Secrets of a swimming pool

Even on an island with beautiful beaches such as those of Paros, the idea of a private swimming pool has a special charm. However, the pool is a complex task, with too many options and significant cost. A pool that works properly, will give us valuable hours of relaxation, entertainment and sports. On the other hand, a poor construction or a wrong choice will not only increase the cost but is likely to threaten our very health. We asked Mr Spiros Balios, one of the most renowned professionals in the pool business in Paros, to introduce us to the secrets of a pool.

Mr Balios, what kinds of pool are there?
First, the classic pool with reinforced concrete. It offers great durability and flexibility, as such a pool is made according to the customer’s demands and space. There are also pools made of shotcrete, called gunite, which is often used when there is a question of time and / or shape, eg in a semicircular pool.
Finally, there are ready-made polyester pools as well as prefabricated ones of polypropylene or metal panels, which are essentially pieces of product assembled on site. These are considerably cheaper than concrete pools and reduce the time for project completion. They are though, inferior in style, offer less options and require specific soil conditions. Last but not least, they have an expiry date.

Undoubtedly, the most important thing in a pool is hygiene, the water quality. How is the water in a pool renewed?
First with the so-called “re-circulating systems”, which collect used water from the surface of the pool and lead it to the engine room for infiltration. There are three choices: skimmers, the overflow and the “waterfall”. The skimming is the old fashioned way: collecting water from a single location. In the overflow, on the other hand, water is collected from everywhere, from the whole perimeter of the pool. This method is more modern and obviously more effective than the skimmers. However, the cost is much higher. There is the “waterfall”, which is in fashion lately: in houses located in areas with steep slopes that overlook the sea, three sides of the swimming pool are made a little higher and water pours itself into a channel located on the fourth side, towards the sea. This creates, what we call, the “infinity effect”, in which the pool water seems to be an extension of the sea. Finally, if someone is a devotee or the shape of the pool is peculiar, it is possible to combine all three methods.

Then comes the engine room…
The engine room should be given special attention, because that’s where the filter and pump are, the heart of the system of a swimming pool. The engineering plan has to be correct, branded products should be used and a proper construction should be made. There should be good ventilation, otherwise in such a humid environment steam is concentrated and all the equipment wears out faster. Finally, we should provide for future space, so if we want to install a new machine, we won’t need to dismantle everything… Generally it is good to view the engine room as a small water treatment plant. At least in Paros in a pool functioning properly, water could be much cleaner than tap water. A good engine room re-circulates the entire water volume of a swimming pool three times within 12 hours, passing through a filter of 0.005 mm!

What is the chemical water treatment?
The infiltration cleans water from trash and dust, but does not disinfect. For this reason the water undergoes chemical processing. There are many relevant methods. In order of increasing cost we can mention organic chemicals, inorganic chemicals, oxygen, salt electrolysis, water ionisation with electrolysis plates of copper-silver, UV lamps … Here, the choice depends basically on the money available. Besides, there are trends and fashions. In any case, one should be aware of the fact that with proper use, chemicals are usually not a problem to the user. The problem is caused by incorrect use of chemicals.

What factors contribute to a better functioning and longevity of a swimming pool?
As mentioned, the pool is a small factory. It requires maintenance, either by the owner himself or by a qualified company or someone else. In any case we do not trust people who say that a pool does it all alone.
Great importance has to be given to the correct orientation of the pool. Especially here on the islands we have a problem with the strong winds carrying dust from neighbouring fields or salt, when the pool is very close to the sea. On the other hand, a pool with bad orientation can lose 10-20 cm of water each day in windy conditions. Therefore, the correct orientation and proper “sitting” of the pool are the basic requirements. They can reduce operating cost, save energy, water and chemicals.

Some last advice to prospective pool owners?
A major factor in which they should pay attention is the after sale. A machine might have a guarantee, but one should make sure that, if needed, service would be offered in 24 or 48 hours. One should also make sure that there will be available spare parts over a depth of time and that if the model changes in two years, there should still be available spare parts. In our company, we check the guarantee ourselves. In the small society of Paros, we are the guarantee for the customer. Reputation is everything. Go along with fame and not against it, when choosing your manufacturer and the brands he’d like to work with…

For more information