Pool Maintenance Tips

pool maintenance tips

The following four maintenance tips should be completed weekly, or sooner if necessary, to ensure your swimming pool is filled with pristine water. These tips will help you get the swimming season off to the right start.

Check Water Balance

Water evaporates – especially on hot days. Water level should be at the midpoint of the pool skimmer. Too low and water cannot flow into the filter system to be cleaned (this can also damage the pump), whereas if the water level is too high, the flow into the filtration system will be less efficient. Turn on your garden hose and start filling the pool up if water levels are low. You can also consider an automatic water filler.

Clean Your Pool

Thoroughly cleaning your personal pool includes skimming, brushing, and vacuuming. You should also clean out your skimmer weekly during the swimming season. Removing debris from the pool and skimmer allows the pool’s filtration system to operate at maximum efficiency as well as ensure clean and safe swimming water. Clean and maintain your filter according to manufacturer recommendations.

Test Your Water

Test your pool water frequently (daily or weekly depending on use). You can either do this yourself with a water testing kit or take a water sample to your local pool supply store to have it tested onsite. Add chemicals as needed and allow the pump to run for at least 24-hours before using the pool. Proper water chemistry levels for optimal pool functionality and comfort are as follows:

  • pH: 7.4 to 7.6 ppm
  • Chlorine: 1.0 to 3.0 ppm
  • Alkalinity: 80 to 120 ppm
  • Calcium Hardness: 150 to 225 ppm

*ppm = parts per million

Regularly Shock the Pool

Shock cleanses the water of algae, bacteria, and any other organic matter that may have entered the pool. We recommend shocking the pool once a week to maintain proper water chemistry. Pool shock is widely available in a variety of products such as calcium hypochlorite, lithium hypochlorite, and non-chlorine shock. If the water becomes cloudy, reach for the shock sooner than regularly planned.

Now You’re Ready to Dive into Summer!

Breathtaking Pool Waterfall Design Ideas

pool waterfall

Whether you enjoy relaxing afternoons floating in the water, or a playful round of “Marco Polo” with the kids, a backyard swimming will provide years of fun in the sun. A pool eliminates the need to pack up towels, sunscreen, and swim goggles and trek across town to your local community pool. You can just open the door and enter paradise.

The addition of a pool waterfall can create a greater sense of serenity through soothing water sounds and cascading water sights. An experienced pool builder can help you custom design a pool waterfall that fits within your budget to transform your outdoor living space into a tropical oasis.

Spa Spillovers

An in-ground spa that is elevated anywhere from six inches to eighteen inches (twelve and eighteen inches are most common) above the pool adds another dimension to the design. To create a spillover effect, the walls of the spa are set lower than the water level, so that the water overflows into the pool. Raised spas can be custom designed using a wide range of material options.

Rock Waterfalls

A rock waterfall allows water to cascade over multiple tiers of rock into the swimming pool below. Rock waterfalls can complement most any pool design – especially tropical and lagoon-style pools. They can be built in any size or shape. It’s worth noting that the availability of natural boulders and other rock types may vary by geographical location. A good alternative is artificial rock.

Grotto Waterfalls

Add a sense of mystery to your pool waterfall design with a grotto. A real backyard pleaser, a grotto is a rock waterfall with a secluded, covered area beneath it that entices swimmers to explore what’s behind. In the water, grottos can feature a rock bench, which is large enough for a few people to sit and enjoy the waterfall spilling over in front of them together. You can also outfit a grotto with an overhead slide.

Light Up Your Waterfall

Illuminate your waterfall design with energy-efficient LED spotlights that provide targeted lighting. Small LEDs can light up each tier of rock or major alcove in the stone. LEDs are available in a variety of color and multi-color options. The latter would be great for creating a stunning nighttime display. LEDs can help refract light and color off the pool’s water as well.

Popular Pool Finishes

Popular Pool Finishes

Homeowners can choose from a wide variety of popular pool finishes, including plaster, PebbleTec®, BeadCrete, and glass tiles when either building or remodeling their pool or spa. Explore the different options available to you below. However, it’s a good idea to talk with your pool or spa designer, before deciding on a pool finish.

Here are four of the most popular pool finishes:

Plaster is the most common, and least expensive, pool finish. Typically applied over concrete, plaster is made up of white cement, white marble aggregates and water. It can be dyed to complement different pool shapes and styles, surrounding materials, and landscapes. Plaster should last eight to twelve years before requiring re-plastering.

PebbleTec® is made of natural, polished pebbles that create a durable, slip-proof texture. There are sixteen color options to choose from. For a dazzling finish, you can also choose to add pool enhancements, such as shimmering sea or luminous to any PebbleTec® pool finish. Should last fifteen to twenty years with little maintenance.

BeadCrete is a pool finish that becomes iridescent under both natural and artificial LED lights. Available in a range of designer colors, this option is composed of solid glass beads, locked carefully into polymer-modified cements. This creates a unique three-dimensional effect. BeadCrete is stain resistant, long lasting, and low maintenance.

Glass Tile can add immense beauty to both swimming pools and spas. Available in a wide variety of shapes, colors and finishes, it can enhance any pool style. It is also the most durable of all finishes. Glass tiles can be installed in a pool’s waterline, steps and edges, water walls, sun shelf, and interior or on the outer walls of a raised spa.

Stone Tile is a popular choice for finishing natural swimming pool designs. Like glass tile, it is also available in a variety of shapes, colors, and finishes. Large stone tiles can be used on a patio or deck, while smaller stone tiles can be used in a pool’s waterline, steps and edges, and sun shelf. Stone provides a textured feel that is slip-resistant.

Note: Maintaining proper water chemistry is vital for ensuring longevity.

Understanding Pool Heat Pumps

Pool Heat Pumps

How They Work

A heat pump is one of the most popular devices for keeping pool water warm during the winter. Using trace amounts of electricity, pool heat pumps warm up your swimming pool’s water by drawing up water into a filter and heater, and then pumping the warm water back into the pool. This constant exchange of warm and cold water keeps your pool fit for swimming even during the winter.

Selecting a Pool Heater

There are two types of heat pumps: water-source heat pumps and air-source heat pumps. A water-source (geothermal) heat pump transfers heat from a body of water and moves it from one place to another, whereas, an air-source heat pump operates by capturing heat in the air to warm your pool’s water.

Some air-source heat pump models are capable of both heating and cooling the pool. Alternatively, universal heat pumps give you something most other heaters don’t – dual right- and left-hand connections for your water, gas, and electricity. It’s a good idea to discuss your available options for heating with your pool builder.

Benefits of Installing a Pool Heat Pump

Pool heat pumps, while slightly more expensive than natural gas pool heaters, have much lower annual operating costs because of their higher rate of energy efficiency. They give you the ideal water temperature while using 80% less energy! These heat pumps are also more durable than other available pool heating options.

If you’re looking for total-body regimen that burns a lot of calories (without having to brave the cold), while being joint friendly, swimming in a heated pool should be your new go-to form of exercise. You may also find the water to be calming – water has long been a symbol of renewal and clarity.

These benefits seem well-worth investing in a pool heater!

How To: Winterizing Your Pool

Winterizing Your Pool

Temperatures are cooling down. For most pool owners, this means that yet another swim season has come to an end, even in the Valley of the Sun – unless there is an existing geothermal heating unit. While it’s perfectly acceptable to leave your pool open year-round, there are several benefits to be gained by properly closing your pool, including preserving water quality and protecting the surface.

Follow these tips for successfully winterizing your pool.

Balance Water Chemistry

Approximately one week before closing the pool, adjust the water to the recommended levels of pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and chlorination. Use a test kit to ensure proper levels of each. Proper levels are as follows:

  • pH: 7.2 – 7.4
  • Alkalinity: 80 – 120
  • Calcium Hardness: 180 – 220 ppm
  • Chlorination: 1.0 – 3.0 ppm

Clean the Pool

Using an automatic cleaner (if applicable), remove any leaves, insects or dirt from the pool. You can also fish debris out with a net. Thoroughly brush and vacuum the sides – not just the bottom – of your pool to remove scum lines.

Remove All Accessories

Remove all pool accessories, including (but not limited to) skimmer baskets, ladders, wall fittings, and automatic cleaners. Put these in a safe location until spring. This helps secure your equipment. It also ensures your pool cover fits snugly.

Add Winter Chemicals

Once your pool is balanced, cleaned and all accessories have been safely stored away for the winter, it’s time to add the winterizing chemicals. These include pH increaser, chlorine tablets, chlorine shock, and winter algaecide. Follow all manufacturer directions when adding any chemicals to the pool’s water. You can also buy a chemical kit – ask your pool builder or retailer for more information.

Cover Your Pool

Place the cover over your pool. If you don’t already have a pool cover, look for one that provides a tight fit, as this will ensure no debris or insects can get in between the gaps. If you have children or pets, it is recommended to use a safety cover; consult your manual on how to put this on.

Swimming Pools: Plan Now for Next Summer

swimming pools

If you want to dive into your own, private swimming pool next Memorial Day, you’ll want to start planning and building a swimming pool now as it can take anywhere from three weeks and three months to install.

Getting Started

This much you know: In Arizona, it’s hot enough during the summer to want to dive into a nice, refreshing swimming pool. However, planning and building a private swimming pool or for that matter, a spa isn’t something you should do on a whim. Pool building is a major addition to your property and lifestyle. Questions to ask yourself include:

  • Is my backyard suited to a pool?
  • What’s my swimming pool budget?
  • Am I prepared for the upkeep a pool requires?
  • What is my reason for wanting a pool (e.g., recreation/relaxation, exercise/therapy, entertaining, or a combination of all three)?

Types of Swimming Pools

Swimming pool types fall in one of two categories; fiberglass or concrete.

Concrete: If you have your heart set on a beach entry, then you probably want a custom-built, concrete pool. This material is the most popular option among Arizona homeowners because of its reputation for durability and longevity (50+ years!). It typically takes between three weeks and three months to install a concrete pool.

Fiberglass: These pools are factory-molded and set into pre-excavated holes by a crane. As a result, the size and shape of these pools are considerably more limited. Fiberglass pools feature a smooth finish that’s both durable and stain-resistant. It typically takes between one and two months to install this type of pool.

Other things to consider are local availability of materials and regional zoning regulations.

Styles of Swimming Pools

The following are just a few styles available:

  • Spas
  • Lap pools
  • Modern pools
  • Natural pools
  • Tropical pools
  • Traditional pools
  • Mediterranean pools
  • Infinity or vanishing edge pools

Many of these styles can be custom-built indoors or out. There is also a wide variety of optional features that are designed to suit all members of the family, including sun shades, waterfalls, lazy rivers, changing-color LED lights, rock slides, fire woks, and more. Contact Platinum Pools & Spas for a free consultation and our monthly specials.

Cozy Up Your Backyard for Fall

cozy up your backyard

As we head into fall, a kaleidoscope of colors can be found right outside. Pumpkin flavored coffee, scones, and pies are readily available at your local bakery while Halloween candy and decorations fill the stores. Now is also the perfect time to cozy up your backyard with pool redesign or any one of the following features.

Add Warmth

As the days become shorter, and the temperatures dip lower, it’s time to bring some warmth back into your backyard. Fireplaces, fire pits or fire woks tend to be quite popular because of their ability to be the center point of a fun evening, with friends and family. Most can be set up for natural gas, propane, or wood burning.

Outdoor Kitchens

An outdoor kitchen is another great way to make a statement in any backyard landscaping or pool project. Typically, an outdoor kitchen includes a grill or some other cooking element, counter and storage space, and possibly a sink and mini fridge. You will need to hire a licensed contractor for elements that require plumbing, gas or electricity.

Spas

Built-in spas offer a relaxing element to your swimming pool, and can be used year ‘round, thus maximizing your return on investment. The benefits to these spas don’t just end there! A custom spa provides countless benefits including health, relaxation, family time, and romance. The design options for in-ground spas are as varied as the options for a custom swimming pool.

LED Lights

A beautiful backyard landscape without an outdoor lighting system is like a pool without water. Technological advancements in lighting systems like LEDs can truly transform an area at night. Depending on the model you choose, LEDs can create light shows, either below the water or anywhere they are professionally installed. LEDs are also more energy-efficient than standard outdoor lighting systems.

Be Sun Smart

sun smart

The days are longer and lighter, and that can only mean one thing: it’s time to play outside! Whether you’re headed to the pool (even if it’s in your own backyard), the mountains or a nearby waterpark, make sure you take the time to protect your skin.

Painful burning, skin cancer, and premature aging are all the result of unprotected moments under the sun. To protect yourself from the sun’s damaging rays, consider these tips. Adjust them based on your individual needs, lifestyle, and susceptibilities.

Stay hydrated

You’ve heard the message a thousand times, but there’s good reason – staying hydrated is essential for our overall health. During the summer, it is especially important to stay hydrated before, during and after spending time outdoors. Most individual adults should aim for 64 fluid ounces of water a day. For someone who exercises or works outdoors, this amount should be greater. Most experts agree: Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink – by this time you’re already dehydrated. Drink every 15-20 minutes.

Limit sun exposure

Stay indoors when the sun is at its most intense, usually between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). You are at greater risk of skin damage during this period. If you must be outside during these hours, hang out in a shady spot, or create your own shade using an umbrella. Take precautions even when in the shade.

Apply sunscreen every day

Consumer Reports recommends using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 40 that contains chemical active ingredients such as avobenzone rather than “natural” or mineral active ingredients such as zinc oxide. Only sunscreen with broad-spectrum coverage can shield your skin from UVA and UVB rays, both of which contribute to skin damage. For CR recommended sunscreens, click here.

Liberally apply sunscreen to any exposed skin, including the delicate skin around eyes, face and neck 30 minutes (the amount of time it takes for it to start working) prior to going outdoors. Keep in mind that most products only last for two hours. Make sure to reapply every 1 to 1 ½ hours if you’re going to be out in the sun longer. Always follow manufacturer recommendations.

Don’t forget to accessorize

A wide-brimmed hat can protect the delicate skin around your face, ears and neck, while sunglass protect your eyes and prevent cataracts. Wear sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection. Make sure to still apply sunscreen even when accessorizing.

Don’t let cloudy days fool you

By now, you know the importance of applying sunscreen on sunny days, but did you know that 80% of all UVA rays can penetrate cloud cover? With their longer wavelengths, UVA rays can pass through clouds and glass, penetrating the dermal layers of your skin and affecting the epidermal layers where wrinkles are formed.

Beat the Heat by the Pool this Summer

beat the heat

Don’t let the hot weather discourage you from enjoying the season. Instead, take advantage of this Arizona heat by going for a refreshing swim, either in your own backyard or by visiting one of the following venues.

After all, swimming provides countless benefits for both you and your children, including improving muscle definition and strength, building bone mass, reducing inflammation, decreasing stress, and burning calories.

Here are some venues to visit to beat the heat this summer.

Water Parks

Arizona is fortunate to be home to several water parks. Locals and visitors alike line up to get into Big Surf Waterpark. In operation since 1969, it is home of the United States’ first wave pool, which has been featured in many popular films including Just One of the Guys (1985) and Storm of the Century (1999). It is located in Tempe just off the 202 Red Mountain and McClintock Drive.

Also on the east side of town, you’ll find Mesa Golfland-Sunsplash, Arizona’s premier family fun destination. It features 30 exciting rides and attractions from thrilling waterslides to award winning miniature golf. On the west side of town is Wet-n-Wild, a massive 25-acre family water park tucked away in far north Phoenix. You can sometimes find discount ticket prices for these parks at Costco or through Groupon.

Public Aquatic Centers

The Valley has its share of community pools scattered throughout its many neighborhoods. The best part? They’re affordable! Swimming lessons, merit badge classes, and lifeguard training (junior and adult) are available at many city pools. Some of also available for private parties and corporate events. Visit any of the following links for additional information, including pool locations, hours of operation and amenities.

City of Apache Junction

Superstition Shadows Aquatic Center

1091 W. Southern Ave.

Apache Junction, AZ 85120

  • $1.50 admission for children (17 and younger)
  • $2.50 admission for adults (18 and over)

City of Chandler

Admission fees for all City of Chandler pools

  • $1.00 for children (2-17 years)
  • $2.25 for adults (18-54 years)
  • $1.25 for seniors (55 years and older)

Each of Chandler’s six public pools also feature weekly $1.00 family swim nights and free swim nights.

City of Gilbert

Admission fees for all City of Gilbert pools

  • $1.00 for children (17 and younger)
  • $3.00 for adults (18 and older)

City of Mesa

Admission fees for all City of Mesa Pools

  • Free for children under 6 months of age
  • $2.00 for children (17 and younger)
  • $4.00 for adults (18 and older)

City of Tempe

Admission fees for City of Tempe Pools vary, please visit their website for exact prices.

City of Phoenix

Admission Fees for all City of Phoenix Pools

  • $1.00 for kids (some city pools are offering free admission for children thanks to the Kool Kids program)
  • $3.00 for adults
  • $1.00 for seniors

Planning a Summer Pool Party

summer pool party

With temperatures rising throughout Arizona, one activity most people can’t live without is slipping into their swimsuits, and taking a dip in the cool blue waters of a swimming pool.

The only thing that beats diving in on a hot day is a summer pool party. There’s nothing like inviting some friends over, eating some amazing food, and lounging poolside. We have some great suggestions for invitations, decorations, food, games and of course, music.

Invites

Looking for a way to really wow your friends and family? Write your summer pool party details on an inflatable float or beach ball using a sharpie. You can choose any color sharpie you’d like. Be sure not to smudge the ink. For detailed instructions, click here.

Menu

No summer pool party would be complete without everyone’s summer favorites: burgers and hot dogs hot off the grill. Sandwiches, sliders, and chicken and pineapple kabobs are all low-maintenance options. Also, a refreshing snack, sliced watermelon. Don’t forget desert; perhaps a mixed berry cobbler or classic strawberry shortcake? Be sure to have lots of bottled water available to help your guests stay hydrated.

Activities

For fun activities that are family friendly, set up a few lawn games, such as Twister, Tic Tac Toe Frisbee and Jumbo Jenga. A quick Pinterest search will yield many other fun games. Additionally, a pool party can never have too many pool floats or pool noodles for guests to float around on, especially if there are children in attendance.

Decorations

If you’re hosting the party by the pool, be sure to set up a shady area or two for guests who prefer to relax in the shade. Add color to your pool by throwing in some balloons. With a little imagination, you can also create mini beach ball garland using paint, nylon string and Styrofoam balls. Get the tutorial here.

Songs for Summer

  • Firework by Katy Perry
  • School’s Out by Alice Cooper
  • Summer in the City by the Lovin’ Spoonful