Retaining Walls for Pool

retaining walls

Retaining walls are usually used for sloping backyards. Sometimes a wall is used to add more room by cutting into a small hillside. While other times its to allow perimeter space around the pool. Some homeowners incorporate a retaining wall into a water feature, such as wall spouts or rock waterfalls.

SLOPE

One of the biggest challenges that pool owners run into is the grade of their yard. Very rarely is someone’s backyard completely flat. If you have a sloped backyard, then you’ve probably considered incorporating a retaining wall into your design.

Sometimes with some extra gravel and some creative backfilling, we can get by without the extra expense of walls. Sometimes walls can really add to the aesthetics of the pool when incorporated properly.

Determining when a wall is needed is the most important thing. This can become a disaster for the homeowner if the pool goes in and no wall was put in place to divert water. What this means is that the rainwater coming off the slope is going to end up in the pool carrying with it all the dirt and debris that comes along with a storm.

The slope is usually determined by how much dirt is left from the excavation of the pool. Sometimes the homeowner will have some extra fill dirt brought in to help feather the slope out.

RETAINING WALLS STYLE

There are two main styles of retaining walls, both with their own method of construction. Masonry walls are built out of either poured concrete or concrete block and faced with stone.

Segmental retaining walls are constructed of dry stacking pre-cast concrete block together. Segmental block retaining walls are the most popular for several reasons, including being very attractive and more budget-friendly than masonry walls.

Sometimes when there is a slope in the yard that goes down to a level spot where the pool can go, it may be possible to put in a French drain to catch the water before it runs onto the patio. If you have to cut into the grade of the yard to put the pool in then this will probably not be an option for you.

LENGTH

One thing to keep in mind is that you do not sell yourself short on the length of the wall. When the wall is tapering down it is good to carry it a few feet longer then what is needed to ensure that water does not wash around the wall and onto the deck due to trying to save a couple of hundred dollars.

WALL FEATURES

When doing walls, you should try to make the wall become more than just a wall. You can do an elevated patio which is always nice. Another option is to put the wall right on the pool itself with a cascade or two in it. It is always nice if the wall can be 20 fiberglass pool with retaining walls 24 inches so that the wall can be used to act as a sitting wall.

Not all walls are designed to keep the water from running onto the pool deck. Sometimes the wall is there to keep the pool in place. When dealing with these walls it is a little harder to incorporate them into the project to make it play a role in making the pool look better. A lot of times with the proper backfill and compaction a wall can be avoided in these situations.

Perhaps your property is level, but you want to add a dramatic backdrop to your pool with a raised wall on the far side. On top of the wall, you can add water features, a raised spa or additional pool deck spaces. Retaining walls can be topped with small bushes to add greenery and act as a barrier to blowing leaves. They can also serve a safety function by restricting access on one side of the pool.

There is usually extra cost in the gravel that is needed and the extra time in prepping the ground. But it can be much less expensive than the wall itself. The area would have to lend itself to enough area for grading the slope out so that it is not to steep.

COST

How much do retaining walls cost? This is a pretty broad question with a variety of answers depending on which options you choose. Retaining walls are typically priced by the square foot, so the length and height will directly influence how much you spend.

The cost of segmental walls is also determined by the size and shape of the block used. Walls with multiple sized blocks are typically more attractive.

Have any questions about retaining walls or the pool construction process? Contact us here!

How To Get Ready For National Pool Opening Day

national pool opening day

National Pool Opening Day

There is a national holiday for each date on the calendar and also for every subject under the sun, but National Pool Opening Day is a holiday we can all rally round.

Schedule Your Pool Opening Today

As a pool owner, you understand there’s a lot of things that go into opening your pool, and National Pool Opening Day is an amazing reminder to check and maintain the many moving parts of your pool, to prepare for a happy, secure season of a swimming pool.

Test the Water First

Once you peel the winter cap and realize the challenge before you, begin by assessing your pool chemical levels. A good water test kit is important for testing your pool’s chemical balance.

When stocking up for summertime on pool shock and pills, don’t forget to purchase water balance chemicals for pH, alk, and calcium. You might also need an algaecide and water clarifier to control algae and assist your filter removes finer particles out of the water.

Pool equipment

Examine the pool gear, mainly the filter and pump, but also other pool equipment like pool valves, chlorinators, heaters, cleaners, skimmers, ladders, slides and diving boards.

Start looking for any soil, mulch, trees or nearby plants that may get in the way of your equipment. Pool equipment does better in a sunny, dry location and not buried in bushes.

Pool cleaners have wearable components, and generally, require more frequent repairs than other pool equipment. Inspect closely for the cleaner parts that contact the surface, or debris totes or hose components that are worn.

Pool filters, either sand, DE or cartridge will need the filter press replaced at a single point. Sand lasts about 5 decades, DE grids for ten decades, and filter capsules 2-3 years for a good sized filter. You can prolong the life and improve filtration by using a Pool Filter Cleaner before and after opening your pool.

Pool pumps have electric motors that will fail at some point in time, usually at spring startup, or at the hottest aspect of the summer. When your motor will not turn or trips the breaker, it might be a loose cable, triggered GFCI or it might be an engine that is fried. Pumping problems may be air leaking to the pump, or a clogged impeller, or the water level.

Pool Accessories

Pool Ladders, Slides & Diving Boards possess a lot of bolts that need to be checked for tightness. Notably the step treads, which can loosen over time.

Chlorinators are normally easy to care for, but the chlorinator lid o-ring needs to be lubed often to protect the o-ring from the chlorine.

Pool Heaters

If you have a pool heater, the best spring maintenance you can do is clean out the base of the device to remove any leaves, cobwebs, and ant hills. Make sure the air vents and drain holes aren’t blocked in the cabinet. If leaves have collected inside a heat pump, or in addition to a gasoline heater exchanger, remove the heater top to wash out them.

 

 

Above-Ground Pools

Above ground, pools will join the hoses or pipes from the wall skimmer to the pool filter and then to the pool pump, and back to the pool return. Open the filter air bleeder, open the lines to be flooded by the valves and fill the pump with water. After being sure that the return and suction valves are available plugs the pump into a grounded electrical socket, and the pool skimmer and wall return aren’t plugged.

Inground Pools

Inground pools equipment reassembly is a bit more complicated, but it begins the exact same way, by screwing the drain wires back to the pump, heater, filter. Together with the water level up, pool plugs can be pulled out of the skimmer and wall contributes to flooding the lines. Contrary to Above ground pools, inground pumps sit above the water level. Fill the pump with water from a hose or hose, and seal. Open the filter air bleeder, open the return and suction valves, and then turn on the pump. Start-Up with a multiport valve on the ‘Waste’ place is a fantastic way to flush out the skimmer and drain, and it has much less resistance too, great for pumps that have difficulty ‘grabbing prime’.

 

National Pool Opening Day is the last Saturday in April. Make it your annual tradition to join us in welcoming spring by opening your pool! In case the final Saturday is too soon to start your pool, then join in by cleaning off your pool cover and prepping it to open when it’s warm enough. If you open the pool in May, it is the ideal time to pull the cover, examine the water, and then add another quart of algaecide or shock the pool.

If you need help opening your pool, contact us today!

How To Prepare For Your New Pool

pool opening

Have you been dreaming about constructing your own new pool but never had the time to make it happen? Now is the perfect time to start planning!

Here are a few questions you need to start thinking about to enjoy your own backyard oasis!

What can I afford?

As with any large purchase or project, it is always a good idea to have a budget in mind. There are many components to include in your budget preparations – pool installation, decking, landscaping. Having a roundabout number in mind is a great step to take before visiting a dealer to get the process started.

How often will I use this pool?

Determining how you will use your new pool can help determine what size of pool you need, what special features you may want to add, and the overall feel of your space. Will you be using the pool mainly with your significant other, or will you frequently have family members and friends over for parties and get-togethers? Do you plan to play games in your pool, or is it simply for rest and relaxation? These are easy things to think about to ensure that you have exactly what you want in your backyard space.

Do you have any questions about options, sizing, or if being a pool owner is right for you? Don’t hesitate to contact us here!

2018 Pool Trends Part 1

2018 pool trends

2018 brings in a new year full of new possibilities and new ventures. One of the hottest 2018 pool trends going into the year is building a pool for your home.

Building a pool for your backyard starts off as an exciting experience, but can easily become a very daunting task.

To help you out, we’ve assembled some of our favorite 2018 pools trends.

2018 Pool Trends

Pool Heaters

With people wanting to get the most out of their pools, they’ve turned to pool heaters. With a pool heater, you can extend the life of your pool during the year. You’ll be open to open and close outside of the typical pool season.

Extra Water Features

To extend the impact a pool can have on a backyard, many homeowners are adding in extra water features in or around the pool.

People are creating anything from waterfalls to tanning ledges. These extra features can be a statement piece and functional.

Check back with us next week when we cover part 2 of 2018 pool trends!

Have any questions? Contact us here!

How To Properly Store Pool Chemicals

pool chemicals

Having a regular supply of the necessary pool chemicals is essential to keep your swimming pool in good condition. However, to keep the chemicals themselves in good working order, it’s important to store them correctly. Here are some frequently asked questions about where and how to store pool chemicals.

What Kinds of Storage Containers Are Best?

Pool chemical storage is safest when the chemicals are stored in the containers in which they were bought. It’s not necessary to transfer chemicals to different containers because the product packaging is designed to provide safe storage.

The safest option for storing chemicals is to put the sealed containers into hard plastic bins with tight-fitting lids. Ideally, use several bins so that you can separate liquids and solids, and so that reactants such as chlorine and muriatic acid can be stored separately.

Where Should Pool Chemicals Be Stored?

The best place to store chemicals is in a cool and dry location. Your storage area should also be well-ventilated to prevent the build-up of gasses that may be hazardous.

Can Pool Chemicals Freeze?

In most cases, pool chemicals are more sensitive to heat than to cold. Some kinds of chemicals can withstand freezing, but it’s generally best to avoid exposing chemicals to extremely cold temperatures, as some may lose strength after cold storage.

Are Pool Chemicals Heat-Sensitive?

Some chemicals do react with heat, so it’s safest to store chemicals away from all heat sources, including sunlight. If pool chemicals are stored outdoors, it should be in a cool and shaded area.

Check Your Products for More Information

While these are some good general rules to follow for safely storing chemicals, hazards can vary according to the different products you use. Most pool chemicals come with a Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS) that provides details of hazards and safe handling practices, so check these to make sure you’re staying safe.

Gave any questions about storing your chemicals? Contact us here!

Pool Closings Part 2: In-ground Pool Edition

in-ground pool

With summer gone, it’s time for in-ground pool owners to close down their pools. Winter brings frigid temperatures and the resulting ice can cause thousands of dollars of damage to pools that aren’t prepared correctly. That makes properly closing down your pool an essential part of pool maintenance. We’d like to recommend these key steps to prepare your pool for fall weather and beyond.

In-Ground Pools

The first task in prepping your pool for its winter nap is to make sure the water chemistry is correctly balanced to last through the winter without corroding or forming scale on the sides of your pool. This will also keep the thousands of gallons you have in your pool clean and ready to use next summer.

Next, cycle the water through the pump and filter for a few days until chlorine levels to return to normal. Then add winter algaecide.

On closing day, clean the pool one last time. Be sure to use a brush on the walls and the bottom to clear any leftover algae or silt. Drain water from the pump, filtering, and heating systems.

It’s general practice to drain the pool below the mouth of the skimmer inlet. The idea is to keep water out of the filter and pumping system. While this sounds convenient, freezing may be an issue if you have tile at the water line.

Looking for help closing your pool this year? Contact the experts here!

Tips on How To Properly Balance Your Swimming Pool

enzymes, pool

With your swimming pool, it’s important to ensure that your water is properly balanced. This will help your pool stay clean and stay in the best shape for many years to come. This will also to ensure that your family and anyone else who swims in your pool is safe.

Here are our best tips for ensuring your pool is properly balanced and safe to swim in.

Balancing

Before you add chemicals into your pool, you should turn on your pump. This will circulate the chemicals you add throughout the whole pool.

When working with chemicals, you can only add a certain amount of each chemical per 10,000 gallons of water at one time. The amount depends on the chemical and your pool size.

If you need to add more than the maximum amount, add it slowly. You should add the max, then wait 6 hours before adding any more.

Alkalinity

Total alkalinity refers to the amount of alkaline in the water.

Adding alkaline material into your water first is the best method. It will act as a buffer for your pH scale.

pH

This is the acidity of the water. Ideally, you will want your water between 7.4-7.6.

Keeping your PH balanced will ensure the structure of your pool and equipment are not damaged from low or high levels.

Do you have questions about which chemicals you need for your pool, or how to balance your pool properly? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

How To Keep Your Pool Healthy in Summer

pool

The Dog Days of Summer. The hottest time of the year and the busiest time of the year for pool owners. It’s also the time of year when your pool water is exposed to higher bather loads, intense temperatures, and prolonged sunlight.

Here is our list of things you should do to keep your pool happy and healthy in summer.

Run The Filter More

July and August are the time when you need the most filtering of the season. Set that pool filter timer a few extra hours longer each day. What you spend in electricity you will save in chemicals which can really add up. Your water is warm enough to shut off the pool heater and the combination of warm water, bright sunshine, and frequent rainstorms, all call for more filtering time each day.

Add More Chlorine

Warmer water, more swimmers and longer sunlight hours mean that your chlorine will deplete or burn-up faster. Add extra 3″ tabs to your chlorinator, and/or turn the dial higher to maintain chlorine levels. Pool shock frequency may also rise during the hottest parts of the summer, to fight algae, bacteria, chloramines and cloudy water.

Keep Calm & Stay Stable

Sunlight is an enemy of all pool chemicals on some levels. Long hours of daily sunlight means that stabilizer levels are even more important, to prevent degradation of chlorine when you need it most. Keep your stabilizer level between 20-50 ppm, and reduce or dilute if over 100 ppm.

More important than stabilizer, however, is to consistently test your pool water balance during July and August. Your pool water is ever-changing, but never more than during the hottest summer months, when pH, Alkalinity, and stabilizer levels can rise and cause water balance problems.

Stay Cool, Beat the Heat

Hot temperatures, long sunlight exposure, and more pool parties mean more friends and family with more sunblock and oil. This can lead to a ring around your waterline, more organic solids dissolved in your water, and cloudy or hazy pool water.

Enzymes are natural oil-eaters that also clean the pool filter of trapped oils and greasy gunk, and reduce chlorine demand by removing organics from the pool and pool system.

Have any questions on keeping your pool in tip-top shape? Contact us here!

4 Precautions to Take To Keep Your Pool Safe

pool safety

Pool Safety is an important topic to discuss when considering getting and pool for your home.

Here is our list of important precautions to take with your pool in the summer.

Supervise at all times

When the little ones head to the pool, be sure to apply sunscreen and remind them not to run. The most important pool safety factor is supervision. Someone with CPR/first-aid knowledge is also important in case of emergencies. Training can be obtained via classes at your local hospital, YMCA or through the Red Cross, to name a few options.

When the pool isn’t in use, a pool safety cover can be used to prevent any accidents from occurring.

Know the facts about flotation devices

Flotation devices can help kids mobility in the pool and give parents peace of mind, but they don’t ensure safety, so be sure to remain watchful. Some swim experts even discourage the use of “floaties,” noting that they may give children false confidence. Water wings and other floatation devices can be dangerous.

Ramp up pool party security

When it comes to pool parties, hiring a lifeguard can add a layer of safety. A lifeguard can make up for that reduced caution. To find one for hire, inquire at your local community pool or call a private lifeguard company.

Be aware of dry/secondary drowning

Lately, there’s been a push in awareness of dry drowning and secondary drowning. Dry drowning happens when water a child has breathed in causes their vocal cords to spasm and close up. Secondary drowning occurs after swimming or bathing from water inhaled into the lungs, causing trouble breathing.

Have any questions about pools or pool safety? Contact us here!

How To Conserve Pool Water

swimming pool

Swimming pools can be water wasters, but they don’t have to be. With some simple practices like turning down the heat, and prohibiting cannonballs, your pool doesn’t need to be a water hog.

Reducing your swimming pool water needs is easy, but it can cost a few dollars. With some simple steps, you can conserve pool water and be able to tell anyone who asks how your pool actually saves water!

Backwash Less

Many pool owners backwash too often, every week for example. Let your pressure gauge be your guide – backwash when the pressure is 9-10 lbs above the clean pressure. Bumping a DE Filter (backwashing only for 10 seconds) will extend the time between backwashing. Using a Sand Filter Cleaner will help to extend sand filter cycles or time between backwashes.

Use Pool Covers

Any type of pool cover will reduce evaporation, heat loss and will save pool water. Even mesh safety covers reduce evaporation water loss by nearly 50%. Solar blankets are an easy way to both add heat to the pool (up to 10° for a sunny pool), and also reduce evaporation by over 80%. The best way to stop pool evaporative water loss is to use an automatic pool cover.

Sun Shades

Adding some shade to your pool can drastically reduce the sun’s evaporative effects. Shade can come from installing a Pergola or pool house on one end, planting fast-growing evergreens, or installing Sun Sail type shades to keep your water from evaporating so fast. Especially in the sunny south, shading the pool for at least a portion of the day is one way to conserve pool water.

Wind Blocks

The wind is the largest heat thief of your pool, and when it takes heat off the surface, it takes some water along with it. Hedges, fences, windscreens and such can make a big difference if you have prevailing winds, mostly coming from one direction. You can’t completely shield your pool from wind, but every little bit will help to prevent pool water loss.

Have any questions about how to save money on your pool? Contact us here!