The 10 Commandments of Buying a Pool

  1. Shopping like you are buying a car. Swimming pools are custom construction projects that are built by many individual trades and pool contractors with different standards. All pools are not built the same, unlike an automobile which is manufactured in a factory under controlled conditions. With a swimming pool, much of what you do not see will impact the cost of pool ownership.
  2. Not asking enough questions. Do not assume every builder is going to give you an education or is capable of giving you one, for that matter. The more you know and understand the better buyer you will ultimately be. This helps you and your pool contractor. Do your homework. Your resources are endless, so use them!
  3. Paralysis by analysis. This is when someone gets 10-15 or more estimates for swimming pool construction and then cannot make a decision because they have become so confused. Do your due diligence and get 3 or 4 estimates from reputable swimming pool companies. Then make your decision and go with it.
  4. Not checking out the experience level, history, or background of a Contractor. What makes them qualified to build swimming pools? Consider the saying, “If you think the cost of a Professional is expensive, wait until you hire an Amateur.”
  5. Shopping based on price. Usually if a deal seems too good to be true, it is! If you shop for price alone you are destined to be disappointed. Bottom line: you usually get what you pay for.
  6. Shopping over the phone for a pool. It is impossible and a waste of time. Visit the swimming pool builder or have them come to your home to provide you with an estimate. Visiting a contractor’s place of business will tell you a lot about the type of business it is. If they don’t have a place of business, don’t panic just go check out some of their work and talk to references.
  7. Assuming swimming pools cost less to build in the wintertime. We have seen increases in steel prices, concrete shortages, gas increases, and insurance premium hikes. Pools have not gotten cheaper as time goes on; swimming pools will never be less expensive than they are today.
  8. Not reading contracts. Make sure you understand what you are getting into. Make sure everything is in writing. It is very difficult to cancel a contract with many contractors after the obligatory 3-day rescission period. The contract should protect you AND the contractor.
  9. Focusing on the aesthetics and not the mechanicals of the project. Hydraulic design, flow rates, pipe size, pump and filter types, chemical management systems, and many other factors will make a difference in the ability of your swimming pool to stay clean and sanitized.
  10. Not thinking about safety. Swimming pools can be a great place for recreation, exercise, and just enjoy the outdoors. They can also be dangerous. Make sure you know what your City requires for barriers and fencing. More importantly, make sure you protect the ones you care for, and protect the ones that cannot protect themselves.

Courtesy of  Kevin Woodhurst – Swimming Pool Industry Expert & Consultant

Pool & Spa News – Industry News

Vacless Initiates Partial Recall

By Rebecca Robledo 01/27/2011

Vacless Systems Inc. has recalled about 1,600 of its safety vacuum release systems.

The Sylmar, Calif., manufacturer is working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to conduct a recall of some units of the Vacless Breather 1, model number SVRS10ADJ, sold between July and September of 2010.

Approximately 300 units have been replaced so far.

“The company is doing the right thing,” said CPSC spokeswoman Kathleen Reilly. “They need to be commended for making sure that they take care of this problem where it exists.”

The manufacturer estimates that the affected SVRS’s constitute about 2 percent of the total products it has sold.

The CPSC noted that none of Vacless’ other 11 models are affected, and that the recall is restricted to the specific serial numbers of the SVRS10ADJ.

“We were just concerned with this particular product,” Reilly said. “[Vacless] said they didn’t have problems with any of their other products and there hadn’t been any reports, so there’s no reason for us to doubt that.”

The agency recommends that no one swim in pools in which these units are installed until a replacement has been made. “If the pool’s open and they have one of these products in their pool, they should close it and get the repair done before opening,” Reilly said. “The good news is that a lot of pools aren’t open right now, and people have an opportunity to take care of this before the season begins.”

The manufacturer discovered that one batch of SVRS’s were inadvertently made with the wrong plastic, causing the pistons to stick under more extreme temperature conditions and the product to fail.

“The material we wanted is nylon [that is] 20 percent glass filled; however, our supplier provided us with a nylon with no glass fillings in it, [which] made it soft,” said Vacless President Hassan Hamza. “Variations of temperature affected the piston material and caved in some of the pistons, and people called us and said they had problems with the units, that the piston sticks.”

Immediately upon discovering the problem, Hamza said, Vacless contacted the CPSC.

The company is replacing the affected units and the CPSC has issued a press release to alert the public of the recall. Vacless also urged dealers and distributors who have sold the devices with the listed serial numbers to contact their clients and the manufacturer to arrange for replacement. Hamza said that Vacless will reimburse installers for their services in replacing clients’ units.

As for the manufacture of future SVRS’s, Hamza said the problem has been rectified and checks put in place during production.

“They’re going to be testing for the stiffness to make sure that the part’s not soft,” he said.

In addition, Hamza said the company has introduced incentives for installers and pool owners to register their products. “We wanted to make sure we know where our units are, just in case there is an issue or an update that we need to notify the customer of,” Hamza said. “It’s a great thing to have this dialogue between us and the end user.” The current incentive expires March 31.