Category Archives: Above Ground Pools

What is the right sand for a swimming pool filter?

If you have a swimming pool filter then the likelihood is that it is a sand filter. As the name suggests a sand filter uses sand to filter the impurities out of the water. Sand is put in the filter vessel and the water is forced under pressure through the bed of sand. The water molecules pass through the gaps between the sand grains but solids in the water are held back in the gaps between the grains.

You cannot use just any old sand in a swimming pool filter it has to be a special refined grade of sand known as 16/30 grade. The numbers refer to the size range of the grains in thousandths of an inch. In 16/30 grade sand the smallest grain will be 16 thousandths of an inch, there should be no grains smaller than this. The largest grain will be 30 thousandths of an inch, there should be no grain bigger than this.

This type of sand is not usually kept in stock in builders merchants or DIY superstores but you can buy it from PoolStore. It comes in 25 kg bags and a typical filter requires 6 or 7 bags. Rather than load them all in your car, we can deliver them to you door the next working day.

It is essential to use the correct sand in your pool filter

If the grains of sand are smaller than 16thou they will pass through the laterals at the base of the filter and end up back in your pool. If you see sand grains in your pool then it is probable that they have come out of the filter either because the grains are too small or because the laterals in the filter are broken.

If the grains are bigger than 30thou they will be too big to catch the fine solids in the water.

After a while the gaps in the sand fill up with dirt from the pool and you have to “backwash” the sand by forcing the water through it in the opposite, upwards, direction. This loosens up the sand allowing the dirt to be washed out and then you can restart the process again.

Click here to purchase 25kg bags of 16/30 grade sand

Intex PureSpa and Bestway Lay-Z-Spa compared and reviewed

 

The first affordable inflatable spa was introduced some years ago by Chinese company Bestway. They aimed it at the American market and they called it the Lay-Z-Spa. It proved to be a great success and not surprisingly Bestway’s biggest rival Intex have now entered the market with their version called the PureSpa. As a general rule Intex products are of a higher quality than Bestway so let’s see how the two inflatable spas compare.

intex_pure_spa

The Intex Pure Spa

The Bestway Lay-Z-Spa

The Lay-Z-Spa has a more funky pump and filter unit but we like the vertical segmentation of the PureSpa. The control panel on the PureSpa is easily reached when you are in the water. The PureSpa is 4 inches higher and  bigger inside but the Lay-Z-Spa holds more water (we can’t work that one out either!).  The PureSpa has more jets, better filtration, a more efficient heater and is stronger and quieter.

Given Intex’s worldwide reputation for quality and durability we would expect the PureSpa to be the most reliable in the long term.

The Lay z spa hugely outsells the Intex version and is cheaper but overall we give the thumbs up to the Intex PureSpa.

Is my swimming pool pipe 1.5 inch or 2 inch?

One thing that always confuses swimming pool owners is the size of the pipe work on their pool. This is because pipes that are called inch and a half are nearer 2 inches when you put a tape on them. With this article we hope to clear up the confusion.

The first thing to know about the pipes used on domestic UK swimming pools is that they have not gone “European” yet. Everything is in imperial. On the continent everything is in metric and metric pipes will not fit together with imperial pipes without an adaptor. The vast bulk of existing domestic swimming pools in the UK will have been constructed using “inch and a half” pipework. Some may have been built using 2 inch but they would generally be bigger pools. Nearly all pool equipment, pumps, heaters, filters etc are made with inch and a half fittings on them. But not all. Some pumps have 2 inch fittings as standard and so need to be adapted down to inch and a half.

So you would think that if you put a tape measure on your pipes you would see the pipe line up with the 1.5 inch mark on the tape – but it doesn’t.  I have to say that we don’t know why this is! What is known industry wide as inch and half pipe is actually just over 1 and 7/8ths wide on the outside diameter and about 1 and 5/8ths on the inside diameter.

"Inch and a half" pipe is actually nearer 2 inches

If you are looking at a coupler for inch and a half pipe then the inside diameter is a fraction under 2 inches and the outside diameter is 2 and 3/8ths inches. So a typical inch and a half fitting like a 90 bend is nearly 2 and a half inches wide!

To make matters even more confusing there are two types of pipes, one white and one grey in colour. The white ones are the most commonly used and they are made from ABS material known as “Class C ABS”.  ABS stands for Acrylonitril Butadiene Styrene. The grey coloured pipe is PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) but you can get white PVC also. You can join ABS to PVC but you need to be careful in your choice of glue. Some glues are ABS only, some glues are PVC only and some, like the one we sell, are suitable for both ABS and PVC.

Keeping Cool & Staying Safe This Summer

Last month brought us a wave of unsettling news stories and media warnings as to the dangers of being a weak swimmer, and the risks of drowning across the nation. Make sure that you and your family are kept safe this Summer while you beat the heat by brushing up on your swimming skills.

 

Swimming lessons are a compulsory part of primary school education today, with children in Key Stage 2 (aged between 7 and 11) required to be able to swim unaided for at least twenty-five metres. Despite this statutory requirement of the National Curriculum, it is still speculated that one in every three primary school leavers is unable to swim. Research conducted by breakfast cereal giant Kellogg’s, in association with the Amateur Swimming Association, has revealed that 200,000 students will finish year 6 this year without the necessary training to swim safely unassisted.

 

Of these children, 80,000 will not even have been offered swimming lessons.

 

Swimming Pool Safety

Teaching them to enjoy the water safely is one of the best gifts you can give your kids

This lack of concern shown for the importance of teaching kids to swim is contributing to a worrying rise of drowning-related deaths. Every year, the United Kingdom loses over three hundred children younger than age five in swimming pool accidents – with over three thousand others ending up undergoing emergency treatment following a narrowly-averted tragedy.

 

Keep your kids safe this summer – enrol them in a swimming class, if they’re young or inexperienced in the water, and speak to the headmaster or headmistress of their primary school, to confirm that swimming lessons are provided for students. Most importantly, though, never leave young children unattended in (or even near!) a swimming pool.

 

Children can drown in less than two inches of water, and may be unable to raise the alarm, if you are too far to see what’s going on. Never allow children to be left alone near a swimming pool, unless the pool is completely inaccessible (behind a fence or a locked gate, etc.)

 

But kids will be kids – and in case your little ones do manage to slip past you into the swimming pool area, keeping some basic but essential supplies close at hand down by the pool can avert disaster. Ring buoys are a flotation device that can be thrown to toddlers (or any swimmer) in trouble to prevent them sinking below the surface, and a reach pole is used to pull struggling swimmers to the side.

 

As vital as it is to teach children of the dangers the water can pose, it’s equally important to teach them not to fear swimming unduly. Splashing around in a pool is one of the greatest and simplest joys a child can experience, and swimming is a skill that can be of huge benefit later in life. It would be a great shame to have that experience go to waste.

Comparing the Reprieve Pool and the Oracle Pool

There are two new names in the above ground pool market for 2011 and they are the Reprieve and the Oracle.  [Don’t blame us – we didn’t come up with the names!] They have replaced the Reggata and the Equinox Pools. The Oracle Pool is just the Equinox re-named but the Reprieve is a brand new pool. But which is better?

The simple answer is the Oracle, but it is more expensive so you would expect that. Much of the difference between the two pools is in the detailing so, in the end, your choice may come down to which of the pools you prefer the look of.

So what are the differences? Well, the biggest difference is the Reprieve is 48 inches deep and the Oracle is 52 inches deep. The overall design and construction of the pools is very similar in that they are both metal sided with metal struts and top rails. They both come with all the necessary equipment to get them up and running and they both need the same sort of ground preparation before you errect them. The difference is in the detail.

The most obvious detail is the colour of the side walls. The Reprieve Pool has “wood effect” walls and a brown frame while the Oracle Pool has “silver leaf” sides with a Pewter frame.  Each comes with a nice patterned liner, the quality of the liner is equal in both pools but the patterns are different.

The Reprieve Pool has a 6 inch top rail, the Oracle Pool has an 8 inch top rail. The uprights on the Reprive are 4.5 inch on the Oracle they are 7 inch. So you can see that the Oracle is a more solid pool but then it needs to be because it holds more water than the Reprieve.

The 48 inch Reprieve has the "wood effect" exterior

The 52 inch Oracle has a grey exterior

Oracle's Liner is "beach tile"

Reprieve's Liner is "boulder"