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    Do I really need a pool cover?

    One of the most common questions we receive from clients during the pool design and pool quotation stage is, ‘…do I really need a pool cover?’ and it's often accompanied by an odd facial expression. If you want to extend your swim season, reduce pool heating and chemical costs, and prevent water evaporation, then the answer is an absolute yes!

    The number one reason why people don’t like the idea of a pool cover (and make that facial expression) is purely due to aesthetics. Yes, a pool cover may detract from the visual you are trying to create. But, wouldn’t you prefer a pool (when combined with a heating system) that provides six, nine or twelve-months’ worth of family fitness and entertainment? Compared to your new pool simply becoming a very large water feature you cannot enjoy.

    Let's face it, we live in Victoria and are not blessed with balmy pool weather year round. Taking an holistic and considered approach to pool heating during the pool design stage of your project is essential if you would like to get the most enjoyment out of your new pool.

    Comparing Pool Cover Options

    With an industry wide focus on climate care solutions, you are now spoilt for choice when it comes to pool cover options. The Pool Cover Option Comparison Table below is a snapshot of a selection of pool cover products available in the marketplace today (June 2020), including an approximate budget you should allow when planning your pool project. The estimates are based on a rectangular pool design measuring 6.0m x 3.0m. 

    Pool Cover ProductBudgetReduces EvaporationRetains HeatAerates WaterPrevents Pet & Child AccessLockable/ AutomationWarranty 
    ABGAL Triple Cell Solar Pool Cover 610 Micron$570-$670Tick
    By 99%
    Tick Up to 8 Degrees Heat GainNoNoNo12 Years pro-rata
    Sunline AquaVent Pool Blanket $700-$800Tick
    By 97%
    TickTickNoNo12 Years pro-rata
    ABGAL Thermal Heatshield Pool Cover$750-$950Tick
    By 95%
    Tick Plus cuts Heat Loss by 75%NoNoNo8 Years pro-rata against UV degradation and 12 months against delamination
    ABGAL Oasis Solar Pool Cover 500 Micron$520-$620Tick
    By 99.84%
    Tick Up to 8 Degrees Heat GainNoNoNo8 Years pro-rata
    ABGAL Pooltex Leafstop Pool Cover$950-$1,050Tick
    By up to 70%
    No, does block sunlight to prevent algae growth.TickPets Only.No8 Years pro-rata
    Remco PoolGuard Pool Cover$3,500-$4,000TickTickTickTick Can withstand a load up to 100KGLockable - Yes
    Automated - No
    5 Years
    Remco Coverstar Pool CoverAbove Pool: $12,000-$15,000
    Integrated: $22,000-$30,000
    TickTickTickTick Can withstand a load up to 400KGTick 5 Years
    Remco Swimroll Pool CoverAbove Pool: $12,000-$15,000
    Integrated: $22,000-$30,000
    TickTickNoTick Can withstand a load up to 70KGTick 5 Years

    Table Notes:

    • All pool cover options require a compliant safety barrier to surround the pool zone. Although lockable, pet and child proof, the Remco Pool Cover Options do still require a compliant safety barrier. 
    • The prices listed above are inclusive of GST, representative of June 2020 pricing and are intended as a guide only. Due to delivery and installation, the price provided by your pool builder may be higher. 

    Top 2 Pool Covers

    To get the most enjoyment from your soon-to-be-built swimming pool without breaking the budget, our top 2 pool cover options for 2020: 

    Best Pool Cover Option Under $1,000

    For storage, consider an ABGAL Endurance Pool Cover Roller (when purchased with a ABGAL Pool Cover, receive a free Pool Cover and Roller Protector) or if budget allows, an Underground Pool Blanket Box may be the better space saving solution (for a 6.0m x 3.0m pool allow approximately $4,200 supply only of the blanket box). 

    Best Pet & Child Proof Pool Cover Option Under $4,000


     

    Can I add a pool cover later?

    Yes of course, your pool cover options may however become limited and if you have not planned for a pool cover (particularly its storage), a pool cover may become difficult and cumbersome to incorporate into your pool zone after it is complete. Some clients choose to see how they use the pool in the first 12 months before deciding on whether or not it is worth investing in a pool cover - this is also a great idea however, always remember to plan for this addition during your pool project planning stage. 

    If you are in the midst of pool planning and have not spoken to an Albatross Pools Designer or received an obligation free swimming pool quote, we would welcome the opportunity to speak with you - let's discuss your pool project today!

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    Top 3 Pool Buying Tips in the midst of COVID-19

    What does life look like on the other side of COVID-19? It is a hard one to answer as the virus is still on our doorstep with no expiry in sight. One thing is for certain, life will be different. There has and probably will be continued heartache as the world battles something it cannot see and does not understand. In the midst of COVID-19, is there a silver lining?

    Personally, this pandemic has forced my family to refocus on what is important and everything else (that consumed us previously) has simply become irrelevant. Our health and spending quality time with our kids is our focus. With a winter escape to Bali or Queensland off the cards for the foreseeable, investing in our home and a life at home is back on the agenda.

    We don’t have a pool, we do however, have a grand plan for our dream backyard. With the pool front and center, we were going to update everything from the back door to the back fence and were planning to do it all at once in a couple of years. Not anymore. Keeping our boys busy year-round, being able to continue swimming lessons and looking after our health and wellbeing is now the priority. Our grand plan isn’t off the cards, we will just go about achieving it differently.

    Perhaps you too are in a similar position? Consider exploring finance options and staging your project so you too can enjoy a new pool sooner rather than later. Don’t forget to consider alternate heating solutions other than solar - a life at home needs a pool you can enjoy and keep the kids busy year-round!

    Tip 1. Consider finance solutions for your dream outdoor space

    By now, you may have an idea of how much a pool costs. The next consideration is how to finance a pool.

    Some dip into savings whilst the majority choose to extend their mortgage. If you are the majority, STOP and take a moment to compare your mortgage with the Outdoor Finance Calculator. The refinancing process through AB Phillips could free up enough money to fund your new pool project without the need of increasing your monthly mortgage repayments.

    Tip 2. Tackle your grand plan in stages and consider alternatives

    You can still have your grand plan but consider how to achieve the dream in stages. By staging your project, you could afford to install your swimming pool sooner rather than later and make the most of the restrictions we now find ourselves. Choosing alternative surrounds is also a great way to achieve the look whilst saving money!

    Stage 1. Install your swimming pool

    • Lighting, provision for pool heating (and if you choose gas, running of the gas line), water leveler, spa jets and infloor cleaning (if you are wanting this option - keep in mind there are much cost effective alternatives) must be installed at the point of pool construction. Everything else can be added once budget allows.
    • There are plenty of different poolside paving options on the market ranging from man-made products to natural stone. Whilst some of the more conventional paving options can sometimes be expensive, it pays to consider other options like OFF-FORM concrete. This type of finish can give you a high-end look without the high-end price tag.
    • If you choose to stage your project, consider basic safety barrier fencing instead of other options.

    Stage 2. Structures & Remaining Hard Surfaces

    Stage 3. Planting & Dressing

    Find yourself without a grand plan but like the idea and want to understand how you could then stage your total project? Seeking the advice of a landscape architect such as Anthony from Anthony Scott Landscape Design would be a great place to start.

    Tip 3. Swim year round with a total pool heating solution

    Let’s face it, we live in Melbourne and are not gifted with the consistent warm weather of the Gold Coast. We do however have extreme waves of heat and without easy access to kilometres of stunning beaches, a pool in the backyard is the next best thing!

    The restrictions we find ourselves in highlight the need to be able to swim and enjoy a pool year-round. Most people think solar but unless we have 3-4 days of consistent weather above 25 degrees (and a pool cover is on at night to prevent heat loss), the pool will simply not be warm enough to swim. By far the cheapest to run (averaging $200-$300 per year), solar does however provide the least amount of swim time. There are alternatives worth considering, if your dream pool was 40,000L for example:

    Swim year round with a combined system, choose from:

    • 100% Solar System and a Gas Heating System (250 or 400MJ Unit)
    • 100% Solar System and an Inverter Heat Pump System (minimum 21kW Unit*)

    Swim nine months of the year with reduced combined system, choose from:

    • 100% Solar System and an Inverter Heat Pump System (minimum 17kW Unit*)
    •  An Inverter Heat Pump System (minimum 17kw Unit*)

    Swim six months of the year with a singular system, choose from:

    • 100% Solar System
    • An Inverter Heat Pump (minimum 13kW Unit*)

    If you are looking at a combined system, an additional controller is worth investing in which will then communicate between the two systems to ensure it runs as efficiently as possible.

    Take the September school holidays of 2019 for example: pool owners with solar only were not entertaining the kids in the pool – the pool water was simply too cold. Pool owners with a gas heater on the other hand were entertaining the kids and their friends for the entire two weeks – they had complete control of their pool water temperature. Food for thought

    Looking to invest in a life at home?

    We are here to help! To slow the spread of the virus and to protect our team and more importantly you, everyone across the business including our construction crew follow good hygiene principles and practice social distancing. We’d welcome the opportunity to work with you on your dream pool and would encourage you to still contact us during the period of COVID-19.

    We have a number of contact-free options to choose from:

    • Speak to a member of our team 7 days a week on 1300 136 316
    • Submit an online pool enquiry and your local Albatross Pools Designer will contact you directly
    • With the assistance of Google Earth and any plans you may have (or sketches), our Pool Designers can provide an indicative pool quotation subject to an obligation free site inspection.
    • With direct access to your outdoor space (without the need to enter your home), our Pool Designer can visit your property to conduct a site inspection. You can then speak via mobile with the Pool Designer while you remain inside your residence. This option is subject to Government advice.
    • When you choose to buy an Albatross Pool, a Digital SPASA Contract is available.
    • If you are concerned of your circumstances changing in the near future due to the impacts of COVID-19, we do have an option available known as a Preliminary Works Agreement. This would allow us to proceed with a soil test and a pool permit application on your behalf. Once the permit is issued, the Contract is then entered into for the original value less the amount paid for the Preliminary Works Agreement. If your circumstances do change, your only financial obligation is the cost of the Preliminary Works Agreement.    

    *Confirm the appropriate heat pump size for your pool with your pool builder.

    Take care during these challenging times we find ourselves in. Remember to focus on what is important. If that happens to be spending time at home with your family and investing in a life at home, we are here to help!

     

     

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    7 Key Poolscaping Design Considerations

    Congratulations on choosing to build a swimming pool, it is one of the best decisions you could ever make for your family! Now doubt you have a vision in mind for your dream outdoor space. Perhaps you have chosen your pool paving tile but have you considered how the tile feels underfoot on a 40 degree day? 

    The level of enjoyment to be had in and around your new swimming pool will be influenced by the level of thought and consideration when planning the pool surrounds, also known as your poolscape. It's the small considerations that will make a big difference to how your family and friends enjoy your new pool. 

    #1 Where will the pool be located?

    • Get to know your property first and foremost! Easements, property overlays and regulations will impact where your pool can be located.  Visit Victorian DELWP https://www2.delwp.vic.gov.au/maps/maps-and-spatial-data for your free property report.
    • What is on the other side of your boundary fences? If you would like the pool’s edge to be closer than 1m to your boundary, it is important to understand what is built on the other side of your boundary.
    • Where will the afternoon sun shine in your backyard? The afternoon is often the time you will enjoy your pool, the sun is also at its strongest at this time. The afternoon sun in your eyes when sitting in or around the pool watching the kids in the afternoon will become very uncomfortable and you'll end up becoming burnt.

    #2 How will you entertain in and around the pool?

    • Giving thought to and planning the social spaces in and around your pool area will ensure you create a backyard to be enjoyed now and for many years to come.
    • The area surrounding the pool entry/steps should also be well considered – if you do not allow enough space, the most basic of needs (getting in and out of the pool) can become a challenge.
    • Would you like to have sun lounges or even a day bed alongside your pool? Or perhaps you would prefer a table and chairs for entertaining or to feed the kids when you can drag them out of the pool for a snack and to reapply sunscreen.
    • If you are limited by space, perhaps a bench seat with a couple of bright scatter cushions would work – doubles as storage which is always a bonus!

    #3 How to landscape around the pool with budget in mind?

    • Before the median block size in Melbourne fell to 450 squares in 2017 (Domain), it was general rule to allow a budget equivalent to 50% of the pool cost for the landscaping and fencing – this obviously depends on space and your taste.
    • Be thoughtful when planning hard spaces surrounding your pool. Fully tiled areas may be desired but if you are looking to reduce landscaping costs, perhaps a small amount of tiling combined with instant synthetic lawn may be the perfect compromise (from a cost and maintenance point of view).
    • If working to a limited landscaping budget, it is worth keeping in mind that most families usually use only two sides of a pool – perhaps focus your investment in hard surfaces on those two sides and just allow one row of tiling on the other two unused sides of the pool.

    #4 What do I need to consider when planning my pool fence?

    • To understand your new pool’s fencing requirements, head to the Victorian Building Authority’s website (VBA): https://www.vba.vic.gov.au/consumers/safety-guides/swimming-pools
    • To take your understanding one step further, an independent surveyor can conduct a pre-safety barrier inspection and either provide verbal advice or a written report specific to your backyard pool plans. Making sure your plans comply with safety barrier regulations can save you a great deal of time and money.
    • Pool safety barrier options are endless, be sure to consider all options! From compliant screens (to clad your boundary fence), framed to frameless glass fencing, standard tubular pool fences to vertical uprights – there is an option (or even a combination of options) to suit your desired style and budget.
    • If you browse popular landscape architect designs you will notice many often incorporate both glass and tubular (or uprights) pool fences and not just glass on its own. Glass pool fencing can act as a sound barrier, by incorporating tubular fencing sound will travel and you will be able to listen to the fun being had in and around the pool. Pool safety and ventilation is also a driver of this landscape architecture principle.

    #5 What about my pool equipment and even the pool cover and roller?

    • Your pool equipment usually occupies a minimum area of 1.5m in length and 1.0m in width - this area will increase with the addition gas or electric heating (both have required clearance zones) and infloor cleaning.
    • To ensure you receive optimum filtration, it is best to locate the pool equipment within 8m of your pool edge. Any greater, you will need to increase the equipment sizes (increase in budget).
    • The pool equipment needs to be easily accessible (for convenience and practicality reasons) and try to avoid locating it alongside a social space or outside a bedroom window. Hayward equipment is the quietest on the market but there is still a constant hum.
    • Reduce evaporation and maintain your pool temperature with the addition of a pool blanket. Consider how you will store your blanket – if it is on a roller, where will this roller be located? Perhaps you could conceal it in a timber bench seat or you may choose to invest in an underground pool blanket box (featured below in the Brighton East Pool Project).

    #6 Choosing the colour pallet for my outdoor space?

    • When you browse pool inspiration photos you will notice most outdoor colour schemes are either neutrals (cream based tones as featured in the Yarraville Pool Project below) or greys. When selecting your pool colour, pool paving tiles, pool fence, screens and pool furniture be sure to check the colours and textures you have chosen complement each other and work with the tones of your home.
    • Avoid the ouch! factor and ask your pool paving supplier to see pool tile options which repel the sun’s heat. Porcelain, travertine and limestone tile options are the coolest under foot but may be out of your budget – if so, consider sticking with pool pavers light in colour.
    • Handy tip: painting a paling boundary fence? Always stick to dark greys, your fence will look smaller and the emphasis then focuses on what is in front of your fence – garden and your new pool!

    #7 How to style you pool and outdoor space on a budget?

    • It is important to invest in the main hard surfaces of your outdoor space - stick with neutrals or greys and this then forms the foundation of your outdoor style.
    • Although the hard surfaces may be bland, add colour, pattern and impact with:
      • a cluster of outdoor pots and statement plants (be sure to steer clear of spikey plants in and around the pool area! pool friendly and child friendly plants are the way to go!)
      • a few scatter cushions on outdoor furniture or bench seats – oversized outdoor cushions are a great option for primary school and teenaged kids
      • an outdoor matt is an effective way of layering in an outdoor space
      • what about a simple tray and bright drinkware on your outdoor entertaining table
        Even if your budget is limited, the above outdoor styling options can be added gradually or updated from time to time without costing a fortune.

    Our Pool Designers will draw on their wealth of experience in the pool industry to offer sound advice and planning for not only your swimming pool, but also the landscape surrounding it. Your Pool Designer is always abreast of current pool landscaping designs and trends, ensuring your finished pool will look stunning on the day of completion and long into the future.

    Although Albatross Pools do not handle your pool landscaping directly, we are more than happy to refer our clients to our personal landscape designer, Anthony Scott Landscaping Design. Anthony has been in the business for over 20 years and worked closely with us on The Home Team Project. His standards mirror our own at Albatross Pools, and he can create packages to suit all budgets if you are after a complete backyard poolscape concept plan. 

     

     

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    Which Pool Cleaner Suits My Pool and Lifestyle?

    When you have a swimming pool, keeping it clean is a must for safe swimming. Automatic pool cleaners can make this aspect of pool maintenance a little easier. Not sure where to begin when it comes to choosing a pool cleaner? Consider your budget and lifestyle. For those who don't mind a little manual labour, a traditional pool vacuum may do the trick. However, those who want to save the time and hassle of manual labour may prefer a more costly suction or robotic pool cleaner or an in-floor pool cleaning system.

    By weighing some of the pros and cons of each option, you can choose the one that's right for you.

    Manual Pool Cleaning/Vacuuming

    When you purchase a pool from us, you always receive a free handover kit that includes:

    • Vacuum
    • Telescopic pole
    • Hose
    • Pool broom
    • Pool leaf rake
    • Water testing kit

    The manual pool cleaning option is great for people who love to spend time in their yard and is an effective maintenance solution for low-leaf problem pools as it enables you to clean the entire pool. This is by far the cheapest option when it comes to pool cleaning solutions, with out-of-pocket prices ranging between $200 and $300. However, this option can also be labour intensive as you cannot just walk away, and it also means working on the pool during the colder winter months while also having potentially higher water consumption.

    Suction Pool Cleaning

    A suction pool cleaner connects to your pool's skimmer, with a cleaner that moves across the floor of your pool to pick up debris such as dirt and leaves. From there, debris that is collected is caught in the skimmer basket, this basket then needs to be manually cleaned out on a periodic basis.

    Pricing for suction pool cleaners can range between $500 and $1,000, and many people enjoy this cleaner option because it is convenient and runs off the pool's existing filtration system (when your pool turns on so too will your suction cleaner if it is connected). It can easily be used every day to maintain a clean pool.

    On the other hand, this option does not allow surface skimming or the cleaning of additional pool surfaces such as the walls and steps, and the pool itself cannot be used while the cleaner is operating. Since the pump needs to be run while the cleaner is working, it can also cause wear and tear to your pool filtration system and will require more frequent backwashing of the pool filter.

    Robotic Pool Cleaning

    A robotic pool cleaner is a great option for those who don't want to do much in the way of manual labour to clean their pools or have much free time. These cleaners are totally independent, so they don't need to be connected to your filter or other pool components. Simply program the map/size of your pool and put the robotic cleaner to work. This type of cleaner will brush the floor and depending on the brand and model, can also brush the walls and waterline of the pool.

    You will need to empty the cartridge/basket/sock on a robotic pool cleaner as needed, and the cost for these can easily range between $1,200 and $5,000 depending on the brand and warranty, making them one of the more expensive pool cleaning options on the market.

    In-Floor Pool Cleaning

    For those who want to avoid manual cleaning as much as possible and want the ultimate bragging rights, an in-floor pool cleaning system is the ideal solution.

    In-floor pool cleaning systems offer a range of benefits including:

    • Pool will self clean all year round plus during normal filtration hours
    • No additional equipment is required around the pool making it clutter free
    • Can handle very high debris levels
    • Assists in heating and circulation throughout the pool
    • Versatile for all pool designs

    There are some drawbacks to this system. For a start it is at the top end of the price scale, with prices starting from around $9,500 depending on the brand, warranty and size of the pool. Another issue is that you need to decide to include an in-floor pool cleaning system during construction as it is not a viable option for those who have an existing pool. In-floor cleaning systems also add to the power bill and cannot clean the walls of the pool, only the water and loose debris.

    With all these pool-cleaning options in mind, which is right for you? Contact Albatross Pools today for assistance in choosing the right pool cleaner for your budget and lifestyle.

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    Why life isn’t a beach with a salt-water pool

    One of the first questions we ask prospective customers when they enquire about a new pool is what type of water they would like to swim in. Nine times out of ten the answer is the same: salt. When asked why, the reasons are invariably the same. “My friend has one.” “Salt water pools require no maintenance.” “I want the experience of swimming at the beach.”

    Now I don’t know about you, but my memories of swimming at the beach aren’t all that rosy. Frizzy, dry hair and skin, stinging eyes, faded bathers and the need to have a shower after swimming are not the attributes I’d want in my new pool. I’d prefer to have perfect skin and hair, clear eyes, bathers that last at least a few months, and avoid showering after every dip. So what are your water options?

    Salt vs. Ionic

    Every pool has a filtration system of some kind including a filter (sand or cartridge) and a pump (motor). A filtration system circulates the pool water. Every pool needs to be regularly tested and balanced to ensure safe and crystal clear water and to also comply with warranty conditions on both the pool and equipment. “Balancing,” means that the pH, Total Alkalinity, chlorine, stabiliser, calcium and metals are tested in the water before specialised products are added to ensure these levels are maintained within ideal parameters.

    If the pool owner doesn’t want to manually add chlorine or sanitise the pool manually (to keep their chlorine level within the ideal parameter), they can choose to incorporate a sanitisation system in with their filtration system on the pool to automatically generate chlorine or some form of sanitiser.

    The most common sanitisation systems are:

    • Liquid Chlorine and Liquid Acid Feeder (commonly known as a Chemigem)
    • Salt Chlorination System
    • Mineral System
    • Ionic Fresh Water System

    Ionic Fresh Water System

    If you want to avoid the hassle of washing salt off everything after you swim, then we recommend opting to have an Ionic Purifier in your Albatross Pool. An Ionic Purifier delivers a natural ‘soft’ feel to the water akin to freshwater. The Ioniser is an effective sanitisation system that releases controlled amounts of silver and copper into the pool water via electrolysis. Silver is a powerful disinfectant that prevents bacteria forming in the water, while copper inhibits algae growth. The presence of the silver/copper mixture creates a neutral water balance that effectively reduces the amount of chemical maintenance required throughout the year. As an added bonus, the Ionic Purifier is not affected by water temperature or swimmer usage, meaning a fresher, natural feeling pool year round. As chlorine is required in all pools, we recommend the use of an Inline Tablet when using the Ionic System. This will help circulate a small amount of chlorine throughout the pool.

    An Ionic system is also a preventative system as copper and silver prevents algae and bacteria from even forming whereas chlorine/salt kills algae and bacteria once they are present in the pool water. An Ionic system is also ideal if garden beds are close by the pool, as water that splashes out of the pool (kids having fun…or even adults!) won’t kill the plants like chlorine/salt will. The water from an Ionic pool will not leave a residue on the surrounding pool paving and glass pool fencing whereas salt leaves a white residue, which is the dried out salt itself.

    Salt Chlorination System

    Contrary to the marketing spiel, salt chlorinated pools are not the ‘set-and-forget’ miracle pool of your dreams. A lot of monitoring, maintenance and money goes into the daily running of a salt pool and could find you ruing the day it ever landed in your yard!

    While cleverly marketed as being able to swim at the beach at home, it is somewhat of a misconception and the truth is a little left of centre. Many salt chlorinated pools are sold to owners as maintenance free systems. This often leads to salt pool owners becoming complacent and only maintaining the pool’s salt level. Doing this will lead to great amounts of chlorine being produced, but none of the other essential levels that are fundamental to swimmer comfort and safety such as pH, Total Alkalinity, Calcium and Stabiliser.

    A salt water pool requires constant monitoring, especially during the heavy summer usage period. For example, during the peak of summer an average sized pool (8 x 4m) would need 1 bag of salt per week. Unfortunately there is no home test kit to monitor the salt level in the pool. You must employ the expertise of the local pool shop which is an additional ownership cost that needs to be factored in.

    While you may relish the thought of swimming in a salt water pool, you may very well be sick of the sight of salt by the time you conduct your regular maintenance! The process involved in creating the salt water environment is complicated and a fine balancing act to ensure optimum swimming conditions.

    Some of the technical aspects include:

    • Adding 20-25kg of pool salt to the pool. As it dissolves it passes over the salt cell and through a process of electrolysis; the dissolved salt is turned into sodium hypochlorite (also commonly known as liquid chlorine – the big blue 15L drums you may see at a Bunnings or Mitre10).
    • Sodium hypochlorite is the main ingredient in household bleach. Think about that for a minute!
    • Sodium hypochlorite has a pH of about 13ppm, whereas your eyes/skin/hair require a neutral pH of 7.4ppm, hence the need to constantly add liquid acid or dry acid to bring the pH down.
    • Effective pH dosing systems can be incorporated into the salt chlorination system but the probes need to be serviced regularly to ensure the right amount of acid is being added to the pool.

    It is a fact of life that people who live in countries where winter brings snow, often find themselves renewing their cars faster than those who live in warmer climes. The reason for this is often found in a particular road safety method called ‘gritting’. This is where councils spray a salt-based mix on to the roads to dissolve the fallen snow and give vehicles safer passage. The downside is in the salt. It literally eats your car over time. Salt is corrosive and your pool will not be spared its wrath! Due to its pH and aggressive nature, salt can cause maintenance problems for your surrounding plants and paving. Salt delaminates sandstone and after only a few years can cause damage as seen below.

    Sandstone delamination caused by salt water

    Salt can also cause headaches for those with tiled, pebble and concrete pools as seen below.

    Calcification on a tiled pool.

    As mentioned earlier, high levels of chlorine are often produced by unbalanced salt water pools. Chlorine has a wonderfully unwanted ability to deteriorate all pool surfaces, whether they are concrete, pebble, tiled, fiberglass, the PVC membrane and the gel coat. It also plays havoc with the internals of gas heaters. While not intended to send you running for the hills at the thought of owning a salt water pool, it goes to show that there are many factors of salt water pool ownership that are often conveniently omitted from the sales brochure.

    What about Mineral Pools

    Salt is a type of mineral and therefore most mineral pools (magnesium for example) are subjected to the same inherent problems attributed to salt based systems.

    While a salt system is a great system that many pool owners opt for, it’s not as maintenance free as everyone assumes and certainly has additional expenditure and harmful repercussions for the pool internals and surrounds. In saying that, while we will always promote the benefits of an Ionic Purifier we also encourage customers to explore all options before settling on their water type. A swimming pool will be an integral part of your family’s time together for many years to come and extensive research should be conducted to avoid impacting the enjoyment of your new pool. All information supplied in this article is intended as a guide only and we strongly encourage customers to conduct further investigation into every available option.

    As a business we choose products for our customers based on close to 50 years of experience and knowledge and we also choose products that provide value both short and long term for the pool owner. In an Ioniser’s case, we recommend it as it is gentle on the swimmer and will not shorten the life span of the pool equipment, the pool and all of its surrounds. Salt chlorinators are just marketed very well – they do require maintenance, they shorten the lifespan of the pool equipment and the surrounding area, and by no means is it like the salt from the beach.

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    Swimming Pool Heating

    Solar Heating, Gas Heating and Heat Pumps

    Albatross understands and appreciates a swimming pool is both an investment in your property as well as your family lifestyle. To ensure maximum benefit and value year round, Albatross recommends every swimming pool have some form of pool heating. Like the design of your swimming pool, Albatross can tailor a specific heating solution to suit your family and lifestyle needs. Choose from solar pool heating, gas pool heating or heat pumps – the choice is yours.

    Solar Pool HeatingSolar Pool Heating

    Solar pool heating has been around for centuries and is the cheapest and most economical form of pool heating available. Simply set your desired pool temperature on your electronic controller and your solar pump will draw cold water from the pool, pass through heated solar absorbers strategically positioned on your roof and warm water is returned back to your pool.

    To read more about solar pool heating on Albatross swimming pools, download Supreme Heating's Heatseeker Solar Pool Heating Brochure.

    Gas Pool Heating

    Gas heating, also referred to as demand pool heating, allows you to swim in your swimming pool year round even in the depths of winter – entertain and stay fit and healthy year round.

    A gas heater is incorporated into your swimming pool’s filtration system and can maintain your pool at a set and constant temperature via an electronic touchpad. Simply set your desired pool temperature and your pool filtration system will pass cold water through the gas heater burners and return warm water back to your swimming pool.

    Learn about AstralPool Gas Heaters

    Pool Heat Pumps

    A pool heat pump operates similarly to a reverse refrigerator by transferring heat in the atmosphere to the pool water drawn through a heat exchange located inside the heat pump returning warm water back to the pool. A correctly sized unit can work in the coldest of conditions, offering a year round heating solution.

    To read more about heat pumps on Albatross swimming pools, download the Aquatight Titanium Heat Pump brochure.

    Pool Solar Cover

    A pool solar cover is designed to reduce water evaporation by up to 99.84% and depending on the type of solar cover chosen can heat the swimming pool water by as much as 8 degrees. A solar cover features thousands of tiny bubbles, which work together to collect and retain heat in the swimming pool. A pool solar cover works best when combined with another pool heating method such as a solar, gas or heat pump pool heating system. For ease of use, solar cover reels are also available on request. A $200 rebate is available as part of the Victorian Government’s Living Victoria Water Rebate Program effective 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2015 on Smart Approved WaterMark solar covers and solar reels.

    Which ABGAL solar pool cover is best for your swimming pool?

    How to trim and install an ABGAL solar pool cover?

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    Pool Builder Checklist

    Don't Build a Swimming Pool Until You’ve Asked These 10 Questions!

    So after many months of research and deliberation you’ve decided to invest in a swimming pool. You will have your own reasons for the purchase, whether a large pool for years of fun-filled summer days with the family and a lifetime of memories, a smaller plunge pool with swim jets for fitness, or to add a focal point to your backyard landscaping. Whatever your reasons an in-ground pool is a huge purchase for many homeowners, so of course you want to make sure you end up with the pool that's right for your needs. After all, unlike many other purchases, a swimming pool cannot be simply "returned" or exchanged if you're unhappy with the result. This is why it's so important to take your time shopping around for a new pool and carefully weighing your options before you decide to take the plunge!

    Pool Builder Checklist - Image 2

    If you are on the cusp of deciding on which pool builder to go with but can’t quite decide, here are ten key questions you should ask of any prospective pool builder before you consider hiring them for the job.

    1. How Long Have You Been in Business?

    Start by finding out about the pool builder's experience; ask how long they've been in business under their current name. Unfortunately, some less-than-reputable companies out there will simply change names if and when they run into financial trouble or receive bad feedback from customers. Therefore, the longer the pool builder has been in business, the better. It’s also imperative that they are a member of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Victoria (SPASA) as this shows a commitment to upholding the values and code of ethics imposed on members.

    Also, make sure that the company you hire for your pool building job is one that does the work themselves rather than contracting out other workers.

    2. Can I Speak With Past Customers?

    Don’t be afraid to ask the pool builder for references. Also ask how many pools they have completed over the life of their business, how many pools have they completed this past year and of those recent ones, how many would be happy to give references? Reputable builders will be proud to give you details of past customers. Speak to them about their experiences and the quality of workmanship. If you get the chance to speak with references, be sure to ask the following:

    - Was it a pleasant experience working with the builder?
    - What pool option and accessories did you opt for?
    - Did the builder have the experience to overcome unforeseen problems?
    - Would you do anything differently?
    - Would you use the pool builder again?

    3. What's Included and What Costs Extra?

    Any reputable company should come out to your home and perform an obligation free site inspection before giving you any kind of quote for your project. Be wary of any pool builder that refuses a site inspection as it is an integral part of formulating a quote. Being on site allows a representative to measure your proposed area and advise on placement, levels and effective methods of installation. Any potential problems that may arise during the inspection should be handled by the representative via phone calls to experts such as senior installers, engineers, or construction managers. The site inspection is also an ideal time for the representative to meet the client and their family. A pool will be an extension of the family, a place where many hours are spent together, therefore it is imperative that the pool meets the needs of the family in terms of current and future needs, pool design and pool use. Some pool companies attempt to save money and time by skipping the physical site inspection, favouring instead to create quotes utilising technology such as Google Earth. How can you be offered a transparent and honest quote for a pool that meets the needs of your family or the uniqueness of your property if a representative never sets foot on your land?

    Soil tests are usually only conducted if there are concerns about your land, but are a requirement for certain pools due to the nature of their construction. There are other specific costs that need to be included in any pool quote though, items such as ‘overburden’ that covers all earthworks costs in relation to the pool, ‘boxing’, where one end of the pool is above natural ground level and may require timber boxing for the installation of the concrete, obstructions such as gas and electricity lines, sewer and storm water pipes, rock removal, cave-ins and tipping fees. Site access can have a bearing on cost. Inaccessible backyards or awkward access can add time and money to the excavation and building process as concrete trucks and cranes need specific access.

    4. What's Your Proposed Timeline?

    Many traditional pools can take some time to build, but you should always have a general idea of the construction timeline for your pool. Before you sign any kind of contract, then, make sure you've received a proposed timeline for your project and that it works with your schedule. While it is rare that a company can guarantee your pool will be done by a certain date (especially with unpredictable weather), you should have a general idea of when each stage of the project will be done. Quality pool builders are in high demand, and coupled with unforeseen delays in gaining permit approvals and the completion of progress payments may be the only speed humps to what should be a smooth process.

    5. How Can I Customise My Pool?

    Your pool is a major purchase that you'll be living with for many years to come, so make sure it's exactly what you want it to be by customising it where possible. Take some time to inquire with a potential pool builder about the types of customisation options available. For example, you might want to consider a custom lighting package to transform your pool at night, or you may want to explore unique shapes and sizes for your new pool that include safety steps or wading areas for little ones. Just make sure that your builder is confident in completing whatever it is you have in mind before moving forward.

    6. Where Will The Pool Be Located?

    Having a pool builder show up and start digging a hole without forward planning will only end in tears. Solid planning with regards to pool location is paramount. During the site inspection and planning stage, a quality pool builder should make you aware of the best location for your pool, taking into account local council laws, existing utility pipes and cabling, water run-off, and how much yard can be covered with pool and decking. Your builder should also advise you on pool orientation based on sun and wind exposure and the ease of access for swimmers. A pool will also need to look aesthetically pleasing, which leads us to...

    7. What About Landscaping?

    If you want a monstrosity that you draw the blinds to avoid seeing, any pool builder should do. But if you want a pool that is the star of your backyard then you want to select a pool builder with experience. Most pool owners will spend more time admiring their new pool from afar, as opposed to swimming in it, so it needs to be an enjoyable feature all year round. Allow your pool to be an extension of your indoor style so it flows naturally out into the yard. Landscaping should integrate the pool into your current design so it appears to have been there forever. If you wish to break your pool area and landscaping away from the home’s design, consider having a changing landscape that leads gradually into the new. Ask your pool builder if they do landscaping or can at least provide the names of reputable landscapers they are happy to work with.

    8. What Pool Design?

    Rectangular and square will be the limited choice from most pool builders, but others will offer fluid pool designs in almost any shape that will ensure you find the perfect one. Again, you should select something that complements the design elements and architecture of your home. If your home already contains lots of edges, such as eaves and straight pathways, you should stick with a straight edged pool. If your home and garden contains curves, a kidney shaped or round pool may suit best.

    9. What About Maintenance?

    Nobody likes doing maintenance, regardless of it being a pool or not. No pool is completely maintenance free, but thankfully technology has eased the burden. A choice of multi-speed pumps, in floor pool cleaning systems, Ionisers for water purification, and automatic sanitisers will all make your life easier. Speak to your builder about the options you have for automated maintenance. Some pool interiors also have inherent maintenance benefits, such as an Aqualux interior that is resistant to algae.

    10. What’s My Warranty?

    Warranties vary between the types of pool chosen. You need to clarify in writing with the builder the terms of your warranty. Ensure you ask:

    - What specific items does the pool builder’s warranty cover?
    - What is the duration of the warranty?
    - What is the process for making a warranty claim?

    Some pools, such as fibreglass ones, don’t react well to being drained. This can lead to damage and the costs associated with replacing the water and making garden repairs if works need to be conducted.

    Fibreglass pools often come with a ‘split responsibility’ guarantee that are a confusing mix of responsibilities between manufacturer and client, client and installer, or manufacturer and pool installer. Concrete pools are commonly backed by a 6 year 9 month structural warranty with an interior warranty that varies between types; 2 year for tiled and 5-7 years for rendered. Pre-engineered pools are often backed by lengthy 10 year structural warranties and 10 year pool interior warranties.

    At Albatross Pools, we offer no-obligation quotes and have two convenient SPASA award-winning pool display centres where you can experience the Albatross difference for yourself, so be sure to contact us before you make your final decision. Our unique Aqualux PVC membrane pools are a wonderful solution for many homeowners, and we have many years of experience in handling pool construction projects of varying scopes.

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    Albatross Pools: Kid-Friendly Interiors

    It's time to dispel the myth that vinyl pool interiors are only for above-ground pools. In reality, vinyl interiors have become increasingly popular not only in residential pool construction, but in building some of the largest resort pools in the world. If you've been looking to build a swimming pool on your property and are struggling to decide on the right family friendly interior surface for your needs, consider an Aqualux PVC membrane for long-lasting durability and unrivalled smoothness.

    Kid-Friendly Pool Surfaces

    If you have children, one of your main concerns around having a pool built on your property is safety. With "traditional" in-ground pool interiors, it is not uncommon for the surface to be quite rough, especially on children's sensitive skin. Even the highest quality traditional pool interiors of concrete, tile and various sized pebbles can create uneven surfaces that are damaging to even tough adult skin. Kids are balls of energy in a pool, constantly jumping, flipping and dragging along the poolside; the slightest deviation in the pool interior’s surface will cause cuts and abrasions.

    With our Aqualux PVC membrane interior, however, parents don't need to worry about cuts and scrapes caused by the roughness of a traditional pool interior because this surface is satin-smooth and kid-friendly. We have taken into consideration how soft, sensitive, and prone to water-logging a child's skin can be, which is why our vinyl pool surface is designed to be free of rough edges and abrasions. At the same time, the surface remains slip-resistant, so you can let your children enjoy the pool with confidence.

    When you feel this unique pool interior for yourself, we're confident that you'll understand just how much more practical it is than the other pool surface options out there.

    Additional Benefits of Our PVC Membrane

    In addition to being kid-friendly, our Aqualux PVC membrane affords a number of  other benefits over traditional pool surfaces. Consider, for example, that our flexible pool surface is able to expand and contract to accommodate the ever-changing climate here in Australia. With your typical concrete pool surface, you would inevitably see cracking and hairline fractures over time (much as your home shows small signs of settling over the years). However, with the flexible vinyl material of our pool interiors, the flexibility prevents cracking and keeps your pool looking like new while also keeping it water-tight. This in-built toughness also ensures your Aqualux pool interior is virtually untearable, being able to stretch over 200% before breaking.

    Meanwhile, vinyl doesn't interfere with the chemical balance of your pool water like other materials can. For example, did you know that pebbles, concrete, and even tile designed specifically for use in pools can affect your chemical balance? And when you own a pool, maintaining that healthy balance is a key factor. By choosing an Aqualux PVC membrane pool, you'll have an easier time keeping your water balanced just right, which means you can spend more time actually enjoying your pool and less time adding chemicals and testing your water.

    Overall, vinyl pool interiors are not just a practical option, but they're a great choice for families with children. By not having to worry about your child's feet getting scraped or scratched on a rough pool surface, you can spend more hours enjoying your new swimming pool in comfort and confidence. Ready to find out more about our pool design options? Contact our team at Albatross Pools today to get started on your dream pool project!

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    Spools: Where Spas and Pools Collide

    Have you been thinking about having a pool installed on your property, but aren't sure you want to fully commit to having a large pool taking up a substantial portion of your outdoor living space? If so, then you may want to consider having a Courtyard Series Pool installed on your property. These innovative pool designs are quickly gaining popularity, especially as larger home floor plans inevitably lead to smaller yard sizes for many Australians.

    Spool_Albatross_Pools_Courtyard_Pool_Spa

    What is a Courtyard Pool?

    Specifically, a courtyard pool combines the best features of a pool and spa. These pools are smaller in size (similar to that of a spa), while still being large enough to accommodate several people in a casual, relaxing environment. Furthermore, these "spools" are extremely versatile not only in their size and design, but in their available features as well.

    For example: Somebody who wants to enjoy the fitness benefits of a swimming pool without the large size and maintenance that comes along with a "traditional" pool can have swim jets installed in a spool, allowing them to swim continuously in-place. Think of it in the same way you would use a treadmill!

    Spools: Where Spas and Pools Collide

    Benefits of "Spools"

    There are numerous benefits to installing a courtyard spa-pool (or spool) on your property. The first benefit comes if you have a smaller property footprint; you may have thought that you would never be able to have a pool on your property without giving up all your green space. With a spool, you can have the best of both worlds. You can design your spool to be a focal point or simply allow it to blend in seamlessly with the rest of your yard.

    Furthermore, because of their smaller size, spools also tend to be much more affordable in cost, making pool ownership attainable to many. Combine this with the easier maintenance and running costs and you have a swimming pool and entertainment solution that's fit for just about any budget or lifestyle.

    Spools are incredibly customisable as well, so you can truly tailor it to your taste and requirements. Each Courtyard Series Pool features a variety of step and bench designs, which we call comfort seats, located in the shallow end for you to choose from. This child-friendly seating area incorporates a unique cushioned underlining for enhanced comfort that is unique to Albatross Pools. Additional steps can be designed into the seating area with many designs available across our Standard, Alternative and Enhanced Standard seat options range.

    Albatross_Pools_Spa_Courtyard_Water_Curtain_Spools

    Interested in Adding a Spool to Your Home?

    If you're interested in adding a spool to your home, Albatross Pools has you covered. We offer three different sizes to suit your yard, as well as numerous seating and design options. From there, you can select your pool interior colour and enhancements to make your courtyard pool a perfect escape from the stresses of daily life. From energy efficient pool pumps, our Ionic Fresh Water Purification System, and the convenience of the virtually maintenance-free CleanAssist™, to lighting, heating, swim jets, and more—your customisation options for your spool are almost endless.

    Save on space, money, and maintenance hassles with a courtyard pool or spool from Albatross Pools! Contact us today to find out more about how to get started. Our experienced and knowledgeable team would be happy to assist you and answer any questions you may have as well. If you would like to see an example of a completed courtyard pool, then feel free to visit a display centre at Dandenong or Warrandyte to experience the luxury of an Albatross Pool for yourself.

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    The Health Benefits of Owning a Pool

    Incorporating physical activity into your daily life is a great way to improve your health and wellbeing, but finding the time isn't always easy. Not to mention, not everybody enjoys a sweat-drenched session at the gym. Fortunately, if you own a swimming pool, whether that’s a family pool or a lap pool, you can enjoy a number of health benefits with a daily swim.

    The Health Benefits of Owning a Pool

    Enjoy Low-Impact Cardio

    Unlike other forms of exercise that place a great deal of weight and strain on your body's joints, swimming is an extremely low-impact exercise that allows you to burn calories and get your heart pumping without aggravating joint problems in the process. This makes it a great workout solution for those with certain forms of arthritis, knee pain, and other injuries or medical conditions. Plus, swimming is a wonderful form of cardiovascular exercise that's great for your heart health and burning calories.

    Achieve a Total-Body Workout

    Swimming is also one of few forms of exercise that actually targets all the major muscle groups in your body. Consider, for example, a workout on an elliptical machine, which mostly targets the leg muscles (but also requires the core to be engaged). While you're swimming, you're using your legs to kick, your core to stay afloat, and your arms to paddle. In this sense, you're achieving a total-body workout that will help you tone down and shape up faster than many other forms of exercise that only target certain muscle groups at a time.

    Improve Your Core Strength

    Speaking of your core, there is perhaps no better way to train and strengthen your core than with regular swimming. While you're in the water, your core is constantly being used to keep yourself balanced and afloat—even though you won't likely notice it. If you've been looking for a way to train your core and ab muscles that doesn't involve endless sit-ups or crunches, here's your answer.

    Give Your Back a Break

    Do you spend a lot of your day hunched over a computer desk or even standing for long periods of time without adequate foot arch support? If so, then your spine could probably use a break. Spending even just a little bit of time in your swimming pool each day can help to take a lot of the stress of daily life off your back, which can help to relieve pain and discomfort as well as reduce your chances of developing a spinal condition.

    A Small Space Goes a Long Way

    While the thought of swimming endless laps in a giant family pool or lap pool is fantastic, the practicalities of such a large pool may not suit all homes. It is a common misconception that to utilise your pool for recreational swimming you need a large pool, but that is no longer the case. Trainers suggest a minimum of five metres to do laps in a stationary position, which is the combination of outstretched body, arms, and the splash from kicking. A healthy swimming regimen can be conducted in The Classique Courtyard Series pool when combined with a swim harness. A quality harness will only set you back around $100 and offers the ability to swim laps in a circular pool or a smaller Courtyard Series pool with the added benefit of resistance options for serious swimmers. A smaller pool is ideal for today’s restricted block sizes and has the bonus of being cheaper and quicker to heat.

    These are just a few of the primary health benefits of going swimming in your backyard pool. And on top of all these benefits, swimming is one form of exercise that most people agree is actually enjoyable. Interested in finding out more about the benefits of swimming pool ownership? Contact Albatross Pools today. With 48 years of pool building experience and more than 15,000 pools designed and built, we can help you find the pool design that's ideal for your needs so you can start enjoying the health benefits swimming has to offer.

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    Warrandyte

    226 Heidelberg-Warrandyte Road
    Warrandyte VIC 3133, Australia

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