Three pros from Northern Michigan shops share the latest trends in pools and spas.

Pool DoctorTom Britton

Over the course of 18 years in the business Tom has built and renovated a number of pools, but his primary focus is service and repair of hot tubs and pools.

What’s hot in pools and spas?

Alternative sanitizing—meaning non-toxic, chlorine free or low chlorine pool cleaning systems. Right now we are pursuing a system by Clear Comfort that uses an advanced oxidation process that destroys microbes. It also produces a residual level of hydrogen peroxide that means residential pools can often be chlorine free. It’s easier on the skin, respiratory health and on the environment than traditional chlorine treatments.

Larry’s Pool and Spa | Nicole Stephenson, manager

Nicole is the third generation of the Stephenson family to own or manage Larry’s Pool and Spa. Her grandparents Larry and Bev Stephenson built their first in-ground pool for themselves in Traverse City, back in 1968. That family fun quickly grew into a full-time business that has constructed hundreds of pools across Northern Michigan.

What’s hot in pools and spas?

Homeowners are looking for different shapes and structures in their pools—not just the basic shallow end and deep end. People are also interested in game pools now—to play water volleyball and other games. So the center of the pool might be shallow enough for water volleyball but the ends would be deep enough for laps and flips at the end of the lane.

Poolside | Mike Rodes, part owner

Seventeen years ago, Mike paired his background in sales with the skills of excavators Eric and Marv Weber, and Poolside was born. Some 300 pools later, installed from Cadillac to the Straits, the team has pool construction down.

What’s hot in pools and spas?

Automation. Iphone interfaces and digital LCD displays. Our customers who are in Northern Michigan seasonally want to be able to dial in and turn up the temperature or check other settings. Also, people who live here like the option of turning up the temperature on their spa on their way home from work.

Chemical automation is also becoming more popular. You used to only see it in commercial pools, but now we are installing it in residential ones. It’s a mechanized system that is constantly testing the water and keeping it balanced. It’s a time-saver for pool owners. Nobody wants to be dealing with testing the water and adding chemicals every day.

Another new popular product is Ultraviolet Light Bioshields. Pool water passes through the light shield and kills bacteria. Bioshields can reduce how much chlorine you use in the pool by up to 50 percent.

More Home Trends in Northern Michigan