We take safety extremely seriously at Glengate. In the last 25 years, there have been several important changes that have significantly impacted the safe use of residential and commercial pools and spas. Here are some of the critical questions you should know the answer to when hiring a design/build or service firm in Connecticut.
Questions to as your Pool Design/Build or Service Firm
ARE YOU AND YOUR EMPLOYEES LICENSED TO DO THIS WORK?
Building a new pool or spa in Connecticut requires a license, and servicing any pool or spa in Connecticut requires a license.
Asking for a license is an easy way for any homeowner to identify contractors that may be willing to cut corners. If they cut corners on licensing, they’re likely do so in other matters.
Databases that any homeowner can check continue to show that there are more companies building and servicing pools in Connecticut than there are valid license-holders. This issue is not just about creating a level playing field for businesses – its about ensuring that you can locate legitimate contractors to work on your property.
IS YOUR FIRM INSURED? ARE YOUR EMPLOYEES BACKGROUND CHECKED AND TRAINED?
As a homeowner, you are likely very protective about your home and family. You’ll want to know who is coming onto your property, and if they are trained, safe and skilled to do what you have hired them to do.
We all want to see familiar faces week in and week out. We want a familiar voice answering when we call for service.
Look for firms with va strong safety program where employees are taught how to spot a potential problem and know what to do about it.
Technical items you should be aware of before hiring a service provider, or before using a swimming pool or spa
SUCTION OUTLET COVERS
Floor and wall drain covers must be code compliant (i.e. “anti-entrapment”). The spa pictured above was built prior to 2003 and is fitted with an approved anti-entrapment cover. This is a code-compliant cover. Remember to ask the question, “Can other ‘layers of protection’ be added to my pool?”
SVRS OR VACUUM RELEASE SYSTEM
A vacuum release system is an additional layer of safety that became law in 2005 for new swimming pools or spas. Vacuum release units vary in shape and size but are all designed to sense a sudden spike in vacuum and either turn off the pump or open a valve which allows air into the suction line- breaking the vacuum. SVRS systems are designed to free anything or anyone that has made a seal on a suction port.
Entrapment comes in multiple forms: hair, physical, mechanical, etc.
An older pool with a single active floor suction outlet must employ a compliant suction outlet cover. In addition, we recommend an SVRS which offers an additional layer of protection and covers most of the entrapment-prevention bases.
Pools built after 2003-2004 are required to divide suction points into (2) and these must be (3) feet apart. Between the dual suction points in more recent building code and code-compliant covers we’ve virtually eliminated the need for an SVRS. In fact the recent codes allows for an SVRS as an option. That said, if you have an older pool with single point of suction, we recommend you either renovate your suction points or employ the SVRS layers of protection. Every pool must have a code-compliant cover.
TECHNICAL SAFETY CHECKLIST
- Are employees trained to recognize inadequate suction entrapment protection?
- Are all suction outlet cover(s) code compliant?
- Should I consider adding an SVRS?
- Are my pool/spa lights and 110VAC outlets protected by a GFCI?
- Are my gates self-closing and self-latching?
- Are there gaps in the pool area fence larger than 4”?
- If home is part of the pool/spa barrier, are doors alarmed? Can tone be heard anywhere in the house with normal noise (e.g. vacuum cleaner?)
- Are the circulating, filtration and heating systems operating safely and maintaining sanitary, crystal-clear water?