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How to Choose a Pool Company
Building a new swimming pool or hot tub is a large investment and comes with a considerable number of factors. Knowing how to compare pool company options is one of the best ways to be sure you get what you’ve always wanted without getting ripped off in the process.
How to Choose the Right Swimming Pool Contractor
Make a Plan for Installing a Pool
Before contacting a pool and hot tub installation company, do a bit of homework and have a plan for what you’d like the company to price out. Did you want it above ground with a deck? Or perhaps in- ground swimming with a built-in spa and water feature? Are you considering a lap pool or one with a large sun bathing platform?
Plan around Your Geography
Remember to take into account the geography and weather conditions in your area. Some pool styles are better suited to different climates. For example, if you are going to heat your swimming pool or home spa on a regular basis, larger ones will be much more expensive to heat. An above ground pool heater will work differently than in-ground options.
Check Out the Local Builders
The internet is a great place to do some easy research on what types of builders operate in your area. You’ll want to do more extensive research later, but if you notice a company is followed by a bad reputation even on a casual search, it is probably a good idea to go ahead and strike them from your list early on.
See what the companies specialize in and you’ll have a good idea of what works best for your home. Are the companies building above ground pools? Gunite? Fiberglass? See what they build and get more ideas about the style you’re considering.
Do Some Reading on Pool Parts
There are components to a new build that you need to have at least a basic awareness of before you contact builders. Read through some websites and guides to learn about the different types of filters, chlorination devices, pumps, skimmers, solar pool heaters, hot tub spa options and more. Without knowing the pieces of the pool, it would be hard to have a good discussion with a builder.
Build a List of Possible Companies
When you’re ready to pull the trigger on the new swimming pool, take your time and build a list of possible builders. Gather the names of companies from recommendations from friends and neighbors. Neighborhood forums might have posts about good and bad experiences with companies. Local area internet searches can bring up more options as well. You can even swing by a home with a new one under construction to ask the homeowner about the company who is doing the work.
Investigate the Builders
Before getting any bids, investigate the builders more carefully. With so many review and rating websites available, you can find information about builders easily. Check websites for reviews and customer experiences. Look for pool and hot tub ratings. Check to see how long the companies have been in business and what their track record is with issues and complaints.
Avoid builders without a history of doing business – they may be scam or a fly-by-night company that gets a deposit, digs a hole and leaves you with a huge mess. You don’t necessarily have to eliminate companies that have made mistakes in the past. If you can find evidence that the company handled the mistake appropriately, it might be a sign of a company with a long history of many successes and a professionally-managed issue or two along the way.
Schedule estimates within a few days of each other so that you can make easy comparisons. Anticipate a different sales pitch from each builder that focuses on different building techniques and equipment. Since you’ve already familiarized yourself with these, you should be able to see through jargon to understand what the company is offering. Gather information, but don’t be enticed into signing a contract during the estimate.
Make a Rational Decision
This is a big investment and companies will try hard to get your business. Look past fancy software programs or hard sell tactics to what the reviews have to say when you compare hot tub and pool companies.
Look for what the company is actually offering. Compare hot tubs, pool options, spa options and every component of the build. Make a choice based on what you want in your backyard and how much you feel you can trust the builder to deliver those elements. You can haggle and ask builders to match other offers during the decision-making process.
Get It in Writing
Anything discussed, agreed to or decided between you and the salesperson should be in writing. This includes and freebies or extra services the salesman promises. If it’s not in your written contact, you can’t count on getting it. Push to have everything in writing and review the contract carefully before signing.
One thing to be sure you see written in your contract is appropriate payment terms. The pool company will request a large deposit and additional payments throughout the build. Arrange the payments, if possible, so that you pay as little as possible upfront and the remainder of payments after each stage is complete. Your final payment should not be made until the entire project is completed in its entirety. This keeps the company motivated to please you and finish the project in a timely manner.
Enjoy Your Swimming Pool
Finally, you can relax and enjoy the process of building and then eventually swimming in your new pool. If you’ve done your homework, checked the reviews, and stayed diligent about the contract and process, you should have no doubts about your pool and hot tub quality and can focus entirely on having fun.
How to Clean a Pool or Spa
A swimming pool or spa will need to be cleaned on a weekly basis during the swimming season. This cleaning process ensures the water is clean and safe for swimming activities. While some choose to outsource the cleaning to a swimming pool service, you can easily clean it yourself as part of your weekly home maintenance.
Use the Skimmer
Remove leaves, bugs and debris from the top of your pool using a long-handled skimmer. You may choose to do this more than once per week to avoid having debris settle to the bottom of the swimming pool where it may leave stains or marks.
Scrub with a Brush
A long-handled brush will help you remove any dirt or film that has accumulated along the edges, sides or the bottom of the pool. Scrub the dirt toward the main drain for easy vacuuming.
Use Your Vacuum
Your pool’s vacuum will be one of your best tools for cleaning. Submerge the vacuum head and hose, then turn on the vacuum to filter the water.
The skimmers and filters inside your pool should be cleared and cleaned at least once per week, if not more frequently. This will allow you to remove debris before it makes the filters less productive. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning the filters.
Circulate the Water
Run the pool pump to be sure that all of the water has moved through the strainer, skimmers, drains and filters. This will ensure that the water is properly cleaned by the system and that all chemicals have been properly distributed.
Test and Shock the Water
Test your pool water on a regular basis to determine what chemicals you need to add to be sure it is in excellent condition. Shock the water regularly to remove algae, dirt, bacteria and other organic materials.
A swimming pool requires regular maintenance. By taking care of your pool or spa, you can relax and enjoy the water knowing that it is clean and safe for you and your family.