Monday, May 25, 2009

Backyard Tech – Part 3, Pool Opening Made Easy

Well, it’s that time of year again. Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and I’ve got the pool opened and sparkling clean. The water is a brisk 66 °, and I’m the only one that’s foolishly gone in (yikes!) so far, but I’ll bet there’ll be a nephew or two who will throw caution to the wind today and come out with chattering teeth and blue lips, professing to all that “It’s not really so bad”.

Ah, early summer in New England… I love it.

Opening the pool is the start of the summer countdown clock for me. Mid May to mid September is usually the best you can hope for in terms of pool weather up this way. That’s roughly 120 days, not a large return on all the time you spend opening, closing and tending the darn thing. Over the years I’ve found some little shortcuts to ease the pain, and the best investment I’ve made to date is our Loop-Loc pool cover.

We used to use a cheap plastic cover with water bags to keep it in place. If you’ve ever seen this type of setup, you know that over the fall and winter, leaves, rain and snow collect on the cover, and by spring you’ve got a nasty quagmire that needs to be “ladled” off before you can budge the cover, and if you don’t get it all off, whatever you miss ends up in the pool. Yuck. After a couple of openings, I decided that there had to be a better way, and there is.

Loop-Loc makes a great mesh cover that fits tightly over the pool, almost like a trampoline. When it’s on, the pool looks like a tennis court, allowing us to get a little more use out of the area in the fall. During the off season, rain and snow melt pass through, adding back the water you had to pump out to close it, and leaves, pine needles and the like stay on top, to be blown off by either Mother Nature or my Toro leaf blower. This saves me 2 or 3 days of backbreaking work, and saves on water usage. Sweet.

It also acts as a great safety cover. Step on it, and it gives just enough to get your feet wet. No steep drop off to a putrid swamp, like with traditional covers. I don’t know how many small animals I had to fish out of the old setup, and the thought of one of the kids falling in always scared the crap out of me.

Loop-Loc makes covers for in ground and above ground pools, as well as hot tubs and spas. They’re not cheap, as you have to have them custom made for the dimensions and configuration of your pool, but they’re well worth it. Also, if you’re going to do it, you should let a pool service company install it for you. If your measurements are off, or you install the pop up fasteners in the wrong spots, you could end up with big problems.

Check them out, and have a safe and happy holiday!

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