Archive for June, 2010
So this is a bit odd for me. I sell systems and yet I can not decide what system to get for my son. He has really improved his playing over the last year and I would like to support his game AND give him the best tools for success. Offset that with the fact that we think we will move in the next few years , budget constraints and concerns about potential vandalism to a glass board, and suddenly I am paralyzed and incapable of making a choice! Sound at all familiar?
I think this says so much abot the state of this industry. Why are there so many choices that seem to represent features that are very difficult for the consumer to assess? We want a robust, simple system that is going to perform great and not cost a fortune. Check back soon and I will start to narrow down my choices.
How to buy an above ground pool
Buying an above ground pool can seem like an overwhelming undertaking. In fact once it is broken down into reasonable steps, it is actually quite a simple process. As always, the experts at eFamilyFun are available to assist you every step of the way. Our goal is never to make the sale, but to help you select the right components that meet your unique requirements. We know from experience that if we can help you manage the process, and if we are competitive, the sale will take care of itself.
So let’s get started. These are the basic steps:
Take a good look at the area where you intend to install the pool. You will ultimately need to have a completely level surface for the installation. Depending on how much work you are prepared to do, this can be the single biggest factor in determining the size and shape of your pool. If you do not have a flat area, or if it is not flat where you want to locate the pool, you can still install it with the understanding that you will need to excavate a base until it is flat. You can also chose a pool that can accept partial or complete in ground installation, but please know that these are special features and not all pools can be installed in ground.
Now that you have picked a shape and size, also consider depth. The most common choices are 48”, 52” and 54”. While these depth variations might sound minor, they actually make a fairly significant difference. Consider that upgrading from a 48 to a 52 is more than an 8pct increase. While none of these sizes are ever suitable for diving, a bigger pool will give you a different overall experience. Since you are already leveling the area, building the pool and equipping it, the relative cost increase for a deeper pool is a relatively minor part of the total cost. Also keep in mind that the water level will on average be 4″ lower than the pool walls ( so a 48″ is 44″ deep ). For this reason we find that many people do choose to upgrade the depth.
Now consider what the pool is constructed of. Having chosen size, shape and depth, the universe of options begins to get smaller and the pool of your dreams starts to come into focus. There will be different choices for the walls and the top rails, although sometimes these are of the same material.
a) Galvanized steel is strong economical choice. Steel construction can be found in our Atlantis round , Atlantis oval , Aegean Round, and Aegean Oval where it is used in both the sidewalls and the rails. The width of the rail also increases as you move up in quality.
b) The next step in quality is a polymer or resin pool. These are manufactured from high quality stabilized resins. They are strong, light and do not corrode. The Aruba Round and Aruba Oval are examples of great polymer pools. The Tahitian Round and Tahitian Oval are hybrid pools that combines steel sidewalls with resin top rails. The resin feels better to the touch and is generally considered more attractive.The stell is stronger and therefore these hybrids combine the best of both.
c) The last option is aluminum, which has the advantages of being very strong and not corroding. These are the only pools that should be installed semi or fully in ground. The Bermuda Round and the Bermuda Oval are outstanding aluminum pools.
When selecting quality and materials, an easy rule of thumb is to look at the warranty. The longer the warranty, the better the underlying materials are going to be. While you might not need a 30 year warranty (for example), it is a strong indicator that you can expect a trouble free ownership experience. This is obviously a huge consideration as your pool is going to be source a relaxation and recreation, not a new source of work!
Select a liner .So now you have selected a size, shape and construction material. At this point it is time to move inside the pool and select a liner and any padding or cove strips:
a) Gorilla padding: This is an excellent idea that will protect your liner and make your pool more comfortable. The gorilla pad is pre cut to the size of your pool. It is made of a super strong material that will prevent liner cuts resulting from rocks, roots and plant growth. It will provide an extra layer of protection that will feel good on your feet and prevent footmarks from forming in the bottom of your pool. If you do not use gorilla padding you will need a foam alternative that will need to be cut, shaped sized and taped. Since this involves more work and an inferior result, we strongly recommend the Gorilla pad.
b) Cove strips make a nice transition from the pool bottom to the pool sides. They go under the liner and their sole purpose is to make the pool fell better on your feet. They are a small investment with a nice return on comfort, so most people do install them.
c) Liners cover the inside of the pool going over the walls, the padding and the cove strips. A lot of sellers claim mil thicknesses on their liners that are not actually accurate. Over the last several years some liners have gotten thinner but the quality has still improved. We therefore suggest finding a pattern that you like with an installation style that works for you and a warranty that evidences quality. There are three basic liner types:
1) Overlap: For these liners you need to select your pool shape and diameter, but the depth is not a factor. The top of the liner goes over the side wall of the pool under the top rail. They are secured with coping strips (very inexpensive but must be purchased). The excess liner on the outside of the pool is trimmed off and the top rail is replaced or installed. An overlap liner is the most economical solution.
2) Unibead: This kind of liner is sized for depth, shape and pool size. The top end of the liner has a built in bead that runs the entire circumference. This bead has a grove cut in it where the liner installs in the pool wall. The top rail is installed over the bead.
3) Beaded : A liner with a bed ( like unibead ) that rests on s hooks that installs under the rail. Once the hooks are in place, you are able to remove and replace your liner without ever having to remove the top rail again.
Remember that a liner will have a big influence on the overall appearance of your pool. Pick one that is going to create the outside look that you are after.
Pump, filters and Equipment packs. There are really only three more things that you need to do before you can swim. You need to select a pump, a filter and a ladder. After that you will want some tools to keep your pool nice and clean. Fortunately we simplify this process with our optional equipment packs. These include a pump, a sand filter , a ladder and cleaning tools. We recommend a 1hp pump for any pool up to 24’ round. Anything holding a greater volume of water should then use a 1.5hp motor. The filters are sand, although cartridge options are available. Some people prefer the cartridge because they are lower maintenance, but they do require greater frequency of cartridge changes. Any ladder must have a fold up or lock out option for safety. The better ladders have greater capacity and are more comfortable with a less vertical assent. Our packages can be seen in detail at these links:
Maintanence :The last piece of business is a regular maintenance program to keep your pool sparkling and clean. Please review our chemical options and – optionally- our chlorine generators. You might also want to consider a heater and solar blankets to extend the season and increase your enjoyment. When the season is over, don’t forget to visit our winter cover section so that your pool is in great shape and ready to provide years of enjoyment
Ready to go shopping? Click Here to see the eFamilyFun selections. Have questions? Give us a call at 877 358 5579 and we will start getting you answers!
This is one of my favorite sports related pictures ( ok the kid is my daughter so I am biased ). We spend a ton of time on the water as a family. When my daughter was about 12 she started riding an air chair and then migrated to the Sky Ski ( both are sit down hydrofoils ). We arranged to get some professional instruction from Scott Honkola and he taught my daughter to “bunny hop”. Her wanted her to do those hops 100 times up and down the lake, which she did. Eventually she developed a really crazy jump that turned into a huge wake jump. She started trying to flip and would just crash all the time. I kept on coaching her to “jump first” but this was a dad to a daughter and would just dissolve into tears. In any case, this picture is lifted from a video made in the summer of 2009. She was 19 at the time. Way cool, I think
Next up pictures of my 12 year old son learning to spin on his board. he has invert aspirations as well so I imagine the tears are about to start all over again!
Do we sell wakeboards and hydrofoils? Nope, but we do focus on recreation. If there is enough interest, I would LOVE to add a water sports section or maybe start a separate site. it is a real passion of mine.
This is a usefull guide to chemical packages that are offered as an option with our pools
We came across this chart which I thought was really useful. Is shopping for a pool confusing or what!
Before you can start any kind of chemical treatment of your pool water, you will need to know how many gallons are in your pool. There is a simple way to calculate your pool volume that only requires 4 basic numbers:
- The length of your pool
- the width of your pool
- The average depth
- the multiplier factor
The formula is LENGTH x WIDTH x AVERAGE DEPTH x MULTIPLIER = The number of gallons in your pool!
length and width are easy measurements that you get with a tape measure. For round pools the “length and width” will be the same and is just calculated as the longest measurement you can get going from one side to the other.
Multiplier is just a factor that depends on the shape of your pool. A rectangle, square or free form pool has a multiplier of 7.5 . A round or oval pool has a multiplier of 5.9
Average depth is just what is says.The average depth of your pool. Take the deepest point plus the shallowest point. Add them together and devide by two. ( For example : shallow end 3′ deepest end 9′ = 12′ feet combined devided by 2 = 6′ average depth ) For above ground pools take 4″ off of the height of the sidewall ( so a 52″ pool has 48″ of water. A 48″ pool has 44″, etc ).
Example: a 10′ x 20′ rectangle pool with an average depth of 6′ would calculate the water volume as follows: 10 x 20 x 6 x 7.5 = 9,000 gallons !
The charts bellow show the water content of standard round and oval above ground pools, as well as some common size in ground pools. Once you have determined your pool volume, Click pool chemicals to see the eFamilyFun solutions for a perfect sparkeling pool!
Above ground pool 48″ wall
|12 ft Round||~2,975 gallons||12′ x 24′ Oval||~ 5,948 gallons|
|15 ft Round||~4,646 gallons||15′ x 30′ Oval||~ 9,293 gallons|
|18 ft Round||~ 7,646 gallons||16′ x 32′ Oval||~ 10,573 gallons|
|21 ft Round||~ 9,106 gallons||18′ x 33′ Oval||~ 12,267 gallons|
|24 ft Round||~ 11,895 gallons|
|27 ft Round||~ 15,054 gallons|
|30 ft Round||~ 18,585 gallons|
|33 ft Round||~ 22,488 gallons|
Above ground pool 52″ wall
|12 ft Round||~ 3,398 gallons||12′ x 24′ Oval||~ 6,797 gallons|
|15 ft Round||~ 5,310 gallons||15′ x 30′ Oval||~ 10,620 gallons|
|18 ft Round||~ 8,602 gallons||16′ x 32′ Oval||~ 12,084 gallons|
|21 ft Round||~ 10,408 gallons||18′ x 33′ Oval||~ 14,019 gallons|
|24 ft Round||~ 13,594 gallons||18′ x 40′ Oval||~ 19,116 gallons|
|27 ft Round||~ 17,205 gallons|
|30 ft Round||~ 21,240 gallons|
|33 ft Round||~ 25,700 gallons|
In ground Pools
|POOL SIZE||GALLON 3.5′ Av. DEPTH||GALLON 4′ Av. DEPTH||GALLON 4.5′ Av. DEPTH||GALLON 5′ Av. DEPTH||GALLON 5.5′ Av. DEPTH|
|12′ x 24′||7,600||8,600||9,700||10,800||11,900|
|14′ x 28′||10,300||11,800||13,200||14,700||16,200|
|15′ x 30′||11,800||13,500||15,200||16,900||18,600|
|16′ x 32′||13,400||15,400||17,300||19,200||21,100|
|18′ x 36′||17,000||19,400||21,900||24,300||26,700|
|19′ x 38′||19,000||21,700||24,400||27,100||29,800|
|20′ x 40′||21,000||24,000||27,000||30,000||33,000|
|22′ x 44′||25,400||29,000||32,700||36,300||39,900|
|25′ x 45′||29,531||33,750||37,968||42,187||46,406|
|25′ x 50′||32,800||37,500||42,200||46,900||51,600|
|30′ x 50′||39,375||45,000||50,525||56,250||61,875|
Why buy an inground system? You want to save the space that the base takes up on a portable system, you want a strong and secure installation for maximum playability and you want a clean look that is going to enhance the appearance of your home. Once you have decided that an in ground system is the right choice for you, how do select from the literally hundreds of options? Just follow this guide:
The first step is to understand that there will be an inevitable balancing of budget and features. If price is not an option, then selecting will become a relatively simple process. If like most of us there are budget constraints, you will need to weigh what features are important to you against their cost. Here is a list of features and their differentiation:
Backboards : You need to select a backboard size and a backboard material. The four basic materials are glass, acrylic , fiberglass, aluminum and steel . The last three are typically institutional alternatives and will not be covered here. The main residential options are glass and acrylic. For optimal rebound, glass is the top choice. There will be variations in the thickness of the glass. Typical options are 3/8” and ½”. The thicker the glass, the better the rebound action and the less fragile the backboard is. Acrylic is 10 times stronger and less expensive than glass. While the rebound effect is not as good on an acrylic system, there are a lot of things that manufacturers can do to make the action very close to glass. For best action on an acrylic system you will want a full steel frame around the perimeter of the backboard and an H frame securing the backboard to the system. Other configurations are acceptable ( and less expensive ) , but will not have as active a rebound. Once again, thicker will produce better action. Acrylic systems come in 1/8” ¼” 3/8” and ½” thickness. Once again, a price vrs performance decision will have to be made.
The official backboard size is 42” x 72”. Residential systems vary greatly in the dimensions of the backboards and again, this has a big influence on cost. You can go for the full size 42 x 72 or drop down to 42 x 60 which still feels huge because of the 42” dimension. An example of this would be the First Team Powerhouse nitro. If that size is too big or busts the budget, there are options in 60 x 36 , 54 x 36, 48 x 36 and even 54 x 34 ( silverback ). Keep in mind that if you do not have a full court you won’t need a full backboard,. So this can be a great area to make a budget call.
The pole : Do I really need to worry about the pole? Doesn’t it just hold up the backboard? Well yes and no. These systems get heavy and you want a sturdy assembly that is not going to move easily when you play. Plan on dunking? Take that into account as well. Getting a 42” x 70” glass system? You will need a substantial pole. Selecting a 48 x 36 acrylic? You will not need as substantial a setup. There are three aspects to determining the quality of the pole: One piece is better than two piece, the larger the exterior dimensions the better and the thickness of the steel itself. Steel thickness is expressed in gauge and/or thickness. Basketball systems are produced in 16 ( For round poles and considered thin) , 14, 11 and 7 gauge. The lower the number, the thicker the steel. 7 gauge is roughly equivalent to 3/16”. Typical construction of poles are 4×4 5×5 6×6 and 6×8 .
Adjustment system : There are three basic types of height adjustment: Hydraulic where you squeeze a handle to release the system, move it to the desired height and then release where it will now lock. A crank system where you rotate the handle to move the backboard to the desired position ( some crank systems use a spring assist to compensate for the weight of the backboard ) and a manual system that is released and set using a broom handle. The all work at getting the goal to the desired height with the only obvious compromise being the potential inconvenience with a manual system. This can be another great area to save on cost if your system will not be adjusted often.
Safety setback : The setback is the distance from the pole to the goal. This will vary as the height of the pole is changed but the standard measurement is made when the system is in the regulation 10 foot position. Regulation overhang in high school up to and including NBA is 48”. Residential systems are available with overhangs of 18”-66”. The more aggressive the players, the more you will want to take into consideration the size of the overhang. Bear in mind that with greater overhang comes greater stress on the pole, so your cost will go up as the overhang increases not just because of the additional overhang itself, but also because of strengthening in the associated components. As aggressive play increases, you should not only consider the overhang, but also pole pads and backboard pads.
Metal finish : All residential systems have a powder coating finish to protect them from the elements. Domestically produced systems such as Gared, First Team and Barbarian have a pre treatment that helps preserve the powder coating and thereby reduce the incidence of rust. The barbarian systems go a step further and use an additional zinc powder coat before the black powder coat that creates a very rust resistant system.
Those are the basics. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please give us a call at 1-877-358-5579 . If we can answer we will and if we do not know for certain, we will find out and get back to you.
Ready to go shopping? Click Here to see the eFamilyFun selections.
Thank you and good shopping!