how to tell if your sand filter is bad

How to Tell If Your Sand Filter Is Bad: 7 Common Pool Filter Issues

If you’re a pool owner, then you know just how important regular maintenance and proper upkeep is. There’s a lot of work that goes into keeping your pool functioning properly, and one important task is to ensure that the sand filter isn’t malfunctioning. To know whether it’s functioning or not, you need to know what signs to be on the lookout for. 

Knowing how to tell if your sand filter is bad is one of the best ways to keep your pool clean and safe. If you’re not sure what signs to look for, then you’ll want to keep reading below. We’ve created a list of the top 7 common pool filter issues that you need to know about.

Here are the problems that you need to keep an eye out for!

1. A Slow Sand Filter

If your swimming pool begins to seem a bit cloudy or unclear, then you may have a sand filter that’s running slowly. This can happen even though your sand filter looks fine and seems to be running as it should. It can look like how it’s supposed to but not be filtering debris from your pool as it should.

If you’re suspicious of this, the first thing you should do is test the water chemistry. Be sure that the balance is correct. Now you should check with the backwash valve.

Make sure that it’s working in a correct manner as well and that the flow rate is where it should be. If you still haven’t found a problem, then consider changing out the pool filter sand inside your sand filter. 

2. Leaking Multiport Valves 

Leaking multiport valves isn’t a direct issue with the sand filter, but it’s related to the sand filter, so you should check this out as well. The multiport valves are attached to the sand filter on the sides or on the top of it. The spider gasket is located inside of the sand filter tank, and its job is to keep a consistent flow of water through it to the correct ports.

Sometimes, however, problems with this gasket occur due to it being old and worn down, becoming loose, or even twisted. When this happens, water is forced through other ports, creating issues with the multiport valves. If this is the case, your filter won’t function as it should and your pool will become murky or cloudy. 

3. Broken or Bad Laterals

When the laterals on the sand filter are broken or bad, the sand returns to the pool. If this is the issue on hand, then you might need to prepare for some labor. To check the lateral to see if it’s gone bad, you need to remove all of the media from the pool filter.

If the lateral is broken or bad, it’s a quick task to replace it. The hardest part is removing the media to get to it. You can also consider checking the air relief tube. 

This part is much easier to get to, and you won’t have to worry too much about taking the sand filter apart. 

4. Dirty Sand Filter

If you’ve noticed that the backwashing cycles have become shorter, then you should check to see if the sand filter is dirty or greasy. If the filter is dirty or greasy, then don’t be surprised if it takes on the appearance of sandy lard. When this happens, the water doesn’t flow through the sand filter media.

Instead, it’s forced to create a channel down the side of the filter and then returns back to the pool. You can purchase a sand filter cleaner that will help the situation for a bit of time, but this is only temporary. For a permanent fix, you should replace the pool filter sand. 

5. Valve Failure

Valve failure can happen due to tree damage, from freezing, or from becoming deadheaded. The valves are the multiports located on either the top or sides of the sand filter tank. However, the most common problem is the failure of the gaskets inside of the tank that then causes the valves on the outside to fail. 

If this happens, the problem is more serious and will need immediate correcting. 

6. Tank Failure

Tank rupture can happen when the valves are closed off after the filter on the backwash lines or return lines. Because of this, you want to keep an eye on the pressure gauges when you turn the pump on. If while doing this you notice that the pressure begins to rise, then you should shut the pump off as fast as possible.

You then want to check for closed valves. However, problems with the tank’s valves aren’t the only cause for a tank failure. In some cases, if the tank is a cheaper version, it may bust at the seams. 

Either way, both of these problems are serious and will require a replacement if they occur. 

7. Pressure Issues

Speaking of the pressure, always check the pressure to ensure that it’s where it should be. A filter that’s too small for the pump can cause a build-up of pressure inside the tank. This is due to the fact that the pump is pushing more water through than the tank can handle. 

The pressure could also be high due to a dirty filter that needs to be rinsed. However, low pressure is also an issue. If the pressure is low, check to ensure that nothing is stopping the water from going into the filter such as debris. 

Correct any of these issues to ensure the pressure goes back to normal. 

Do You Know How to Tell If Your Sand Filter is Bad?

If you’re a pool owner, then you need to know how to tell if your sand filter is bad. Knowing what signs to look for is going to help you keep your sand filter running as smoothly as possible. 

Now that you know the signs, you can work towards keeping a clean and safe pool, but sometimes you need help from the professionals. Here at Sahara Construction and Custom Pools, we’re dedicated to servicing and maintaining your pool correctly.

See what services we offer and contact us to see how we can start helping you maintain your pool today!

dry ice in the pool

Spooky Pool Party Tips: Why You Should Be Putting Dry Ice in the Pool This Year

Halloween is a few weeks away? Are you planning on hosting a Halloween bash?

Well, if you own a pool, you’re in luck. You have the perfect party setting even in the fall. Though the air is crisp and it’s too cold to swim, your pool can be the star of the show this Halloween.

Read on to learn why dry ice in the pool will take your spooky party to the next level. 

How Dry Ice Works

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. 

To understand how dry ice works, we need to talk science. But don’t worry, you won’t have to take a test on this!

Molecules (regardless of whether they are a liquid or a solid) stay together due to the attraction of ions.

Dry ice is very cold. We’re talking -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit (-78.5 degrees C). As you may recall from grade 9 science, sublimation means that as a solid breaks down, it turns into a gas and not a liquid.

That’s what happens with frozen carbon dioxide. As it melts, you get a gas or a fog instead of a messy wet puddle the way you do with regular ice.

To create a fog effect, drop chunks of dry ice into a heated pool or a bucket of hot water. The ice will immediately begin melting, emitting white vapors that create an effect similar to a fog machine.

To keep the fog effect going, simply continue adding ice. If you are using a bucket of hot water, you’ll need to replace the water once the dry ice has cooled it down. With a heated pool, you won’t need to worry about replacing the water. 

Dry Ice Safety

As you can likely tell from the temperature we mentioned above, it is imperative that you are very careful when you handle dry ice.

You must wear thick, heavy gloves when picking up dry ice. Latex or rubber cleaning gloves just won’t do. It’s wise to also use tongs as well as heavy gloves when putting dry ice in your pool.

If you touch dry ice with your hands, the extremely cold temperature can cause real damage very quickly. So don’t do it.

You never want to put dry ice in your mouth for the same reason. 

Also, ventilation is important when dealing with dry ice. You need an area that has good airflow. Regular air is made up of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and only 0.035% carbon dioxide.

If the level of carbon dioxide rises higher than 5%, it can be toxic.

That’s what makes your outdoor pool a perfect spot for your dry ice decor. There’s excellent ventilation. If you are hosting a Halloween party in your backyard, use your pool as a decor feature, but don’t plan to go swimming. For one thing, it’s too cold in October. And for another, the high levels of CO2 are too much to breathe in.

That means you should never use dry ice in an indoor pool. 

Just make sure you and your guests don’t stick their head in the fog. This fog is a zone of high CO2 concentration. As we said, too much carbon dioxide is dangerous to your health.

Why You Should Put Dry Ice in the Pool

Now that we’ve talked about the dangers of dry ice, let’s move on to why it’s a great idea to put dry ice in your pool this Halloween.

Let’s face it, your pool takes up quite a bit of your yard space. And if you are hosting a Halloween party, it’s probably a costume party and not a pool party. 

But maybe you haven’t gotten around to closing your pool for the winter. Well, no worries, dry ice can make your pool your main decorative attraction.

Dry ice will make amazing bubbles and fog. Your guests will feel like they are lost in the moors of Wuthering Heights or in a haunted graveyard.

You can also use red, purple, or green spotlights to make your fog look creepy and awesome. 

Another reason dry ice is the way to do is that dry ice is inexpensive compared to most other decorations. You can get big chunks of frozen carbon dioxide for a few bucks.

A little dry ice goes a long way. Throw a small chunk into the pool at regular intervals to keep the spooky fog going all night long.

Enhance Dry Ice in Swimming Pool with Decor

Your dry ice pool is sure to be the talk of the party. But you can take your spooky get together to the next level with some well placed decorative items for the ultimate wow factor.

Why not add a few skeletons in your pool. They will look as if burned alive in acid with the fog rolling over them. Pose your skeletons with jaws gaping and arms outstretched as if they are climbing out. 

You can also use some buckets of hot water and dry ice along the edge of your fences. That way, your guests will feel completely isolated from the world. What neighbors, they’ll say.

Don’t forget to play a spooky soundtrack (Thriller, anyone?) for a party your guests will never forget.

Final Word on Dry Ice in Pools

 We hope this article about how to safely use dry ice in the pool helps you up your Halloween party this year.

Remember, Sahara Construction and Custom Pools is your best bet for all your pool and outdoor living needs. Ask for a free consultation today.

 

swimming pool shapes

Homeowner’s Swim Guide to Choosing the Right Pool Design

There are more than 10 million residential pools in backyards across the nation.

It’s not hard to understand why. Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise out there. Swimming offers a great workout with minimal impact on your body. And a pool is a great social hub too.

If you’re thinking about getting a pool, you’re probably wondering what kind of design you should go for.

Read on as we take a look at some of the most popular swimming pool shapes.

Rectangle

If you asked someone to draw a swimming pool, they’d probably sketch out a rectangle.

This is one of the most popular swimming pool shapes and for good reason. A rectangular pool is ideal for people who want to swim laps, as well as being a great way to maximize your pool space.

You really can’t go far wrong with a rectangular pool.

Oval

Oval pools can still be used for swimming laps, especially if you use the middle of the pool.

The rounded edges make them look a little softer, and they make great family pools. They’re also ideal if you’re planning to play water sports in the pool as it means there are no sharp corners.

Circular

Circular pools are the ultimate in soft design but aren’t that great if you’re looking to swim laps.

With no sharp corners anywhere, a circular pool is perfect for a family with smaller children. Because a circular pool has less volume than a rectangular or square pool of similar length and width, to get a decent sized circular pool you need a lot more space.

L Shaped

If you’re looking for a pool that really stands out, try an L-shaped pool.

This type of pool can be the best of both worlds. You can have a deeper section for swimming laps, and the other branch of the L can be a shallower area for the kids. Or you could switch it up and have a shallower main pool and a deeper diving area.

L-shaped pools come in two main varieties.

True L

This is a pool where the two sections are at right angles to each, just like the lines in a letter L. This is the more traditional form of L-shaped pool and is useful for working around obstructions or making better use of your space.

Lazy L

In this type of pool, the angle between the two parts of the pool is less than ninety degrees. It makes for a shallower angle between the two parts of the pool. 

The shorter angled part of the pool is often as a gently sloped entrance to the main part of the pool which can be used for laps and general swimming. 

Kidney

A kidney-shaped pool is fairly similar to a Lazy L, but without the straight sides that you see in Lazy L pools.

This gives a kidney-shaped pool a softer look. These pools give you a lot the benefits of a rectangular or oval pool, but the slight bend in the middle helps to divide the pool up into distinct areas. 

You can put these areas to different uses, such as a shallower section and a deeper one.

Figure Eight

This type of pool is also a great way to divide your pool into distinct sections.

Similar to an oval pool, but with sides that curve inwards in the middle, these pools give the soft look of other rounded pools but still allow for a good amount of straight length for those looking to swim laps.

With figure eight pools, the water can flow around freely. It won’t get trapped in the corners as it sometimes does with rectangular pools.

Greek

If you’re looking for a pool that has true classical style, then a Greek pool is a great option.

These pools are like a rectangular pool with the corners cut out. Instead of a right angle in the corners, you have a curved area that juts into the pool in each corner. The look is truly stunning and the corners provide great platforms for diving into the pool.

Roman

Another timeless style of pool is the Roman style. Instead of having the corners cut out, like with the Greek style, these pools are like a rectangular pool with an additional semicircle on each of the shorter sides.

These semicircular areas are ideal for allowing a shallow entrance into the pool, either with a gentle slope or with steps down to the full depth of the main pool.

This space can also be utilized as a shallower section to lie in and soak up the sun after a hard swim in the main pool. 

Freeform

The beauty of swimming pools is that they can be made to any design that you wish.

If none of the above shapes really float your boat, that’s totally fine. You can come up with your own personal design of pool, or get a professional to design one for you.

By creating your own design you can have a pool that perfectly matches your personal style. It will also work in harmony with your yard or garden meaning that you have a pool that truly compliments your home.

With a freeform pool, the only limit is your imagination!

Do You Have Your Heart Set on One of These Swimming Pool Shapes?

If any of these swimming pool shapes appeal to you, then we’re here to help. 

We can design and build custom pools to meet both your personal tastes and your budget. Our elite pool design team can help make the pool of your dreams become a reality. If you’re looking for inspiration, take a look through our gallery of the pools we’ve built for other satisfied customers.

Contact us today for your free consultation.

pool depth

Deep Diving: What Is the Perfect Pool Depth?

What if your biggest home addition was a huge waste of money?

For many homeowners, a pool is the biggest addition they will make to their home. And, of course, one of the most expensive additions.

In order to get the most out of your pool, you need to get the depth just right. Unfortunately, it is difficult to calculate pool depth without doing a lot of research.

Fortunately, we’ve done the homework for you. Keep reading to discover our guide to the perfect pool depth!

The Good News

Why is pool depth such a big consideration? It’s simple: there are many different pool activities, and these activities have different ideal depths.

However, the primary pool activity will always be swimming. And most people can reasonably swim in depths as low as 3.5 feet.

Keep that in mind as we explore different depths for various activities and purposes. Since the depth will never be lower than 3.5 feet, you’ll be able swim regardless of the exact depth or exact area of the pool.

Different Depths

Wondering how to research different depths for your own pool? You can simply cast your mind back to the kinds of pools you have used before.

Most pools will have a more shallow area upfront. This is good for kids or shorter people and provides a place for people to relax in the water without actively swimming.

In a multi-depth pool, things usually get deeper towards the back of the pool. The “deep end” is typically no deeper than 9 feet.

Creating a pool with multiple depths helps different friends and family use the pool in different ways. However, to save time and money, it is possible to create a pool with a single purpose and a single depth.

Different Purposes

We’ve talked about the different depths you may wish for your pool to include. However, which purposes are best suited to which depths?

You may want a dedicated kiddie area. Depending on child height, this area may have a depth as little as 3 feet. Because this is a lower depth than the main pool area, you may need to make certain design considerations (more on this later).

Athletic people may like the idea of playing various sports in the pool. Activities such as pool volleyball will need a depth where everyone can safely stand.

Less athletic people may simply want to relax. They need an area where the water is no more than waist-high. That lets folks enjoy getting wet while also wetting their whistle with a relaxing cocktail.

Finally, you will want a depth suitable for diving. And it will need to be deep enough that head-first divers don’t put themselves in danger when jumping in.

Check the Heights

Most of our recommendations are based on general guidelines and average heights. However, it’s worth taking your family’s specific heights into consideration.

In a couple with dramatic height differences, you may need to split the difference on certain depth levels. Otherwise, what is waist-deep for one person might be chest or even neck-deep on another!

Child height is also a consideration. It may be tempting to create a separate kiddie pool for a very young child. But children grow taller very quickly, and you may find yourself with a kiddie pool you no longer need or use.

With these factors in mind, let’s “dive in” (so to speak) about the exact pool depth you need for different purposes.

Fun Depths

The first depth is what we call the “fun depth.” This is a depth that is ideal for playing recreational sports or doing very shallow dives.

We recommend a depth of 3.5-4 feet for these purposes. This allows people to move quickly enough for games like volleyball while also providing a safe depth for someone to make a shallow (and not head-first) dive.

Again, height may be a consideration. If you have many really tall friends and family members, you may need to raise this depth accordingly.

Chill Depths

What about the people who just want to chill out and lounge in the pool? Believe it or not, 3.5-4 feet is generally the perfect height for their needs as well.

These people may not be moving super-fast like sports players. However, they will still want waist-deep water to feel like they are comfortably immersed within the pool.

Between young kids and relaxing adults, this may well end up being the most-used area of the pool!

Diving Depths

Our last category concerns diving. What is the safe depth for those who might be diving into your pool head-first? 

This section should be a minimum of 9 feet deep. Any shorter than that puts divers at risk of head or neck injuries that may change their lives forever.

Of course, diving typically comes with a diving board. But you may want to hold off before ordering a board for your pool.

Some cities and states have special requirements for homeowners adding a diving board. You may need to obtain a special permit first or even pay additional insurance after making this addition!

Design Considerations

As we said, most pools have multiple depths. But what is the best pool design if you’re intending to add such depths?

The classic design of such a pool is one, big rectangle. It starts out shallow on one end and gradually deepens into the deep end.

Sometimes, homeowners may want the shallow end to be separate from the rest of the pool. For example, you may want to leave a shallow area for hanging and a longer, deeper area for swimming laps.

If that’s the case, you may want to go with an L-shaped design or other custom shape. This helps you separate the shallow area into its own separate and convenient space.

Pool Depth: Jump Right In

Now you know the secrets to ideal pool depth. But do you know who can help bring the pool of your dreams to life?

We specialize in pool financing, construction, and maintenance. To see how we can help you stay cool in a pool, come request a no-cost consultation today!

cost of an inground pool

Is The Cost Of An Inground Pool Worth The money?

Did you know that there are 10.6 million swimming pools in the U.S.? Rightfully so since swimming isn’t just relaxing but a great way to cool off! Are you thinking about getting a pool but aren’t sure it’s worth the investment?

In this article, you’ll learn about the cost of an inground pool and why it’s worth every penny. Read on to discover the many benefits of owning an inground pool and why you won’t want to miss out. 

Is the Cost of an Inground Pool Worth It?

The cost of an inground pool can vary but most homeowners spend about $37,022 to $46,031. The installation includes the:

  • Type of pool (concrete, fiberglass, vinyl)
  • Location
  • Custom features such as diving boards
  • The size
  • Permits

The great news is if you don’t have $40,000 to throw down on a pool right now, there are excellent financing options to make your dream a reality. 

Before you go on thinking that’s a pretty penny, do know that a pool does increase the value of homes and brings families together. If you ever decide to sell your home, homes with pools are much more desirable. 

Whether you want to relax after a long hot day outside, or have a relaxing place for your kids to play and have fun, there’s something for everyone. 

Types of Inground Pools

There are 3 types of pools which include a concrete, fiberglass, and vinyl pool. Concrete pools are pristine and beautiful to look at, but are the most expensive option. Vinyl lined pools are the lowest cost of materials. The one drawback of vinyl though is they’ll have to be replaced sooner than other liners. 

If you’re looking for a quick and ready-to-go pool, then fiberglass is for you. Fiberglass and vinyl pools also require fewer chemicals than concrete. One drawback of fiberglass is they’re limited in shape and size.

Fiberglass can be just as much as concrete in certain cases.

When determining what pool is best for you, it’s important to keep in mind the liner you’ll be using. The base cost of a liner is not including preparation of the site, or features you’ve selected to build your pool. 

Inground swimming pool liners normally cost between $400-$2,300 depending on the size of the pool. An average 14′ X 28′ inground pool liner is $500-$800. A 20′ X 40′ can be between $950 to $2,000. If you opt with a thicker liner, they cost  $300-$400 more but last longer. 

Pool liner thickness is measured in MIL which is 1,000th of an inch. There are pros and cons to each depending on thickness. A pool expert can help you pick out the correct liner thickness. 

They’re Great Exercise

Did you know that you can burn between 400-950 calories per hour swimming? If you don’t have time for the gym, head to your backyard for a great workout. Swimming is an excellent aerobic exercise for both children and adults. 

Ultimate Staycation

Forget about spending money on a trip you don’t need, and have the ultimate staycation with your family. A staycation means you have an at-home vacation. When you have an inground pool, it’s like staying at a resort without paying for the travel and hotels. 

Improved Mental Health

Sure, it’s great for physical exercise, but it improves moods as well. Not only does it decrease the risk of chronic illnesses, but it improves mental health as well. 

Tax-Deductible

If you decide to take out a home equity loan for buying your pool, the interest could be tax-deductible. Speak with an accountant or tax preparer to see if you’d qualify. 

Decreased Lawn Mowing

An inground pool takes up more room so you won’t have to worry about mowing as much of your lawn. After you mow your lawn, you can cool off by jumping into your luxurious pool. 

Hello Relaxation

Do you just want to forget about your long day and relax having all worries melt away? When you have an inground pool, you’re creating a nice and relaxing space in your backyard. Even if you decide not to go in, you can relax by the pool and get some sun. 

Bring Your Family Together 

Would you love to have an activity your whole family can bond doing? A pool is a great place for children, teenagers, and adults. You don’t have to worry about your teens running off getting into trouble because they can hang out with their friends in the pool. 

It can also bring your family together, an activity all can enjoy. 

Easy Financing

If you think your dream pool isn’t obtainable, think again. There are plenty of financing options so you can pick the perfect payment plan for you and your family. 

All Eyes on Your Yard

Would you like an improved look to your yard that will be the envy of the neighborhood? Installing an inground pool is a great way to really improve the look of your yard. Neighbors and friends won’t be able to stop looking at the beauty of your yard. 

Next Steps

Having an inground pool is an excellent investment for not just you but your entire family as well. If you’re worried about the cost of an inground pool, check out different financing options. Also, keep in mind all of these great features of having an inground pool. 

Are you ready to install the pool of your dreams? Contact us today for a free consultation, and we will make sure you receive the most luxurious and relaxing pool. 

saltwater pool maintenance

5 Easy Ways To Do Salt Water Pool Maintenance

So you’ve decided to ditch the chlorine pool system in favor of a saltwater pool. Maybe you’re concerned about the negative health effects of chlorine overexposure, or you’ve discovered that the cost to maintain a pool with a saltwater system is on the lower side.

No matter your reasoning, you’ve made the switch, and now it’s time to adjust to your new saltwater pool system. 

The question is, how do you maintain it? You know the basics: The salt works to generate the chlorine needed to keep the pool clean, but it needs the help of a saltwater pool generator. What issues should you look out for, and how do you make sure everything is functioning as it should?

Read on for five easy ways to handle your saltwater pool maintenance.

1. Weekly Saltwater Pool Maintenance: Check Your Chlorine and pH Levels 

Use test strips or a drop test kit to make sure that your chlorine and pH levels are adequate. If they are too low or too high, your pool will not be able to combat germs the way that it is designed to. 

In a saltwater pool system, chlorine can fluctuate if the salt levels are off or if the cell is not functioning the right way. The pH levels can fluctuate due to several natural and uncontrollable factors, like temperature and carbon dioxide.

To lower chlorine levels, you can lower the output setting on your generator or shorten the length of time that you run your pool’s circulation system. To lower pH levels, gradually introduce a liquid hydrochloric or muriatic acid to the water.

To raise chlorine levels, raise the output setting on your generator. If this doesn’t do the trick, you may have to shock your pool with the super-chlorinator setting on your generator. Raise the pH levels by introducing alkali calcium carbonate to the water.

While testing your water for chlorine and pH levels should be a weekly chore, adjusting these levels shouldn’t have to happen often. If this is a reoccurring issue, you may want to contact professionals who offer pool chemical stabilization.

2. Weekly Saltwater Pool Maintenance: Check Your Stabilizer Level 

Pool stabilizer, or cyanuric acid, prevents UV rays from reducing the chlorine levels in your pool. Find a drop test kit that’s designed to read the stabilizer level and use it once a week. If your stabilizer level is low, your chlorine is being turned into gas and floating into the air, where it certainly can’t clean your pool water!

The amount of stabilizer you need depends on the amount of direct sunlight your pool gets. For a saltwater pool that gets a lot of sunlight, you should have levels of at least 70 ppm. For an indoor pool that doesn’t get much direct sunlight, about 30 ppm should be fine.

3. Monthly Saltwater Pool Maintenance: Manually Test for Salt Levels 

Most saltwater generators have a panel that displays a salt reading for your pool that you can check once a week or so when you’re testing for chlorine and pH levels. However, these devices may need to be recalibrated from time to time. Doing a separate test on your own and comparing it to your saltwater generator will give you a sense of how accurate it is.

The amount of salt your saltwater pool needs depends on the saltwater generator you have installed. Some test kits can read for salinity, or you can pick up a digital salt meter.

If you find that you need to add more salt, do so very gradually and check the levels throughout. If you oversalt your pool, the only way to fix it is to add freshwater, which is a much bigger hassle!

4. As-Needed Saltwater Pool Maintenance: Clean Your Filter, Pump, Skimmer, and Generator Cell

When it comes to saltwater pool maintenance, cleaning is key. If anything is blocking the flow of water in your pool, the generator can stop generating chlorine, making your pool unsafe to swim in.

On a regular basis, clear out your filter, pump, and skimmer of any debris. Check not only these areas but also the walls and floor of your pool for algae. Different types of algae thrive in freshwater, especially if it sits in direct sunlight and doesn’t circulate well. If your filter and pump aren’t working properly, algae blooms can appear, some of which are highly toxic to humans

The generator cell should be inspected every three months or so. Remove it from the generator and look inside for any debris or scale-like buildup. Use high water pressure and a plastic scraping tool to remove any scaliness. For tougher residue, you may have to use an acid wash as instructed by the generator’s manufacturer.

5. Yearly Saltwater Pool Maintenance: Winterize Your Generator

In the months that are too cold for swimming (a fleeting season in Texas), you will need to winterize your saltwater pool generator. Remove the flow switch and cell from the generator, make sure they’re clean, and store them inside.

If you know your winters are mild, you can skip this step. However, if you’re getting hit with a cold front and the temperatures are below freezing, run the pump continuously to prevent water from freezing in the piping. 

Depending on your pool and your local climate, this may be one of many steps you should take to fully winterize your pool.

Don’t Sweat It

Saltwater pool maintenance may seem complicated based on this breakdown, but the reality is that most of these steps won’t take more than a few minutes. Plus, you don’t have to store and handle a ton of chemicals!

Whether you’re convinced that it’s time to switch to saltwater, you’re ready to build a backyard pool for the first time, or you need some help balancing your chemical levels, we would love to help. For questions, requests, or quotes, contact us today!

pool construction company

Best Reasons To Hire A Pool Construction Company This Year

What better way to beat the Texas heat than with your own pool?

Having a pool in your backyard gives you the freedom to cool down in the privacy of your backyard. Of course, it creates the perfect setting for a summer full of epic pool parties too.

if you’re thinking about putting in a pool, you’ve probably asked yourself the classic question: to hire someone or to DIY?

While most homeowners think building their own pool would be cheaper, that isn’t always the case. There are plenty of benefits you can only get from hiring a pool construction company.

1. Get the Pool You Truly Want

Anyone can create their own paintings for their home if they want. They won’t end up with da Vinci-quality paintings, though.

The same applies to your pool.

If you try to build the pool yourself, you will be limited by your own abilities. You’ll have enough of a challenge trying to create a basic rectangle without any bells and whistles.

A professional pool builder, on the other hand, has enough skills to be creative. They can help you come up with a custom pool design that has everything you want and is practical for your property.

The same goes for materials. A pool construction company will have access to a wider range of materials than you do, giving you more options.

2. Enjoy Your Pool Sooner

When you make the decision to add a pool to your home, you want to skip ahead and enjoy that pool as soon as possible. That won’t happen if you try to build it yourself.

When you build your own pool, each step takes a long time because you need to learn how to do it at the same time. This could turn your project into a massive venture that takes months to complete.

A professional pool builder is far more efficient. They have all the experience and knowledge to complete the job swiftly.

In addition, building your pool is their full-time job. They can start the job and keep it moving until it’s finished.

If you try a DIY approach, you’re juggling the pool with your job, housework, family activities, and more.

3. Access to Top-Notch Equipment

Building a pool doesn’t just take knowledge. It takes equipment as well.

Pool construction companies are able to invest in specialized, powerful equipment. Think backhoe diggers, concrete mixers, and more. These types of tools let them get the job done quickly and with more precision than manual methods.

If you’re trying to build your own pool, you don’t have access to that equipment. Even if you’re able to rent or borrow it, you don’t know how to use it effectively. The result is a lower-quality pool that takes more time to build.

4. Protect Your Home’s Value

When you have an in-ground pool, that pool is part of your property. It will have a significant impact on your home’s value, and not always for the better.

The exact numbers will depend on your local real estate market at the time. However, you can feel safe in the assumption that a professionally-built pool will be better for your home value than a cheap DIY one.

In fact, a shoddy pool could make your home’s value decline. Future buyers would see it as a safety risk or an eyesore they need to remove, which would cost them money.

5. Staying Within the Law

As with any building project, there are city ordinances and building codes your pool needs to follow.

Homeowners who build their own pools don’t always take the time to research those requirements. They toil for months on building the pool and when they’re done, they find themselves with piles of legal fees.

A pool construction company can avoid those problems for you. We know the local city codes and the necessary permits for each job. We’ll build the pool within the regulations the first time so the city doesn’t knock down your door.

6. Putting Safety First

Pools are meant to be fun ways to enjoy your backyard. The fact remains that they have safety risks. Part of those risks depends on how you build the pool.

A professional pool builder has in-depth knowledge of installing pools with safety in mind. We can include safety features you never know about on your own, protecting your family in the long-term. 

The installation process itself is a safety risk as well. Any construction project is risky, especially if there is heavy machinery involved. No pool is worth putting your life at risk.

Pool construction companies, on the other hand, know how to do the job safely.

7. Long-Term Assurance

Picture this. You spend months building your own pool, struggling with one aspect after another. You finally get everything finished and the next day, when you go out to enjoy it, you discover a leak.

That scenario could make anyone’s heart drop. It’s more common than you think for homeowners who try to install their own pools.

It’s a different situation if you hire a pool construction company. Because of our extensive knowledge, problems are less likely to occur.

In the rare case that there is a problem with your pool, all it takes is a phone call. Reputable pool builders stand behind our work and if there is a problem, you can turn to us for help. 

Hiring the Right Pool Construction Company This Year

A great pool will make you the envy of your neighborhood, not to mention give you a cool place to relax at home. The results depend on the path you choose, though,

For the many reasons above, your best bet is to hire a professional pool construction company. Save your DIY skills for smaller-scale projects or projects that have less of an impact on your family’s safety.

If you’re ready to take the next step, call our pool builders today.

how to finance a pool

How to Finance a Pool: 6 Reliable Options

Perhaps you’re thinking about installing a pool but are a little intimidated by the price? If so, you should know that you won’t have to cover all of the costs up-front. There are a number of financing options that you can pursue which will allow you to pay for your pool in small installments over time. 

Interested in learning more about these financing options? Then read on. Here is how to finance a pool. 

Here’s How to Finance a Pool

There are quite a few ways to finance a pool, each of which has its benefits and its downsides. The most common methods of pool financing are as follows. 

1. Home Equity Loan

One of the most popular methods of financing a pool is to take out a home equity loan. This is a loan which leverages your equity in your home as collateral. As such, it necessitates that you’ve paid off a portion off your mortgage.  

Most home equity loans allow you to borrow up to 90% of your total equity. So, if you have equity of $80,000 in your home, you could borrow up to $72,000. 

A home equity loan is given as a lump sum of money. So, whatever the interest rate is when you take the loan out, it will remain for the duration of the loan. This can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how interest rates change over the years. 

At the present time, the average interest rate for a home equity loan is around 5.76%. 

2. Home Equity Line of Credit 

A home equity line of credit is similar to a home equity loan in that it too leverages your equity in your home as collateral. Where it differs is in the way that it allows you to use it. 

Whereas a home equity loan comes as one lump sum of money, a home equity line of credit works more like a credit card. This is to say that it allows you to loan out money as needed and only charges you interest on the money that you’ve withdrawn. 

The risk with home equity lines of credit is that they have variable interest rates. So, while your interest rate might start at 5.25%, it could increase up to 5.75% or 6% or an even greater figure before you’ve paid your debts. 

3. 401K

Another option is to draw money from your 401K retirement fund. This allows you to acquire a loan up to the amount which is in your account. It then uses the money in your account as collateral. 

Interest rates on 401K loans typically range between 5% and 8%, fairly respectable figures when compared to personal loans and credit cards. However, there is a massive negative associated with 401K loans: any amount which is loaned out is considered taxable income. So, while you’ll only be paying 5% to 8% interest on the loan, you’ll also be paying thousands of dollars worth of taxes on it as well. 

Another downside to 401K loans is that they must typically be repaid within 5 years. Failure to pay such loans within this time frame will result in an early withdrawal fee of 10%. 

In short, unless you plan on having substantial amounts of disposable income in the near future, a 401K loan is a financially risky way to finance a pool. 

4. Personal Loan 

If you don’t feel like putting up collateral in order to secure a loan, you could apply for a personal loan. Personal loans are given based on credit score, necessitating nothing in the way of collateral. 

However, depending on your credit score, this can be a costly way to do things. If your score is anything less than great, you’re going to be paying interest of at least 10%. As you can see, this is substantially higher than the interest rates associated with our previously-discussed financing options. 

If you’re thinking about going the personal loan route, you should first inquire about interest rates. If you can get a decent rate (~3.5% to 8%), there’s no reason not to go for it. 

5. Pool Company Payment Plan 

Depending on the company that you hire to install your pool, you might be able to take advantage of a pool company payment plan. Many companies will allow you to pay your pool off over time at a reasonably low interest rate, provided that you have good credit or a decent amount of collateral to use as leverage. 

In some cases, interest rates can be as low at 4.75%. This would be lower than the rates included with both home equity loans and home equity lines of credit. 

And the best thing about utilizing a pool company payment plan? You can cut out a good deal of the groundwork. There will be no need to shop around for financing options. 

6. Credit Card

Your last option is to charge your pool expenses to one or more credit cards. In the vast majority of cases, however, this is not a wise decision. 

Credit cards carry very high interest rates, usually falling somewhere between 15% and 26% APR. Therefore, anything financed on a credit card is going to rack up substantial amounts of interest. 

However, there is one type of credit card which could be beneficial: a 0% intro APR credit card. These credit cards charge 0% interest for the first year or so of their use. So, if you can pay off their full balances within that year or so, you won’t be charged any interest at all. 

Be warned, however, if you fail to pay off your cards before their intro period end, you could have seismic amounts of interest levied against you. This could, in short, bury you financially. 

So, again, in most cases, it’s a good idea to stay away from credit cards when financing a pool. There is much greater risk involved than there is reward. 

In Need of Pool Installation Services in Katy, Texas?

Now that you know how to finance a pool, you might be interested in installing a pool on your property. In need of pool installation services in Katy, Texas? If so, we here at Sahara Construction & Custom Pools are the people to see. 

We offer financing on all of our pools and can help you to pay for our services regardless of your budget. Sporting a team of highly skilled and experienced installation specialists, we’re well-equipped to give you the pool of your dreams. 

Contact us now for a free consultation! 

saltwater pool system

7 Advantages Of Getting A Saltwater Pool System

Texans can tell you that having a pool in the backyard is one of the best ways to beat that Texas heat. In a state where the average high is 96 degrees in July and 71 degrees all the way up until the late fall and early winter, beating the heat is crucial.

Most of us think of chlorinated water when we think of pools. That chlorine smell is sure to bring back memories of our childhood summers spent poolside! But what if we told you there was another way to keep your pool clean that wasn’t difficult and possibly even better for you? 

We’ve already talked about the differences between chlorine and saltwater pools. But we’re not done raving about saltwater pools!

Read on to find out 7 awesome advantages of revamping your pool with a saltwater pool system.

1. Low Annual Maintenance Cost

Saltwater pool systems can cost more to install than chlorine systems. Saltwater pool systems require saltwater chlorine generators. You also may have to replace certain features like lights and filters if your current ones are made from materials that don’t react well to salt. 

Pool financing can help soften the blow of this initial cost. Even more fortunate is how affordable saltwater pool systems are to maintain after installment!

Maintaining a saltwater pool system will cost about $100 per year, compared to the $300-$800 you may have to pay for chlorine pool maintenance. It won’t take long before the price of your saltwater pool evens out with the amount you would have spent to install and maintain a chlorine pool.

2. Minimal Maintenance Required

Because salt cells in a saltwater pool system produce chlorine as needed, you won’t have to do nearly as much work to keep your chlorine levels balanced. It is still recommended that you regularly check your saltwater pool’s chemical levels to make sure everything is running smoothly, but rarely will you run into any real issues.

For the most part, maintenance will consist of keeping your saltwater pool filter and pump clean and clear of salt build-up and debris. This doesn’t take long, nor does it require harsh chemicals. 

3. Less Contact with Unsafe Chemicals

To maintain a chlorine pool, you are required to store and handle a lot of chemicals.

Properly administered pool chemicals are safe for most swimmers to come into contact with. However, these chemicals must be handled with the right safety equipment and mixed properly to avoid any risk of injury and even explosion.

With a saltwater pool system, you will only need to store and handle salt. This is a much better alternative for inexperienced pool owners or families with small children and pets, as it lowers the risk of accidents.

4. Saltwater Pool Systems Are Better for Skin and Eyes

Chlorine neutralizes the bacteria in water to prevent the spreading of germs. However, it also has a habit of neutralizing some of our bodies’ natural resources that keep us from drying out! 

Mass quantities of chlorine can strip away the natural oils in our skin and hair that we need to stay naturally moisturized. It can also strip away the tear film in our eyes that keep our corneas free from irritants. Unfortunately, without that film, we are more exposed to pink eye and other eye infections.

While saltwater pool systems are still producing chlorine, they’re producing a lot less of it, which means our skin and eyes won’t be nearly as dried out and irritated after a long swim!

5. Saltwater Pools May Be Better for People with Asthma

When chlorine comes into contact with organic matter, it produces a gas that, in large quantities, can cause inflammation in your respiratory tract and sinuses. For most people, this inflammation won’t be too harmful. However, for people with asthma or strong allergies, this inflammation can be triggering.

This gas is more of a concern for large indoor pools, where it can become trapped and dense. Unless outdoor chlorine pools are highly over-chlorinated, they should be safe for swimmers with respiratory problems.

However, if you are a regular, active swimmer with respiratory problems, it might be in your best interest to switch to a saltwater pool system. The less you come into contact with this gas, the better off your lungs will be and the more you can enjoy your swim time!

6. Saltwater Pools Feel Better

Because humans are actually quite salty themselves, the salt level in water can actually change the way our skin interacts with it. 

When we submerge ourselves in water, we can absorb or lose water. In water without salt, our body will likely absorb water. In water with tons of salt (like ocean water), water is actually being drawn away from our body. 

As confusing as that may seem, the biggest takeaway for saltwater pool owners is that the water feels softer and better on the skin!

7. Saltwater Pools Are Better for Our Furry Friends

Plenty of pool owners have dogs that love to go for a dip. As we’ve mentioned, high levels of chlorine can be irritating for our eyes and skin. Our dogs are actually more sensitive to these problems than we are!

Not only is it harder to wash chlorine away from a dog’s skin because of their hair or fur but it’s also pretty difficult to explain to a dog that they should probably swim with their eyes closed. Saltwater is less harsh on their skin and less likely to cause damage to their eyes.

That being said, dogs should never be allowed to drink pool water, even if it’s treated with a saltwater pool system. Ingesting large quantities of chlorine or salt can have negative effects on their health. Make sure you always monitor the way your dogs are behaving around the pool!

Make the Change to a Saltwater Pool System

If you feel like you’d benefit from these saltwater pool system advantages, why not make the transition? 

Check out our service area to see if we can help you out. If you are, contact us today! We can’t wait to make your saltwater pool dreams come true!

pool automation

7 Tips for Setting up the Ultimate Pool Automation System

You just went on the best dinner date of your life. 

You’ve asked your date over for a drink after dinner, expecting to end up in the hot tub. But it will take a while to get home, and will they want to stick around if your water is cold?

With the ultimate pool automation system, you can start heating up your hot tub on the way home. Your connected landscape lights will set the mood as you take your date to the water.

No awkward waiting around for the mood to be right. Your date will be impressed, and you’ll be on your way to a fantastic jacuzzi date night.

Sounds pretty good right?

Pool automation systems let you operate and maintain your pool from a distance. The systems can be complicated, but don’t worry.

With these tips, you’ll be on your way to a fully automated pool that’s within your personal taste and budget.

How Does Pool Automation Work?

Pool owners without automation systems have to turn on each switch individually. This is a pain, considering systems such as the heater and pump may not be directly beside the pool.

With an automation system in place, you can control many features at once, from one place. The control panel doesn’t have to be anywhere near the pool – it can be wherever you are!

A control panel manages functions remotely using actuators and relays (usually the pump and heater), but can also control lights, spa systems, and water features.

While some automation systems are designed specifically for pools, others work for both spas (such as hot tubs) and pools.

If you’re not confident handling electrical work, you should hire a pro and stay a safe distance away as they work their magic.

What Does It Cost?

It sounds fancy, but pool automation isn’t as expensive as you may think. Most systems cost between $1,500 and $2,500.

The final cost depends on factors such as

  • The pool size and complexity
  • The presence of a spa
  • The brand and model of the automation system
  • Whether you will use a smartphone app or control panel

While the upfront cost may give you sticker shock, the right automation system will save you money spent on energy in the long run.

Tips for the Ultimate Pool Automation System

Looking to upgrade to a smart pool? We’ve put together 7 automation tips you should consider to help set up the ultimate pool automation system.

1. Save Now and Upgrade Later

Can you install a regular pool now and upgrade later? 

Absolutely! 

If you’re not convinced yet, save money on your initial purchase and hold off on automation until you’re ready. 

Unlike underwater lights and waterfalls, pool automation isn’t built into your pool or spa. It’s a feature that can be added on later.

Spend a little more money now on designing the pool you love, then worry about automation when your budget allows for it.

2. Do Your Homework

Think about what parts of your pool’s system you’d like to automate. 

Features such as bubblers, fountains, landscape lighting, automatic pool cleaners, chlorinators, and spa jets are just a few of the things that can be automated. Which of these features are most important to you? What exactly are you looking to achieve? 

Whether it’s efficiency, wow-factor, or improved ambiance, there are plenty of options.

With that being said, there are also plenty of price points and levels of products. So do your research! Don’t trust the first website you land on. Read reviews and find real users of the automation systems you’re considering. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’ll thank yourself later.

3. Go Big with Full Intelligent Automation

Intelligent automation is a smart way to go if you’re adding on automation to an existing pool. 

If you go this route, you don’t have to change your existing pool equipment to match a new system. Intelligent automation equipment features a sensor layer that converts your existing pool equipment into an entirely new, smart system. 

With an intelligent automation system, you’ll reduce your energy cost and chemical use. The smartest systems also manage the chemistry of your water, ensuring that you have the best quality water circulating through your pool or spa.

You’ll also get to monitor your pool via a smartphone app, but keep in mind that this requires a constant internet connection.

Because intelligent automation is an add-on to your existing system, it’s the cheapest option available to you. You can convert your pool to a smart pool for a few hundred dollars. 

The best part? This process is completed in as little as one hour! 

4. Test the Waters with Medium Automation

You don’t have to go all out with pool automation. Try a medium automation approach and enjoy high-quality water while still maintaining the pool yourself.

Medium automation is installed similarly to intelligent or full automation but doesn’t have a central control unit. Most medium automation systems contain a sensor-based chlorinator and acid feeder. 

5. Keep it Simple with Basic Automation

If you’re still not convinced you need all of these features, stick with basic automation. These systems only contain a time-clock and automatic chlorinator. 

In this scenario, you will manually trim pH and other pool chemicals. Traditionally, this is done once a week. 

6. Link Your Pump to Your Smartphone

One of the most impressive features a pool automation system offers is the ability to monitor your pool from anywhere with your smartphone.

Our smartphones are designed to make our lives easier, so why shouldn’t that extend to our pool maintenance?

Ensuring your system is running smoothly from your living room or the grocery store is convenience at the highest level. 

Depending on the system and program you use, there are several options at your fingertips with a pool automation system controlled by your smartphone.

Also, who wants to worry about what state their pool is in while they’re away on vacation? Don’t pay a neighbor to watch your pool. A connection between your mobile device and pump can prevent any unwelcome surprises when you return home. 

7. Work with a Professional You Trust

If you designed your pool with a pool builder, you would probably feel most comfortable having them service the upgrade.

However, if you inherited your pool through home purchase, you might have a closer relationship to your pool servicer, not the builder.

The most important thing is to go with a professional you trust for these types of installs. You should generally choose the provider you have the closest relationship with.

Design the Pool of Your Dreams

Your home is an important investment. If it features a pool, it should be one that you’re proud of.

Our mission is to leave you speechless with the quality and service we provide. We want to make the design and construction process as stress-free as possible for you and your family.

Ready to get started and design your pool automation system today? Request a free consultation and one of our team members will be in touch.