Yes, It is important.

So, your pool water is perfectly clear. Is it really necessary to check the water balance and adjust it as needed? After all, the water looks great, how can there be anything wrong with it? YES, it is necessary!!!! And clear isn’t the end all. I have seen many a pool that has perfectly clear water that when the water is tested has an incredibly low pH and total alkalinity. The pool is crystal clear because the chlorine actually works better at a lower pH than at a higher pH. But the low pH is more uncomfortable to your eyes and skin and it can damage other pool components. Want a perfect example? I remember on a few of these pools making the comment to the customers that I had just found their pool heater’s heat exchanger. It was dissolved and floating around in their pool as the low pH and alkalinity destroyed it. The copper test of the pool water proved that point. They might not have known it yet, but they soon would when the heater was leaking and no longer functional. So, while they were happy that their pool water was so crystal clear, they were kind of bummed that their heater was trashed due to improper water chemistry, an easily prevented problem with a little testing an adjusting. So YES, it is necessary.

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Help! My Pool Is Green!

It happens. No one means for it to happen, but it does. You go on vacation and the pool sitter doesn’t “sit” the pool. Life just happens and you have a million other things vying for your attention. The weather became cool and wet, and well, you just kind of forgot that the pool needed a little bit of attention. Stuff happens and the good news is that green water is fixable. Here are a few pointers, though I would encourage you to stop by the store with a pool water sample and talk more about your particular pool and any water issues you may be having.

Step 1. You need to kill the algae, as that is what is making the pool water cloudy and green. I would recommend our SPARCO Eliminator along with liquid chlorine or granular shock to activate the Eliminator. Eliminator along with the chlorine will go to work on killing the algae.

Step 2: After giving the Eliminator time to start killing the algae, we need to start working on getting the dead algae out of the water. Sometimes that is the hardest part of the battle, as algae cells are so small that they don’t filter or settle easily. A good Step 2 helper is our Simple Blue Chitosan Clarifier. Using Chitosan, which is a natural byproduct of crab shells, Simple Blue Chitosan Clarifier helps to clump together the dead algae cells, making the algae settle quicker and filter more easily.

Step 3: Make you sand or cartridge filter even more efficient and help it filter out these small particles even better with a Sparkle Pill, which is easily added to the filter by dropping it right down into the skimmer basket. Drop it in and you are finished. The Sparkle pill makes the filter more efficient and better able to trap even smaller particles than normal. Let the filter do its job and when it is time, simply backwash or clean the filter like normal.

Ultimately, this three-step process could be looked at as: Kill, Clump & Clean. What really matters is getting that green mess changed into beautiful, sparkling water once again. Following these three-steps will help you get your pool to its happy place. Happy swimming! 

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Welcome To The Family!

Asher Ryley Owen Stith. We’ve added our newest blessing to our family April 9, 2019! The little guy was too impatient, just like his mommy, and decided to arrive three weeks early! Weighing a whopping 7 pounds 8 ounces and 21 inches long! So much bigger than his big sister, Cambria. Whom is super excited to have taken on the title as “big sister” and absolutely loves helping anyway she can with her baby brother. She will even get up in the middle of the night to help us! Even though the next morning she will say “mommy I’m tired, Asher kept me up all night” but she still loves to help out as much as she can. 

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Homegrown Tomatoes

The end is near. It is almost time to forget about those nearly tasteless imposters that I am forced to put up with during way too many months of the year. Yes folks, it is almost time for homegrown tomatoes. And I am pumped. Yes, some of you are probably already feasting on your own crop, but mine won’t be long. (I hope!) Every evening rain or shine I check my plants when I get home looking for the slightest change in the tomatoes color. And it is so agonizingly slow!!!!!! Seemingly the slowest part of the process that began in my kitchen way back in March when I planted all the seeds. For weeks I have been looking at the beautiful little tomatoes just waiting for them to ripen, waiting to pluck that first cherry tomato from the plant where its next stop will be my mouth. I am not sure that there is any fruit or vegetable that tastes better homegrown than the tomato does. And when that first ripe cherry tomato mysteriously disappears off of the plant, I know nothing!  

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Rain, Rain!

I am not one of those people that has my nose in my phone or computer screen all day, though I certainly know the type well, and I admit to still getting most of my news the old fashioned way, so maybe I will be off somewhat factually when I say that the wettest spring in 100-years has certainly been a challenge for many professions. Sure, it has been tough on the pool business, after all, it sure is hard to build a pool when it rains 60% of the days, but the #1 profession I feel for is the farmers. A challenging and difficult profession that only gets more difficult when Mother Nature doesn’t play nicely. I keep seeing and hearing how far the farmers are behind in getting crops planted and I believe I heard in many cases it was getting too late to plant even if the recent dry weather continues. All of us will share in the pain of the wet spring when food prices rise, but most of us will not really feel the full pain like the farmer and his family. Keep them in your thoughts!   

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The Learning Never Stops

I’ve been in the pool business for 15 years now and in the outdoor leisure industry for even longer than that.  As with anything, offerings and information are constantly evolving, and new improvements continue to make pool and spa ownership even easier.  What I find remarkable is how much I continue to learn about the products I deal with on a daily basis.

While reading an article recently in the October 2018 edition of Aqua magazine I discovered a valuable bit of information that was right in front of me all this time, but I never really considered before.  The article explored the concept of hydraulic efficiency.  The last decade or so the industry has focused heavily on the efficiency of pumps.  What has seemingly been ignored is the filter type that is used.

For several years now we have focused primarily on selling cartridge filters with aboveground pools.  Once we had an alternative to sand that we could sell at the same price it made sense to give our customers finer filtration at the same price.  This article points to hydraulic efficiency as another advantage of cartridge filters over sand.  It isn’t the media itself that makes a difference, it is actually the multiport valve on the sand filter.  When you eliminate the head loss encountered by the filter valve you can accomplish the same amount of water flow with less effort on the part of the pump.

Naturally, there are a lot more specifics that can be detailed here, but this is strong argument to consider when selecting your filter type.  We frequently have customers that are insistent that they get a sand filter, but this might be the justification necessary to make the switch.  Just something for you all to consider with your pool or your pool of the future.

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Crab Shells For Clarity?

One of the most common concerns with pool and spa water is the clarity of the water.  Nothing is less inviting than cloudy water.  What is even more frustrating is trying to address that cloudiness and it can crop up at the most inopportune times.  As much as we would all like to expect our filtration system to consistently keep our water perfectly clear, it isn’t a miracle worker and there are any number of environmental and chemical factors that can muddy the waters before you know it.

Perhaps one of the best ways to address turbid water is to use Chitosan based pool clarifier.  Chitosan is a naturally occurring polymer that is found in crab shells.  When recycled crab shells are added to water it has a positive charge which will attract particles in the water.  Those particles can then be more easily filtered from the water.  Chitosan can even chelate metals present in the water to help prevent staining.  It removes oils and scum and thereby restores the clear sparkling quality of water.

What is better than a natural approach to a common problem with pools and spas?  It works with every sanitizer on the market regardless of chemical levels.  It is so safe that you can swim immediately after using it.  And unlike many clarifiers, you cannot over use it.  Some clarifiers, when over used, can create sticky waterline residue that is almost worse than the alternative.  That isn’t a risk for Chitosan based clarifiers.

So, the next time you need to clear your water up or even if you just want to help prevent that from being an issue, stop in and let us show you what a miracle recycled crab shells can be.  You help reduce waste and keep a shimmer to your pool that makes it the beautiful backyard oasis you always expected it to be.

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What’s New Big Green Egg Part 3!

In the last part of “Whats New” we will take a look at the new Egg Genius.  The EGG Genius effortlessly controls the temperature of your EGG through your smartphone, tablet or computer. Remotely manage and monitor cooking temperatures for worry-free cooking and monitor the temperature of your food. You can also view graphs of your past cooks. Lastly, you will receive alerts when your cook is finished or when the EGG temperature is too high or low.

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What’s New Big Green Egg Part 2!

In the second of three “Whats New” we will take a look at the Eggspander Kit. Unleash your culinary creativity with the ultimate expansion system for the Big Green Egg! The NEW Big Green Egg EGGspander System facilitates an extensive variety of cooking setups to easily utilize the full versatility of the EGG, and the 1 Piece convEGGtor Basket allows for easy and convenient placement and removal of the convEGGtor

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What’s New Big Green Egg Part 1!

This is the First of a three part “Whats New” series.  The first new product that we just got in, is Big Green Egg’s new Modular Nest System.  Build your outdoor kitchen one step at a time with the NEW Big Green Egg Modular Nest System! Start with an EGG Frame, then add to your custom EGG display with Expansion Frames and a variety of beautiful and functional inserts.

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Draft Time

In my eyes the biggest needs for the Bengals would be: Linebacker, Offensive Line, and tight end. With the upcoming NFL draft in April, I have gone back since the draft in 2000 to see what positions and players have been selected with the 11th overall pick in the draft.  You may ask why? Well the Cincinnati Bengals currently hold the 11th overall pick this year. There has been 1 safety, 1 defensive tackle, 1 running back, 2 quarterbacks, 3 Offensive tackles, 3 Defensive ends, 3 Linebacker, and 5 corners. With the history of the draft I hope Devin White is still available to be picked by the Bengals at 11.  I think Devin White is the best player in the draft, and if he can have a similar career as the three linebackers that have been selected with the 11th pick since 2000: Patrick Willis in 2007, Demarcus Ware in 2005, and Dan Morgan in 2001. I know some view the troubles of the offensive line is the biggest need but I do not think there is a lineman worth the 11th overall pick.  I think it would be better to wait in the other rounds to pick up a lineman and to sign someone in free agency, like Trent Brown or Roger Safford. If the Bengals can pry Trent Brown from the Patriots then he is the new left tackle and I would bounce Cordy Glenn to the right side. If they can not sign Brown then I would line the Brinks trucks up to Safford to have him play right guard or left guard and bounce Clint Boling to left tackle.  I would also try and re-resign Preston Brown, Darqueze Dennard, Tyler Eifert (incentive based deal), C.J. Uzomah, Trey Hopkins, and Jake Fisher to see how he does in camp. I would also try and restructure or cut Vontaze Burfict, I would also see if Dre Kirkpatrick would restructure his deal. I would also try and make it a high priority to re-sign Tyler Boyd so we don’t have the same thing as a few years ago when the Bengals watched Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones walk out the door in free agency.

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Benefits of Dogs Swimming

For dogs who love to swim, playing in the water has many benefits. Swimming is an all-around healthy activity for your dog. It provides everything from exercise to stimulation, and a needed release for all that energy dogs have.

Exercise and Playtime
The most obvious benefit of swimming for your dog is exercise. Dogs often have excess energy to burn which needs to be channeled into activities that keep them active and healthy, and keeps them from being destructive out of boredom. Swimming is good for the whole body, from cardio to muscles. When a dog can swim, they are naturals and adapt to it very quickly. A good swimmer is fun to watch in the water.
Dogs who love to swim get a great deal of pleasure out of the activity. Some dogs will swim for hours, which is phenomenal exercise. It is even more fun when you go swimming along with your dog in the sea, a pool, or a lake. To add a little more excitement to the activity, bring along a ball or other object that floats for your dog to swim after and fetch.

Stimulation
Even dogs can get bored and restless. Varied activities help to keep your dog alert, focused and happy. Exercise and play time help stimulate their minds, and varying their activities helps as well. Take advantage of the times when you can bring your dog to the water and give them needed stimulation.

Cooling Down
In the extreme summer heat, dogs can have a difficult time staying cool since they do not sweat the same way humans do. They cool off through the pads of their feet, and by panting, which pulls air in. Keeping your dog hydrated is important, but you can also help them cool down with water play. Even just a little kiddie pool helps, but a good swim will help keep their body temperature at a comfortable level when they are overwhelmed with heat. Dogs may enjoy a refreshing dip, just like we do.

Safety Tips
If your dog is perfectly capable of swimming but is hesitant to get in the water or seems afraid of it, try tempting them with a dog treat to help break the initial resistance. Be patient the same way you would be with a human child learning about the water and swimming. If you make it a pleasant experience, your dog will quickly learn that water play is fun and refreshing.
For dogs that can’t swim, you can purchase a life jacket which will allow them to join in on all the fun in the water. If you use that option, make sure you get the right size for your dog to enable the vest to do the job properly.
Enjoy the water with your dog, and let them benefit from all the pluses it provides!

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Importance of PH Level in a Salt Water Pool

The PH in a swimming pool is a critical factor that not everyone takes into account. I remember a customer purchasing a liner for his inground pool a few years ago and during our conversation he mentioned that he uses chlorine tablets only and never checks his PH or does anything but put chlorine in the pool and the water is always clear. I dug into the facts a little deeper and found out he was replacing his liner after 8 years of ownership, while our average inground customer typically gets about 15 years out of a liner. Well, what this particular customer didn’t take into account is that chlorine tablets are acidic and our typical customer that has their water tested regularly will need to put in about 60 pounds of alkalinity increaser every year to keep their pool’s PH in the proper range. When the PH isn’t maintained and runs low the liner puckers, shrinks and gets brittle. Therefore it is the main reason why this particular customer was replacing the liner in 1/2 the amount of time that our average customer would. The disturbing reason why his water always stayed clear is that nothing would live in the water. The water’s PH was so low that algae and most bacteria couldn’t live in the water. I personally would not want to swim in this water, nor would I want anyone else to either.

The advantage of a salt system is that creates chlorine from salt and it does it at a higher PH than tablet chlorine. Generally if the pool’s PH is allowed to drift on a salt system, it should go higher rather than lower. This is good news for the liner, your eyes and the over all feel of the water. One shouldn’t allow the PH to drift high and keep it high. There can be adverse reactions to this as well. The most common thing we see is calcium scaling on the salt cell which can reduce the efficiency of the unit.

While salt systems are much easier to take care of and the adverse effect of neglecting the PH in a salt system is less than a chlorine pool, one should always monitor the PH. Your pool and your family will thank you for it!

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Who likes meat loaf?

I like meat loaf, sometimes. My family went recently to a local restaurant that served meat loaf as one of their menu options. I was skeptical but I ordered it anyway because I know multiple people that had ordered the meat loaf and said it was great. I thought it was so, so. I am not a great cook but I have a great oven and I think this is what truly makes the difference. I have a Big Green Egg and people are surprised that one would put or even fit a meat loaf on their grill. The Big Green Egg is truly a flexible cooking system and I don’t know why or how, but the food that comes off of that grill is superior to any other method of cooking I have tried. I believe it has to do with both the size and mass of the ceramics that are used to give a very even heat and the all natural charcoal that gives the food the subtle smokey flavoring that is just barely perceptible.  All that I truly know is that when I follow the simple internet directions for a standard meat loaf and I cook it on a Big Green Egg, it tastes (in my view) far superior than what one would get if they went to a restaurant and paid $15 for a couple small slices. I am not a good cook but I got a great grill and this is why people that own a Big Green Egg are fanatics, it makes them look like a much better cook than they really are.

BGE Modular

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Cincinnati Red Stockings

The United States consisted of 37 states. Ulysses S Grant was sworn in as President. The Golden Spike was driven into the ground in Promontory, Utah to create the first trans-continental railroad. Jesse James committed his first confirmed bank robbery. The Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first Major League Baseball team. Let’s think about this for just a minute first train across the country, only 37 states, and a Civil War general has just been inaugurated as president. This should really put into perspective how long the Reds organization has been a part of the Cincinnati landscape. Happy anniversary to the club, and here is to hoping they are around for another 150 years.

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