Sunset Pools and Spas

How to Save Money on Your Pool

With Chicagoland’s temperatures heating up, we’re entering peak pool season.

Whether you’re considering building a new pool or simply maintaining your existing oasis, saving money is (almost) as refreshing as a swim.

Explore how to take a dip in your pool without dipping into too much of your savings with these tips:



Building your pool will be the biggest upfront investment, but savvy homeowners can find ways to save.

1) Size it right

You don’t need a huge pool to experience its benefits, especially if the most frequent users will also be small in size (children). The larger the pool means the larger the cost—not only for construction but also for pumps, filters, chemicals, and energy used—so be realistic when choosing dimensions. A 20-foot pool can bring plenty of joy.

2) Start with a baseline

Enjoy your starter pool now and then add more features in the future. Pools are a great modular home improvement project. Skipping on the bells and whistles like water features, spas, slides and color-changing lights will save deep on costs, and you can always add them later.

3) Choose simple materials

Keep your tiles and finishes practical rather than exotic. Fiberglass pools are also an affordable and sturdy alternative to the popular but expensive Gunite foundation.

4) Hold off on seasonal needs

You likely won’t need a heater or a pool cover until summer is over. Defer those costs until necessary.

5) Research your options

Do your homework and get quotes from at least three experienced contractors. Verify quality of past work, reviews and references, and insurance and warranty.



You can keep ongoing costs low by being smart about pool maintenance.

6. Skim and scrub

Build-up can not only ruin a pristine dip but also damage a pool’s long-term health. Skim leaves and other debris off the surface daily for those obvious nuisances. Less obvious is your pool walls and tiles. Scrub those clean every other week to prevent algae build-up, which can threaten your pool’s filtration system and pH balance. If your filtration system is working harder on algae and other contamination, it will also increase your energy costs.

7. Pay attention to your filters

Your filters are like your pool’s kidneys. Keeping your filter system clean is essential to maintaining a healthy pool, but be careful to find the right balance between cleaning and overcleaning (which actually decreases filter efficiency). Clean out your filter basket at least once a week, and clean out the filter system pipes once a month.

8. Try hacks with household items

Some items you already have in your house may actually be hidden tools for your pool maintenance. A tennis ball is a fun pool toy for playing catch, but the ball’s fibers can also help absorb oils left behind from swimmers. Experiencing alkalinity issues? Regular baking soda is an effective version of the sodium bicarbonate recommended specifically for pools.

9. Use a pool cover during colder months

Pool covers are a simple investment and easy step. Covers reduce evaporation, which keeps your pool naturally warmer and limits heater needs. For more energy savings, consider a solar pool cover that harnesses the sun’s rays for your pool warmth.

10. Avoid glass by the pool

Beverages are a perfect pool accessory, but stay away from any poolside glass vessels. Broken glass in the pool will require you to do serious vacuuming or even completely drain and refill the pool.


Pool Rules are Cool (and Smart)

Rules are essential to maintaining a safe environment - and that is particularly true for those using a residential pool.

What swimming pool rules should be in place at your pool and why? Take a look at Sunset Pools & Spas recommended pool rules below and start off the summer the right way!

NO RUNNING: There is a reason that lifeguards are constantly shouting not to run at pools. Pool decks can often be slippery and moving too quickly can not only put the runner at danger but everyone else in their path. While slip pads do provide some level of slip prevention, the "no running" rule should be on everyone's list of essential summer pool rules.

PROPER ATTIRE: Wearing cut-off jean shorts is cool except in the pool. Wearing proper swimming attire (swimsuits made from non-absorbent materials such as Lycra or Nylon for example) prevents airborne and waterborne contaminants from getting in the pool and also prevents absorbent materials like cotton from breaking down in the water and clogging filters. Any colored materials can also "bleed" into the pool and affect water chemistry and chlorine balance.

DIVING GUIDANCE: One of the best features of having a residential pool can also be one of its most dangerous. Diving is part of enjoying the pool experience but reckless behavior can not only put the diver in danger but other pool visitors as well. Encourage thoughtful diving practices including never diving in shallow areas, making sure diving areas are clear of other swimmers, and only using diving equipment in the way it was designed.

ADULT MUST BE PRESENT: Kids love pools just as much as anyone, but it is the responsibility of pool owners and operators to ensure that adults are present (especially if there is no lifeguard) in order to ensure that everyone remains safe. Having an adult present at the pool also means that other summer pool rules will be followed, providing a level of safety and security that a group of children won't offer.

NO FOOD OR DRINK: Who doesn't love to have a snack by the pool? It's one of the best aspects of being able to use a pool. While snacks are great near the pool, it is important never to have food or drink too close (or within) the pool as spills can also upset the chlorine balance in the pool.

Rules are meant to protect not just those enjoying the swimming pool, but the pool itself. Follow these rules from Sunset Pools & Spas and you'll be on your way to a safer and more fun pool experience for all.


Essential Lifeguard Accessories For Summer

Lifeguards always need to be at the ready - especially when summer comes around. Not only do our pool side protectors need to be up to date on all of their training, they will also need the right poolside gear, accessories and equipment to make sure that everyone has the safest summer possible.

What type of poolside accessories should today's lifeguards have at the ready before they take to the lifeguard stand? From life-saving equipment to accessories that simply make the responsibility and experience more enjoyable, here are a few essential lifeguard accessories that everyone should consider for their residential pool: 

1) Lifeguard Whistle: A lifeguard's primary responsibility is to protect people visiting the pool. And in order to prevent accidents, lifeguards need a way to capture people's attention. Since pools are often noisy places, using a whistle is often the best way to do that. What pool memories do you have that don't include someone blowing a whistle? 

2) Polarized Sunglasses: What lifeguard look would be complete without a pair of sunglasses? Iconic in every way, most lifeguards choose polarized lenses in order to reduce the amount of glare from the pool on sunny days. Make sure to find a well-fitting pair of sunglasses and that includes a neck cord so you don't lose them when called into emergency action.

3) Suntan Lotion: Lifeguards often need to be in the sun from pool open to pool close during the warmest and sunniest days of the year. Choosing the right sun tan lotion will reduce the risk of burning and keep you in a position to keep protecting pool visitors. Make sure to choose a sun tan lotion with an SPF of at least 30 to make sure you have protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Sun tan lotions for lifeguards should also be greaseless and water resistant. 

4) First-Aid Kit: Pools provide an incredible way to bring on the summer fun, but face it, accidents are going to happen. When they do, lifeguards need to be prepared and a first-aid kit with all the important accessories is critical. Choose a lifeguard first-aid kit that includes things like ice packs, CPR masks, bandages, and antiseptic wipes. 

5) Emergency Phone: Quick and easy access to a phone can save a life - and that's the real job of a lifeguard. Make sure that pool side emergency phones are always charged and a backup battery is available to ensure that first responders can be reached in time of need. 

6) Club Chair: Lifeguard chairs, often called club chairs or lifeguard towers, are another iconic aspect of the pool experience. Club chairs provide lifeguards with greater visibility over their watery domain thanks to their elevated height. 

Lifeguards are an important part of the pool experience in summer; whether you are your pool's designated lifeguard or someone just looking to maintain safety around your residential pool, start with these accessories and you'll be in the right swim lane to enjoy pools all year round.