Monthly Archives: May 2019

The Pool Owner’s Guide to Choosing Sunscreen

Don’t let a sunburn ruin your staycation! Skip the painful experience (not to mention the long-term risks) by choosing the right sun protection and using it correctly. Despite the confusing mish mash of 3-letter acronyms on the array of bottles filling the sun care aisle, picking the right sunscreen for your needs is easier than you might think. We’re going to break it down for you, so you can stop wasting time reading so many labels and get back to swimming!

UVA vs UVB

In reference to the sun’s rays, UV stands for ultraviolet. UVA are the long wave light spectrum rays that reach us from the sun, while UVB are the short wave light rays. UVB causes sunburn while UVA reaches deeper into skin and at first appearance only causes a tan. Until the last couple of decades, all sunscreen only protected against UVB rays (and many types of sunscreen still only guard against UVB rays) because we didn’t know we needed to be concerned with anything except sunburn-causing UVB. Scientists now know that UVA rays, while they don’t cause immediate visible damage, can cause wrinkles and premature aging, and can damage the skin’s DNA cells, leading to cancer. Which is why many sunscreens now incorporate protection for both UVA and UVB rays, commonly labeled “broad spectrum”.

For full protection against the sun’s damage, you’ll want to choose sunscreen that says it protects against both UVA and UVB rays on the label, or specifies that it offers broad spectrum protection. In addition, for swimming, go for a waterproof or “water resistant” choice.

SPF

We’re all familiar with those common SPF numbers on our sunscreen labels, but have you wondered what that means exactly? SPF stands for “sun protection factor” and the number correlates to how many more minutes you can be in the sun without your skin reddening than if you had no protection. So, if you generally started to burn after 15 minutes in the sun, SPF 15, would extend that by another 15 minutes. SPF 50 would extend that timeframe by an extra 50 minutes. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using an SPF of 30 or higher for any extended outdoor activity.

Proper Application

Are you guilty of applying a quick layer of sunscreen after you go outside, just before you jump into the pool? We’ve probably all done that at one point, but that won’t give your skin the protection you need. Instead, apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going into the sun. Then, reapply every two hours at minimum, or after swimming or sweating excessively. Don’t forget all of your skin; ears, hairline, lips, and hands are commonly missed spots. Plus, you did know you should apply sunscreen to your entire body before putting on your swimming suit, right? That’s right, the sun’s radiation penetrates clothing, and most material doesn’t offer enough protection.

Extra Protection

Exposed skin isn’t the only part that needs protection from the sun! Protect your eyes with UV blocking sunglasses, and wear a heat when possible. We recommend choosing UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) swimsuits and clothing as well. Regular fabrics offer a tiny amount of sun protection, but if you go for a UPF suit, you can get sun protection of 50+, which completely voids the need to wear sunscreen under your suit or clothes.

When you follow these guidelines, you can go out into the sunshine and enjoy your pool with full confidence you’re taking all the right steps to protect your skin!

Now, that you now how to protect yourself and you’re almost certainly planning to spend the entire summer by the pool, how about a new lounge chair so you can read a book in complete comfort when you take a break from the water? Got questions, please contact us and we’re glad to help!

Don’t Stay Indoors! UPF Clothing Helps You Enjoy Your Pool Again

There’s no better way to enjoy a summer day than by splashing in your pool with your family and friends! However, did you know it can take as little as 10-15 minutes of bright sun to get a bad sunburn? And since a sunburn is not only painful, but damages your skin, causes wrinkles, and can cause Melanoma skin cancer, figuring out a way to protect your skin from the sun while still being free to enjoy your pool is paramount.

Slathering up with sunscreen can be effective, but most people don’t use it in a way that provides the maximum protection. To really be effective, it needs to be applied about 30 minutes before you go into the sun and reapplied every two hours or every time you come out of the pool after swimming. What’s more, it’s recommended that you apply sunscreen before you put on your swimsuit because, while all swimsuits and clothing provide a little bit of protection, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays penetrate most materials and the protection they can provide is not enough. So, where can you find safer, more effective, and easier-to-use sun protection? With UPF clothing!

SPF vs UPF Sun Protection

Just like how sunscreen uses those familiar SPF (Sun Protection Factor) ratings, sun-protective clothing uses a similar scale. When it comes to clothes, you’re looking for the UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating. Unlike its sunscreen counterpart, which typically is tested to just block the sun’s UVB rays, UPF clothing blocks both UVA and UVB rays. When you purchase a UPF swimsuit or clothing, the label will show you the level of sun protection.

*UPF 15-20 is “Good” sun protection. This is the lowest UPF rating you can buy on clothing. Anything lower than 15 is not considered to protect against UV rays. For an idea, a standard, lightweight summer t-shirt has a UPF rating of 5.

**UPF 25-35 is “Very Good” sun protection. A rating of 25 means it blocks out 96% UV radiation

***UPF 35-50+ is “Excellent” sun protection. A rating of 50 means it blocks out 98% UV radiation. UPF ratings stop after 50, but 50+ means it blocks even more than 98%.

How UPF Clothing Works

It’s a combination of material and the tightness of the thread weave that allows UPF clothing to block ultraviolet rays. The fabrics, usually a nylon blend, actually have some of the active ingredients (like zinc oxide) that you find in sunscreen, but it doesn’t wash out. Over time, the protection fades and very worn or threadbare clothes should be replaced. Check the labels of the brands you’re interested in, but typically, UPF clothing is rated to last through approximately 2 years of normal wear.

Keep in mind that UPF clothing replaces the need for sunscreen, but only for the parts of your skin it covers. You’ll still want to slather sunscreen over your face, neck, and any other exposed skin. This means, for the most protection, you’ll want to swim with a UPF one-piece suit, long trunks, or a rash guard, at least during the sun’s peak hours during the day. You can always don your favorite bikini for evening swims!

Now that you’re in the know when it comes to protecting yourself against the sun’s rays, would you like to wear that UPF swimsuit in your own pool instead of the city pool? Check out our inground and above ground pools for inspiration for your own backyard!

Your Handy Checklist for Safe Swimming!

Pool season will be here soon and we know that beyond the swimming, splashing, and games, the number one priority for every pool owner is safety! With that in mind, we’ve compiled this checklist so you can know that you’re taking every precaution needed.

Physical Pool Safety Tips

►Have a fence or barrier around your pool.

► Make sure your fence and gate are in perfect working order.

► Never leave the gate open or prop it open, and make sure it has a lock (a self-locking safety gate is best).

► Invest in fence and gate alarms that will alert inside the house if the pool gate is opened.

► When your pool will be unused for a prolonged length of time, replace the pool cover.

► Don’t leave toys in or around the pool when it’s not in use. These can be a temptation to children to come close to the pool or reach in when you’re not around.

► Cover all drains and openings.

If you have old drain covers, replace them with anti-vortex ones. There is a surprising amount of suction at the drain – enough to hold an adult in place. An anti-vortex drain cover distributes the water from the sides, and not just the top, preventing a tight suction.

Best Practices

►Instruct all children and adults to keep away from drains and openings.

►Never leave children unsupervised.

►Be in the water and within arm’ reach of a baby in a float or a toddler in a swim vest.

►Make sure all household members know how to swim and take swimming lessons if needed.

►Get training in CPR.

►If kids are allowed to swim when a babysitter is present, make sure your babysitter is CPR-certified.

►Keep a phone at hand outside near the pool.

►Make a rule that no one goes in the pool alone unless there’s an adult outside watching.

►Stay vigilant and watchful when kids are in the pool.

►During swim parties, designate 1-2 adults (or more if needed) to monitor swimmers.

►Purchase basic rescue equipment, like a rescue tube, shepherds crook, and/or life jackets and keep them near the pool.

►Keep kids away from pool equipment, filters, and water chemicals.

►Use sunscreen and/or UPF clothing to protect against sunburns.

Make sure that all family members know the safety rules and make any guests follow the rules, as well. When you know that your family members all understand and follow pool safety, you’ll have peace of mind and be able to enjoy your pool that much more. Need any help making sure your pool drains or equipment are in perfect working order? Contact us!

The 11 Biggest Mistakes When Opening/Closing a Pool

If this is your first year owning a pool, you’ll probably want to call us to handle the opening and closing for you so you can get more familiar with the process. And while we’re happy to handle the opening and closing every year, many customers choose to take care of it themselves once they understand how it’s done. If you’re going to do it yourself, be sure you steer clear of these mistakes to save yourself extra work and to ensure you have the best water quality.

Opening Your Pool

► Forgetting to clear the cover. Use a pump to get rid of accumulated water and then use a broom or a leaf rake to pull off the debris. There’s no bigger downer when you’re opening your pool and you have to scoop ten times as many leaves out because you forgot this step.

► Forgetting to clear the surrounding area. Even if your cover is perfectly clear, the yucky water, leaves, sticks, and other debris around your pool will find their way in easily if you don’t clear them off first. Plus, when you remove the cover, you need a nice clean spot to place it.

► Storing the cover dirty or wet. Clean your cover and let it dry completely before you fold it up and tuck it in the shed or a plastic container for the summer. This will avoid you unfolding a mildewed, stuck together cover next fall.

► Not lubricating metal parts. It’s a good idea to lubricate bolts on your handrails and diving board and other moving parts at the start of the season. Skip this step and they may rust or oxidize over the summer and be a serious pain to remove when you’re closing your pool.

► Not balancing the water correctly. At the start of the season, we seriously recommend you bring your water in for a professional test. From there, you balance your water (alkalinity first, then pH, then calcium). It’s not until your water is correctly pH balanced that you shock your water.

► Not running the filtration system enough. You need to circulate the water for 12-24 hours before you bring the water sample in and balance the water (to let the new water you added get incorporated). There’s another 12-24 hours circulation after you balance the water but before you shock it. Then you’ll want to circulate the water for another day before you dive in.

► Not brushing enough. When you’re opening your pool, you want to brush the walls, floor, and steps with a good pool brush after you’ve vacuumed. Then you want to keep brushing daily for the first week or so. This will stop algae growth in its tracks and allow your chemicals and your filter to do their best work.

Closing Your Pool

► Closing a dirty pool. A minimal amount of floating leaves or dirt on the bottom of your pool will wreak havoc on your water during the winter and you’ll be opening to a much bigger mess. Part of winterizing your pool is using a skimmer to remove all leaves, brushing your pool, and vacuuming it.

► Not balancing the water properly. Sometimes people think all you need to do is throw in the winterizing chemicals and you’re good to go. Not so. Before you add winterizing chemicals, you want your water correctly balanced.

► Not lowering the water level. When you live in a zone where there’s a chance the water could freeze, it’s important you lower the level a little bit to prevent damage from expanding, frozen water. Just drop it about 4-6 inches below the skimmer and you’ll be good.

► Failing to remove water from the lines, filter, and other equipment. This is the big one that can have very costly effects if you forget. Water can freeze in your plumbing lines and burst them. Same for your filter and other equipment. Frozen water expands and can ruin them.

Make sure you don’t make any of those mistakes, and the process will go smoothly. And not to worry, even if things go awry while you’re taking care of the opening and/or closing, we’re only one call away!

 

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Brothers Pool

250 Main Street. (RT 150)
Wallingford Connecticut 06492
P: (203) 265-5980
F: (203) 294-1601
E: info@brotherspool.com

Driving Directions

In Connecticut take I-91 North or South to exit 15. Take Route 68 West towards Wallingford and Cheshire. Turn left at the intersection of 68 and 150 (Main Street). Brothers Pool is about 1 mile on the left.

Office Hours

Monday - Friday: 10am - 7pm
Saturday: 9am - 5pm
Sunday: 11am - 3pm

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