Thinking of Closing the Pool Early?

You might want to think again.  Trust me, I know that we have not had the hottest of summers and some of you are just plain fed up with cool water.  But don’t close yet.  First, you are going still going to get some good hot weather.  And if the kids are back in school, that means the pool is all yours!

The other issue is that if you do close early, you are really going to be stretching the capacity of your winter closing kits to handle the inevitable hot weather still to come, not to mention what is in store next spring.  We’ve been selling the same winterizing kit for 30 years and it works!  But don’t press your luck. If you do indeed close early, add the proper winter kit(s) but consider adding a little extra—either an extra kit or a quart of Algae Destroyer algaecide.  I would avoid any algaecide in a gallon jug.  It is basically soap.  For those that plan on adding a few gallons of shock to the pool, know this:  It gasses off very quickly and if your cover is on the pool, this vaporized chlorine will ultimately weaken or destroy your winter cover.  Hey—it’s an oxidizer.  That’s what it’s supposed to do.

The simple solution is to keep the pool open and enjoy it.

The Heat is Coming!

    We know that everyone is frustrated with the cool weather this season. Heaters are on full blast and some people are just downright staying out of the pools. But, even though you may not be swimming as much you need to continue to keep the pools water chlorinated, balanced and active. We tend to not pay attention to pools unless we are in them but it is certainly necessary to keep up with the chemical balance so when that week of 100+ degrees hits, you can be ready to swim. Come on in and get a free water sample tested. We can let you know what you need to do in order to keep the pool sparkling and clear.

    We have also started having a lot of people inquire about heaters. We carry heaters of 3 different varieties. Gas, Electric Pumps and Solar.

    Gas heaters have the ability to heat pools rather quickly and can run on either propane or natural gas. These are tried and true units that have been used for years to help heat pools. We have gas heaters that will heat small aboveground pools and units that will heat pools as big as 40,000 gallons. That’s 250,000 BTU’s heating the pool! With that kind of power you can heat the pool in a matter of 24-30 hours. Fast, efficient and effective.

    With Electric Heat Pumps we have a wide selection that can suit aboveground pools and ingrounds alike. The new ECO 500 heat pump was designed specifically to heat aboveground pools with great efficiency. From there the models get larger to suit inground pools all the way up to, yet again, 40,000 gallon pools. These heat pumps from Aqua Products are built with a 100% pure, commercial grade titanium heat exchanger and can pump up to 80 gallons per minute. It will take the heat pump several days to reach the desired temperature, but once at temperature and covered with a solar cover, these heaters retain heat better than any other heater in the business.

    Lastly, we have Solar Heaters. Everyone has used a solar blanket in the past and we are still major advocates for their usage. Covers help to retain heat and give you the ability to extend your swimming season. But, we all know the struggle of hauling them on and off the pool. A solar heater is in no way a replacement for the solar blanket but it harnesses the power of the sun in the same fashion to help heat the water through conductivity. These solar panels, domes or arcs pass water through black tubing. By placing the solar heater in direct sunlight it traps the sun’s heat in the black coils and then conducts that heat to the water as it passes through. Unique and inexpensive, these units have provided countless customers with free heat provided by the sun.

    Don’t let the colder weather get you down. The heat is coming and if not, we have some options to get you back in your pool. Keep the water clean and remember, if it stays this cold, we still sell spas!

Where Have All the Trapper Keeper’s Gone?

     Maybe its the fact that we were more easily entertained at a young age than the kids are today, but it seems as if attention spans are minimal and if it doesn’t plug in, it couldn’t possibly be important enough to claim the attention of our kids. The lack of electronics, I guess, made it an easier time back in the ancient days of the 1980′s and 1990′s. I realized this while taking the kiddos back-to-school shopping.

     Now, keep in mind, there is no way that I would do the clothing portion of the back-to-school ritual, but give me the supply list and I’m golden. While shopping, picking through to find the right colored heavy duty binders it occurred to me, there was not a single Trapper Keeper anywhere to be found. The most magical time before the start up of the new school year was sorting through the dozens of Trapper Keeper patterns to find “the right one”. Don’t get me wrong there were some pretty cool things, like the lunch box that looked and beeped like R2-D2, annoying but still cool. To my dismay, I didn’t find a single scented eraser, or pencil, or even scented markers for that matter. Every kid thinks that going back to school is a drag, and it was things like these that made the dreaded shopping trip for school supplies at least palatable. This brings me back to the what I asked in the opening, where have all the good times gone?


Fireglass & Beads

We just received our newest shipment of glass pieces and beads for firepit tables. If you’re looking for a new look for your firepit, come see our new options. They are made by American Fireglass and can also be used indoors with a gas log fireplace. These beads and glass pieces add a really attractive look to your fires!  DCIM100GOPRO

Tornado in Upstate New York


We extend our sympathies to families affected by deadly tornados that blew through upstate New York.  I was drawn to the story on and then zoomed in on their lead photo for the article.  Amid all the destruction is a seemingly undamaged Mira Grand Bahama hot tub.  We’ve had many just like this one on our sales floor so I immediately recognized the model.  It’s truly strange how some things survive  these deadly twisters and some things don’t.  There’s no explaining the force of nature when fully unleashed.  –Max

The End of an Era

     I started here at Eastgate Pools back in 2004, tooling around in a ’93 Mazda 626.  I loved that car until a series of unfortunate axle failures forced me to get something new.  While I received no end of grief for my selection, I bought a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta with 19,000 miles on it.  That was February of 2005.  Nearly 170,000 miles later my Jetta has found a new home and I’ve moved on to a “new to me” 2009 Subaru Forester.  I love the new car, and it is probably a bit more reliable, but that Jetta successfully delivered me to the home of many potential and eventual inground pool buyers.  Now you’ll know to look for something a little different than that old silver Jetta if I’m stopping by.

Water Chemistry Misconceptions

     There is no system that we can put you on to sanitize your pool that requires “no work”. No matter what sanitation program we set you up on, you MUST continue to balance your pH, alkalinity, stabilizer and calcium hardness. This goes for traditional salt systems, simple salt hybrid systems, FROG systems and chlorine tablets.


     If you do not keep every other chemical in check, you’re going to run into problems all over the board. If pH is run low for extended periods of time, it becomes corrosive to any metal components on your pool, for instance your pump. Also, when your pH is out of balance, it allows for other items such as copper to fall out of solution and stain your liner. A high pH can cause cloudy water, and a drop in chlorine effectiveness.


     If your alkalinity is not balanced, you will have a continuous struggle getting your pH and chlorine to balance out. A low calcium level in your pool can cause pits (holes) in your liner. Where a high calcium level can cause scaling on the liner.


     Stabilizer prevents the sun from burning through your chlorine so quickly. If you let it get low, you will not maintain a high enough level of chlorine in your pool. So you will burn through chlorine very fast. On the flip side if stabilizer gets too high you can get into what’s known as chlorine lock. Basically, what chlorine lock is, is when you have chlorine in the water but it is “locked” to where it cannot do anything for the water sanitation.


     The best thing to do is come in bi-weekly to get a professional water test done. This way you will have an exact amount and a regiment procedure to keep your pool balanced. Remember, if you work for your pools balance, the pool will work for you.

Independence Day Sale!

Something is stirring in the back offices of Eastgate Pools and Spas. We were all told to be prepared because the big-time sales are coming. With discounted pricing on grills, spas, inground pools and pool toys, we are bound to have something to bring more fun to your 4th of July extravaganzas. We will be here from 10am til 3pm on Friday the 4th to help anyone who needs that last minute pool chemical or porch swing so please come and see us over the holiday and share in the celebration.

Time to Turn Up the Chlorine

The heat has come and with that comes a necessity for more chlorine. When the sun begins its trek across the summer months your pool will need more chlorine on those weeks of intense UV exposure to the pool. The ultraviolet rays of the sun burn chlorine out of solution at a very fast rate thus requiring more chlorine on a regular basis. For those of you who use salt systems, turn up the cell 10%-20% so that you don’t end up with a moment where no sanitizer is being administered to the system. For customers who use liquid shock and tablets, you will want to open your chlorinators up a notch or two to generate more chlorine flow through the unit and you may want to start shocking the pool a little more frequently. If you shock the pool once every 7-8 days you may want to up the ante and start shocking once every 5 days so the pool doesn’t bloom with algae. Basically, if you have any doubts about the chlorine level in the pool, your safest bet is to test the water for chlorine and if the level is low, shock the pool to keep it from turning green with algae.

Technophile Warning!!!

With my birthday fast approaching my Wife was peppering me with questions about what I wanted and I was absolutely striking out on ideas.  Then it occurred to me…a new TV!!!  I recently put in a nice, yet small, home theater system and the TV in that area has been struggling for the last year or so.  Literally, you have to wait for nearly a half an hour before the picture comes in correctly.  I figured my wife and the in-laws could all go in together and we could get something reasonable, but updated.

We set out to look at a few options and I found what seemed like an unbeatable deal at one of the big electronics stores.  Turns out it was too good to be true.  Someone had mislabeled the sign and I had to start all over.  I wound up finding an LG 50” LED LCD with 3D (why not), smart capability, 120hz, and 1080p.  Great price with a little mail in rebate, but the TV appeared to be a Canadian model.  After a little research I decided it was worth it and we ordered the new set.  That presumably beautiful TV has been sitting in the box in our office for nearly two weeks.  None of my gift givers will allow me to hook the TV up until my birthday on Thursday.  Thankfully the end of torturous waiting period is drawing to a close.  I will let you know how the TV looks.  Stay tuned as I’m sure all our blog readers are captivated by this tale of perseverance.


Happy Memorial Day!

I know we are a day late on the Holiday wishes but we have been working diligently to get pools up and running all weekend long. If you were in over the weekend you saw firsthand that summer is here and pool season is in full swing. The water test station is teeming with life and we encourage you to bring in a sample to get your pool water properly balanced and feeling great for swimmers. ‘Tis the season as we like to say, so come on in and get that pool setup for the season.

With All This Rain….?


It has been raining for days and I know some of you new pool owners are wondering; “How will this affect my pool and the water chemistry?”.  When rain water pitter-patters the surface of your water it brings hydrogen into the water. The pH of a pool, by definition, is its potential for hydrogen so as it adds hydrogen to the water it will subsequently raise the pH. If only lightly, this is something to keep in consideration when a heavy, multi-day rain comes through the area. You will also want to shock the pool with liquid chlorine an extra time or two during a multi-day rain so a major algae bloom doesn’t present itself. You will especially want to shock the pool at the end of a major rainstorm. Liquid chlorine has a high pH factor so it can lightly raise the pH of the pool as well. Testing the pools water after a major rain is almost necessary as the rain with dilute certain things such as chlorine levels, salt levels and stabilizer levels, requiring additions to re-balance the pool as well as it will throw of the pH levels.

We also want all of our pool owners to keep in mind that as the water levels raise in your pools you will need to keep close watch so the skimmer can properly skim the surface of the water. There are multiple types of filtration systems out there so I will try to detail how each of the filters can be used to drain some water off of the top of the pool to skim the pools surface properly.

With a sand filter you will need to start by shutting down the pump and system. The top of your valve-head will have a port for waste. Switch the valve handle to waste and then re-start the pump. This will run water directly out of the system without passing your sand and enables you to drain directly out of the system. Drain as much as needed, turn the system back off, reset the valve-head to filter and turn the system back on as you will be ready to go at that point.

With a cartridge filter on an aboveground pool it is a little different than on an inground pool as there is a gravity feed on an aboveground compared to the inground. To drain water off of an aboveground you will start by shutting off the pump system. The bottom of your aboveground filter tank will have a drain cap that will need to be removed to drain water out. Remove this cap and allow to drain until the pool is at the ideal water height. Re-plug the filter, you may have to shutoff the valves to re-insert the plug as water will be rushing swiftly from the system. Most importantly, once the system has been restarted you will want to “bleed” all of the air out of the tank so you get optimum filtration. This is accomplished by rotating the wing nut on the top of the tank head and allowing all the air to hiss out until it sprays water. Once it sprays out you seal it back tight and the filter is ready to go. Inground pools with cartridge filters are best drained by dropping in a cover filter pump or a sub-pump to drain the water out as desired. Most inground cartridge filters have a drain cap on the side of the system where you can drain but they tend to drain very slowly. This is why a submersible pump or cover pump comes in handy.

Diatomaceous earth filtration systems vary depending on the unit. Most are going to have a ball valve on the bottom side of the unit that can be rotated to drain out all the excess water but it will drain out your diatomaceous earth media. You will need to recharge the system with more diatomaceous earth.

Toby’s Smoked Chile Con Queso

Today we have a delicious recipe for Chile Con Queso that is sure to knock your socks off. If you came to Eastgate Pools anytime over the Anniversary Sale weekend at the end of April you probably saw a lot of cooks outside using the Kamado Joe smokers and Swiss Grills. One of the guys grilling was our regional representative for Kamado Joe, Toby Burke. Toby grilled a lot of different delights but one of his treats stood out so much that a customer called in for the recipe. I am excited to share with our blog viewers this delicious recipe today. Happy Grilling!

Toby’s Smoked Chile Con Queso


One Kamado Style BBQ Grill (Preferably Kamado Joe®)

If you don’t have a Kamado grill then you can use a Gas Grill (Preferably Swiss Grill®.)

If Charcoal use LUMP style charcoal or Wood Chips or Chunks for the smokey flavor.

If Gas Grill use one of the Stainless Steel Smoker Boxes available at Eastgate Pools & Spas. 

Of course you can also cook the Con Queso in an oven. 

Just DON’T prepare in a Micro Wave.



One Block of White Velveeta® (Queso Blanco)

One Can of Rotel® tomatoes (hot)

One Can of Rotel® tomatoes (medium)

One bag of shredded or grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Smoked Paprika



Start your charcoal fire – do not use lighter fluid!!

Cube the Velveeta® and place in a ceramic style casserole baking dish

Pour the two cans of Rotel® on top and mix around a little bit. No need to get carried away with mixing it up. 

Once your coals are lit place the dish in to the grill, The coals do not need to be fully lit. 

After the mixture begins to get heated up a little then spread the cheddar cheese over the top of the dish and sprinkle the Smoked Paprika over the top. 

Cook long enough for the cheddar to bubble up and brown a little bit. 

You can re-heat the dip up periodically or place over a chafing dish to keep warm. 

Great to use Day Two on Scrambled Eggs !!


Water Clarity

     I know no one likes a cloudy pool! If you’ve been to the store recently you probably have noticed all the construction going on around Eastgate.  With that said, we have noticed that our pools closest to the road have had a lot of dust and dirt migrate to the pools while they work on the roads.
     Vacuuming is typically the easiest way to combat the issue, but as most know, as you vacuum you are stirring the pool up with all the particulate matter. So, what do you do to assist the filter to get the finer particles out?  Depends on what filter media style you have, if you have a sand filter you can use clarifier or floc.  If you have a cartridge filter, as most of our aboveground customers do, you can use a natural enzyme and can take your manual vacuum (as if it was hooked up to vacuum) and flip over in the center of the pool with the vacuums underside aiming toward the sky to act as a bottom drain. This will give you circulation throughout the entire pool and enable you to filter 100% of the water.
     If for whatever reason these suggestions do not clear up your cloudy pool come on in and see our water test experts. You could be low on chlorine or have an improperly balanced alkalinity that could be making the pool hazy. Testing the water is recommended once every two weeks to assure properly balanced water.

I’m All Fired Up

About what you may ask? Is it the price of gas or groceries? Is it the fact that the thermometer is not hitting 80 degrees on a regular basis yet? The answer is no on both fronts, I’m fired up that May is national grilling month. For those of you like me there is no off season when it comes to grilling, but admittedly I grill more in spring and summer than in winter. To me, this is the perfect month  for national grilling month, completely shaking free from winter’s chill and the ability to be outside for long stretches in the evening on the patio around the grill. Whether you prefer gas or charcoal, use these nights to cook a great meal, and spend time with the family outdoors.