Category Archives: Bright New Ideas

A Guide to Swimming Pool Coping Stones

Just about every in-ground swimming pool has coping stones around the edge. Over the years they deteriorate and need replacing. This article will tell you what your options are for replacing them.
Until recently all Swimming pool coping stones were sourced from UK manufacturers but now a nice range of Mediterranean style copings are available in the UK. The traditional UK made coping stone comes  in 2 foot lengths and are either 9 inches or 12 inches wide. There are two stlyes and two colours available. The two stlyes are called “bullnose” and “flat top”. Bullnose have a built in backward slope and flat top do not. The colour choices are White or Buff. The most popular choice by far is White Bulnose.

Flat top coping stone

Bullnose Coping Stone with backward slope

White swimming pool coping stone

Traditional White Bullnose Pool Coping

As well as the standard straight coping you can also get what are known as “specials”. These are the corner stones for internal or external corners and “radius” copings for going around roman ends (as shown in the image above).
The traditional copings always stand out from the paving surround and many people like the way they define the edge of the pool but others prefer the copings to match the surrounding paving. This matching style is typically Mediterranean and now there is available in the UK a Spanish pool coping that is not only great looking as a stand alone coping but comes with matching paving slabs if you want them.
The Sahara coping has the built in back slope while the Ardoise coping is a flat top. Ardoise has a riven finish while the Sahara is smooth.

Ardoise Coping Stone – Flat topped with riven finish and 330mm wide

Sahara Coping – back sloping, smooth and 270mm or 330mm wide

Surprisingly these Mediterranean swimming pool coping stones are not more expensive than their UK counterparts.  Below are the prices for a 12ft x 24ft rectangular pool for comparison.

Traditional 9 inch £820 .00
Traditional 12 inch £1,000.00
Sahara 270mm £760.00
Sahara 330mm £820.00
Ardoise 330mm £1,010.00

For more information on the coping stones and matching paving slabs featured here follow the links below
Click here for Traditional Swimming Pool Coping Stones
Click here for the Sahara Range of Swimming Pool Coping Stones
Click here for the Ardoise Range of Swimming Pool Coping Stones

The Intelliflo pump and why it might be worth £1,200

£1,200.00 for a pool pump? You must be joking.

No. We are serious. Read on to find out why.

The biggest drain on your wallet if you own a swimming pool is the fuel bills for your heater. If you have installed a heat pump then you have cut those costs considerably. Often overlooked is how much power is being consumed by the circulation pump. Up until now there was not much you could do about saving electricity with your pump after all it has to be on to keep the pool filtered. You can either leave it on 24 hours per day as many people do or have it come on for about 8 hours per day. A  1 horse power pump will draw 0.75Kw per hour costing about 10p per hour. 8 hours per day for a 150 day season is £120.00, leave your pump on all the time and the cost is £360.00

Think on a 10 year time scale and that is £1,200.00 in electricity plus in a 10 year period you will have to buy at least one more pump at £400.00. If you are considering a purchase now then reckon on one pump now and another in 5 to 8 years time. Below we will see how the intelliflo pump will save your electricity bill but consider also that, because of the way they are made, they will last much longer than 10 years.

The basic premise behind the intelliflo is that a reduction in the power requirement of the pump is way out of proportion to the reduction in the flow rate. A 50% reduction in the flow rate can lead to an 90% reduction in the power consumption. So run your pump for twice as long on half the flow and your filtration rate will be exactly the same but your power consumption will be down by 80%. For example if you run a 1 Horse Power pump for 12 hours per day and it will cost you about £1.00 in electricity. The intelliflo would cost 10p for that 12 hours but you will have to run it for 24 hours because you have half the flow so it will cost 20p. 20p instead of £1.00 equals an 80% saving. See below how those cost savings add up.

We take a 10m x 5m (32ft x 16ft) pool as our example.  Such a pool could have either  a 1 horse power or a 1.5 horse power pump which would typically be run 12 hours per day. The intelliflo would run 24 hours per day. An outdoor pool would typically be open for 150 days per year. We also compare the cost of an indoor pool open 365 days per year.

Typical  10m x 5m pool Daily Cost 150 day cost Saving 365 day cost Saving
Intelliflo pump, 24 hours per day 21.3p £32.00 £77.00
1HP pump, 12 hours per day £1.65 £248.00 £216.00 £595.00 £518.00
1.5HP pump, 12 hours per day £2.48 £373.00 £341.00 £895.00 £818.00

Cost saving is not the only benefit. The intelliflo is so quiet at typical low speeds that you simply cannot hear it. Even at higher speeds it is the quietest pump on the market.

What we like about the pump is the very fact that you can alter the speed it operates at to suit what you want from the pump. You can pre-set 4 speed settings in to the controls. A high speed for a thorough back wash. You can set another speed button to get optimum performance from your heater. When you are not in heat mode it can drop down to minimum flow mode and save the pennies.

The technology behind the pump is cutting edge and the motor is made from a permanent magnet. This means there are no parts that rub together which in turn means there is nothing to wear out. The pump has been on sale in America for 8 years and, so far, the replacement rate is lower than 0.5%.

If all of the above is not enough then the intelliflo pump is the ultimate eco-friendly choice of pump. All that saving in power consumption is also a saving in CO2 pumped in to the atmosphere.

The Intelliflo Pump - saves you money in the long run

When you buy from PoolStore you get a 5 year warranty.

Click here to go to the product page for prices

The pros and cons of salt water chlorination for swimming pools

In Australia and South Africa nearly all the domestic swimming pools are sanitised using salt water chlorinators. In the UK very few swimming pools use salt water chlorinators. The Aussies think we are crazy not for using salt water chlorination, so what are the pros and the cons?
At PoolStore we have recently become converts to the idea of salt water chlorination. This is mainly down to the introduction of a new product that means you can retro fit a salt water chlorinator to your pool wheras before the units were installed when the pool was first built or had to be installed by a pool professional.
The biggest and most obvious advantage of salt water chlorination is that you never have to add any chemicals to your pool ever again. Cleaning chemicals that is – chlorine, algicides, clarifiers will be a thing of the past. All you will need is pH balance chemicals now and then. No more pulling back the cover and finding the water has gone green since you last looked at it. Provided you don’t switch it off your salt water chlorinator will keep your water pristine clean all season.
The water will “feel” much nicer. This is a difficult concept to explain but the water will feel softer and more inviting. Because the salt content is much closer to that of your eye water, red eyes and eye irritation will be greatly reduced. Your fingers will not go as “wrinkly” due to the salt content and you will not come out of the pool smelling of chlorine.
So with pristine clean water for ever and no chemicals what could possibly be the downside to salt water chlorination? Well not much really. Despite what the manufacturers might claim, the water does taste salty. Not very salty,  at 10 times less salt than the sea it is not unpleasant, and after a few weeks regular users will get used to the taste and barely notice it at all.
The installation process involves putting a lot of salt in your pool. Eight 25kg bags for a 50m3 (11,000 gallon) pool. But at least you only have to do it once. You will need to keep a few bags of salt on hand because as you top up after backwashing or evaporation you will need more salt sooner or later.
The biggest disadvatage is the cost. For a 12 x 24 pool a salt water chlorinator will cost about £850.00 and the salt will cost about £100.00.  That is about 10 years worth of chemicals but factor in never having to go out there and dose your pool, except for the pH now and then, and the pay back may well seem to come a lot quicker.
We like the Zodiac EI salt chlorinator because it can be retro fitted to just about any pool.

The Zodiac EI salt water chlorinator is our favourite

Maytronics introduce a new range of automatic pool cleaners

Maytronics, the manufacturer of the Dolphin range of automatic pool cleaners have introduced two new cleaners for 2011 to replace the Dolphin Magic and the Dolphin Dynamic Plus. The new pool cleaners are called the M4 and the M5. Externally they look exactly the same but internally there are some significant differences.

First we’ll look at how the M4, full name the Dolphin Supreme M4, has improved upon the Dolphin Magic and then we’ll look at how the M5 differs from the M4.

The Dolphin Supreme M4 and M5 look alike but differ internally

The most obvious change is in the colour from the orange case of the Dolphin Magic to a more understated blue for the M4 but the Dolphin Dynamic Plus was blue before so now it is not so easy to tell them apart.

Maytronics have introduced a third roller brush to the new models. This is to give extra scrubbing power to get algea of the floor of the pool and also means that the problem that some cleaners have of getting stuck on a raised main drain is eliminated.

The Dolphin Magic had a bag to collect the debris in and so could not pick up the fine dust in the way that the Tiger Shark can. That has changed with the M4 because it now has paper filters like the Tiger Shark in two versions, fine and ultrafine but it can also have a filter bag if you prefer. Bags are easier to clean but paper filter can collect finer dirt.

When you want to take the bag or filter out to clean it on all other automatic swimming pool cleaners you have turn them on their side because the filters come out from underneath the machine. On the M4 the filters come out from the top, quite a handy little improvement.

Like all top end automatic swimming pool cleaners the Dolphin Supreme M4 will climb the walls and clean the scumline by default.

The Dolphin Supreme M5 differs from the M4 mainly because it has a wireless remote control. If the cleaner has missed a bit you can send it in to the area and make it clean up. In rectangular pools this is rarely necessary but is a very useful feature if you have free-form or kidney shaped swimming pool. As well as this the M5 tells you when the filter needs cleaning by means of a light on the transformer and the wall climbing mode can be switched off if required.

In the league table of automatic swimming pool cleaners the Dolphin Supreme M4 and M5 are clearly on top. There is no better pool cleaner but they are not cheap. At £1,420.00 and £1,995.00 they are the most expensive pool cleaners but they are definitely the best.

MultiCylone Plus blows a wind of change through pool filtration

Every year, every manufacturer claims to have produced a revolutionary new product that will change the way we look after our pools and on closer scrutiny they are just a reworking of an old product but the Multicyclone Plus is a genuine new product and we are very impressed by it.

New products that are a big improvement on what was there before are quite rare in the pool industry. The only two of note in the past few years were Sea Klear clarifier and the Nirvana Heat Pump. Now we can add the MutliCylone Plus to that very short list.

The MutliCylone Plus was developed from the MutliCylone which is a device that is placed in the pipework before a sand filter. It uses centrifugal force to pre-filter out about 80% of the dirt and so gives the sand filter much less work to do. The MutliCylone Plus takes the idea to the next logical level. If 80% of the dirt is gone then a paper filter can handle the remaining 20% quite easily. So a paper filter was placed on top of the MutliCylone and the MutliCylone Plus was born.

The technology inside the MutliCylone Plus is the same as is inside the Dyson carpet cleaner. Dyson have the patent for this technology for use in air, Waterco the manufacturer of the MutliCylone Plus have the patent for its use in water.

The MutliCylone Plus - a revolution in pool filtration

The pool water enters at the bottom and then goes through a bank of cyclones causing a vortex from which the dirt is spun out and gathers in the sediment bowl. From there the water goes through the paper filter which catches all the fine dirt that was not spun out. When the sediment bowl needs emptying just open the purge valve and only 15 litres of water is required to wash it out. The manufacturers claim that paper filter cartridge needs cleaning every 6 months but we recommend cleaning it every month or so with instant filter cleaner.

The advatages of the Multicyclone Plus include

  • It is much cheaper than a sand filter
  • It takes up much less space in your pool room than a sand filter
  • It is easier to maintain than a sand filter
  • No backwashing means a saving of thousands of litres of water
  • No backwashing means not having to heat up fresh water used to replace the backwash water
  • It is easy to install
  • No costly and time consuming sand changes.

So there must be some disadvatages to the MutliCylone Plus? Well, one big disadvatage is for the pool trade is that no filter sand changes are required so many will be reluctant to push it because it does them out of a lucrative source of work in the winter. The largest version of the MutliCylone Plus is big enough for a 75m3 pool. That is not particularly big, about a 10m x 5m or 16ft x 32ft pool. So owners of larger pools will not be able to use one on its own. Waterco do plan to develop the technology for bigger pools including comercial pools also though.

All in all we think this is a very good new product and are happy to promote it.

Installation is relatively simple. Typically you would install it directly above the outlet of your circulation pump. In the picture below a Salt Chlorinator is attached above it but in a normal installation a couple of 90 degree bends would take the pipe vertically downwards and back to the swimming pool return line. It is not very heavy and the pipes will support its weight. Alternatively there is a stand for it to sit on the ground.

The Multicyclone plus is typically installed directly above the pump outlet