If you’re planning to spend time outside in your pool, what’s the only thing worse than Houston heat that might hold you back? Probably bugs. Whether bees, wasps, or mosquitos, bugs in the backyard are one of the least pleasant obstacles to a fun afternoon in the pool.
Fortunately, it’s not hard to keep bugs out of the swimming pool. Before you call an exterminator, try one of these simple tricks to prevent the bugs from settling in and ruining your afternoon.
Get Rid of Mosquitoes
When it comes to mosquitoes, the best strategy is prevention. Maintain the proper pool chemistry to keep any mosquito eggs from surviving, and cover your pool when it’s not in use. Dump standing water in buckets or other landscaping fixtures and replace the water in any fountains or other features regularly. Don’t let them get a foothold in your yard.
If mosquitoes have already moved in, then it’s time to take stronger measures. Find a method to kill the ones already there and keep more from coming. One excellent choice is a mosquito mister, a device that sprays pesticides all around your yard. Just make sure to check with your local regulations first to make sure the chemicals you’re using are allowed. Some homeowners also set up a pond to attract dragonflies, the natural predator of mosquitoes. This is an effective method of curbing local mosquito growth in your local neighborhood as well as your backyard–you’ll be doing your neighbors a service!
Pro Tip: Aquascapes offers mosquito mister installation to keep bugs from ruining your afternoon! Get in touch with us to install your mister and keep your backyard mosquito-free.
Discourage Wasps from Moving In
Wasps are not easy to get rid of. Since they’re regarded as somewhat beneficial bugs, it’s best to try simply encouraging them to leave before you call an exterminator. You have two primary methods at your disposal for this. First, you can purchase and hang up decoy wasp nests to convince your unwanted visitors that other wasps are already living there. Since wasps are very territorial insects, they’ll look elsewhere.
Second, you can hang a chunk of raw meat far away from your pool to encourage the wasps to go there for a snack. Just don’t hang a piece that’s too big, or the wasps won’t be able to finish it all and it will rot.
Keep Bees Out of Your Pool
If you see bees hovering around your pool, chances are they’re after the water. The best way to get around this is to offer them an alternative source of water to drink. Set up a small fountain or waterer with a rock inside so they can climb out if they fall in. Not only will this keep the bees out of your pool, but you’ll also be helping the bees!
Unfortunately, an alternative source of water won’t be enough for every bee swarm. If you still can’t convince them to leave, set a few dryer sheets outside under a weight or in a decorative basket. Bees hate the smells dryer sheets produce. Even as you get to enjoy the fresh scent, the bees will want to move on.
Maintain a Bug-Free Pool
Not every bug problem requires an exterminator’s solution. As in the case of important bugs like bees, sometimes it just requires offering an alternative to keep the bugs happy. But your goal is ultimately to maintain a safe, enjoyable swimming experience for yourself and your family. Don’t let bugs ruin that for you! Keep bugs out of your swimming pool and enjoy your autumn.
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Occasionally, you’ll notice the water in your swimming pool lowering. This usually isn’t a big deal, since the water level tends to fluctuate with rain. However, if you notice the water is dropping rapidly and consistently with time, you may have a problem.
There are two primary reasons your pool water level may be falling: the water is simply evaporating, or your pool has a leak somewhere. The cause of your problem will determine how you fix it. Here’s how to determine if your pool is leaking or not and how to resolve the issue.
The Bucket Test
Before you hunt for the leak, make sure your pool is leaking. Place a bucket on the first step down into your pool, fill the bucket with water level to the rest of your pool, turn off the pool pumps, and leave the bucket alone for about a day. If both the bucket and pool have lost the same amount of water, don’t worry–the water loss is only due to evaporation, not a leak. If the pool has gone down dramatically compared to the bucket, however, you definitely have a leak.
Pro Tip: When you’re doing the bucket test, mark the water level in your bucket with a Sharpie or other waterproof material so you don’t lose your spot.
Turn on the Pumps
Once the bucket test has shown that your pool is leaking, the next step is to determine the location of the leak. Repeat the bucket test, but this time, turn on your pool pumps and watch the water levels over the next 24 hours. If your pool’s water level stays steady or decreases slower with the pump on, it’s very likely the leak is somewhere in your pipes. Call a professional to come take a look and repair the plumbing.
The Ink Test
If the leak is in your pool shell itself, you’ll need to try a more involved test to find it. Walk around your pool and find the wettest part of the ground, the part where it’s most likely that the water is escaping. Take a bottle of dye or food coloring and get into your pool near the suspected leak. While moving slowly so as to not disturb the water too much, squirt a few drops of dye under the water and watch where it’s pulled as water flows out of the leak. Take note of where it flows out. Your pool contractor will have to patch up this spot to prevent any more water from being lost.
Don’t Lose Any More Water!
A leaky swimming pool can rapidly turn into an expensive issue between the cost of repairs and your increased water bill. Don’t let it progress to that point! With these swimming pool leak detection techniques, you’ll be able to find the problem quickly and have a professional pool builder get you back on track.
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Have you just bought a pre-owned house with a swimming pool that was clearly not maintained well? Alternatively, have you just not kept up to date on caring for your own swimming pool? Regardless of why your pool is now green and disgusting, it’s important that you clean it up quickly to prevent further damage and keep your family from getting sick.
Restoring a neglected swimming pool takes significantly more work and time than simple pool maintenance. However, with the right tools and cleaning supplies, you’ll have a sparkling pool again in no time. Here’s how to restore your pool and get started swimming again.
Decide Whether or Not to Drain the Pool
For a severely neglected swimming pool, the best way to clean it is to drain all the water, sanitize the pool shell to kill the algae, and refill the pool. However, about the only type of swimming pool that can be completely drained safely is a gunite pool. A pool with a fiberglass shell will likely “float” out of the ground, especially if your area has a high water table. Double-check to make sure that your pool can be safely drained before you begin cleaning.
Clean the Pool Shell
Although it’s certainly easier to clean the pool shell when the water has been drained, regardless of whether you drain the water or not, you’ll need to clean the shell very thoroughly. Start by vacuuming the bottom of the pool. Once you’re done, scrub the entire shell with a rough algae brush to knock as much algae off as you can. Don’t try to vacuum up the algae–your goal is to kill the growth, not merely make it appear to go away.
Restore the Water
Once you’re done scrubbing the shell, note the pH of the water for later reference so you can balance it properly. Shock your pool at least twice with chlorine shock, refill the pool to its proper level, and turn the filter on. Leave the filter running constantly for up to five days and monitor the water to make sure it’s becoming clearer. Once the water appears clean enough, balance the pH as necessary. You’re finally ready to start swimming again!
Pro Tip: When you shock your pool to kill the algae, the pool shock you use MUST contain at least 70% chlorine. Any less will not be nearly as effective in killing the algae permanently.
Get Your Sparkling Clean Pool Back
Not only is a neglected swimming pool gross, but it also could make you or your family sick if you attempt to use it or even leave it alone for too long. Additionally, if algae and bacteria have plenty of time to grow, irreversible damage may occur. Your best course of action is to clean your pool as quickly and as thoroughly as possible and maintain that same level of cleanliness.
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Adding a custom swimming pool to your backyard? Why stop there? Your entire backyard design can complement your swimming pool and create a perfectly well-rounded experience for yourself and your guests.
Pool landscaping can take many different forms or styles depending on what you’d like to showcase with your efforts. For most people, the goal is to create a comfortable, visually appealing backyard with a pool as the centerpiece. Let’s look at a few key features you can use in your backyard to create the perfect look.
Plants are the perfect way to add a soft, natural look to your backyard. Your choice of plants can even communicate the atmosphere you want to emulate. For a tropical feel, plant some palm trees or ferns near your pool. Alternatively, a vegetable garden or gently creeping plants will complement a pond-like pool for an enchanted atmosphere. Finally, a modern home and backyard design is perfectly suited to a few well-manicured hedges and a neatly mowed lawn.
Pro Tip: Plants growing near your pool can drop leaves and twigs into the water. Make sure to scoop them out regularly to avoid clogging the filters.
If you’ll be spending a lot of time in your backyard, why not move your cooking outside too? An outdoor kitchen lets you prepare yourself a good meal and host cookouts near your pool. Customize whatever appliances and equipment you need to suit your cooking habits. Your guests will love the chance to cook and eat right by the pool, and so will you!
Patio covers or similar structures give you the chance to create an outdoor living room to complement your new outdoor kitchen. Why take your dinner inside to eat when you can relax in the shade outside? Customize your new patio cover to perfectly complement the rest of your house and provide an extension for your backyard area.
Backyard Designs that Complement Your Pool
Your swimming pool is the centerpiece of your new backyard, and as such, needs a few complementary designs to make it truly feel natural. Fortunately, with a little creativity, it’s easy to design an outdoor living space stylized exactly to your preferences. Browse what other people did with their pools for more ideas!
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Once a pool builder has done all the hard work of installing your new swimming pool, it’s up to you to keep your new pool clean and maintained. Your pool needs regular cleaning and work as much as your house or your car. Fortunately, cleaning a swimming pool is not especially difficult. With this helpful swimming pool maintenance guide, you can easily maintain a clean, enjoyable pool for you and your family.
Pool Cleaning Checklist
Keeping your swimming pool clean and pleasant is a simple task. Between preventive work and specific cleaning tasks, your pool will stay sanitary for a long time. Check each of these tasks off during your pool cleaning session:
- Water circulation
- Cleaning the water
- Balancing your pool’s chemistry
- Shock your pool
- Scheduling your pool cleanings
1) Water Circulation
Stagnant water is the perfect place for algae to grow and for dirt to accumulate with time. You can easily avoid this unpleasant problem by making sure your pool water circulates regularly. If you’d rather not leave your pool filter running constantly, make sure to at least let it run for 10-12 hours per day regardless of whether or not your pool has been used that day. Not only will this prevent any grime from building up, but it will also keep your pool safe to swim in without getting sick from accumulating bacteria.
2) Cleaning the Water
Some contaminants in your pool water are easy enough to remove without a filter. Use a net to scoop out bugs or leaves, and vacuum your pool about once a week.
Don’t forget about the subtler contaminants too. Sunscreen, makeup, or sweat can leave an oily film on the top of your pool water. Get rid of the oil with specially designed oil absorbers or tennis balls floating in your pool for about a day to absorb the excess.
3) Balancing Your Pool’s Chemistry
This step is crucial to maintaining the proper level of chemicals in your pool water. During your weekly pool skimming session, sample the water and test its pH and chlorine levels. Add more chemicals as needed to keep your pool water clean and safe.
Pro Tip: Different pool chemical kits come with different contents. Before you buy one, talk to your pool contractor for their expert input on how to maintain your swimming pool’s chemistry.
4) Shock Your Pool
Despite your best efforts, sometimes your pool just needs a thorough cleaning. Maybe a pool party left your water looking oily, or maybe the filter broke down temporarily. Whatever the case, a quick shock to your pool can help. Shocking your pool refers to adding especially strong cleaning chemicals and allowing the pump to run overnight (approximately 8 hours) to circulate the shock through all the water. It’s generally best to do this at night since the heat and light from the sun will not react well with pool shock.
5) Scheduling Your Pool Cleanings
Generally, pool owners should perform a basic pool cleaning every week, and a more thorough inspection and shock every month. However, your circumstances may mean another schedule works better. If your pool is used on a near-daily basis, it may need a surface cleaning two to three times a week and a thorough scrub twice a month. On the other hand, a seldom-used pool can go longer between cleanings. Consider how often your pool is used and how clean or dirty it’s left afterward. How often does it need a thorough cleaning?
A Clean Pool is a Happy Pool!
A newly cleaned swimming pool is not only more sanitary for your family, but it also simply looks more appealing. With crystal clear water and a freshly sanitized pool filter, your backyard swimming space is at its best right after cleaning. Take advantage of this swimming pool maintenance guide to help you keep it that way.
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