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When you first envisioned owning a swimming pool, you saw sunny days, children laughing, playful splashing. Brochures showed the owners relaxing, smiling, fully at ease in the carefree play land planted in your backyard

Never, in your wildest dreams did you ever imagine spending any of your time or so much of your money keeping the pool clean and running.

So here you are: buckets, wrench and cleaning solutions in hand; The Real Pool Owner.

One of the ironies of the pool business is that so few store salespeople actually own a swimming pool. On a clerk's salary, you eat, you work, you live in an apartment. No offense meant (been there myself), but they have little or no practical experience. If a sales rep doesn't push a product to the clerk, she doesn't know to recommend it to you, and the very thing you need stays on the shelf, gathering dust.

Following is a partial list of the products we recommend to help you keep your pool clean and working. Most of the manufacturers here are small and don't do a lot of advertising. We list them here so you'll know about some of the things you might have missed. We don't charge for the space. They can't buy their way in; the product must prove itself to be included here.

'atom 50 Tile Cleaning Pad' : A fiberglass pouch containing a handful of fine silica that does a yeoman's job cleaning tile by itself or, highly absorbent, can sop up any cleaning solution, from acid to Soft Scrub. It really is a handy little cleaning tool; why it hasn't caught on for use around the house, I think, is a simple matter of getting the word out.

Feron's Scale-B-Gon: Scale is a precipitate that affects every surface of a pool. On tile, it looks like a crusty fog. To remove scale, soak the atom 50 in this solution, put on a rubber glove and scrub, scrub, scrub. If scale's been a problem, this isn't anything you haven't done before. The difference is that, this time, you'll have noticeable results to show for your labor.

PVC Cement Remover : One of the jobs that gets real messy, real fast is gluing PVC. When you get glue on your hands, you either wear it for a few days or burn it off. This stuff gets the cement off your hands, even after it's dried. United ElChem makes it.

Pipe Joint Compound: Securing threaded PVC fittings to filters or pumps is easier using a teflon paste than messy teflon tape. The problem was that available pastes were petroleum based and not recommended for use with PVC. UNI- SEAL's compound is vegetable- oil based and compatible with PVC

Return Fitting Sleeve Extractor : A what ? If you've ever tried to get old return fittings out of the pool wall, you know the frustration of removing the return ring and leaving the sleeve. Lass Products of Longwood makes a simple tool that gets the sleeve.

Threaded Compression Adaptor : Hayward makes it, but not for the purpose we use it for. Ever have a pump that just keeps leaking around the adaptors connected to it, no matter how many times you replace the fittings ? This adaptor has a rubber ring that absorbs vibration and some stress. Makes removing the pump easier, too.

The tile brush : Cleaning tile is rough on the knees. One tool you'll never see a route man without is an "L" shaped tile brush. Available in most pool stores, only the pros know to ask for them. Heavy-duty handle and stiff bristles; this brush works.

TX 100 : On commercial pools and spas, where heavy grease and sun tan oil lines are a problem, the 'pros' mix this tar- like material with muriatic acid to form a paste. Use the cleaning brush; one lap around to apply it, one lap to rinse it off. Problem is, it only comes in one gallon containers, enough to start your own service route.

Wire Saw : Ever have to cut a PVC pipe when there just wasn't any room for a regular saw? The wire saw is aircraft quality braided wire and two handles. Mason's string will do the same thing; this is faster and handles are appreciated. Various manufacturers, the $5 dollar saw works as well as the $10 one.

Sil-Kleer: D.E. has always been the most effective filter you can use on your pool. The down- side is that D.E. powder contains about 50% silica, a known carcinogen. Sil-Kleer is food grade volcanic rock manufactured to a powder, as effective and safer than D.E. powder. Used properly, it's more economical. A Silbrico Corp. product.

Vinyl Repair Kit: A vinyl pool holds over 40 tons of water, so when you spring a leak, and you will, things get out of hand in a hurry. Boxer brand vinyl repair kits do the job, even under water. Keep one on hand; available on-line or most pool stores.

If you're a manufacturer or sales rep who would like us to take a look at your product, just let us know. We're not looking for 'freebies', just tell us where we can buy one. If it works to our satisfaction, we'll be glad to include it on our page.

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