Considering Closing Down Your Pool?

The professionals at Sahara Pools want you to think twice before deciding to close your swimming pool this winter. Yes, we live in the Greater Houston area, and yes the winters are very mild, but we  still get a lot of calls from our customers asking if they should close down their pool.

Here are some benefits of keeping your pool open year round.

Visual Effects: You have made your pool the centerpiece of your backyard, so why cover it five months out of the year? We highly suggest that you consider our year round maintenance program that will keep your backyard looking great with a pool that will be crystal clear.

Cost Benefit: Keeping your pool open year round costs just about the same as paying a company to correctly close and re-open your pool. Keep in mind that stagnant, untreated water causes algae and a chemical imbalance, which takes a toll on your pool’s plaster and equipment.  When closing your pool, you are increasing the risk of having both a pool filled with algae and costly equipment repairs.

Protect Your Investment: Multiple studies have shown that when a swimming pool turns green, the untreated water deteriorates the pool’s plaster.  Closing your pool year after year may result in half the life expectancy of your pool’s plaster.  Why take the risk?

Properly closing your swimming pool is very important. Improper closings can cause damage to the pool shell, cracks in the plumbing and structural issues that can cost thousands of dollars to fix. If you do decide to close your pool this coming winter, it is important to contact the pool professionals at Sahara. Our experienced pool technicians can help you make sure your pool is properly closed and stays clean. To schedule a consultation, please call us at (281) 221-4099 or click here to send an online request.

How Sahara Pools is one of the best Pool Companies in Richmond Texas

Have you noticed the amount of new pool construction companies in Richmond area? Now that you are thinking about designing and installing a new pool, how do you decide which company to choose? We narrowed down the top four reasons why Sahara Custom Pools should be your choice for new swimming pool installation in Richmond Texas.

Quality of Service

Sahara was founded on the values of superior customer service and offering high quality design, installation and pool maintenance service that customers can rely on. As our customer, you will always receive the best customer service possible. Our sales team, design team, installation crews and pool technicians, are friendly, professional and can answer any questions you have in regards to your pool. The pool professionals at Sahara Pools are CPI and CPO certified. For added piece of mind, we are fully insured.

Pools you can Afford

The Sahara sales team offers customized pool design services that meets both your pool needs and your budget. Our main focus is providing a quality product and the best customer service possible.

Services Provided

Sahara Pools offers a wide range of services including custom pool design, pool and deck remodeling, covered patio construction, outdoor kitchens, weekly pool maintenance and much more. Our expert technicians are friendly and knowledgeable and will help you transform your backyard into a paradise getaway.

Customer Reviews

It’s 2016 and everyone is writing an online review about something. It is normal for consumers to check other customer reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc. to learn more about a company. Sahara Pool says, please check our reviews….all of them! Our great customers have left us many great reviews and we are proud to be of service to them.

If are in the Richmond, Katy or Cypress area and you would like to speak with us regarding new pool construction, weekly maintenance or if you have a few questions about your existing pool, please call us at (281) 221-4099 or fill out an online consultation form. We are here to serve you!

Different Types of Pool Filters

Keeping your swimming pool clean is one of the most essential part of pool ownership. The circulation of water allows the pool chemicals to keep the water sanitized and crystal clear. This is greatly aided by the type of pool filter that you use in your swimming pool. The three types of pool filters are sand, cartridge and Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.).

Sand Filters

Sand filters are the easiest to use of all the types of pool filters. The operation is very basic, but excellent at doing the job of removing dirt and debris from your pool. Pool water is pumped into the filter and the sand traps the containments. The tighter the sand is packed in the filter the better. The water must work itself through the tightly compacted sand and is more likely to catch unwanted debris. Sand filters are more efficient when they are slightly dirty; consequently they should only be backwashed when required by the increase in pressure.

Dirt is removed from a sand filter by “backwashing” or reversing the water flow. Ask a Sahar Pool Professional about a proper “backwashing” procedure, as they change depending on the type of pool filter you have. The filter should be backwashed when the pressure gauge on the filter unit indicates a 7-10 lbs. increase over normal operating pressure. This is the pressure indicated on the pressure gauge when the filter is completely clean. A sand filter can filter the pool’s water down to about 25-30 microns of dirt. This is extremely beneficial at keeping your pool’s water clean and clear.

D.E. or Diatomaceous Earth Filters

Diatomaceous Earth, or D.E., pool filters will give your pool the cleanest water of all the types of pool filters. D.E. filters out the finest particulates down to about 5 microns. The Diatomaceous Earth pool filter is actually made out of the exoskeleton of algae. Like sand filters, the D.E. filter is cleaned by backwashing the filter when pressure increases 7-10 lbs. However, once the filter has been backwashed, new Diatomaceous Earth must be added to coat the grids in the filter. This is accomplished by pouring D.E. through the skimmer. Your Sahara pool professional can tell you how much DE is required to “recharge” your filter. To cut oils and other natural oil build-up, Diatomaceous Earth filter grids should be cleaned at least twice every season using filter cleaner and thoroughly as well as being inspected for tears or rips in the grids.

Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters have the highest capacity of all pool filter types. This filter is the hybrid of the other two types of pool filter. The cartridge pool filter only needs to be cleaned twice a year. Dirt and debris need to be removed from a cartridge filter when the pressure gauge on the filter unit indicates an increase of 7-10 lbs. over normal operation pressure. You must remove the cartridge, or cartridges, from the filter and hose off all loose dirt and debris. It is best to soak the elements in filter cleaner for at least 12 hours or as recommended. This will remove all oils and grease embedded in the cartridge. After soaking, remove the cartridge and rinse thoroughly with fresh water. Peak filter efficiency is achieved if you allow the cartridge to dry prior to reinstalling in the filter. This type of filter is extremely efficient filtering the water down to 15 microns and only requires moderate maintenance for sparkling clear water.

Keeping the Bugs Out of Your Pool!

There are only a few summer time pleasures that beat time spending time in a pool. To your surprise… there are any number of insects that also enjoy that time too! If the sight of bugs sharing your pool isn’t bad enough, some of these culprits may actually bite you. You can convince unwanted insects that your pool is closed for the season. Like any unwanted guest, it takes denying them food and making the place unlivable to them, but ideal for you.

Two Likely Suspects

From lady bugs to caterpillars and every bee, spider, fly or bug between, most any insect can end up in your swimming pool water. After all, it’s outside, in the open, where there are millions of insects both seen and unseen. All of them see your pool as a source of water. But there are a handful of bugs that target your pool specifically. They live, eat, breed and die in your water if allowed. Of these, two are notorious: water boatmen and backswimmers.

The Life of a Water Bug

The aptly named water boatman is only about 1/4 inch long with a thin, grayish-brown body. Long, flattened legs on the rear of his body rapidly propel him through the water where he lives. Usually seen underwater, the water boatman feeds on algae, dead organic matter, mosquito larvae and other microscopic life. You may almost consider boatmen beneficial, and in fact, they make excellent fish food or bait. Backswimmers seem to agree. Slightly larger, with beetle-like legs and front mandibles designed to pierce their prey and suck out their insides, backswimmers eat boatmen and other small organisms such as tadpoles. You can always tell a backwimmer by the way he zips, upside down, across your pool surface — and bites you, feeling almost like a bee.

Kicking the Bugs Out

The best way to get rid of water bugs is to eliminate what they eat. Since water boatmen eat algae, and backswimmers eat boatmen, attacking the algae is the place to start. Wiping down the pool walls will eliminate slimy algae growths. Skimming and vacuuming will gather more. Finally, shocking the pool repeatedly or using a double shock treatment — 2 to 3 pounds of calcium hypochlorite for every 10,000 gallons of water — will kill the rest of the algae and likely many bugs, too. Another brush down and vacuum job and thorough skimming and filtration should remove dead algae and bugs. Adding shock during the night prevents the sun from dissipating it too quickly.

Keeping the Bugs Away

After killing the food source, several steps will help keep backswimmers and water boatmen away. An algaecide, used as directed, will inhibit algae growth. Without boatmen, backswimmers — the worst of the lot — have no reason to stay. Using swimming pool covers, spraying invading insects with a soapy water mixture to kill them — and in the case of bees, prevent them from bringing back a crowd — and other tactics will help. The most important thing, however, is to keep your water balanced with proper pH and chlorine levels. A quality pool water test kit, used constantly, is essential.

If you are having trouble with bugs in your pool, call the pool professionals at Sahara Pool Builder. We specialize in pool maintenance. Contact us now! – Click Here

Add Some Color To Your Pool – Pool Plaster

If your gunite pool is in need of a remodel, a great way to give it a new and fresh look is with a new pool finish, specifically plaster. With so many features and options available, it’s good to know the type that will best fit the needs of your family, while complementing your home and backyard design.

Pool plaster is one of the oldest and most popular ways to resurface a swimming pool. Generally, a pool plaster can last 8+ years under ideal conditions. The good news is that there are so many options for plaster today that weren’t available in the swimming pools of old! Classic white pool plaster is a mixture of white cement, white marble aggregate and water. When filled with water, the surface creates a pool that is brilliant, clean and has a light blue water color. White plaster is the most economical choice for gunite surfacing. The downside to standard white plaster is the surface is more susceptible to pool deterioration from pool water chemistry.

For a different look to a pool plaster, homeowners are choosing to add colored ceramic coated sand to the plaster mix. From reds to vivid blues, the colored quartz adds both aesthetic and increased life expectancy to the plaster surface. A great option to consider when re-plastering during a pool remodel is QuartzScapes: a premium blend of crushed quartz, white cement and color tints. When you choose QuartzScapes pool finish, your pool will be completely unique: the patterns of texture and color, the specific hue of your chosen color, and the way the color becomes richer over time. All this, in addition to striking beauty and long-lasting durability, are what discriminating pool and hot tub owners consider being some of the real joys of owning a pool.

Another way to make your pool plaster unique is with aggregates. Aggregates offer the look of a myriad of pebbles worked into a concrete surface. Over the last 10 years, pebble surfaces have increased dramatically in popularity and come in a broad range of colors and color combinations. The appearance of the aggregate varies greatly based on the color of the concrete and the types of pebbles used. One of the most popular reasons for this type of pool finish is the slight texture that makes for a slip-proof surface. It is also a relatively low maintenance pool finish, although a sealant may need to be reapplied periodically to help it retain its appearance. StoneScapes give your pool or hot tub the naturally beautiful look of a pebble-bottomed stream. StoneScapes combines artistry with durability, comfort and safety to create a perfect finish for a remodeled pool, BBQ Islands, or other outdoor amenities.

Pool plaster additives are not only for aesthetic purposes – some can alter the physical and chemical composition of the plaster, increasing strength and durability without sacrificing beauty or texture. These additives known as “pozzolans” take the weakest element in plaster and make it less susceptible to chemical attacks. Pozzolan based products have been known to reduce etching, mottling and cracking.

Whether you choose the basic white plaster or decide to make a stunning change with a pebble finish, knowing your options when re-plastering your pool can have a significant impact on how well your pool and hot tub maintains its appearance over time.

Most Common Pool Pump Problems

Your pool pump is one of its most important components of the filter system. It is designed to push the water through a filter, keeping your pool clean and free of algae and other organic material. Without the pump, your pool can quickly go from sparkling and refreshing to dirty in no time. Unfortunately, the pump is also one part of the pool that is most likely to have problems. The following is a list of the most common issues with swimming pool pumps.

The pump does not move water efficiently

If you notice that your pump is not moving the water efficiently, you want to begin by checking the filter, skimmer and pump baskets to be sure they are not clogged with leaves or other debris. Another part that can become clogged is the pump’s impeller. This is the part of the pump that actually moves the water. You can check the impeller by opening up the pump. Another potential cause of no water flow is that your pump might have a leak in the suction line, and therefore is sucking air instead of water.

The pump is sucking air

A normal pump should run without circulating air through the system. If you notice air bubbles coming from your pool returns, that is a sign that there could be a problem. One cause could be that the water level is too low. In this case, air can get into the skimmer lines and then be sucked into the pump. Another cause could be that the skimmer is full of debris and is clogged. This can lead to the skimmer opening being blocked, which forces air to be sucked into the skimmer line. Other causes for air getting sucked into the pump could be loose hoses or an inadequate seal on the pump lid, an o-ring, or a drain

Is your pump louder than usual?

Your relaxing dip in the pool can quickly turn into annoyance and frustration if you pump is noisy. This unwanted noise is usually the result of your pump motor needing new front bearings. While this is the most common cause for a noisy pump, the noise can also happen if the pump impeller is spinning very quickly without enough water. This is called cavitation and in this case you would want to check for a clog or closed valve.

The pump is losing power

If your pump seems to be struggling to pump water and does not pump as much as it used to, it may just be worn out. Over time, older pumps can begin to deteriorate and lose power. In other cases, you might need to clean the filter or have it backwashed. While this certainly does not cover all problems that are possible with your swimming pool pump, these are some of the most common. If you have any of these common pool pump issues, call the professionals at Sahara Pool so you can be sure that your pump and other equipment is well maintained in order to enjoy the most out of your swimming pool this summer.

Energy Saving Tips for Your Pool

For owners of swimming pools, motivation to cut down on energy use may come from an environmentally-conscious place; if not, it will definitely come in the form of a monthly utility bill. Between running the air conditioning and the pool pump, the operating costs and environmental impact of pools can cause stress for some owners.

While swimming pool ownership will invariably come with their share of expenses, there are some easy ways that you can save money off those utility bills, cut down on water and energy usage and limit the environmental impact of your pool. When you’re running your equipment at peak efficiency, you can feel better about your investment and enjoy your pool to the fullest.

Swimming Pool Energy Saving Tips

Use a variable speed or a multi-speed pump. When a new pump becomes necessary or desirable, investing in multi-speed or variable speed pumps will pay for itself within three to six years. Rather than the highly inefficient oversized pumps found in most pools, these types of pumps allow you to use up to 75% less energy.

Reduce pool water consumption. By reducing the amount of water needed for your pool, you’re also cutting down on energy needed to pump and treat water. Keep your water lower in the pool to reduce the amount splashed out, but make sure there is enough water to circulate.

Operate the pump less. Running your pump only as much as you need to can drastically reduce the energy demand. Some people run their pumps 24 hours per day, but most pool pumps will circulate all of the water through the filter in about 8-10 hours.

Keep the pool clean by performing regular pool maintenance and keeping the water clear and free of organic debris.

Harness the power of the sun. Hopefully your pool is in direct sunlight and benefits from the sun’s heat – reducing the amount of heating energy needed. If you have good daily sun exposure, you could use a solar pool heater to replace gas or electric pool heater.

If you need a Sahara pool inspector to come out and check your pool pump, solar cover or heater, please give us a call at (832) 520-6386 or contact by clicking here.

Algae – What Is It?

Algae is a simple non-flowering plant of a large group that includes the seaweeds and many single-celled life forms. Algae contains chlorophyll but lack true steam, roots, leaves and vascular tissue.

There are three types of algae that like to form in your swimming pool:

  • Green Algae
  • Black Algae
  • Mustard / Yellow Algae

Green Algae

Green Algae can be many different shades of green from dark green, blue green, even a yellow green. Green algae is the most common type of swimming pool algae. It can float freely or cling to walls and steps. If green algae is left untreated it could clog and damage the filter as well as damage pool surfaces like pool plaster.

Black Algae

Black algae is a dark blue green color and they find their home in the cracks and crevices of pool surfaces. They have deep, strong roots and if their roots aren’t killed properly and fully they can easily come back. This type of algae is one of the most difficult to get rid of.

Mustard / Yellow Algae

Mustard or yellow algae, is yellow in color and is commonly mistaken as dirt or sand. It usually likes to cling to the wall and in the shady spots of the pool. Mustard algae can be difficult to get rid of because it is resistant to normal levels of chlorine.

Preventing algae from taking a hold of your swimming pool is simple enough. You just need to make sure you’re keeping up with your weekly pool services. On a weekly basis you should make sure your chemicals are properly balanced, you vacuum any dirt up, net out any leaves and scrub the walls with a pool brush. No one wants to swim in a pool where algae has started to grow. It can harbor harmful bacteria that can potentially make us sick. It takes time, work and effort to get rid of algae, so be sure to take care of your pools needs to prevent algae growth!

If you are looking for high-quality, efficient pool service and repair, look to us, Sahara Custom Pools. We provide quality and consistent pool maintenance and repair service! We have a large variety of services for your pool maintenance needs. Click HERE for more information.

Maintaining Your Pool Water

Keeping your pool crystal clear and swim ready is not as difficult a task as you may imagine, but keep this mind, once you have obtained crystal clear water, you have to maintain it. By following only a few simple rules, you can stop algae and other contaminants in their tracks!

Clean Your Pool

What should you do if your pool is invaded by pine needles, leaves, pollen or dirt? Your first option is an automatic pool cleaner. Some pool owners use their kids or their back to remove the debris while others turn to an automatic cleaners to get their pool clean.

Trust us when we say that an automatic pool cleaner can be a pool owners’ best friend. Cleaners come in two types: pressure side and suction side.

Pressure side cleaners usually have an opening of about 2.5 inches in diameter, which makes these automatic cleaners perfect for locations with lots of trees, pine needles and leaves. Using water pressure, these cleaners roll across the pool surface, picking up debris and force it into an attached bag. Some cleaners you may have seen have a tail that moves back and forth that stirs up small particles for the pool’s skimmer and / or a main drain to filter out.

Suction side cleaners connect to the skimmer or to a dedicated suction line. These cleaners use the suction of the filtration system to transfer sand, dirt and other debris into the pool’s skimmer. Some automatic cleaners include their own filter bags so leaves or other large items do not clog the skimmer.

Filter Your Pool Water

A pool filter plays a key role in keeping water circulating and prevent the growth of living organismis like algae. There are three types of pool filters – sand, DE (diatomaceous earth), and cartridge. Sand and DE filters require backwashing, while cartridge filter systems do not need backwashing—just the occasional spray from a hose. Sand and DE filters do require some disassembly to replace filter media or to clean the DE grids.

Test Your Pool Water

Once your pool is debris free, the water needs to be cleansed of impurities. The only way to know if the water is balanced is to test it on a regular basis. This is where testing systems come in with options such as test strips, digital test strips and wet chemistry kits.

Test strips are simple – just dip and compare the colors on a chart. Dip the strip for a specified number of seconds into the pool and then compare the colors given by the manufacture. A digital test strip reader goes a a bit further by displaying on a screen the water’s level of sanitizer (chlorine), pH and total alkalinity. For a more comprehesive test, you may want to look into a wet chemistry kit. By sampling the water and then adding chemical re-agents, you will see what you chemicals you need to add by the color change in the water sample. You can then compare, determine the correct levels and then choose a course of action of what chemicals you need to add.

Sanitize Your Pool

There are numerous products that keep water sanitized. Chlorine products are the most common because they are both effective and cost efficent. Chlorine also acts as an oxidizer or shock, meaning it eradicates organic material such as sweat, sunscreen and some cosmetics. Some homeowners choose to use a salt chlorine generator, which produces chlorine from salt. When using a salt chlorine generator, the water is smooth to the touch and prevents strong smelling chlorine odors.

Another option is bromine, which is gentle on skin and eyes, but burns off easily in sunlight. This makes bromine most suitable for spas because they are covered when not in use.

Pool Safety and Security Tips

With summer right around the corner, let’s talk about pool security and safety equipment available on today’s market.

Safety Covers

A high quality pool cover must meet all the standards of ASTM Pool-Safety-CoverInternational (American Society for Testing and Materials) in order to qualify as a swimming pool safety cover. One of the top standards is that the pool cover must support the weight of 485 pounds within a three-foot diameter.

Solid safety covers, which are typically made from vinyl, use an automatic pump to drain rainwater off the surface to prevent a drowning hazard. Tapered safety covers prevent water from pooling in the center and those with mesh panels permit water to drain through the cover. All swimming pool covers should be completely removed while using the pool so there’s no risk of a swimmer getting tangled or trapped beneath it.

Perimeter and Isolation Fences

Most cities require swimming pools to be installed in a fully fenced yard. While you are most likely to install a fence around your yard, the CDC notes that the only safety fence shown to be effective is a four-sided isolation fence with a self-closing, self-latching and child-proof gate. An isolation fence isolates the pool from the house and the rest of the yard on all sides of the swimming pool.

Pool-Isolation-FencesThe Consumer Product and Safety Commission recommends that a swimming pool fence be at least 48 inches high with openings no wider than four inches. To discourage children from climbing the fence, the fence should contain few horizontal bars and not be made of chain links.

Permanent isolation fences can be made of many materials: wood, metal, or wrought-iron and remain installed for a many years. Other isolation fences—made of plastic mesh or tightly woven material with poles that slide into multiple ground brackets placed around the pool. These types of fences are typically set up for the length of the pool season, then taken down and stored during the off season.

Pool Alarms

There are a wide variety of swimming pool alarm systems, including invisible fences and alarms for gates, doors and windows. For children, there are wearable alarms as well.

Invisible fences on today’s market use laser or infrared technology Pool-Alarm to detect when a child or an animal moves or emits body heat in a protected area. The “fence” is created by evenly spaced detectors that form a sensor beam when enabled. When the beam is broken, an alarm will sound. On many of these systems, you can adjust the height so ground-level activity will not trip the alarm.

Gate alarms attach to fence gates and utilize a magnetic connection that sounds an alarm when broken.

Other than gate alarms, you can consider installing in-pool alarms. Some alarms attach directly to the pool wall and others float on the water. Both utilize similar technology to warn homeowners when someone or something has entered the swimming pool. Most of these alarms detect motion in the water and are silenced after the user accesses the disarm button located in the control panel. The control panel must be opened with a key or code, making it hard to bypass.

For additional pool safety and security, consider adding alarms to your home windows and doors leading to the pool area.

Wearable Alarms

Wearable alarms attach to a child’s wrist or article of clothing and will sound an alarm if he/she becomes submersed in water or the alarm is taken too far from the main unit’s vicinity.

To provide a safe, fun environment for you and your family, always be sure to remain within an arm’s reach of children and use multiple forms of other safety devices for added protection.