Consideration when changing your Backyard in to a “Backyard Vacation” Destination!

Your Backyard Vacation experience is limited only by your imagination and of course, your budget… You can get into a “good” (see warning #1) Above-Ground Pool with an adequately sized pump and filter, with a 10-year warranty, from approximately $2,300.00 (you pick up on a pallet and install) to a fully enclosed, fully automatic, “free form” shaped In-Ground Pool installed with an investment of over $175,000.00 or more! And obviously we have many packages in between. Keep in mind, we don’t want to “sell” you a pool, we want you to be a part of our Woods Pools family. Last year we built a pool for the grandchild of one of the pool owners we installed back in the late 1960’s… And, unfortunately, we hear every summer from those that tried to save a buck and went to the competition, only to call us up to service what the others did not complete or to replace the cheaper products used on their pool that need to be replaced prematurely…

At Woods Pools, we believe in that “quality” and “functionality” in most cases takes priority over “sales fluff” and “cheap attempts” to beat the system. When it comes to pool or spa “ownership” and “usefulness” – there truly is a vast gap between initial costs and long-term satisfaction and a total enjoyment experience. Over the years, we have seen a good share of both. From our experience, you need to consider the costs both initial and future, and the upkeep time requirements regardless of what you decide. We also believe that Good “quality” and “functionality” in the long term, does not cost that much more, and in many cases, actually save time and money… A pool is a luxury, but it doesn’t have to cause more problems than the degree of enjoyment it provides… The reason you want a pool is family enjoyment… not “something more to do”… or extreme “additional costs to pay”… Initial planning and knowledge can save time, money, and hours of frustration in the future!

If you are within our Installation And Service Area, your first decision is: Do you want us to do all the leg work or do you want to participate in the process? Note: we are here for you at any point in the process: Contact us to schedule a free appointment with one of our pool advisors and/or continue reading on for more written information intended to help you. We have served our area for over 50 years with reliable quality products and services.

If you’re thinking of a New “Swimming Pool”; Is an In-Ground Pool or an Above-Ground Pool, the better choice?

Consider the following:

How much room do you have in your backyard?

Based on your local zoning, do you have enough distance from buildings, sewer systems, lot lines etc.? What are the zoning requirements for your area? Are there any trees or overhead wires to consider? Do you have or will you need a fence? Are you in a high-water table where an In-Ground Pool would be impossible?

How many swimmers do you expect to use the pool?

Will it be just you and your spouse? Do you have kids now and potentially more along the way? Remember kids have friends and with a pool your house will be more popular… Like a magnet… You too will be more prone to invite people over to enjoy your new backyard experience…

Do you want a diving board?

A diving board will provide hours of pool enjoyment and is very good exercise when utilized properly. When considering a diving board, you will need to consider at least a 16×32 in-ground pool. (Above Ground pool owners should generally not consider utilizing a diving board. People have adapted then to use a diving board but is not recommended.) The 16×32 pool is the smallest pool size with the proper depth, distance, and slop to allow for safe diving. Another consideration when thinking of a diving board is your homeowner’s insurance. We are told that some companies’ coverage will have a higher premium if you have a diving board. Even so, watching an experienced swimmer diving is a great experience. The smooth action as they slide into the water is fun to watch.

How about a slide or a water feature like a fountain or a waterfall rock?

How long do you expect to live in your current home?

If you are planning to move within 3-6 years maybe a more portable Above-Ground Pool might be better for you. You cannot have a diving board on an Above-Ground Pool, but they can be disassembled and moved if needed…

If your budget is a primary consideration, do not get lured into buying a “cheap pool” from your local department or grocery store… These pools are what we consider a “throw-away” pool… They are mass-produced, usually overseas, for mass marketing to impulse purchasers. You will have a large quantity of water to maintain – sometimes several thousand gallons – with usually inferior and inadequate equipment. (Our hot tubs have a larger filter than some of these pools…) Stagnant water leads to dark algae-filled stinky water and most people will not find this appealing. Watch your local garage sales that include these pools for as low as $5.00 each… There is a reason for this… Note: If this has already happened to you, don’t be embarrassed, call us. We have a “better” pump and filter that will help, (but is still not what we would prefer to see you experience…)

How long do you expect the pool to be used?

(See warning #1) Do you have young children, or are they about ready to leave for college? Are you new to pools and simply want to “try” a pool, to see if your kids will use it? If you plan on retiring at your current home, with lots of kids and grandkids, maybe you should consider an In-Ground Pool as a long-term investment. We still service today pools that we installed when the business began in the late 1960s.

Are you on a tight budget now? If so, then we suggest utilizing “delayed gratification”… (see warning #1) Start a savings account today designated for your new pool. Then, utilize public pools until you can afford a good quality pool of your own& Keep in mind, this will only be temporary! Also, ask your Woods Pools advisor about our lay-away program to obtain a good quality pool at today’s prices for installation at a later date… You will be happier in the long run. (See Warning #1)

How much do you expect to invest in the pool?
Do you have access to the required financing? Are you considering the ongoing costs of pool ownership? What about maintenance time? You will need to consider the time needed to keep your pool clean and the water properly treated and balanced. We are here to help in this area. The industry is continually developing with new automation coming out nearly every year. From the automation used to the chemical treatments available, we are here to help…

Further Considerations:

Will you be able to enclose your pool initially or down the road?
A pool heater will extend the usefulness of your pool, even outdoors. But, keep in mind the air temperature usually keeps most people out of the pool in the early spring or late fall. On an outdoor pool, a heater will usually buy you a few more weeks on both ends for the dedicated swimmer… It also keeps your pool more usable during the cooler summer nights. There are several heater choices to consider: Wood, Natural Gas, LP, Heat Pumps, or Geo-Thermal… Your current and long-term budget should be closely considered when considering which choice is right for you. Contact us for more information.

Here in Michigan, a good winter cover is also a major consideration. There are a variety of choices. Cover choices start with a basic canvas cover (included standard on our Above-Ground pool packages), progress to manually installed Safety Covers (included in our Woods Pools, In-Ground Deluxe Packages), and then top out with automatic safety covers. Again, your current and long-term budget should be closely considered when considering which choice is right for you… We can install a high-quality Automatic cover but want our customers forewarned that for an outdoor pool in our Michigan climate; they are a somewhat expensive option and prone to high maintenance costs over the life of the pool…

Once your pool is installed, who and how will the pool maintenance be handled? Each year we offer free Woods Pools Pool Schools, free to the public to help educate every pool owner in the proper techniques to enjoy your pool (contrasted to always working on your pool). Currently, available items to automate your pool vary from basic pump timers to fully automated systems that control the water chemistry, circulation, and basic sanitizing. Automatic robotic cleaners are available to keep your pool free of debris. Maintenance programs are also available from Woods Pools, Inc. that range from Openings, Closing, and Winterizing, to complete weekly maintenance and cleaning, to the liner, plumbing, pump, and/or filter service as needed…

Do you need to be a chemist to keep your water blue and sparkling?
The quick answer is no. This is where teaming up with a professional pool store is to your advantage. This is also where purchasing good quality equipment and chemicals pays off!

There are 3 basic areas to consider for water that remains clean and sparkling. These are:

  1. Circulation
  2. Filtration
  3. Water Sanitation and Chemistry

The proper Circulation is based on the pump, plumbing, and the length of time you allow your pump to run. If the pump has been sized properly for the size of the pool, you should be able to allow your pump to run for 8-12 hours per day. Some people do allow them to run 24/7. There are obviously variations and the actual time your pump should run should be based on your pool and equipment. (see warning #1)

Pool water Filtration is generally broken down into three types of filters. These are

  1. Paper Cartridge Filters
  2. Sand Filters
  3. DE Filters (Diatomaceous Earth)

In general, we prefer the DE filter over the other three and include these in our Woods Pools Deluxe pool packages. The main and simple reason is, they filter out a finer particle of debris and tend to keep your water cleaner. The less debris, the less likely you are to have an algae bloom. This also tends to allow you to keep your sanitizer at a slightly lower level which in turn means using fewer chemicals. People with sensitive skin may also notice less irritation. We also install a multi-port valve on these filters which gives you more options when it comes to maintaining your pool.

The sand filters and paper cartridges can do an OK job under some circumstances, especially for indoor pools. They cost less initially (this is a major reason some manufacturers and pool dealers include them in their packages. Generally speaking, they will cost more in chemicals and maintenance, especially if you experience an algae bloom. If this happens it is usually more expensive and takes longer to eliminate the algae in pools with this type of equipment.

Water Sanitation and Chemistry considerations should start while planning your backyard experience… Again, this can be broken down into 3 basic areas. They are:

  1. Water Balance
  2. Water Sanitizing
  3. Water Treatment Options

Water Balance generally refers to the acidity or base of your pool water. This includes the Ph and Alkalinity of the water. If the water is high in alkalinity it will tend to pull the Ph up and will allow metals within the water like calcium and iron to come out of the solution and attach themselves onto the surface of your liner, ladders, and steps. They will begin to look discolored and in extreme long-term cases will begin to have a “sandpaper-type” feeling. If the Alkalinity and Ph are very low, then the water is considered to be acidic. This condition is hard on your pump, and plumbing and can irritate the skin of many swimmers. Either high or low alkalinity or Ph is not recommended and is easy to monitor and treat.

Water Sanitization, is the “killing” or oxidizing of the bacteria in the water, which can be accomplished by several methods. The most common form of sanitizer now and in the past has been chlorine. Chlorine is available sodium-based or calcium based (these should not be mixed in small feeders) Chlorine comes in liquid, tablet, or granular forms. Other forms of chlorine like bromine are also used. Bromine is more common in indoor pools or hot tubs. Other sanitizers that are hydrogen peroxide based are also promoted through the industry. These are usually presented as being less toxic, less abrasive to the skin, and a more “Green” form of sanitization. From our experience, chlorine is still the best, most economical method for most pool sanitization. Contact us if you have additional questions about pool sanitization.

Buyers Beware when purchasing pool chemicals. Pool chemical manufacturers have gotten very sneaky about how they formulate pool chemicals. Liquid chlorine for example is sold in 7% to 12.5% solutions. It could take over 5 times the amount of 7% solution chlorine to get to the same chlorine level in your pool water as it does of the 12.5% solution. What can appear to be significant savings when you purchase the product will actually cost you more to properly treat your water… Mass Marketers and even sometimes your locally owned grocery store can get caught selling these items because in some cases even they think they are saving you money. This same principle can hold true for the concentration levels found in algaecides, tablet or granular chlorines and balancing products. Read the label before purchasing. Know what additives are within these chemicals. We hear every spring of “bathtub type rings” stuck along the waterline of pools that have been closed over the winter. These “rings” are usually found when the homeowner had purchased what they thought was the same product for less… over the internet or at their local mass marketing big box store… Note: We shop at these stores too, just not for pool or spa chemicals…

Water Treatment Options:

If owning a “Green” environmentally friendly pool is important and/or if someone in your family has sensitive skin, we suggest utilizing a chlorine or “salt” generator, like the Hayward Aqua Rite system, and/or adding a borate product such as the Ocean Blue that we offer. The generator will actually make high-grade chlorine out of salt within the pool. Because it utilizes what is already in the pool the alkalinity and Ph remain more balanced and less treatment is required. Again, because it “makes” chlorine as needed, the chlorine is usually kept at a more controlled, lower level which makes the water less abrasive to the skin. The Ocean Blue actually tends to “soften” the pool water and takes out the carbon dioxide that is needed for algae or bacterial growth. This product is also available for the “salt” pools in the form of Salt Support or for hot tubs Simply Soft.

Note: chemists tell us that less than 1% of the population is actually medically “Allergic” to chlorine… What most people react to is out-of-balance water or the “chloramines” that are in the water. Chloramines are basically the salts that are formed when chlorine “kills” bacteria. When the levels get too high, you smell “chlorine” and the water is very irritating. Chemically “Shocking” the water with a non-chlorine Shock or super-chlorinating with the generator takes care of this situation. Also, See Warning #2. We have found that “cheaper” chemicals (the additives within) can also sometimes create skin irritation and reactions in some people…

What are other variables in pool ownership? There are many, many other variables that can impact the ease or difficulty of maintaining your pool… What is the pool size? How often does it get used? How many people use the pool? What is the “hygiene factor” of the people in the pool? How much and what kinds of make-up, hair spray, suntan lotions, etc. are being introduced into the pool water? What types and quality chemicals are being utilized to treat the pool water? (Refer to Warning #2) When and how often is the water being tested and treated? How many trees and or shrubs are within the wind of the pool? Do you or any neighbors (on a windy day that can be quite a distance away…) utilize lawn pesticides or fertilizers? On the initial filling of the pool, what is the water source and initial quality? How does the source water test for re-filling the pool after evaporation and/or splash out? If you are on municipal water, are they adding phosphates to their lines? Even the recent rain and how acidic it was can affect your pool water quality…

A good pool professional is a great asset… At Woods Pools, Inc. we are open all year round (contact us for current hours) to assist with in-door pools and local schools, hotels, and other commercial accounts. We offer free water testing and a complete line of pool and Spa chemicals, cleaners, and parts. We attend major pool and patio shows and training workshops to stay on top of what is happening in the industry.

Are you considering a Hot-Tub rather than a pool?

Many of the questions are the same… How many people do you want to be able to utilize the tub at one time? How many will be using it within a week?

The amount of water is much less but you still need to maintain proper circulation, filtration, and the water chemistry must be checked frequently and treated as needed. The smaller amount of water actually makes foreign substances in the water (like suntan lotions and make-up) will have a higher degree of an impact than within a large body of water like a pool… With a hot tub, it is in many ways more important to maintain properly balanced water. If the alkalinity gets too high for very long, the metals in the water begin to come out of the solution and can form scale on your heater and plumbing. If this is allowed to continue, it may short out or at least make the heater work less efficiently. This increases your operating costs and diminishes the life expectancy of your tub. Repair costs can get costly if proper maintenance is not a priority.

Hot tubs in many cases are utilized year-round. It is a very invigorating experience to walk out into the freezing temperatures of Michigan into the heat of a good well working tub. This too does present other issues… You need to make sure the tub continues to circulate. If you have an extended power outage or if you go on vacation and the breaker trips, you may end up with a block of ice for a hot tub. Usually, when this happens, there are many items frozen and broken. It can also short out the electrical components in the tub.

What about having Both a Hot tub and a Pool built together? Again, this is something that can and has been done. We can install jets within swim-outs or within steps that utilize the same pump and filter that your pool uses. Keep in mind that if you do this, you will not be able to enjoy your tub in the winter if your pool is outdoors and you close it for the winter. We suggest keeping your pool and spa separate. Even if you close your hot tub in the winter, you will probably keep it going longer than you would your pool.

In today’s society, information is money. Our entire approach is to help you enjoy your backyard pool or spa with the least amount of cost and headaches possible… We have been accused of trying to talk people out of purchasing our own products by telling them what we have learned. If this seems to be the case here, it is not. We truly want you to be armed with the information you should have to make an honest, well-thought-out decision on how to enjoy your backyard vacation. Although much of what we have said here “sounds” difficult and time-consuming… the actual time needed to maintain a properly designed pool or hot tub can be minimal… What takes up time and eats up your money are poor quality products, inadequately sized pumps, or inferior filters, chemicals, or additives that you would not knowingly use in the water for your family.

We thank you for considering Woods Pools, Inc. for your next backyard project and hope that you have found this information useful. The reason you want a pool is family enjoyment… not excessive “something more to do”… or extreme “additional costs to pay”… Initial planning and knowledge can save time, money, and hours of frustration in the future!