taking care of a pool

Seasonal Pool Care: A Guide on Taking Care of a Pool Year Round

Did you know that there are over 10 million residential pools in the United States? And while they provide hours of recreation for the family, they also require yearlong maintenance. 

Whether you have a pool or you’re thinking of installing one, constantly taking care of a pool can seem like a daunting task.

But it doesn’t have to be. Read on for our guide on seasonal pool care!

Taking Care of a Pool During Winter

Winter maintenance will vary depending on your climate.

If you live in a place that has a risk of freezing temperatures, then you’ll need to close the pool for the winter months.

If you’re not sure whether or not you’ll experience a freeze, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Frozen water will damage pool equipment which can result in expensive repairs.

About 10 days before you plan to close your pool, begin testing and adjusting the pool water to balance pH levels, chlorine, water hardness, etc. 

Next, remove any pool attachments like ladders and diving boards. You’ll want to use a soft brush that’s approved for your pool’s finish surface to gently scrub all the interior walls and the floor.

While you likely won’t need to drain your pool completely (unless you live in a severe winter climate) then you’ll just need to drain the water to a few inches past the skimmer. This prevents water from getting into the filter pump or other equipment.

Drain the water processing equipment thoroughly. Make sure there isn’t any debris on the pool surface or underwater.

And finally, put your winter pool cover in place.

Pool Maintenance During Spring

When the temperatures rise and it’s time to take off that winter pool cover, make sure to clean the dust and debris that have probably collected there over the winter months.

You can use a broom, leaf blower, or other gentle tools. After removing the cover, use a hose or spray washer to clean it, allow it to dry completely (if it isn’t completely dry it will mold), then store it in a dry place for the warm months.

Now before you jump in, you need to adjust your water pH levels and treat any potential bacteria growth. Using a chlorine booster treatment will kill any algae that might have grown over the winter.

Then scrub the walls, raise the water level, turn on the filtration equipment and jump in!

Keep in mind, the spring maintenance process can take about a week at the most.

Summer Pool Checklist

The summer maintenance is relatively easy. Make sure that whenever the pool is being used, that the debris net is also being used. The less debris the fewer bacteria.

Every week clean out your strainer baskets and use your pool vacuum as regularly as is recommended. Test the pop-up nozles monthly. Regularly brush the sides and floor of your pool.

During heavy usage, it’s important to monitor pH levels. Check chlorine, alkalinity, and other particle levels weekly.

Run your pump according to recommended guidelines

Fall Pool Care Guide

If you’ve got any kind of leafy plant in your yard, then your biggest fall maintenance will be skimming. You may even have to skim debris every day.

It’s important to make sure that falling leaves don’t clog your filtration equipment because that can result in extensive repairs.

If you live near the coast, then be sure to have everything you need to protect your pool during the hurricane season.

Now What?

Don’t let taking care of a pool scare you away from enjoying the fun they offer. It’s easy as long as you maintain a proper schedule.

Now that you know how to maintain a residential pool, you’re well on your way to getting the most out of it. 

Contact us today for a free consultation on a custom pool installation in your backyard!

swimming pool safety

Swimming Pool Safety: 4 Things You Should Do to Make Your Pool Safe

According to research, there are approximately 800-900 children who drown each year in swimming pool related deaths. This makes drowning the number 2 cause of death among young children in the United States. Knowing proper swimming pool safety procedures could be the difference of life or death for your family.

On a hot summer day, there is nothing more enjoyable than a day at the pool, splashing and playing with your family. Having your own pool is like having a secret oasis to escape from the heat. 

The only problem is how do you keep your pool safe? How can you ensure that you know the proper pool safety for kids, and make sure they understand the dangers as well?

That is exactly what we are about to teach you in this article. Keep reading to learn swimming pool safety tips that will help keep you and your family safe so you can enjoy your pool worry-free!

Let’s dive in, shall we? 

1. Install a Fence

One of the best swimming pool safety measures you can do is build a fence around your pool. This acts as a barrier, keeping your kids out of the pool area when you are not around to supervise them.

A number of States and cities have implemented laws that require you to have a fence with a certain height and structure around your pool for safety. Most laws state that the gates should open outward and have self-latching and closing features.

2. Swimming Pool Safety Rules

It is vital that you make a rule board in the pool area for your family and friends to abide by. Some rules you should put in place include the following:

  • No running on the pool deck
  • No glassware in the pool area
  • No electrical appliances near the pool area
  • Empty blow up toys or have them locked away when not in use
  • No diving, unless it is deep enough and they know how to dive.
  • No roughhousing and tough playing
  • No swimming without an adult present

Having these swimming pool safety rules will help keep your family safe and pool-smart.

3. Ditch Your Diving Board

Diving boards are a huge culprit of most swimming pool accidents as you can slip and hit your head. Also, if someone uses one and does not know how to dive properly, they could seriously hurt themselves. This also goes for pool slides since many toddlers will try and climb them and fall off.

4. Store chemicals Safely

You can’t have a swimming pool without a bunch of chemicals to keep it clean. However, this also means that there is going to be chemicals around that are extremely toxic for children. 

By keeping your pool chemicals in a well-ventilated and locked area, you are ensuring proper safety measures for your family.

Learn More About Swimming Pool Safety Tips

Now that you know how to keep your family safe with these swimming pool safety tips, you can go hang poolside with your family worry free! 

Check out more articles on our blog, such as keeping your pool safe from a hurricane and benefits of having your own pool rather than going to a dirty public one. 

Contact us for your free consultation today!

pool maintenance

Just Keep Swimming: 5 Pool Maintenance Tips You Should Follow

There are around 10.4 million pools in residential homes in the United States. You’ll spend most of your time having fun in your pool, but there’s also some swimming pool maintenance that you have to do occasionally.

Whether or not you hire someone to service your pool, you’ll probably still have to put in some work to keep things running smoothly.

Here are five pool maintenance tips you should follow.

1. Skimming is a Part of Pool Maintenance

Remove debris from your pool as needed throughout the week with a skimmer to consistently maintain a clean pool. You can also invest in a robot vacuum cleaner that will be able to get and clean those hard to reach areas of the bottom of your pool.

2. Don’t Forget to Brush Your Pool

Brushing your pool may seem like a tedious task, but it’ll help prevent the potential buildup of algae around the sides of your pool. You’ll want to complete this maintenance task around every other week to keep your pool looking the best it can.

If this task seems like too much work, or you simply don’t have the time to do it, remember that a professional pool service can come out and help you regularly brush down your pool.

3. Cleaning the Pool Filter

You’ll need to clean out the filter baskets around once a week. These filters should be running around six hours every day to pick up any impurities. Turn off the filtration system and take off the cap that covers the filter. This will reveal the plastic basket that needs cleaning.

Then, just dump and shake out any of the debris that gets caught in the basket during circulation. To make sure the basket is really clean, you’ll need to use a hose to spray out any stuck debris.

4. Maintaining the Chemicals and pH Levels

One of the main ways you can keep the pool a healthy place for your family to have fun is to always maintain the chemicals and pH levels in the pool.

Take a pH testing strip and submerge it into the water. This will change the color of the strip. You’ll match up the color to the kit to figure out the alkaline levels. The alkaline levels should stay around 7.2 to 7.8.

Other chemicals that you’ll need to maintain are chlorine, calcium hardness, acidity, and cyanuric acid. Test these levels every week or every other week so that they don’t get too out of balance.

5. Check Out Your Water Level

Keep an eye out on the water level in your pool after heavy rainfall. Also, be aware of changing water levels is if your family had a large get together with many hours spent in the pool splashing around. Both of these things can lead to too much or too little water in your pool.

You can easily fill a pool that’s too low with a garden hose. You can invest in a pump that you can submerge in the water to drain any excess water. You can also rent one of these pumps or have a professional pool service company do it for you.

Keep Your Pool Running Smoothly

Proper pool maintenance makes sure that your pool always functions as it should and ensures a good pool for your family to enjoy for years to come.

Sahara Construction and Custom Pools will help you design and construct your dream custom pool and outdoor area.

Continue reading through our articles for more tips and information about how to best care for your pool.

pool design ideas

5 Unique Pool Design Ideas to Consider for Your Pool

You have the perfect home in the ideal Texas location. Now you need the perfect pool to match!

How do you know which cool pool ideas fit what you are looking for? Luckily, there are a lot of pool design ideas and types that you can research to choose the best one.

Find out about some of the popular pool designs below!

Pool Design Ideas

There is no right or wrong way to design a pool as long as it is functional and looks how you’d like it to look. They can be creative, straightforward, or whatever you want!

The following are just 5 of many different types of pool design ideas out there, so keep an open mind and determine which designs may work for your home. 

1. Infinity Pool

Have you ever seen those pools that seem like they just fall off the cliff? Those are called infinity pools. These pools have a vanishing edge.

To have one of these pools, you would need to live in a high-up area with an edge and you should know that it can often be a great way to highlight the view.

2. Stock Tank Swimming Pool

If you are interested in a more rustic look, this above ground swimming pool may be what you are looking for. 

These pools are starting to gain a lot of popularity. The stock tank pool is unlike a lot of other above ground swimming pools in that it is an innovative way to reuse something.

3. Architectural Pool

An architectural pool can look like the home and be a sort of accent to the home’s exterior features. It will have definite lines and structure that makes it clear it is meant to emphasize the home’s best features.

When you think of pools that have really clear corners, geometric themes, or general sophistication, those can be great examples of pools that were built from an architectural point of view.

Many times, these pools are actually built at the same time as a new home to make them look even more elegant together.

4. Lap Pool

A lap pool is meant for people that are serious about their health and wellness. These pools are designed specifically for people that want to have a pool they can exercise in, but it won’t take up too much space.

These pools are typically going to be really long and really narrow, which makes them perfect for doing laps. If you have a narrow shaped or rectangular home, this could be a great match for your healthy lifestyle.

5. Natural Swimming Pool

The pools that have rocks and plants surrounding them in a way that looks like they are there as a part of nature! It seems like they were part of the land before the house they are near was even built.

The natural swimming pool is a type of pool that has been popular in recent years and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Ready to Get a Pool? 

As you can see, there are many pool design ideas out there that you can choose between and not all of them are equal. Some pool designs work better for some lifestyles than others. 

If you are interested in having a custom pool built for your home, be sure to check out our website to find out what we can do for you.

Swimming Pool Games

Fun in the Sun: 5 Awesome Swimming Pool Games for the Whole Family

When you think about summer, what comes to your mind? Sandy beaches? Lounging by the pool?

Given that there are over 10 million residential pools in the United States, we are going to guess the latter.

Whether it’s sunbathing on a towel or taking swimming laps for some exercise, spending time around a pool provides something for everyone. Pools have been around for a long time and continue to bring friends and families together. 

Eager to bring some excitement to your summer days? Check out these five awesome swimming pool games that are fun for kids and adults alike! 

1. Octopus

Think a variation of Red Rover in water. Choose one person to be ‘it’ first. It doesn’t matter who, as if you play long enough, everyone will get a chance at starting as ‘it.’

This person will hang out in the middle of the pool.

The goal is for players to get across the pool without getting tagged. If they get tagged, they join hands with the ‘it’ person in the middle. As more and more people join, it becomes a long octopus-like arm!

Keep playing until one person is left outside the arm. They are the winners and can choose who starts the next round as ‘it.’

2. Chicken Fights

Chicken is a classic pool activity. This one is most popular with adults and older kids, but it can be fun for younger children to get up on their parents’ shoulders.

Pair up depending on everyone’s size. Bigger, stronger people are best suited for the bottom so they can sturdily hold someone else on their shoulders.

Then all you need to do is go after one another. Keep it age appropriate and friendly, but pushing and light hitting are encouraged too.

3. Whirlpool Swimming Pool Games

We’d be willing to bet you’ve done this at least once in your life. If you have a circle shaped pool, this will work best. Get everyone to walk around the edge in the same direction until the water is swirling around and around.

Once it gets going, hop on an innertube or just float on your back and relax!

4. Watch Out for Sharks

Similar to tag, Shark in the Pool is a great game to keep active. Choose someone to be the shark or ‘it,’ and then everyone else will try to avoid the shark.

In this game, you’re allowed to get in and out of the pool, but only for a few seconds. This will give the shark a fair chance at catching everyone.

5. Mermaid Races

One final pool game to play on a beautiful summer day is mermaid races. Or dolphin or any other aquatic creature you prefer.

Rules are simple, race one or two other people from one side of the pool to the other.

You can do it above or below water. How long can you hold your breath?

Grab the Sunscreen and Enjoy

Fun in the sun around a pool doesn’t have to just mean sunbathing. With these great swimming pool games, you will make memories that will last a lifetime.

Want to make sure the fun lasts with a clean pool? Please contact us to discuss ways to keep your pool sparkly clean!

type of swimming pool

How to Decide on a Type of Swimming Pool for Your Home

Are considering putting a pool on your property?

If so, you probably already know there are many styles, sizes, price ranges, and options to choose from. Not all pools are created equal, and since they are an investment, it pays to do your homework in advance. This way, you know you’re getting the best pool that your family will get to enjoy for years.

Here’s a helpful resource to help you decide what type of swimming pool to add your property!

Above-Ground Pools

A common pool style is an above-ground pool. Above-ground pools put pool ownership within reach for more people, as they have a lower price tag than most other types of pools. They are also portable, so they can be a smart option for a family that intends to move.

The drawback to these pools is that they simply don’t last indefinitely. The materials that allow them to be less expensive and portable mean they don’t stand the test of time.

In-Ground Pools

If you’re looking for a fully customizable pool that will last, in-ground is the way to go. In-ground pools are a great investment, and with the right maintenance and care, you’ll have years of enjoyment.

In-ground pools are customizable to your needs. You have say over the shape, depth, plaster color, and look of the pool. They can be outdoors, indoors, or partially covered.

Points to consider are the price and your property. Since they are considerably more labor intensive than an above-ground pool and require professional installations, they will cost more. They also require a certain amount of space in your yard.

Lap Pool

Perhaps a less-common but still useful and enjoyable pool style is the lap pool. This long, narrow, in-ground pool is used primarily for exercise. They aren’t as useful for recreation, but they also have a smaller footprint on your property.

They are certainly worth considering if your intended use is exercise and you don’t have a need for a full-sized pool.

Spa

If relaxing is the name of your pool game, a spa might be a great choice. These smaller, hot-tub style pools are perfect for decks or sunrooms. In addition to being relaxing, the warm water can be great for sore joints and muscles.

They are more affordable than large pools and don’t need much space, making them a great option for urban lots.

Due to their size, however, they won’t allow for much recreational use or water exercise, however.

Natural Pool

When it comes to different types of pools, you may not have considered the natural pool.

They are becoming a more popular and viable pool option. Natural pools use plants and other biological materials to clean the water instead of chlorine and other chemicals. This means they are better for the environment (and easier on your skin!).

Natural pools can also be truly beautiful and serene places, as they are often constructed in organic shapes that mimic a natural pond.

The drawback to these pools is that they are not cheap. They also require a good amount of upkeep to keep the water properly clean and filtered.

Still Wondering What Type of Swimming Pool Is Best for You?

This list is really just a portion of the options and styles you might consider when pool shopping. If you’re in the Katy, Texas-area and are pool shopping, get in touch with our experts.

We’d love to provide you with a free consultation where we can discuss your needs and help you select the right type of swimming pool. Get in touch today!

above ground vs. in-ground pool

Above Ground vs. In-Ground Pool: Why You Should Choose In-Ground

Summertime means a lot of great things. Ice cream. Road trips. Barbecues. One thing that’s on everyone’s must-do list for summer is going swimming.

But going out to the beach can be a real hassle. You’ve got to load up the family in the car and fight traffic. Plus,  the ocean water is often too cold, and then you get sand everywhere.

Public pools can be a little iffy. Plus, public pools are only open at certain times.

It only makes sense to put in your own pool. After all, 10.4 million pool owners can’t be wrong.

But should you go with above or in-ground? We’re going to break down the pros and cons of having an above ground vs. in-ground pool.

Cost

Let’s get the big question out of the way: what’s it going to cost. Putting in a pool isn’t going to be cheap, but it can be affordable.

An in-ground pool will cost on average a little over $20,000. Depending on the materials needed and what size you want, the cost goes up from there.

Above ground pools have an advantage here. You can purchase one for around $2,000.

Set Up

Here’s another example where an above ground pool is the better option – or so it seems.

With an above ground pool there’s some minor assembly, but after that, you’re good to go. An in ground pool is a definite project.

Here’s the thing: in-ground pools are way more durable. While the cost and set up might be more up front, it will last you a lot longer.

Style

Let’s face it: above ground pools aren’t pretty. They stick out in your backyard and they come in very limited sizes and shapes.

With an in ground pool, the sky is the limit when it comes to looks. While you can splurge and make any shape you want or get something stylish like an infinity pool, even a basic in ground pool instantly makes your backyard look better.

Functionality

If you want a plain old swimming hole, the above ground pool is the way to go. Set it up and start swimming.

And in ground pool, however, can be adapted to your lifestyle. There’s a myriad of different styles and functions that you can work with.

For example, if you want to use the pool just for exercise, you can create a shorter lap pool. Do a lot of entertaining? Install a swim up bar in your pool or put in a hot tub.

Above Ground VS. In-Ground Pool: Make Your Choice

Looking forward to the many physical and mental health benefits of swimming or you’re just looking to have some fun? In-ground is the clear winner in the above ground vs. in-ground pool debate.

While above ground has a few good positives, in-ground is the way to go for a long-lasting, customized, stylish choice.

Ready to put in your in-ground pool? Let’s talk!

Our team of experienced pool pros are ready to help you make a splash. Contact us today!

Toddler Swimming Pool Tips

Pool Safety for Toddlers: How to Keep Little Ones Safe Around the Water

Did you know that drowning is the leading cause of death for children aged 1-4 years old? These children are most likely to drown in a swimming pool. Swimming pool deaths are entirely preventable.

Even if you don’t have toddlers or older children of your own, it’s still necessary to take safety precautions for guests or other children who might swim in your pool. Keep reading for some tips for pool safety for toddlers.

Pool Safety for Toddlers: How to Prevent Drowning

Some simple steps that parents and caregivers can take could prevent drownings. Pool safety combined with vigilance will ensure that your children and guests are safe in your pool.

1. Teach Your Kids to Swim

Enrolling your kids in swimming classes at the earliest reasonable age (some experts say that kids as young as 1 should start taking swim lessons) is a smart idea. Learning how to swim, what to do if they fall in a pool, how to float, and how to tread water are skills that children should have, especially if they have a pool at home.

However, it’s important to remember that even if your child does know how to swim, they should not be left unattended in the pool or around the pool.

2. Install a Safety Fence

A child safety fence around the pool that is between 4 and 5 feet high, has a locking mechanism, and has a gate that will close and latch on its own is necessary. The lock should be out of the reach of kids and if there is a key, it should not be left in the lock.

In addition to a fence around the pool, homeowners might consider a fence around the entire yard as well. This would keep any children out of the pool area and add an additional layer of protection.

3. Install an Underwater Motion Alarm

An underwater motion alarm is preferable to one that goes off when there is any movement on the surface of the water. A surface alarm could be set off by wind, a leaf, or bug and has more false alarms. One that goes off when there is motion under the water is less likely to have a false alarm.

4. Identify a Water Guardian

Drownings often happen when adults assume other adults are watching the children. There are many stories of children drowning among many adults. Because no one person has been tasked with watching the children in the pool, adults think someone else is doing it.

The water guardian should not have any distractions such as a cell phone, drink, people to talk to, etc. They should be focused solely on watching the children in the water.

5. Learn Lifesaving Skills

If you have a pool or a toddler learning to swim, lifesaving skills such as CPR could save your child.

If your child is drowning, the most important thing you can do is to pull him or her from the water and start CPR immediately. You should also have a phone nearby to call 911 in the event of an emergency.

The Take-Away Message

Drownings are preventable. When planning for your new pool, you should consider pool safety as well. Use these tips for pool safety for toddlers to keep your youngest swimmers safe.

To learn more about pools and pool safety, check out some of our other blog posts. If you’re ready to get the ball rolling on your own pool installation, contact us today for your free estimate and consultation.

Katy Swimming Pool Builder hold heart

Going Above and Beyond for Our Customers is What Sahara Construction is All About

We love it when our customers take time out of their day to share their experiences with Sahara Construction & Custom Pools on our Facebook page.

Just the other day, Jared and Stephanie Sears posted this message to our timeline:

Chris and Sahara built our pool two years ago. This past week a pair of goggles and a sock somehow found their way into a suction line (kids – have to love them). We called out a local plumber (name withheld) who struggled to resolve the issue. Throughout the ordeal I was in touch with Chris. Chris provided much needed help and info to share with the plumbing company. Eight hours later the local plumbing company left without clearing the pipe while also managing to break their auger bit – in the clogged line. This was on Friday evening at 5 o’clock. Having already drained the pool for the work we were a bit stressed. I called Chris to give him and update to which he replied, “Relax. My guys will be there tomorrow morning.” Mind you, this would be Saturday morning! His team showed up, worked their tails off and got us up and running again. This is who and what Shara is about. They aren’t a company who just builds your pool. Sahara is a company who takes care of their customers. Loyalty! To anyone considering a new pool feel free to reach out.

Being able to take care of our customers is what our business is all about. Whether it’s designing and building a custom pool or outdoor patio, or swooping in to fix an issue at the drop of a hat, we’ll be there for you.

To find out what we can do for you, request your Free Consultation to speak to us today.

Hurricane in Swimming Pool

Preparing Your Pool for a Hurricane

With Hurricane Harvey quickly approaching the Texas coast, and the Katy and overall Houston area anticipating heavy rainfall anywhere from 15-25+ inches, it’s time to do some hurricane pool preparation to protect your investment and get things back to normal quickly and easily.

Do NOT Drain Your Pool

First thing’s first… do NOT drain the pool. This applies before AND after the storm. Depending on the amount of rain or flash flooding that occurs in the area, your pool may overflow. Let it. The water in the pool will help to reinforce the walls and floor against any outside pressure caused by overly saturated ground.

Shock it Beforehand

Give your pool an extra dose of chlorine to “shock” it and let the system run for a few hours for good circulation. This will prep the pool for the extra rainwater. You’ll want to get it more toward a 7.2 pH level.

Clear the Pool Area of Items

As most people would naturally assume, clear the area of any patio furniture, floats, toys, etc. that could be damaged in the storm or find their way falling into the pool. If you can’t bring them inside, see if you can weight them down or move them to a more sheltered area, such as under a patio cover, close to an outside wall.

Cover at Your Own Risk

Depending on the severity of the storm, covering your pool to keep out debris could cause costly damage to the cover itself. In many respects it will be easier to simply remove any debris that enters your pool versus risk damaging an expensive pool cover.

Disconnect Power and Protect Your Pool Equipment

The easiest method would be finding the main breaker dedicated to the pool and turning it off. Once you have safely disconnected power, you can do a combination of things to protect your pool equipment. Use a waterproof wrap to cover your pool pump and any exposed equipment. If possible, you could remove your pump and bring it indoors to protect it from damage. If your pool’s pump is submerged in water, it could lead to permanent damage.

After the Storm Passes

Whether it’s a hurricane, tropical storm or just a major series of downpours, you’re going to be faced with some pool cleanup. You’re going to want to get started soon in order to avoid any potential staining due to debris and imbalances in the pool’s chemistry.

As stated above, leave the water in the pool. Also keep the power turned off to your pool equipment for the time being.

Next, start with any large pool debris, such as branches, leaves, your neighbor’s patio umbrella, etc. Use a leaf rake skimmer to get leaves and such off of the pool’s floor.

Dry Out Your Equipment before Turning Back On

Uncover your pool equipment and let it air dry for a day before restoring power to the system. If you removed your pump, go ahead and reinstall.

Once dry, turn the filter pump on and let it run for most of the day. It will take a few days to get everything nice and clear again. Backwash the filter as needed to keep things flowing efficiently.

Restore Chemical Balance and Add Chlorine

At this point, you can work to adjust the pH and other levels to get them back to their normal points. Check levels daily.

Another shock will be due to protect against the storm water. If your water is discolored due to dirt and debris, you can use a flocculant to draw the solids to the floor for vacuuming. A phosphate remover will also help counteract the effects of soil in a flooded pool.

Alternatively, you can have a professional come out and perform a thorough check of your pool equipment and begin treatment to restore normal operation.

Safety First

As with any major storm, the safety of you and your family and friends is the most important part. If you are uncomfortable or unsure of how to handle the preparation or clean up of your pool, especially with regard to the electrical equipment, consult a professional or experienced person to either guide you through the process in detail, or perform the work themselves.

Be safe out there!