Category

Swimming Pool Tips

  • Design Ideas for Improving Your Pool Space and Increasing Property Value

    Summertime means more opportunities to enjoy your outdoor pool. Of course, with many of us still in varying degrees of lockdown, you’ve probably never had more free time available to lounge in your pool either. But, an outdoor pool doesn’t have to just be a means of entertainment for you, your family, and your guests. 

    Outdoor pools are also an excellent way to raise your property value. And, while an outdoor pool by itself is definitely a value add, there are many ways to improve upon and exponentiate the value-adding potential of your pool. 

    In case you own a home with an outdoor pool, let’s look at a few ways you can maximize its potential to increase your property value.

    •  Adding in a Deck

    A deck is the perfect complement to a pool. Especially if you have kids or you frequently entertain guests, decks make a great place to lounge while still being able to keep an eye on or communicate with whoever is using the pool. They can also provide a place to get away from the sun for a while without having to dry off, provided you add a pergola or some type of shade to your deck.

    •  Innovative Decorative Concrete in the Pool

    Decorative concrete can take any form you like, and you can put in at the bottom, on the sides, or around the edges of your pool. This can add unique stylistic elements that potential home buyers find particularly attractive, thus adding value to your property. 

    Especially if other homes on the market also have outdoor pools, using polished concrete floors with decorative concrete designs on them can be the thing that sets your property apart from the rest.

    • An Outdoor Kitchen

    This addition kind of speaks for itself. Outdoor kitchens are exotic and allow you to cook outside. This makes for easier entertainment of guests, a more enjoyable cooking process, and less potential for messes when entertaining large groups or children. 

    • Exterior Drainage

    Many outdoor pools don’t have any type of drainage around the perimeter. This can lead to giant mudholes and general dishevelment of the surrounding yard. Permeable paving around the exterior of your pool will not only look more professional but it will also provide traction and built-in drainage for any excess water that gets splashed out. 

    • Fencing

    Fencing is an excellent way to add property value. It provides privacy as well as security, which are both heavily valued in today’s market. Consider picket fencing, brick, or vinyl for maximum privacy.

    Compliment Your Pool with Value-Adding Upgrades

    Outdoor pools provide a major opportunity for value-adding upgrades that can raise your property value significantly. A deck, permeable paving, decorative concrete, an outdoor kitchen, and fencing are all incredibly effective ways of using your outdoor pool to boost your home’s property value. 

    By implementing some of or even all of these ideas, you can rest assured your home will not only sell faster than others on the market, but fetch a higher price as well.

    Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.

  • How to Troubleshoot a Pool Pump

    Here in lovely Sarasota, a swimming pool is a common home amenity. Because of the long, hot Florida summers, pools get a lot of use and that means having to maintain them so they remain enjoyable and safe. Some homeowners opt to hire a service to keep their pools in good swimming condition while others prefer to do it on their own.

    Regardless if you hire a service or maintain your pool yourself, there will be one or more unfortunate times when you have problems with the pool pump. For this reason alone, it’s good to know how to troubleshoot a pool pump so you can try to fix it on your own.

    Basic Swimming Pool Maintenance

    Every pool owner knows it’s very important to keep the water and surfaces in good condition. Unfortunately, that can present some big challenges. For instance, rainwater, while completely natural, is harmful to a pool. Rain does contains acids, powerful enough to throw-off pH balance and that’s not all. It also compromises the effectiveness of chlorine. Diluted chlorine cannot work effectively. What’s more, rain water is contaminated with runoff, which includes wild and domestic animal waste, fertilizer, pesticides, and more.

    A pool pump creates pressure within the pool, which, in turn, forces the water through the filter. Thus, the water gets purified. It removes dirt, debris, and foreign materials from the pool, filters the water, and pumps back fresh and clean water. Occasionally, pool pumps unexpectedly cease working or stop to function as required. As a result, the pool water develops turbidity, gives out a stink, and gets a soapy texture. —Do It Yourself.com

    To combat this and more, you need to regularly perform basic pool maintenance. You must routinely check your pool water to ensure it has the right pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness levels. Chlorinate your pool with the appropriate amount, too little and it won’t be effective, too much and it will be uncomfortable for swimmers. Shock your pool weekly but don’t go overboard. Also, add algaecide, skim the water, empty the skimmer baskets, and scrub the walls and floor. In addition, always keep a lookout for signs your swimming pool needs resurfacing.

    How to Troubleshoot a Pool Pump

    While all this regular, basic pool maintenance will go a long way to keeping your pool clean and enjoyable, it won’t completely prevent problems with the pump. Over the course of its useable life, the pool pump will have one or more issues. When it does experience one or more problems, the water won’t pass through the filter to be cleaned. That’s why pump issues can’t wait and need to be addressed as quickly as possible. So, here’s how to troubleshoot a pool pump to combat the most common problems:

    • A leaky pool pump. By far one of the most common pool pump issues is leaking. Because of its many parts, component failure causes leaking. This is usually attributable to a worn out impeller housing o-ring, failing shaft seal, bad thread sealant, and/or shrunken threads on the discharge pipe. The good news is, all of these parts are expensive and can easily be replaced.
    • The pump doesn’t pull water. A pump that won’t pull water out of the pool is typically either clogged or affected by a suction line air leak. Check to see if there is blockage in the skimmer and pump baskets, as well as the impeller. Clear away any debris you find to resume normal operation. Should this not remedy the situation, check the suction line for leaks and patch them.
    • The motor won’t start or shuts off. Another common pool pump problem that causes a lot of frustration is a motor that will not start or turns off unexpectedly. The reasons for these issues are generally either electrical wiring or overheating. This work is best left to an experienced professional to fix.
    • Weird noises come from the pump. During normal operation, your pool pump will make some noise. However, if it’s abnormal, you should question why. A vibrating noise can be silenced or damped with a rubber pad. Another noise occurs during cavitation when the pump is starved for water due to a clog or a leak. A screeching or grinding noise could indicate bad bearings.
    • The pump only pulls in air. A pool pump is supposed to be totally air-tight. This way, it can take in water and not air. Although tiny leaks are common, larger ones will cause the pump to take in air rather than water because air is lighter and has less resistance.

    If it’s time to update your landscape or add more features, like a new swimming pool, just go ahead and contact us. We are a full-service, professional landscape design company and serve all of Sarasota, including near Bayfront Drive, around Rolling Green Golf Club, along Longboat Club Road, and elsewhere.

  • Pool Screen Enclosure Birdcage Pros and Cons

    A swimming pool screen enclosure, sometimes referred to as a “birdcage,” is quite popular here in Sarasota and throughout the state of Florida. Unlike our neighbors to the north, the Sunshine State enjoys many days of warmth and pools can be used for most of the year. Even during the ultra mild winter months, pools equipped with heating systems are used regularly. If you are considering having your swimming pool resurfaced or want to install a pool, you probably wonder about the screen enclosure birdcage pros and cons.

    Cost to Build a Swimming Pool Enclosure

    So, you’ve thought about installing a pool screen enclosure but are unsure whether it’s the right choice. While outside troubleshooting your pool pump, it struck you the pool just might need an enclosure. However, you need to know the cost and what’s more, the pros and cons of such a feature. Well, the cost ranges greatly, from just a couple of thousands of dollars up to approximately $14,000. But, keep in mind it depends on the size, type, and other factors.

    There are many reasons to build a swimming pool enclosure. You may need added safety or security to keep your young children or pets away from the pool. You may want the protection from bugs and insects, or you might prefer a pool enclosure over a pool cover for keeping the pool clean while still being able to swim in it. There is a broad range of prices for a pool enclosure depending on what style and features you choose. —Home Advisor

    The truth of the matter is, you can have your pool enclosed for an affordable cost. If you decide to go with something simple, it won’t be as expensive but will provide all the same benefits. Basically, the more elaborate it is, the more you’ll pay. It comes down to materials, labor, and design. There are several options from which to choose, which provide different aesthetics and function to the enclosure.

    Pool Screen Enclosure Birdcage Pros and Cons

    If you’re on the fence about installing a pool screen enclosure, you are definitely not the only one. Homeowners often wonder why they should and why the should not have their swimming pool enclosed. They wonder what it will be like to actually live with a screen pool enclosure. That’s perfectly understandable because it is something that will change the way you interact with your pool (and in a good way). Here are the top pool screen enclosure birdcage pros and cons:

    • Better security. Because the pool is enclosed, it makes your outdoor living area more secure, along with your home. It’s easy to lock to help dissuade intruders and provides you with a little more peace of mind knowing it’s there.
    • More swim time. The majority of homeowners who install a pool screen enclosure also opt for a pool heating system. It makes the perfect combination, giving your family and guests significantly more swim time, particularly when the weather turns chilly.
    • Less maintenance. Those pesky leaves that blow from your neighbor’s trees day in and day out won’t make it into your pool anymore. You’ll spend much less time skimming the surface, having to scoop out all leaves every couple of days.
    • Sunlight protection. A pool screen enclosure will provide you with more UV sunlight protection. While many people love being able to soak up the sun and lay out sunbathing, it’s just not healthy for your skin. It will help mitigate those harsh UV rays.
    • Insect and pest repellent. When you have a pool screen enclosure, you have a ready-made, always available, insect and pest repellent. The birdcage will keep mosquitoes, bees, wasps, and other pests away from your pool and your home.
    • Withstands strong winds. Pool screen enclosures are built strong, strong enough to withstand heavy winds. So, if a big storm does roll through the area, the birdcage will survive the inclement weather system.

    Those are the benefits of installing a pool screen enclosure but it does have some drawbacks. It will slightly limit your landscaping options because of its size. Also, because it provides sunlight protection, that means cooler water temperatures. That’s welcome news in the middle of the summer but it will be a factor when the weather begins to cool. Installing a pool heater will certainly solve this dilemma.

    If it’s time to update your landscape or install a new swimming pool, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are a full-service, professional landscape design company and serve all of Sarasota, including near Bayfront Drive, around Rolling Green Golf Club, along Longboat Club Road, and elsewhere.

  • Pool Remodeling Basics: What You Should Know

    Pool remodeling is a major construction project and can be a very costly one. So, it’s important to know some key facts about pool remodeling before jumping in with both feet. Before you can cool off during those hot summer days or laze about along the glimmering water, pool remodeling takes a good deal of commitment. It certainly won’t be done overnight.

    The good news is, after a pool remodeling job has been completed, it will make your inground amenity look entirely new again. And the majority of pools have a limited plaster coating shelf life.

    But the plaster coating isn’t the only material that can wear to lead to a pool remodeling. There are other elements which can warrant pool remodeling. Pools are endure a lot of stress, which comes in many forms. The weather elements are one thing that can affect a pool, particularly the water quality, as rainwater is harmful to a pool.

    Pool Remodeling Basics

    The basics of pool remodeling are preparation, materials and approach. It’s a good idea to avoid the area during pool remodeling as well as keep pets out of the yard. Children, of course, shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a pool remodel as dangers abound. It’s a good idea to clear the area of outdoor furniture, pull up and/or cover plants and protect windows with drop cloths or plastic. Sooner or later, no matter how well you maintain your pool, you’ll have to resurface it. While this isn’t a welcome proposition, it certainly is necessary. If you don’t resurface your pool, the damage will certainly worsen and cost much more to repair.

    Finding Pool Remodeling Contractors

    Start with the Better Business Bureau when looking for a pool contractor to do your amenity remodel. Check out potential pool remodeling contractors’ licenses with the state. Additionally, references from family, friends, neighbors and co-workers are a good source. Check out past customers to find out their experience.

    Resurfacing a pool is something that no one likes to do, but it is a necessity to maintaining your pool. There are several reasons to resurface your pool. The main reason that you need to have your pool resurfaced is so that it does not leak. The pool finish gets pitted and scarred over time, due to the chemical wear and tear, as well as the elements. You may notice that your pool is chalking, and this is a good indicator that the pool finish needs to be resurfaced. —Charlotte County Florida Weekly

    Being licensed, insured and bonded are absolute must-haves for any pool remodeling firm. Narrow down a list of three possibilities, then interview each one. Ask them if they actually do the work or sub it out. Trust your gut and be sure to read and understand the contract before you sign on the dotted line.

    Pool Remodeling Options

    There are six types of pool remodeling options. Each has its pros and cons. It depends on the area in which you live and the look you are going for. Of course, prices will vary among these pool remodeling options.

    • Pebble Tec. Coming in a wide variety of colors, Pebble Tec is very durable and stain resistant, which means less cost to maintain. It consists of pebbles bonded together with an adhesive.
    • Pebble Sheen. Similar to Pebble Tec, Pebble Sheen is more aesthetic. It has all the qualities of Pebble Tec but also includes a mosaic. The mosaic is a great “centerpiece” in the middle of the pool on its floor.
    • Ultra Poz. An alternative to plaster which is more durable, Ultra Poz is chemical resistant and looks great without going overboard.
    • Tile. Purists who can’t do without tile are among many pool owners. Tile is a great pool remodeling option because there’s no limit to what can be done.
    • Plaster. The most commonly used material in older pools is plaster. And it gets the job done nicely in pool remodeling. Of all the pool remodeling options, this material is the least durable.
      Water features or decking. The last consideration is taking a pool remodeling job outside the physical structure. Adding a deck and/or water features is one way to put a fresh, functional look on a pool.

    As with any other home improvement project, pool remodeling can be as extravagant as a homeowner wants it to be. Another good bit of advice is to maintain an open line of communication with your pool remodeling contractor before and during the project.

  • Pool Resurfacing Signs to Look For

    Swimming pools are very common home amenities here in the Sunshine State and there’s certainly no shortage of them around Sarasota. Pools are a great way to beat the summer heat. And, make a wonderful centerpiece around which to entertain. Swimming pools have a lot of value in their creature comfort, but can be costly features because of ongoing maintenance costs and period repairs. Pools can act as a selling feature, as well, however, they can be a deterrent if not in tiptop shape.

    Pools are endure a lot of stress, which comes in many forms. The weather elements are one thing that can affect a pool, particularly the water quality, as rainwater is harmful to a pool. Swimming pools also collect a lot of debris, even when protected by a birdcage, pollen and insects being the principal containment. In addition to these, all pools are under constant stress, especially here in the state of Florida, because of the high water table. It’s known a hydrostatic pressure, which is an ever-present force pushing on the walls of a pool. This is why a pool that’s significantly empty can begin to crack, because the outside stress forces are so great.

    Sooner or later, no matter how well you maintain your pool, you’ll have to resurface it. While this isn’t a welcome proposition, it certainly is necessary. If you don’t resurface your pool, the damage will certainly worsen and cost much more to repair. The longer you wait, the more it will cost and the longer you’ll be without that cool water environment.

    Swimming Pool Resurfacing Cost

    Of course, most homeowners are quite keen on knowing the cost of resurfacing their pools. This does vary by area, but in general, you’ll spend between $3.5o and $5.00 per square foot or more. That comes to approximately $1,600 to $2,1000 total, which includes labor and materials. It also includes such things as transportation to and from the job site, equipment, cost to prepare the work site, project clean up, and other incident costs.

    Resurfacing a pool is something that no one likes to do, but it is a necessity to maintaining your pool. There are several reasons to resurface your pool. The main reason that you need to have your pool resurfaced is so that it does not leak. The pool finish gets pitted and scarred over time, due to the chemical wear and tear, as well as the elements. You may notice that your pool is chalking, and this is a good indicator that the pool finish needs to be resurfaced. —Charlotte County Florida Weekly

    What’s not commonly covered in your pool resurfacing estimate are, of course, unexpected repairs, such as fixes to HVAC systems, and also include sales tax on supplies and materials, as well as permit fees and inspection fees. It might also include costs to bring your swimming pool up to the latest safety standards, which can mean having to retrofit the structure and might be substantial in cost. In most cases, a pool will have to be resurfaced every eight to ten years, especially in climates where they get a lot of use and need more maintenance.

    Pool Resurfacing Signs

    You can look for a few telltale signs to know when it’s time to resurface your pool.

    • Cracks or leaks. If your swimming pool is leaking, which becomes obvious if you have to keep refilling it again and again, or cracking, which you can usually clearly see. A cracking pool or a leaking pool might indicate more than a bit of structural compromise, brought on by hydrostatic pressure.
    • Chalking. This is also quite obvious, it will come in the form of a chalk-like substance and is an indicator that your swimming pool is in need of resurfacing. Another good indicators that a resurface is in order are you have to rebalance the chemical levels more than once a week. This means a foreign substance is seeping into your pool water. The water might appear discolored, which is a sure sign of a problem that might be due to a worn finish.
    • More cleaning needed than usual. This, too, is also a sign it might need to be resurfaced. In most of these instances, it’s a good idea not to swim in it as it could be a health or safety hazard.

    Of course, these signs are not only indicators and do not necessarily mean your swimming pool has to be resurfaced. Some can be a forewarning that there’s a more serious problem or a somewhat nominal issue. Have a professional inspect it to find the root cause and do so as soon as possible to help reduce the repair costs.

  • Signs a Swimming Pool Needs Resurfacing

    The average residential swimming pool needs to be resurfaced every eight to ten years. This doesn’t mean every pool will perform the same. Depending on the materials, size, and maintenance, it could be more or less often. But since this is such a long time, it’s easy to forget when it refinished last or even the date the pool was installed. The good news is, you don’t have to be a pool contractor to spot the signs a swimming pool needs resurfacing.

    What’s Involved and Cost to Resurface a Swimming Pool

    If you think your pool needs resurfacing, plan on it taking about 3 to 4 days to complete. This is the average amount of time it takes to drain the pool (about a day), clean it from top to bottom, pressure wash it, allow it to dry after washing, abrade the surface, fill cracks and chips, apply new coating, and refill the pool. If there is any inclement weather or the pool is in bad shape, it could take longer, of course.

    If you would like to resurface your inground pool, you must understand a pair of critical points, or you may end up with significant problems. Because an inground pool is composed of nonporous material, it will not accept a new coating unless it is conditioned using friction-based abrasion. Since the new surface will be exposed to relatively high levels of chlorine, you must select a new coating formulated to be resistant to the chemical’s corrosive effects. –eHow.com

    The average cost for resurfacing ranges between $3.28 and $3.75 per square foot. In general, a basic resurfacing cost on a standard 15 foot by 30 foot pool starts at a price point of approximately $2,500.00. However, that can steeply rise, exceeding $15,000 for most sophisticated premium surfaces available today. Keep in mind that some services won’t include things such as the cost of permits, inspection fees, sales tax on materials, and other expenses.

    Signs a Swimming Pool Needs Resurfacing

    There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to determine if a pool needs to be refinished. One, is there are ordinary maintenance and repair protocols which are able to address small issues that do not warrant resurfacing. Another is the age and overall condition of the pool itself. For instance, if the pool was installed decades ago and is used a lot, it could require more extensive repairs, substantially increasing the average cost. But, under ordinary circumstances, it’s not complicated. Here are some typical signs a swimming pool needs resurfacing:

    • Cracked or broken tiles. Perhaps the most obvious sign a swimming pool needs to be refinished are cracked and broken tiles. Such cracks will eventually lead to bigger problems, like leaks in the pool. This is serious because it lessens the structural integrity against what’s known as “hydrostatic pressure.” That’s the pressure of the underground water table puts against the walls of the pool. Hydrostatic pressure can cause the walls to collapse.
    • Discoloration or etching. Usually, yellow or brown discoloration, also known as etching, will generally appear on the pool floor and be visible when looking down from the deck. Such discoloration or etching is more than unsightly, it is potentially dangerous.
    • A chalky film appears on the side. The chemicals used to treat the water to keep it balanced and safe for swimming have an unfortunate side effect — erosion. This appears in the form of a chalky film on the sides of a pool, indicating chemical erosion. In these instances, a pool needs to be resurfaced.
    • Constant chemical water imbalance. There’s nothing out of the ordinary with having to rebalance pool water to keep it safe for use. However, if you notice the water becomes more unbalanced, more often, something is awry. Pools with pitting issues become more and more difficult to maintain and refinishing is generally the right answer.
    • The need to refill the swimming pool often. It’s completely understandable you don’t want to deal with a tiny leak in your pool. But the reality is, it will inevitably grow and become larger and larger. As a result, it will run up the cost of your monthly utilities and be more expensive to repair. So, if you have to refill your pool more than you normally do, it’s probably a leak and it could mean the pool needs to be resurfaced.

    If it’s time to update your landscape or add more features, contact us. We are a full-service, professional landscape design company and serve all of Sarasota, including near Bayfront Drive, around Rolling Green Golf Club, along Longboat Club Road, and elsewhere.

  • Beautiful Pool Hardscaping Tips You Can Use

    Owning a home with an in-ground swimming pool is one great amenity. It’s not only perfect for escaping the warm summers here in Sarasota, but also to entertain family and friends most of the year. Strategically placed lighting can make an outdoor space come alive during the evening hours, adding substantially to the ambiance and the aesthetics.

    Maintaining the area around an in-ground pool can prove difficult. Keeping small stretches of grass neatly cut and hedges and bushes from encroaching is a constant challenge; and, mix in the ever present weeding, and it loses some of its glamour. Tired of the toll of maintenance, you decide it’s high time to uproot the grass, and put in hardscaping. That little change will make a big impact on your quality of life and that’s a very welcome change.

    What you don’t want to wind up doing to yourself is replacing your current set of problems with a slew of new problems. That would be nothing more than an exercise in futility and a one-way ticket to a constant reminder of landscaper’s remorse.

    About Hardscaping a Yard

    There are several advantages to replacing grass and other greenery with hardscape materials such as patios and extra water features. Chief among them is cutting out the cost of cutting grass, weeding, fertilizing and repeating the process on an exhaustive basis during the long summer. Another big benefit is reducing sanctuary space for pests and critters which can cause all kinds of problems.

    Hardscaping is an attractive feature and offers many appealing options, from a rustic stacked wall to a fully developed outdoor living room and kitchen. Once you’ve decided to create an outdoor space, you must plan carefully to meet your hardscaping goals. ‘Research really pays off, especially when you consider that a fixed object in the landscape is not going to move easily — and you don’t want to put in a lot of effort and then have your materials or design fail within a couple of years,’ says Samuel Salsbury, a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and partner with Sabrena Schweyer, APLD, in Salsbury-Schweyer, an Akron, Ohio-based landscape design group. —HGTV

    You’ll also have more space to roam, usually it’s not a huge amount of square footage, but generally enough to add extra creature comforts. It will likewise reduce the “tracking inside” problem, which is nearly inevitable with small children and accident prone adults. A few more lounge chairs, a swing, or a hammock will then be possible, which will make good use of that bit of extra space and allow guests to spread out.

    If there’s enough room, it could make way for a spa, nearly connected to the pool, and just right for adult guests who want to unwind and enjoy a cool drink. Or, it could be just enough room to add a partial or full outdoor kitchen you’ve always wanted. At the very least, it gives you the space to add a wet bar and refrigerator.

    Beautiful Pool Hardscaping Tips You can Use

    To get the most out of the area around your pool, start with an initial concept and begin to qualify its ability to accommodate your plans. You’ll be able to quickly decide whether or not some of the features will work. For instance, if you do want to go all-out and install an inground spa, think about things like plumbing, filtering, and the electrical load. On the flip-side of the coin, simply additions, such as chairs will require sufficient space for guests to walk by them when occupied.

    The point of course being, keep it simple and thinks about what will be able to serve the best uses. Here are some more tips and tricks for hardscaping around a pool:

    • Keep small boundaries from the fence to the patio or deck. Though you don’t want grass to populate the space between the patio and the fence, you do want to keep it looking great and natural. Stones will work, but use the proper materials to keep weeds and other things from growing up among the stones.
    • Understand the impact of installing big ticket items. An outdoor kitchen, be it partial and small or full and big, is a great functional living and future selling feature. However, think about it in terms of the most important things, such as garbage collection, dirty dishes, and meal preparation areas.
    • Leave enough room for family pets or a garden. If you have pets, you don’t want to deprive them of all their backyard space. In addition, you could also cultivate a vegetable or flower garden.

    In addition, think about the overall flow that will be present once the pieces are in place. You want the space to have enough room to comfortably navigate and be easy to hose down from time to time.

  • Ways to Reduce Swimming Pool Water Loss

    One of the single most confounding problems homeowners face with their pools is water loss. Often times, this is due to a leak, one which might be small enough to evade detection. It could be hidden in a place that’s not easily accessible, like at the base of the steps inside the pool, even around a submerged, interior light, or, somewhere else that’s difficult to see.

    More often that not, swimming pool water loss is due to evaporation. While this is completely normal, it can be more than just a natural phenomenon. Water evaporation is inevitable, and here in the Sunshine State, particularly along the coast of Sarasota, summer temperatures can easily rise into the mid 90’s. That amount of sun is enough to zap a pool of some water. As the months go by, water levels might begin to drop enough to be noticeable.

    You might not think this to be a big deal, but water waste will always cost you in the end. It could be as simple as having to top-off your swimming pool, or, it could mean having it completely drained and professionally repaired. Even if it doesn’t seem that your pool is losing water, it likely is, and there are steps you can take in order to minimize waste.

    Proper Swimming Pool Maintenance Tips

    About two or three times per week, you should empty the skimmer and pump basket. These can easily become clogged and stoppage is detrimental to the system. Both of these can require more frequent cleaning, depending on the proximity of your pool to trees and other debris spreaders. Leaves, twigs, and branches are not only problematic to keep out of your pool, but also, these can contaminate its water, throwing off the pH level and balance.

    Water bills can fluctuate quite a bit throughout the year and tend to peak during the summer when people water their lawns, turn up air-conditioning systems that use water, wash cars and even fill swimming pools. The good news is that there are reliable ways to reduce your water consumption, which in turn means lowering your expenses. As an added bonus, using less water also means reducing your energy consumption and lessening your environmental footprint.–U.S. News and World Report

    In addition to routine pump basket and skimmer cleaning, you should also brush the sides and bottom of your pool. Even pools equipped with an automatic pool cleaner, this device does not remove all contaminate particles, however, it does loosen debris, which can be cleaned from the pool by brushing. About once a week or more, a leaf scoop ought to be used, along with adding a sanitizer, and a check of the water level to ensure the pump operates correctly. In addition to these, test and adjust alkalinity, oxidizer, and stabilizer levels.

    Ways to Reduce Swimming Pool Water Loss

    Your pool is certainly a wonderful and fun feature of your home. It’s where you go to cool off during those hot summer days and makes a great gathering place for cooking out and entertaining guests. However, it does require regular maintenance, but this can be reduced, in-part, by limiting water evaporation loss:

    • Adjust the water temperature, if possible. If your pool is equipped with a temperature control, turn it down. During the summer months, when outdoor temperatures are high, this should be turned off. Warm water evaporates at a faster rate than cool water, which is an advantage that rainwaterprovides in lowering the temperature.
    • Turn waterfalls and other features off when not in use. Though waterfalls and other features certainly add to the appearance of a pool, they also add something else — surface area. The more water surface area a pool has, the more evaporation will occur. So, turn off any water features when you’re not using your pool.
    • Put a cover over your swimming pool. The single best step you can take to curtail evaporation and reduce water waste is to cover your pool. Manufacturers estimate that a cover can reduce evaporation by as much as 98 percent. In addition to this, a cover also reduces chemical and energy consumption up to 50 percent.
    • Keep pets out of the water. You’d probably be surprised by just how much water loss occurs with dogs going in and out of a pool. The amount, if measured, is nothing short of stunning. Keep the canines out of the pool when you can to reduce water loss.
    • Find and seal any leaks. This bears repeating and if you notice the water level drops by a quarter inch or more daily, you probably have at least one leak. These only worsen over time and should be found and sealed to reduce water waste.

    In addition to these steps, you should only backwash your pool filters when it’s necessary — this process uses extra water.

  • Preparing a Pool for Strong Fall Storms

    Preparing a pool for fall is a necessary task in the Sunshine State, though the temperatures remain quite warm, the rain will continue. It’s a familiar trend that happens every year; and, for residents in coastal retreats, like Sarasota, it’s not only the inconvenience of having to dodge morning drizzles, daytime sun showers, and evening downpours, it’s also being prepared for the remainder of hurricane season. Running from the first day of June right through the last day of November, it’s the months between September and December when tropical activity is at its height.

    Even if your pool is strategically protected from falling leaves and debris by a birdcage, that doesn’t protect it from rain flooding. For homeowners with completely exposed pools, you already know your old, trusty pool leaf skimmer will be put to good use over the next several weeks.

    With peak storm season now upon us, leaves and other common debris won’t be your only concern. Heavy rains, tropical storms, and even Category 1 hurricanes can cause a lot of damage to your home, your landscaping, and, to your pool. Getting ready now will save you time and money later.

    Proper Pool Maintenance and Safety

    As the days become shorter, combined with more daytime cloud cover and cooler overnight lows, that warm water will cool off, especially as the month of October ticks off the calendar. You and your family won’t be able to enjoy your pool much longer but just because you aren’t splashing and swimming about doesn’t mean you can ignore it.

    Keeping sufficient water levels in your pool provides the important weight to hold the sides and bottom in place, especially when heavy rains that accompany most storms raise the local water table. Never empty your pool. Pools that have been emptied may experience serious structural problems and could even be lifted off their foundations. —Sun Sentinel

    If you’ve not kept-up the pH balance, now is the time to get it balanced out right. You’ll also need to test your deck or patio to ensure it’s properly draining water away from your home and pool to the yard. Most have built-in drainage systems, but as the years go by, they might become clogged. With all the excess rain, you could easily mistake a clog for increased amounts of rainfall. Take a garden hose and spray your deck or patio to test its drainage and address any problems right away.

    One thing homeowners might be concerned about is flooding. If a big storm is on the way, it might not only overfill their pool but be too much for the drainage system, causing water to enter their homes. Since most pools have about three inches of room between the top and the water, this isn’t usually a reality. However, if a tropical storm or hurricane is moving toward your home, you might want to drain it a bit more. Have a professional do this because if you drain it too much, you risk damaging your pool.

    Preparing a Pool for Strong Fall Storms in Florida

    In addition to storms which are known to be coming your way, you’ve also got to think about those random pop-up downpours which deluge your pool with more than water. Here are some tips about what you ought to do to prepare for inclement weather:

    • Trim trees now. Those trees which are regularly littering your pool with leaves will drop even more debris during big storms. Before the storms begin to hit, trim those troublesome trees to keep larger objects from falling into your pool, which can introduce enough debris to clog your system.
    • Store unanchored objects away. Prior to a storm hitting, particularly ones of tropical strength and stronger, put your outdoor furnishings into storage. If you don’t have room but a concrete pool, gently place them inside your pool. Should your pool be vinyl or fiberglass, find a different storage place.
    • Clean the filtration system. This is a good time to go through every part of your filtration system. Those daily rain storms will put a lot of stress on it and the system ought to be able to handle more than usual. Go through all of your filtration system and replace anything that’s worn-out or damaged.
    • Turn off the electrical system. If there’s a tropical storm or hurricane approaching, it’s best to turn your system off. You can remove any foreign objects and debris after the storm passes, then turn your system back on.

    In addition, after a big storm passes, be sure to balance your pool again by super-shocking it. Super-chlorinate your pool to restore its pH balance as flooding will carry more chemicals, making the water a health risk. Never swim in a pool that’s been exposed to heavy storm flooding as it will likely contain pesticides and herbicides, even animal waste, all of which, are health hazards.

  • How to Do Pool Patio Refinishing Prep

    Here in Sarasota, and across the Sunshine State peninsula, swimming pools are quite common, creature-comfort home amenities. The balmy, warm, subtropical like climate suits this recreation feature perfectly, and, because there’s an abundance of sunshine and hot days, pools can be used most of the calendar year.

    Swimming pools are generally works of art. These not only are a great source of cool enjoyment, but also, help to complement the landscaping, and, the home itself. Designed in a variety of materials, shapes, and colors, pools can be simple or exotic. What’s more, these can be customized to accommodate almost any yard, and, nearly regardless of its configuration.

    Though a pool is a welcome escape from the heat and makes an ideal place to relax and entertain, the surrounding patio will endure a lot of wear and tear. This is due not only to the heat and sunlight, but also, inclement weather, and normal use. Eventually, there are unmistakable signs a pool patio is ready to be refinished.

    Types of Pool Patio Resurfacing

    One concern of many homeowners facing pool patio resurfacing comes-in right alongside of cost: type. When a patio is refinished or resurfaced, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the same as the original. Homeowners can elect to put-in a different type of surface for a fresh, new look. Another piece of good news is that there are quite a few varieties of materials and designs. What was a plain, boring pool patio can be transformed into something eye-catching and spectacular.

    Taking the time to resurface a concrete pool deck will instantly bring a renewed and enhanced sense of beauty to your backyard and the costs for resurfacing are far less than the costs of replacing old concrete pool decks with new concrete. Anyone can hire an independent contractor to resurface a pool deck but unknown to many people, the job of swimming pool resurfacing is quite manageable for most motivated DIY homeowners. —Hunker.com

    This seemingly inconvenient predicament provides the opportunity to add color, style, and even function to your outdoor area. You can choose concrete as a finish, which is one of the most popular, and, most versatile available. Concrete allows for stamping, a process which produces a finish, like rock, brick, stone, wood, marble, tile, or practically any other kind. For those wishing to splurge on their pool patio refinish, flagstone, slate or brick are options, but are among the most expensive. Unlike concrete, these are authentic materials and perform quite well over their lifetime. Tile is one of the least expensive options, but, it’s not necessarily as exotic durable as other materials.

    Pool Patio Refinishing Prep Guide

    Once you’ve chosen the finishing material, you’ll need to prepare the area for resurfacing. It’s important to keep children and pets away from your outdoor space during the process to keep them safe. While prepping the area might not seem like a big deal, it will save you money on the resurface cost. You should set aside some time to have this done in advance of resurfacing. Here’s a quick guide on how to prepare a pool patio for refinishing:

    • Clear the area completely. Refinishing takes a significant amount of time and work-space to complete. Because many patios are at a premium for space, you’ll have to relocate all outdoor furniture and anything else, like grills and fire pits. This is not only to prevent tripping hazards, but also, to protect your patio furniture and other items.
    • Cover your pool thoroughly. Resurfacing broadcasts dust and other debris particles all over, far and wide. To protect your pool water and filtration system, it’s necessary to cover it completely. There’s no reason to chance debris shards wreaking havoc on your pump and filter. A right-sized pool cover will be the best option to protect your pool and maintenance equipment.
    • Clean off any loose debris. After the pool is completely covered, it’s time to clean the patio thoroughly. You can use a broom or leaf blower first, then, use a garden hose or a power washer. Be cautious about spraying a worn patio surface with a pressure washer because it might dislodge large debris.
    • Repair any cracks and chips. If there are any cracks or chips, these will need to be repaired prior to applying the finishing material. There are many commercial repair kits on the market which are designed for different surfaces. Be sure to use one that will work on your patio and to follow the manufacturer’s application instructions carefully. Allow ample time to set and dry before proceeding with refinishing.

    It’s highly recommended you don’t attempt to tackle the entire project yourself. Refinishing requires a lot of experience and the right equipment. If you try to resurface the patio yourself, you could well inadvertently cause serious and costly damage. It’s best to hire a licensed contractor for this type of work.