates about your water status, taking over 1,000 measurements per week.

If the pH levels of your pool become unbalanced following the storm, pHin will send an alert in the app or via email. It’ll also provide easy-to-understand chemical dosing instructions to get the water balanced after the rain has passed.

After you make chemical updates, make sure your pool is running properly. Most rainstorms bring leaves and outside debris into the pool area and water, use a skimmer or vacuum to clean the pool before your next swim. Once the pool is clean, check the water level. If the water level is above normal, you’ll need to drain the water — too much water in the pool will cause issues with the skimmer which can lead to water chemistry issues.

Learn more about pHin at pHin.co.

Take the Dive: Build and Maintain Your Own Swimming Pool

Our friends at Porch.com share tips for building and maintaining your own swimming pool.

Looking for an epic way to spend your summers? Consider adding a swimming pool to your home to create the ultimate staycation, day after day. Nothing says home like sipping a soda poolside as you watch the kids playing a game of Marco Polo or swimming laps for an all-body cardio workout in a refreshing environment. It’s the perfect way to host family get-togethers or parties for your kids’ friends, and we have some advice to help you plan for, build, and maintain a backyard pool.

Along with ensuring fun for kids or a relaxing oasis for adults, building a swimming pool can give a huge boost to the market value of your home. “Does it have a pool?” is a common question that Realtors field from potential home buyers, especially in warmer climates.

Pre-Pool Considerations

Adding a pool to your life (and yard) is an exciting experience. Before you start making pool plans, though, take a good look at your yard. Will a pool enhance your backyard ambiance? Is your yard big enough, and is there adequate access to your backyard for a contractor to dig dirt (and haul it away) and build your pool? Are there trees or a deck in the way that will need to be removed? Do you have existing utility easements, and are wires or pipes running underneath in that location? Will you need to build retaining walls?

These are some of the considerations you’ll need to investigate before you take the leap into pool ownership.

Start Planning Your Pool

As you move from the dreaming to the planning stage, you’ll need to factor in some things, including how much you’ll need to invest in building and maintaining your pool. During the planning process, there’s plenty to do, from deciding what type of pool you want, hiring a contractor, obtaining financing if needed, getting permits, and preparing the location.

Budgeting for a Pool

There are different kinds of pools: above-ground pools and inground pools. The actual cost of your pool will depend on your region and other factors like the size, materials, and features. The average above-ground pool is more economical, and the price also depends on where you live, what materials you use, the size, and other features like an optional deck around the pool.

Factor in Extra Costs

When you’re budgeting, make sure you set aside extra money for electrical work, plumbing, landscaping, fencing and patio improvements. After it’s built, keep extra funds to spend on repairs for your pool pump, lights, and other parts, along with chemicals and professional cleaning.

You may also need to build a fence around your pool. Many cities and counties require a fence for safety reasons.

Before you build a pool, keep in mind that you’ll have monthly fees for pool maintenance and extra electricity to run the pump and other pool components. If you don’t use your pool year-round, don’t forget to factor in the cost of cleaning, preparing for, and safely covering your pool for the winter. These costs will vary depending on the type and size of the pool you build and where you live.

You’ll also want to budget the cost of adding your pool to your existing house insurance policy. Also, ask your agent about liability insurance in case someone is hurt while using your pool.

Where Do you Put Your New Pool?

It’s location, location, location for your new pool. Some people prefer their pool steps away from the back door, while others place their pool a little farther into the yard. The location is up to you, while still considering what’s already in your yard. You’ll want it to blend beautifully with your home and landscape.

Remember, though, that you’ll need to adhere to your local government’s property setbacks for pools and any restrictions if you have a homeowner’s association.

Building your Pool

Now that you’ve decided a pool is in your future, it’s time to rely on your chosen contractor to handle the designing, building, and installation of your pool.

Your contractor will help you decide on the best size, shape, and materials for your pool, whether it’s made from pre-formed fiberglass, or built on-site with vinyl liners or poured concrete. Some homeowners love the convenience and cleaning ease of a smooth fiberglass pool. Fiberglass pools are also a popular choice because they arrive assembled and ready to lower into the hole dug by your contractor’s crew. Or, you may opt for a concrete pool or vinyl liner pool. Above-ground pools are made of steel, aluminum, or resin, with liners. You can also purchase affordable inflatable vinyl above-ground pools that you can set up yourself.

How Long Will it Take?

Swimming pools aren’t built within a weekend. All kinds of variables factor into how long you’ll wait before that first delicious dip into sparkling waters.

Above-ground pools can be installed faster than other types of pools, ready within days. Fiberglass inground pools may take a week or two. Vinyl liner pools may take two weeks to over a month before they’re ready to enjoy. The most expensive pool option, concrete, takes the longest time to complete because construction is more complicated and involves pouring and curing concrete. You may wait months for the project’s completion and your first fun pool party. Other factors, like the weather, can affect the timing of completion.

Pool Decor

While you’re designing your pool, add some color and decorative tiles for a special, relaxing touch. Consider other custom options like underwater lighting, an infinity edge, bench seating or a tanning ledge, ensuring years of personalized enjoyment. Do you plan to swim laps, requiring a longer pool, or prefer weekend relaxing on a water float with a drink in your hand? Consider a shaded lounging area with easy-care pavers, concrete or decking.

While your pool’s under construction, pick out lounge seating, landscaping, and outdoor lighting around your pool or even hide those pipes or structures that are not pleasing to the eye in the backyard. Now’s your chance to turn it into your dream oasis. You might also consider installing some type of privacy fencing or shade material to shield your pool from neighbors’ views.

Taking Care of your Swimming Pool

Once your pool is up and running, you’ll need to maintain it regularly. Familiarize yourself with the parts of your pool and how they work. This will help you troubleshoot if something stops working.

Your pool may be basic, or it may have all the bells and whistles like advanced heating and lights or underwater speakers. Your pool may have an automatic pool cover or maybe an above-ground one that the kids spend their weekends in. Either way, all pools share basic components like (of course) water, a filter system, the interior walls or liner, a pool pump, skimmers and returns to circulate the water.

Keep the walls, bottom and/or lining of your pool clean. Those surfaces are always in contact with pool water and can collect debris, algae and mold if not properly cared for.

To keep your pool sparkling clean, you’ll want to buy supplies including a net skimmer, pool brush, and pool vacuum. Use these to help keep bugs, leaves, and other stuff from making your pool unsightly. Residue from shampoos, sunblock, and perfume can also create cleaning issues for your pool.

At least once a week, use the skimmer, brush and vacuum on your pool. Some pool owners find automatic pool cleaners are a huge time-saver. The cleaner patrols your pool whenever you want, brushing the sides and bottom so you don’t have to.

The pool pump keeps your water circulating so your pool doesn’t become polluted and cloudy. Try to run your filter a minimum of 10 to 12 hours a day or more, 7 days a week, according to recommendations from “A Beginner’s Guide to Pool Maintenance”. You’ll also want to backwash your filter regularly, reversing the flow of water so dirty water and contaminants are carried out of your pool.

Chemistry Class

Keeping your pool water clean and balanced is crucial for safe summer fun, according to the Swim University beginner’s guide. Keep a water testing kit nearby so you can tell right away if your pool chemistry is unbalanced, and what to do to bring the water back to sparkling, safe levels.

Your pool’s pH level is important Lower pH levels are considered acidic, and high levels are basic. You should aim for a pH of 7.4 to 7.6. You’ll also need to check the alkalinity, which is a pH buffer so your pool doesn’t have big spikes. Try to keep this between 100 and 150 parts per million, the beginner’s guide advises.

Keep an eye on the level of your chlorine or bromine sanitizer, too. You may need to add chemicals, including an occasional night-time chemical “shock” after rainstorms or heavy pool use. Following directions and safety precautions ensures pool-chemical maintenance success.

Maintenance Schedule

Set up a pool maintenance schedule and stick to it. The more often you regularly skim, clean, backflush, and check chemicals, the more comfortable you’ll become with the routine. Write up a list with dates of the duties and post somewhere that’s easily seen, like on the refrigerator. You can involve the family with the duties, too.

Some homeowners prefer to spend their pool time relaxing so they pay a pool company to maintain the pool chemicals and cleaning schedule.

Enjoying your Swimming Pool

The reward of owning and maintaining a pool is being able to enjoy it whenever you like and the perfect host for all kinds of get-togethers. Your family will cherish this pool for years, and it’s a great incentive for relatives and friends to visit. A pool is the perfect low-impact way to exercise, too, giving a great cardiovascular workout that’s easy on joints and muscles and ensuring less risk of injury.

You can set up a pool basketball hoop or net for hours of fun. Your kids will invent their own pool games, too, under careful supervision of an adult.

Safety First

While a pool brings years of joy, it also comes with the responsibility of making sure swimmers are safe. Make certain your pool meets all fencing and pool signage requirements, and keep a first aid kit nearby. Now is the perfect time to become certified in CPR. In the United States, you can find courses through the American Red Cross, your local YMCA or a swimming organization near you.

Have an adult who knows how to swim watching when kids are in the pool and keep a locking, alarmed fence around your pool when it’s not in use. Parents of smaller children often feel more secure installing alarms on the doors leading to the pool.

Bring on the Fun

Although the price of building and maintaining a swimming pool can be costly, most homeowners discover that having endless days of laughter and fun under the sun, conveniently right outside their back door, is worth every penny.

This piece was originally posted on Porch.com and has be published with permission.

Why pHin Is The “Best Tech Investment” of One User’s Smart Home

Smart home technology can be found in more and more homes, offering convenience, peace of mind, and fun. Most devices are inside the home, like smart speakers, connected light bulbs, and smart door locks. But the smart home has now extended to the backyard with the pHin Smart Water Monitor.

John Clancy is a veteran pool owner, having managed pools in both of his homes over the last 20 years. An executive in the smart home technology space, his two residences are fully equipped with state-of-the-art Crestron smart home systems that he and his family use to control everything from the lights, shades, thermostats, TVs, and more. John is always testing the latest technology that can make his life easier, or even make it more fun. When John heard about pHin, it seemed like the perfect addition to his smart technology lifestyle.

After using it for a few weeks, pHin has already transformed John’s pool care routine. “I use pHin every day. I’ve owned pools for the last 20 years, and pHin makes enjoying and managing my pool convenient and easy,” he commented. Using the pHin smartphone app, his pool care routine is simple: John can see the status of his pool water any time in the pHin app, which has become a daily habit. Seeing important metrics about his pool at a glance, including the temperature, pH level, and sanitizer allow John to proactively manage the chemistry and temperature of the pool and maximize fun time. Instead of having to check chemicals and adjust the temperature on Saturday mornings, before a pool party, or in the afternoon for a workout, he can simply check the app and then jump in.

“I will also say that the accuracy at which the levels are reported from pHin are amazing,” added John.  “When my pool company was here this week for our weekly maintenance, their readings matched all three metrics exactly on my pHin app.”

pHin also accounts for the other elements of routine pool water care, providing test-strips and a reference card. It’s a simple process, analyzing a photo of the used test-strip in the app to provide other readings important to the overall pool chemistry. According to John, “The best part, which is unlike any other test strips I have ever used, is that it tells you exactly what chemicals and the quantities to add to remedy any unbalance.”

Whether you’re new to pool care or an experienced pool owner like John, smart technology like pHin can make water care simple.

Learn more about how pHin works here: https://www.phin.co/

What Makes Your Pool Green?

As a pool owner, there’s nothing worse than looking out at your pool and seeing green water. It can happen even to experienced pool owners, but it’s easily reversible once you know what caused the issue in the first place.

The pHin experts put together a list of reasons why pool water goes green:

#1 Not Enough Chlorine

Chlorine is important for sanitizing water from bacteria and other contaminants. Lack of chlorine is one of the most common causes of green pools. If the pool water is not balanced with proper chlorine levels, algae will start to grow, causing the water to turn green. The growth of algae also speeds up as warmer weather arrives so a regular pool care routine can keep it in check.

#2 The Weather

Depending on where you live, the weather can have an impact on your pool water clarity. When pollen levels are high, the water may turn green more frequently. Pollen is too small to be properly managed by the pool filter and it might require cleaning with a brush or skimmer. For those who live in hot and humid climates where algae thrives, a higher amount of chlorine can help prevent potential algae buildup.

#3 Unbalanced pH

pH measures the acidity of your pool water, and can fluctuate due to weather, temperature, and pool use. If the pH of the water is too high, chlorine becomes less effective, which can allow algae to grow in the water.  Monitoring your pH levels, along with a regular pool care routine, can help prevent an environment where algae can grow.

#4 Pool Pumps and Filters

If your pump or filter is too small for the size of your pool, the system can’t properly filter and get rid of algae and other debris that enter the pool. Or even the right size pump can’t effectively clear the water if it’s not running regularly. Check with your pool manufacturer for the right size and run time required for your pool to keep it safe.

Keeping an eye on your pool water conditions and equipment can prevent a cloudy green pool. pHin can help by reporting whether your pH levels need attention. It takes over 1,000 measurements a week,and will alert you through your smartphone app if your water’s pH is off. When there’s a problem, you’re not on your own – pHin also helps out by providing chemical dosing instructions to right the imbalance before the water gets off track.

Learn more about pHin here.

Get Smart About Testing: How to Use Test Strips + pHin

Proper water balance is essential for safe swimming and relaxing. All pool, hot tub, and spa owners know that they need to do regular testing as a part of their water care routine.

We are often asked why test strips are still necessary when using pHin. While it is true pHin does much of the work to simplify pool and hot tub care, it does still rely on test data collected monthly from test strips.

Why is this the case?

The pHin hardware has sensors that measure temperature, sanitizer levels, and pH over 1,000 times per week. These elements impact the vessel’s overall balance and can quickly be affected by things like environmental influences and usage.

The test strips check for total alkalinity, total hardness, and cyanuric acid levels. These three factors can also impact the overall health of the water but do not change as quickly as temperature, sanitizer and pH. Still, they are key to maintaining balanced water since total alkalinity measures the alkaline substances in the water and prevents the pH from getting out of range, total hardness measures the amount of lime dissolved in the water, and cyanuric acid stabilizes chlorine levels. Learn more about total alkalinity and total hardness here.

Test strips are the time-tested standard measurement tool and are considered relatively accurate. When combined with new smart pool technology like the pHin Smart Water Monitor, users can simplify their water care routine while also having more confidence that their water is safe for swimming. pHin prompts users to take a water sample and photo once a month to help them keep an eye on the overall status of their water. pHin test strips are uniquely calibrated to work with the pHin app. Read the full instructions for using pHin test strips  here.

pHin users can view their water report results immediately within the app and track trends about their water alkalinity and sanitizer over time. This provides important insight: in fact, one pHin user noticed that the water balance was off from the daily pHin data. After investigating the change, he found that the cause was a piece of equipment that was about to fail, and he was able to replace it before real damage was done.

The combination of pHin and the test strips, makes water care simple and routine. Users can rest easy knowing the exact status of their water without having to worry about making their own chemical calculations.

Smart Water Monitoring Leads Long-Time Pool Owner to Clear Water

Even long-time pool owners can experience the headaches, frustrations, and challenges of balancing the water for safe swimming. Many factors can affect the balance, like a recent rainfall, a pool workout, or even the temperature.

In Southern Rhode Island, pool season starts by Memorial Day. As he was gearing up for the summer, Kevin St. Lawrence began preparing his pool for barbecues, relaxation, and even for the dog to swim in!

An experienced pool owner of eight years, Kevin was stumped when the water was cloudy. “Our pool was always getting cloudy at random times. I wanted to figure out how to solve the water problems in my pool before they became too significant,” said Kevin. “We’ve had our pool for a few years but I’m no expert when it comes to testing the water.”

Kevin was exploring his options online and found the pHin Smart Water Monitor. The device promised to remove the guesswork out of his everyday pool care routine so he wouldn’t have to fuss with interpreting test strips and charts on his own. This was just the tool his family needed to keep their pool water from getting cloudy! pHin has built-in sensors that analyze data collected over 1,000 times a week to provide water charts and chemical dosing recommendations.

After getting his pHin set up, Kevin simply dropped his pHin in the water and connected it to the wireless bridge. It now floats in his pool 24/7, and allows him to check its pH, temperature, and sanitizer levels anytime in the pHin app. When the water needs attention, pHin sends a smartphone alert letting Kevin know exactly what chemicals to add to his pool, and how much of them to add – eliminating the guesswork he’d begrudgingly grown accustomed to!

The easy-to-read charts and color-coded discs made it easy for anyone in the family to understand. “I like the in-app charts because they tell you if your pool is trending in the right direction even if it’s not at the perfect level yet,” he added.

The St. Lawrence family relies on pHin to advise them on whether or not their pool is ready for guests to dive in. “Our family is always entertaining friends and family for pool days,” said Kevin. “It’s been nice to have pHin floating in the pool so I can easily check the water before we’re expecting company to make sure it’s safe for swimming.”

pHin combines the power of technology and analytics to bring families the peace of mind knowing whether their water is safe for swimming or not. This summer, Kevin St. Lawrence and his entire family will be relaxing more and enjoying his crystal clear water, thanks to pHin.

Why and How Do We Shock Our Pools?

Seasoned pool owners know shocking is important to water care. When new pool owners research maintenance tips, they quickly find the advice: “Shock your pool. Shock your pool. Shock your pool.”

But, why do we shock?  

Regular pool shocks are critical to keeping the water safe, and to maintaining balanced water.

The main reason you need to shock is to get rid of the chloramines in the pool, which can be responsible for eye irritation and an ammonia smell. Shocking is an extra boost to burn off of bacteria so that the free chlorine can do its job.

Chlorine or bromine sanitizers can get overworked and need to be removed from the pool. This could be after a heavy rainstorm, lots of kids in the pool, or a pool party. Using a non-chlorine shock is the first step to eliminating bacteria, and doesn’t disrupt your chlorine or bromine levels, so your water can remain balanced.

How do you shock?

  • Check the label: If you have shock for a chlorine pool, carefully read the instructions to know how long the manufacturer recommends waiting before you can swim.
  • Set a schedule: Shocking your pool should be done each week – and it can be as simple as tossing a pod in the water. There are many brands that offer shock, so find what works best for your pool, or consult a local pool retailer or service technician.
  • Pick a time: Shock your pool when it’s not going to be occupied. These chemicals aren’t stabilized, so you may have to stay out of the water for at least a few hours to let the shock spread and start working, depending on the type of shock you’re using. Evenings or late afternoons work, or if you’re not a morning swimmer, maybe your shock can be in the morning.

In addition to pool shocking, make sure you check your pool water balance regularly. The right water balance keeps your pool safe to jump in anytime, and it can be simple. Pool experts created the pHin Smart Monitor, a system that measures your pool water chemistry, sends you alerts, and helps with chemical dosing. 

Need more pool know-how? Check out our Pool Chemicals 101 guide.

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.

Get Fit in Your Hot Tub

Get Fit in Your Hot Tub

The idea of using a swimming pool to get fit is well-known to pretty much anyone who’s ever heard of swimming. Less well-known, though, is the fact that you can use your hot tub for fitness, too. In fact, a spa’s warm, bubbling water creates the ideal environment to perform a variety of exercises to get fit in your hot tub. You get a low impact workout that’s easier on your joints and prevents injury while still improving muscle tone, flexibility, and promoting weight loss. And, the warmth of the water helps increase blood flow, further enhancing your workout.

Before beginning any exercise program, you should talk to your healthcare provider to determine whether your current fitness level supports your desired activity.

Squats

Squats help you build muscle over your entire body, raising your metabolism so that you burn calories more effectively. However, this exercise really targets your leg muscles, including quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. In addition, you work your hips and buttocks, making this a great lower body workout.

To perform a squat, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, extend your arms in front of you, and lower your body by contracting your abdominal muscles, as though sitting down. Return to an upright position. Work your way toward completing three sets of 15 repetitions.

Water Cycling

Water cycling also works your legs, hips, and abdomen, and the resistance of the water really helps increase the effectiveness of this simple exercise. Start in a seated position with your legs extended in front of you. Then, just move your legs as though pedaling a bicycle. Work your way toward three sets of 30 repetitions.

Calf Toning

If you’d like better tone and definition on your calves, simply stand flat on the bottom of your hot tub. Then, tighten your core and rise to stand on your toes, holding that position for three seconds before lowering yourself flat again. Your goal is completing three sets of 20 repetitions.

Shoulder Roll

To eliminate the stress and tension that typically grows in the shoulders, perform the shoulder roll. This exercise also helps improve joint mobility and circulation throughout the shoulders, neck, and torso. To perform the shoulder roll, stand straight and slowly roll your shoulders forward and back. Aim to complete three sets of 30 repetitions.

Trunk Twist

The trunk twist helps improve mobility by strengthening your oblique muscles. You may do these seated or standing, so long as your shoulders are submerged. Cross your arms over your chest, relax your shoulders, contract your abdominal muscles, and twist slowly from left to right, back to center, and then from right to left. Exhale on the twist and inhale during the twist back to center. Your goal is three sets of 30 twists.

Clapping

This is an extremely simple move that works muscles throughout your upper body, including chest, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. To perform the exercise, stand with your arms submerged under water. Extend your arms to the side, with your thumbs toward the sky and shoulders relaxed. Then, simply bring your hands together as though clapping, working to complete three sets of 30 repetitions.

Abdominal Workout

To strengthen and tighten your abdominal muscles, sit facing the center of your hot tub. Next, bring both knees to your chest and then extend both legs outward at the same time. Keep your back straight to get the most benefit, and do not allow your shoulders to lift upward toward your ears. Your goal is completing three sets of 30 repetitions.

Wrapping it Up

You may not be able to do the full sets when you first begin, but that’s okay. As your fitness levels increase, you may want to add more reps or more sets. You may even add light hand weights when you’re ready for a greater challenge.

Stretching before and after your workout helps prevent injury and muscle soreness. It’s even easier in the warm water of a hot tub.

If you want to make sure the water in your hot tub is always ready for a workout, consider 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.