Category: Pool Care

pool maintenance schedule

Keep Your Custom Pool in Tip-Top Shape: Following a Pool Maintenance Schedule

Custom pools are every homeowner’s dream. In fact, your custom pool, even if it’s a huge investment, must have been a long-term dream of yours. 

One day, you thought to yourself, for years, before it finally came to fruition. Well, congratulations. But now, it’s time for a strict pool maintenance schedule. 

Say what? Yes, indeed. It’s not enough to have a beautiful custom pool built and left to admire daily. It requires an extreme level of pampering, especially if you’ve spent upwards of $100,000 on it, which is what is typically estimated

There isn’t any reason for you not to maintain your pool yourself. It’s easy enough if you follow the steps. Let’s take a look at some of the items on your pool maintenance schedule below. 

Why A Pool Maintenance Schedule Is Mandatory?

Most pool owners get lazy after a while with their pool. It’s not uncommon to start seeing pools after a few months of ownership that have green stagnant water in it and are beginning to grow some serious families of mold and algae.

Why is this the case? Well, at first you were super duper excited about your custom pool. It had been on your bucket list forever and ever. You finally checked it off – wow, what a feeling. 

You were riding high on that for days. You lovingly caressed your pool and pampered it like a newborn baby. You cleaned it every day and didn’t feel annoyed when you had to spend your free time on the pool filters or such. 

But as time went on, you got lazy. You got used to the novelty. It wasn’t as miraculous anymore. You got bored with it, and in fact, you were kind of getting annoyed by the whole thing.

Why did you even get a pool in the first place? No one in the family even uses it that much, you think, annoyed. 

Maybe you are already here or maybe not. Either way, if you make sure that you have a strict pool maintenance schedule in place, you will not be able to make excuses about it anymore. Let’s see what some items on that schedule should be. 

Skim off Leaves and Larger Debris Daily

In certain seasons, you are going to have a lot of floating debris, like falling leaves, branches, and other such items. It is important to clean this debris out daily!

It seems like such a pain, but it’s important not to let it affect the entire system of your pool. If you have a basket collecting debris, clean it out daily as well. Do not let it pile up, it can clog things up as well. 

Clean Your Skimmers Daily

Larger debris can get stuck in your pool’s skimmer, so make sure that you clean it out daily. Also, make sure that your pool’s water level doesn’t fall too low during hot days, or get too high during the rainy season. Keep it halfway up the skimmer.

Use Your Pool’s Pump Daily

Even if you are not using your pool daily, your pool’s pump needs to be used daily to make sure it’s working at its peak. It also maximizes the effectiveness of the chemicals you use in your pool and keeps your pool safe to clean.

Your pool manufacturer gave you an instruction manual for your pump. Follow it to a T.

Check the Filter to Remove Any Debris Stuck There Weekly

There’s going to be built-up grit in the filters, that you will need to backwash to clean. It’s easy enough but needs to be done weekly so that your pump filters stay in tip-top shape. Again, follow your manufacturer’s instructions on this.

There are some chemicals specifically for cleaning up the oils and dirt that build up in your pool’s filter. It’s a great idea to use these, instead of mere backwashing.  

Balance the Chlorine pH Levels Weekly

Test and adjust the Chlorine and pH levels weekly. The quality of the water needs to be maintained at a certain level to be safe to use and safe for your pool’s structure. Getting a lab test done on your pool water once a month is a great idea, as well.

Also, you might be using a bunch of different chemicals in your pool water, some of which are used daily, some weekly. Keep a schedule for these as well, so that you don’t miss a day, due to your forgetfulness. It’s paramount for everyone’s safety.

Scrub off the Sides of the Pool and Floor Weekly

This is a pain to do, but scrubbing, or vacuuming the sides of your pool and the floors, with a strong pool vacuum is a great idea. It will keep the slime off your pool liners, and also maintain its long life.

Repair Any Leaks as Soon as Possible

 

If you think your pool is leaking water, because the water levels are falling too fast for it to be normal evaporation, then check the water levels for the next 48 hours to see what’s exactly going on.

If a leak is confirmed, fix it immediately. Do not wait. You didn’t spend tens of thousands of dollars on your pool, only to have it break apart due to a tiny leak. It could turn into a major mishap if not taken care of right away. Stay alert!

A Weekly Pool Maintenance Ensures a Long Life for Your Pool

As you might have noticed, some of the items on the pool maintenance schedule are daily items, and others are weekly. If you do not have the time to do all the tasks on the swimming pool maintenance list yourself, then hire someone to do it.

Either way, get it done. There are no ifs, ands, and buts about this. 

It’s crucial not only for your pool’s long term health but also for the health of every person who ends up using the pool.

If you wish to learn more about our custom pool services, please contact us today!

cool pools

Maintenance and Renovation: A Guide to Cool Pools and Efficiency

Are you considering renovating your pool? Do you think it could benefit from having a few modifications made to it? 

By simply maintaining your current pool and inputting some custom renovations, it will start to feel brand-new. You’ll fall in love with it all over again!

In fact, there are several custom renovations that you can make to revamp your pool, no matter how old it is. Simply give a pool builder in Katy a call to make some awesome renovations.

See below for several cool pools and renovations that you can start to make to take care of your oasis and give it a jolt of excitement.

1. Resurface Your Pool

Maybe you feel as if your pool looks outdated. Perhaps you’ve noticed that the material inside the pool is starting to wear out. Either way, you can benefit from having your pool resurfaced.

If you love the shape, size, and location of your pool, then resurfacing can make your pool look brand-new while keeping all the features that you love.

Make no mistake about it, this is one of the more costly pool renovations that you can make to an existing pool, but it’s worth every penny. You can choose from different materials to bring out your desired aesthetic.

Be sure to reach out to a Katy pool company to find the right fit for your need. It can help you find the best method of resurfacing your pool.

2. LED Lights

Maybe you want to liven up your pool for the nightlife. If you use your pool to entertain family and friends often, then you’ll want to tap into modern technology to keep the party going longer.

One of the biggest trends in custom pools right now is the use of LED lights. You can place them underwater and build an entirely new aesthetic for your entire backyard.

Not only will set the mood for any occasion, but they will also help you save on energy costs for your pool. You can install smart LED lights in which you can change the color of the lights from an app on your phone!

The pool company that you hire can help you install the LED lights into your pool’s current layout. That way, you keep the same pool while providing a new feature for you and your family to enjoy.

3. Salt Water

Many pool owners are making the change from a chlorine-filled pool to a saltwater system for a system that naturally produces chlorine instead of having to shock it all the time.

It also creates a level of chlorine that keeps your pool shining, but is also less harmful and irritating for people’s skin and eyes. 

Your list of chores for maintaining the pool will go down significantly. You won’t have to make frequent trips to the store to purchase pool solutions. 

Salt water has also been proven to be less harmful to the materials inside your pool. Not only does it keep the pool clean, but it’s also instrumental in helping your custom pool keeps its youth.

4. Waterfalls

Some people out there enjoy using their pools for monstrous parties. Others enjoy having them for a peaceful getaway from their everyday life. No matter which category you fall into, you’ll enjoy the zen that a waterfall can bring to your custom pool.

Among the most popular are rockface waterfalls, which bring a natural element to your pool’s layout. It gives a beautiful white noise to zero out the noise of the neighborhood around you. 

They’re also a great way to help your water system cycle through more effectively. The best part? You can build one that’s unique! Reach out to your custom pool builder to learn more about what type of waterfall you want to install in your pool’s layout.

5. Firepit

For those of you that love having social gatherings around your pool, you’ll love the idea of adding a firepit near (or even in) your pool.

You can choose from a gas firepit or wood firepit to start. Then get with your custom pool builder to talk about optimal shape, design, and materials to embed your firepit around your pool.

You’ll love the peaceful serenity of being by your pool at night while the firepit blazes. All the adults can socialize while the kids continue to swim. It’s a perfect place to intake a poolside cocktail no matter what season you’re in!

6. Energy Efficient Equipment

Maybe you’re tired of your pool costing you so much money on the energy bill. You want to find a way of cutting that bill in half by making some improvements to the pool’s current system.

A few of those methods have already been mentioned in this article (LED lighting and a saltwater system). However, you can also consider implementing a new pool pump, filter system, and start to embed solar-powered features as well.

Get with a trusted pool builder in Katy to find the best energy-saving equipment to put in your pool. They can point you to the best pool equipment brands to invest in and perform the installation as well.

Use These Renovations for Cool Pools to Your Advantage

Now that you’ve seen several awesome and efficient renovation ideas for cool pools in Katy, TX, it’s time to start this process!

Be sure to read this article for more information on 6 common pool problems and how you can fix them quickly.

No matter what renovation you’re interested in, be sure to fill out this online form to request a free consultation and we’ll be happy to assist you further!

pool maintenance cost

The True Pool Maintenance Cost of Owning a Salt Water Swimming Pool in 2020

Are you dreaming of floating in your backyard pool, relaxing and sipping your favorite cocktail?

Of course, you are! But, if you don’t have a pool in your yard yet, you have some important decisions to make before you can make this dream a reality.

One of the biggest choices you’ll have to make is whether to go with a traditional chlorine pool or opt for a trendy saltwater version.

Saltwater pools bring many awesome benefits, but how much will the ongoing pool maintenance cost? Don’t worry, we’re here to give you all the details you need so you can make your decision and get started on your new pool installation project.

What Is a Saltwater Pool?

First, let’s make sure everyone understands what a saltwater pool is and how it works.

If you’re thinking about buying a swimming pool, you’ll need this information, so stick with us. If you already understand the basics, then skip ahead to the next section.

A saltwater pool uses a salt-chlorine generator, which converts salt into chlorine. For the machine to function, you’ll need to add salt to it. This is different from a traditional chlorine pool, which requires you to add chemicals.

Contrary to what some people believe, a saltwater pool doesn’t taste or feel like the ocean. Instead, the water has a very “silky” feel and a mild taste. The salinity of saltwater in a pool is about one-tenth of what you’ll find in the ocean

It’s actually closer to what you would find in contact lens solution or a natural teardrop.

Saltwater pools have less chlorine in them, which makes it gentler on the skin and eyes. If you have children in the home or you plan to swim for long periods of time, this is a major advantage.

The chlorine levels are high enough to disinfect your pool, but they’re not so high that you need to worry about it damaging your hair or fading your swimwear.

Considering all of these advantages, you might wonder why everyone doesn’t use saltwater. Is it a lot more expensive or harder to maintain? Keep reading as we explore the answers to these questions.

Pool Maintenance Cost: Chlorine vs. Salt Water

One reason why everybody doesn’t use salt water is that it costs more upfront. The initial cost of a salt-chlorine generator is usually between $1,700 and $2,500. They also only last around three to seven years before they need to be replaced.

The warmer the climate is where you live, the more chlorine your pool will need. This means the generator needs to work harder. So, those living in warm climates will likely be on the lower end of the replacement time-frame.

While they do cost a bit more on the front end than a chlorine set up, the ongoing maintenance for saltwater pools is typically far less expensive.

Generally, you can expect to pay somewhere around $300 to $800 a year on the chemicals you’ll need to maintain a chlorine pool. For a saltwater pool, you can expect the cost of chemicals and salt to run closer to $70 to $100 a year.

However, there are other expenses to consider.

Electricity Use

The salt chlorine generator turns salt into chlorine by passing electricity through the saltwater solution. For this reason, you can expect that your electric bill will be a bit higher each year when you choose saltwater over chlorine.

A 20,000-gallon saltwater pool will generally use about 500 watts of power to run the generator. This will translate to about $36 to $48 in additional electric costs each year.

Time and Effort

Saltwater systems generally require less maintenance than a chlorine system. However, they’re also more complex. You’ll need to spend some time learning about how the system works so you can troubleshoot problems when they come up.

You’ll also want to learn exactly what you should do and when so that you can keep the generator in the best possible shape and help it last as long as possible.

Repair Costs

Since they’re so complicated, if you do run into a problem with your saltwater system, there’s a good chance that you’ll need a professional to come in and repair it. This could end up increasing your annual expenses. It’s a good idea to have some extra money set aside to deal with these types of issues if they come up.

Landscaping and Hardware

It’s also important to note that saltwater can ruin your landscaping. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure you have salt-tolerant plants in the immediate area. Depending on the landscaping you choose, this could also add to both your upfront and ongoing expenses.

Saltwater is also harder on pool hardware, like heaters, underwater lighting, fixtures, liners, and masonry. This means you should buy products that are specially designed to withstand saltwater. This will cost your more upfront and any time you decide to do pool upgrades.

Start Planning Your Pool Project Today!

As you can see, there are some pros and cons to choosing a saltwater pool.

Although the ongoing pool maintenance cost is generally less than what you’ll spend on a chlorine pool, the upfront costs are higher. Ultimately, you’ll need to look at your specific pool project and personal preferences when making this decision.

Still not sure what’s best for you? Don’t worry! The pros at Sahara Pool Builder are here to help.

Contact us today and we’ll answer all of your questions. We’ll even come out to your home and give you a free custom quote. Summer is almost here, so don’t wait any longer!

What’s the Best Time of the Year for Pool Installation?

There’s nothing more luxurious than having a pool in your backyard that you can swim in anytime. Whether quiet, early morning swims are your favorite or nighttime dips are more your style, installing your own pool is a fun home upgrade.

The pros and cons of each season below will help you decide when to do your pool installation. No matter what you choose, the end result is a relaxing back yard atmosphere the whole family can enjoy.

Spring

Installing a pool in the spring allows you to get the most out of the swimming season. You’ll be able to swim all summer and fall, without having to wait for a long project.

Spring can also be a good time because it’s tax season. If you intend to use your tax return to fund the project, then waiting for spring is a good idea. However, many pool installers also offer pool financing, so that may not be a factor for you.

This is a great time for landscaping around the pool area. When there are dirt and debris left from the pool installation, you’ll be able to plant flowers and other plants to make the area look perfect. You could even double the area as a cutting garden with the right blooms.

There is more rain in the spring, so a pool installation could take longer. Excavating equipment can get stuck if the mud is too soggy.

Project managers won’t work the machines if one will have to rescue another. You’ll have to wait for dry days to continue the project, so a spring installation could drag on if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Because this is a favorite time for pool installations, try to get on the schedule early. Pool installers’ schedules fill up during the spring. If you know you want to have your pool installed during the spring, call early enough that you’re guaranteed a spot.

Fall

The autumn months are still warm enough to swim, so fall can be a good time to install a pool. You’ll get to take advantage of the weather to get ahead on the landscaping, as well as have an easier project because the weather’s so dry.

If you have a pool installed in the fall, you can get ahead of the dirt and debris by sowing grass seed around the pool. It will have a few months to take root and start growing before it becomes dormant for the winter. Then when winter is over, fertilize your grass to help it continue growing and become the healthy lawn you want around your pool.

Fall pool installation is also a good plan because your yard isn’t as muddy. The drier the dirt, the easier the installation. Mud, or “sticky soil” in construction terms, can clog the machines and make the project take longer as discussed above.

If you install a pool in the early autumn, you can still get in some good swimming days before winter weather hits. If you’re sure you’ll want to swim later in the season, adding a heater to your pool can extend the length of time you can use the pool.

Winter

If you’re hoping to get good prices for your pool, then installing in the winter is a good time. While the price may be right, you also have to consider the weather for your project. Remember that prices usually go up right after the new year, so it’s best to start the project before the holidays.

Digging can only happen when the yard is dry enough, so any day with a winter thunderstorm or even snow will delay the process. You could end up with a much longer time period of earth mounds and construction scenes in your backyard than if you installed the pool during another season.

You won’t be able to swim in the pool right away if you install in the winter because it will be too cold. Unless you plan to add a heater, you’ll have to wait until spring to swim. The anticipation may be hard to deal with.

Summer

Summer is a busy season for pool installers. The dirt is dry and the weather cooperates, so it’s a great time to dig and start a project. Get on the schedule early if this is the season you choose to install the pool.

One way around the busyness of the season is to wait until later summer. While you won’t get as much time in the pool, there are still plenty of swimming days left. The builder will be able to get to the project faster, too.

This season is the best time for parties and holidays, especially when you have a pool as the focal point. However, tying up the backyard with a construction site is hard during a season when you most want to be outside.

Materials and labor can have higher prices in the summer months. These higher costs will factor into your pool quote, so make sure you’re aware of this challenge if you want to install a pool in the summer.

A Life of Leisure

If you’re ready to get a pool for your home, then you’ve already dreamed of the fun you’ll have soaking up the sun. Yet choosing a good time for a lengthy project is a hard decision.

Spring, summer, fall, and winter all have benefits and drawbacks as seasons for pool installation.

 

Get Sahara Construction and Custom Pools to help you with your pool project this season. You can request a no-cost consultation today.

opening swimming pool

How to Get Your Pool Ready for Spring and Summer

While it may be in the thick of winter right now, it’s still time to start thinking and preparing for opening your pool up.

The warm months are approaching fast and will be here faster than you know it. Hooray for winter almost being over! 

In order to properly open up your swimming pool, there are several steps you need to take to make sure it’s ready for several months ahead.

Here are some of the most important tips to remember when opening your swimming pool for the spring and summer. Use these as your guide for readying the water for the family.

1. Properly Store the Pool Cover

Your pool cover is your best friend when it comes to sheltering your beloved pool from the harsh winter months and all that entails. Because of that, you want to make sure you’re taking care of it so as to not buy a new one each year.

If you don’t carefully take the cover off of the pool, you’re pouring an entire winters’ worth of debris into the dream pool you’ve worked so hard to protect.

Start by removing any water that’s gathered on the tarp during the winter. Trying to remove the tarp with water still on it will make it heavier and more difficult to maneuver.

Be sure to have several people (preferably 3 or 4) help you remove it by standing on opposite sides and folding it.

After you’ve removed the cover, it’s time to clean it. Regardless of what cover you use, you can wash it down with a hose and then pay it all the way out to dry. Once it’s completely dry, you can fold it and store it for the summer.

2. Fill the Pool to an Optimum Level

While this is technically step number 2, you can consider it step 1.5, since you can be accomplishing it as you tend to your pool cover to save time.

It’s once again time to fill your pool back up to its optimum water level. As a general guideline, that means it should be halfway up the skimmer on your pool’s wall.

Keep a sharp eye on the water level to make sure it doesn’t spillover. Other than that, this step should be fairly easy.

3. Ready the Pool Pump

Every pool pump system is different, and thus, the manufacturer will have different directions for how to properly get it ready for the spring. Be sure that you’re following those steps to the “T”.

If you feel comfortable doing so and are looking to maximize time spent on opening the pool up, you can do this while the pool cover is drying and pool is being filled with water.

If you’ve misplaced the manufacturer’s manual for your pool pump, be sure to order another one during the winter, so that you’ll have it ready to go for the spring.

4. Reconnect All Your Equipment

Once you feel like the pump is ready to be reconnected, you should place everything back to where it needs to go. 

Be sure to write a checklist of things like your filters, heater, the pool pump, hose, etc.

Make sure that everything is connected and ready to go if you were to start the pool. Use an eye test once you feel like everything’s connected to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything essential. 

5. Fire It Up!

Now that you’re 100-percent positive everything is connected, it’s time to fire up the pump and pool filter. 

After it’s turned on, take a few walks around the pool and watch for things like making sure the circulation is moving correctly and keeping an eye out for leaks.

If you notice a leak or two, don’t panic. Simply turn off the pump system, and go purchase a pool leak repair kit or call an expert, whichever you feel most comfortable with.

6. Clean Your Pool

Alright, now everything is connected and you turned the power on for the first time that spring.

It’s time to do your darndest to make sure the pool is as clean as can be before the circulation begins. 

Even though you’ve had a pool cover on for the entire winter, there are still unwanted things such as algae and debris that may have crept into the pool. All of that can be fixed with a good, thorough cleaning.

Start by removing any debris away with a leaf rake. Take your time to do this portion and check that every corner and crevice of your pool is debris-free. After that, give the pool surface and floors a good, hard scrubbing. 

Be sure to scrub down all the tiles, tough-to-reach corners, and any other place in your pool that you’ve noticed doesn’t get enough (if any) circulation to it. 

7. Test and Adjust the Pool Chemistry As Needed

After the pool’s had a good scrubbing and the circulation has been going for a few hours, it’s time to check the chemical balance in your pool.

Remember, you’re shooting for a pH level close to 7.5, total alkalinity of around 100 ppm, and for your chlorine to be as close to 3.0 or 4.0 ppm as possible.

Once you know what each chemical level is at, make the proper adjustments to make sure the levels are where they need to be.

Opening Your Swimming Pool: It’s Time to Jump In!

Now that you’ve taken all the proper steps in opening your swimming pool, it’s time for you and the family to enjoy your chlorine-filled or saltwater-filled oasis.

If you’re unsure as to whether a pool is a good idea for your family, check out this article about the numerous health benefits it can offer children.

For more inquiries, please feel free to start by requesting a free consultation and we’ll be happy to assist you further!

 

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!

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 leak detection

A Guide to Pool Leak Detection for Homeowners (And What to Do If You Find One)

Did you know that the average in-ground pool can cost you anywhere between $10,000 and $100,000? That’s a big investment! You’ll want to ensure that it stays in peak condition for as long as you can.

A good practice is pool leak detection, since it is one of the leading causes of further structural damage.

Even with a great pool contractor installing it, pools can eventually break down and leak. You’ll want to spot these leaks fast so you can bring back the professional and fix these problems before they get out of hand.

The following are some things you should do to detect pool leaks at its earliest stage. Learn to do them and your pool will last longer.

Pool Leak Detection: The Bucket Method

This method needs a 5-gallon plastic bucket, a king-size black marker, and duct tape. First, you need to place the empty bucket in the water around the second step of your pool. Try to fill the bucket with water, matching the water level of your pool.

As soon as you finish doing that, mark the level inside the bucket using either the duct tape or the marker. Turn off the recirculating pump and any of the auto-refill device your pool has. Wait for around 24 hours and compare the pool’s water level to that in the bucket.

If the water on the pool and bucket water went down but are of even level, the water loss is because of evaporation. Otherwise, if the pool’s water level is lower than the bucket’s, it’s likely to have leaks. To check the leak sources, repeat the test for another 24 hours, but this time you need to turn on the pump.

With the new results, check if the pool’s water level is higher while the water is circulating under the pressure. If this is the case, the leak may come from somewhere in the plumbing of your pool.

Pool Leak Detection: The Ink Method

This method allows you to find the source of the leak. You’ll need goggles that won’t leak or fog up, a snorkel, and leak finder dyes. If you don’t have dyes available, you can always use food coloring, as long as it’s dark-colored or red.

Start this process by draining the pool. It’s a tricky process since it will drain all the way if the leak is at the bottom of your pool. But if you think it’s coming from the pool walls, this is the best way of determining the source of the leak.

As soon as the pool stops draining, you’ll know it’s located somewhere along the wall—the point where it stops. After that, check the ground and walls around the pool area for wet spots. It helps you know the specific area where the leak originates.

Do your best to narrow it down before you use the dye to locate the leak. As soon as you get a proper estimate, jump into the pool and find its exact location using the dye. You can do this by squirting the dye in the water, somewhere close to the wall.

The dye will move towards the source of the leak because of the current. Approach the areas without disturbing the water too much. Otherwise, the dye will run wild.

How to Patch a Pool Leak

Once you find where the leak comes from, you now have the means of fixing it. Your best bet is to call a pool contractor to do it for you. But that isn’t possible, you need to take the matter into your own hands.

If you have a concrete pool that develops cracks, you need to patch it with plaster. But this process can become complicated, especially if you have no prior experience. That’s why a good substitute is to use vinyl liners instead.

The good news is that you’ll have an easier time finding a leak the smaller your pool is. But once you find it, you shouldn’t always need to replace the liner. Get vinyl liner patch kits since these often work underwater.

Using the Vinyl Liner Repair Kit

These kits often come with big sheets of either clear or blue vinyl. Cut them out to the shape of a big circle, ensuring that it’s larger than the area of the leak. The reason for the shape is because of its lack of corners, making it easier to pull up when using the pool.

Use the glue that came with the kit to cover the entire backside of the patch. If you aren’t underwater, apply the patch over the leak area. Put pressure on it for two minutes to let it settle.

Otherwise, fold the patch in half to reduce the glue’s contact with the water. Go to the leak area and open it up, applying it in one swift motion. Apply pressure to the patch and hold it for about 5 minutes.

Hire Professionals

When in doubt, hire professionals. You never know when you’ll run into problems too big to handle.

Keep in mind that professionals not only have the training but the right equipment, too. This guarantees they get the job done and they do it right.

It’s also safer with them handling the maintenance job – patching a leak might not sound dangerous but it can be. A quick slip could lead to a cracked skull. In fact, falls are among the leading causes of accidental death!

Get Pool Repairs Today!

Pool leak detection is one of the most important maintenance tasks you should do for your swimming pool.

A leaking pool will cost you money in the long run because of the water seepage. It will end up compromising the structural integrity of your pool, resulting in higher maintenance costs.

These tips are things you can do even without the help of an expert. But if you want an accurate means of detecting leaks and fixing them, get reliable pool contractors. You can contact us today and we’ll help you out with pool installation and maintenance.

closing a pool for the season

Closing a Pool for the Season: How to Care for Your Pool During the Fall and Winter

If you’re one of the 16% of Americans who have a residential pool on their property, you know how great the benefits can be. Whether it’s cooling down on a hot summer day, or enjoying evening cocktails with friends, having a pool at home is the perfect way to enjoy outdoor living.

Of course, having a pool at home also means taking the proper steps to maintain it. So what about when it’s time for closing a pool for the season? 

If you’re ready to winterize your pool, keep reading to learn how to get started.

1. Give it a Good Clean

Before you wrap the pool up for the winter, it’s important that it’s as clean as can be. This will prevent stains from getting set in over the winter.

Skim out any debris, or use a pool vacuum. You will also want to clean the walls of the pool with a pull brush. This will help kick up any lingering sediment, which your vacuum can then suck up. 

When you’re cleaning, don’t forget to clean out the filter. You’ll be glad when you open the pool next spring.

You also want to make sure to clean out the lines to the pool. During the winter, the water in these lines can freeze and expand, which can cause damage. Even if your area has mild winters, it’s a good idea to clean out any excess water in case of a cold snap.

You can either empty the lines completely and plug them, or you can add antifreeze to them. If you use antifreeze, consult the manufacturer’s directions to make sure you don’t cause any damage.

2. Balance the Water

Even throughout the season, it’s important to keep a pool’s pH level, or its proportion of alkali to acid, in balance. Experts usually recommend keeping the pH between 7.2 and 7.8.

If the pH is out of balance, it can cause skin irritation or damage to the siding and pool equipment. Since it will be sitting unused all winter, it’s important that the water is balanced to prevent any damage. The level will decrease over time, so it’s best to be at the higher end of the range.

While you are testing the pool’s pH, you should also check the chlorine levels. It should be below five parts per million. If the chlorine level is too high, it could damage other chemicals that you place in the water. 

3. Add Winterizing Chemicals, and Shock It

Adding winterizing chemicals to your pool will help maintain the water in good condition throughout the winter. Make sure to choose anti-algae chemicals to prevent algae from growing over the winter. Algae will clog your filter, and can even make the chlorine have to work harder.

You will also need to shock the pool before you close it. Shocking essentially means adding concentrated chlorine to sanitize the pool. This will also help kill any harmful algae growing.

Also, you should investigate to see whether your water has high levels of metal in it. Metals are most common in pools that get water from a well. If your pool does have high levels of metal, you’ll want to use a metal sequestrant to address it.

4. Do Not Empty the Pool

Some people think that draining the pool at the end of the season is the way to go. In reality, this is one of the worst things you could do.

First of all, emptying the pool could actually void any warranty that you happen to have. Additionally, being empty of water can put a strain on the pool structure and cause damage to it. 

5. Winterize the Pump and Filter

Next, you will want to want to detach the pool pump and plug all of the drain plugs. Do the same with all of the hoses.

Once you have everything detached, place it inside for the winter. This will help extend the life of the equipment. Make sure to keep everything together so you don’t have to go hunting for it in the spring.

Then, make sure to drain your filter and to rinse it off completely. Move any hardware indoors for the winter. This will prevent the materials from being damaged by cold weather.

6. Clean and Stash Your Accessories

Anyone who has a pool knows that there is more to the pool than just the pool itself. There are floats, pool chairs, and pool toys.

Make sure that everything is removed from the pool and pool area, and clean it off. Just like your pump and the hardware for your filter, store everything inside to keep it in good condition.

7. Cover the Pool

Covering the pool prevents leaves and other debris from building up in the pool over the wintertime. Not only that but keeping the pool covered can actually help keep the pH balanced until you are ready to use it again in the summer. 

When you cover the pool, don’t forget to cover the skimmer as well. A skimmer cover will cover the entire skimmer and protect it from the elements. This will prevent rain from getting in and covering the skimmer, which could cause freezing and damage. 

Closing a Pool for the Season: Get Started Today

With these tips in hand, you will be ready to start the process of closing a pool for the season.

Are you still considering whether you should put in a pool on your property? Contact us today for a free consultation to get started.

 

pool cleaners

No Green Pools Allowed: What Are the Best Pool Cleaners out There?

Ready to stop cleaning and just enjoy your pool?

If you want your pool to look sparkly clean all summer long, then you need the right pool cleaner to help. The good news is you can choose one to set and forget while you get to relax.

Are you looking for easy and affordable ways to keep your pool clean? What are the best pool cleaners out there? We discuss your options here.

What Causes Pools to Get Dirty?

Spending time in the pool during the hot summer days is a great way to keep your body cool and stay safe.

When a pool turns green, it is most likely because the chlorine levels dropped and algae have begun to grow in the water. At this point, you need to shock the pool and get the chlorine levels back to normal.

Now it’s time to clean up the mess left over. Don’t worry, you don’t have to drain your pool completely. Set the valve on your filter system to “waste” and begin to let your vacuum pull the major debris out.

Next, you’ll need an algae brush to remove the algae from the bottom of your pool. Regular brushes are usually not strong enough to get rid of algae that’s caked on. The reason you want to vacuum first then brush the algae off the walls is that you need to kill the algae before removing it.

This is done by shocking the pool after you’ve tested the pH and alkalinity of the water. Use pool shock, which has a high level of chlorine, to kill the algae in the pool. You may need to shock a pool multiple times depending on how much algae there is.

To avoid future algae growth, you should check your pool’s chemistry about two to three times a week during the summer.

The process can take up to five days as you wait for your filtration system to clear out the dead algae. You can clean up the mess in less time with help from pool cleaners.

Robotic Pool Cleaners

Today’s technology in pool cleaners is unbelievable. Now you can rely on robotic pool cleaners to keep your pool looking sparkling clean while you lounge peacefully. Robotic cleaners are our top pick for pool cleaners since they make upkeep for larger pools and challenging locations a breeze.

These robotic cleaners can float around your pool and climb the walls for a seriously thorough clean. They use an internal filter to catch debris, so you’ll need to change them regularly.

The great thing about robotic pool cleaners is that they not only provide a thorough clean for your pool, but they also can clean your pool a lot faster than trying to use a manual vacuum.

Some robotic pool cleaners can be scheduled so that they run when no one is in the pool. You can also electronically direct it to certain spots of the pool that were missed. Make sure whichever cleaner you choose, it is meant for your particular type of pool siding. Not all robotic cleaners’ wheels will work on both vinyl and concrete siding.

When purchasing a robotic cleaner, consider how often the filter will need to be changed. Some have larger canisters, so it can hold more debris. You should also take into consideration the size of your pool. Some units aren’t fit for larger pools.

If you’re able to afford the upfront cost of a robotic pool cleaner, then, many pool owners agree, it pays for itself due to the sheer amount of work it eliminates for you.

Manual Cleaners

If you’re willing to take some of the maintenance on in exchange for a less expensive option, then you may be interested in a manual cleaner. You can find options that handle all sizes of debris. However, it will require more brunt work.

Manual cleaners are good for smaller size pools and above ground pools. However, they can be more time consuming than a robotic cleaner.

There are even versions that include different attachments to switch up suction power. Some vacuums require electricity to run. But there are also budget-friendly versions that will run directly off your pool’s suction and filtration system.

You just connect the hose to a 3/4 hp pump and you’re ready to start cleaning. Keep in mind that a higher cost might also mean a more reliable suction and larger size footprint to cover more ground.

Suction Side Cleaners

This type of pool cleaners will work on the suction side of the filtration system. These connect into the pools pump to use the suction of the filtration system to clean the pool.

They float around the pool’s surface or roll around the bottom to guide the water through its tubes and into the pool filter. It assists with the effectiveness of the filter by collecting water throughout the pool. The suction side type of pool cleaner is better for finer debris such as sand and dirt.

Make sure the suction side cleaner you purchase is compatible to hook up with your pool’s specific filtration system.

Pressure Side Cleaners

These cleaners will use water pressure to catch additional debris and are able to work autonomously. Unlike suction side cleaners, they can operate without the use of the pool’s built-in filter. It’s a great way to keep your pool extra clean and also keep your filter from being overtaxed.

Pressure side cleaners roll along the bottom and sides of your pool to pick up larger debris such as twigs and leaves. They collect this debris in a bag that is easy to reach and change. Some of these cleaners will also include a hose that can be used for additional reach.

Above Ground Pool Cleaners

It can be tough finding an above ground pool cleaner since they often don’t offer the same filtration systems as in-ground ones. Luckily, there are some pool cleaners that are made specifically for this purpose.

Above ground pool cleaners should be gentle for the more delicate above ground pool linings. They will also need to run on their own self-contained pumps since they can’t run off of the pool itself. There are robotic options that will help you keep your maintenance to a minimum.

Find Your Best Pool Cleaner

We hope you found this guide to pool cleaners helpful when you’re searching for the right one. There are so many options and a wide range of prices. When you find the right option for you, check to see if it comes with a warranty.

These pool cleaners can require additional maintenance to keep them running, so it’s good to have some protection for your unit.

Want to learn more about care for your pool? Or maybe you’re ready to design your dream pool. Visit our site for everything you need to know about keeping your pool in top shape.