Planning the perfect barbecue pool party!

At this time of year, the sun is getting hotter and the days are getting longer. The Spring Bank Holiday offers the perfect opportunity to gather your friends and family, spark up the bbq and have a good old fashioned pool party. Of course, no pool party is complete without fun, games, food and drink so UK Pool Store is here to guide you on the path to hosting success!

Fun and Games

Let’s face it, when your friends are over, you’ve got a drink in your hand and some good food on the way, you want to keep the kids entertained with minimal input. Not always, of course, but sometimes it’s nice to sit back and just relax! Here are few ideas for some garden based activities for the kids.

Art show

  • If you’ve got some concrete, or paving slabs in the garden, allocate each child their own section and supply them with some chalks. They can doodle away to their hearts content, and the pictures will easily wash away afterwards.

Set up a treasure hunt

  • If you’ve got a bigger garden, you could hide various goodies around and set them off on a treasure hunt. You can provide a list of all that’s hidden so they can tick them off as they go.

Photography Competition

  • If you’ve got a simple camera for them to use, or if you don’t mind them using your mobile phone, you can ask the kids to get their best wildlife snaps. Challenge them on things like ‘best insect’, ‘best bird’ or ‘most colourful’ etc.

Pool Games!

 

Food

We all love a good BBQ but we all have our own favourites. There are lots of great sites about with various recipes, but here’s a few tips for making sure you’ve got the basics covered.

Supplies

It’s good to make sure you’re stocked up on all the things you need, so don’t forget:

  • Paper plates
  • Napkins
  • Plastic cups
  • Plastic/wooden knives and forks
  • Bin bags
  • Tin foil / Cling film
  • Serving Platters
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Ice

Food

It all depends on whether you want to make your own stuff, or buy stuff ready to go. Some ideas for food to buy/make, however:

  • Burgers
  • Sausages
  • Chicken
  • Kebabs
  • Steaks
  • Corn on the cob
  • Flat mushrooms
  • Fish
  • Buns (hot dog/burger)
  • Cheese
  • Potato Salad
  • Coleslaw
  • Salad
  • Condiments

If you’re making your own burgers, the temptation is to stuff your patties with all sorts of ingredients, but simple is the way to go. Make sure you use a good quality mince with a 20% fat ratio. You can ask your butcher for help with this, but ‘chuck steak’ mince is best. For a really tasty, juicy burger, mix in 50g of finely chopped or minced bone marrow to each 500g of mince. All you really need to add is salt and pepper, and I find a beef stock cube adds a depth of flavour. There’s nothing wrong with adding some other herbs, or finely chopped onion as you like, but I find letting the meat do the talking works best.

BBQ Burgers

For vegetarians, Jamie Oliver has an absolutely delicious vegetarian burger which will have even the meat eaters longing for it!

Fish wise, remember that it’s delicate. Tin foil can often be your friend, with just a dab of olive oil or butter creating a mini oven. The best fish I’ve ever BBQ’d was fresh caught mackerel (nothing beats straight out the sea mackerel!) which were then filleted due to the size of them. The fillets then had a bit of salt, pepper and paprika and were delicious, put directly onto the BBQ grill.

IMG_20130828_202141

 

Drinks

For your drinks, you don’t want to be traipsing in and out the house all day, so try and find a big tub, like a black bin (cleaned out, obviously!) or similar and fill it with ice and water. Make sure to have enough top up ice in the freezer. You can then put all your beers/wines/ciders/mixers and soft drinks in here to pull out a cold one when needed.

You might want to try and spice the party up with some home made cocktails. A Mojito is a classic summer drink, and Jamie Oliver has a fantastic recipe. For other ideas, here’s a list of 10 great cocktails to make at home.

Of course, don’t forget the kids or designated drivers, here’s some fantastic and delicious ideas for ‘virgin’ cocktails!

Remember, always drink responsibly, especially when around the pool area and if kids are around.

Mojito

Safety

For extra peace of mind, we’ve got some great pool safety gear, which is a must for every home pool.

Whether it’s a life ring, a pool alarm, fencing or life saving reach poles – UK Pool Store have got you covered.

 

Now all that’s left to do is make sure the grill is clean and ready to go, set up a good playlist and invite your friends round!

We hope you enjoy your bank holiday weekend!

 

 

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10 step guide to successfully closing your pool

That time of year is approaching again, that sad, seasonal inevitability when we have to finally say goodbye and close the pool for the season. Closing the pool can be a daunting task as it is not just a case of whacking a cover over and ignoring it. There are many elements to consider, but fear not, just as we have been all summer, UK Pool Store is here to guide and support you! Here is our 10-step guide to closing the pool for the winter.

 

  1. Timing is everything

 

This time of year is when it becomes just about perfect for pool closing. Outside temperatures have dropped to between 12 – 16 degrees Celsius. Due to lower air temperatures, your cooler pool water has less demand for chlorine so it will last longer over the winter period. Winterising chemicals last about 4 months, so this will help prevent unnecessary outbreaks of algae as we approach springtime.

 

  1. Inspect your equipment

 

Some equipment can struggle when faced with freezing temperature and persistent cold weather so before that sets in, visually inspect each element of your pool, including the general structure itself. Make sure you repair or replace any broken or brittle looking equipment or structural defects as you don’t want these breaking over the winter.

 

  1. Test levels before closing

 

Closing your pool won’t happen over night, roughly 4 days to a week before you intend to completely close the pool, do some tests to make sure the pool is chemically balanced, adjusting things if necessary. Ideally, your pool at this stage should be:

 

pH: 7.2 – 7.6

Alkalinity: 80 – 120 ppm

Calcium Hardness: 175 – 250 ppm

Chlorine: 1 – 3 ppm

 

  1. Add the winterising chemicals

 

Always follow the instructions given with your chemicals. However, this will normally require mixing the granular chemicals in a bucket first to make sure they are totally dissolved. You don’t want to risk un-dissolved granules staining your pool lining.

 

  1. Drain water down to recommended levels

 

To start with, drop water levels to about 12 to 18 inches below the return lines. This is to allow any water still in the plumbing lines to drain back into the pool. Next, plug your skimmer and Inlet/Return holes to prevent water getting in as this can freeze in the pipes and cause them to crack, then drain all water from the pump as it has now finished its work for the year.

 

Tip! Put all drain plugs & o rings in the pump basket to keep them safe over winter, that way in the spring you know where all your plugs & o rings are.

 

  1. Shut off any equipment

 

Equipment is designed to fulfil a purpose; if your pump is left on, it can be damaged without proper water flow so make sure this is shut down. Remember to disable any timers so that the pump does not accidentally restart. Remove the filter drain plug near the base to allow all the water to drain out to prevent frost damage, once empty replace drain plug, and place multiport handle into the winter position if marked on valve. If you have a heater, follow your owners manual for winterising, chlorinators, ozonators, UV generators & salt chlorinators also require winterising if fitted.

 

  1. Attach your pool cover

 

Next up comes the pool cover itself. Always follow the manufacturer recommended instructions and make sure edges are tightly sealed, making the pool completely resistant to winter debris and leaves etc.

 

Tip! Additional water bags can eliminate leaves blowing under exposed cover edges, keeping your pool free from leaf build up.

 

  1. Store your chemicals properly and safely

 

Remember that chemicals are dangerous elements and should be respected as such. Make sure any open containers are tightly sealed in their original containers and completely inaccessible to children or pets. Keep your pool products in a cool, dry and well-ventilated area away from any other chemical elements such as petrol, paint or any other flammable materials. If you need to dispose of any leftover chemicals, please contact your local council to learn of the recommended facilities to do so.

 

  1. Make sure your pool is safe for children

 

Even though your pool is now closed, with the cover on, a fence or other protective barrier is highly advised.

 

  1. The job is not done yet…

 

You will need to keep an eye on the pool over the coming months. Visual checks of your inactive equipment, fixtures and fittings will be a good habit to have. Also, excessive rains can cause pool covers to sag or stretch so make sure you clear this water off, either with a pump cover or other means. Check for dirt and debris and keep things clean – you’ll be happy you did come the spring. Lastly, in the late autumn, early winter and also around January time, do a quick check to make sure your winterising chemicals are still doing the job.

 

…. you know what? This blog goes to 11!

 

  1. Get a hot tub!

 

Who says enjoying the water is over come winter? Not us! Our range of amazing inflatable hot tubs are durable, portable, easy to set up and in-expensive, but best of all they provide a year round way to relax… bliss!

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Autumn weather? Don’t close the pool just yet!

Where did the summer go, folks?! At the time of writing, we’ve had some absolutely miserable weather, which is a real shame; not the August we’ve been hoping for! I suspect many of you reading this may be thinking that the dreaded pool closing time is drawing near, because let’s face it, the reason we own pools is to be able to use them!

So, fear not, dear readers, I am about to share some ideas for how we can all prolong the swimming season and get the absolute most out of the pool!

The deciding factors

There’s a whole host of reasons why someone might be deciding it’s time to close their pool for the year; maybe it’s a financial decision or maybe you spend your autumns abroad? Normally though, it will be the same deciding factors for all of us. It’s too cold, the kids are back at school and LEAVES… all those unwelcome leaves.

Credit: Constantin Jurcut

It’s too cold!

No it isn’t! One of the world’s most amazing outdoor ‘pool’ experience is the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it. You hopefully already know this, but Iceland is cold. The Blue Lagoon, however, is hot, kind of like an outdoor bath. The cold air on your face and the warmth of the water is a unique and incredible experience.

Credit: Tippers Pritchard

So, how can we achieve this at home? We need to make sure our pool is well heated. A warm pool can be amazing on a cooler autumn or even winters day.

We previously wrote a blog about heaters, which can be found here. Or, check out the UK Pool Store website for our range of heaters.

ALL THE LEAVES!

I know, I know. Leaves are a nightmare. I’m not going to lie, keeping your pool open a bit longer will require a bit of effort, but it’s well worth it. Not just for the extra opportunities to relax and get the most out of your investment, but the health benefits of having a daily swim.

Firstly, you’ll want a good cover for you pool. A good cover is going to provide 3 key things:

  • Protection from leaves and other garden debris
  • Safety
  • Increased thermal insulation, helping to keep the pool warm

Check our or range of covers here… Whether you’ve got an above ground on in-ground pool, we’ll have a cover for you!

Secondly, for when the cover comes off, you’ll want a good leaf skimmer. It’s a simple tool, and it makes for a great ‘pocket money chore’ for the kids!

But… the kids are back at school!?

Hear that? That’s the sound of silence. For those of you who are at home whilst the kids are at school, now could be your chance to enjoy the pool all to yourself. However, let me give you another idea for making the most of those cooler autumn and winter evenings, without the kids…. A hot tub.

Soho Inflatable Spa

I know I mention them a lot, but my life changed when I installed mine. It’s honestly the best purchase I’ve made. On a colder night, nothing beats warming up in the bubbly environment of the Jacuzzi… knowing it’s affordable is even better.

So don’t pack up the pool just yet. There’s enjoyment to be had still. However check back to the blog in the next few weeks, when we will be giving you a guide to closing the pool.

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10 Top Tips For Keeping Your Home Pool Safe!

In the many years that I have absolutely lived for swimming pools, both using them and promoting them, swimming pool safety has always been at the very forefront of my mind. Whilst UK drowning statistics are at an all time low, accidents and emergencies can happen in a split second. The idea that a pool, a source of fitness, fun and family happiness, could quickly become a grizzly scene of tragedy is one that as a pool salesman, I need to address to try and make sure it doesn’t happen.

In 2014, the UK saw 302 suspected accidental water related deaths.  Of those, just 13 were in a swimming pool. 1 from walking/running, 6 from swimming itself and 6 from waterside activities or in water play. Of these 13, 3 were under 4 years old. 3 too many, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Whilst it’s still incredibly sad to see any fatalities regardless of age, it is good that this figure is still relatively low. These figures are indeed the lowest since records began in 1983. In general, swimming pools are indeed very safe places to enjoy, but we still can’t be too careful.

Click here to download an excel spreadsheet of those figures in full.  

Let’s look at our 10-point plan to help ensure the safety of those using your pool, especially children.

1 – Install a Fence

If you have open water in your garden, the first thing to consider is that the area is cordoned off and safe. Whilst you should always be on hand to supervise whilst kids are swimming, there may be times when they are just running around the garden. Let’s say a stray ball lands in the pool, just inches from the edge; that’s easy enough to pick up, right? Well, that might be the train of thought for a little one. With a good fence in place, this stops any accidents happening; the pool is accessed when you say it is and when you are on hand to supervise.

We recommend the Plastica Rollaway safety fence, which is strong yet lightweight and easily rolls back when stored during pool use.

Rollaway Safety Fence

2 – Install a Pool Alarm

A pool alarm can mean the difference between life and death. Tragedies happen quickly and every second counts. The alarm works by sensors detecting the characteristics of a body falling in to the pool, which sets off a powerful alarm with a 100db siren (equivalent to a speeding express train or pneumatic drill). The alarm fits easily to the edge of in-ground, semi-in-ground or above ground pools and won’t be set off by natural elements like wind.

We recommend the Immerstar Pool Alarm.

Immerstar Pool Alarm

3 – Safety Accessories – Ladder / Cover / Life Ring

Once your pool is secured, it is imperative to have some decent life saving equipment around the pool. This extends further than the obvious elements, such as life rings and armbands. A good ladder will help adults and children alike to get in and out of a pool safely. Adding to this, a pool cover can prevent accidental falls, whilst also keeping your pool clean and warm.

Browse our selection of Ladders and Covers to see what is available.

4 – Educate about Eating and drinking

We’ve all heard the old wives tale about not swimming after eating due to a risk of cramp. This, in truth, can be still be considered to be an old wives tale, however we would recommend that it is good habit to wait a while after eating before going for a swim. There is little research to suggest that swimming after eating actually causes cramps. However, after a meal the digestive system will draw blood from around the body to aid with the digestive process. This can mean that there is less blood in the muscles, meaning less oxygen and therefore the potential for the muscles not to operate quite as they should.

Whilst there is not a great deal of research, strenuous exercise or excitement can lead to stomach pains or uncomfortableness following a meal. It is worth waiting a bit before jumping in, just to be on the safe side.

As for drinking, I am aiming this one at the adults. We all love the idea of kicking back by the pool, BBQ on, alcoholic drink in hand. When kids are at play though, always make sure someone is sober and on hand.

5 – Get First Aid training

For adults and children alike, knowing what to do in the aftermath of an accident can be vital; from simple first aid, to CPR, seconds count. There are a good few organisations that offer lessons, and it will be something that will stay with your children for life. A day out of a weekend to take a life saving course may just end up saving a life one day.

For courses in your local schools, try: https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/nation-of-lifesavers/call-push-rescue/schools

St John’s Ambulance training courses: https://www.sja.org.uk/sja/training-courses/courses-for-the-general-public.aspx

Red Cross First Aid Course: http://www.redcrossfirstaidtraining.co.uk/Courses/First-aid-public-courses/First-aid-for-baby-and-child.aspx 

6 – Get swimming lessons

If your little ones don’t already swim, as a pool owner, swimming lessons would be a great idea. This will help them develop physically and socially as well as give them the strength and tools to enjoy your home pool to the max. If your child is taking swimming lessons, make sure that you are always within reaching distance when they are in the pool, as well as providing them with things like armbands and floats.

Swimming lessons can be found at most local swimming pools/health clubs. 

7 – No running

We now get into the ‘Poolside rules’, and for these you may want to display a poolside safety poster. For an adult, ‘no running’ seems like a pretty obvious rule. The floor is wet and hard and slips will happen. As an excited child, this rule will be in one ear and out the other. It is your responsibility as an adult to enforce this rule to make sure no one comes a cropper and slips over.

8 – No diving

This one really depends on your pool; its size and depth etc. Pools can seem a lot deeper than they are, you’d be surprised how easy it is for something to dive in and hit their head on the bottom. The average garden pool will not be equipped for diving, so make sure safety signs are displayed as appropriate. For guests of any age attending your pool, make sure they too are made aware that diving is not allowed, or restricted to a certain area of the pool if deep enough.

If you are lucky enough to have a deep and big enough pool, check out our pool slides and diving boards here.

No diving!

9 – No showing off

This might sound daft, but it encompasses running, diving and any other silly behaviour that might occur in the heat of the moment. In a way, it’s a slightly sad rule. Kids love the attention of their parents and their friends as they jump, splash and challenge themselves to new and interesting way to enter the pool. The truth is, accidents can generally be avoided. If the pool is respected and used properly then it will be a safe and fun environment for everyone.

10 – Supervision

Supervision is last, but by absolutely no means least. Never, ever allow children to swim unsupervised. Things can go wrong very quickly, it could just be a case of popping inside to answer the phone or to refresh your drink, but if you’re not there things can go wrong. Whether it just be an accident, or a ‘the responsible adult is away, let’s do backflips!’ type scenario, you cannot turn your back for a second.

So to summarise this blog, swimming pools are fun and from last year’s figures, they are pretty safe too. Let’s not let these figures get any worse, let’s make them even safer. By following these simple rules and making sure your pool is the safest environment possible, you’ll enjoy your pool even more knowing that your family and friends are safe and having fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pool Heaters – Enjoy your pool whatever the weather!

A few years ago, I was in the Bavarian Alps sat in the outdoor section of a swimming pool. The air was cold, but the pool was like a bath. After a while, the heavens opened and the rain started to pour. With my natural instincts kicking in, I was about to make my way inside when I noticed that no one else was moving; so I just sat back. The cold air and even colder rain was so refreshing, sat back in this steaming hot bath-like pool and it got me thinking – why do I only use my own backyard pool in the summer?

If you’re reading this, then the chances are you also own some sort of pool in your back garden. We all know that on a baking hot summer’s day, nothing beats having a dip in a fresh pool to cool off, lazing back while the sun slowly bakes us; blissful.

This, however, is England. Whilst we are occasionally blessed with some long stretches of glorious sun, often, it’s far more overcast, a bit colder and often features the great British summer time classic, the rain. As nice as cooling off in the pool on a hot day is, just like my experience in that little German mountain town, there’s something really special about warming up on a cold day. We’re not letting the weather put a dampener on our pool experience!

So let’s talk heaters!

It sometimes surprises me how few pools actually use a heater, relying on the natural warmth of the sun to do the job. This, to me, just seems like a waste of a great facility for the rest of the year.  There are a lot of choices for heating systems which are can be flexible around your budget, pool type/size or even just personal preference; so let’s talk through a few of the options.

Solar Heaters

Why not use the suns natural energy to heat your pool? Solar panels collect heat, as they sit in the sun. The pump system then pushes water through the solar panels, which heats it up. This is a fantastic way to warm your pool, but is not so efficient on cooler or winter days. Many solar heater owners also use a secondary auxiliary heating system.

0001401_solar-pod

Electric Heaters

An electric heater is often better for spas, or smaller pools as they can require large amounts of electricity. They work by current being applied to an element, within the unit, which naturally heats up. When water passes over the element, the water heats and the element cools and the process is repeated. Electric heaters do no emit any air pollution or noise, but can be expensive to operate.

electrical-pool-heater-58498-2992349

Gas Heaters

Gas burners create heat from burning gas inside a combustion chamber, which hosts a series of copper coils. Water passes along these copper coils and heats up. Gas heaters can heat water very quickly but again can incur high gas bills. In more recent years, gas heater popularity has been declining in favour of Air Source Heat Pumps.

master-temp-125

Heat Pumps

Air-source heat pumps heat your pool by transferring heat from the air, whereas water-source, or geothermal heat pumps transfer heat from water. Heat pumps have become very popular, as they are energy efficient and environmentally friendly.  They do however heat pools quite slowly and are dependent upon air temperature.

AirHeatT21750hv10

 

Now, it’s worth remembering that heating a pool can get pricey. The longer your pool is open for, the higher the costs associated with running it are. Year round pool enjoyment is a luxury. I often get asked whether it’s actually worth keeping my pool heated and quite simply, my answer is always: yes. We own pools so that we can use them. We relax in them, we train and exercise in them, we learn in them, we waste time in them and we have fun in them. We can’t do any of that if the pool is too cold to use.

Swimming is hugely beneficial to both our mental and physical wellbeing and a warm pool helps both those aspects. Heating your pool doesn’t have to be a bank breaking event, it just takes some thought and planning. Of course, we can help you with that.

So don’t sit indoors staring at the pool cover making puddles on gloomier days, embrace your adventurous spirit and enjoy the cooler weather for what it is.

An added point!

Once your pool is nice and warm, it is essential that your pool cover be the best grade to ensure heat gain & retention. This will help to save on your bank balance, and the environment. You can see UK Pool Store’s recommended Solar Pool Covers by clicking here. 

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Inflatable, affordable hot tubs for all weathers

When the weather is hot, not much beats jumping into the pool to cool off and relax. However, we live in Britain and that means the sunshine can be a bit sporadic, to say the least. So, what if we told you that you could have a year round pool experience that fits even a small backyard, for less than £600? Impossible? So keep reading…

Whether it was financial or space restrictions, the idea of owning a hot tub used to be beyond most of us. With UK Pool Store’s fantastic range of inflatable spas, owning a hot tub is now accessible for everyone. Now we can all sit in the tub, relax with a cool drink, all year round!

We thought it would be handy to tell you about some of the great features and benefits of owning one of these handy and affordable hot tub spas.

Soho Inflatable Spa

Mobility

If you’re lucky enough to have a nice big garden, the classic problem of ‘where to put a hot tub’ may not apply to you. However, some of us don’t have a spare plot to erect a hot tub. Well, the great thing about these inflatable tubs is that they are totally mobile. You can put it up and take it down whenever you want; and many even come with a handy carry bag. Miss your hot tub on the caravan holiday? No worries, you can take it with you!

Health Benefits

There’s nothing quite like kicking back and relaxing in a hot tub with a cold glass of something nice in your hand, but there are actually many good health factors as well. Hot tubs have been shown to:

  • Reduce stress: Well, this one is just obvious isn’t it! Some nice time out to relax and not worry about anything!
  • Improve blood pressure: As your body takes on the heat and warms up, blood flow increases. In as little as 20 minutes, this can actually reduce your blood pressure!
  • Ease muscle pain: The difference between a hot bath and a hot tub is indefinite water temperatures. Whilst the bath will slowly cool down, the hot tub can retain its temperature. Your body will try cooling itself by moving heat to the surface, via the blood. In the spa pool, your blood remains warm and therefore delivers therapeutic heat to your muscles, helping to relax and ease pain. The buoyant nature of the water also gives those aching joints a chance to rest!
  • Improve sleep: After all this relaxation, of course your sleep can be improved.
  • Diabetes: Here’s one you may not have realised!

Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus were studied using a hot tub 30 minutes a day, 6 days per week.  After only 10 days, patients required reduced doses of insulin, lost weight, showed distinct decreases in plasma glucose and glycosylated haemoglobin, and benefited from improved sleep and an increased general sense of well-being. New England Journal of Medicine (08-16-1999)

Weather Proof

If it is a bit cloudy out, it’s raining or even worse, snowing, fear not. Get your swimming costume on, and get in the hot tub! There’s a reason why the Blue Lagoon Spa in Iceland is so popular; yes, it’s a beautiful and unique experience, but having a warm dip in the cold air is surprisingly invigorating and refreshing.

That’s the great thing about a spa. Within minutes, whatever the temperature or weather, you can be enjoying a relaxing, warm, and therapeutic soak, either on your own or with friends and family!

Social

On that point, hot tub ownership is a social thing. The hot tub can be a talking point, or more-so, the focal point of your entertaining. What better way to spend an afternoon than a BBQ, some drinks, and a nice soak in the spa whilst chatting away the afternoon.

Clever

All you need to get going with these pools is the air to inflate it using the built in inflation hose and the water to fill it. Straight out the box they can ready in about 15 minutes! The durable, puncture-resistant material is incredibly strong and has the stability of a regular fibreglass hot tub. You can easily sit on the edge of the pool, for example, without the worry of it losing shape. You really won’t believe how solid these things are.

The tubs have a fantastic water temperature range and the built in heating and filtration system and come with built in water treatment systems.

The pools come with lock down insulated covers to minimize heat loss, as well as thermal ground cloths to make sure no damage is done to your floor surfaces.

Affordable

As mentioned, hot tubs and spa pools used to be out of reach to most of us and that really is no longer the case. They are affordable to buy, easy to maintain and cheap to run. What more could you ask for?

So what are you waiting for? Browse our fantastic selection of Hot Tubs and Spa Pools now and start enjoying the hot tub lifestyle quicker than Frankie says relax!

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Smart Pumps – Reduce bills, save the environment and keep a clean pool

Pumping out the Waste

What would you say if I told you that by making one small change to your pool you could save a significant amount per year? Not only that, but you would reduce your carbon footprint whilst keeping your pool clean, hygienic and safe to use?

It might sound too good to be true, but thanks to the advances in technology, there are ways in which you can improve the efficiency of your installation without, radical change or indeed without breaking the bank.

The High Cost of Family Fun

You have probably suspected this for some time, but the average pool owning household consumes 67% more energy than our non-pool owning neighbours. Some bigger pool pumps can use twenty times more power than your refrigerator, which is a pretty scary statistic. Each year, pools worldwide use 10 billion kilowatts of energy, which would require 24 stand-alone power plants to supply all that energy. This of course means that the carbon footprint is significant, creating 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

These statistics are no surprise when you think that the average pump will circulate 18,000 gallons of water per day. That’s a lot of water, and a lot of strain on the motor. In total, your pump is using 70% of the total energy associated with a pool.

Difficult Choices

To combat these costs and environmental impacts many pool owners turn off pumps for long periods in a day. This reduces costs at the expense of having pool water sat motionless, which can create a stagnant and potentially harmful environment.

The pump has a vital role to play, in sanitizing water, dispersing chemicals and ultimately maintaining healthy water. Turning off pumps can lead to fluctuating chlorine levels, which is not conducive to an effectively run pool; the pump, at whatever the cost, is a vital part of your setup.

A Smarter Solution

Fortunately, in recent year the industry has stepped up with a safer and easier solution to the problem – smart, intelligent pumps.

Smart pumps are able to operate at different speeds and can vary their output depending on the needs of the pool. To use a metaphor, a footballer doesn’t sprint constantly for 90 minutes, he reads the game and reacts accordingly; sometimes that means sprinting hard and at other times that walking back into position to reserve energy. In the same way, intelligent pumps vary their speed according to the needs of the pool, with the end result that they use less electricity. This ultimately means cheaper bills, a reduced carbon footprint and a longer life span for the pump itself. Not only that, Smart Pumps work on lower frequencies so are often far quieter than a standard pump.

So what are the options?

If you’re reading this blog, you’ll likely fall into 1 of 3 categories:

  • You’re looking for a replacement pump for your pool
  • You’re looking to get a pool and reading up on the costs involved
  • You already have a pump that doesn’t need replacing

For those looking to buy a completely new pump up-front costs are higher, but you will save in the longer term, with annual savings on electricity often quoted up to £500 (though this is entirely dependent on range of factors, such as pool size). One of our top recommendations for a new pump is the Pentair Sta-Rite Variable Speed Pump, which will reduce your bills and provide years of circulation and sanitation for your pool.

If your existing pump is in good shape, upgrade options are available. You can install a pump inverter like the Clever-Pool Swimming Pool Pump Inverter to get the same benefits.

These pumps not only save you money, but provide a more powerful backwash to extend the life of your pump and improve water quality.

Summary

At UK Pool Store, we think having a pool available for use in the back yard is great. A home pool is ideal for keeping the whole family fit and healthy, it is a great excuse to entertain and host BBQs and garden parties and let’s not forgot, a lot of fun for adults and kids alike.

However, we all know that this luxury comes at a premium, which if you’re like me, is something that’s always in the back of your mind. So, if you are looking for ways of reducing the monthly bills then replacing or upgrading your pump with a smarter option is great idea, allowing you to:

  • Save money
  • Reduce your carbon footprint
  • Reduce noise levels
  • Cut costs
  • Reduce spending
  • Minimise financial output
  • Did we mention that you’d save money?

 

 

 

 

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Getting your kids into swimming

One thing we hear quite often is parents asking “How can I get my kids into swimming?” Swimming has many great advantages, from fitness, health and fun to serious career opportunities, but there can also be some boundaries along the way. As always with water it is important to respect safety and be aware of each child’s limitations.

To answer this question we have put together this short guide to help you get your kids on the road to becoming swimming superstars! Or at least swimming enthusiasts.

Health Benefits

Being able to swim offers kids some great benefits, which can serve them for life:

  • Confidence: Your child will be able to socialise and make friends with other like-minded kids.
  • Inner Health: Your child’s lungs and heart will grow strong and healthy, and they will develop strength, stamina and better balance.
  • Opportunity: Rather than your child having to sit things out, they will be able to enjoy social swimming events and have the chance to do things later in life, such as scuba diving, swimming with dolphins or even competing in sailing events.
  • Life saving: You cannot and will not always be there for your kids; one day, the ability to swim might just save their life, or even the life of someone else.

Overcoming a fear of the water 

Not all children rush to get in the water, some may be shy and others may actually be afraid, so it is a great idea to get kids swimming from an early age. You will often be able to find a ‘Parent and Baby’ class in your local leisure centre. If not and you are helping a child into the water for the first time, here are some things to remember:

  • Your brain works differently to theirs; what may seem easy for you can be daunting for them and it is important to keep this in mind. A child might see a pool of water as a vast ocean and their smaller lungs and frames mean that they will become colder more quickly.
  • It is important to build trust, do not throw a child into the water as this could give them a life-long fear. Do not force them to do something they are not comfortable with and try not to make a big issue about things or lie to them. For example, if they have a scary moment be careful not to brush it off; whilst you do not want them to be scared, you always need them to respect the environment.
  • Take care not to overreact if they swallow water or get it on their face. Keep them safe, but remember that it is only water and molly coddling them will teach them to panic.
  • Make the occasion fun!
  • Take your time; if they do not want to do it, that is fine. Let them discover the water at their own pace.
  • Make sure they always know where the toilet is (if not in your own garden) and to let you know if they need to go. For those too young to learn, swim nappies are essential.
  • Be reassuring and encouraging. Kids love rewards and you can even go as far as to make your own certificates for each new goal they achieve.

Safety comes first

Respecting the water is vital so make sure all kids understand and respect the rules. It is important that whilst learning to swim, they use to all the necessary equipment, such as armbands, pool noodles and/or life jackets. Attending a local lifesaving class can also be a very wise move, especially if you have a pool in the garden. Of course, any garden pool should always have a pool safety cover, or a locked fence around it.

Making it fun!

As mentioned, there are many health benefits to getting kids into swimming, but it should also be fun for them. We found this blog from ‘Today’s Parent’, which has some fantastic ideas for fun games to play with kids, whilst encouraging them to learn how to swim.

The NHS Change For Life site also has an informative video and PDF pamphlet with ideas for games and fun.

We also have a great selection of paddling pools and pool toys to choose from on our website.

Lastly, don’t forget your camera. We have all had the “Mum! Dad! Look at me, look at me!” moment. Kids love to show off their new skills, so don’t ignore them. If they can look up and see their family and friends filming them and taking photos, they will enjoy a new sense of pride and achievement that will be fun for all.

Career Opportunities 

Later in life, many great career opportunities can lead from being a strong swimmer. Not only that, but swimming pools are sociable places whatever age you are; kids can make friends, adults can exercise and hang out. Here are some potential avenues for your young ones to explore.

  • Olympic Hero! Okay, so not everyone is going to end up as a Rebecca Adlington or Michael Phelps but for some the potential is there. Whilst trying to hit those heights, your kids will be healthy and let’s face it, super fit!
  • Swim Teacher/Coach
  • Lifeguard
  • Animal Trainer
  • Aquafit Instructor
  • Coast Guard
  • Scuba Diving Instructor
  • Professional Scuba Diver
  • Boat Crew/Navy
  • Marine Biologist
  • Rescue Swimmer
  • Pool Management/Staff

Conclusion

 This summer, we’re looking forward to some amazing weather so we can wile away the afternoons in the back garden pool. Swimming is an opportunity for the whole family to put away the iPads, turn off the TV, Switch of the mobile phones and communicate, have fun as a family. Remember to stay safe, but make sure you have fun!

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What’s new in 2015?

What’s new in 2015?

Rising temperatures and blossom mean just one thing for pool lovers – it is opening time! So to help you on your way, we have revived and updated last year’s pool opening checklist, so you can be up and running in time for the summer sun.

Before you peel back the cover, however, the few months has seen some very interesting new products become available, which can help you reduce costs and stay safe. Pool opening is always the best time to upgrade your facility, so here are a few great offerings to look out for.

Smart Pumps

Energy prices may well be falling, but wasting energy is still wasting money. That’s why the development of smart pool pumps is so important. Smart pumps vary their speed according to the needs of your pool, which means they use less electricity and can last longer.

If your pump is towards the end of its life, replacement product like Pentair’s Sta-Rite Variable Speed Pump can reduce your electricity bill and  and provide years of trouble free use.

If your pump is relatively new, then you can achieve the same goal by installing a pool pump inverter. Offerings like the Clever-Pool Swimming Pool Pump Inverter offers the same benefits and can pay for itself in two to three years of purchase.

Both of the above options not only save money, but also allow you to do a more powerful backwash, which is great for your filter and water quality, and extend the life of your pump!

STARITE S5P2R

Save your Back

Another great innovation this year are the Monaco’s new Reel Systems. Supplied in three grades they can handle heavier covers without slipping, making them easier to remove. As well as sparing your back, now almost any family member can peel back the cover from your pool.

Monaco Premiem Geared 5 Spoke Reel System

Safety First

When it comes to health and safety, two new products have caught my eye.  Rollaway’s 1.2 metre Safety Fencing offers improved safety with visibility at a great price. And you can back that up with an Immerstar Pool Alarm, which meets France’s strict safety guidelines and provides 24/7 monitoring of your pool.

Immerstar Pool Alarm

Accurate Dosage

Finally, the AccuWeigh Pool Chemical Digital Measuring Scoop enables you to measure your chemicals accurately every time. Combine this with a Spring Pool Start-Up Kit – giving an additional 10% saving over our already low prices – and you will soon be enjoying clear sparking waters.

Accuweigh Digital Scoop

Finally, find Bliss in Bubbles

If there’s one thing that kids love more than YouTube, it’s splashing around with their friends on a hot summer day. When the evening comes, though, it’s great to have a quiet warm place to enjoy an ice cold beer or a glass of wine.

This requires something a bit more “grown-up”, so this year why not create your own place of retreat, by treat yourself to a Soho Inflatable Spa. Inflatable Spas are easy to install and maintain and provide a luxurious way to while away the summer evenings.

You deserve it, so order online today and receive a free Spa Pool Start-up Kit to help make you water fresh and clean.

Soho Inflatable Spa

 

Posted in Above Ground Swimming Pools, General, Hot Tub, Spa, Swimming Pool Equipment, Swimming Pool Pump and sand Filter Combo's | Leave a comment

5 of the World’s Best Swimming Pools!

Swimming Pools are Awesome

 

If you own any kind of pool, then I guess this is something we can agree on.

Some pools, however, are definitely more awesome that others; perfectly sculpted things of beauty that you can witter away the hours enjoying, even from a far. There are many of them out there, but here are a few that truly stand out from the crowd!

The first on our list, is businessman Lev Leviev’s private pool. Lev reportedly spent close to $70,000,000 on his luxurious North London home, which includes this indoor pool. Coming lined with gold tiles, the pool also boasts full spa and sauna facilities and a retractable pool cover that turns the room into a ballroom!

(Image Credit: http://www.thepinnaclelist.com/blog/directory/70-million-palladio-residence-compton-avenue-highgate-london-england-uk/)

UK Pool Store Blog - Some of the world's best swimming pools!

Lev Leviev’s private pool

 

Second is the pool found at Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur. The Palace is part hotel and part royal residence; guests of the hotel are invited to swim in the pool, along with members of the royal family who reside in a private wing of the palace.

Umaid Bhawan Palace was built in 1943, took 15 years to complete and cost $225,000 (over $3,000,000 in today’s money) which seems a good price for what they got. The pool itself is nicknamed ‘The Zodiac’ as the bottom depicts the symbols of the zodiac. The walls and ceiling of the room are covered with thousands of 1 inch gold tiles.

(Image Credit: http://definitionofsanity.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/the-umaid-bhawan-palace-in-jodhpur/)

UK Pool Store Blog - Some of the world's best swimming pools!

The Zodiac pool at Umaid Bhawan Palace

 

At 10 times larger than the average backyard pool, the third on our list is the Kitchukov Family Pool in Gilbert Arizona. Taking 5 months to build and costing around $1,000,000, the pool is surrounded by fountains, waterfalls and even has its own water slide. It is surrounded by a variety of mood lights and palm trees making it seem like an island paradise.

The thing we like most about this pool is the touchscreen control system, accessible remotely from anywhere in the world. The makers of the pool, Red Rock Contractors, developed an iPhone app that enables the Kitchukov family to change the colour of the lights, warm up the Jacuzzi or adjust the temperature of the pool from anywhere in the world. Why they want or need to do this baffles us, but on a scale of one to ten this is cool factor 11!

 (Image Credit: http://www.therichest.com/luxury/dive-into-the-most-luxurious-pools-of-the-rich/8/)

UK Pool Store Blog - Some of the world's best swimming pools!

The Kitchukov Family Pool.

 

No list about expensive pools without the obligatory celebrity pool. For us, there was only one choice for number four and that’s the pool found at the Miami home of Sylvester Stallone. Whilst it looks lovely, with the surrounding trees and decorative patterns, what makes this pool really special is the bronze ‘Rocky Balboa’ statue at the end.

(Image Credit: http://blog.bigpurpledot.com/five-celebrity-pools-to-dive-for/) 

UK Pool Store Blog - Some of the world's best swimming pools!

Sly Stallone’s pool with ‘Rocky’ statue.

 

It may be the last pool on the list, but it isn’t the least. Infinity pools always look amazing when they overlook endless seas, beaches and jungles. The city view from the edge of this pool in Singapore, however, is incredible. What better way to escape the stress and hectic city lifestyle than to sit back in a pool, soaking up the sun?

 

(Image Credit: http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/infinity-pool-singapore/)

UK Pool Store Blog - Some of the world's best swimming pools!

Infinity pool in Singapore

 

Why not jump in?

 

Whilst hotels, celebrities, royals and billionaire businessmen are able to spend many thousands or millions of pounds on expensive pools, most of us don’t enjoy that luxury. However, the status symbol and relaxed lifestyle of pool ownership is more accessible than you imagine!

 

UK Pool Store’s range of above ground pools can fit to most budgets and almost any garden space. Why let the ‘other half’ have all the fun, talk to us now and make a real splash this summer!
Call our team now for a pressure free chat about what might suit you!

0800 917 2229

 

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