What’s Filtering Your Water?

Glass filtration was first introduced in the late 1990s, is catching on as a direct alternative to sand.

Glass filtration is the product not only of the industry’s never-ending search for the best media, but also the generous supply of recycled glass. The majority of recycling programs do not separate bottles by color, so when the glass is crushed, the result is a mix of brown, green and clear shards called cullet. Most beverage companies won’t use cullet for new bottles because, they want pretty bottles.
That leaves scrap glass to a limited market, which makes it perfect alternative to sand for the pool industry.

The concept of The Sand Filter:

Solid turbid particles become lodged into the sand bed. As more dirt is captured in the sand bed, it becomes capable of filtering finer and finer particulate, up to a point.

In order for the filter to be effective, each grain of sand must be roughly the same size, generally 0.4 to 0.6 millimeters. The most common sand filter media is 20-grade silica, which creates a mesh so tight it can sieve particles as small as 20 microns.

Sand can clump, calcify and create channels where water slips through unfiltered. In commercial settings, it needs to be backwashed frequently — at least once a week for large-volume public pools. The filtration takes place through the top 6 inches, where the gunk builds up. It’s recommended to be replaced every five to eight years, as the grains eventually breakdown.

The concept of Glass Filter:

Glass has a slight negative charge on the surface to attract fine particles, which cling to the media like static-charged socks to a sweater. This weak charge releases the particles upon backwashing for a more efficient cleansing. This is because glass, which is less dense than sand, doesn’t pack as tight. Proponents also say glass has a tighter turbid catch, with an ability to filter down to 9 microns. Some brand claims go as low as 3 microns. This DE-quality filtration can be achieved without chloramine-producing flocculants and shock treatments, says one manufacturer, which is one reason glass is most commonly found at indoor pools where air quality is a top concern.

It is said to last 10 years or longer. Many cases techs find that it only needs to be cleaned with chlorine or acid, and topped off with a fresh layer.

Glass is more resistance to breakdown through filtration backwashing cycles, which minimizes cracks where bacteria can lodge and resist flushing in backwashing. 


A Washington state nonprofit put this to the test. In a field study performed by the Clean Washington Center, researchers replaced 1,950 pounds of sand from three high-rate filters with recycled glass and analyzed the results for approximately nine months. Here’s what they found:

  • Less water: The average duration of backwashing (in minutes) was 2:34 compared to 3:21 for sand. That’s equates to a 23-percent reduction in water. The improved performance can be attributed to glass’ lower density, with approximately 20 percent less volume by weight than sand. The lighter material floats more easily, the study noted, allowing it to fluidize quicker, reducing backwash runtimes.
  • Clearer water: The study showed a 25-percent reduction in National Turbidity Unit Readings. The obvious advantage here is a more polished body of water; however it may also extend to energy savings. Recirculation systems could be operated fewer hours.
  • Approximately 20% less glass sand (by weight) is required for filtration.

Winterizing Above Ground Pools (Basic Guidelines)


• Adjust Chlorine and pH levels- if necessary.
• Add your winterizing chemical kit.
◦ Ferrous (wait an hour)
◦ Calypso 400 (wait an hour)
◦ FAST (wait 8-12 hours)
• Drain the pool approximately 2” below the return.
• We strongly recommend the use of winterizing plates for the skimmer and return. Remove the necessary screws from the skimmer and face plate (Put them in a safe place for next Spring!!) Place the plate over the skimmer and use the enclosed long screws. Remove the eyeball and ring from the return and install cap. In cases where there is a light in the return – remove light assembly and use an expansion plug. In cases where there is a light in the wall of the pool – use the foam provided to wrap inside the lens.
• Disconnect the skimmer and return hoses from the pool.
• Disconnect pump from filter and chlorinator (if applicable).
• Remove weir door and basket from skimmer and place an empty chemical bottle into skimmer (to take any ice expansion).
• Remove drain plug from bottom of filter to allow water to drain from tank. If in a weeks time you do not feel all the water has been removed you can add a non-toxic anti-freeze to the sand, by removing the filter valve. In doing this you must put a bag over the neck to prevent water from getting in and replace the drain cap. If you choose not to use anti-freeze you must remove the pressure gauge, set the handle to winterize and leave the drain cap off.
• Remove the ladder or steps from the pool.
• If you have a winter cover: put it on the pool as per manufacturer’s directions.
• If using a leaf net, place over the pool or winter cover as per manufacturer’s directions and remove once all the leaves have fallen- before it freezes! You can put the leaf net back over the pool or winter cover in Spring to catch the buds as well.
• Make sure you bring everything inside that can be damaged by ice. Your pump, hoses, chlorinator, light housing, light transformer and cord, filter valve (if applicable), solar blanket etc.
• If we have a large amount of rain this Fall be sure to remove the excess weight from the cover before it freezes!

Have a wonderful winter.
And don’t forget, we are open year round!

Pool Safety

SPAS POOL SAFETYPools can give you, your family and guests many years of fun and relaxation. Help ensure an enjoyable pool experience by learning and practicing pool safety. Safety should always come first!

Safety First:
When entering a pool, proceed with caution. Know the depth of the water and ALWAYS enter FEET FIRST! Consult with your pool professional to determine applicable safety standards for diving in your pool. If there is any doubt, do not allow your guests to dive or slide headfirst.

Watch Children At All Times:
Water tends to draw children so it is extremely important that competent adult supervision is always on hand whenever children are near a pool. Adults should be watchful around any water element. There is no substitute for constant adult supervision and it is important to never assume that flotation devices will suffice. Even a child that has participated in swimming lessons still needs adult supervision.

Display All Signs and Stickers:
Permanently display safety rules and review all rules with guests prior to allowing them to enter your pool. This will help ensure that everyone using your pool safely.

Do Not Impair Your Judgement:
Anything that can cause sleepiness, drowsiness or can raise or lower your blood pressure should be avoided when you plan to be in or around a pool. Don’t add anything to the mix that might impair reaction time or decision-making ability such as alcohol and/or drugs. Even a small amount of alcohol or drugs can affect judgment and increase the risk of injury around your pool.

Look To the Pool Industry Professionals:
The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) represents companies and individuals in the swimming pool industry. Committed to safe, healthy and enjoyable use of pool industry products, the APSP provides a variety of useful tools for pool professionals and consumers, including the excellent brochure, “The Sensible Way To Enjoy Your In Ground Pool”. Learn how to avoid swimming related accidents.

A Fence Makes Sense:
Install a secure enclosure around your pool area to avoid unauthorized or unsupervised use. Consult your cities codes or regulations for building and safety requirements for your backyard pool.

A quick Post about Chlorine

‘I can smell the chlorine. So it must be effective, right?’


Often on regular test strips, pool owners are only testing for Total Chlorine (not Free Chlorine)

Free Chlorine kills bacteria, oxidizes waste and controls viruses!
The Chlorine that you are adding regularly to your pool is Free Chlorine.

So what happens when there is no Free Chlorine but you still have a Total Chlorine reading?

Unfortunately, that would mean you have Combine Chlorine. And there’s nothing nice about that.

Combined Chlorine (Chloramines) will contribute to itchy eyes and skin irritation. It is inactive in the water not actually sanitizing! Ever witness a strong chlorine smell at a public pool? You’re smelling chloramines.

Chloramines are created when bacteria and other waste in the pool mix with the free chlorine.

Most people who complain about Chlorine are only complaining about Chloramines- rarely Free Chlorine. 

It is imperative that you regularly test your water. Clear water is not always safe or comfortable water!

Our favourite product for destroying chloramines is FAST by Calypso Pool Chemicals. It is a non-Chlorine shock treatment that will break apart the chloramines.

Looking for more information? Drop by our store at 515 Main Street in Dartmouth, NS.

Dreaming of Summer

Here at SPAS on Main Street in Dartmouth we have been dreaming of Summer all Winter long. Although we love hot tub season- we can’t wait to get out there installing and opening swimming pools.

Although it seems like Summer will never arrive- when it happens it tends to happen quickly. Don’t wait until it is too late to open your pool successfully. Our customers who open or have their pools opened early always have a much easier time. Late April or even early May is an excellent time to open your pool. No one wants to look at a green pool- you’ll want it sparkling fast.

We thought now would be a good opportunity to tell you all about some of our featured products and the changes happening at Sparkling Pools And Spas.

Hayward evac Pro at Sparkling Pools And Spas in Nova Scotia Canada

Do you have an In-ground Pool but detest vacuuming it yourself?

We recommend the Hayward e.Vac Pro Robotic Pool Cleaner.

This innovative robot cleans your pool floor AND your walls! Amazing. It is super efficient- using around the same energy as a standard light bulb. It actually calculates the size of your pool and programs itself for the smartest cleaning path.

We even sell the eVac Pro online. Plus, it comes complete with caddy for only $999.99+tax!

Our above ground pool customers have been requesting a robotic pool vacuum for ages. We really have been listening!
This is the Smartpool SmartKleen Robotic Pool Cleaner for above ground pools or even smaller in ground pools.

This robot specializes in floor specific cleaning. It doesn’t need to hit up against a wall to change direction. It has hefty suction that can even take care of acorns, leaves and fine debris!  This robot is nice and light- making it easy to take in and out of your pool. It is not sold on-line but it available for purchase in our store at $599+tax.

Many of you are already addicted to our Kool Kits.

They’re an effective way to easily maintain your swimming pool water. They won’t balance it for you but they are a pre-measured chemical kit that will take care of your sanitizing- ensuring an algae free pool! They come in many different sizes: Up to 50,000L, 70,000L and 90,000L! They’re just so easy.

lavaheatpumpWe now carry WaterCo of Canada Pool Heat Pumps in-stock!

We carry larger the AquaHeat model and the slim LAVA model. The LAVA heat pump can be placed under a deck! The heat pumps feature digital controls, titan double coil heat exchangers and an excellent price!

Our 50,000 BTU heat pumps start at $1,529+tax! Purchase them online here.

Some companies push Opening Chemical Kits on their customers.

Unless your pool water looks like a swamp- we do not. We prefer that you clear out the leaves and debris from your pool water- circulate it- and bring in a water sample. Shocks are most effective when your pH level is in the right zone. Let us help you save money by doing it right the first time.

We can’t wait to see all of our seasonal swimming pool customers. We have many new products to show you. Our store is well-stocked and ready for your Spring return!

Happy Spring!

DreamMaker Spas – Popular, Portable Hot Tubs in Nova Scotia


Dream Maker Big EZ Spa
Dream Maker Big EZ Spa

In 2013,  Sparkling Pools And Spas saw a major resurgence in portable style hot tub sales. We have been carrying Dream Maker Spas for years but our customers really took notice of the new 2013 redesign.

The new DreamMaker Spas are attractive, efficient and durable. They’re a convertible style hot tub- meaning that they can be plugged in at 110v or wired in at 220v. Our customers love how easy they are! They often take them home on their own, fill them up, plug them in and enjoy. They really are that simple.

These hot tubs do not have all the bells and whistles but they easily hold their own. You get great value for your money with a DreamMaker Spa.

Featuring a spa light, waterfall and great seating they’ve become a major customer favourite. Unlike other plug-in style tubs the DreamMaker Spas have a ‘heat stick’ to help them maintain their heat (not just a heater element.) Instead of spray foam the Dream Maker hot tubs are filled with Roxul Green Guard bagged insulation. It is a brilliant way to insulate the hot tub while maintaining complete access to the tub.

Roxul Bagged Insulation in Our Hot Tubs
Roxul Bagged Insulation in Our Hot Tubs

The new DreamMaker Spas are ergonomically designed to ensure optimal relaxation and enjoyment. Our customers tell us that they use their hot tubs every night, surrounding themselves in the warm, bubbling water. The massaging action of the jets and hot tub can benefit those suffering from stress, sleep disorders, arthritis, joint pain and muscle soreness. We often have customers coming in to purchase hot tubs after a recommendation from their health professional!

Humans have been immersing themselves in hot water since ancient times. This practice is certainly not new. But through innovation, DreamMaker Spas has created an experience that is affordable and rewarding.

Dream Maker Spa - Picked up by Customer in El Camino
Dream Maker Spa – Picked up by Customer in El Camino

Here at Sparkling Pools And Spas in Dartmouth, NS we feature DreamMaker Spas for $3,499-$3,999. We also ship our Dream Maker Spas across the Maritimes.

Ready to buy a Dream Maker Spa Online in Canada?

Tips for Buying an Above Ground Swimming Pool

Tips for Buying an Above Ground Pool

Are you in the market for a new above ground swimming pool?

Here at Sparkling Pools And Spas we pride ourselves on making the process extremely simple for you here in Nova Scotia. We go over your quote line by line so you know exactly what is included and what is not. There should never be any surprises, and it should be fun and simple.

We have compiled a few expert tips to make buying a pool much easier.

  1. What size pool? We can take care of everything for you. Or, you can handle some of this yourself. Measure out the area you would like to put the pool so you know which size you require. Maybe you like the idea of a 30′ round pool, but when you mark it out you could find that it is too large for the area. It is best to buy the pool that best suits you, not the one that seems best on paper. And, don’t forget to contact your municipality’s planning office for by-law and land use information. Property lines, permits and fencing requirements are important.

    An oval pool has less swimming space than a round pool.
    An oval pool has less swimming space than a round pool.


  2. Round VS Oval. A round pool tends to have more swimming space. An oval pool is great if you cannot fit a round pool. Perfect for a shallow, longer back yard. If you are installing yourself, an oval is more work to install. We find that many people like the idea of an oval pool, but when the space is marked out in the back yard they go for round. There is so much more swimming space!
  3. Resin VS Steel. We only carry premium pools. While there are some cheap, lesser quality steel pools out there our Camilia is certainly not one of them. It is best to talk about your needs before choosing a pool. Yes, a resin pool is saltwater compatible- but you should not base your decision on chemical maintenance. Base it on the pool you like best and what best suits your needs. There are maintenance systems that are even easier than salt water out there. We can show you many different innovative options. Resin pools generally have a better warranty than steel pools. Steel pools will require more maintenance over time. Our Influence 54” resin pool has a lengthy, solid warranty on it (60 years where 5 years is 100%) VS our Camilia 52” (40 years where 2 years is 100%) But always be leery of companies that say steel pools are salt compatible!

    The Camilia 52" Steel Pool. Less expensive than resin but still very attractive!
    The Camilia 52″ Steel Pool. Less expensive than resin but still very attractive!


  4. Quality of Pool. Can you visit the pool company and view/touch the pool models? This way you can see which pool best suits you. Almost all premium above ground pool brands will provide wall samples to their dealers allowing customers to view the products. This is a great way to make sure you are paying for a safe, high quality swimming pool for your back yard. Make sure you feel comfortable with the above ground pool warranty. Our Influence 54″ is made by Aqualeader Canada- which is an excellent name in the pool industry. You can even but the resin pool online here: SPASonline.ca
  5. Equipment in Pool kit. What brand of equipment is included? Is it a reputable brand that you will be able to get parts from 5, 10 years down the road? Does it include everything you need to get started? What type of liner is included? Is it a cheap overlap liner or a premium beaded/hung liner which is much easier to install? Is there a full print on the liner?
  6. Installation Material. Is there any installation material included in the pool kit? Such as poly cove for the liner? What will need to be purchased?
  7. Chemical Maintenance Options. What maintenance options are available for this particular pool? Do you want to go with a salt system that will produce chlorine from salt for you? Or do you want a more eco-friendly way of taking care of the pool? Does the company offer free water testing for customers? Can they help you out during the season with any chemical questions?
  8. Installation. If you are obtaining an installation quote from the company do you know exactly what is included? Some companies only install the pool and do not perform the ground work for you. A strong, suitable base is required for an above ground pool- is this included? Will the company come in to your back yard and remove all of the sod, level the earth and provide a solid base for the pool installation? Are all of the materials included in one price? Is any water included? Do they offer a workmanship warranty on their pool? Does it last for a whole year and not just the one season?

    Building an above ground pool
    Building an above ground pool


  9. Extra Options. There are so many other things you can include with your new above ground pool. Perhaps you would like an efficient Heat Pump or solar panels to warm up your pool? There are so many options to consider!
  10. Bottom Line. A good pool dealer with a solid reputation will go over everything with you. They will be patient and will answer your questions. They won’t get frustrated that you don’t know everything- isn’t the pool company supposed to be the expert? They will take the time to teach you about your options so you can make an educated decision. After all, this is an investment in your home and in your lifestyle.

Drop by Sparkling Pools And Spas at 515 Main Street in Dartmouth for your personalized pool quote.
OR: Buy your above ground swimming pool online here at SPASOnline.ca

24' Round Influence 54" Resin Pool. Brighton Prism Canadian made Liner looks beautiful.
24′ Round Influence 54″ Resin Pool. Brighton Prism Canadian made Liner looks beautiful.


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