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Simple tips for closing your in-ground pool

Sadly, summer is almost over, which means it’s time once again to start thinking about closing your in-ground pool.

Summer fun may be done for now, but the good news is that you’ll be able to open your pool even faster next summer by taking the right steps this fall. Properly closing and winterizing your pool is an important process that protects the pool equipment during the colder seasons and keeps the water clean, so you have less work to do next summer.

You can view our complete in-ground pool closing checklist here (and above-ground closing tips here) – but here are some of our most important tips:

1) Triple shock first

The night before you close the pool, triple shock it with granular chlorine. Follow the instructions on the package for how much to add, but generally most bags suggest adding 1 lb. of shock per 10,000 gallons of pool water. So a triple shock would be 3 lbs. for every 10,000 gallons.

2) Vacuum, clean and winterize

Vacuum the pool thoroughly, and clean the filter. You’ll also want to remove and properly store items like the vent cap, pressure gauge, chlorinator drain plug and Visions drain plug. Dispose of any undissolved tablets, as well as the Visions cartridge, if applicable.

Winterize the pump by removing the strainer basket and the two ​strainer housing plugs on the front and sides of the pump housing. Turn off the main breaker to the pump (to prevent it being accidentally turned on during the winter).

3) Drain gas heater or heat pump and UV2 sanitizer

Follow your owner’s manual for specific instructions. But generally, this involves the following steps: open petcock valve on the side of the heater to drain out the water. Turn off the gas at the heater gas valve and the valve on the gas tank. On a heat pump, disconnect the inlet and outlet lines and remove the drain plug to let it drain. Use a shop vac to blow air through the inlet side of the heat pump, thus removing excess water through the outlet side. Turn off the breaker to the heat pump. Disconnect unions on the UV2 sanitizer and drain. Remove the bonding wire and unplug it from the receptacle. Store in a warm place over winter, where it won’t be disturbed.

4) Remove and store the following, when applicable:

Skimmer baskets, lifeline floats, thermometer, ladders and handrails (don’t store anywhere near the chlorine), fountains, diving board, and diving board base (grease the base’s thread studs and install protective caps).

5) Add winterization chemical kit

Add a Crystal winterizing chemical kit to the pool. You can purchase these at any Crystal Pools location. Winterizing kits typically contain a variety of additional chemicals to help prevent algae, stains and deposits.

6) Cover the pool

A high-quality pool cover is strongly recommended for every in-ground pool. A pool cover will obviously prevent debris from getting into the pool during the winter (making clean-up much easier in the spring), but there are several other benefits, too. Pool covers help to prevent water and pool chemicals from evaporating and can save on energy by naturally heating the pool a few degrees in the spring when it gets direct sunlight.

Need help?

We’re happy to guide you through the steps for winterizing your pool, or we can send our skilled service professionals to do it for you. Request service online or call our Pool Service Department at (717) 534-1837.

5 things to look for when purchasing an in-ground pool

Adding a swimming pool to your backyard is a great way to ensure more family time, exercise and good health. It’s a great investment not just for your home but for your wellbeing.

If you’re just beginning to look at your options, there are lots of things to consider. Here’s a quick guide on what to look for when installing an in-ground pool.

1) How it’s made

In-ground pools can be built a few different ways these days, and each one has its own unique advantages.

One of the more popular options these days is fiberglass, which is the fastest to install. Fiberglass pools typically come in pre-determined shapes, which are built before they arrive and are installed in one piece.

Vinyl liner pools are another popular in-ground option, which comes with relatively little maintenance and typically a lower up-front cost. A third option is a concrete pool, which opens up the shapes to whatever you can imagine, but comes with much more maintenance.

2) Size and shape

As we mentioned above, the size and shape of your pool will largely be affected by the type you choose: fiberglass, vinyl or concrete. But since pool installers partner directly with manufacturers, it’s important to know what your options are. Some companies offer more styles than others.

Keep in mind that the size of your pool will depend somewhat on the space available in your backyard.

As for the shape, think about how you plan to use the pool. If you’re into athletic swimming, you’ll probably want a rectangular shape that allows for swimming laps. If you want a pool primarily for casual swimming and soaking, then you can get more creative with the shape.

3) Installation time

Installation speed may depend on what kind of in-ground pool you select. But a number of other factors can influence that timeline too, such as:

Backyard prep, grading or unexpected obstacles
Delays in permit approvals
Speed and schedule of the installers

As you compare your options, be sure to ask about installation time so you know what to expect.

4) Accessories

This is the fun part!

Your in-ground swimming pool is even more enjoyable when you add accessories. For the ultimate in pool fun, consider things like diving boards and slides. For a serene retreat, think about accessories like fountains, bridges and other water features.

It’s your dream pool, after all. Why not build it the way you always imagined?

5) Lighting and landscaping

The space around your pool is just as important as the pool itself. Good landscaping, combined with the right lighting, can turn an ordinary backyard swimming pool into an extraordinary space.

Ask your pool installer if they offer landscaping options too and if so, find out what your options are.

There’s a lot to think about when buying a pool, but by taking your time to compare your options, you’ll be able to build the pool of your dreams.

It’s not too late to install an in-ground pool this year!

Summer is going fast. But just because the kids are going back to school doesn’t mean that “fun in the sun” has to end …

If you act soon, there’s still time to install a beautiful in-ground swimming pool in your backyard!

Our entire team of professionals will work with you to meet your deadline—before the end of the 2018 swim season. The clock is ticking, so you have to act fast. But we’ll help you through every step of the process, including:

  • Selecting the right pool for your backyard
  • Surveying your property
  • Getting permits from your local municipality
  • Complete, professional installation – before temperatures begin to drop!

But that’s not the only reason to act now …

Special savings going on now!

Right now, we are offering a wide range of discounts during our In-Ground Pool Sale! Here are just a few of the great deals we’re offering:

1) Up to $3,400 OFF in-ground pool packages

Yes, really!

You can slash thousands off the cost of your in-ground pool when you purchase during our sale. Why wait until next year when prices go back up? Call us today to take advantage of this limited-time savings.

2) Up to 50% OFF optional accessories

That’s right. Many of our most popular pool accessories are up to HALF OFF during our In-Ground Pool Sale.

3) FREE solar blanket (up to $565 value)

Why pay when you don’t have to?

Right now, with purchases of select in-ground pool packages, we’re throwing in a free solar blanket to help you keep your pool water warm (AND save you money on energy).

4) FREE 2018 Pool Winterization (up to $325 value)

Let us winterize your pool, so you don’t have to!

Our pool service technicians will properly treat your pool and close it at the end of the season, so that it’s ready for swimming even sooner next year.

Backyard fun…even after school starts again

The start of the school year doesn’t have to mean the end of fun for you and your kids. Take advantage of our In-Ground Pool Sale, and we’ll get your pool installed before the end of the swim season.

Contact any Crystal Pools location for more details, and let’s get started on your dream pool!

How to Choose a Hot Tub (and Maximize the Benefits)

Soaking in a hot tub is scientifically proven to benefit your health. From stress relief to muscle relaxation, hot tubs are good for both mind and body.

But since not all hot tubs are the same, it’s important to compare your options carefully. By selecting the right hot tub for you and your family, you can greatly increase your enjoyment AND maximize the benefits.

Here are a few things to consider:


The size of your hot tub is perhaps the most important consideration, and it’s one of the key factors that will affect the price.

Hot tubs sizes are typically sized by the number of people who can sit inside it, i.e. a 4-person hot tub, 6-person hot tub, etc. To maximize your enjoyment, choose a size that’s a good fit for how many people will realistically use it on a regular basis. Leave room for immediate family and/or guests.


How many jets are there? More importantly, where are they placed?

If you want to maximize the benefits of hydro-massage, look for hot tubs with jets that are strategically positioned to benefit specific muscles. For example, some hot tubs are designed with multiple jets in and around each seat to massage your back, legs, arms and even your neck.


Find out how your hot tub is made and what the different types of materials mean. You’ll discover this is a big difference between the big-name brands like Jacuzzi and lesser-known manufacturers.

The quality of the materials will directly affect how long your hot tub lasts and how it looks over time. Higher-quality materials will be more resistant to scratches, stains, UV rays and other damage.


Are the seats ergonomically designed to contour to your natural body shape? Or is it just a flat bench?

People have different tastes and comfort preferences, which is why it’s a good idea to actually sit in a few different hot tubs before you buy. Get a feel for it; don’t just go by the pictures you see in a brochure. Also, consider how much space there is if multiple people sit in the hot tub. Will it be comfortably intimate or too cramped?


When it comes to hot tubs, choosing a reputable brand is important. Stick to the names you know: Jacuzzi, HotSpring, Caldera, and so on.

These brands are known for quality and dependability. They’ve been refining and enhancing their hot tubs for years, so that today’s customers get the best possible product. Be wary of unknown brands or prices that seem too good to be true. You don’t want to get stuck with a hot tub that’s uncomfortable or breaks within a year after it’s installed.


Do you need all the extra bells and whistles available in today’s top-of-the-line hot tubs? Maybe not—BUT, if you truly want to maximize your enjoyment, then don’t count out these features just yet.

Consider a feature like Jacuzzi’s Bluewave stereo system, for example. This lets you play music from your smartphone and lets you control it from a touchscreen display built into the hot tub—so you don’t have to bring your phone into the tub (your phone can be 30 feet away). This is an example of a great feature that is sure to enhance your hot tub experience.

Need help?

We’re happy to go over all your options, so you can find the right hot tub for your needs and budget. Contact your nearest Crystal Pools location today.

What to consider when installing an in-ground swimming pool

Putting an in-ground swimming pool in your backyard is an exciting decision that will bring years of enjoyment to your family. But if you’re just beginning to look at your options, then it’s important to set the right expectations.

As part of the installation process, you and your pool installers will need to make sure your backyard is properly prepped. Each backyard is different, so some spaces may require more steps than others.

Here are a few general requirements to expect as you begin this exciting journey:

Permits: Any pool plans will need to be cleared by your local municipality. This process makes sure that your proposed pool meets local code and will be safe for use. An on-site inspection by local officials is generally required.

Yard slope and grading: The existing slope of your yard may affect your pool design options. Grading may be needed to level the ground where your pool will be placed. More extensive grading will play a role in the construction costs of your pool.

Drainage: Proper draining is critical for every pool. When it rains, for example, you don’t want water running into your pool or onto your patio. Your pool installers will determine what draining methods will be needed to ensure water runs to a desired area away from the pool.

Utilities: If there’s any existing utility lines in your backyard, those will need to be removed and/or rerouted. As part of the initial site work, your installers will inspect for electrical, gas, septic and water lines.

Design, placement & usage: Should your pool be rectangular? Round? Angled? Curved? This decision actually depends on several factors, including how you’ll use the pool and what makes sense for your backyard. For example, active swimmers may prefer a longer, more rectangular pool that allows for swimming longer laps.

Excavation: Lots of dirt will have to go! And, there are numerous factors that can influence how long it takes to dig up your backyard: weather, soil conditions and the ease of access for construction vehicles.

Fencing: All swimming pools must be properly enclosed to prevent the risk of someone (particularly children) accidentally falling into the pool. Most municipalities require your fence to be at least four feet tall.

Landscaping: Attractive landscaping is the key to making your backyard pool look truly incredible. But keep in mind that premium landscaping is an added expense on top of construction costs. Consider how things like trees, shrubbery and hardscaping can beautify your space.

Completion time: How fast your pool is installed depends on a few factors, including the type of pool you choose. For example, one-piece fiberglass pools can be installed in as little as seven days, once the yard is prepped and the pool shell is ready. But things like weather, permits and inspections can also influence the completion time.

Have questions? We have answers! At Crystal Pools, we’re here to make the installation process as clear and simple as possible. Give us a call or stop by to get started on your dream pool today.

What to Consider When Purchasing an In-Ground Pool

Thinking about adding a pool to your backyard? It’s a big decision for any family—but also an exciting one. As you begin your journey to becoming proud new pool owners, you’ll have several exciting things to consider.

From the overall look of your pool to how you’ll use it, you’ll want to make sure you compare your options carefully. With the right planning, your dream pool will soon be a reality!

Here’s what to consider:

1) Your ideal budget / range

The costs of an in-ground swimming pool can vary wildly, depending on several of the factors listed below, but also things like backyard grading and other construction costs.

Our friendly staff at Crystal Pools will walk you through everything you need to know, but it’s always a good idea to set a budget for how much you plan to spend. With a budget, you’ll know upfront what you can afford, so you can prioritize the various items on your wish list accordingly.

2) Pool type

Vinyl liner, fiberglass, concrete – these are the three main types of in-ground swimming pools. Each one has its own unique advantages and also plays a large role in the cost of your pool. Liners, for example, are a popular option for their low upfront cost and virtually limitless options for size and shape. Fiberglass, by contrast, has a higher upfront cost but requires lower maintenance, and the installation is generally way faster (because the pool arrives in a pre-made shell).

Educate yourself on all your options to determine the best fit for your backyard and budget.

3) Size

Are you dreaming of a large athletic pool that you can use for intensive swim training? Or something smaller and more elegant for the occasional summertime dip? There’s a lot to consider when choosing the size of your pool, including your budget, your backyard and your desired pool type.

4) Shape

This is another key design feature that is affected by things like pool type and budget. But also, the shape of your in-ground pool should be primarily determined by how you’ll use it. For example, if you plan to be swimming laps, you’ll probably want a wide rectangular or oval pool. If the pool will be more for casual swimming, relaxation and backyard enhancement, then consider a shape with more curves and angles.

5) Accessories

Don’t forget all the fun stuff! There are so many ways to make your pool unique with things like diving boards, slides, fountains and so on. Be sure to check out all your options and use your budget to help prioritize the top items on your wish list.

6) Landscaping features

As you browse photos of swimming pools, you’ll notice that the most gorgeous ones are never surrounded by barren landscapes. They’re beautifully intermingled with shrubs, trees, water features and lighting. Landscaping the space around your pool is the key to making it a showstopper. But it can also balloon your budget. As you plan your swimming pool, be sure to account for the costs of using a professional landscaper.

7) Timeline for completion

How soon do you want to be able to take a dip? Crystal Pools tends to book out 3-4 months in advance for the start of installation. Install time can take 3-6 weeks. There are numerous other factors that will influence installation time, so you’ll want to ask about that as you begin comparing your options.

Let’s chat about your dream pool!

At Crystal Pools, we look forward to discussing your pool plans, and we’re happy to answer any questions you have. Contact us today to get started on your dream pool.

Exercise Value of an Endless Pools Swim Spa

When it comes to exercise, few things benefit your body quite as well as swimming and aquatic fitness. But not everybody has access to a swimming pool or the space for one in their backyard.

Thankfully, an Endless Pools Swim Spa offers the perfect solution.

A swim spa is your own personal swimming pool, in a compact design that’s not much bigger than some hot tubs. But unlike a traditional spa, a swim spa is equipped with a hydraulically powered propulsion system—a.k.a. a swim machine—which allows you to swim in place. It feels just like you’re swimming in open water, and you can even control the “speed” with a waterproof remote.

Let’s take a closer look at how these brilliant little pools can exercise your body (and mind).

Low-impact workouts for all ages & skill levels

Swim spas aren’t just for professional swimmers – they’re for everyone! We all know that running and even walking can be rough on the knees and back, especially for aging bodies. A swim spa removes the impact, allowing you to work out your legs, arms and other muscles in a comfortable, private setting.

Physical rehabilitation

If you have an injury or physical ailment, an Endless Pools Swim Spa can aid in rehabilitation and recovery. Swim spas are often recommended by physicians as an effective way to rebuild strength and stamina. Beyond swimming, simply moving around and doing aerobic exercises in a swim spa can help reduce pain and swelling, improve flexibility and promote better blood circulation.

Performance training

Active swimmer? Competitive athlete? No matter what your sport, a swim spa can help you up your game. A swim spa allows for targeted training, allowing you to focus on different strokes and exercises that work various parts of your body. No turns and stopping, like in a traditional pool. You can keep going, pushing your body and endurance as hard as you choose. This is why swim spas are popular with athletes in numerous sports, including tennis, motorsports, basketball, triathlons and more.

Treadmill workouts It’s not just about swimming. An Endless Pools Swim Spa can also be equipped with a hydraulically powered underwater treadmill. This gives you all of the cardiovascular benefits of walking—without the rough-on-the-knees impact of land-based exercise.

Therapeutic value

Numerous studies have shown the therapeutic effect of relaxing in warm water. So whether you’re doing some simple, stress-free aerobics or simply soaking up some “me time,” you’ll come out of the spa feeling more relaxed and refreshed.

Get more information on an Endless Pools Swim Spa

See how you can benefit from an Endless Pools Swim Spa. Contact any Crystal Pools location, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions!

How to get your pool ready for summer (while it’s still winter!)

Summer is coming, we promise!

While it’s a little too early to open your pool, we believe it’s never too early to start planning. The more preparations you do now, the sooner you’ll be able to open the pool when temperatures finally begin to rise.

Remember: it’s a good idea to wait until daytime temperatures are consistently reaching 70 degrees before you open your pool. In our region, temps can still drop below freezing well into March. So, in general, most swimming pool openings shouldn’t begin until April.

That said, now is a good time to make sure you have all the right chemicals and supplies. Here’s a quick list of steps you can take now, long before you open the pool.

  1. Take inventory of your pool supplies.
    By now, your pool has been closed for several months. So you’ve probably forgotten what supplies you have or maybe even where they are. If temperatures aren’t too frigid outside, then it’s a good time to explore your pool shed and take stock of what you have.
  2. Stock up on what you need.
    Head over to any Crystal Pools location to grab the items you need. We’ve got all-in-one Pool Opening Start-Up Kits, or you can choose from individual supplies like tablet chlorine, granular shock, pH increasers and reducers, filters, filter cleaners, water test kits, liner cleaners and more.
  3. Organize all your supplies.
    Where are the drain plugs? What happened to the skimmer basket? One of the most common frustrations when opening the swimming pool is not being able to find the supplies that you know you have. That’s when the pool opening turns from a relatively easy task to an all-weekend job. You can save yourself a ton of trouble by finding and organizing all your pool supplies now. If you’ve just stocked up on supplies, put them in a clean, neat and well-organized area, so you don’t have to go searching for anything on pool opening day.
  4. Clean ladders, boards and other accessories.
    If you didn’t do this last fall, now’s the perfect time. Give a good cleaning to all your various pool accessories, like floats, ladders, handrails, diving boards and pool fountains. That will save you some steps on pool opening day, so you can install them right away.
  5. Review our Pool Opening Checklists. 
    If you plan to open your pool by yourself, now is a good time to refresh your memory on everything you need to do, so there are no surprises on pool opening day.
    Here are all the steps you’ll need to follow:
    In-Ground Pool Opening Guide
    Above-Ground Pool Opening Guide

Remember, the more steps you can do now, the more time you’ll save for when it’s time to open the pool. You’ve still got several weeks. So start planning now and keep those warm thoughts of summer!

Things You Should Never Do to Your Hot Tub

A hot tub is one of the most rewarding investments

A hot tub is one of the most rewarding investments you can make, but it’s critical that you use it properly and keep it well maintained.

Below, we’ve included an essential list of Hot Tub Don’ts: things you should never do if you want to ensure your safety and make your hot tub last for years to come.

Sure, some of these may seem obvious, but they need to be said. Like deep-frying an unthawed turkey (don’t do it!), some people may be confused about what’s safe vs. what’s really, really foolish.

So, let’s go over some of these critical tips to make sure you don’t make a mistake you’ll regret later.

1) Don’t leave kids unattended.

When kids are using the hot tub, an adult should be with them at all times. Accidents can and do happen. Younger children are especially at risk of drowning in water—and they do, every year, sometimes in only a few inches. So the risks are even greater in a hot tub. Young children can also become overheated in a hot tub, so it’s important to monitor them the entire time. Hot tubs should also be properly covered and fenced in to ensure that kids cannot climb in unnoticed.

2) Don’t dive in. Don’t jump in. No cannonballs. No horseplay.

A hot tub is not a swimming pool. Jumping into the water poses a serious risk for injury. Similarly, there should be no horseplay—all it takes is one little slip to twist an ankle, fracture an arm, cause head trauma, and so on.

Aside from the physical dangers, jumping and splashing will waste water and could damage the hot tub.

3) Don’t turn off the power with a hot tub full of water.

This is especially true in winter, but it applies to warmer months too. In winter (or even fall), freezing water can do a ton of damage to your hot tub. And in the warmer months, it’s way more efficient to keep your hot tub at a steady temperature, rather than letting it cool between each use.

4) Don’t use it during a storm.

Lightning, folks. Do we really have to explain this one?

5) Don’t keep it running if you’re not adding chemicals.

If you want to turn your hot tub into a science experiment, go ahead. By not maintaining the water, your hot tub will quickly turn into a swamp. The mess will be gross, sure, but also very hard to clean and damaging to the hot tub too.

6) Don’t raise the temperature above 104° F.

All new hot tubs have a max temperature of 104° F for a reason: anything higher becomes dangerous. Manufacturers, dealers, and global safety commissions are all on the same page about this, which is why new hot tubs can’t be set higher than 104. If for some reason yours can, don’t do it.

7) Don’t put foam, shampoo or bubbles in the hot tub.

Sure, it sounds nice. But your hot tub is not intended to be used as a bubble bath. Adding soaps and suds of any kind could cause costly damage to your hot tub.

Also, it’s a good idea to shower before hot tubbing. Certainly don’t get in if you’re covered in dirt, thinking the hot tub will clean you off. Remember, you’re not draining the water regularly like you do with a bathtub, and the filters can only handle so much grime.

What is hydrotherapy—and why is it so amazing?

Grandee Hot Tub

One of the best reasons to purchase a hot tub is to experience to the numerous health-enhancing benefits of hydrotherapy. But what is it exactly, and how does it work?

When shopping for hot tubs and spas, you’ll hear manufacturers use terms like:

  • Hydrotherapy
  • Water therapy
  • Hydromassage
  • Hydropathy
  • And so on

From the term alone, you’ve probably guessed it has something to do with water (hydro) and its therapeutic properties. But without context, you may not realize just how beneficial hydrotherapy can be.

Hydrotherapy is NOT simply a marketing buzzword created by hot tub manufacturers. It’s a proven, research-validated treatment for relieving physical pain and stress.

What to know

When it comes to hot tubs, there are three essential components to hydrotherapy:

  • Hot water
  • Buoyancy
  • Massage (provided by the jets)

When the water in a hot tub is at least 95 degrees Fahrenheit, it helps to raise your body temperature and increase blood circulation.

The water adds buoyancy. When you soak at neck-level, your body weight is reduced by up to 90 percent! This significantly eases pressure on muscles and joints, while also giving you the relaxing feeling of weightlessness.

4 ways your body benefits

You can benefit from hydrotherapy whether you suffer from joint and muscle pain or not. Soaking in hot water has been an effective form of therapy for thousands of years.

Here’s what it does:

  • Eases tension on joints and muscles
  • Provides all-over support for sore or tired limbs (great for the end of a work day, or when you wake up feeling stiff in the morning)
  • Decreases swelling and inflammation
  • Increases oxygen and circulation in blood cells
  • Alleviates discomfort

Additionally, if your hot tub has jets positioned in the right place, your muscles will benefit even further from the massaging sensation.

How it feels

It’s no secret … hydrotherapy makes you feel better.

You’ll notice the effects on your muscles and joints, and also on your mind. Soaking in hot water is proven to reduce stress. It helps to clear your mind and put you at ease. It’s not purely psychological either. The physical benefits—improved oxygen intake, blood circulation, looser muscles—all play direct roles in relieving your stress.

What to look for

Some hot tubs are designed more for hydromassage than others. It all has to do with how many jets it has and where they’re placed.

Select models from Jacuzzi, for example, have a feature called TargetPro, which lets you personalize the massage type by adjusting the direction and intensity of the jet stream.

Jets can be positioned in several areas, including:

  • Back
  • Neck
  • Legs
  • Hands
  • Feet

Typically, the more jets, the higher the price, so keep that in mind as you compare your options.

Have questions?

Our knowledgeable staff at Crystal Pools is happy to answer your questions. Give us a call and let us help you find the perfect hot tub for your needs and budget.