The thing about swimming pools is that once they are in the ground they are there to stay, so the decisions you make at the purchasing stage can affect your overall satisfaction further down the track. There are plenty of factors to consider that will influence your choices as you create your ideal pool. In this article we take a look at some of the important questions/points you’ll need to think about so you end up with the best pool for you and your family.
1) What is your motivation for buying a pool?
The first and most important thing to consider is what you want to get out of owning a swimming pool. Some people see a pool as the perfect way to relax and unwind, some use their pool to bring the family together, others to keep their teenagers at home. Whatever your motivation, try not to lose sight of what you want from your pool. Along the way you’ll need to make decisions about what features you want to include in your new pool, so always refer back to what you want to achieve and the pool buying decision making process will be easier.
2) What is the best way to run/operate your new pool?
This is often something that people don’t pay enough attention to at the beginning of the process. The way your pool runs/operates will have a huge influence on the following things.
- The ongoing electricity costs of filtering your pool
- The amount of chemicals needed to keep your water safe to swim in
- The amount of your time required to look after the pool
- The value your pool adds (or takes away) from your home
Most backyard swimming pools installed over the past 40 years operate the same way. Water is skimmed off the surface of the pool through a skimmer box. It is then pumped through a filter and returned to the pool through jets (commonly called return eyeballs) close to the surface in the pool wall. The “theory” is that all pool water is circulated during the daily cycle while the pump is running. The problem is that the top third of the pool generally gets circulated over and over again, and the deeper sections can be under-circulated. We call this operating system ‘traditional’ circulation, and it does have its limitations.
Some pool companies like Compass now offer enhanced circulation systems, because the more your pool water is mixed and filtered the healthier it will be. Proper mixing and filtration will lead to lower chemical use (as chemicals are not just concentrated in the top layer of water, being burnt off by the sun). You’ll also notice that the pool water is easier to manage from a sanitisation point-of-view, when enhanced circulation systems are used, because chemicals used for balancing are adequately mixed throughout the whole pool.
The operating system you choose can have a big impact on your electricity bill too. These days, energy efficient pumps are very popular and are quickly replacing the traditional fixed-speed filter pump. With electricity savings of up to 80% using these latest-technology pumps, it’s a natural choice to make. The one problem with energy efficient pumps is that when they operate on low speeds (to maximise the savings in electricity consumption) the flowrate of pool water being circulated is reduced and there can be a subsequent decrease in water quality in the deeper sections of the pool. To get the true benefit out of an energy efficient pump, your pool’s operating system should have a way of maintaining efficient circulation for proper filtration and mixing of all the pool’s water. To find out how to make energy efficient pumps work in your pool, ask your local Compass Pool’s dealer about the exclusive Logic enhanced circulation system.
Of course, the ultimate way to look after your pool is to opt for the famous Vantage in-floor system. Vantage not only ensures maximum circulation, chemical efficiency and energy efficiency, it also cleans the pool for you, which allows more time to swim, relax and enjoy! The Vantage in-floor cleaning and circulation system also adds value and appeal to future buyers when the time comes to sell your home.
3) What type of Pool will work best for you?
A pool is a pool right? Wrong! The type of pool that you choose to buy can have a long-lasting effect on over-all satisfaction with your decision.
As mentioned before, your pool is a permanent structure which means it can only be replaced or upgraded at major cost once it has been installed. You need to be satisfied that the pool you purchase meets your immediate needs, budget requirements, and long term needs. Product warranties, reliability and of course personal needs and wants, are all factors in this equation.
Ultimately you will need to choose between concrete, fibreglass or vinyl-liner pools. Find out more about concrete and fibreglass to know which pool will work best for you.
Many people choose the fibreglass pool option for the following reasons:
- Fiberglass swimming pools are relatively cost effective
- Fibreglass pools can be easier to keep clean and healthy
- They are generally quicker to install than concrete pools
- They are warranted for at least 25 years, and usually, require less ongoing maintenance
But are all fibreglass pools equal? – The answer is no. Whilst most Australian manufacturers make a reliable product, there are some that have distinctive and important differences. For example, in the mid 90’s Ian Mewett (co-founder of Compass Pools) helped pioneer a technique of pool manufacturing using a ceramic and vinyl-ester composite core. Compass Pools owes much of its success and credibility to its patented ceramic core technology, which ensures that Compass ceramic pool shells are tougher and more durable, and are therefore more able to cope with seasonal ground movement as well as the effects of long-term immersion in pool water.
4) What pool manufacturer/brand should you choose?
As you probably know, there are quite a few pool manufacturers throughout Australia, some of whom include: Compass Pools, Leisure Pools, Narellan, Barrier Reef and Freedom Pools to name a few major ones.
Choosing the right manufacturer or pool brand is about reducing your risk and obtaining peace of mind that you will be looked after during the purchase, installation, and in the years after your pool has been handed over.
Here are a few things to investigate about the pool manufacturer before committing:
- How long have they been in business?
- What do people say about the brand online?
- What is (and is not) covered in their product warranty and does their warranty comply with current Australian Consumer Law requirements?
- Have they been making pools at least as long as they warrant them for?
5) What pool builder should you work with?
Chances are that almost every major manufacturer will have a pool retailer representing their brand in your area. In some cases these representatives will be subsidiaries of the manufacturer, franchisees, or independent dealers.
It goes without saying that the business which actually installs your new swimming pool can have a HUGE impact on your over-all satisfaction and future enjoyment of your pool. It pays to work with people who are reliable, honest and skilled at what they do, as well as being licensed and insured.
Here are a few tips to help you decide who to work with:
- Ask to speak to current and previous customers about their experience
- Ask to see display pools or pools that they have installed recently
- Search what people say about them online – check out their Facebook page and the tone of customer feedback
- Ask questions about their business history – how long have they been operating in your area (their website may include business and staff profiles and other interesting information)
6) Think about what can be added later and what has to go into the pool at the beginning?
Looking at your overall budget, you may decide to stage or delay certain optional features. For example, you may choose to include plumbing provision for a heat-pump but wait a year or two before you purchase and install the actual heating system. But there are some decisions that need to be made before your pool gets installed in the ground. A good example is the Vantage in-floor cleaning and circulation system which can’t be added after the pool has been installed. To avoid future regrets, do your research and be just as careful in deciding the options you exclude, as the options you include.
So make sure you talk with your pool consultant about the “must haves” that need to be decided on before your pool is ordered. It is better to plan for these things in your immediate budget and then stage the roll-out of other extras like landscaping or heating when the time is right. That way you can have your cake and eat it too, or as we say, have your pool and enjoy it too!
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