If there is one way to spruce up a backyard entertaining area it is the inclusion of a spa. There is definitely some maintenance involved but apart from the initial set up cost, they are not as expensive to run as you might think. Overall, they are a great asset and the perfect way to unwind after a long day at work or a busy weekend on the tools.
Using Economy Mode to Reduce Maintenance Costs
One of the major expenses associated with a backyard spa is heating the water. Thankfully spas don’t have to remain at operating temperature when not in use and most spas these days will have an economy mode of some sort which allows the spa to remain in ‘sleep mode’ when it isn’t needed. In this mode, the water is a lot cooler, but the jets will still operate at certain intervals throughout the day to prevent the water from stagnating and allowing it to circulate through the spa filters.
Chemical Expenses and Other Costs
Other expenses to consider are the requirement of different spa chemicals which need to be added to the water regularly to ensure adequate levels of chlorine etc. are always present. However, it is possible to buy these in bulk and its not necessary to maintain optimum water quality if there is a period of time where the spa will not be in use. Bear in mind that water and filters will need changing at intervals regardless of the frequency of use.
A good spa cover is also a must for a number of reasons, with the obvious one being that it is your first line of defence against leaves and insects as well as preventing the local bird population from taking up residence. A good spa cover will also enable the water to reach and maintain the desired temperature far more rapidly and efficiently than it would without a cover.
Spa Safety Laws and Regulations
As with any household water feature, be it a bathtub, fishpond, spa or pool – safety is paramount. Always ensure your spa meets local council laws and regulations and that your household has an awareness of the risks associated with that of an outdoor spa. Children need supervision, even more so with the presence of a spa in the backyard.
New South Wales regulations state that if your spa pool does not have a securely fastened, child-resistant structure (such as a door, lid, grille or mesh) preventing access to the spa when not in use, you have to install a fence to block access to the area. In this case, glass pool fence panels can be an attractive option, as opposed to rows of black metal bars.
Benefits of a Backyard Spa
Despite the maintenance costs that the ownership of a spa brings, and the need for a sound approach to the necessary safety requirements, spas are a lot of fun. They are the perfect way to enjoy a chilly winter’s evening with some friends over. They are also a great way to take the stress off a long working day mid-week. A spa has the potential to leave you more relaxed, put your mind at ease, and generally enhance your feeling of wellbeing.
A backyard swimming pool is a home improvement many Australians aspire to. It is a great place to relax and cool off during the warm summer months and can add value to a property. Throughout Australia, all backyard pools are required by law to be fenced off, to reduce the risk of drowning accidents especially from children getting into the pool unsupervised. Some of the specific regulations vary from state to state, but the general rules apply across the country. There are a number of different types of fencing, but regardless which one you choose, it must comply with the law. This article lists some of the regulations regarding fencing as well as types of fencing available.
Pool Fencing Requirements
Fencing is required for any pool with a water depth of 30 cm or greater. This includes above-ground and inflatable pools. Some states require a permit to install a pool and fence and also mandate inspection of the finished construction. Ensure you check what the requirements are where you live.
Regulations Which Apply Throughout Australia
- The fence must be at least 1200 mm high (to stop a child climbing over it).
- There must be no more than a 100 mm gap from the ground to the bottom of the fence (to stop a child getting under it).
- The pool gate must be self-closing. The latching device should be at least 1500 mm off the ground (out of a child’s reach).
- The pool gate must open outwards.
In addition to these regulations, there are variations between states in regard to other aspects such as gaps permitted between vertical members of the fence and whether the boundary fence of the property can be used as part of the pool fence.
Other Safety Aspects Once Installed
The area around the pool fence should be kept clear of objects such as garden furniture that children could use to climb over the fence. Never keep a pool gate propped open. It is important to be aware that fencing does not remove the need to supervise children around the pool.
It is recommended (and mandatory in some states) to have signage with instructions on how to perform CPR near the swimming pool.
Types of Pool Fencing
The two most common types of pool fencing are metal and glass panels. Timber can also be used. In fact, any material is permitted as long as it complies with the law.
Metal fences are usually steel or aluminium. Glass panels can be either framed or frameless. Glass pool fencing prices tend to be higher than those of a standard metal fence, but many still prefer glass panels as they are less obtrusive.
Once you have installed a swimming pool, ensure the fence is kept well-maintained. For example, check regularly that the latch still closes properly. Some states require periodic inspections of pool fences.
By ensuring you comply with the law when installing your backyard swimming pool, it will become an asset that you and your family can enjoy safely for years.
The issue of pool drownings was raised as a huge problem around 60 years ago. It was around the same time that the pool fencing debate kicked off across Australia. Today, it would be nearly unimaginable to have a backyard pool without the mandatory fencing, complete with specifications related to minimum overall height, bar spacing, and construction type. But it hasn’t always been this way. It wasn’t until 1972 that pool safety fences, complete with self-closing and self-latching gates, were mandated around the entire state of South Australia.
Since those early beginnings in pool safety, all states and territories of Australia gradually introduced their own pool safety laws and regulations.
Pools have grown enormously in popularity in recent decades. This is due to a couple of reasons. One, pools are getting cheaper. Back in the 1970s the introduction of preformed fibreglass pools suddenly saw the backyard swimming pool become accessible to more than just the rich and famous. Prior to this, many Australians simply didn’t have the means to spend their hard-earned wages on such a luxury. Even today is still viewed as something of a luxury, despite pools being a lot more common place. Remember Australia suffered greatly during the great depression, not to mention the hardships that were the result of World War II.
The rise in popularity of swimming pools is of course understandable, considering that much of Australia has a climate that lends itself to outdoor swimming for many months of the year. But with the swimming pool also comes the ever-present risk of drowning. Groups of people have been campaigning for pool safety for decades now and Australia as a whole, including governments on local, state and federal levels.
Even with the appropriate fencing in place and adult supervision of children in the pool, one must be ever vigilant. Children tend to run around pools and even non swimmers can feel invincible when they have a life vest fitted. Complacency is something we all need to be aware of. When children use the pool, day in and day out throughout the summer season, it is vital that we don’t drop our guard.
Pool cleaning equipment, toys, and towels are all things that can be carelessly left lying around and become a hazard. A fence is fantastic safety measure, but if a towel is recklessly flung onto the gate, for example, it may prevent it fully latching shut. In fact, pool gates can lose their self-closing ability for a number of reasons and should be checked regularly.
At A1 Glass Pool Fencing we are committed to providing safe swimming pool environments for young children and families with our specialised glass pool fence installation. We sell and install frameless glass pool fencing in Sydney, but aim to provide current and useful information through our blog that can help families all over Australia create safe backyard pool areas.