Swimming pool undergoing repairs adding color

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.

Swimming Pool Pump Maintenance

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.

Swimming pool energy saving tips represented by water in a light bulb

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.

Swimming pool that has grown mold.

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.

Swimming Pool Water testing

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.

Safety for your Swimming pool

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.