Design And Decor
Saltwater pools are gaining popularity as an alternative to traditional chlorine pools. Saltwater pool owners enjoy key benefits, but it’s important to learn what you’re in for before deciding on the right type of pool for your home.
Here, we’ll clear up some common misconceptions about saltwater pools, and weigh the pros and cons of saltwater pools over traditional pools.
In a traditional pool, the chlorine level is maintained by periodically adding chlorine to the pool. However, a saltwater pool generates salt chlorine from added salt by the process of chemical electrolysis, using a salt chlorine generator. This highlights an important fact: a saltwater pool is a chlorine pool, it simply uses an alternate means of chlorination. That being said, a saltwater pool’s chlorine content tends to be much lower than that of a traditional pool. The significantly lower chlorine content in a saltwater pool is much gentler on the skin, hair, and eyes.
But, What is a Salt Chlorine Generator?
A salt chlorine generator is a metal cell that carries a low voltage electrical current. The generator is installed inline the pool’s existing pump system so the water is pumped through the generator before being returned to the pool. As the water passes through the metal cell, the current splits the salt into water and hypochlorous acid, which provides the disinfecting function normally achieved by adding chlorine.
A saltwater generator creates salt chlorine from simple table salt (NaCl), eliminating the need to handle chlorine. Because the chemical electrolysis converts the salt back and forth between salt and salt chlorine, and because salt does not evaporate (unlike chlorine), there is a reduced need to replenish the pool’s chlorine content. Still, the chlorine content of a saltwater pool must be monitored and salt must be added, as appropriate, to maintain safe levels.
Is It Like Swimming in The Ocean?
Note quite. The salinity of a saltwater pool is about one-tenth that of seawater. In fact, a saltwater pool is less salty than human tears. In the ocean, it’s easier to float on your back due to the added buoyancy of the salt. Saltwater pools don’t provide the effect quite as well.
The reduced salt of a saltwater pool in comparison with the ocean has a few benefits. You won‘t feel the “salty” feeling on your skin and hair quite as intensely after drying off. A pool’s water also does not sting your eyes in the same way ocean water will.
How Do I Convert My Pool?
Converting a traditional chlorine pool to a saltwater pool is fairly easy, but can be expensive. First, you would need to determine what size pool you have and install a salt chlorine generator capable of handling the volume. Salt chlorine generators range in cost from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. If you are not completely confident in your understanding of the system, you might also want to high a professional to do the installation so as to avoid damage to your equipment. It’s also important to not that the salt chlorine generator will need to be replaced every few years.
Then, you need to determine how much salt your pool needs. Pool salt test strips can tell you your pool’s existing salt level so you can accurately determine how much you need to add. Again, a saltwater pool uses simple table salt which should be easy to find. After you add the salt, you should run the pump (but NOT the salt chlorine generator), for 24 hours to allow the salt to evenly mix with the pool water. After that, you should test the water for appropriate salt, free chlorine, pH, cyanuric acid, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness, before running the salt chlorine generator. This process is referred to as “balancing the pool water.”
Are Saltwater Pools Low Maintenance?
Again, we’re here to debunk a common misconception. While saltwater pools require reduced maintenance steps, the water must still be routinely tested and adjusted to maintain proper sanitation. The salt chlorine generator cell must also be inspected at regular intervals for buildup and debris. Calcium buildup is a common issue in salt chlorine generators.
Is It Worth It?
The general consensus has been that the benefits of a saltwater pool far outweigh the negatives. The popularity of saltwater pools is on the rise as people appreciate the improved swimming experience:
- The low salinity of the water means that very little salt remains on the skin.
- The significantly lower chlorine level gives the water a softer feel, and is gentler on skin, hair, eyes, and even clothing.
- Not having to physically handle toxic liquid chlorine or tablets has also been a big selling point among pool owners. Owners also appreciate the savings from no longer needing to purchase chlorine.
- Also, there is generally less loss of chlorine to the environment with a saltwater pool than there is in a traditional pool.
- Restoring a saltwater pool’s chlorine level can be as easy as simply adding some table salt.
While the benefits of saltwater pools are clear, it’s important for a potential owner to know the facts about what they are and what they are not:
- A saltwater pool is not quite like the ocean. The salinity of a saltwater pool is far lower than that of seawater.
- Installing a saltwater pool requires a higher initial investment, and fixing any broken equipment can be more expensive.
- A saltwater pool is not low maintenance. Maintaining a sanitary saltwater pool requires consistency and attention to detail. All other parameters required for a safe pool still need maintenance.
- Since a saltwater pool simply employs an alternate means of chlorination, many of the same issues that come up with a traditional pool will persist with a saltwater pool.
- Salt can be corrosive to equipment surrounding your pool.
About the author:
Jason Caldwell is a Seattle-based writer and contributor to lifestyle blogs and magazines. His clients include An online swimming pools supply company. When he’s not running up against a deadline, he enjoys planning DIY projects and cooking for his family.
Our house is our castle, but after a few years even the most amazing castle becomes redundant in appearance. Looking at the same painted walls, carpet or furniture may feel tired…and boring. Every home needs a facelift eventually, but sprucing up your sanctuary doesn’t have to be budget ending.
Remodeling means different things to every homeowner. While a remodel may be as drastic as adding on a new wing to a home, the renovation process may be as subtle as a new coat of paint. No matter how extreme or conservative your plan, the choice to remodel is one that every homeowner considers during their residency. Taking the big leap doesn’t have to be scary, though, because you can take baby steps toward that final vision of home perfection.
Ready to give your castle a facelift? Check out these home remodeling ideas that can take a boring blah space into a modern masterpiece!
A Sweep of Color
If a room’s walls have been the same color for years—or maybe decades—it’s time to consider a new look or hue. You don’t have to go crazy with color palettes, but adventure is good…in the realm of color. The beauty of paint is that it can be changed if the color doesn’t flatter the room or your end design. Of course, you should swatch a color first and see if that hue is the one that screams décor perfection. However, if a room is small, don’t pick a dark shade…otherwise you will make the room look even smaller. You also can add interest to walls by using different textures of paint.
New Fixes for Old Fixtures
If overhead lighting, lamps or other household fixtures in a room look dated and old, switch them out. Choose a bold new chandelier to hang in the middle of a great room or head to an antique shop to discover amazing vintage lamps and other treasures. New fixtures also can transform old bathrooms in an instant. Select fun and funky faucets for a modern update or replace a tired old vanity with a pedestal sink and an antique mirror.
Decorate with Greenery
Plants and flowers infuse oxygen and beauty into a room. Houseplants also provide an instant touch of style and interest without the work of intense remodeling. Before you start adding bouquets of fresh flowers or investing in plants for any room, be sure to figure out how much work each variety requires. Houseplants require upkeep…and some are more finicky than others. Succulents are often fairly low-key and can be used to create modern and inexpensive dish gardens on tabletops. Head to a local nursery for advice about what varieties will work best for your home and lifestyle.
Light it Up
Lighting can transform the room; softer bulbs provide a warm ambience. Don’t forget to use natural lighting to transform a room as well. A large picture window or a wall lined with multiple windows opens up a room. Use roller shades to easily cover and uncover large window spaces to take advantage of the sun’s natural glow. Flameless candles also may be set within an unused fireplace for a décor touch that combines form and function. When decorating with candles, mix up the sizes for a bouquet of candlelight. You also can gather a group of flameless (or real) candles alongside a bathtub for romantic ambience.
Most homeowners will consider remodeling to update their home’s appearance. But remodeling doesn’t necessarily mean major construction and never-ending mess. Giving your home a face lift can be as simple as a new color of paint, fun fixtures or updated lighting. Small changes can make a huge impact on the beauty of your home.
Authored by NYC Writer Maggie Baker
For some people, building a custom home can be a better option than purchasing an existing one and going through the renovation process. But while choosing between building and buying, you should know what you may be getting into.
The home building process can be a daunting one, with many steps along the way. But if done correctly, the home building process can also be a highly rewarding one. If you are considering building a new home from scratch, use this guide to get an idea of the whole procedure, all the way from choosing a floor plan to conducting the final walkthrough.
As you make plans to build your new home, you will spend countless hours planning every little detail. From the color of the walls to the position of the counters in your kitchen, each aspect is painstakingly chosen to ensure that the finished product — your home — is exactly what you want. Yet many people who are building a new home will focus so much on the living space that they forget about one important feature: the garage. Here are some considerations to make when you are planning the garage for your new home design.
1. Choose the Right Size
Today’s new home plans offer a variety of garage sizes. The larger the garage, the more costly the home will be to build, but you need to carefully weigh your options here. Building a garage that is too small will limit your use and enjoyment in the future.
Before deciding on the size, determine the use of your garage. Many homeowners use their garages primarily for storage, while others use it as an extension of the home, providing a place to hang out and enjoy some recreational time. The use will help dictate the overall size.
If the space will serve as a conventional garage — where you park your vehicles at night — plan for how many vehicles you will need to store in the garage, and be sure to think about any lawn mowers or snow blowers in this count. Make sure the garage is wide enough to park the vehicles and gives you space to walk all the way around them. Then, provide yourself room for storage. Shelves, for example, require 2 feet of depth and another 2 feet of room in front for access. These details will help you plan a garage that is large enough.
Sometimes, a three-car garage is ideal for a two-car family, because it provides the added space for storage without the need to cram too tightly. Weigh your options, vehicles and storage needs, and ensure that the space is large enough to meet them.
2. Choose the Right Door
The garage door is an important part of your overall garage design. Not only should it match the style of your home, but it should also provide excellent function for your garage. Many homeowners will choose a door with windows to allow natural light in, but be careful: Windows can also show potential thieves what you are housing inside your garage, tempting them to try to get inside. If you choose windows, opt for opaque windows that will allow light in without making the contents of your garage visible.
As you shop for a door, account for insulation as well. Since your garage will be part of your home, heating your garage will not be difficult, but a poorly insulated door will cause much of that energy to be wasted. Think about investing in a door with factory-foamed insulation to ensure you are not losing much of your heating and cooling energy out of the garage door. These thicker doors are filled with foamed-in-place urethane to provide a high insulation level, helping your garage stay comfortable when you are working on projects.
3. Add Built-In Organization
Instead of adding organization and storage to your garage after your home is finished, contemplate adding it to the design from the beginning of your home. Create spaces inside your garage to store items you only need seasonally, like your holiday decor. Hang hooks and baskets from pegboards on the wall to store gardening supplies, fertilizers and outdoor chemicals. Consider leaving a space and wiring properly so you can add an extra refrigerator or freezer in the garage. Does your new home plan have a fireplace? Craft a space in your garage to store wood. Does your family have bikes and other outdoor toys? Build overhead hanging racks or wall hooks to store these on. Built-in cabinets and shelves add function and aesthetics to the space, and these are easier to add during the initial building process than after the garage is finished.
Today’s garage is multifunctional. It serves as storage, a place to park the car, and even a place for additional living space. As you plan your home’s design, make sure you plan for the design of the garage as well — so it will become a functional space and an asset to your newly built home.
With more than 20 years of experience in the residential stock house plan industry, Chuck Tripp is currently the Sales & Marketing Director of Donald A. Gardner Architects, Inc., a residential house plans company that has been developing floor plans since 1978.
Keeping your landscape healthy, green and attractive throughout the hottest part of summer is easy, provided you know all the right tricks. Want to know the best ways to keep your gardens growing and flowers blooming despite the summer heat? The following tips will show you how to help your landscape thrive all summer:
1. Know When to Prune
With some trees and shrubs, you can wait until fall or winter to prune. In fact, the University of Minnesota recommends that you prune many trees during the last stages of winter while the trees are still dormant. The exceptions are sap-heavy trees like maples, butternuts and birch trees.
In the summer, however, you’ll need to focus your attention on the ornamentals that bloom early in the spring. Azaleas, lilacs, forsythia and anything else that blooms early needs plenty of time to recuperate before winter so that you have a good flush of blooms during the following spring. For these plants, start pruning after the blooms fade but don’t prune any later than the end of July. As a bonus, because early blooming plants devote more energy to producing new branches once they’ve been pruned, you’ll be rewarded with a flush of fresh greenery to enjoy over the summer.
2. Mow to the Right Height
In the spring, grass can take a little more abuse, simply because the extra moisture in the ground helps it recover after a harsh mowing. As the weather heats and the soil dries, you’ll need to be a little more particular about mowing. Make sure that you never remove more than one-third of your lawn’s height, even if that means you need to raise the mower deck. This will prevent stress to your lawn, which in turn keeps your lawn green and healthy rather than brown and parched.
3. Deadhead Your Flowers
Deadheading seems like a no-brainer — it gets rid of all the ugly, lifeless blooms. However, there’s an even more important reason to keep up with the deadheading. Flowers, whether annual or perennial, put a lot of energy into seed production. Let some flowers go to seed, and you’ll have far fewer blooms for the rest of the summer, whereas if you pluck the spent flowers, the plant will release chemical signals to increase bloom production.
4. Top Your Mulch
If you’re like most people, you do your mulching in the spring. Between rains, wind, transplanting and weeding, however, some of that mulch can disappear in a matter of weeks. Keep in mind that mulch is doubly important in the summer — not only does it give your gardens a neat, weed-free look, but according to Cornell University, mulched soils can retain twice as much water as bare soil. In addition, the soil will stay eight to 13 degrees cooler, which is good for your plants’ root systems. With that thought in mind, buy a few bags of mulch and top your beds wherever necessary.
5. Tend to Your Cool-Season Vegetables
Come July, certain crops in your vegetable garden — cool weather crops like peas, cabbage and broccoli — should be finished for the season. With those plants out of your vegetable garden, you can do three things with the extra space:
- Mulch the empty beds to keep the weeds down and help prepare the soil for the next year.
- Replant cool season vegetables for a fall crop.
- Plant cover crops to help enrich and soften the soil.
If you try cover crops, look for late season crops like radishes, wheat and rye. Plant them thickly, and these crops will choke weeds even as they improve your vegetable beds.
6. Pick the Right Time to Water
Should you water daily, weekly or not at all? The answer to that question depends on the amount of rain your region has received and the water requirements of the plants within your landscape.
However, if you do need to water, then always water as early as you can in the morning. The logic behind this is two-fold: Watering early gives the moisture more time to soak into the soil before the heat of the day evaporates it, but at the same time, leaves will have enough time to dry, which makes it harder for diseases and fungal infections to take hold.
With these tips, you can easily keep your summertime landscape healthy and lush without a lot of fuss. As the weather gets hotter, relax and enjoy all the hard work that led to your gorgeous landscape.
Rick Ryan is the owner and president of All Valley Landscaping. With more than 21 years of experience in landscape renovations Rick is a certified expert in the construction industry, including: landscape renovations, yard renovations and exterior home, tree trimming and removal services and sprinkler repair and installations.