/ by /   Swimming Pool Construction / 0 comments

3 Reasons To Start Your Pool Project In The Fall

The leaves are starting to change and the football season has begun, but you should be thinking about next summer! Fall is actually the perfect time to plan for your new pool. There’s plenty of work we can complete before the snow hits. Start your pool project in the fall and you’ll be ready for your first swim by Memorial Day.

1) Beat the Crowds

At the end of every summer, we already have projects on the schedule for the following spring. That’s right, we’re booking clients for the next calendar year. One of those should be you!

There are several advantages when you commit to a pool project in advance:

  • We can accomplish about 75% of the work before the ground freezes (more on that in a second). A good start in the fall means less work in the spring and the faster you’ll be enjoying your new finished pool.
  • If you wait until the spring to get your project on the schedule, your pool won’t be done until the end of August or even September. That’s because you’re “in line” behind all the people who booked the previous fall. We typically wrap up those existing projects by June. That means your pool will be under construction during the peak swimming months – you’ll lose an entire season of fun in the sun.
  • Some customers need help selecting a pool design, size, and placement. If you start your project in the fall, our staff has more time to walk you through your options. No need to feel rushed finalizing all the details on your dream pool!
2) Get a Jumpstart

Iowa springs are notoriously unpredictable. There’s no counting on the weather when you need to do outside work. That’s why it’s best to get a jumpstart in the fall – it’s typically less rainy and there’s no chance of a surprise blizzard.

September and October are a great time to blast through these phases of a pool project:

  • Excavate the pool area
  • Pour the concrete shell
  • Add steel rebar
  • Install drains, skimmers, and return eddies
  • Place piping
  • Lay tiles
  • Pour decks

However, starting construction in the spring means you have to be patient with the weather. A really wet spring could cause the ground to get soggy and push back when we can start digging. Or the concrete team has to wait until the site is completely dry to pour the decks. Many of these weather delays can be avoided or easily handled if you start in the fall.

3) Coordinate All Trades

A pool project involves many contractors. There’s the pool retailer, pool designer, excavation team, electricians, plumbers, concrete finishers, carpenters, and landscapers. Add in a pool house and now you need an architect and a construction company.

Keep in mind that building a swimming pool will span several weeks and possibly months. The uncertainty of Iowa weather and schedules of many companies working on multiple projects can create a lot of moving parts.

Check out this cool time-lapse video of an Iowa City pool project we started in 2018 and finished up just in time for summer of 2019.

When you schedule pool construction to start in the fall, you create a nice buffer in the project timeline. Now there’s wiggle room between work that can be completed this year and saved for next spring. Advanced coordination also means it’s less likely there will be a schedule jam between the trades.

Just don’t stress about having an uncompleted pool in your backyard over winter. We will winterize your pool before we wrap up work in the fall. This includes erecting temporary fencing and putting antifreeze in the pipes and skimmer. We’ll also do a half fill, which helps protect the pool during freeze-thaw cycles. We’ve got your swimming pool covered – literally!

We would love to discuss your new pool project! Please contact us today for a free consultation.

/ by /   Pool Maintenance, Uncategorized, Water Quality / 0 comments

Restoring Your Water Chemistry After A Pool Party

You just had an amazing pool party with friends and family enjoying hours of fun in the water. Maybe you had the grill going, some cold beverages on ice, great music in the background, and the soft glow of string lights. But once the party is over, spend a few minutes restoring your water chemistry to ensure your pool is clean and sparkling again.

Party Hardy

There’s no getting around it—pool parties are hard on your water quality. A few people in the water won’t make a big difference, like when your kids spend an afternoon in the pool. But when you have a group of children, adults, and even pets in the water? Things can get dicey. 

The more people, the more dirt, debris, sweat, and lotion will end up in the water. And partygoers may not be careful with food and drink near the pool. We’ve probably all seen a guest accidentally drop a cheese puff or fruit into the water!  

It’s a good idea to test your water the same day or night after a party. This is because bacteria doesn’t hesitate to multiply. Your chlorine was probably working overtime with all the extra people too. And it makes sense to refresh chemicals before you go to bed since the pool will be unoccupied overnight.

Restoring Your Water Chemistry After A Pool Party - Splash Pool & Spa

Chemicals to Measure

After a party, your water might look hazy. But don’t trust the naked eye—this is the time to use a test strip. You’ll likely find that the pH, chlorine, and alkalinity are off after a day of heavy use. 

Pay special attention to whether your kit measures total chlorine or free chlorine. 

Free chlorine is the most helpful measurement because it shows how much chlorine is available to neutralize containments. Total chlorine measures both free and combined chlorine, which makes it hard to know how much free chlorine is left to sanitize the water.

Also look at total dissolved solids (TDS) after a party. This shows the volume of minerals, salt, and even dirt in your water. These tiny particles are too small for pool filters to catch, just like how your furnace filter can’t trap every allergen. But you can bring a water sample into our store for a free analysis that includes TDS.

Restoring your water quality after a pool party depends on your test levels. We recommend measured dosing to correct water chemistry. Simply read the instructions on your bottles to determine how many ounces or pounds you need to rebalance.

Once your water chemistry balance is restored, take a few moments to do some spot cleaning. You can help protect your water by skimming the surface, rinsing out the skimmer basket, scrubbing ladder steps, and sweeping around the pool edges.

Make it a habit to test and rebalance your pool water immediately after a party. By restoring your water chemistry in the moment, you’ll save yourself some time, hassle, and even a little money in the long run. Then you’ll be ready to kick back and hit those blue waters once again!


/ by /   Hot Tub Ownership / 0 comments

Tips On When To Drain Your Hot Tub

When to Drain Your Hot Tub

Your hot tub is an amazing place to gather with friends and family. But there always comes a point when you need to refresh the water. Changing the water allows you to rebalance chemicals and do some deep cleaning. Luckily, the entire process is pretty simple! Learn about the right time to do a full versus partial drain.

A Full Drain

As a general rule of thumb, do a complete drain every 4-6 months. That’s because the water is always “fighting” sunscreen, lotions, dirt, salt, and even plant debris. It’s like owning a fish tank—you can only keep the water clean for so long.

To drain your hot tub, first, turn off the circuit breaker. When you open the front cabinet on the control panel side, there’s a hose located inside. Connect this to your garden hose, turn on the tub spigot, and let gravity do the rest.

If you want to speed things up, we recommend using a submersible sump pump. These little machines are placed in the tub water and pump out water through a garden hose.

All you have to do is plug it in, hook it up, and turn it on.

A full drain is a great opportunity to tackle deep cleaning because you can reach spots that aren’t usually accessible. Scrub away any buildup on the shell surface. It’s also a good idea to clean out the piping and filter. These maintenance steps help protect your hot tub investment.

A Partial Drain

Sometimes it’s good to do a partial drain in between complete refills. Maybe you had a hot tub party and your guests were careless with food and drink. Or you weren’t as diligent about rebalancing chemicals. If the water looks or smells funky, it’s time for a refresh!

But looks can be deceiving. You may not be able to see when your water quality is off. When these chemical levels are off, it’s time for partial drain:

  • Calcium HardnessIf it gets above 400 ppm (parts per million), the calcium hardness is too high. Unfortunately, there’s no chemical that can bring it down. The only solution is to replace some of the water so you can correct the levels. You can test your calcium hardness with an at-home kit or bring in a sample to our store for free testing.
  • Cyanuric Acid –This is a chlorine stabilizer. Once cyanuric acid gets over 50 ppm, it can cause what’s called a chlorine lock. At this point, your chlorine’s effectiveness is toast. But if you dilute the water by letting some out, you can rebalance cyanuric acid as you add the fresh water. You can easily test cyanuric acid at home or at our store.
  • Total Dissolved Solids –This is a measurement for the concentration of unfiltered materials in your water. Basically, the longer your water is used, the more TDS you’ll have. Sometimes the water looks hazy, but not always. There’s no strip test for TDS, so make sure to bring in a sample.

Want to learn more about your hot tub? We offer FREE education and training! Join us for Splash Spa School any Monday from 4:30-5:30 pm.

/ by /   Saunas / 0 comments

4 Reasons To Buy A Sauna From A Store vs. Online

A sauna is an amazing way to refresh your mind and your body. There are so many wonderful therapeutic benefits, from relieving stress to easing pain. But buying your first sauna can be a little overwhelming. Especially if you go online, there are dozens of brands to research. And while internet prices may seem like a steal, sometimes they’re too good to be true.

There’s nothing like seeing a sauna with your own eyes and talking through your options with someone who lives and breathes saunas for a living. Here are four reasons why you should buy a sauna from a store rather than an online seller.

4 reasons to buy a sauna at a store vs. online - Splash Pool & Spa

1) Trusted Dealers

We don’t carry just any sauna brand. We actually have to become a certified dealer for every sauna brand in the store. It’s like getting a Subaru from a Subaru dealer – a sauna dealership has to be certified to sell a line like Finnleo. We also do the initial research for you by looking at reviews, features, and material quality.

If you go online shopping, pay careful attention to the wording. It can be hard to figure out if you’re getting a quality product. Some sauna sellers don’t disclose what type of wood they use or that you have to purchase the heater separately. There are even a few suppliers that only sell the sauna box, not the head rests or benches.

2) Better Warranties

How do you know if a company stands behind its sauna? Look at the warranty. The manufacturer is essentially betting on how long their products will last, so the longer the better. A good warranty should last about seven years or more.

With online sauna dealers, the warranty may be only a few years or exclude certain parts. Check if the heater, thermostat, lighting, wiring, wood, and control panels are all covered. If not, that’s a red flag.

 3) Troubleshooting and Repairs

We’re not being snobs when we say we can’t service a sauna we haven’t sold! As a certified sauna dealer, we are only authorized to order and repair parts for brands we carry. But that also means our technicians have expert training on those models (more on that in a second).

If you bought a sauna online and experience an issue, you’ll have to call a 1-800 number or use a live chat. Hopefully a representative can walk you through troubleshooting, but you still have to act as a service tech to figure out the problem. Who has time for that?

 4) Knowledgeable Store Staff

We take pride in educating ourselves about our sauna brands. Our staff has a combined 20+ years of experience with sauna installations. We even regularly visit the Finnleo factory in Minnesota to receive hands-on training. We are passionate about our saunas!

For example, we had a client who kept experiencing a tripping breaker. Our staff was able to go their house, get tech support on the phone, and diagnose the problem. Turns out it was an electrical issue and not a heater malfunction, but our customer was so relieved to have some guidance!

Buying a sauna at a store is all about customer service. You deserve a great shopping experience and the confidence that your sauna will be a relaxing part of your home for years to come.


There’s still time to soak up our InfraRED, WHITE, & BLUE Sale! Through the end of July, you can save 17.76% off ALL Finnleo infrared saunas exclusively through Splash Pool & Spa. Read more to learn about Finnleo infrared saunas.

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