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 Son of Usher trapped

 in pool drain


A recent news event got me thinking about swimming pool dangers that many are unaware of.  A few weeks ago the son of R & B star Usher was trapped underwater when he became stuck to a swimming pool drain. Attempts to free the child by two women at the house were unsuccessful. Fortunately two audio technicians working at the home were able to free the 5 year old boy, administer CPR, and revive him before paramedics arrived.


Sadly, this is an example of how a vortex drain (Vortex being a whirling mass of water that sucks everything toward it) can be an unseen danger. The suction of drains on residential pools can be equal to 500 pounds. Much more weight than any parent can lift off the ground.


It is especially important that any home being sold with a swimming pool be inspected by a qualified inspector. Unfortunately one should not assume that all safety devices have been installed, or are in working order when purchasing a home with a pool.


Last year 390 children under the age of 15 died from swimming pool drain related accidents. Fortunately Usher's son is expected to make a full recover from the incident thanks to two strong and quick responding audio technicians.







 Spice Grilled Sweet Potatoes

 This recipe is from the Nashville TN Whole Foods kitchen


In the past two years people have become more aware of the healthful benefits of Sweet Potatoes thanks to Dr. Oz and other health experts. Considered a Preventive Powerhouse, these bright orange foods are showing up in school lunch rooms and even in fast food restaurants. According to  nutritional experts, eating 1 cup of Sweet Potatoes  a week could reduce your risk of lung, skin and prostrate cancers. Sweet Potatoes contain lutein and carotenoids, molecules shown to starve cancer cells.  Sweet potatoes are also loaded with alpha carotene. In studies, people with the highest levels of alpha carotene had almost a 40% decrease in risk of death.




4 medium sweet potatoes 

  (about 3 pounds), 


1 tsp. Kosher salt

1 tsp.  ground cumin

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 

1/2 tsp. chipotle powder

      or to taste

2 Tbls. apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil




Cover potatoes with cold salted water in a large pot, then bring to a boil.  Simmer until slightly resistant when pierced with a sharp small knife, 5-7 minutes.  Drain well.  When cool, slice potatoes lengthwise.


Mix together salt, spices and apple cider vinegar;  add oil in a slow stream.  Brush mixture on sweet potatoes.


Grill on lightly oiled grill rack over medium heat until grill marks appear and potatoes are cooked through, about 15 minutes.


Serve potatoes warm.



Dog Days of Summer


At Inspection Specialists we are having fun with our "Dog Days of Summer" promotional program.  "No Bones About It."  We will keep you out of the "Dog House"  at Inspection Specialists.  Call, text or e-mail us anytime to receive a promotional discount dog biscuit.  We "Double Dog Dare " you to try Inspection Specialists for a "Flea Free" inspection.




My Pledge to You


 I dedicate 100% of my time and energy delivering First-Class, professional services to YOU, my customer.


My business Philosophy is simple: Put yourself in your customer's  shoes, treat them like family and make sure the Lord would approve.






 Give us 5% of Your Confidence, And We'll Earn the Other 95%!








                  Allen's Anecdotes

                               When I was a ChildAllen's Headshot        


Here is a game to play in your swimming pool that can be played by young and old and is great fun! The game is called "Dibble Dabble." Get a wooden match stick and have everyone out of the pool around the edge...ready to jump in and retrieve the match stick.  The "Dibbler" jumps in and while underwater, releases the match stick, then gets out of the pool quickly.  When the stick reaches the surface of the pool water, and not before, the first person to jump in and retrieve the match stick and holler "Dibble Dabble" is the one who gets to put the match stick in the water next.  


Back when I was growing up, our back yard swimming pool was not equipped with child protective barriers. What we did have was a six foot perimeter fence around the pool, which was really only necessary to keep out the high school skinny dippers...which we did have on one occasion.  That was an interesting evening!  Children seldom drowned in pools back then, but today, the water holds a unique mystique for small children.  For the small child, the bath water comes to represent fun, love and constant undivided attention from Mom or Dad.  So the water in the swimming pool represents all the fun and close loving contact that parents provide today at bath time.  This is a very powerful attraction to the pool water for small children.  Remember that the pool area must have an effective child protective barrier between the house and the pool which meets the State of AZ statute for pool safety, or the local municipal requirements, whichever is more stringent.  The most effective child protective barrier is a full, water proof, electric pool cover.  It is the only child protective barrier that pays for itself in time, and it is the most effective at keeping your pool safe and clean.


As children grow older and begin to swim, they venture out to the deep end...at first timidly, and then with diving to the deep end drain with siblings and friends. Unfortunately, the deep end drain can be a significant danger of entrapment or disembowelment. The swimming pool pump, if pulling from the deep end drain, can create enough suction to trap even the strongest swimmer to the surface of the drain, keeping them trapped under water.


There are several ways to make sure this doesn't happen.  First make sure your pump is set to operate during non-swimming times of the day such as late at night or very early in the morning.  Do not operate the pump when the pool is in use and be sure to remove any pool cleaning equipment from the pool when swimmers are present.  Second, make sure the cover on the deep end drain is the (non-vortex) type of cover that pulls from the side or has a "crown of thorns" on the top of the drain.  Drain piping can be equipped with a special release device to prevent entrapment, or multiple drains (more than two) can be installed. Two drains can trap two children or adults at the same time!  Suction release devices are required in commercial swimming pools, but can be installed in private pools also, but these are considerably more expensive than a new plastic drain cover.


Remember that pool safety is an *immediate attention item, and that when someone is swimming they should be supervised 100% of the time.  Nothing you can buy for pool safety is more costly than a coffin.  My wish for everyone is for nothing but safe fun and great entertainment with their swimming pools.



Five Things Your Pool Guy Won't Tell You
1. The Chlorine tablets should never be put into the         skimmer basket.
2. The pool equipment should be operated twice per day, not once per day.
3. The PVC pool equipment piping should be painted with latex paint.
4. The pool surfaces should be swept a minimum of twice per week.
5. Water chemistry should be checked with a five stage tester 2x per week.

Chlorine is one of the most corrosive chemicals on the face of the earth.  If you introduce the chlorine from the skimmer directly into the pool water, then you can cut the life of the equipment in half.

The chemicals used to keep your pool free from bacteria, particularly chlorine, will layer in the pool water (stratification) when the equipment is not running.  By operating the pool equipment twice per day instead of once per day, you stir up the water and distribute the chemicals better throughout the pool, making the chemicals more effective.  The chlorine wants to float to the top of the water where the sun bakes it out of the pool. Circulate the pool water twice per day and you will save equipment life and operating expense. Be sure to sign up with your utility provider for "Off Peak" half price power, and operate the equipment twice daily  during "Off Peak" hours for additional savings.

Sunlight does one other thing when it hits the underwater surfaces of the pool.  It causes oxidation and  tiny air bubbles form on the pool surfaces.  This oxygen bubble is what algae and other micro-organisms (bacteria) need for nourishment.  If you sweep your pool twice per week, you knock off this air bubble. You also knock off some of the mineral deposits which like to precipitate to the bottom of the pool resulting in discoloration and rough surfaces. Sweeping all surfaces of the pool twice per week will help to maintain clean, healthy and beautiful pool surfaces. Sweeping is also good exercise!

We all get behind during the day once in a while, and your pool care professional is no exception.  Sometimes they don't take the time to  actually check the water quality of the pool every time they come to the property. Unfortunately it only takes a few days for the water chemistry to get out of balance and once it does, algae is forthcoming.  We suggest you purchase a test kit that has five stages of testing and that you use it between the trips of your pool care professional just to make sure.  Nothing is worse or more expensive than a new pool surface application made necessary due to black algae growth.  Keep in mind that the fifth test in the test kit is for the hardness of the water.  The minerals that precipitate to the bottom of the pool and adhere themselves to the plaster is what eventually causes roughness, discoloration, and chipping of the finish coat of plaster, but these minerals can be neutralized before they can adhere to the plaster.

These pool tips are brought to you by the oldest & most respected full time home inspection company in Arizona: Inspection Specialists.  Since 1985, we are the specialists in pools, home & commercial building inspection, environmental testing and inspector training  A written warranty for every inspection is provided!  Thank you for your kind consideration. Call us 24/7 at 602-254-2700 or 520-722-2700 when nothing but the best will do!



Labor Day Facts:


September 5, 1882 - New York City held the first Labor Day parade. Approximately 10,000 workers participated, many of whom were fined for not going to work.  At the time workers got time off for Christmas, the Fourth of July and every other Sunday


1887 - Oregon became the first state to make Labor Day a   legal holiday.
1894 - President Grover Cleveland  and the U.S. Congress make Labor Day a national holiday. 
  Labor Day
Have a Safe & Happy Labor Day Weekend
Allen Blaker
We train the profession of Home Inspection to others
Inspection Specialists | | ablaker@hotmail.com | http://www.yourinspectionspecialists.com
10645 N Tatum Blvd., #200-536
Phoenix, AZ 85208