It’s hard to tell ahead of time if you’ll get much of a chance to use your Houston pool during the winter. While most days of a Houston winter are mild or even comfortably warm, the temperatures can dip into uncomfortably cold or even freezing ranges without much warning.
But whether it’s a comfortable temperature to use your pool or not, you can’t slack off on basic maintenance tasks. Even covering your pool and not using it at all during the winter doesn’t guarantee it’ll stay clean. As the cool weather continues, keep these tips in mind to keep your pool clean and ready for spring.
Pay Attention to the Pool Cover
If you aren’t planning to use your swimming pool at all during the winter, it’s best to keep it covered to prevent debris and animals from getting in. But covering your pool won’t do any good if the cover is in poor shape. Does it fit properly without leaving any gaps granting access to the water? Is your pool cover even sturdy enough to withstand potentially freezing temperatures? Inspect your pool cover before shutting down your pool for the winter.
Pro Tip: If you leave your pool uncovered and unused for most of the winter, it’s likely that debris will start to build up. Either clean this up quickly or keep your pool covered as a preventive measure.
Check & Balance Chemistry
If you opt to keep your pool covered during the winter, you’re probably not going to bother removing the cover to check on the pool’s chemistry too often. That’s fine as long as you take preventive measures before covering your pool. Add a little extra chlorine and some algaecide to the water to keep your pool fresh and algae-free during the offseason. (Don’t go overboard with the chlorine though–you don’t want to make your pool shell fade.) Run the pump for a few hours to circulate everything through the water before covering your pool.
If your pool cover is made of mesh and allows the elements to come in contact with the water, you may find yourself dealing with organic debris such as pollen or bird droppings. Keep these contaminants at bay with an enzyme solution sprinkled through the mesh. This requires more work than simply covering your pool with a solid cover, but it does allow you a little more direct control over the chemical balance.
Watch the Weather
In Houston, the weather can go from balmy to tolerably cold to nearly freezing in less than 24 hours. Aside from being annoying, these weather patterns can also mess with your pool preparations if you aren’t careful. Pay attention to the current temperature and weather forecasts. If there’s a chance of freezing weather, drain your pipes and pumps to prevent water from freezing inside and damaging your equipment. If water or ice collects on top of your pool cover, remove it as quickly as possible.
Pool Maintenance in the Winter
A swimming pool represents a significant investment in your family and your home. While it may not seem too important to maintain your pool during the off-season, winter maintenance is still an important part of protecting your pool all year round. Don’t neglect this important job this winter!
Connect with us to learn more about year-round pool care.
If you’re having your swimming pool built in the fall to reduce your wait time, you’re probably looking ahead to the near future for plans. You’ll be able to host pool parties in your own backyard once it’s done, after all! But what happens when the party ends and it’s time to clean up? Do you have a long-term plan to keep your pool clean?
Basic pool maintenance is rarely challenging on its own. The biggest problem you’ll have to deal with is simply finding the time to get all the tasks done. Unfortunately, if you’re an especially busy homeowner, you may struggle to dedicate enough time to do a good job cleaning your pool. When you find yourself in that situation, it’s time to ask: should you stick to DIY or hire a pro?
Time & Performance
How familiar are you with cleaning and caring for your swimming pool? You probably already know the importance of scooping out leaves and twigs periodically, but do you know the proper chemical balance to prevent algae from forming? What about how to repair or replace a faulty pool filter? If your knowledge is lacking, you may find yourself struggling to do a good job on your own.
On the other hand, even an expert knowledge of pool maintenance doesn’t do much good if you don’t have time to keep your pool clean. Maybe you travel frequently or work long hours and can’t afford the time to dedicate to keeping your pool clean. And unfortunately, a neglected swimming pool will gradually become more and more unpleasant to use.
How Professionals Can Help
When you hire a professional to take care of your pool, you can rest assured they know exactly what they’re doing. They’ve been thoroughly trained to keep your pool as clean as possible using only the best products. Additionally, you never have to worry about them running out of time to care for your pool. Their schedules are built to ensure they take care of every client on time. Your pool will always be sparkling clean!
Pro Tip: Professional pool cleaners may also give you tips on how to prevent your pool from becoming too dirty in between service visits. That way, you don’t have to wait for a visit to keep using your pool!
What Should You Never Do on Your Own?
Even if you opt to handle some or all of the pool maintenance work yourself, there are still several tasks you should always delegate to a professional. Some are simply too risky for you to attempt without expert knowledge. Call an expert to handle these significant issues:
- Cracks in the pool shell
- Burnt-out motor or pumps
- Leaky pipes or hardware
- Severe algae growth
Enjoy Your Clean Pool!
Whether you ultimately decide to stick with DIY or hire a pro, you and your guests will always appreciate a well-maintained swimming pool for parties and hangouts. If you’d rather save money and get a little exercise, make your monthly pool cleaning your personal DIY project! On the other hand, if you find the time commitment and work too much to handle, hire a professional to give your pool the best treatment possible.
Would you rather DIY or hire a pro for your pool cleaning work? Let us know and learn more about the advantages of either scenario.
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.
Join the conversation to learn more about keeping bugs out of your swimming pool and maintaining a fun environment.
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.
Join the conversation to learn more about pool maintenance and checking for problems.
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.
Join the conversation to learn more about swimming pool restoration and maintenance.
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!
Connect with us to schedule your pool consultation today!