When should I begin planning a new pool?
In my professional opinion, there is no specific timeframe for planning a pool. A plan that is rushed, will result in a poorly constructed pool. A plan that is done right, will result in a pool you'll enjoy for generations. I'd say that if you're thinking about building a pool, the first step is to call a pool contractor with design experience and begin drawing. That plan might get done in a few weeks or a few months depending on the skill of the designer and the number of issues you discover at the build site.
Is there any advice you can give for first time pool planning?
Enjoy the process. You don't want to build a pool and then kick yourself for not doing something later. A good designer will help you discover the features that will make your future pool truly special and perfect for you.
On a side note,
if your designer is making you uncomfortable as you 'sweat the small stuff', get a new designer. This is an important step for you and the future value of your home, every step should be considered carefully.
Are Eco-Friendly Pools a Myth?
Depends. Not all Eco-Friendly products actually offer any benefit to energy savings or nature so the saying still holds true, every industry has snake-oil salesmen.
That said, NO, Eco-Friendly pools are very real and are surprisingly more affordable than most people realize. Many pool owners are paying between $300-$1300 more in energy costs each year than they ought to be. Sometimes it's just a matter of having the wrong size pump for the pool design/size. In other cases it's a poorly designed pump working inefficiently. Either way, more efficient equipment and proper settings can easily make owning a pool easier to maintain as well as less expensive to own.
We talk about this a bit more in our Equipment Conversion Pages, Click the Link to read more.
Do Eco-Friendly Pool Chemicals actually work?
As explained briefly above, not all products are created equal, some claims are simply not backed up in performance. That said, pool chemical manufacturers are bringing better performing cleaners to the marketplace all the time. If you've tried a few 'eco-friendly' products in the past with lack-luster results, don't give up entirely. Good stuff is available.
- Eco-Friendly Pool and Spa Products from Natural Chemistry - Visit their Website
- Eco-Friendly Pool and Spa Products from Nature 2 - Visit their Website
Is there a recommended temperature setting for my heater thermostat?
Competitive swimmers swim at 78° and for most situations this can be a comfortable temperature to maintain for your own pool. Temperatures also very from owner to owner, some like it cooler while others like it warmer. If you're concerned with energy savings just remember that an increase in temperature will cause an increase in energy costs.
Here is a good link from EnergySavers.gov on the subject.