Pro Tips with Jamie Snyder

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Why spending more on a high efficiency pool pump will save you money.

Posted by James Snyder on Wed, Feb 16, 2011 @ 41:10 AM

High efficiency pool pump swimming pool design Orange county NY

When comparing pool pumps there is a lot more to think about than just HP. New high efficiency pumps such as the IntelliFlo VS+SVRS by Pentair are designed to save you money. Although they cost more to buy than a standard pump they will save you money right away. So much so, that if you have a traditional 1-2 HP pump and it’s brand new – throw it away. Don’t get offended, it’s just that today’s high efficiency pumps are just that good. Another benefit to the IntelliFlo VS+SVRS pump is that it has a built in timer and SVRS (safety Vacuum release system). The SVRS feature helps keep you in compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Safety Act also known as the VGB laws. If you are building a new pool it is mandatory you follow VGB guidelines, if you have an older pool check your local laws to see if you need to rennovate your pool to comply. All commercial pools must comply. The built in timer is more advanced then your typical pool pump timer allowing you to set up more advanced and energy saving cycles. Check out the video below to learn more about the Intelliflo Variable Speed pumps and how they save you money. Or go here to calculate how much you will save on your pool.

To have Albert Group Landscaping & Swimming pools come to your home and discuss your pool project click here.

What type of pool filter is best?

Posted by James Snyder on Wed, Apr 07, 2010 @ 23:09 PM

This is a question that comes up almost every time I sell a pool. There are three main types of pool filter.

1.       Sand Filter:  In this method, impurities are extracted from the water utilizing sand to collect and attract the debris. Sand filters must be backwashed (running it in reverse) to unload the water waste. This is a manual process that must be performed every few weeks. Sand filters trap debris as small as 20 to 40 microns.





2.       DE (Diatomaceous Earth) Filter: Diatomaceous earth is mined and is the fossilized exoskeletons of tiny diatoms. They are used to coat "grids" in the filter housing and act as tiny sieves allowing for the removal of debris as small as 5 microns. Once the pressure rises, the filter is backwashed just like a sand filter and then "recharged" with more DE powder. DE filters trap debris as small as 2 - 5 microns.




3.       Cartridge Filter: Cartridge filters have a greater surface area than sand allowing for fewer clogs and easier maintenance. Cartridge filters are designed to run at lower pressure than sand which puts less backpressure on the pump, providing more flow and turnover. Cartridge filters should be cleaned once or twice a season by simply hosing them off. Cartridge element filters trap debris as small as 10 to 15 microns.

 First I will start off saying that in most circumstances any of these three will work just fine. For the lucky few that have a town building department that makes this decision for you, you are stuck with the filter they choose.

·         If you want low maintenance cartridge is hard to beat

·         Sand is a great choice if you are looking for simple and effective

·         The cleanest water is made by DE filters

·         Both sand and DE filters require backwashing

When someone asks me what type of pool filter is best I usually ask them if this is their first pool? If they have had a pool in the past and had a filter system that they already felt comfortable with then by all means use the same style again. If they are new to pool ownership I recommend a cartridge filter for its ease of maintenance. Yes it is true that DE filters are able to “polish” the water more. A pool clarifier can be added to the pool water to make the tiny particles stick together so that they will be caught in the cartridge filter. And on top of all this cartridge filters are simpler to use.

How do I close my in-ground swimmming pool?

Posted by James Snyder on Wed, Mar 17, 2010 @ 32:12 AM

First a little in the way of Why?

If you are new to pools, you may not know this but there are two great reasons to have your pool properly closed. First and I’d wager most important – to keep expensive bits from breaking due to water freezing in them. Second is to keep it clean – this makes opening the pool next year much easier.

Closing a swimming pool is a little bit more involved that opening a pool because of the need to blow the lines out and cap them off, but it is by no means hard to do.

You will need the following tools / supplies to do the job:

1.       Air compressor or blower of some sort, a shop vacuum with a blow port that you can hook up the vacuum hose to works fine. They make specialty blowers for this. They are cool, but not necessary. I just picked up a Ridgid Shop Vac model#wd4522 and it works great! On some fittings the hose end is a little small to make a tight fit so I wrapped some duct tape around it and it works great. Not to mention I saved like $250- $300 vs. the “pro” pool blower.





2.       Depending on the type of wall fittings your pool has you may need a tool to remove these. There are as many tools as types of fittings. 

3.       A big set of channel lock pliers to undo the unions from the pool equipment. You may be able to do this with your bare hands.

4.       You may need a pump to remove some pool water if the pool is not already plumbed to do this. I like to drain the pool water to just below the skimmer. I know that most people just leave the water level as is and there is an argument for that as well. Actually I will write a whole blog article in the future on this topic.

5.       A plug for the skimmer - one popular model is called a Gizzmo. Make sure it is in perfect working order. Any cracks or holes in the Gizzmo are a no go. Do not try to fix it, this is false economy. You will spend more later if disaster strikes. Teflon tape is great to use on the threads.

6.       Plugs for your water returns and any other lines such as spa jets, vacuum line etc...


7.       Winter pool cover. There are many to chose from, just pick one and use it. I prefer automatic covers. Yet another blog article in itself.

8.       Pool Antifreeze, wanna use RV antifreeze instead? Go ahead, just make sure that it is made of Proplyene Glycol. Never use the stuff that goes in your car.





Once you have all of the supplies and tools that you need out you are ready to go. If this is your first time attempting this just remember. The main thing that we are trying to avoid here is your equipment or plumbing having water in it at a level that will cause the pipes or equipment to freeze. The frost line where I live is 48" anything below that should be fine, so removing the suctions on a 6' deep pool is probably not needed and I’m not going down there anyway. But blowing out the line is.


1.       Get your water right – yes all of it. You need your PH, Total Alkalinity and hardness balanced. This is especially helpful if you have a vinyl or gunite pool. Pools with the aquaguard gel coat are much tougher and can deal with slightly out of wack water. But other pools will fade and / or stain.

2.       Add a winterizing chemical kit, and follow the directions. When it says use hot water and mix it in a bucket first – do yourself a favor and do just that. The floating balls are junk. Also, Chlorine / Bromine tabs – umm no. They will just land somewhere and stain the area.

3.       Drain some water out, I like to go about 2” under the bottom of the skimmer opening.

4.       Start blowing out the lines. There are a few different ways here. If my pump has a small threaded plug on it at the bottom you may be able to remove this plug and thread on an air tool fitting. I like this method because it is super simple. The down side is that you can over pressure the line and create a DISASTER. On second thought, maybe a shop vac is better.

5.       Force air through the lines and while they are bubbling cap them off. When you cap off the skimmer use the Teflon tape to help the threads seal. Remove excess water in the skimmer with the shop vac. Make sure your shop vacuum can handle water and that you followed the instructions to make it ready for water

6.       Drain & clean your equipment, remove chemicals from any feeders. If it is practical take your equipment and put it inside for the winter.

7.       Cover your pool to keep debris out and lock the gate.



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