Category: Pool Tips

dry ice in the pool

Spooky Pool Party Tips: Why You Should Be Putting Dry Ice in the Pool This Year

Halloween is a few weeks away? Are you planning on hosting a Halloween bash?

Well, if you own a pool, you’re in luck. You have the perfect party setting even in the fall. Though the air is crisp and it’s too cold to swim, your pool can be the star of the show this Halloween.

Read on to learn why dry ice in the pool will take your spooky party to the next level. 

How Dry Ice Works

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. 

To understand how dry ice works, we need to talk science. But don’t worry, you won’t have to take a test on this!

Molecules (regardless of whether they are a liquid or a solid) stay together due to the attraction of ions.

Dry ice is very cold. We’re talking -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit (-78.5 degrees C). As you may recall from grade 9 science, sublimation means that as a solid breaks down, it turns into a gas and not a liquid.

That’s what happens with frozen carbon dioxide. As it melts, you get a gas or a fog instead of a messy wet puddle the way you do with regular ice.

To create a fog effect, drop chunks of dry ice into a heated pool or a bucket of hot water. The ice will immediately begin melting, emitting white vapors that create an effect similar to a fog machine.

To keep the fog effect going, simply continue adding ice. If you are using a bucket of hot water, you’ll need to replace the water once the dry ice has cooled it down. With a heated pool, you won’t need to worry about replacing the water. 

Dry Ice Safety

As you can likely tell from the temperature we mentioned above, it is imperative that you are very careful when you handle dry ice.

You must wear thick, heavy gloves when picking up dry ice. Latex or rubber cleaning gloves just won’t do. It’s wise to also use tongs as well as heavy gloves when putting dry ice in your pool.

If you touch dry ice with your hands, the extremely cold temperature can cause real damage very quickly. So don’t do it.

You never want to put dry ice in your mouth for the same reason. 

Also, ventilation is important when dealing with dry ice. You need an area that has good airflow. Regular air is made up of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and only 0.035% carbon dioxide.

If the level of carbon dioxide rises higher than 5%, it can be toxic.

That’s what makes your outdoor pool a perfect spot for your dry ice decor. There’s excellent ventilation. If you are hosting a Halloween party in your backyard, use your pool as a decor feature, but don’t plan to go swimming. For one thing, it’s too cold in October. And for another, the high levels of CO2 are too much to breathe in.

That means you should never use dry ice in an indoor pool. 

Just make sure you and your guests don’t stick their head in the fog. This fog is a zone of high CO2 concentration. As we said, too much carbon dioxide is dangerous to your health.

Why You Should Put Dry Ice in the Pool

Now that we’ve talked about the dangers of dry ice, let’s move on to why it’s a great idea to put dry ice in your pool this Halloween.

Let’s face it, your pool takes up quite a bit of your yard space. And if you are hosting a Halloween party, it’s probably a costume party and not a pool party. 

But maybe you haven’t gotten around to closing your pool for the winter. Well, no worries, dry ice can make your pool your main decorative attraction.

Dry ice will make amazing bubbles and fog. Your guests will feel like they are lost in the moors of Wuthering Heights or in a haunted graveyard.

You can also use red, purple, or green spotlights to make your fog look creepy and awesome. 

Another reason dry ice is the way to do is that dry ice is inexpensive compared to most other decorations. You can get big chunks of frozen carbon dioxide for a few bucks.

A little dry ice goes a long way. Throw a small chunk into the pool at regular intervals to keep the spooky fog going all night long.

Enhance Dry Ice in Swimming Pool with Decor

Your dry ice pool is sure to be the talk of the party. But you can take your spooky get together to the next level with some well placed decorative items for the ultimate wow factor.

Why not add a few skeletons in your pool. They will look as if burned alive in acid with the fog rolling over them. Pose your skeletons with jaws gaping and arms outstretched as if they are climbing out. 

You can also use some buckets of hot water and dry ice along the edge of your fences. That way, your guests will feel completely isolated from the world. What neighbors, they’ll say.

Don’t forget to play a spooky soundtrack (Thriller, anyone?) for a party your guests will never forget.

Final Word on Dry Ice in Pools

 We hope this article about how to safely use dry ice in the pool helps you up your Halloween party this year.

Remember, Sahara Construction and Custom Pools is your best bet for all your pool and outdoor living needs. Ask for a free consultation today.

 

swimming pool shapes

Homeowner’s Swim Guide to Choosing the Right Pool Design

There are more than 10 million residential pools in backyards across the nation.

It’s not hard to understand why. Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise out there. Swimming offers a great workout with minimal impact on your body. And a pool is a great social hub too.

If you’re thinking about getting a pool, you’re probably wondering what kind of design you should go for.

Read on as we take a look at some of the most popular swimming pool shapes.

Rectangle

If you asked someone to draw a swimming pool, they’d probably sketch out a rectangle.

This is one of the most popular swimming pool shapes and for good reason. A rectangular pool is ideal for people who want to swim laps, as well as being a great way to maximize your pool space.

You really can’t go far wrong with a rectangular pool.

Oval

Oval pools can still be used for swimming laps, especially if you use the middle of the pool.

The rounded edges make them look a little softer, and they make great family pools. They’re also ideal if you’re planning to play water sports in the pool as it means there are no sharp corners.

Circular

Circular pools are the ultimate in soft design but aren’t that great if you’re looking to swim laps.

With no sharp corners anywhere, a circular pool is perfect for a family with smaller children. Because a circular pool has less volume than a rectangular or square pool of similar length and width, to get a decent sized circular pool you need a lot more space.

L Shaped

If you’re looking for a pool that really stands out, try an L-shaped pool.

This type of pool can be the best of both worlds. You can have a deeper section for swimming laps, and the other branch of the L can be a shallower area for the kids. Or you could switch it up and have a shallower main pool and a deeper diving area.

L-shaped pools come in two main varieties.

True L

This is a pool where the two sections are at right angles to each, just like the lines in a letter L. This is the more traditional form of L-shaped pool and is useful for working around obstructions or making better use of your space.

Lazy L

In this type of pool, the angle between the two parts of the pool is less than ninety degrees. It makes for a shallower angle between the two parts of the pool. 

The shorter angled part of the pool is often as a gently sloped entrance to the main part of the pool which can be used for laps and general swimming. 

Kidney

A kidney-shaped pool is fairly similar to a Lazy L, but without the straight sides that you see in Lazy L pools.

This gives a kidney-shaped pool a softer look. These pools give you a lot the benefits of a rectangular or oval pool, but the slight bend in the middle helps to divide the pool up into distinct areas. 

You can put these areas to different uses, such as a shallower section and a deeper one.

Figure Eight

This type of pool is also a great way to divide your pool into distinct sections.

Similar to an oval pool, but with sides that curve inwards in the middle, these pools give the soft look of other rounded pools but still allow for a good amount of straight length for those looking to swim laps.

With figure eight pools, the water can flow around freely. It won’t get trapped in the corners as it sometimes does with rectangular pools.

Greek

If you’re looking for a pool that has true classical style, then a Greek pool is a great option.

These pools are like a rectangular pool with the corners cut out. Instead of a right angle in the corners, you have a curved area that juts into the pool in each corner. The look is truly stunning and the corners provide great platforms for diving into the pool.

Roman

Another timeless style of pool is the Roman style. Instead of having the corners cut out, like with the Greek style, these pools are like a rectangular pool with an additional semicircle on each of the shorter sides.

These semicircular areas are ideal for allowing a shallow entrance into the pool, either with a gentle slope or with steps down to the full depth of the main pool.

This space can also be utilized as a shallower section to lie in and soak up the sun after a hard swim in the main pool. 

Freeform

The beauty of swimming pools is that they can be made to any design that you wish.

If none of the above shapes really float your boat, that’s totally fine. You can come up with your own personal design of pool, or get a professional to design one for you.

By creating your own design you can have a pool that perfectly matches your personal style. It will also work in harmony with your yard or garden meaning that you have a pool that truly compliments your home.

With a freeform pool, the only limit is your imagination!

Do You Have Your Heart Set on One of These Swimming Pool Shapes?

If any of these swimming pool shapes appeal to you, then we’re here to help. 

We can design and build custom pools to meet both your personal tastes and your budget. Our elite pool design team can help make the pool of your dreams become a reality. If you’re looking for inspiration, take a look through our gallery of the pools we’ve built for other satisfied customers.

Contact us today for your free consultation.

pool depth

Deep Diving: What Is the Perfect Pool Depth?

What if your biggest home addition was a huge waste of money?

For many homeowners, a pool is the biggest addition they will make to their home. And, of course, one of the most expensive additions.

In order to get the most out of your pool, you need to get the depth just right. Unfortunately, it is difficult to calculate pool depth without doing a lot of research.

Fortunately, we’ve done the homework for you. Keep reading to discover our guide to the perfect pool depth!

The Good News

Why is pool depth such a big consideration? It’s simple: there are many different pool activities, and these activities have different ideal depths.

However, the primary pool activity will always be swimming. And most people can reasonably swim in depths as low as 3.5 feet.

Keep that in mind as we explore different depths for various activities and purposes. Since the depth will never be lower than 3.5 feet, you’ll be able swim regardless of the exact depth or exact area of the pool.

Different Depths

Wondering how to research different depths for your own pool? You can simply cast your mind back to the kinds of pools you have used before.

Most pools will have a more shallow area upfront. This is good for kids or shorter people and provides a place for people to relax in the water without actively swimming.

In a multi-depth pool, things usually get deeper towards the back of the pool. The “deep end” is typically no deeper than 9 feet.

Creating a pool with multiple depths helps different friends and family use the pool in different ways. However, to save time and money, it is possible to create a pool with a single purpose and a single depth.

Different Purposes

We’ve talked about the different depths you may wish for your pool to include. However, which purposes are best suited to which depths?

You may want a dedicated kiddie area. Depending on child height, this area may have a depth as little as 3 feet. Because this is a lower depth than the main pool area, you may need to make certain design considerations (more on this later).

Athletic people may like the idea of playing various sports in the pool. Activities such as pool volleyball will need a depth where everyone can safely stand.

Less athletic people may simply want to relax. They need an area where the water is no more than waist-high. That lets folks enjoy getting wet while also wetting their whistle with a relaxing cocktail.

Finally, you will want a depth suitable for diving. And it will need to be deep enough that head-first divers don’t put themselves in danger when jumping in.

Check the Heights

Most of our recommendations are based on general guidelines and average heights. However, it’s worth taking your family’s specific heights into consideration.

In a couple with dramatic height differences, you may need to split the difference on certain depth levels. Otherwise, what is waist-deep for one person might be chest or even neck-deep on another!

Child height is also a consideration. It may be tempting to create a separate kiddie pool for a very young child. But children grow taller very quickly, and you may find yourself with a kiddie pool you no longer need or use.

With these factors in mind, let’s “dive in” (so to speak) about the exact pool depth you need for different purposes.

Fun Depths

The first depth is what we call the “fun depth.” This is a depth that is ideal for playing recreational sports or doing very shallow dives.

We recommend a depth of 3.5-4 feet for these purposes. This allows people to move quickly enough for games like volleyball while also providing a safe depth for someone to make a shallow (and not head-first) dive.

Again, height may be a consideration. If you have many really tall friends and family members, you may need to raise this depth accordingly.

Chill Depths

What about the people who just want to chill out and lounge in the pool? Believe it or not, 3.5-4 feet is generally the perfect height for their needs as well.

These people may not be moving super-fast like sports players. However, they will still want waist-deep water to feel like they are comfortably immersed within the pool.

Between young kids and relaxing adults, this may well end up being the most-used area of the pool!

Diving Depths

Our last category concerns diving. What is the safe depth for those who might be diving into your pool head-first? 

This section should be a minimum of 9 feet deep. Any shorter than that puts divers at risk of head or neck injuries that may change their lives forever.

Of course, diving typically comes with a diving board. But you may want to hold off before ordering a board for your pool.

Some cities and states have special requirements for homeowners adding a diving board. You may need to obtain a special permit first or even pay additional insurance after making this addition!

Design Considerations

As we said, most pools have multiple depths. But what is the best pool design if you’re intending to add such depths?

The classic design of such a pool is one, big rectangle. It starts out shallow on one end and gradually deepens into the deep end.

Sometimes, homeowners may want the shallow end to be separate from the rest of the pool. For example, you may want to leave a shallow area for hanging and a longer, deeper area for swimming laps.

If that’s the case, you may want to go with an L-shaped design or other custom shape. This helps you separate the shallow area into its own separate and convenient space.

Pool Depth: Jump Right In

Now you know the secrets to ideal pool depth. But do you know who can help bring the pool of your dreams to life?

We specialize in pool financing, construction, and maintenance. To see how we can help you stay cool in a pool, come request a no-cost consultation today!

cost of an inground pool

Is The Cost Of An Inground Pool Worth The money?

Did you know that there are 10.6 million swimming pools in the U.S.? Rightfully so since swimming isn’t just relaxing but a great way to cool off! Are you thinking about getting a pool but aren’t sure it’s worth the investment?

In this article, you’ll learn about the cost of an inground pool and why it’s worth every penny. Read on to discover the many benefits of owning an inground pool and why you won’t want to miss out. 

Is the Cost of an Inground Pool Worth It?

The cost of an inground pool can vary but most homeowners spend about $37,022 to $46,031. The installation includes the:

  • Type of pool (concrete, fiberglass, vinyl)
  • Location
  • Custom features such as diving boards
  • The size
  • Permits

The great news is if you don’t have $40,000 to throw down on a pool right now, there are excellent financing options to make your dream a reality. 

Before you go on thinking that’s a pretty penny, do know that a pool does increase the value of homes and brings families together. If you ever decide to sell your home, homes with pools are much more desirable. 

Whether you want to relax after a long hot day outside, or have a relaxing place for your kids to play and have fun, there’s something for everyone. 

Types of Inground Pools

There are 3 types of pools which include a concrete, fiberglass, and vinyl pool. Concrete pools are pristine and beautiful to look at, but are the most expensive option. Vinyl lined pools are the lowest cost of materials. The one drawback of vinyl though is they’ll have to be replaced sooner than other liners. 

If you’re looking for a quick and ready-to-go pool, then fiberglass is for you. Fiberglass and vinyl pools also require fewer chemicals than concrete. One drawback of fiberglass is they’re limited in shape and size.

Fiberglass can be just as much as concrete in certain cases.

When determining what pool is best for you, it’s important to keep in mind the liner you’ll be using. The base cost of a liner is not including preparation of the site, or features you’ve selected to build your pool. 

Inground swimming pool liners normally cost between $400-$2,300 depending on the size of the pool. An average 14′ X 28′ inground pool liner is $500-$800. A 20′ X 40′ can be between $950 to $2,000. If you opt with a thicker liner, they cost  $300-$400 more but last longer. 

Pool liner thickness is measured in MIL which is 1,000th of an inch. There are pros and cons to each depending on thickness. A pool expert can help you pick out the correct liner thickness. 

They’re Great Exercise

Did you know that you can burn between 400-950 calories per hour swimming? If you don’t have time for the gym, head to your backyard for a great workout. Swimming is an excellent aerobic exercise for both children and adults. 

Ultimate Staycation

Forget about spending money on a trip you don’t need, and have the ultimate staycation with your family. A staycation means you have an at-home vacation. When you have an inground pool, it’s like staying at a resort without paying for the travel and hotels. 

Improved Mental Health

Sure, it’s great for physical exercise, but it improves moods as well. Not only does it decrease the risk of chronic illnesses, but it improves mental health as well. 

Tax-Deductible

If you decide to take out a home equity loan for buying your pool, the interest could be tax-deductible. Speak with an accountant or tax preparer to see if you’d qualify. 

Decreased Lawn Mowing

An inground pool takes up more room so you won’t have to worry about mowing as much of your lawn. After you mow your lawn, you can cool off by jumping into your luxurious pool. 

Hello Relaxation

Do you just want to forget about your long day and relax having all worries melt away? When you have an inground pool, you’re creating a nice and relaxing space in your backyard. Even if you decide not to go in, you can relax by the pool and get some sun. 

Bring Your Family Together 

Would you love to have an activity your whole family can bond doing? A pool is a great place for children, teenagers, and adults. You don’t have to worry about your teens running off getting into trouble because they can hang out with their friends in the pool. 

It can also bring your family together, an activity all can enjoy. 

Easy Financing

If you think your dream pool isn’t obtainable, think again. There are plenty of financing options so you can pick the perfect payment plan for you and your family. 

All Eyes on Your Yard

Would you like an improved look to your yard that will be the envy of the neighborhood? Installing an inground pool is a great way to really improve the look of your yard. Neighbors and friends won’t be able to stop looking at the beauty of your yard. 

Next Steps

Having an inground pool is an excellent investment for not just you but your entire family as well. If you’re worried about the cost of an inground pool, check out different financing options. Also, keep in mind all of these great features of having an inground pool. 

Are you ready to install the pool of your dreams? Contact us today for a free consultation, and we will make sure you receive the most luxurious and relaxing pool. 

pool construction company

Best Reasons To Hire A Pool Construction Company This Year

What better way to beat the Texas heat than with your own pool?

Having a pool in your backyard gives you the freedom to cool down in the privacy of your backyard. Of course, it creates the perfect setting for a summer full of epic pool parties too.

if you’re thinking about putting in a pool, you’ve probably asked yourself the classic question: to hire someone or to DIY?

While most homeowners think building their own pool would be cheaper, that isn’t always the case. There are plenty of benefits you can only get from hiring a pool construction company.

1. Get the Pool You Truly Want

Anyone can create their own paintings for their home if they want. They won’t end up with da Vinci-quality paintings, though.

The same applies to your pool.

If you try to build the pool yourself, you will be limited by your own abilities. You’ll have enough of a challenge trying to create a basic rectangle without any bells and whistles.

A professional pool builder, on the other hand, has enough skills to be creative. They can help you come up with a custom pool design that has everything you want and is practical for your property.

The same goes for materials. A pool construction company will have access to a wider range of materials than you do, giving you more options.

2. Enjoy Your Pool Sooner

When you make the decision to add a pool to your home, you want to skip ahead and enjoy that pool as soon as possible. That won’t happen if you try to build it yourself.

When you build your own pool, each step takes a long time because you need to learn how to do it at the same time. This could turn your project into a massive venture that takes months to complete.

A professional pool builder is far more efficient. They have all the experience and knowledge to complete the job swiftly.

In addition, building your pool is their full-time job. They can start the job and keep it moving until it’s finished.

If you try a DIY approach, you’re juggling the pool with your job, housework, family activities, and more.

3. Access to Top-Notch Equipment

Building a pool doesn’t just take knowledge. It takes equipment as well.

Pool construction companies are able to invest in specialized, powerful equipment. Think backhoe diggers, concrete mixers, and more. These types of tools let them get the job done quickly and with more precision than manual methods.

If you’re trying to build your own pool, you don’t have access to that equipment. Even if you’re able to rent or borrow it, you don’t know how to use it effectively. The result is a lower-quality pool that takes more time to build.

4. Protect Your Home’s Value

When you have an in-ground pool, that pool is part of your property. It will have a significant impact on your home’s value, and not always for the better.

The exact numbers will depend on your local real estate market at the time. However, you can feel safe in the assumption that a professionally-built pool will be better for your home value than a cheap DIY one.

In fact, a shoddy pool could make your home’s value decline. Future buyers would see it as a safety risk or an eyesore they need to remove, which would cost them money.

5. Staying Within the Law

As with any building project, there are city ordinances and building codes your pool needs to follow.

Homeowners who build their own pools don’t always take the time to research those requirements. They toil for months on building the pool and when they’re done, they find themselves with piles of legal fees.

A pool construction company can avoid those problems for you. We know the local city codes and the necessary permits for each job. We’ll build the pool within the regulations the first time so the city doesn’t knock down your door.

6. Putting Safety First

Pools are meant to be fun ways to enjoy your backyard. The fact remains that they have safety risks. Part of those risks depends on how you build the pool.

A professional pool builder has in-depth knowledge of installing pools with safety in mind. We can include safety features you never know about on your own, protecting your family in the long-term. 

The installation process itself is a safety risk as well. Any construction project is risky, especially if there is heavy machinery involved. No pool is worth putting your life at risk.

Pool construction companies, on the other hand, know how to do the job safely.

7. Long-Term Assurance

Picture this. You spend months building your own pool, struggling with one aspect after another. You finally get everything finished and the next day, when you go out to enjoy it, you discover a leak.

That scenario could make anyone’s heart drop. It’s more common than you think for homeowners who try to install their own pools.

It’s a different situation if you hire a pool construction company. Because of our extensive knowledge, problems are less likely to occur.

In the rare case that there is a problem with your pool, all it takes is a phone call. Reputable pool builders stand behind our work and if there is a problem, you can turn to us for help. 

Hiring the Right Pool Construction Company This Year

A great pool will make you the envy of your neighborhood, not to mention give you a cool place to relax at home. The results depend on the path you choose, though,

For the many reasons above, your best bet is to hire a professional pool construction company. Save your DIY skills for smaller-scale projects or projects that have less of an impact on your family’s safety.

If you’re ready to take the next step, call our pool builders today.

how to finance a pool

How to Finance a Pool: 6 Reliable Options

Perhaps you’re thinking about installing a pool but are a little intimidated by the price? If so, you should know that you won’t have to cover all of the costs up-front. There are a number of financing options that you can pursue which will allow you to pay for your pool in small installments over time. 

Interested in learning more about these financing options? Then read on. Here is how to finance a pool. 

Here’s How to Finance a Pool

There are quite a few ways to finance a pool, each of which has its benefits and its downsides. The most common methods of pool financing are as follows. 

1. Home Equity Loan

One of the most popular methods of financing a pool is to take out a home equity loan. This is a loan which leverages your equity in your home as collateral. As such, it necessitates that you’ve paid off a portion off your mortgage.  

Most home equity loans allow you to borrow up to 90% of your total equity. So, if you have equity of $80,000 in your home, you could borrow up to $72,000. 

A home equity loan is given as a lump sum of money. So, whatever the interest rate is when you take the loan out, it will remain for the duration of the loan. This can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how interest rates change over the years. 

At the present time, the average interest rate for a home equity loan is around 5.76%. 

2. Home Equity Line of Credit 

A home equity line of credit is similar to a home equity loan in that it too leverages your equity in your home as collateral. Where it differs is in the way that it allows you to use it. 

Whereas a home equity loan comes as one lump sum of money, a home equity line of credit works more like a credit card. This is to say that it allows you to loan out money as needed and only charges you interest on the money that you’ve withdrawn. 

The risk with home equity lines of credit is that they have variable interest rates. So, while your interest rate might start at 5.25%, it could increase up to 5.75% or 6% or an even greater figure before you’ve paid your debts. 

3. 401K

Another option is to draw money from your 401K retirement fund. This allows you to acquire a loan up to the amount which is in your account. It then uses the money in your account as collateral. 

Interest rates on 401K loans typically range between 5% and 8%, fairly respectable figures when compared to personal loans and credit cards. However, there is a massive negative associated with 401K loans: any amount which is loaned out is considered taxable income. So, while you’ll only be paying 5% to 8% interest on the loan, you’ll also be paying thousands of dollars worth of taxes on it as well. 

Another downside to 401K loans is that they must typically be repaid within 5 years. Failure to pay such loans within this time frame will result in an early withdrawal fee of 10%. 

In short, unless you plan on having substantial amounts of disposable income in the near future, a 401K loan is a financially risky way to finance a pool. 

4. Personal Loan 

If you don’t feel like putting up collateral in order to secure a loan, you could apply for a personal loan. Personal loans are given based on credit score, necessitating nothing in the way of collateral. 

However, depending on your credit score, this can be a costly way to do things. If your score is anything less than great, you’re going to be paying interest of at least 10%. As you can see, this is substantially higher than the interest rates associated with our previously-discussed financing options. 

If you’re thinking about going the personal loan route, you should first inquire about interest rates. If you can get a decent rate (~3.5% to 8%), there’s no reason not to go for it. 

5. Pool Company Payment Plan 

Depending on the company that you hire to install your pool, you might be able to take advantage of a pool company payment plan. Many companies will allow you to pay your pool off over time at a reasonably low interest rate, provided that you have good credit or a decent amount of collateral to use as leverage. 

In some cases, interest rates can be as low at 4.75%. This would be lower than the rates included with both home equity loans and home equity lines of credit. 

And the best thing about utilizing a pool company payment plan? You can cut out a good deal of the groundwork. There will be no need to shop around for financing options. 

6. Credit Card

Your last option is to charge your pool expenses to one or more credit cards. In the vast majority of cases, however, this is not a wise decision. 

Credit cards carry very high interest rates, usually falling somewhere between 15% and 26% APR. Therefore, anything financed on a credit card is going to rack up substantial amounts of interest. 

However, there is one type of credit card which could be beneficial: a 0% intro APR credit card. These credit cards charge 0% interest for the first year or so of their use. So, if you can pay off their full balances within that year or so, you won’t be charged any interest at all. 

Be warned, however, if you fail to pay off your cards before their intro period end, you could have seismic amounts of interest levied against you. This could, in short, bury you financially. 

So, again, in most cases, it’s a good idea to stay away from credit cards when financing a pool. There is much greater risk involved than there is reward. 

In Need of Pool Installation Services in Katy, Texas?

Now that you know how to finance a pool, you might be interested in installing a pool on your property. In need of pool installation services in Katy, Texas? If so, we here at Sahara Construction & Custom Pools are the people to see. 

We offer financing on all of our pools and can help you to pay for our services regardless of your budget. Sporting a team of highly skilled and experienced installation specialists, we’re well-equipped to give you the pool of your dreams. 

Contact us now for a free consultation! 

saltwater pool system

7 Advantages Of Getting A Saltwater Pool System

Texans can tell you that having a pool in the backyard is one of the best ways to beat that Texas heat. In a state where the average high is 96 degrees in July and 71 degrees all the way up until the late fall and early winter, beating the heat is crucial.

Most of us think of chlorinated water when we think of pools. That chlorine smell is sure to bring back memories of our childhood summers spent poolside! But what if we told you there was another way to keep your pool clean that wasn’t difficult and possibly even better for you? 

We’ve already talked about the differences between chlorine and saltwater pools. But we’re not done raving about saltwater pools!

Read on to find out 7 awesome advantages of revamping your pool with a saltwater pool system.

1. Low Annual Maintenance Cost

Saltwater pool systems can cost more to install than chlorine systems. Saltwater pool systems require saltwater chlorine generators. You also may have to replace certain features like lights and filters if your current ones are made from materials that don’t react well to salt. 

Pool financing can help soften the blow of this initial cost. Even more fortunate is how affordable saltwater pool systems are to maintain after installment!

Maintaining a saltwater pool system will cost about $100 per year, compared to the $300-$800 you may have to pay for chlorine pool maintenance. It won’t take long before the price of your saltwater pool evens out with the amount you would have spent to install and maintain a chlorine pool.

2. Minimal Maintenance Required

Because salt cells in a saltwater pool system produce chlorine as needed, you won’t have to do nearly as much work to keep your chlorine levels balanced. It is still recommended that you regularly check your saltwater pool’s chemical levels to make sure everything is running smoothly, but rarely will you run into any real issues.

For the most part, maintenance will consist of keeping your saltwater pool filter and pump clean and clear of salt build-up and debris. This doesn’t take long, nor does it require harsh chemicals. 

3. Less Contact with Unsafe Chemicals

To maintain a chlorine pool, you are required to store and handle a lot of chemicals.

Properly administered pool chemicals are safe for most swimmers to come into contact with. However, these chemicals must be handled with the right safety equipment and mixed properly to avoid any risk of injury and even explosion.

With a saltwater pool system, you will only need to store and handle salt. This is a much better alternative for inexperienced pool owners or families with small children and pets, as it lowers the risk of accidents.

4. Saltwater Pool Systems Are Better for Skin and Eyes

Chlorine neutralizes the bacteria in water to prevent the spreading of germs. However, it also has a habit of neutralizing some of our bodies’ natural resources that keep us from drying out! 

Mass quantities of chlorine can strip away the natural oils in our skin and hair that we need to stay naturally moisturized. It can also strip away the tear film in our eyes that keep our corneas free from irritants. Unfortunately, without that film, we are more exposed to pink eye and other eye infections.

While saltwater pool systems are still producing chlorine, they’re producing a lot less of it, which means our skin and eyes won’t be nearly as dried out and irritated after a long swim!

5. Saltwater Pools May Be Better for People with Asthma

When chlorine comes into contact with organic matter, it produces a gas that, in large quantities, can cause inflammation in your respiratory tract and sinuses. For most people, this inflammation won’t be too harmful. However, for people with asthma or strong allergies, this inflammation can be triggering.

This gas is more of a concern for large indoor pools, where it can become trapped and dense. Unless outdoor chlorine pools are highly over-chlorinated, they should be safe for swimmers with respiratory problems.

However, if you are a regular, active swimmer with respiratory problems, it might be in your best interest to switch to a saltwater pool system. The less you come into contact with this gas, the better off your lungs will be and the more you can enjoy your swim time!

6. Saltwater Pools Feel Better

Because humans are actually quite salty themselves, the salt level in water can actually change the way our skin interacts with it. 

When we submerge ourselves in water, we can absorb or lose water. In water without salt, our body will likely absorb water. In water with tons of salt (like ocean water), water is actually being drawn away from our body. 

As confusing as that may seem, the biggest takeaway for saltwater pool owners is that the water feels softer and better on the skin!

7. Saltwater Pools Are Better for Our Furry Friends

Plenty of pool owners have dogs that love to go for a dip. As we’ve mentioned, high levels of chlorine can be irritating for our eyes and skin. Our dogs are actually more sensitive to these problems than we are!

Not only is it harder to wash chlorine away from a dog’s skin because of their hair or fur but it’s also pretty difficult to explain to a dog that they should probably swim with their eyes closed. Saltwater is less harsh on their skin and less likely to cause damage to their eyes.

That being said, dogs should never be allowed to drink pool water, even if it’s treated with a saltwater pool system. Ingesting large quantities of chlorine or salt can have negative effects on their health. Make sure you always monitor the way your dogs are behaving around the pool!

Make the Change to a Saltwater Pool System

If you feel like you’d benefit from these saltwater pool system advantages, why not make the transition? 

Check out our service area to see if we can help you out. If you are, contact us today! We can’t wait to make your saltwater pool dreams come true!

pool automation

7 Tips for Setting up the Ultimate Pool Automation System

You just went on the best dinner date of your life. 

You’ve asked your date over for a drink after dinner, expecting to end up in the hot tub. But it will take a while to get home, and will they want to stick around if your water is cold?

With the ultimate pool automation system, you can start heating up your hot tub on the way home. Your connected landscape lights will set the mood as you take your date to the water.

No awkward waiting around for the mood to be right. Your date will be impressed, and you’ll be on your way to a fantastic jacuzzi date night.

Sounds pretty good right?

Pool automation systems let you operate and maintain your pool from a distance. The systems can be complicated, but don’t worry.

With these tips, you’ll be on your way to a fully automated pool that’s within your personal taste and budget.

How Does Pool Automation Work?

Pool owners without automation systems have to turn on each switch individually. This is a pain, considering systems such as the heater and pump may not be directly beside the pool.

With an automation system in place, you can control many features at once, from one place. The control panel doesn’t have to be anywhere near the pool – it can be wherever you are!

A control panel manages functions remotely using actuators and relays (usually the pump and heater), but can also control lights, spa systems, and water features.

While some automation systems are designed specifically for pools, others work for both spas (such as hot tubs) and pools.

If you’re not confident handling electrical work, you should hire a pro and stay a safe distance away as they work their magic.

What Does It Cost?

It sounds fancy, but pool automation isn’t as expensive as you may think. Most systems cost between $1,500 and $2,500.

The final cost depends on factors such as

  • The pool size and complexity
  • The presence of a spa
  • The brand and model of the automation system
  • Whether you will use a smartphone app or control panel

While the upfront cost may give you sticker shock, the right automation system will save you money spent on energy in the long run.

Tips for the Ultimate Pool Automation System

Looking to upgrade to a smart pool? We’ve put together 7 automation tips you should consider to help set up the ultimate pool automation system.

1. Save Now and Upgrade Later

Can you install a regular pool now and upgrade later? 

Absolutely! 

If you’re not convinced yet, save money on your initial purchase and hold off on automation until you’re ready. 

Unlike underwater lights and waterfalls, pool automation isn’t built into your pool or spa. It’s a feature that can be added on later.

Spend a little more money now on designing the pool you love, then worry about automation when your budget allows for it.

2. Do Your Homework

Think about what parts of your pool’s system you’d like to automate. 

Features such as bubblers, fountains, landscape lighting, automatic pool cleaners, chlorinators, and spa jets are just a few of the things that can be automated. Which of these features are most important to you? What exactly are you looking to achieve? 

Whether it’s efficiency, wow-factor, or improved ambiance, there are plenty of options.

With that being said, there are also plenty of price points and levels of products. So do your research! Don’t trust the first website you land on. Read reviews and find real users of the automation systems you’re considering. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’ll thank yourself later.

3. Go Big with Full Intelligent Automation

Intelligent automation is a smart way to go if you’re adding on automation to an existing pool. 

If you go this route, you don’t have to change your existing pool equipment to match a new system. Intelligent automation equipment features a sensor layer that converts your existing pool equipment into an entirely new, smart system. 

With an intelligent automation system, you’ll reduce your energy cost and chemical use. The smartest systems also manage the chemistry of your water, ensuring that you have the best quality water circulating through your pool or spa.

You’ll also get to monitor your pool via a smartphone app, but keep in mind that this requires a constant internet connection.

Because intelligent automation is an add-on to your existing system, it’s the cheapest option available to you. You can convert your pool to a smart pool for a few hundred dollars. 

The best part? This process is completed in as little as one hour! 

4. Test the Waters with Medium Automation

You don’t have to go all out with pool automation. Try a medium automation approach and enjoy high-quality water while still maintaining the pool yourself.

Medium automation is installed similarly to intelligent or full automation but doesn’t have a central control unit. Most medium automation systems contain a sensor-based chlorinator and acid feeder. 

5. Keep it Simple with Basic Automation

If you’re still not convinced you need all of these features, stick with basic automation. These systems only contain a time-clock and automatic chlorinator. 

In this scenario, you will manually trim pH and other pool chemicals. Traditionally, this is done once a week. 

6. Link Your Pump to Your Smartphone

One of the most impressive features a pool automation system offers is the ability to monitor your pool from anywhere with your smartphone.

Our smartphones are designed to make our lives easier, so why shouldn’t that extend to our pool maintenance?

Ensuring your system is running smoothly from your living room or the grocery store is convenience at the highest level. 

Depending on the system and program you use, there are several options at your fingertips with a pool automation system controlled by your smartphone.

Also, who wants to worry about what state their pool is in while they’re away on vacation? Don’t pay a neighbor to watch your pool. A connection between your mobile device and pump can prevent any unwelcome surprises when you return home. 

7. Work with a Professional You Trust

If you designed your pool with a pool builder, you would probably feel most comfortable having them service the upgrade.

However, if you inherited your pool through home purchase, you might have a closer relationship to your pool servicer, not the builder.

The most important thing is to go with a professional you trust for these types of installs. You should generally choose the provider you have the closest relationship with.

Design the Pool of Your Dreams

Your home is an important investment. If it features a pool, it should be one that you’re proud of.

Our mission is to leave you speechless with the quality and service we provide. We want to make the design and construction process as stress-free as possible for you and your family.

Ready to get started and design your pool automation system today? Request a free consultation and one of our team members will be in touch.

pool maintenance costs

How to Lower Pool Maintenance Costs: 9 Helpful Tips

The best parts of summer can also end up being the most expensive. Keeping your swimming pool maintained can rack up a massive bill.

Keeping up with your pool maintenance costs doesn’t have to be a disaster. There are smart ways to help reduce some of the worst of it. 

We here at Sahara Construction & Custom Pools want you to get the most out of your pool. Below we have compiled some of the best tips for keeping your maintenance costs low!

The 9 Tips to Controlling Your Pool Maintenance Costs

Your pool can have a lot of details that can wrong with it. There are so many different kinds of chemicals to care about. You need to worry about dirt and debris in your pool. Not to mention electrical costs for pumps and filters.

All of these little details have tricks that can tip the scales in your favor. Here are 9 tips you should look into for lowering your pool maintenance costs.

1. Keep Your Pool Vacuum Head Secured

With the chemicals, covers, and cleaners, there are a lot of accessories that you can forget. One of the biggest ones you need to keep an eye on is your pool vacuum attachments.

They can be expensive to replace and can be easy to damage in many ways. The best way to keep them alive and in good shape is to store them upside down, off the ground, and out of the sun.

2. Save Energy with a Solar Cover

For the cooler months, you might want to keep your pool nice and heated. The problem is running the heater for that long can be a huge expense.

Solar covers are a great tool. They attract and absorb heat from the sun to spread to your pool. They also cover the pool to keep heat from escaping it. They don’t need direct electricity, so you only need your heater for initial heating. 

3. Use Baking Soda as an Alkalinity Increaser Alternative

One of the many chemical worries of your own pool is keeping the alkaline levels suitable and high. The problem is that most alkaline increasers are expensive.

The trick here is baking soda. Baking soda can provide the same effect as some of the best alkaline increasers. 

The word of warning here is that baking soda is a bit more powdery than the usual alkaline increaser. As such, if you use too much, your pool can get clouded. You only need a little bit, so when in doubt, use less to be safe. 

4. Keep a Clean Cover on Your Pool

Anytime you cover your pool, you are trying to keep a lot of the other parts of nature out of your pool. The problem is, your cover may be detrimental to that idea if you aren’t careful.

You may pull back the cover after a few months and reveal and gross, swamp-like pool! How do you avoid this? There are some steps.

Make sure there is a space between your pool and the cover. It will be impossible to have a complete avoidance of bacteria, but if the pool isn’t touching your cover, it will help them not spread.

Next, keep clearing off your cover. Water and debris that sit on your cover will make it harder to remove come summer again. As well, the dirty water on top can drip into your pool and contaminate it.

5. Use a Variable-Speed Pool Pump

A water pump is vital for keeping a clean pool. A good pump will keep your water healthy and flowing, stopping algae buildup and other contaminates. In the heat of summer, you might need to run your pump for 10 to 12 hours a day. 

Because of this intense pumping regimen, you want a pump that has as much electrical efficiency as you can. Variable-speed pool pumps do well in keeping costs down by operating as needed. 

6. Buy Pool Chemicals in Bulk During Early Sales

Pool chemicals can get expensive. You will also need a lot of them. The cure for this problem is simple, buy early and buy in bulk. 

A lot of pool stores will have bulk sales at the beginning of spring for all those people eager to get a headstart on their poolside fun.

These sales can save you massive amounts of money on enough chemicals to last you the whole year, if not more. Take advantage of them when you can!

7. Keep Up With Pool Shocking

Shocking your pool is a vital part of keeping it healthy. It can be super effective, but don’t let the effectiveness of it make your vigilance falter. 

Missing a single week of shocking your pool, combined with frequent use with a bunch of sweaty bodies, and your pool can become a hazard in a week. Then you’ll have to triple your shocking routine while your filter works 24/7.

A simple and consistent shocking regimen will keep your pool neat and tidy. 

8. Run Pumps During Evening Electricity Hours

Here is a neat trick that doesn’t involve the pool in a direct manner. Most electrical company’s peak hours for energy use is 7 am to 7 pm. As such, to save a bit of money on electric bills, run your pool pump at night. 

Evening and night time can be a great time to run a lot of “set it and forget” systems. Systems like robotic pool cleaners. 

9. Use a Robotic Pool Cleaner

Cleaning your pool is a hassle. There are many robotic pool cleaners that can make the work seem like no effort at all. 

The initial investment of these robots can be expensive, ranging in the several hundred dollars. The upside is not only the time they can save you but also the extra money they can save by not needing to run your pump and filter as much.

Custom Pools For Your Swimming Needs

With these tips, you can keep your pool in great shape without the major cost. Keeping your pool maintenance costs down allows you to indulge your fantastic ideas for custom pools.

We here at Sahara Construction & Custom Pools are eager to help you get the pool of your dreams. Contact us today for more details!

types of inground pools

A Complete Guide to All the Types of Inground Pools

Are you thinking about installing an inground pool in your yard?

Installing an inground pool offers many benefits. Not only does it allow for more fun in the sun with friends and family, but an inground pool can also raise the value of your home

But, you’re probably wondering what type of inground pool you should install. There are a lot of types of inground pools out there, and each one comes with its own unique benefits and drawbacks. 

So, if you’re new to the world of inground pools, keep reading. 

This guide will cover everything you need to know about the different types of inground pools. 

1. Concrete Pools 

Concrete pools are without a doubt the most popular type of inground pools. 

The most important thing to note about concrete pools is that there are several different types available. These types are:

  • Gunite 
  • Shotcrete
  • Cast

Because each concrete type offers something different, let’s take a look at their benefits and drawbacks separately. 

Gunite

Often referred to as dry gun concrete, gunite pools are made from a dry mix. 

In terms of strength and water tightness, gunite is your top choice out of all the concrete options. Also, gunite allows for size customization. In fact, all concrete pools can be easily customized by size, which is perhaps why so many people love them.

Also, there’s a lot of design flexibility when it comes to gunite. It’s completely up to you in terms of what you choose for tiles, plaster, or paint. 

The biggest downside to gunite is that it’s extremely expensive to refinish. And, because concrete is extremely porous, chemical and filtration are required to prevent algae. 

Shotcrete 

Shotcrete is very similar to cast, except for that it contains less water in its mixture. 

In order to build a shotcrete pool, the builder sprays the mixture into place in layers. This helps result in a strong, watertight pool surface. 

Just like gunite, shotcrete is known for its versatility, strength, and watertight properties. 

Cast 

The final concrete option is cast. 

To build a cast concrete pool, builders first start with a form that’s either made from wood or steel. 

They then pour the mixture of concrete into the form. This allows for a smooth and soft waterproof surface. Due to its smooth surface, cast is also a popular choice for pool floors. 

Cast is also the most common concrete pool type, which means that most builders have plenty of experience with installing it. 

General Advantages and Disadvantages of Concrete Pools

Now that you know about the different concrete types, let’s look at some general advantages and disadvantages of concrete pools. 

Here are the biggest advantages:

  • Customization: Customization options are practically limitless when it comes to the size and shape of the pool
  • Durability: Concrete pools are extremely durable. You never have to worry about sharp objects damaging the interior of the pool like you would with other materials 

Then, here are the biggest disadvantages:

  • Require more hands-on maintenance
  • Need to use more chemicals to keep them clean and prevent algae formation
  • Incompatible with salt
  • Rough interior surface
  • Slow installation time

Even with these disadvantages, keep in mind that concrete pools are still one of the most popular options, so people clearly love them for a reason. 

2. Fiberglass 

Fiberglass pools are one-piece pools. In other words, they’re made in a factory from a mold and then shipped to your home. 

But, don’t think the delivery process is as easy as ordering something off of Amazon Prime. A truck will deliver the 2500-3500lb pool to your home. Then, a pool installer will need to come over with a forklift to take it off the truck and move it to the construction site. 

This is of course after they’ve done all the site planning and excavation. 

However, the installation process is actually extremely quick when compared to other types of inground pools, which is why people love this material so much. 

Here are some other advantages to fiberglass pools:

  • Due to the non-porous surface of the pool, fiberglass is incredibly easy to maintain
  • Because fiberglass pools have no liner, you never need to worry about puncturing the pool
  • Their shells generally require very little repair, which makes them extremely affordable
  • Compatible with salt systems
  • Fiberglass pools are considered extremely attractive and elegant looking
  • Low lifetime cost of ownership

There are, however, a few drawbacks to fiberglass pools. These include:

  • Not much room for size and shape customization
  • High initial costs
  • Difficult to color match when repairs are needed

3. Vinyl Pools 

Last but not least, we have vinyl inground pools. 

To build a vinyl pool the site must first be properly excavated. Then, a frame will be built that’s either made from wood, metal, or plastic. This will allow the installers to build the wall panels, install the liner, and pour a sand base. 

So, what is it that people love about vinyl pools? Here are the main advantages:

  • Low installation cost: Vinyl pools actually have the lowest installation cost of all three pool types
  • Unlimited options when it comes to pool size and shape
  • Experience very minimal algae growth

Here are the biggest drawbacks to a vinyl pool:

  • Replacing the liner gets costly, as it needs to be replaced frequently. On average, the liners last 8 to 12 years and cost a few thousand dollars to be replaced
  • Liner warranty isn’t always straightforward
  • The liner color will fade over time due to chemicals
  • Sharp objects can easily tear vinyl liners

Types of Inground Pools: Which Will You Choose? 

Now that you know about the different types of inground pools, it’s time to decide which one is right for you. 

If you’re stuck on what type of pool to choose, contact our team. We’ll help you choose the right pool for your needs.