Yes!

We get this question a lot, and there are a few reasons that a building permit is not only required, but a benefit to homeowners:

1. Liability- Having a building permit in place protects you as the homeowner from a number of liabilities throughout the project. What happens if someone gets hurt while working on your property? A building permit requires contractors to be licenced, insured, and bonded in many cases. If an injury or property damage were to occur, your pool builder’s insurance will cover the costs.

2. Inspections- Most municipal building departments have an inspector visit your home during the construction of your pool project. The inspector’s role is to examine and verify that your pool is being built to national and local safety standards. Some of the inspections include: underground plumbing, electric, and gas line, electrical bonding, and final pool/barrier.

3. Piece of Mind- Working with a reputable pool installer who is licenced, insured, and bonded can be a great step towards knowing you are getting the best possible installation of your new swimming pool. Stay away from contractors who insist that you don’t need a permit, or ask you to apply for the permit yourself. Many times these companies are not willing to comply with industry standards of construction or do not have proper liability insurance.

If you have questions about building permits for your new fiberglass pool project feel free to contact us or give Signature Pools a call at 630.845.1145

  One of the top priorities of Signature Pools is to educate our customers on proper safety and maintenance of their fiberglass swimming pools.  So it grieves us to hear of the first ever accident of any kind when speaking to one of our previous customers. 

Recently, a customer shared with us the unfortunate news that their beloved family dog had wandered into the backyard unattended and fell into the swimming pool.  Although the dog was a special part of the family, she had lived a full 16 years and eventually suffered from loss of sight.  Due to her age and eye sight, the dog was unable to find its way out of the pool and unfortunately passed away as a result.

We at Signature Pools send our condolences to the family and would also like to take a moment to remind our customers just how serious pools safety should be taken.  Always be sure to keep all access points to the pool area closed and secure whenever an adult is not within eyesight of the entire pool surface.  A locking auto-cover can offer another layer of safety and protection for your family.  Not only will the cover prevent leaves and debris from blowing in the pool when closed,  but also prevents unauthorized access to the pool when locked.  Additionally, after-market pool safety devices can be purchased that will sound an audible alarm if the pool surface is disrupted.  Most importantly, teaching children about pool safety and the dangers of swimming without an adult present is the most effective way to ensure a safe swimming environment for the entire family.

Although our customer suffered the loss of a family pet, we are all reminded that the outcome could have been much worse if a child was left unattended by the pool.  The accident serves as a stern reminder that pool safety is a serious matter and needs to be treated as such.  But with safeguards in place, a backyard pool can serve as a great retreat and offer endless summers of family fun.

If you have questions or concerns about swimming pool safety please feel free to Contact Signature Pools or call us at 630.845.1145.

A local Chicago land pool builder, and one of the nations top 50 pool builders, has been accused of illegally disposing of hazardous materials on their property in South Barrington, Illinois.  You can read more of the story here or here.

Barrington Pools, Inc is a builder of in ground, concrete swimming pools and has projects throughout the greater Chicago land area, Wisconsin and Indiana.  The construction of these types of pools requires a large amount of chemicals to be added to the water and poses a storage and disposal problem for companies dealing with hazardous or caustic materials. 

Many companies who previously have build concrete pools have switched to fiberglass pool construction for this and many other reasons.  Not only are less chemicals used in a fiberglass pool, but the construction time, maintenance and service costs are significantly less than with a concrete pool.  If you have questions or concerns about the safety of pool chemicals please feel free to contact us or call 630.845.11545 for more information.

Fiberglass Pool:  Start to Finish

Signature Pools has mailed out the 2010 Pool Closing Letter to our existing and previous clients.  You will be receiving your letter within a few days, and can schedule a pool closing on the form provided. 

To be sure that your pool is closed correctly, and in a timely manner, please follow these pool closing guidelines: 

1) Have all water pumped off of your pool cover
2) Have power turned on to your pool equipment
3) Have water temperature of pool set at a minimum of 65 degrees
4) Have winter cover on your pool deck or nearby so our technicians have it available for installation (only applicable if you have a winter cover)
5) Please unlock gates to pool area for easy access of our technicians

 Many customer ask us: “When should I close my pool?”

Our answer depends on two things:

1. The weather- if we experience a mild weather pattern for the fall, many customers don’t mind keeping their pool open until the middle of October.  In this case it is important to keep your pool water circulating during the evening hours  in the event that it happens to fall below freezing overnight.  If it becomes unseasonably cold in the early fall, many customers are likely to have their pool closed right after the Labor Day holiday weekend.

2. Energy Savings-  Obviously, the cooler it gets outside the more you have to run your pool heater.  Some customers don’t mind paying the extra cost to extend their swimming season into the late fall months.  Also keep in mind that you will have to run your pool pump longer to ensure water is constantly circulating through the pool and equipment.

**Keeping you pool or spa open all winter is not recommended.  We have seen customers try and keep their equipment running throughout the winter months and the risk is usually too great.  Any sort of power failure or tripped circuit breaker will shut down the electric to the equipment- and it only takes a few minutes for water to freeze when exposed to the harshest of Midwest winters.**

Whether you have your pool closed down right after Labor Day or choose to keep swimming until the first signs of snow, the decision is ultimately up to you.  Signature Pools is able to accommodate for your swimming season and we are available to close your pool whenever you would like.  If you have questions about getting your pool closed for the winter or would like further information, please feel free to Contact Signature Pools or give us a call at 630.845.1145

Fiberglass pool waterfallSo much of the appeal to owning a backyard swimming pool is the SOUND of water splashing and flowing, the laughter of kids playing, and the relaxing evenings spent in your very own oasis.  A large contributing factor to the pleasing scenery you’ve created is the type and style of water feature, water fall or fountain you choose for your pool.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when making a selection in your backyard.

The farther the fall, the larger the sound.  It makes logical sense that Niagara Falls is louder than a water fountain, yet both sources produce the sound of running water.  Make sure the water fall you select is proportionate to the size and environment of the rest of your backyard.  A 10′ water fall sounds great, but may not be the best fit for a 12×20 swimming pool.  Conversely, adding just 2 deck jets to a 16’x40′ pool and spa with a pergola and 1200 sq/ft of deck space may not be appropriate either.  The water feature’s size and sound should match the overall scope and esthetic of the project.

If you have questions about water features, water falls or fountains for your swimming pool, feel free to contact us at 630.845.1145 for further information.

pool vacuumKeeping up with maintenance on your swimming pool involves several things, including chemical balancing, equipment checks and cleaning of your pool.  By far the most common way to remove dirt and debris from a swimming pool is to vacuum the steps, benches and floor of the pool.  Here are a few reminders to consider the next time you vacuum your pool.

 

1. Turn off the heater:  Most pool heaters require a high volume of water to be running through them in order to operate properly.  Using a manual vacuum can restrict water flow and cause damage to your heater.  Make sure the filter pump is primed and in high speed before turning the heater back on.

2. Fill vacuum hose with water:  After assembling the vac head and hose to the pole, submerge the entire hose in the pool to fill it completely with water.  Another easy way to do this is to hold the other end of the vac hose up to a return jet in the pool.  Once the vacuum head stops bubbling air it will rest on the bottom of the pool.  Now you can insert the hose into the skimmer line without sucking air through the pump.

3. Adjust equipment valves for better suction:  On a typical equipment setup there is a valve on the filter pump that controls the amount of suction on both the skimmer line and floor/wall drains of the pool.  Once you have hooked up the manual vacuum to your skimmer line you can adjust the amount of suction on the vacuum by adjusting the valve at the equipment.  Make sure you don’t turn off the wall/floor drain completely.  The vacuum will restrict water flow through the equipment and the pump will  eventually cavitate if this happens.  Only close off the wall/floor drain valve until your hear the pump start to hesitate, then back off just a little bit.

4. Work the vacuum aross the width of the pool:  This may just be a personal preference, but I find that starting in the shallow end of the pool and vacuuming a section of the width of the pool rather than going the length is much easier.  This way you can make sure you don’t miss any spots in the middle.

5. Remove the vac hose from the skimmer first: This is an important step that prevents sucking air through the skimmer and filter pump.  Make sure to always keep the vacuum submerged in the water and never pull it out before first disconnecting from the skimmer first.

By following these 5 steps you will be able to vacuum your pool safely and efficiently every time!  If you have questions about this or any other pool maintenance service, feel free to contact Signature Pools at 630.845.1145 or send us an email service@signaturepoolschicago.com

Pentair filter gaugeThis is a great question that I wish more people would ask!  As I’ve said many times before, lots of our customers think that as long as their pool water is clear, everything is working great with chemicals and equipment.  This can’t be farther from the truth!  Although clean, clear water is one indication of a healthy pool environment, it is by no means the ONLY indicator.  Checking chemicals and maintaining your swimming pool equipment on a regular basis is crucial to a safe and worry-free swimming season.

One indicator you will need to notice regularly is the pressure gauge on your cartridge filter.  This tells you how much back pressure is being created by the system.  As your filters get dirty, the pressure goes up.  Once this pressure reaches 10 lbs higher than normal operating pressure, you know it’s time to clean the filters.  After cleaning the filters, you can reset the ‘clean’ dial on the gauge- the ‘dirty’ indicator will point to 10 lbs higher than ‘clean’.

 So when is it time to REPLACE the filters completely? When the pressure does not lower after cleaning. 

Typically, you will get 3-5 seasons out of your cartridge filters before needing to replace them.  Just make sure to keep up with cleanings throughout the summer.

 If you have questions about your cartridge filters, or would like to schedule a service call to have them cleaned or replaced, please feel free to contact us at 630.845.1145 or send us an email here.

Wall drain

Lately I have noticed several articles printed in local newspapers and in online sources that talk about the Virginia Graeme Baker act of 2008 and how it relates to swimming pool safety.  The law is intended to protect swimmers at a public pool  from entrapment due to equipment suction.  For details of this law and its requirements please visit HERE.

Many customers have asked about this law and how it relates to the RESIDENTIAL swimming pool industry.  Here are are few things to keep in mind when considering the safety of your backyard pool.

 The Virginia Graeme Baker act (VGB) does not currently apply to residential swimming pools at the national level. only public swimming pools are required to comply.  However, some local municipalities may enforce portions of the law for backyard pools as well.

Is your swimming pool builder knowledgeable and up to speed on the requirements of the law, and can he provide your residential pool with the same safety systems now required for public pools?  Signature Pools and Spas uses several ‘layers’ of protection to ensure a safe swimming environment for our clients.  Dual wall drains have replaced single floor drains, approved safety covers are used on all of our suction outlets, atmospheric vacuum release systems and SVRS pumps are available on all of our pool equipment systems.

Here at Signature Pools we strive to educate our clients on all facets of their swimming pool project and industry developments as a whole.  If you have questions about the safety of your fiberglass swimming pool or equipment, please feel free to contact us.  Even if we haven’t built your pool we’d like to help.  Call us today at 630.845.1145 to find out more or to schedule a consultation for your very own Signature Pool and Spa.