B&B Pool and Spa News

Considering a Hot Tub or Hydrotherapy Spa for Your Home?  (A Deep Dive Part II)

Posted by Marc Sabin on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 @ 08:00 AM

Shell Construction Must Be Sturdy and of the Highest Quality

What goes into a hot tub shell? To be clear, the shell is the part you sit in. There are two basic kinds of shells. There are inexpensive, vacuum-molded acrylic shells that are formed into the shape of a hot tub, or there are reinforced fiberglass/acrylic shells. The reinforced fiberglass/acrylic shells have textured or shiny surfaces made from acrylic. Once the shell is made, manufacturers turn it upside down to add reinforcement.

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Most shells apply special resin to the underside. The resin forms a barrier against intrusion by vapor and moisture. The resin barrier prevents minerals and salts from penetrating the layers and delaminating the surface, or causing unattractive blistering. Once the resin barrier is in place, chopped fiberglass is sprayed in the shell. And here’s where the game changes



Beginning at the low end of the market, you’ll find the box-store variety of spas. To keep the price down, once the chopped fiberglass is blown in, they’re done. Stopping at this point sets the hot tub up for serious problems, because the shell won’t be able to hold the weight of the water once it’s filled.


Problematic Work-arounds

Since the manufacturer can’t sell you a hot tub that’s simply going to collapse, they add a metal or wooden frame. That might sound like a reasonable solution until you consider that the weight of a full hot tub on the supports’ contacts creates pressure points, which can fail causing leaks and distortions of the tub.

The better companies apply enough fiberglass under the shell and then press the fiberglass to fill all the gaps and air pockets. This method of manufacturing the hot tub shell results in a self-supporting hull. Few companies do this, however, because the process is intensive in terms of both material and labor and, therefore, more expensive. Of course, the benefit is that when the shell is properly built, the pressure disperses evenly across all the surfaces. There aren’t any pressure points and your hot tub shell will last much longer.


Insulation in a Hot Tub is Vital

Turning to the functioning of the hot tub, we need to talk about the issue of heat loss and maintaining a comfortable temperature. Since air tmperatures and evaporative processes drop the water temperature, the more exposure water has to the air, the more heat loss your hot tub will have. Insulation is the key. The type of insulation used for hot tubs is foam. Simply put, the greater the amount of foam, the better the insulation—and the more money you will save on energy to heat your water.

Fully foamed hot tubs leak less than partially insulated tubs, showing the importance of quality workmanship in the product you purchase. In addition, the jets in the tub should be glued and clamped to the water pipe. Once water is flowing through the plumbing, the pressure and weight increase. As you turn the water and jets on and off, you pressurize and depressurize all the connections. Each joint becomes a stress point. When the tub is fully foamed, each stress point has extra support.


Old Days Had Old Ways

In days past, well-insulated hot tubs used polyurethane foam. There was a problem with this method, however. Over time polyurethane foam hardens. Once that occurs, if you ever need to service your tub, access is a big problem. To repair a leak or make any kind of repair, you have to break through the now hardened insulation. You’ll need a heavy-duty saw or a hammer and chisel.

How did manufacturers handle this problem? They avoided using polyurethane foam, and instead placed insulation around the perimeter of the cabinet and away from the shell. Unfortunately, this type of insulation is highly inefficient. Back in those days, energy costs were low and people weren’t particularly concerned about conservation of resources, so little importance was placed on the issue of heat loss. You either kept your tub hot all the time or, whenever you wanted to use it, you fired up the heater, warmed up the water and got in.


Other questionable insulation solutions exist. Some companies use a thin layer of bubble wrap stuffed inside the skirt. Other makers blow a few inches of expanding foam inside the skirt area. There are a number of problems with these methods.

First, there is little heat retention, which defeats the purpose of having insulation in the first place. Another problem is that this sort of random stuffing of insulation covers the motors that run the hot tub. Unlike the water, which you want to remain hot, engines need to be cooled to prevent burn out.

Once the bearings in the motor wear out, you are going to have more and more expensive problems. And once the motor stops working correctly, there’s a likelihood that it will simply go into disuse—which is not the way to get the most out of your investment.


Technology Improvements and Breakthroughs

Insulation technology has advanced significantly in recent years. The new foam being used today never hardens. It’s environmentally safe and has a host of other advantages. Filling the cavity is now simple, because you can inject as much as ten times more insulation, realizing much better heat retention. If you need access to service the shell or equipment, it’s a cinch. You simply cut out the soft foam out of your way. Once you’re done with the repairs, refill the gap with new foam.

You might ask, why not place the motor and heater outside the shell? There’s a benefit to having them inside. If you’re running pipes on the outside of the tub, they will be exposed to cold air. Now the water you’re heating is being cooled on its way to your hot tub. That journey will require much more heat than if your unit is self-contained. If you go through a really frigid period, your pipes could freeze up. Water expands when it freezes, and its expansion could severely damage your pipes and equipment.


Harvesting Heat to Save Money

What about using the motor heat, you may ask? When done correctly, the motor heat can be harvested to raise the temperature of the water. During the cool seasons, the proper reclamation of motor heat helps raise the temperature of the water and lower the burden on the heater and your energy costs. Of course when it’s hot in the summertime, the water in your hot tub will likely stay quite hot just from the transference of motor heat.

Here’s how it works: underneath the seating area in the cavity where the insulation is applied, there are hollows created by the shape of the seats. In these hollows, the insulation can be reduced without diminishing the heat retention. The hollows become the ideal place to set the motors, because there is airflow around them for cooling. Intakes can be placed to recycle the heat to the water.


Winter Care

Freeze damage is not covered under warranty. When we place the motors inside the shell, we can preserve the motor heat. The motor is also kept safe from outside elements, and is protected from freezing. Even in the event of a power outage or ice storm, the well-insulated hot tub will preserve the warmth like a thermos. Even if the power is out for a few days, in all likelihood you won’t have to be concerned about damage from a freeze.

If you ever plan to shut your spa off for an extended period of time during the winter, contact you service company first. It’s not enough to empty the tub. You have to have all the plumbing blown out because if there is water in the pipes, plumbing, filters, or pumps it will expand when it freezes and cause extensive damage.


Hot Tub Installation: Get It Right the First Time

If you’re placing your hot tub on a deck, the deck needs to be strong enough to support the weight of a full tub. If you’re planning to situate your hot tub on the ground, don’t be taken in by the pitch that a fiberglass shell can just be set on the grass. The ground needs to be prepared.

It’s not that the hot tub will be damaged when it’s placed on the ground. Preparation is necessary so that the ground settles evenly. If you don’t prep, the ground will settle out of level.

Make sure that whatever type of hot tub you’re buying, you don’t just drop it on the grass and skip ground preparation. Always have a proper base placed under your hot tub. Doing so will ensure a longer life for your tub and more time to enjoy all its benefits.

Buying a personal spa is one of the nicest things you can do for your health and well being. It's a gift that will give you a lifetime of pleasure. Contact us at B&B Pool and Spa Center, we'll be happy to answer your questions about what's involved with spa ownership.

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Tags: how to buy a spa, spa buying tips, hot tubs for health

Are You Thinking About Getting a Hot Tub or Hydrotherapy Spa?

Posted by Marc Sabin on Thu, Oct 06, 2016 @ 10:54 AM


You’ll want to analyze many factors when it comes to choosing the right hot tub. Back in the early days, a hot tub was pretty much a large wooden container for hot water, and a spa was a fiberglass unit. Nowadays the two terms are used pretty much interchangeably. Of course, with the proliferation of day spas and nail spas, the term spa is used to describe different places.

Today’s top models hot tubs are sophisticated spas with ergonomically designed seats and precision hydrotherapy jets. They are outfitted with entertainment systems and control panels that allow you to adjust every aspect of your experience.

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Probably the most important advice we can give you is to bring your swimsuit, bring your kids, and try out the hot tub you’re considering. Note that hot tubs are also known as spas; generally speaking, there is no physical difference between the two.

If you’re planning to buy a hydrotherapy hot tub/spa, keep in mind that it’s a very personal choice. The best way to know what model is right for you and your family is to see, feel, and test all the elements—especially the location and adjustability of the water jets.


What Are the Quality Differences Among Hot Tubs?

There is a wide range of quality among hot tubs in the marketplace, and you should know what to look for when shopping. Every aspect of a personal spa needs to be considered in your decision process.


Start by learning the manufacturer’s reputation for quality. Check out the structure and materials used to make the hot tub. Find out the particulars of the insulation and how you can reduce energy costs. Then, learn out about the construction of the shell. Get information on the pumps, pipes and plumbing you can’t see. You should know what to expect from the electronic controls and automation system that allow you to adjust all the features from the heaters and jets that warm and massage you, to the seat design, lights, and sound system that provide the ambience. You’ll find quality differences abound.


The Critical Importance of the Manufacturer

Don’t be surprised to find a wide range of prices for hot tubs. Quality varies greatly among different manufacturers. Some treat your hot tub as though it’s no more than a container of water. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A hot tub is a sophisticated household appliance you’re buying so you can relax and receive its benefits safely and in a sanitary way for years to come. Since your hot tub will impact your health, you should seriously consider differences in quality and durability. Remember, the goal for you and your family is to add enjoyment and increase your happiness.


Cutting Corners . . . or Ensuring Excellence

In order to get the purchase prices as low as possible, some manufacturers cut corners. These makers may pass some of those savings on to you. But when you buy an inexpensive spa, you’ll discover that there are reasons for its low cost. As the owner of an inexpensive hot tub, you may find that the money you save on your purchase ends up costing you bundles more in operating expenses, durability, repairs, and, bottom line, your personal satisfaction.

You absolutely must consider the lifetime cost of ownership. You may be surprised to find that saving money at the purchase time can cost you significantly more over the lifetime of your hot tub. This consideration is more important than ever—especially when it comes to energy costs. You want efficiency that delivers the comfort you deserve—without financing the power company via utility bills.

You’ll encounter pitfalls if purchase price is your major consideration.  Will the company who sold your hot tub to you deliver and install it properly? Are you buying at a store with a year-round, full-service department? Or are you being left to fend for yourself?


The Reliability of Your Retailer

Another vital consideration is whether the store where you’re making your purchase has a reputation you can trust. How long the company has been in business? Can you speak with several customers, and ask them questions you’d like answered?

Also, find a retailer that offers you Warranty Service. Choose one who will answer the phone any time of year that you call. Having a reliable dealer will add greatly to your comfort of mind. If the dealer you choose has been in business for a while, there’s a good probability they will be there in the future.

Here at B&B Pool and Spa Center, we strive to earn our customers’ loyalty. As we approach our 45th anniversary of being in business, we are well aware of how important referrals and repeat business are to our business.

When we founded B&B Pool and Spa in 1972, we sought out top-quality product manufacturers, including Sundance® Spas. We earned their recognition as a Platinum Dealer, and for 18 straight years have won the Sundance® Exceptional Customer Service Award.

We are proud to be one of their Warranty Centers. We handle every aspect of hot tub ownership from sales and delivery to installation and service. We take care of everything you’ll need, including covers, chemicals, toys, and aromatherapy.

Our convenient brick-and-mortar showroom continues to demonstrate our commitment to clients. Our showroom and year-round service are two vital foundations of B&B’s commitment to provide outstanding customer care.


Original Precision Parts A Must

A number of precision parts and components go into making a top-of-the-line hot tub. There are pumps, jets, electronic controls, and heaters. Each of the dozens of valves, fittings, and attachments need to be precisely built and quality-controlled. A high volume of water under high pressure runs through the pipes, jets, pumps, and heater—so quality and precision are a must.

Quality control and assurance are absolutely essential. Some hot tub manufacturers use lower quality parts to save money. Doing so may lower their costs, while leaving you to pay a much higher lifetime cost of operation. The workmanship and precision on different hot tub components varies greatly. If you limit your search to well-known brands, you can rely on them to function smoothly. If your hot tub is made with off-brand parts, you could be stuck with a lemon and high repair costs.


The Risk of Look Alike Parts

Currently, one of the biggest factors harming the quality of hot tubs is the reliance on parts made in China. You probably won’t see the differences in quality immediately. The materials and workmanship that go into the water jets and electronic controls vary vastly. As the quality of materials goes down, the reliability of your hot tub drops rapidly.

What appears to the untrained eye as identical controls could differ in cost from a couple of hundred dollars to well over a thousand dollars. The truth is, you get what you pay for. With a purchase of this amount, you want to buy a hot tub that is built to last for years of enjoyment.

You certainly don’t want to risk getting a hot tub with shoddy parts and a high failure rate. If you do, you can end up having to pay for and wait for expensive repairs—year after year. You don’t want to spend your time replacing inexpensive parts like expensive jets, heaters, pumps, electronics, or connectors. And you really don’t want a spa that leaks or cracks.

The problems can be even more serious. If you can’t find the original parts to replace or repair your hot tub because the company that sold it to you is no longer in business, you may end up with a useless tub. And even if the business is still in operation, have they discontinued making the parts you need?


Superior parts inevitably last longer. And if you ever need to replace a component, you won’t be forced to replace an entire assembly. When you’re making a significant purchase such as a hot tub, choosing a recognized brand rated for durability is the best thing you can do for yourself.

If you see a far lower price, it’s likely that you’re looking at a hot tub made with inferior parts and components. If the sales person talks in roundabout ways, and avoids discussing the brand’s reputation and durability, it’s probably to distract you from uncovering its true quality. With hot tubs and hydrotherapy spas, getting a high-quality brand name is your best protection. And brand names are easy to check on the Internet; just ask for a list of the highest quality, best-selling hot tubs.

If you have any questions you'd like to ask,  contact B&B. We're here to deliver top quality recreational water to you and those you love. 

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Tags: relaxation, how to buy a spa, spa buying tips, hot tub

Covering Winter Care for Your Pool and Spa

Posted by Marc Sabin on Wed, Sep 07, 2016 @ 08:00 AM

By far the easiest way to keep your pool in top shape through the off season is to hire a Certified Service Professional® to handle all the responsibilities and inspections. Here at B&B, we service pools in Bergen County, New Jersey as well as Rockland and Westchester Counties in New York. Click on the link below and we’ll be in touch about your service needs.

If you want to do it on your own, here’s some advice to consider. Winters, especially in cold weather states like we have in the Northeast, can be hard on your pool or spa. There are some precautions you can take to ensure that your prized investments are protected from the elements.


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The first thing to do before the winter arrives is to close your pool. This means draining the plumbing and preparing your pool to handle the changes in temperature. With storms and debris in the likely forecast, a strong cover is essential to protect the surface, coping, and shell of your pool. You can read our tips on closing your pool in our recent blog, “Closing Your Pool for the Season.” Just click the link.


Covering Your Pool

One of the most important things you can do to safeguard your pool is to install a protective cover. It provides you and anyone who visits your home an all-important layer of safety.

Before you cover your pool, you need to clean the pool thoroughly. You’ll wan to lower the water level slightly. Keep in mind that when water freezes into ice, it actually expands. Lowering the water level appropriately ensures that the to coping and tile surrounding your pool are kept intact and secure.

With a pool cover in place, water has a harder time evaporating. Less evaporation means you don’t need to top off the water as often, plus the chemical concentration in the water retains its balance more easily.


Choosing the Right Pool Cover for the Winter

Although there are several types of covers to evaluate most covers will only suffice for mild weather. If you’re located in a cold weather state, like we are, you need a protective cover for the off season when you close your pool.

Today’s custom pools often having unique shapes, which require a custom cover. A protective cover will need to be properly anchored during the cold weather months. When spring returns and you want to open your pool to enjoy the sights and sounds of your water features, your cover needs to be properly stored in a safe and dry environment.

A winter cover keeps the snow and ice completely away from the interior of your pool. Properly installed, a winter cover extends beyond the perimeter of the pool and is anchored to the decking.


Can I Use My Automated Pool Cover for Winter Care?

Here at B&B, we serve customers living in the cold weather states of the New York and New Jersey. If you live anywhere freezing occurs and you have this question, the simple answer to your question is, “No.”

According to B&B’s senior partner, Drew Bagin, “We never recommend using an auto-cover as a winter cover. For the best winter protection for your pool, we advise using either a mesh or solid deck-anchored safety cover.”

It’s true that during the swim season an automatic pool cover gives you added advantages. It lowers your operating costs by conserving heat. An auto-cover lessens the amount of evaporation and therefore the amount water used to keep your pool full, thereby reducing your chemical consumptions, and lowering the burden on your equipment.

Keeping dirt and debris from getting into your pool adds longevity to your pool and lowers your operating costs. However, winter comes, you’re best served by having a deck anchored cover. It will protect both your pool and your automatic pool cover.


Inspection Your Pool and Pool Equipment

Throughout the winter months—especially after a weather event—you should inspect the pool, the pool cover, the equipment and equipment pad for any signs of damage or potential problems. Making a visual inspection may be a bit of preventative medicine for your backyard treasure.

You don’t want to leave a snowpack on your pool cover, so it’s important to remove the excess. You want a pool cover pump that activates when water accumulates on the cover. Not only should it remove any standing water, it will prevent the build up of ice when the temperature drops.


Winter Watch

Consider engaging a qualified pool technician for a “Winter Watch” service. You’ll have a properly trained pool specialist inspect your pool, pool cover, equipment, and equipment pad for any issues that need to be addressed – before they become problems.

Although a properly configured and installed pool cover can handle the weight of a huge snowfall, having Winter Watch Protection means you’ll have a professional visting your property and taking care of any issues that arise due to the weather. Winter Watch is a great way to put your mind at ease.

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Tags: winter care for your pool

Closing Your Pool for the Season

Posted by Marc Sabin on Wed, Aug 31, 2016 @ 08:00 AM


Here in the Northeast pool closing is a sad but critical task that means the swim season has concluded for the year. It’s important for pool owners to know that your pool must be closed properly to avoid unnecessary problems and costly repairs when the next swim season is upon you.

As the days are now getting shorter, and the kids are back in school the time is right to close your swimming pool. The best time to close is when night-time temperatures start to dip into the 40s and daytime temperatures are in the 60s to low 70s. Close much sooner and you risk an algae bloom, much later and you could be fishing out a lot of leaves.

In case you’ve ever wondered how the pool professionals do it (or are thinking of doing it yourself), here are the basics:

First make sure your water is properly balanced, with appropriate levels of pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness. Next check to make sure the water is neither corrosive (undersaturated) or scaling (oversaturated).


Then lower the water to the appropriate level for winter. Vinyl liner pools can stay as they are, but the water in a concrete or gunite pool should be six to eight inches below the tile line.

Next, clean the filter. DE (diatomaceous earth) or cartridge filters must be disassembled so that internal parts can be removed and cleaned, while sand filters must be thoroughly backwashed.

Then blow out the return and skimmer lines to remove all the water from them, then plug them with either rubber or threaded plugs, depending on the type of pool (our retail shop can advise you). Lines that are not blown out can freeze and burst, crippling your pool and calling for expensive repairs to install new lines under concrete. If you’re closing your pool yourself, you will have to rent a blower or an air compressor to complete this step.


The next step is to remove the drain plugs from the filter, filter pump, heater, chlorinator and any other equipment that needs to be drained, such as a waterfall pump. Failure to drain the pool heater correctly can lead to water freezing in the heat exchanger and another expensive repair. Make sure to turn off the power on all equipment, so it doesn’t kick on later by itself. The gas needs to be turned off on the gas heater, on and off switches removed from timers, and any auto controls deactivated.

Finally, add winterization chemicals, including an algicide and stain and scale preventative. The chemicals needed vary according to the size of your pool and type of pool cover. Once these are added, we remove the ladders and install your pool cover.


If you’re closing the pool yourself, you can finally have the beverage of your choice and relax! If you would rather skip the work, and just relax, give your pool professional a call. Or simply click the link below, and we’ll take care of all the steps for you.

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And if you want full protection for the winter, click below to sign up for our Winter Watch Protection Program. 

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Tags: Swimming Pool Maintenance

B&B’s Quality Construction and Professional Service Are Recognized

Posted by Marc Sabin on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 @ 07:30 AM



The proof is in. By sticking to our commitment that “the work is not complete until our customer is happy,” B&B Pool & Spa Center was rewarded with prestigious Readers Choice Awards from two New Jersey magazines.

B&B received recognition in the categories of pool design and pool service. The design and building award from Aspire Magazine was given for a magnificent indoor pool overlooking the New York Skyline and George Washington Bridge. When you look out from the pool or heated spa, the pool’s vanishing edge gives the illusion that it is part of the river. As boats pass by this New Jersey home—situated on the cliffs near the wide Hudson—they appear as though they might sail right into your lap.


The second award comes from the readers of the highly regarded Bergen Health & Life, who selected B&B as the Best Pool Service Company in Bergen County, where many of B&B’s pools have been built. This award is a distinction that makes our team of certified service professionals at B&B justifiably proud. The glowing reviews for our service team were earned by providing top quality, on-time service.

Most of B&B’s service technicians have more than ten years of experience. Each year, we enroll them in continuing education and training courses taught by the swimming pool and spa experts at the national Association of Pool and Spa Professionals.

This year B&B celebrates its 44th year in business. Having been created out of a passion for top quality swimming pools and spas, brothers Bruce, Craig and Drew refused to compromise on building quality pools and providing the best professional service. Over the years, we’ve won recognition and awards from our peers and professional associations around the world. But this month we received what may be the most rewarding recognition—the recognition of pool owners in one of our primary service areas.


Never one to take lightly the importance of providing customers personal, professional, and courteous service, General Manager Russ Michel treats each homeowner like part of the family. “One of the distinguishing features of running an operation like ours,” Russ notes, “comes down to how we handle those occasions when something goes amiss.

“Whether something happens as a result of weather damage, equipment issues, or simply a communication problem, I personally see to it that we make it right. When you’re a B&B customer, we put our arm around your shoulders and walk with you to observe and then solve the problem. In my work, every customer is my most important customer.”

Russ’s commitment to doing the right thing trickles down to every member of the B&B team. With a fleet of trucks being dispatched every day, there are always service technicians working to keep customers, their families, and friends delighting in crystal clear, comfortable water.


No matter how hard you work, not every situation comes out perfectly. And so the true test of an organization comes when there is an issue. “That’s why our policy is to take ownership of the problem,” says Service Manager Mike Rodriguez. “My guys go out there knowing what to look for. We diagnose the problem, and figure out the best solution. Most of the time we have the equipment right there on our trucks, so we can take care of it right away. However, if we don’t have everything we need with us, we’ll come back and work until we get it right.”

“Winning those reader awards really means a lot to us,” says Derek Bagin the Vice President of Construction and the third generation of Bagins to follow his father and uncles into the business. “Being here in the northeast, we have a short swim season, so it’s essential that our team knows how to work quickly and efficiently. I’m really proud of the work we do.”

If you haven’t had a chance to check out B&B for yourself, we invite you to give us a call or request an appointment. Derek Bagin emphasizes, “We’ll provide you the same quality service that all our customers receive—the same folks who vote for us as the best in the business.”

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Tags: Swimming Pool Maintenance, CBP, Certifed Pool Builder, Certifed Building Professional, Certified Service Professional

Selecting The Right Pool Filter

Posted by Marc Sabin on Wed, Jul 06, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

Let’s Talk Pool Filters: “What Do You Want Removed?”


Keep your pool looking good, smelling nice, and feeling silky soft with the right water filtration. Understanding how different pool filters work makes it easier to choose the right one for your pool.

It’s A Trap: Your Filter’s Job

The filter traps all the particles that pass through the skimmer basket and the hair-and-lint pot. Any dirt particles that pass through your pool’s pipes are sifted out by your filter when the cleansed water continues back into your pool. All the fine dust, dirt, and sand particles are removed from the circulating water.

Interestingly, as your filter traps more debris and becomes dirtier, it actually becomes more efficient in trapping smaller and smaller debris.  Filters help keep your pool water looking beautifully blue and crystal clear. Remember though, just because the water looks clear doesn’t always mean the water is sanitized and pure.

Filters remove solid particles from your swimming pool water. However, you do need to be aware; filters do not remove dissolved contaminants, such as oils, bacteria, or disease-causing pathogens.  When it comes to that phase of keeping your pool clean, you need a good chemical maintenance program—either by using chlorine, running an ozonator, or better still, a mineral-salt-fed chlorine generator.


Size Does Matter: It Is All About The Microns

When it comes to filtration, the smaller the particle removed the cleaner your water. The best filters remove impurities you cannot see with the naked eye—but you might notice if there were enough impurities to make the water cloudy. To measure impurities, a unit called a micron is used. A micron is a unit of length equal to one millionth of a meter (1/1,000,000 m), or 0.0000394 of an inch. The human eye can see as small as about 35 microns without magnification.

To help you understand the micron better, here are the thicknesses of some common things:

  • One inch equals 24,500 microns
  • Human hair is between 50-70 microns thick
  • A grain of fine beach sand is about 90 microns
  • Pollen is between 30-50 microns thick
  • Ragweed is between 17-23 microns thick
  • Typical atmospheric dust measures between 0.001-10 microns

Swimming pool filters are rated according to the size of microns they capture. The smaller the particles it can remove from the water, the lower the micron rating and the more efficient the filter. The smaller the particles being removed, the cleaner the water becomes. The cleaner the water, the more enjoyable the pool is.


Filter Types

Below you’ll note descriptions of the three most common types of swimming pool filters. Once you understand the advantages of each, then you can consult with a Certified Pool Professional as to which filter system best suits your pool. The three types of filters are:

  • Diatomaceous Earth (DE) filters
  • Cartridge filters
  • Sand filters


The Water Polisher

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) filters can strain out particles as small as 5 microns. DE is a white powder made from the skeletal remains of sea creatures, called diatoms. DE filters are constructed with internal grids. The DE coats the grids thereby forming a filtering mesh that removes any tiny pieces of debris in the water.


The Popular Cleaner

Cartridge Filters strain out particles as small as 10-20 microns. Cartridge filters are the newest of the swimming pool filters and are also the simplest to maintain, which is why they are so popular.

Cartridge filters closely resemble a car’s air filter (pleated polyester cloth), except that pool filters are much larger. As water passes through the pleated material, dirt particles and debris are trapped in the pleats.

Cartridge filters are available in a wide range of sizes, depending on the size of your pool.  When properly sized, they don't clog up as quickly and more water flows through them (more opportunity to filter out debris).  If a cartridge filter is sized right, it may be able to run the entire season without cleaning.


The Trusted Age-Old Filter

Sand Filters can strain out particles as small as 20-40 microns. A sand filter is the oldest and simplest filter in use. As far back as ancient times, sand was used to filter the famous Roman baths. Pool water passes through tiny openings in the sand. Dirt and other debris are trapped in the jagged edges of the sand particles, allowing clean water to pass through.

Filter Maintenance

DE Filters

The DE filter may be partially cleaned by backwashing (reversing the flow of water through the filter). The filter grids must be re-coated with new filter media (DE) after each backwashing. Since backwashing does not remove all of the dirt and debris from the filter, it is recommended to annually open the filter and chemically clean each grid individually. 

There is a cost for media and periodic maintenance.  Because DE should not be disposed of into streams or sewers, most communities require a separate vessel to capture the backwashed DE and dirt in a bag for proper environmental disposal.

Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters are also designed to run at lower water pressure than sand or DE filters. The lower pressure puts less backpressure on the pump, often allowing you to downsize your pump for energy savings.  A new cartridge filter will start to strain out particles at about 20 microns, but can go down to as low as 5 microns. Generally these filters have to be cleaned once or twice a season by simply hosing them off.

Sand Filters

Sand filters have the highest micron rating (other filters trap smaller debris).  They start out at about 40 microns and go down to 20 microns over time—as with all filters, sand filters clean better the dirtier they get.  The only way to clean a sand filter is by backwashing. A good sand filter can go years on backwashing alone.  There are no grids to clean and no DE or sand to add—just backwash and go.


Do Your Own Research, Then Get A Professional Opinion

It always helps to have a basic understanding of filters, so your discussion with a Certified Pool Professional—such as those at B&B Pool and Spa Center—can be fruitful and, most important, money-saving! Click the link below, and send us your question. 

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Tags: Swimming Pool Maintenance

Celebrate July Fourth And Remember America's Dream

Posted by Marc Sabin on Wed, Jun 29, 2016 @ 10:00 AM


It’s the height of summer. There’s no better time to enjoy your pool and backyard parties than the Fourth of July. This holiday is a time to celebrate and count the many blessings we have. It takes a lot for us to have the freedom and prosperity to enjoy life. It’s not something we should ever take for granted.

Celebrating with family and friends, enjoying great food and drink, and relaxing in the comfort of the holiday, we should just take a moment to reflect on what goes into making a day such as this happen each year.  


After signing the Declaration of Independence and enduring the harsh terms of a long war with the British, America secured its future with one of the greatest documents ever written. When the Founding Fathers worked to construct the Constitution of the United States of America over the hot summer of 1787, they didn’t have the benefit of a swimming pool to dip into during their breaks. Maybe if they had, the tough negotiations that set our country on its way might have been resolved more easily. And while we’ll never know the answer to that question, we can attest to the fact that today we have such comforts available to us largely because of what our Founders did to make this nation possible.

Since that hot summer, we’ve been home to the innovators of many of the greatest changes the world has ever known—not that we’re placing swimming pools in the category of greatest changes—but pools are certainly one of the most enjoyable innovations that we now have. Today in the heat of summer, it’s possible to refresh yourself in the comfort of your own backyard.


Your pool is a great place to host a party to celebrate the birth of our nation. The crystal clean water is a safe place to retreat from the hustle-bustle world. Water can be pleasurable in many ways. Enjoy a little bit of temporary physical freedom. Unwind and relax as the water’s buoyancy frees you to move much easier. Share the laughter and good times with people you love.

So when it comes to celebrating this Fourth of July, enjoy it to the utmost and take a moment to remember the great ideas upon which this nation was founded. It took the grit and brilliance of our nation’s founders as well as the bravery and sacrifice of the men and women who serve and have served to make your party possible. Raise a glass to freedom. Make a toast to equality. And give thanks that you live in a country where you can live out your dreams.



Tags: Barbecue, Grilling, Party

Keep Your Pool Crystal Clear The Easy Way

Posted by Marc Sabin on Wed, Jun 22, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

Generating Chlorine: The Easy Way To Keep Your Pool Crystal Clear 


One of the truly essential things you want when you own a pool is to have crystal clear, clean water. For generations the treatment for pools relied upon harsh chemical chlorine, which you had to buy, store at home, and handle frequently. New advancements have changed that. Now, you can have crystal clear, safe water automatically and never have to handle chlorine again!

Now you can simply use gentle mineral salt to be transformed into pure chlorine by an Electrolytic Chlorine Generator. By far the easiest and most convenient way to keep your pool water sparkling clean, the IntelliChlor®—it transforms gentle mineral salt into all the chlorine you will ever need, safely, effectively, and automatically.   No more buying, storing, or handling harsh chlorine!


You will appreciate the benefits of IntelliChlor® chlorine generation:

  • You get the same sanitation performance as adding chemical chlorine without the drawbacks
  • You don’t need to buy, transport and store expensive chlorine compounds
  • You won’t have any more unpleasant odor, stinging eyes, irritated skin or bleached-out swimsuits
  • You get the right amount of automatically generated chlorine for your pool


Setting A New Standard in Chlorine Generator Technology

IntelliChlor® takes electrolytic chlorine generation to a higher level of convenience, reliability and safety. To appreciate why the IntelliChlor® generator is better it will helps to understand how it works.

Mineral salt (sodium chloride & other minerals) is added directly to the pool water where it dissolves. It takes less than a teaspoon of mineral salts per gallon of pool water. The dissolved salt flows through the Intellichlor® generator where it is converted to pure chlorine—which is then evenly distributed throughout the pool.

The chlorine does its job sanitizing the water, keeping it fresh, clear and safe. Unlike conventional chlorine products that must be constantly replenished, the mineral salt is recycled continuously, which softens the water and reduces pool maintenance. The IntelliChlor® generator even keeps itself clean. It automatically reverses cycling to prevent scale build-up for longer cell life.


Simple, Safe, Automatic

Monitoring chlorine production is easy with the IntelliChlor® chlorine generator. Its controls and displays are built right into the unit. IntelliChlor® is the only chlorine generator to provide you with this helpful feedback. You simply select from any of five sanitizing levels to easily manage the chlorine addition you need for your pool.

  • Easy-to-view displays enable fast checking of salt levels, generator cleanliness, sanitizer output and water flow
  • Adjustments are as easy as pressing two buttons
  • All performance data—production settings, hours of operation, chlorine output, cell cleaning cycles, salt readings and water temperature averages—are captured daily, making it easy to maintain perfect water
  • The exclusive IntelliChlor® tracking display shows the remaining hours of cell life in real-time
  • Integrated sensors in the generator cell ensure that water flow is adequate for safe chlorine generation
  • Ability to communicate with IntelliTouch®, EasyTouch®, and SunTouch® Automation Systems
  • Automatic shut-off feature engages in low water temperature conditions to protect the unit and prolongs its life
  • Warranty is in place for one full year


Reliability is Built In

The IntelliChlor® chlorine generator is engineered to stand up to the toughest pool conditions and provide years of dependable performance.

  • On-time cycling prevents calcium and scale build-up to maximize cell life.
  • Titanium electrode blades are coated with Ruthenium oxide, which catalyzes the chlorine production
  • Control electronics are isolated in the cell, away from high heat components, for longer cell life
  • Electronics are waterproofed for maximum reliability
  • UL Approved rugged, dependable, durable power supply/transformer
  • Unit comes with 15 feet of UL approved cable with easy installation via quick connector on power supply
  • Quick release coupling connections make replacing salt generating cells fast and easy

Engineered for Safety


The IntelliChlor® chlorine generator meets important standards for safety.

  • Power supply cell and electronics meet to UL 1081 Standard requirements—the industry standards for pool chlorine generators
  • Power supply has a flammability rating of UL 94 V-O, which means it will extinguish burning in 10 seconds after the ignition source is removed.

An Eco Select™ Brand Product


IntelliChlor® is an Eco Select™ brand product—the “greenest” and most efficient equipment choice available. It saves energy, conserves water, eliminates noise, and is an environmentally responsible chlorine generator. Using the IntelliChlor® eliminates the need to buy, store and add chlorine manually. Fewer resources are used in the production, packaging and transportation of harsh chemical compounds.

  • Generating chlorine eliminates the strong odor, stinging eyes and irritated skin caused by additives in standard packaged chlorine
  • Chlorine is generated in your pool and therefore not manufactured or transported thus reducing emissions and energy


Come into B&B’s showroom and see for yourself and all the advantages of the patented Intellichlor®.

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Tags: Swimming Pool Maintenance

Choosing The Right Pool Cleaner

Posted by Marc Sabin on Tue, Jun 14, 2016 @ 02:47 PM


Now that summer has arrived. It’s time to spend more time enjoying the outdoors. Your pool is open.. This is the time when you might be thinking of replacing your pool cleaner—or even getting one for the first time. If you’re thinking of about your pool cleaner, here’s what you should keep in mind when you’re going about making your selection.

There are three main types of automatic cleaners. They work by suction, pressure or electric power.


Suction cleaners move around the pool vacuuming up dirt and debris. They are attached by a hose to one of the suction ports in the pool.  Usually, this port is inside the skimmer, but other pools have a dedicated port for a cleaner. Your pool’s circulation pump creates suction by pulling water from the pool, and runs it through your cleaner. The dirt and debris pass through the hose, pass by the suction port continues through the pipes, until they are trapped in the strainer basket at the filter. Some suction cleaners are equipped with brushes to help loosen the dirt.


Pressure cleaners use the reverse action of the suction cleaners. They attach to the water return of your pool’s circulation system. The clean, filtered water moving back to the pool powers the cleaner. A bag or net on top of the cleaner collects the dirt and debris. Some pressure cleaners are equipped with booster pumps. These pressure cleaners are not dependent solely upon your pool’s pump for their power. Pressure side cleaners typically—but not always—require a dedicated port as do suction cleaners.


Electric cleaners are a good option depending on how your pool was originally plumbed. This is because electric cleaners are completely independent of your pool’s water circulation system. They are powered by low-voltage electricity. Electric cleaners are equipped with built-in filters, which lessen the burden on the pool's filtration system. This typically translates to lower energy use as well as increasing the life expectancy for your pool’s pump and filter. And by keeping the cleaner separate from your filtering system, you typically can expect to clean your pool filters less frequently. Electric cleaners are convenient to use. Some have remote controls that allow you to guide the cleaner from poolside for spot cleaning. Electric cleaners cost more initially, but they may be a good option if you keep in mind that your energy usage over time will be lower and the lives of your other pool equipment can be extended.

Which is the best solution for you?

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It’s best to weigh the typical conditions and requirements for your pool against the benefits of the different types of cleaners and their particular benefits. For instance, if your property has trees that lose their leaves in the fall, pressure cleaners and electric cleaners handle the volume of leaves better than suction cleaners. Of the two, pressure cleaners may be the better option in a leafy environment since they are independent from the pool’s circulation system.


If on the other hand, you live in an area where sand or silt gets into your pool, suction cleaners are better able to handle the fine debris. You should keep in mind that if a large volume of debris clogs your suction cleaner, the resistance can stress your pool’s circulation system.   Although pressure cleaners also rely on your pool’s circulation pump, they connect to the discharge side of your filter, so the volume of debris doesn’t clog the filter system in the same way.


So, if you’re thinking about updating your cleaning system, you want to bring the information about the different cleaners to your conversation with your pool professional. Being prepared for the conversation will mean that you will be able to determine what the best solution is for your pool.

If you have any questions, contact B&B’s Certified Pool Technicians. Just click on this link and send a service request.

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Tags: Swimming Pool Maintenance, swimming pool design

It’s Time To “Summer-ize” Your Backyard

Posted by Marc Sabin on Fri, May 27, 2016 @ 08:30 AM

The great outdoors beckon now that the temperatures have risen. School will soon be out for the youngsters, and your backyard is the best and safest place for them to enjoy your favorite times.


Whether you’re breaking bread at a spontaneous gathering of your close neighbors, or hosting a family reunion, you’ll want to be able to sit back and relax to get the most out of the pleasurable features on your property.

So, what do you need to do to prepare your yard for the summer? Here are a few tips for you to get the most enjoyment out of the long days and warm nights ahead.


Gardening and Landscaping

Preparing your home receive guests does require a little planning and preparation. There are some basic things that make your backyard more inviting: Mow your lawn. Pull the weeds. Clear the pathways.

Perhaps you want to do some planting. According to B&B’s licensed landscape architect Mike Hartnett, prepping for the pool season is the perfect time to spruce up your yard with seasonal color. Selecting the right plants to be close to your swimming pool, will minimize your work, and maximize the “wow” factor! According to another B&B Landscape Architect Josh Hampton, “Potted annuals make pool landscaping easy. They look good from the day bring them home, and they’re easy to care for.”


Cleaning and Decorating

Put the toys away. Any hazards you might find on the property should be safely stored. No one wants a tripping hazard in the backyard. A simple clean up of loose items on the lawn and patio will make a big difference to the visual appeal and safety.

Prepare your outdoor cooking station. Is the grill ready to use? Do you have all the utensils you need? Clean all the counters and shelves. Air out your coolers. Wash the aprons and potholders.

You might also consider decorating specifically for a party with a specific theme. Let’s say you’re thinking about a tropical island, you might want to follow through with that idea as you design your menu and refreshments. Let your imagine soar.


Trimming and Pruning

Make your property more attractive by shaping the larger plants, and trees in your yard. Here in the northeast, with our seasonal changes, plants sprout robustly. The amount of sun and rain we get leads to lush growth once the season begins. Bushes and shrubs do well with a haircut. Carefully pruned trees beautifully adorn your yard. By removing the deadwood, you reduce the chances for branches breaking off during any summer storms.


Inspecting and Maintaining

Walk your entire property. Look for anything that is out of place. Are your sprinklers working? Are your hoses flexible and neatly coiled? How is your exterior lighting? Are your outdoor speakers working? Replace anything that needs replacing. Consider upgrading any of your old lamps with newer, more energy efficient LEDs.

Have your pool professionally opened and serviced. A certified pool technician is trained to examine your equipment, filters, and pumps. He or she knows what to look for and will make sure they are all working optimally. A good examination of your pool will reveal any issues that need to be addressed before your first guest arrives.


Debugging and Repelling

With all the concerns today about mosquito-borne diseases, you really want to take all the steps you can to eliminate the possibility of having insects disturb your parties. Get rid of any standing water, whether it’s in a birdbath or a watering can. Change the water daily because mosquitos only take a day to lay their eggs and another 7-10 days to mature. Without standing water, those pesky mosquitos can’t proliferate.

You don’t need to worry about your pool being a breeding ground so long as you keep it treated properly. The motion and chemicals will keep pests away. However, if you have an automatic pool cover, make sure no water pools on it, because a mosquito doesn’t require much water to reproduce.

Throughout your seating area, consider using citronella candles. Pests don’t like the smell and will stay away. You can use Tiki torches with citronella oil in them to give light and chase away the bugs. And of course have insect repellent available for anyone who wants more protection.


Shopping and Prepping

As you prepare for your party or parties, be sure to stock up on all the things you need. If you chose your theme already, you can probably find colorful plates and party decorations to complement the day. Get a variety of food and drink. Make sure you have plenty of ice. If you’re planning for children, make sure you have options for them as well.

Do you have the right pool toys? Could you use a new floatation chaise lounge? Do you have goggles for the swimmers, and “floaties” for the kids? Check your safety equipment. You should have a life preserver and a shepherd’s hook just in case someone needs help getting out of the water. Also, put together an emergency safety kit, including fully charged phone.

Is it time to get some new beach towels? Do you have drying racks by the pool? How’s your outdoor furniture. Do you need new pillows or umbrellas?                       

Download Your Free Pool Safety Toolkit Guide


Cooking and Grilling

Now that the shopping is done, is the grill ready to go? Do you have charcoal or propane? What would you like to eat at your party? Choose food that’s easy to serve. If you want to grill fish or vegetables, make sure you have the right accessory rack for your grill. Get the seasonings you like. Stock up on barbecue sauces and all the condiments you need. Fill your beverage selection up with drinks, plastic cups and straws.

Look up some interesting recipes. Try out a few new dishes before your guests arrive. Finger foods are a great way to serve your guests. You can allow them to graze at their leisure while they enjoy all the accouterments of your fabulous outdoor party.



While you’re planning for summer, stop by B&B Pool and Spa Center. Have your pool water tested for free. Treat yourself to some of outdoor offerings in our showroom. We have specialty items for your grill, your pool and your spa. We’re committed to your good times.

Tags: Poolside, Barbecue, Grilling, Memorial Day, Party