Having an inground pool offers endless hours of relaxation and enjoyment during the warmer months. However, behind the sparkling waters lies a delicate balance of chemicals essential for ensuring a safe and pristine swimming environment.

The Chemistry of a Clean Pool

Before diving into the depths of pool chemistry, you should understand the fundamentals that keep your pool clean and inviting. From the mighty guardian, chlorine, to the delicate balance of pH levels and alkalinity, understanding the cornerstone principles of effective pool maintenance will help you ensure that your oasis remains a sanctuary of splashing all season long.

The Guardian of Cleanliness

Chlorine is the superhero of pool chemistry, effectively combating bacteria, algae, and other contaminants to keep your pool water safe and sanitized. Available in various forms such as liquid, granular, or tablet, chlorine remains an important part of pool maintenance.

Balancing Act

Maintaining the pH level of your pool water requires finding the ideal balance. A pH level between 7.2 and 7.6 is just right, preventing irritation to swimmers’ eyes and skin while also maximizing the effectiveness of the chlorine.

Stability Support

Alkalinity acts as a buffer, helping to stabilize the pH level and prevent rapid fluctuations. Aim for alkalinity levels between 80 and 120 parts per million (ppm) to maintain water balance and prevent corrosion of pool surfaces and equipment.

Shock Value

Pool shock, also known as super chlorination, is a concentrated dose of chlorine used to quickly eliminate organic contaminants and restore water clarity. Regular shocking can help prevent algae growth and remove built-up chloramines, which can cause breathing problems and eye irritation, keeping your pool water safe and clean.

Combatting Common Pool Contaminants

Despite our best efforts, inground pools can become breeding grounds for various types of bacteria, posing potential health risks to swimmers. Among the most common offenders are:

    • E. coli: Originating from fecal matter, E. coli bacteria can enter the pool through contaminated water sources or improperly maintained facilities, leading to gastrointestinal illness. Using chlorine is the best way to eliminate E. coli.
    • Pseudomonas aeruginosa: This opportunistic pathogen thrives in warm, moist environments like hot tubs and inadequately chlorinated pools, causing skin rashes, ear infections, and even respiratory issues. Adding sodium hypochlorite to your pool water to adjust the free chlorine level can eradicate P. aeruginosa.
    • Legionella pneumophila: Found in stagnant water and poorly maintained plumbing systems, Legionella bacteria can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia transmitted through inhalation of contaminated water droplets. Chlorine dioxide, which is more powerful than chlorine, is an effective biocide to combat Legionella pneumophila.

Fortunately, maintaining proper water chemistry and employing targeted chemical treatments can help not only eradicate most harmful bacteria but also prevent a resurgence.

Maintaining Harmony

Consistency is key when it comes to pool maintenance. Establishing a regular schedule for testing water chemistry, adding chemicals, and cleaning filters will help prevent issues before they arise and keep your pool clean throughout the season. By understanding the basics of pool chemistry and implementing regular maintenance routines, you can enjoy endless hours of relaxation and fun in your backyard oasis.

An outdoor in-ground pool

Thinking about building a pool? It’s not just about digging a hole and filling it with water. There’s a lot more to consider, from permits to design intricacies. Here are five key things you should know about building and installing your own pool.

The Importance of Permits

Before you even break ground, you’ll need to secure a construction permit. This isn’t just a formality; it’s a comprehensive process that involves design architects and engineers. These professionals will need to submit detailed plans to your local health authority for approval. Without this permit, you can’t legally begin construction. So, it’s not just about the construction but also about ongoing compliance with health and safety regulations.

Designing the Pool Surround

The area around your pool, known as the pool surround, must meet specific guidelines. This includes fencing that adheres to height and latch details, as well as decks that meet drainage requirements. The materials you choose for the deck, its slope, and even its color may be regulated. These elements are crucial for both safety and functionality.

Water Quality and Circulation

Maintaining optimal water quality is a science. Your pool will need state-of-the-art circulation systems to keep the water clean and clear. This involves specialized equipment and chemicals for pH levels, disinfection, and filtration. It’s not just about having water in the pool; it’s about ensuring that water is safe and clean for everyone to enjoy.

Lighting and Electrical Requirements

Believe it or not, the lighting in and around your pool is more than a design choice, it’s a safety requirement. Guidelines dictate the type, placement, and even the wattage of lights you can use. This ensures that the pool area is well-lit, reducing the risk of accidents. And it’s not just your pool lights; electrical installations like outlets and switches must be strategically placed to prevent electrical hazards. When you’re planning the lighting for your pool, it’s not only about setting the mood; it’s about adhering to safety standards.

Special Features and Their Complexities

If you’re thinking about adding special features like slides, diving boards, or even wave pools, be prepared for additional design complexities. These features come with their own set of regulations concerning height, length, water depth, and clearance. So, adding that slide or diving board may not be as simple as it seems.

Building and installing a pool is a complex process that requires a lot of planning, expertise, and attention to detail. But don’t let that deter you. Our team of experts is here to guide you through every step, ensuring that your pool meets all the necessary guidelines and regulations. Contact us today to get started on your dream pool!

A custom outdoor in-ground pool.

A backyard pool is a source of relaxation, fun, and escape during hot summer days. However, to maintain its beauty and functionality, regular upkeep is necessary. One crucial aspect of pool maintenance is the condition of the pool liner. The pool liner is a protective barrier between the water and the pool structure, and over time it can wear out or become damaged. Watch out for these warning signs that indicate it’s time to replace your pool liner.

• Fading or Discolouration: One of the earliest signs that your pool liner may need replacing is a change in its colour. With exposure to sunlight, chemicals, and general wear and tear, the liner can start to fade or develop unusual discolouration. Fading may suggest that the liner has become thin, making it more prone to tears and leaks. If you notice significant colour changes, it’s time to consider a replacement.

• Leaks and Water Loss: A sudden decrease in water level, even after normal evaporation, may indicate a leak in your pool liner. Examine the pool for wet spots, moisture behind the liner, or any signs of water escaping the pool. Small leaks can be patched, but extensive or multiple leaks may require a complete liner replacement to ensure the integrity of the pool structure.

• Visible Tears or Rips: Inspect your pool liner regularly for any visible tears or rips. Sharp objects, excessive use, or age-related deterioration can cause rips or tears in your liner. Even small punctures can worsen over time, leading to more significant problems. If you notice any tears, it’s important to address them right away to prevent further costly damage.

• Wrinkles and Stretching: As a pool liner ages, it may start to develop wrinkles or stretch beyond its original shape. These wrinkles can trap dirt, debris, and algae, making it difficult to clean and maintain proper pool hygiene. Additionally, stretched liners lose their elasticity and may no longer fit snugly in the pool, increasing the risk of tearing or displacement.

• Chemical Imbalances and Difficulty Cleaning: If you’re experiencing consistent chemical imbalances or difficulty maintaining water clarity, it could be a sign of a deteriorating pool liner. A compromised liner can release particles or absorb chemicals, leading to imbalances in the water chemistry. If your pool water becomes increasingly challenging to clean and balance, it’s a good indication that the liner needs replacing.

Maintaining a well-functioning and visually appealing pool requires periodic inspection and replacement of the pool liner. By paying attention to the warning signs, you can identify when it’s time to replace your pool liner. Timely replacement not only ensures the longevity of your pool but also guarantees a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for you and your family. If you notice any of these signs, contact the experts at Ultimate Pool and Spa, who can guide you through the process of selecting and installing a new pool liner.

An out door in-ground pool

After a great Okanagan summer in your pool, fall arrives, and it’s now time to prepare your pool for a Canadian winter. Here are some great tips for ensuring your pool is ready for the winter season:

Don’t wait too long. In the Okanagan, warm temperatures can extend well into fall, but nights do get progressively cooler in September, and the first frost typically occurs in early October. It’s important to winterize your pool well before frost becomes an issue. More specifically, once your water temperature is consistently below 16 degrees Celsius, you should begin the winterizing process.

Don’t close the pool too early. You actually need to begin winterizing up to a week before you close your pool so that the pool is clean and the chemical balance of the pool reaches appropriate levels before the close. Also, closing too early can encourage algae growth.

Check the pool and surrounding area for leaks, cracks and other damage. Since cold weather can accelerate these issues, it’s best to address them before cold weather arrives.
Skim, brush and vacuum the pool. This keeps the water as clean as possible and helps discourage the formation of algae. Remember also to clean the skimmer and baskets afterwards.
Adjust your water level to a few inches below your skimmer or tile line.

Using a test kit, balance the chemicals in the pool: The total alkalinity of the water should be 90-130 parts per million (ppm) and the pH level should fall in the range of 7.2 -7.6.

Shock and chlorinate your pool to keep bacteria counts down over the winter.

Backwash the filter to free up debris trapped in the filter.

Drain the pool pump, pool filter and any tubes. Residual water left in these systems can freeze and cause damage. Optionally, you can add antifreeze to these components to protect against freezing.

Cover your pool securely to keep animals and debris out of the pool during the winter.

Continue to check water levels and chemical balance throughout the winter, and regularly inspect your pool cover. For the safety of young children and pets, consider leaving your pool alarm on all year.

Consistently following this winterization routine will help you avoid damage, minimize algae issues, and ensure that your pool is ready for the next great Okanagan summer! Of course, if you’re not comfortable closing down your pool yourself, it’s always best to let a professional close it for you.

When you’re past the point of maintenance alone, contact the experts at Ultimate Pool and Spa to discuss remodeling or new pool construction. Consultations are always free!

An outdoor in-ground pool

When summer finally arrives and temperatures begin to soar, there’s nowhere you’d rather be than in your pool, which you’ve been meticulously maintaining all season. While it seems like heat waves and pools might go hand in hand, high temperatures that persist for more than a few days can cause unwanted issues including algae blooms from the warmer water temperature, depleted chlorine, and increased evaporation rates. The 5 tips below can help ensure your pool stays balanced and ready for use during a summer heat wave:

•  Keep your pool covered at night: The use of a pool cover or blanket at night will help combat increased evaporation caused by higher temperatures. The cover will maintain the water temperature through the night, thus reducing heat loss evaporation. Pool covers have been shown to reduce heat loss evaporation by as much as 95%, which can save you time and money.

•  Increase your vacuuming time: The accelerated chlorine loss due to increased UV exposure along with the sustained high temperatures of a summer heat wave can create the perfect conditions for an algae bloom. Many types of algae begin by forming on surfaces, so by increasing how often you vacuum your pool during a heat wave, you can prevent algae blooms before they even begin.

•  Keep an eye on your chemical levels: Make sure you have plenty of shock available during a heat wave. The degradation of chlorine from the heightened UV combined with heavy use of the pool can result in an unbalanced pool. Regularly checking the chemical levels, including the pH level, and making adjustments as needed while in the midst of a heat wave, will ensure more time is spent enjoying the pool rather than addressing water quality issues.

•  Give your chlorine a helping hand: In addition to maintaining your chlorine level, ensuring your pool stabilizer (typically cyanuric acid) level is consistently between 30-150 ppm will help prevent degradation of your chlorine, in turn helping prevent possible algae blooms and unwanted downtime during the season.

•  Backwash, backwash, backwash: With everyone trying to stay cool during a heat wave, your pool’s filter will be under much higher strain than normal. It’s important to make sure you increase your filter backwash and/or cleaning intervals when dealing with a heat wave. A filter full of debris will put additional demand on your pump, forcing it to work harder to move the water and risking early failure. Allowing for extra backwash and cleaning time will help extend the life of not only the filter but your pump as well.

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy the high temperatures and sunshine without having to sacrifice pool time to address unwanted water quality issues or equipment failures. A heat wave is the perfect time to gather around (and in!) the pool, making summer memories to last a lifetime.

A custom pool with a stone deck.

Summer is almost here again, and after a long and dreary winter, what could be better than taking some well-deserved time to relax by your pool?  Your own backyard oasis can be the perfect respite to unwind with family and friends – that is, if you aren’t saddled with huge energy bills at the end of the season!

Not to worry – we’re here to help with some simple ideas to help you reduce your costs and make the most of your outdoor space this year.

Cost saving measures for new installations

If you are lucky enough to be installing a new pool, make sure you get good advice about the best energy saving techniques before you get started.  The choices you make today could save you a bundle in long term savings down the road.

  • Pool location is a great way to maximize the sun’s natural energy. Your design should anticipate the amount of light and heat your pool is exposed to during the day in order to minimize your heating expenses.
  • Wind barriers also help by preventing heat loss. Including landscaping, fencing or rock enclosures can significantly cut down on exposure to wind.
  • Darker liner or tile colours can actually help to retain heat in your pool and attract the sun, so consider these options when you are making your design choices to help with heating costs year over year.
  • Energy saving pool equipment can make a huge difference in your heating and operating bills, so be sure and go the extra mile when you are planning your pool project so that you can take advantage of these savings for years to come.

Energy-wise ideas for existing pools

There’s no need for existing pools to feel like a money pit either.  There are lots of things you can do to cut down on costs and still keep your pool running smoothly!  A few key investments today can help reduce energy use for many years to come.

  • Not all pumps are created equal. The right pump for one pool may not be the best choice for another.  Ensuring that your pump is the most efficient size for your pool can definitely reduce waste and cost.  Downsizing to a smaller pump or installing a new energy efficient model may be worth the cost at the outset in order to save down the line.
  • Pool heaters can also be an energy draining feature that homeowners overlook. Consider whether a gas, electric or solar option would improve your energy use.
  • Reducing the temperature setting can also make a huge difference. It seems like a small change, but adjusting your thermostat by one or two degrees won’t likely be noticed by your favourite swimmers, but could show up in your wallet at the end of the month.
  • Installing and using a pool cover is the easiest way to keep heat in and keep cold air out of your pool. The less heat escapes, the less you have to pay to heat, so be sure to get a good quality pool cover and keep it on whenever your pool is not in use!

A few tips can really go a long way to reducing energy costs.  If you’d like to hear more about how to make your pool more energy efficient, give us a call today.

A custom pool with a stone tile deck


With pool season fast approaching, now is the time to brush up on the steps required to open your pool. These straightforward steps can be performed by most pool owners but if you have any questions during the process, contact the experts at Ultimate Pool and Spa. We’re here to help!

If your pool was properly winterized, opening it for the season shouldn’t pose any issues. It’s okay if you missed a few steps in the winterization process, too – opening your pool as early as possible allows for ample time to balance the pool and address any equipment problems that may crop up.

  • Most people think the first step to opening your pool for the season is removing the cover. This is close, but there’s one thing you should do first to make your job easier. Take the time to remove the leaves and debris that have built up on your cover over the winter, along with any water that has pooled. Some of this may end up in your pool anyway but removing as much as possible will go a long way towards getting the water balanced and ready for swimmers. Once you’ve removed as much debris as possible, then remove the cover, and don’t forget to give it a good clean before you store it – your future self will appreciate it when it’s time to close the pool in the fall!
  • The next thing you should do is check the water level. It should be halfway up your skimmer before you turn your pump on to avoid drawing air into the pump, which could cause damage (and possibly costly repairs). If you need to top the water level up, take the time to do so now.
  • Checking all the equipment is the next step. Look for any signs of damage or issues you may need to address before the season begins. Any plugs from the filter, heater, or pump that you removed while closing your pool will need to be put back in, and now is when to put your skimmer baskets back in as well. Open your return valves, skimmers, and drains. Before turning your pump on, move your multiport valve to the ‘waste’ position. This will allow you to clean out the lines first, rather than adding more debris and murkiness to the water – just don’t forget to put it back into the ‘filter’ position before turning your pump on. When you’ve completed that, you can reinstall your diving board and ladders. Make sure you check your diving board for any cracks or structural issues and do not reinstall it if you find any, as this could pose a serious safety issue.
  • Now it’s time to turn your attention to the pump and filter. Prime the pump and turn it on. Make sure the filter’s air release is open so air can escape from the system. Have a look for any leaks and make sure you have proper flow. Ensure your filter or sand is in good shape and does not need replacement.
  • The last step is balancing your water. Before testing the water and making adjustments, let the pump run for a few hours first. Using your home testing kit, take a sample from the deep end after a few hours of runtime and adjust your chemicals based on your results.

Opening your pool for the season shouldn’t be a headache. By following these simple steps, you’ll be ready to go in no time. Of course, if you have any questions along the way, just give us a call. Our team is here to help you kick off pool season smoothly and hassle-free!

An outdoor in-ground pool

You did it! You finally have the inground pool you’ve always wanted.  Ultimate Pool and Spa created an oasis in your yard, and there’s no better time to update your landscaping to place the focus on your beautiful new pool.  Landscaping is best done right after the pool has been installed, as chances are you had to remove fences or sheds, and possibly even had to remove previous landscaping in order for the install to be completed.  Take advantage of the situation and use the chaos to create peace in your new sanctuary.

Plan Ahead

The first and most important tip is to plan! Make sure you have a good idea of what you want, where you want to put it, and that it’s within your budget.  Everyone wants privacy around their pool area, but what fits your lifestyle better – a pool shed or large shrubs and trees? A pool shed would be better for people who like low maintenance yards, whereas some people don’t mind having to stay on top of sticks and leaves falling in and around the pool and enjoy the natural privacy trees can create.  Make sure what you envision is what you really want and will work with your style and budget.

Choosing Plants

When considering plants, it’s a wise idea to steer clear of flowering plants, at least immediately around the pool area.  The reason is twofold: One, no one wants to have to spend their pool time swatting away bees or sneezing due to allergies.  Secondly, flower petals eventually fall off, and if they’re too close to the pool, you’ll be spending time skimming them out.  This same idea applies to grass.  Lawn looks beautiful but it should be kept away from the pool to minimize clippings in the pool and damage to the grass itself, as it is quite sensitive to pool chemicals.

Shading & Lighting

Lastly, consider your shade and lighting options.  Lighting can double as a style feature itself as well as a safety measure, keeping you and your guests safe when walking around the pool area.  It can also be used to accent certain features of your outdoor oasis.  Shade is equally important when planning your landscaping.  Whether it be with an umbrella, a gazebo, or a full pool shed, providing yourself and your guests with a shaded area to get out of the sun is a vital part of landscaping around your pool.

Whether you want to stick with the beautiful landscaping you already have or want to completely redo your yard to enhance your new pool, the experts at Ultimate Pool and Spa are here to advise, from the first shovel to the last splash!

An outdoor in-ground pool.

While owning a swimming pool in the Okanagan is one of the best ways to enjoy the warm summer days, there are some specific care elements you’ll need to consider:


You should keep in mind that moving water is a good sign that the water is clean, clear, and safe. It is for this reason that pool circulation is critical to your safety and health.

Also, it is possible to eliminate pool algae infestations by maintaining regular circulation. Ensure the pumping system and filters are working properly for optimal circulation.


Your pool is likely to be completely cleaned if circulation is functioning properly. Keep your swimming pool clean by scrubbing, brushing, and vacuuming it weekly. The water will remain clear and the walls will shine.


Chemistry plays a vital role in pool maintenance and water care in general. All pool owners should be aware of basic pool chemistry.
As a first step, a Water Testing Kit is essential to check the water quality. Before handling all the chemicals, make sure they are safe. Understand how your water is composed, as well as what is missing.

According to pool water chemistry, there are three key elements:

  • pH levels: The acidity or basicity of your pool water. Your pool should have a pH range of 7.4 to 7.6.
  • Alkalinity: Helps prevent huge spikes in acidity or basicity due to pH buffering. The range should be between 100 and 150 parts per million (ppm).
  • Sanitizer levels: Pool water contains chlorine, bromine, and so on. Different types of sanitizers have different levels of efficacy.

Create a Maintenance Schedule

For consistent maintenance, it is important to set up a schedule that is easy to follow. The to-do list can quickly become overwhelming as you learn about pool maintenance. It can be easier to execute a schedule, and you can see how much more work needs to be done.


In addition to enjoying the sun at your house, owning a swimming pool brings a sense of fulfilment.
There is a need for regular maintenance, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend your life vacuuming or playing with your chemistry set.
Understanding your pool’s function, understanding the care it needs, and planning to maintain it might make you feel proud of your pool care skills. Regular and thorough pool maintenance will provide you with more than just a relaxing swim.

a person standing holding a net in an outdoor pool

Many people have the misconception that owning a swimming pool is a hassle and will take a considerable amount of time to maintain. That’s simply not true.
In reality, you only need to be consistent. When you are consistent and have the right tools, you won’t need to worry about keeping your pool clean and well-organized.

To maintain your pool properly, you have to know your pool

You can keep your pool running smoothly by understanding its parts and how they function – and resolve issues more easily when they arise.

The Basic Components of a Swimming Pool

Every pool has four components that need regular maintenance, whether it’s a basic backyard pool or an enormous inground oasis; these parts include:

Water quality is crucial to enjoying your pool. You and your family will be protected against contaminants and pollutants if you keep it clean, clear, and balanced. Keeping your pool clean also helps you avoid expensive hardware repairs caused by corrosion or mineral buildup, and makes your pool last longer.

All water that enters your pool liner will come in constant contact with the walls of the liner. Keep these surfaces clean and free from algae, mold, and debris to ensure your pool is safe and clean.

Filter System
Your pool filter cleans the water to help prevent exposure to contaminants. Your pool will become cloudy, polluted, and unusable without a functioning filter system. There are many types of water filters, such as cartridge filters, sand filters, and diatomaceous earth filters.

Skimmers and Returns
During the cleaning process, your skimmers pull water into the filter, while the returns push it back into your pool. They function best when they’re clean and unobstructed. Every pool has its challenges, and you will no doubt encounter them over time. However, if you’re familiar with the four pool elements, you’ll find that most upkeep challenges will be overcome. Contact the team at Ultimate Pool and Spa for additional information.