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Underwater Exploration

BRUCE BECKER'S RESEARCH at Washington State University may be the first of its kind to focus on how warm water affects the autonomic nervous system. But several other projects are seeking to help facility operators and users better understand water's healing power.

Among the most significant development is a new aquatic rehabilitation component of the U.S. Army's Wounded Warriors program. Mary Wykle, a Northern Virginia Community College professor who believes soldiers and athletes have similar rehab needs, is coordinating the program at Wounded Warrior Transition Units, which provide critical support to wounded soldiers and their families. Currently piloted at Fort Lewis, Washington, and Virginia-based Fort Eustis and Fort Belvoir, the aquatic element is expected to eventually involve as many as 10,000 soldiers and will include two phases. One will prepare the wounded for recovery from injuries, and the other will help them return to active duty or civilian life. Projected results include pain reduction, enhanced fitness, and improved range of motion, balance, and core and extremity strength.

While the program isn't formally a research project, data will be gathered on participants' progress by location, gender, age rank and injury, and then compared to that of soldiers in traditional rehabilitation programs. "It'll be interesting to see, as the results of that program begin to come in, whether or not there is an enhanced level of potential funding," says Becker, a physician and WSU research professor who helped design the aquatics component for the Wounded Warriors program. "Obviously, the thing that we've found with warm-water immersion may be profoundly helpful in post-traumatic stress disorder."

In other research, Utah State University professor Dennis Dolny is studying how immersion and aquatic exercise can help arthritis sufferers. The results, gleaned from a one-week exercise program of walking on land versus walking on a water treadmill, suggest that individuals with arthritis are able to exercise in water with significantly less pain and energy expenditure. Further studies will determine whether these findings are repeated over the course of eight-, 12- and 16-week training programs.

And ongoing research by Guy Hornsby Jr., a professor at West Virginia University, focuses on patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). In a current study, 20 sedentary adult men and women with T2DM have been randomly assigned to either land-based or aquatic activity for one hour, three times a week for 52 weeks. Most previous studies of diabetics have remained grounded in land-based exercise, but because many diabetic patients are obese, water exercise is ideal for reducing stress on joints. With an estimated 21 million North Americans suffering from diabetes and another 41 million thought to have pre-diabetic symptoms, the results of Hornsby's work could have a significant impact on treatment of the disease.

"Pools, spas and aquatic activity should play a more important role in society," says Thomas Lachocki, chief Executive Officer of the National Swimming Pool Foundation, which helps fund aquatic research. "The good news is that we have what society needs." -M.P.

Ongoing Resesarch is at last lending support to the Long-held notion that warm-water immersion does a body good... from the "Calming Influence" article by Micheal Popke



Choosing the wrong pool construction turns into a real-world blunder when standard pool construction is used rather than energy-saving insulated pool wall systems:

In an article from the Sacramento Bee’s, February 29, 2008 newspaper,
Deb Kollars writes,

After Big Splash, Folsom Pool Shuts

The big new pool at Vista del Lago, Folsom’s newest high school, should be filled with shouts and splashes from P.E. classes and athletes on the swim team.

Instead, the $3 million pool sits unused in silent testimony to the budget crisis unfolding at schools across the state.

“It’s a shame,” said Joel Garceau, Vista del Lago’s swim coach. “It’s a fantastic pool. It could be the crown jewel of the school.”

The Folsom Cordova Unified School District built the pool as a much-anticipated amenity at Vista del Lago, a striking campus built on a hill east of Folsom with a view of Folsom Lake.

The $100 million school, which features contemporary architecture and ceiling mounted LCD projectors in every classroom, opened last fall. The 14-lane pool was completed in early February, Principal John Dixon said.

Shortly afterward, the district determined it could not afford to heat or operate the pool. The 23 members of the school’s swimming and diving team ride a bus to practice at a city pool several miles away.

Debbie Bettencourt, deputy superintendent, said the pool’s opening came amid a “spending chill” in the district. Like school systems across the state, Folsom is bracing for possible budget reductions next year because of the state’s fiscal crisis. The district is studying how to reduce spending by $9 million if cuts materialize. “We are looking at every single expenditure,” she said. “Every dollar we save this year will help us next year.”

Operating the pool, she said, would take $150,000 a year. Heating it for two months would cost $25,000. The district and the city of Folsom had planned to share the costs and use of the pool, but a joint operating agreement has not yet been written. Even if the city paid half, Bettencourt said, she is not sure the district could cover the rest.

The Vista del Lago swim team got a taste of the new pool when swim season opened earlier this month. The pool heated, and in a joyful scene on Feb. 13, Garceau lined his swimmers along the edge and gave the countdown for their inaugural leap into the water.

A week later, the heat went off and the team started commuting to the city pool.
 



Thinking Green

There are several other green building pool technologies that can be utilized to build an energy efficient pool, such as:

  • pool covers
  • running pumps and filters in off-peak hours
  • changing chlorinating systems to automatic salt-water chlorinators
  • installing proper sized plumbing lines and filters to reduce hydraulic head pressures
  • reducing water turnover rates
  • changing & resetting the pool clock to run for a much shorter time in the winter months
  • switching to two-speed or variable-speed electric pumps*

* California’s Pacific Gas & Electric Company devotes six power plants for the power needs of the estimated 1.5 million private pools. The report that by homeowners switching to a new dual or variable speed pump, the state could omit 2 entire electric generation facilities while the power customer would see an up to $700 a year cost reduction.


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Safety First
From a safety point of view, omit pool drains completely, if possible.   If not possible with your installation, install a minimum of two main drains, four feet apart and make them inlets.  On older pool installations, there are inexpensive vacuum-release systems that can be retrofitted or convert the drain to an inlet at the equipment pad in such a way that it can never operate as a main drain again. This will facilitate in reducing energy-cost to you or your customer.   Suction outlet covers on main drains should be checked often to prevent entrapment.  All should comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker (VGB) Pool and Spa Safety Act. (see PSN article for VGB Requirements for Residential Pools)

Fences
A child’s safety is foremost. When it comes to fencing, ANSI-8 gives specific language and instruction, without exception, pools must have a barrier, this is not an option. Under the new federal law, the Virginia Graeme Baker (VGB) Pool and Safety Act, implemented December 19, 2008, states all pools must be enclosed with a 4' fence, outward opening, self-latching gate in accordance with ANSI-8.   The Act further states that the house can be considered as one of the four sides of the fencing barrier as long as any doors opening to the pool area are equipped with specified devices in place such as pool guard door alarms. In addition, any above ground pool that is less than 4 ft. high must also be enclosed with a similar fence. Any access to the 4' pool also needs to be childproofed.

Diving Boards
Another point of view spreading is omitting diving boards; some insurance companies are already denying insuring homes having diving boards installed on residential pools and in some cases require removal on old installations before insuring.

Slides
Slides can be as dangerous as diving boards, and not so much the slide, but the ladder and deck below the slide. I’ve known kids who’ve fooled around trying get to the top first and then fall landing on the deck below sustaining injuries.

Children should always be attended by adults anyway when around pools, no matter how well anyone thinks they can swim.

Safety Covers
We believe that all swimming pools should have a permanent safety cover installed to prevent accidental drowning and we recommend that a safety pool cover be added to the pool as a final and ultimate barrier so no child or pet can enter the pool when it is closed. We offer two types of safety covers: an automatic safety pool cover or a manually-installed pool cover. Ask us for a quote on either type of safety cover.


Providing Energy Efficient solutions

With the cost of energy rising, people are starting to look for more energy efficient products. Customers are complaining about cold pools and/or high heating costs.  If you are a homeowner, we are here to help you during the construction phase of your project.  We offer a fresh and energy-efficient product with our insulated pool wall building system. It's a unique, innovative and exclusive product. If you are a pool builder, it's easy to add the "Insulated Pool" to your current product line as another choice for your customers.  Technology waits for no pool builder.

CEO's Corner

One of my favorite sayings is:
Our company puts the Serve back in "Service"

I like to think that all pool builders are interested in the end product.  I know we are, but first we think about the consumer and the environment.

I want people to know that when they purchase one of our pool kits, they are purchasing our expertise as well.  Some people may want to tackle their own projects, others may want help.  We make ourselves available to all pool builders and customers who purchase our product.  That's how we can help you with quality control on your project, assisting you during the building process so that you can build it exactly the way it was meant to be built by the engineering and specifications

About the CEO

Some of My Other Interests

I always treat people the way I want to be treated and do it with a smile in my voice.

Smiling is important because it keeps you healthy and it can be contagious.
Voice is important because it's our way of communication whether it's speech or song or even the written word.

I am constantly working on my website to improve it and make it easier for the consumer, but sometimes I like to go to fun sites.  One of those sites that I thought I could combine with work was MySpace.  Besides thinking it would be a good way to show off my product, it has been a good way to keep in touch with friends and family....and most recently....and here's the fun part....I've found they have Karaoke.  So at the encouragement of my husband, I put a few songs on MySpace.  He thinks I should try out next year for AGT....I don't know if I'll have the nerve, but it was fun singing because it makes me smile.

http://kSolo.MySpace.com/167656412

Another thing I like to do is send cards to family and friends by SnailMail, but when I don't have time for that I send them e-cards.  I've found a wonderful site that I like because not only do they have great e-cards (FREE), care2 makes a difference.  They offer causes and news, healthy and green living tips.  One of my favorites is their   "a click a day" motto to help gather donations for worthy causes such as: global warming, rainforest, oceans, children, pets, mammals, primates, stopping violence and breast cancer.  For every click, you generate a donation from their sponsors.

It doesn't take too long, so next time you go online to check your e-mail or whatever...take a moment to check out this great site:

http://www.care2.com/click2donate/

Well, this is starting to sound like a blog so I guess that's all for now.

Come back soon, I'm sure I'll have found more to say or added a new article I've just read from either Aqua or Pool & Spa News.

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Other Hot Topics

Which Pool Pump Is Better?

New legislation in California, Title 20, states that beginning in January, 2008, you’ll no longer be able to buy a 1 HP or greater single-speed pump for a new pool or to replace a failed filter pump. The law will only allow two-speed pumps or variable-speed pumps. This may leave a mistaken impression that both types of pumps are equally efficient. They’re not, and a number of utilities, including Pacific Gas and Electric, have conducted testing that highlights the superior energy efficiency of variable-speed pumps.

Most would agree that a variable-speed pump is the superior choice and the most efficient way to go for the energy-conscious pool owner. Two speed or variable-speed pumps saves two-thirds energy usage over a single-speed pump.

Why Do Pools Have Tile?

The simple reason: reduced maintenance. This little known fact concerning the maintenance role of tile can be cause for some confusion, even within the swimming pool industry. I'm sure your wondering how tile can reduce maintenance. On a concrete pool, the tile is used to create a water line surface that is both nonporous and easy to clean. Body oils and lotions collect at the water's surface and are responsible for the "scum line." When that scum line falls onto a porous surface, like plaster, it can be difficult or impossible to clean. For that reason the tile is used to protect the pool surface from an undesirable stain and allows the surface to be cleaned easily.


Did You Know?

Canadians are getting a lucky break; in Canada's 2009 federal budget, they have included a temporary Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC) to help the industry by encouraging homeowners to make a pool purchase this year.  The tax credit is designed to provide $3 billion to encourage homeowners to invest in upgrading and renovating their home and backyard.

The HRTC applies to home renovation expenditures made between January 27, 2009 and February 1, 2010. According to the newspaper, La Presse, items such as residential swimming pools are eligible under the tax credit, including in-ground and permanently installed above-ground pools.

Why didn't we think of that?  Better yet, why don't we suggest it now!



Innovative Green Technology

In-ground Insulated Water Structures

I’ve got 40 years experience as a commercial/residential general contractor and subcontractor from California through the mid-West. I’ve been directly involved in all types of building projects, from shopping centers, schools, apartment projects, power plants as well as building high rise buildings. I am retired now and know what I know, know what I think I know and don’t know what I don’t know.

I built my first pool in Oklahoma in 1972. Since then, I’ve been involved in every type of pool construction from block wall pools to metal and acrylic walls with liners to Gunite, plastered pools. Before I retired due to health reasons, I was introduced and involved in the engineering and testing of pools built utilizing this structurally insulated pool wall panel system.

I've written this because I’m frustrated as a result of posts I’ve read on various websites. It seems to me, that some people have failed to recognize that one definition of a structurally insulated panel building system includes a structurally-plastered foam panel (SIPS) building system. I feel that the definition of SIPS has a much broader meaning and use. This article isn't to promote a company, it's to promote innovative "green building" technology utilized to build in-ground insulated water structures.

People tend to approach technology the same way, either in front of them or behind them, but now they can literally utilize it by swimming in it.


Insulated Pool Wall Systems

The ICC-ES accredited testing laboratory that tested this engineered-building system in California was also one of the accredited labs on the West Coast that tested the reinforced EPS Styrofoam panels with plywood or OSB panels concurrently, which are presently being utilized in residential construction. As I have always been interested in using new construction methods and techniques, which are cost efficient to the contractor as well as the owner and benefit the environment, I knew there had to be a better way to build in-ground water structures.

I implemented this technology into my construction company in the building of hundreds of pools all over Northern California from the Sacramento Valley to the High Sierra. Incidentally, California has the toughest pool engineering requirements in the nation. There can be as many as five inspections while a pool is under construction by the various building departments.

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Speaking From Personal Pool Experience

During that time, I owned a conventionally built, Gunite-plastered pool at my own residence (this was my fourth personal pool). I could easily compare heating costs and usability in relationship to my own pool to the pools that had built utilizing the structurally insulated panel system. What most people do not realize is that it’s not necessarily the ambient air temperature that is the biggest contributor to the heat loss of the water (this can be controlled by various types of pool covers), but is the ground surrounding the pool structure. This is the biggest factor to the pool water being cold. The average ground temperature in the summer across the United States will vary from 45 to 58 degrees, thus any structure in the ground that holds water will tend to keep the water cold.

Certainly in very hot and sunny weather, the pool water will warm up, but will usually cool down substantially at night. Temperature drops of 15-20 degrees over night are not uncommon. Even with solar heat during the summer, the warmest a pool may ever get was 84 degrees, dropping down to the low 70's overnight.

  Energy Savings 

By comparison, insulated pool owners continually reported their pool temperatures to be 80 degrees in March, unheated, and only loosing 5 to 7 degrees overnight. They reported having savings of up to 75% compared to what the costs of heating any other type of pool structure built with different construction methods.

I've also been told by a number of customers across the nation (where heating their pools is the norm because of their climate) that they estimate that their savings in heating costs would actually pay for the cost of the installation of the pool in approximately 7 years (based on usage). One customer in the High Sierras who had built his own home using the OSB structurally insulated panel system was specifically looking for a way to insulate his pool because he realized he could not only incorporate the technology in his home, but also in his pool. Hundreds of these structures have been built across the United States and thousands have been built around the world.

Not too many luxury items will pay for themselves over time, yet increase the value of one's property. However, it was reported a few years ago by a Pool and Spa News national study, that the average pool installation will increase one's property value from 8 to 12%.

Building Green

To borrow from the basics of Green Building; "A green building, also known as a sustainable building or products, is a structure that is designed, built, renovated, operated, or reused in an ecological and resource-efficient manner. Green buildings or products are designed to meet certain objectives such as protecting occupant health; improving employee productivity; using energy, water, and other resources more efficiently; and reducing the overall impact to the environment."

Being a "green technology" company is not just hip or trendy, or even self-promoting (which some respondents seem to think), and it is certainly not a fad or a catch-phrase. Dealing with climate change is a priority for each and every household; every person and even every business needs to join in this effort. Whether you’re in the "green technology" business or not, everyone needs to be informed of the various ways they can be a part of the worldwide ecological endeavor to reduce energy use and carbon emissions; utilize and promote green building programs, to promote sustainable private development in all uses of energy. This is a proven, economical SIPS technology building system that works and is just one of the ways to make use of this in building homes, other building structures and building insulated in-ground water structures.

Any knowledgeable pool builder or people who are in construction and are familiar with pool construction can utilize this new Insulating Therma-Foam System to build thermally-insulated in-ground concrete pools that are competitively priced to other pool building systems.

Gunite, metal and acrylic pool walls are not insulated and do not have any insulating qualities to speak of and in most cases many of these wall systems are more expensive to purchase, ship and install than our insulated pool wall building system. We are the only pool manufacturer in the United States supplying a patented therma-foam pool wall system to build an energy-efficient, thermally insulated in-ground concrete pool and spa, specifically designed to be used with interior finishes such as composite fiberglass, epoxy or EVM coatings, or pre-fabricated vinyl liners.

Our insulated pool wall panel system can be constructed by a two-man crew. The Package Pool Kit is for the pool builder or virtually anyone with some construction knowledge or experience. It’s an instance of quality and function meeting convenience.  Costs are rising every where -- compare our prices -- you may find them less than what you are currently using.


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More from the CEO's Corner
 
Old Pools, New Pools, Green Pools
Pool Greenovations

I recently read an article in Aqua Magazine, which talks about energy saving eco-friendly products now becoming trendier, enticing customers to save a buck....not to mention the benefits to the earth.  A lot of older pools are in need of upgrading or revamping.  Instead of repairing old equipment, companies are now offering economical and energy-efficient pumps.  This is a good place to start when you're on a budget.  Old pumps consume more energy and with the new products now available, energy consumption savings can be anywhere between 30 and 90 percent offering the customers a $324  to $1,356 savings in yearly utility costs.  If you're looking to save the most in costs, variable speed programmable pumps are the way to go even though they may  cost a little more.  We've always recommended running pool equipment in off-peak hours as well.  The end investment is well worth it in the energy cost savings to you and the environment.

Automation of your pool equipment is another way to turn your pool into a more manageable product.  Homeowners are not pool technicians and an automated pool makes life simpler optimizing the control of your pump, filter and other items such as waterfalls, etc.  Several manufacturers offer automatic controllers with salt chlorinator generators, which is a step forward, not just for power management, but also for chemical management.  These types of system eliminate the use or reduce the amount of chlorine needed in the pool and the risk of personal contact with chlorine, a hazardous chemical.

They say LED lighting consumes less power, lasts longer and saves around 79 percent in energy use.

Heat pumps are now being suggested over gas heaters with potential cost savings of up to 80 percent.  The only downside is that heat pumps won't operate below 42°, so if you want to heat your pool during the colder months a gas heater would work better for on-demand usage.  Another alternative is a heat exchange system that draws heat collected by the concrete deck.

Another area of renovation and concern is the pool's interior finish.  We recommend the EVM Coating as the interior finish.


 

More Hot Topics

Pool Drain Covers Need to Be Replaced?

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was enacted by Congress and signed by President Bush on December 19, 2008. Designed to prevent the tragic and hidden hazard of drain entrapments and eviscerations in pools and spas, the law became effective on December 19, 2008. Under the law, all public pools and spas must have ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 compliant drain covers installed and a second anti-entrapment system installed, when there is only a single main drain.

The law not only applies to commercial swimming pools. Homeowners with private pools need to make the modifications as well.

One style of the new cover that is being used is raised to prevent bodily entrapment. It also prevents hair entanglement. This comes in two parts. The inter frame--which you would put in the existing drain of the pool or spa-- then the new cover goes on top of that," Graham said.

Pools with a single drain system need a second level of protection, such as the Safety Vacuum Release System. The system shuts off the pump if it senses anyone is entrapped.

Are Pool Drains Necessary?

Since 2000 Insulated Pool Kits have been built without pool drains, water is circulated through strategically positioned inlets and skimmers, eliminating any dangers of suction entrapments associated with pool main drains. In Florida, Maria Slaby of Mermaid Pools worked hard to change their laws to build pools without main drains, which is the only way to build with 100% entrapment protection --drain free.

In another online article found on fluent.com and swimming.about.com, I found it very interesting that a rocket scientist (Ray Cronise, turned professional pool builder) had come to the same conclusion that pool drains were not necessary. He ran tests to simulate the flow of water through computer models of swimming pools with and without pool drains. The simulation involved placing contaminants in various areas of the pools and tracking the amount of time needed to remove them using the pool's circulation system both with and without drains. His conclusions were that inlets and skimmers alone were sufficient to clear contamination and that main drains not only were not necessary, but they did not improve the circulation in the pool or enable its ability to clear contamination.

Common practice in the past with the installation of main drains was for the purpose of cleaning the bottom of the pool by having the homeowner sweep all pool debris to the main drain to be flushed through the filter system. This way of cleaning a swimming pool is antiquated and is no longer practical or safe. All pools need some kind of automatic pool cleaner whether it is a low voltage robotic cleaner or a suction-side cleaner operated through the skimmer. These pool cleaning devices move water from all areas of the pool, will clean all surfaces of the pool, are economical and safe.

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