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Pools & Spas

Of the 20 or 30 books we bought, borrowed, or checked out from the library when we were renovating our backyard, this was one of the most memorable and informative. Pools & Spas is 220 large 12 by 9 inch pages. It is a paperback book, but it has a sturdy, glossy cover. At $19.95, you get your money's worth.

Pools & Spas covers not only a wide gamut of swimming pools (vinyl, fiberglass, aboveground, and concrete pools) and hot tubs, but it also discusses landscaping around your pool and what is involved with adding water features such as ponds, waterfalls, and fountains.

Sections are divided into:

Planning Your Pool and Spa

Planning your Pool and Spa includes a basic introduction to types of spas, whether you want to build indoors or out. It also covers what creating a swimming pool plan involves, ideas for financing your project, and how to hire a contractor.

Pool and Spa Styles

This chapter covers different kinds of spas and hot tubs including swim spas. It also describes the various types of in-ground pools (concrete pools, vinyl pools, and fiberglass pools) and briefly touches on aboveground pools before finishing with a section on pool and spa plumbing.

Pool and Spa Equipment

Pool and Spa equipment discusses pumps, filters, heaters, skimmers, drains, and pool and spa covers. The pumps section tells you how to choose the appropriate size pump for your swimming pool. Filters and Heaters compare the types of filters and heaters available for residential swimming pools.

Accessories and Fun Stuff

This section covers such things as timers and remote controls for your swimming pool or hot tub, diving boards and slides, automatic pool cleaners, and pool lighting. It also has a section on how deep your swimming pool needs to be to legally install a diving board.

Pool Chemistry Made Easy

The basics of pool and hot tub chemicals, the merits of chlorine and bromine, and other ways to disinfect your pool or spa. A few pages on water problems covers pH levels, total alkalinity, calcium hardiness, and total dissolved solids. There's also a section on how to fight algae in your pool.

The ABCs of Building Pools and Spas

This chapter talks about the actual preparation and installation of a residential swimming pool or spa including what to expect when it's time to build. It covers concrete pools, vinyl pools, fiberglass pools, aboveground pools, spas and equipment.

Routine Maintenance and Care

Sections in this chapter are routine pool maintenance (daily maintenance, water testing, adding chemicals, etc.), spa maintenance, equipment maintenance, opening your pool for the season, closing your pool for the season, and pool repairs.

Landscaping and Water Features

Information on everything from pool decking, fences, patios and decks, to adding a pond, waterfall, or fountain to your backyard. Adding trees, plants, and paths are included. Landscape lighting is also covered. If you really want to get into landscaping, there are complete books you can buy, but this chapter offers a good introduction.

Using Your Pool and Spa Safely

Pool and spa safety for the whole family, including information on how to reduce hazardous conditions and installing fencing and gates.

Soothing Saunas

In case a swimming pool and hot tub aren't enough, this last chapter deals with installing a sauna in your home. It covers construction, choice of heaters, and accessories for your sauna.

Pools & Spas finishes up with a decent resource guide, glossary, and index. All and all, it's a very helpful book and comes in under $20. A good addition to your library.

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