Friday, October 29, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
You may not know that that a standard pool pump uses more electricity than any other appliance in the home, except for an air-conditioner. You also may not know that most pumps are too big and use more energy than you need to keep the swimming pool water sparkling clean.
The culprit: a single-speed pump. A small pump is probably fine if all you want to do is circulate the water, but it might not have enough speed to run your pool cleaner, waterfall or other electrical extras that need a blast of energy.
If that's the case, your pool service probably installed a pump large enough to handle the extras. But with only one speed, it's running full-blast even when your pool cleaner and waterfall aren't operating.
That huge waste of energy is costing you about 80 percent more in electric bills.
Don't let the high cost of running your swimming pool outpace its value as your family's go-to place for fun, relaxation and keeping cool. Making your pool more energy-efficient will save hundreds of dollars a year. Here are a few tips.
• Replace your single-speed pump with a variable-speed unit. High-performance models from such manufacturers as Pentair Water Pool and Spa let you run them on low most of the time. You can crank them up bit by bit when you need to run accessories.
The manufacturers claim the pumps can cut energy use by up to 90 percent compared with single-speed pumps. Frank Bowman, owner of Frank Bowman Designs in Raleigh, North Carolina, says his customers who have switched report saving $300 or more a year on their electric bills.
A variable-speed pump costs more than twice a single-speed model, but you'll recoup the cost in lower electric bills within two years, he estimates. Plus, he says, the pumps are quieter and last longer than older pumps.
As an alternative, two-speed pumps cost less than variable-speed models. And although they're not as efficient as variable-speed pumps, they use far less energy than the single-speed unit.• Run your pool pump less often. Most manufacturers recommend running it between eight and 10 hours a day in the summer and about half that in the winter.
• Put a timer on the pump so it automatically shuts off, and set it to run only when you're paying off-peak rates.
• Switch to LED lighting, which uses up to 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent underwater lights, and lasts for years.
• Keep your chemicals in balance. If you don't, your filter can run non-stop and the water will never sparkle.
• Clean trap baskets, filters, and pool walls and floor regularly. Clogging can prevent the water from flowing freely. The harder the pump has to work, the more you'll pay to run it.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
A typical solid vinyl pool cover is little more than a tarp to put over your swimming pool. It does not prevent children or pets from gaining access to the pool. All safety covers must conform to the Standard Performance Specification set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). According to the ASTM, a safety cover must be able to support a certain amount of weight, not permit gaps that a child or pet could squeeze through, and remove standing water. A pool cover can not include the word "Safety" unless it meets these standards.
2. Why is a U.L. (underwriters laboratories) approval important?
Underwriters Laboratories (known as U.L.) is an outside testing company. Many cover company's claim that they meet the ASTM standard F1346-91 for manual safety covers, but have not followed up with outside testing agencies that perform all of the actual tests listed in the ASTM guideline. At Frank Bowman Designs, we only install covers that not only meet but also exceed the guidelines set forth for safety swimming pool covers! For example, we only install covers that use double perimeter webbing and double-thick straps, extremely high-strength 302 grade stainless steel springs, and polyester bonded thread that costs almost 10 times more than the thread used by some of our competitors.
3. Can my children walk and play on the safety cover?
Both the mesh Safety Swimming Pool Cover and our solid Safety Swimming Pool Cover provide superior protection for your family. Mesh covers do have one safety advantage: they do not permit water to collect. In order to meet safety cover performance standards, solid covers must provide for the elimination of standing water. Our solid safety cover is available in two versions: one with "invisible" mesh panels that allow water to drain through, and an all-solid version that is always sold with an automatic cover pump. The pump must be used at all times in order to maintain the safety of the cover. Ultimately, though, the choice between a mesh or solid cover is up to the preference of the user.
5. Why does the water have to be removed from the cover in order for it to be considered "safe"?
Currently our mesh and solid safety covers come with a 12-year pro-rated manufacturer's warranty. When completed and signed by the original purchaser, this warrants that the cover is free from defects in material and workmanship under normal use.
7. Should I drain my pool before putting on my swimming pool safety cover?
No! It is very important to maintain proper water level to help support the weight of the cover and prevent excess wear. For mesh covers, water level should be 15" to 18" below the top of the pool. For solid covers, water level should be 12" to 16" below the top of the pool. If proper water level is not maintained, the warranty can be void.
8. I have a custom-designed pool that's irregularly shaped. Can I get a LOOP-LOC safety cover that will fit it?
Absolutely! Frank Bowman Designs will first come out and carefully measure your pool. Then, the manufacturer will use their exclusive computerized design system to translate those measurements into a cover that will perfectly conform to the shape and features of your pool.
From the time Frank Bowman Designs submits your order to the manufacturer it will take approximately 2-3 weeks including fabrication until the cover is completely installed on your pool.
10. I always supervise my children when they are around our pool. Why do I need a safety cover?
A swimming pool is always a magnet for children. At times when you are not around to supervise or your family is away from home, wandering children and pets from the neighborhood may attempt to enter your pool. Even if you have a locked gate (which is a great extra layer of protection), a determined toddler will often be able breach it. Only the security of a safety cover can ensure that no one will be able to gain access to the pool while you are away.
11. How can I keep my pool water clear over the winter months?
All pools, when covered (no matter what type of cover you have), require winter chemical treatment to keep the water clear. When closing your pool in the fall, we recommend use of a winterizing chemical kit, which includes winterizing algaecide.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Everywhere you look more and more people are going green when it comes to their household purchases. Frank Bowman Designs is taking the green movement by storm with the introduction of "Green" products for your swimming pool.
The old standard residential swimming pool uses an alarmingly high amount of energy to run. With the cost of pools going down and more and more people jumping on board the swimming pool bandwagon, going Green is really the only way to go.
According to Green Living Online, "With just over eight million Pools in the U.S. and more than 600,000 in Canada, there is a growing awareness that residential pools may not be the most environmentally friendly form of recreation." They use a lot of electricity and gas with pumps to circulate the water through filters and heaters, typically running 24 hours a day. This is unnecessary when the average pool owner only spends about an hour a day swimming.
Frank Bowman Designs is aware of this and is in full swing with a variety of Alternative and Low Energy Efficient products for pool owners looking to "Go Green". According to their website this, "North Carolina based swimming pool design and construction company encourages the use of environmentally responsible swimming pool products by incorporating healthy, resourceful, energy-efficient products, materials, and methods in the design and construction of swimming pools"
Going Green with your swimming pool is not just a hot trend, it will save you money. They offer products such as the Pentair Intelliflow Variable Frequency Swimming Pool Pump that will reduce energy costs by at least 60% utilizing its internal electrical design system and self-adjusting pool filter run-times year-round. Pool Owners' can become less dependent on high output products using outdated technologies. They can upgrade to more environmentally friendly, cost saving, "Green" products.
According to Frank Bowman Designs, "Almost every manufacturer has developed enhanced products with low Amperage or Solar pumps to decrease energy bills from homeowners and to increase the value of homes living green,"
Even if you don't live in Raleigh, North Carolina you can check out their website for updated consumer information and Energy Saving tips for pool owners.
With Americans jumping on the green living bandwagon they are preparing to see a huge increase in consumer actions searching for Energy related Pool products.
Submitted By: Frank Bowman Designs
Frank Bowman Designs of Raleigh, North Carolina serves all of North Carolina, Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Lake Gaston and the surrounding areas. We specialize in the Design and Installation of Custom Concrete Swimming Pool Installations and Renovations including Tile and Coping, Natural Stone and Paver Decking, Pool Resurfacing with Pebble Tec. Visit Frank Bowman Designs at www.FrankBowman.com or Contact us at Info@FrankBowman.com or (919) 291-8354.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PEBBLE TEC®
What is Pebble Tec?
Pebble Tec is a patented interior surface for swimming pools utilizing finely screened natural river rock worn smooth by years of nature's tumbling. The rock is geologically tested for hardness, angularity, content, and size.
What is the history of Pebble Tec?
Pebble Tec was developed in Australia more than two decades ago. Over 50,000 pools have been installed in Australia and the United States. This means you are considering a time proven, quality product that has gained strong customer acceptance worldwide.
How are the pebbles placed on the surface?
Predetermined ratios of Pebble Tec stone and cement are combined with water and additives, then pneumatically applied with a standard pool plaster pump to a thickness of approximately 1/2". Once the Pebble Tec is applied, it is hand troweled utilizing a special process by trained applicators. At a precise time the material is "exposed" by a method which uncovers the top layer of pebbles. When the finish is thoroughly hardened, the pool is then cleaned with a solution to enhance the brightness and luster of the natural stone.
Is the surface rough?
The surface can be described as "orange peel" smooth with indentions. The stones used in Pebble Tec are finely screened and naturally tumbled resulting in a bumpy non-abrasive surface. The pebble surface is also comfortable for walking in the shallow end.
What if algae grows on the Pebble Tec finish?
Algae can be a problem on any pool surface if pool maintenance has been lacking. However, algae does not bond as readily to Pebble Tec as it does to conventional pool plaster due to the tumbled stone surface. Pebble Tec can also be cleaned more easily than plaster.
Does the Pebble Tec pool vary in color?
A pool done in this finish is intended to duplicate the natural appearance of a lake or stream bed and therefore color variation is a desired result. Water has a tendency to reflect hues and tones depending on sunlight intensity and angle that can vary depending on the time of day.
Will the pebbles fall off?
It is normal to experience a small loss of pebbles for a short period of time after Pebble Tec installation. You may find a handful in your strainer basket after you vacuum for the first few weeks but don't worry...your pool is covered with in excess of 30 million pebbles.
What is the warranty on Pebble Tec?
Splash Pools offers a written 15 year unconditional warranty on all Pebble Tec Installations. That's a piece of mind investment. Please consult with your installer as to their warranty terms and conditions.
Please feel free to contact Frank Bowman Designs if you have any additional questions about swimming pool resurfacing.
Submitted By: Frank Bowman
Frank Bowman Designs serves all of North Carolina, Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Lake Gaston, Southern Virginia and the surrounding areas. We specialize in the design & installation of Custom Concrete Swimming Pool Installations and Renovations including Tile and Coping, Natural Stone and Paver Decking, Pool Resurfacing with Pebble Tec. Visit Frank Bowman Designs at www.FrankBowman.com or Contact us at Frank@FrankBomwan.com or (919) 291-8354.