Category: Pool Care

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.

maintaining a pool

9 Tips to Make Maintaining a Pool Easier (and Less Expensive)

Do you live in one of the 10.4 million American homes that have a swimming pool? The most important thing about owning a pool is properly maintaining it. This will prevent high repair costs later on.

Maintaining a pool doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. You just need to know the proper steps and routine checks to ensure your pool’s systems are running smoothly.

Add these eight pool maintenance steps to your home maintenance routine and have a pool that is always ready for a swim.

1. Chemistry

During the summer months, you need to check the chemistry of your pool once or twice a week. You can check less often during the winter months and check every one or two weeks.

The pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6. The lower the pH, the less chlorine your pool will need. The higher the pH, the less effective the active chlorine becomes. This will lead to many pool owners using more and more chlorine.

2. Skimmer Baskets

Look along the side of your pool for the skimmer. The goal of the skimmer is to skim the surface of the pool water to catch dirt and debris. That way, the contaminants are cleared before they become saturated and sink to the bottom of the pool.

You should see a round or rectangular access panel in your pool deck. Open this panel and dump out the contents of the basket inside.

The cleaner you keep the skimmer, the more effective it is at skimming contaminants off the surface of the water.

You can also perform a quick skim of the water every day yourself. All you need is a net on a telescopic pole.

3. Lint Pot

Every couple of weeks you should check the lint pot on the front of your pool pump. To do this, turn off the pump and release the pressure. Now check the basket just inside the glass on the pump.

4. Water Level

Look at the water level in your pool. Make sure it isn’t too high or too low. The water level needs to be at the right height so that the skimmer we mentioned earlier can do its job correctly.

The water level should be in the center of the pool skimmer or pool tile for the best filtering results. If the water is too low, then the pump will run dry, overheat, and eventually burn up. If the water is too high, then it won’t be able to filter the water and keep the debris in the skimmer.

5. Chlorinator

Check the level of the chlorine tablets and that they are loading properly. Fix any clogging issues that you may find. Depending on the system you have, you can set it up to supply your pool with a constant residual supply of needed chlorine.

6. Ozonator

Some pool systems have an Ozonator. These systems use a combination of Ozone and UV light to reduce the level of chlorine necessary to maintain the pool. If your pool has one, you need to check that the light is on and working.

It is advised that you learn how your system works before you make adjustments. Different Ozonators have different installation and maintenance instructions.

7. Chlorine Generator

Some pools use a salt system; you may have heard of them referred to as a salt pool or no chlorine pool. The chlorine generator produces the chlorine for you. This way, you don’t have to buy, store or handle it.

You need to keep the cell clean, and it is vital you keep the pool chemistry on track for proper functioning. If you can taste the salt in your pool, then your pool is over salted.

Also, keep in mind that salt systems will raise the pH. You can expect to use more acid to balance things out.

8. Pool Filters

The filter for your pool needs to be checked periodically. Depending on the location and condition of your pool, it should only need cleaning every four to six months.

You should also check the filter if you have a heavy storm roll through. Excess contaminants and debris can get in your pool during a strong storm causing your filter to clog quicker.

To clean your filter, take the dirty filter and soak it in a mixture of 10% muriatic acid or a solution of TSP. Be sure to use a rubber trash can and wear protection.

Always add the acid to the water. Never add water to the acid. Once your filter is done soaking, be sure to rinse it thoroughly and then allow it to dry.

9. Give Your Pool the Once Over

There are a few things you can look at while caring for your pool that will alert you to potential problems. Take a look at the water in your pool. It should be clear, and you should have no problem seeing the bottom.

While looking at the bottom, note the amount of debris down there. Your in-floor cleaner should keep your pool floor free of 99% of the dirt and debris. The drain in the pool’s bottom should be free of obstructions.

Now inspect the lining of the pool. It should be free of cracks. The sidewall around the returns should be solid and strong. If they are weak, this is a sign of a leak.

Start Maintaining a Pool With Ease

By performing some quick checks and tasks, you can make maintaining a pool easier. The key to maintaining your pool is to keep it clean. This means the water should be clear, the pool free of debris, and the filters are working correctly.

If you don’t have time to perform these regular checks, then it is smart to hire a professional. This will save you money in the long run by having the professionals care for your pool.

Contact us today, and we can take care of your pool maintenance needs.

pool maintenance service

How to Avoid Expensive Pool Repairs

Summer fun all starts in the pool!

Summer is a time to gather with friends and family and enjoy the summer heat. We purchase our pools to enhance our summer and to create valuable memories.

But, expensive pool repairs can stop all of our summer fun right in our tracks. To prevent expensive pool repairs, we’ll need to find a reliable pool maintenance service.

Purchasing a pool is a huge investment. It’s also a large responsibility that requires constant maintenance and care. Pools are definitely a source of fun, but they also need to be properly maintained for them to last.

Pools can last for many years with the correct treatments and maintenance. These maintenance measures need to be performed on a regular basis, however, to keep our pools in excellent condition.

Maintenance routines we need to conduct regularly include treating and filling the pool, emptying the filters, cleaning the lining, and checking the skimmer basket. We also need to check the chlorine levels.

But, if you don’t want to complete all these tasks, then it’s understandable that you’d want to hire a pool maintenance service to avoid repairs. Read on to learn how to avoid expensive pool repairs.

How to Avoid Expensive Pool Repairs Using a Pool Maintenance Service

Pool repairs can be downright costly. Some pool repairs can cost thousands of dollars. This can put a dent in your summer fun and in your pocket.

So, what are the most expensive pool repairs? Vinyl lining repairs are one of the most costly pool repairs. Replacing the lining can cost a homeowner around $1,700.

Another expensive repair is hollow spots. Hollow spots occur when the substrate separates from the bottom of the pool. This requires that the pool be resurfaced so the hollow spot can be repaired.

This repair costs on average between $700 and $1,000.

Leaks in plumbing are also an expensive repair. On average a leak in your pool will cost you around $1,000.

To avoid any unexpected expenses, you’ll need to know how to avoid expensive pool repairs. Explore the following tips for pool maintenance and avoiding pool repairs to keep your pool in excellent condition this summer.

1. Check the Pool’s Chemistry

During the summer, your pool’s chemistry will constantly be in flux. This is because it’s being used on a regular basis. To keep your pool in good condition, you’ll need to check the pool’s chemistry levels 2 to 3 times per week in the summer.

In the winter, you’ll need to check the levels at least one time per week. This ensures that your pool is not only safe to swim in, but that it’s also keeping your pool free of damage.

2. Regularly Examine Your Pool’s Lining

A pool’s lining can sometimes be delicate. Although vinyl lining is a durable material, after a while, it can get damaged. For this reason, it’s important to check your pool’s lining at least on a bi-weekly basis.

Doing so will ensure that small damage is discovered before it becomes an expensive repair.

3. Check the Plumbing

A pool couldn’t function without the plumbing components. The plumbing system controls water flow, filtering, and chemical balance. It is essential that you regularly maintain various components of your plumbing system to prevent any expensive repairs.

You also may need to drain the plumbing system in the winter to prevent freezing.

4. Fix Small Repairs Promptly

They say that the best defense is a good offense. The same logic applies to pool repairs. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, don’t ignore it.

Investigate the source of the damage and seek out a pool repair service immediately. One source of damage could cause other components in the pool to breakdown as well. As multiple components get damaged, the cost of repairs will likely skyrocket.

5. Explain Pool Rules

Pool rules are a good way to keep all swimmers safe. But, it’s also important that swimmers understand the rules for preventing damage. For example, sharp objects or metal objects shouldn’t be brought in the pool.

These objects could damage the pool’s lining and cause other problems. Explain to swimmers that only pool toys and pool-safe items are allowed in the pool to prevent expensive repairs.

6. Clean Regularly

Lastly, it’s important to clean your pool on a regular basis. Clean the vinyl lining, the deck, and the pool cover. If you don’t clean on a regular basis, then you could miss a developing problem.

Cleaning regularly will also help to clear your pool of debris and maintain its chemical balance. To clean your pool, start by skimming the surface with a pool net. Then, take towels and clean the vinyl siding of any buildup or scum.

You should also sweep away any debris that is near your pool. This will prevent it from blowing in on a breezy day.

Lastly, change your pool’s filters on a monthly basis and empty your skimmer regularly.

How to Avoid Expensive Pool Repairs: Finding a Pool Maintenance Service

Knowing how to avoid repairs is the first step in keeping your wallet and pool safe this summer. The next step is finding a pool maintenance service.

A pool maintenance service will complete your pool maintenance on a regular basis. For this reason, the workers completing the pool maintenance need to be trustworthy.

To determine a company’s trustworthiness, check out their online reviews. You can find these reviews by going on social media or by checking out the Better Business Bureau website.

You can also ask for referrals from friends and family. If your neighbor has a pool, consider asking them about their pool maintenance service.

It’s also a good idea to call the pool maintenance company directly. Ask them if they are licensed, bonded, and insured. If they aren’t, then it’s best to find another company altogether.

Make note of the company’s customer skills while on the phone to determine if you are interested in working with them on a regular, long-term basis.

Need a reputable pool maintenance service in Texas? Contact us today to learn more about our pool maintenance services.