Swimming Facts!

Screenshot_4One thing that I think all homeowners can agree on is that when there is a swimming pool involved, a good time is definitely in order. With this post, we want to venture outside the box a little bit. Sure we all have fun swimming in the pool, playing games, cooking out or relaxing and lounging, but tune into this post to learn about some entertaining facts that you may have never known about.

1. Elephants can swim as many as 20 miles a day — they use their trunks as natural snorkels!
2. Swimming works out all of the body’s major muscles and reduces stress.
3. The bikini swimsuit was named after a U.S. nuclear testing site in the South Pacific called Bikini Atoll.
4. The fastest and most efficient swim stroke is the crawl/ freestyle. This is always the most popular freestyle stroke.
5. As with any other type of exercise you need to stay hydrated while swimming and you need to drink water. Your core body temperature can rise as the activity increases. Your body also produces sweat as it does with other physical activity, but it is not as apparent since you are already wet.
6. An Olympic size pool depending on its size (50 meters X 25 yards or meters) can hold from 700,000 to 850,000 gallons of water.
7. An hour of vigorous swimming will burn up to 650 calories. It burns off more calories than walking or biking.
8. The first recorded swimming races were held in Japan in 36 B.C.
9. The Titanic was the first ocean liner to have a swimming pool and a gym.
10. Swim fins were invented by Benjamin Franklin.

Take note and use these interesting facts to start up a trivia game at your next pool outing or be the first one to impress your friends and family with your newly accumulated swimming pool knowledge.

Contact us when you’re ready to build a new pool or remodel your current pool. And we wish everyone, happy swimming!

Safety Turtle Alarms for Toddlers


A toddler can drown in the time it takes to answer the phone. The best protection against such a tragedy is the constant supervision by the parent or adult. Homeowners should also secure their swimming pool, ideally with a four-sided pool safety fence with self-latching gate. The Safety Turtle is a personal wireless alarm system designed to protect young children from drowning or serious injury in backyard swimming pools, and other water hazards. The Safety Turtle system goes with and safeguards the child wherever he or she goes it includes a locking wristband, designed in the shape of a colorful turtle that is worn on the child’s wrist.

The Base Station

The Base Station is the component of the Safety Turtle wireless alert system which sounds the alarm. All Safety Turtle wireless systems require at least one Base Station. Safety Turtle sensors have no audible or visual outputs, so serve no useful function without a Base Station. There is no limit to the number of base station you have, as they will all alarm at the same time if there are in range of the sensor. This allows you to expand the area of alarm audibility or increase the total sensor coverage area or both.

The Wrist Band

The wrist band is a water sensing device in the shape of a Turtle, it is locked onto the Childs wrist with a special key that stops the Safety Turtle being accidentally removed during vigorous play. The wristband instantly detects immersion in water and sends a radio signal to a base station in the home, sounding a loud alarm. The Safety Turtle is designed so that rain and spray from lawn sprinklers won’t trigger the alarm; it will however go into full alarm mode if submerged in any form of water

There is no limitations in how many wrist bands go back to the same base station(s) but they must be the same color. You can only mix Safety Turtle colors if you had two base stations corresponding to two different color bands.

The base station knows what color band it is assigned to by a miniature Turtle that plugs into the front of the base station.


Features of the Base Station and Safety Turtle wrist bands


Safety Turtle works with ALL Fresh Water, natural or man made

No installation required.

A loud alarm instantly sounds at the Base Station when the Turtle is immersed in water. The alarm continues to sound until it is reset.

Rain or light spray won’t trigger the alarm.

Children enjoy wearing the colorful Turtle Wristbands.

The Turtle Wristband locks securely around a child’s wrist, using the key provided.

The Turtle is permanently sealed and rugged to withstand children’s play.

The Turtle has a battery life of 3 – 4 years

A child wearing his/her Turtle is protected even while the pool is in use or is being cleaned. There is no need to ever “turn off” the system.

Safety Turtle is easily portable, and with the Turtle Power battery pack / weatherproof bag accessory, can be used anywhere.

The Safety Turtle system can be progressively expanded through the purchase of additional sensors(s) of the same color.

Unlike other pool alarms, Safety Turtle can alert if your child falls in an immediate neighbours pool,spa or garden pond



Is Your Pool Leaking?

There are some ways you can narrow down the reasons behind your leaky swimming pool. There are typically one of three swim pool issues with water loss.

Excessive Splash Out or Evaporation

If the pool is not being used frequently (then obviously), it is unlikely that the problem is splash out. On the other hand, if it is the middle of the summer, with high temperatures and lots of kids getting in and out (dripping wet) this could, in fact, be a real cause.

To eliminate evaporation or splash out pool water loss as a causes, here is a quick test that can be run on your swimming pool: Be sure to secure all pets BEFORE the test.

clip_image003 Place a 5 gallon bucket on the second step or bench seat and fill it with water so that it is exactly the same level as the swim pool. If evaporation is the cause of your loss, both levels should drop at the same rate If you have a pool leak, then the pool will drop faster than the water level in the bucket.

Leaks in Plumbing or the Pool Shell

Inspect around the filter pad for obvious leaks. Look for damp spots or drips. A steady drip can result in a lot of water loss over time. Does your pool leak more with the filtration system running vs. not running? If it does not seem to matter if the pool pump and filter system is on or off, then it is time to start doing checks in the pool: Start “plugging” holes – places like water returns, pool skimmers, and the pool main drains, one at a time. You might want to buy enough winterizing plugs for the returns and the auto cleaner. Try to plug up just the returns first and see if the leak rate slows down.You can screw a plug into the skimmers and see if you notice a water loss change.


If none of those seem to slow down the rate of water loss, you need to call in a leak specialist. These pool professionals specialize in finding and repairing leaking plumbing, etc. Contact your pool service professional.


How to Protect your Pool during Winter

Freezing can create costly damages to your swimming pool. The best way to protect your pool from freeze damage is to prevent it by winterizing your pool. Prevent freeze damage from destroying your backyard paradise.

Above Ground pools

The most susceptible to winter freezing and need extra care and attention during the winter months to ensure they are not damaged by the freezing water.

The following explains why above ground pool walls collapse or fail:

The skimmer catches water which then freezes, causing the skimmer to become too heavy for the wall to support, this eventually causes the walls to collapse.

An expansion pushes out against the walls causing the walls to buckle under the immense pressure and weight of the ice

Tip: Purchase a skimmer cover, and use air pillows under the winter cover

Inground Pools

Ensure the pipes and equipment are clear and insulated before a freeze. If pumps aren’t removed during winter they run the risk of cracking due to the expansion of the frozen water trapped inside. Skimmers can crack due to pressure of freezing and thawing ice so place a Gizzmo in the skimmer to seal the skimmer pipe so it can absorb pressure from ice. Anti-freeze can be added to the skimmer line, return line and main drain line to prevent freezing, use a swimming pool anti-freeze.

In areas that don’t need to close or winterize pools, keep pumps running during winter to prevent water from freezing.

W1035_fWinterizing kits: for correct chemical balance throughout the winter months and protection of all non-chemical elements of your swimming pool






Blowers: Clears pipes and equipment of water prior to being plugged and insulated to protect them from the elements






Skimmer Faceplate Covers: prevent your skimmer from retaining water which can freeze and possibly damage the pool wall






Gizzmos: are designed for inground skimmer ice expansion protection






Water tubes and air Pillows: are used under winter covers for ice expansion prevention



Pool Maintenance Costs


Must Haves

A large capacity modular media filter

The bigger the better, install filters that need cleaning maybe once per year. These commercial grade 700 sq. ft. filters filter from the top down, another very important feature. Note: Don’t install this type of filter if you have dogs using the pool.


Use this for chlorine tablets rather than a floating sanitation dispenser

A simple ozone system

to cut down on chlorine demand; this will easily save you a couple hundred dollars a year.

A multi-speed pool pump.

Install either a 2-speed or a variable speed pump, with the latter being the best choice now. Variable speed pumps will save you hundreds of dollars annually for many years.

An automatic pool cover.

This will save water, energy and therefore, a lot of money. It will also allow you to enjoy the pool nearly all year long.

A swimming pool interior 

that can handle some abuse and be forgiving when you make a mistake, because that WILL happen. Consider an aggregate interior finish like Pebble Tec, Pebble Sheen or Pebble Fina. At the very least, consider an enhanced plaster finish such as Ultra-Poz. If not, it may only be a few years before the interior will need to be re-finished and that is not cheap.

An in-floor cleaning and circulation system

don’t have a pool built without a quality cleaning and circulation system. This is the heart of the pool and over the years an in-floor cleaning and circulation system will more than pay for itself compared to hose cleaner repair and maintenance, chemical costs and more, not to mention the hassle of taking it in and out of the pool.

Above Ground Pools


 A swimming pool may not add value to your home and property, but if  you’re wanting that backyard cooling-off spot, an above-ground  swimming pool costs far less than an in-ground pool. You’ll spend 80% less, and you avoid the disruption of heavy equipment  digging up your backyard. Of course, if you select upgrades like patterned or textured liners, fancy  stairs, and custom decking At that point, it makes sense to consider an  in-ground investment, which you may be able to list as a selling amenity  someday.

Ring pools: Above-ground pools come in two basic types: ring and frame. Ring pools, also known as “float to fill,” are commonly around 12 feet in diameter and 3 feet high. Made of heavy-duty vinyl, they get their name from an inflatable ring at the top of the pool, which rises as the pool fills with water and lifts the sidewalls into place. The filled pool is flask-shaped, wider at the bottom than the top for greater stability. A 12-foot ring pool holds approximately 1,400 gallons of water, enough to require chlorine tablets for chemical balance and a filtration pump. Many families see this as an inexpensive way to test the waters on pool ownership and maintenance. Frame pools: A frame pool has a sturdy metal frame and an interior pool liner. One of these can stay up year-round, although it can be disassembled in a matter of hours. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes; the most popular size is a 24-foot round, which gives plenty of room for laps or a rowdy game of water polo. Most frame pools come with a lifetime warranty that translates into 25 to 30 years of practical use, even with kids pushing off the sides and jumping off the deck area. The typical frame pool has walls that are 48 inches to 54 inches high, which means you’ll need a ladder to get in and out. Depending on the size and shape of your yard, installers may be able to bury one end of the steel framework deeper in the ground to create different water levels, but even with this trick, 6.5 feet is the depth limit. Once the pool is set up, you can add decking or landscaping to make it look like a more permanent feature of the yard. Maintenance and safety issues Above-ground frame pools need many of the same working parts as in ground versions, such as filters and automatic pool cleaners. They can definitely support a heater, although to keep costs proportionate, many people just spread a solarblanket over the pool when not in use. It’s also possible to hook up automatic cleaners on the circulation line to avoid manually cleaning the sides.

Chemicals are required, but in smaller quantities.

Plan on spending an average of $400 a season on chlorine, compared with $600 for an in ground pool. Homeowners also need to be aware of local safety ordinances and erect the appropriate fencing. In many jurisdictions, fencing can be attached to the top of the pool itself instead of around the perimeter of the yard.

Because it isn’t permanent, an above-ground pool doesn’t require a permit, and it won’t impact the resale value of your home. Note that some homeowners associations or developers don’t allow them, and they’re not suited for diving. It’s always a good idea to notify your insurance agent that you’ve added an above-ground pool, as coverage policies vary.

6 Smart Ways to Bring Shade to Your Outdoor Space

Outdoor areas don’t have to be all about soaking in the sun. Sometimes it’s nice to relax in a shady spot, shielded from the harsh rays. There are many ways to bring shade to an outdoor space. You can build a new freestanding structure or enhance an existing patio or pergola through the addition of a shade screen. Many such screens are made from fabric or canvas, but even materials like lattice and bamboo are popular options that cast delicately dappled light onto the outdoor living space beneath or behind. Best of all, there’s no need to call in a contractor; most of these projects are simple enough for the average homeowner to complete easily and quickly, often within the space of a single weekend. So click through our gallery to see a selection of yard improvements that will have you made in the shade.



3 must-do’s to get the right Woodlands pool builder.


Nolan Hearn here.I felt strongly about this subject and wanted to write it myself. I am not a writer. Sorry in advance for grammatical errors and typos.

It can be stressful deciding which of the many companies you are going to trust with your large investment. With all the horror stories going around about pool builders and poor quality pools, I felt it may be helpful to give some tips on what to look for. This has really been weighing on both my self and Roy Burden. (owner of Pools by Design)

There are good, trustworthy pool builders in The Woodlands. How to find them…

1. Check History- In the booming area that is The Woodlands, Spring, and Conroe there will be some “Fly-by-Night” companies. They swoop in looking to make a quick buck. Giving no thought to keeping a good reputation,  they will be gone on to the next city in no time. Not to long ago this nice lady was complaining about bad service and an unfinished pool. I asked her how long has the company been around, are they local, and what did the reviews say about this company? And to no surprise I got back plenty of “Well I do not know”.  Sure enough it was a company that had changed names several times, going from bad reputation to bad reputation. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Look up/ask how long have they been in business (under that name), do they have a BBB rating or any other review sites, are they a local company. Roy always says “I live here, I can not afford to have unhappy customers. When I pass by a past client in the store I don’t want to have to duck and hide.” I call them “past clients” but they are more like friends that know they can call us anytime for questions or concerns. Pools by Design’s business plan includes customer service that extends long after the completion of the project.

2.Talk to past clients- Once you decide to invite a sales man over to your home you have put a certain amount of trust in them. However, their one and only goal is to get the job. Unfortunately, that sometimes means they will tell you everything you want to hear, regardless of truthfulness. You have to assume that you will like what they say. But how do you know if its just all talk and no walk? They should bring a customer list. If not, request one (and then wonder why you had to ask for one). It is very important to talk with past clients who have been through the whole process. Here are a few important questions to ask. It should only take a couple minutes, but you will have solid information on the company.

  • Overall Experience?
  • Are you happy with the final product?
  • Was the total amount paid equal to proposal/contract amount? If not,Why? (beware of bait and switch)
  • Would you use them again?

3. Do not pay down payment or large % to early. Where a lot of homeowners get in trouble is paying to much to early. If a company insist on a down payment it should be relatively TINY to amount of project. We at Pools by Design do not take a down payment and would not recommend it. Make sure the amount you paid in is in line with the timeline of project. In other words, do not have over 60% of contract amount paid and all to show for it is a hole in the ground. No wonder we hear all the stories about pool builders leaving unfinished pools. In this scenario they already made their money. We at Pools by Design have a draw payment system. In other words, the project is broken down to 5 stages. We finish a stage we get paid. The home owner never pays for something they do not already have.

Save your self a lot of trouble and follow these tips. Whether it is with Pools by Design or someone else make this an enjoyable experience.

Nolan Hearn


Winter Is Pool Planning Season


Great article. Brought to you by your Woodlands Pool Builder-Pools by design

Written by Anne Reagan of http://porch.com/

Even though it is the dead of winter, this is the best time to plan for a pool installation. Who would have thought the winter months would be the best time to think about pools? Here are a few reasons you should start researching and contacting pool contractors today.

1. It’s Off- Season

Everyone wants a pool as soon as the summer heat rolls around, and that is when pool contractors get extremely busy. If you wait to plan for your pool until summer, you run the risk of scheduling issues. However, if you start planning and scheduling a pool installation now, you will get the first pick of dates you want your pool installed, and it will ensure that your pool will be ready to use before the first heat wave of summer.

2. Better Prices

Because the winter months are slower for pool professionals, you may be able to get a better price. Some professionals offer discounted rates for fall/winter months, so be sure to start planning at the latest in February to make sure you get discounted rates.

3. Easier to get permits

There are typically less construction projects in the winter, making permits easier to obtain. Even if there are delays in permit process, if you begin the process now you will have plenty of cushion time to make sure you will have your pool completed by the summer.

4. Landscaping

Most people like to have landscaping planned around a pool installation. If you complete a pool installation in winter or early spring, you can plan to do some spring landscaping around your newly finished pool. That way during the summer you can enjoy your pool and landscaped yard without having to do a landscaping project in the summer heat.

Great article. Brought to you by your local Pool Builder-Pools by design

Get Rid of Mustard Algae in a Pool

This blog is straight from http://www.swimuniversity.com/  brought to you by Pools by Design

How to Get Rid of Mustard Algae in a Pool

Mustard or yellow algae is a rare form of pool algae that is more common in warmer southern areas, but that doesn’t mean your pool won’t be infected. It’s important, that if you spot signs of mustard algae, to act quickly and get rid of it.

What is Mustard Algae?

Mustard algae is rare and often mistaken for sand, dirt, or a stain in your pool.It’s not slimy like regular green algae, but it likes to attach itself to pool walls and other items.

It’s also chlorine-resistant and very stubborn. It can even live outside of your swimming pool. That means pool equipment, toys, floats, and even bathing suits. If you have mustard algae, you’ll want to disinfect these items right away.

How To Kill Mustard Algae in 10 Steps

Here is a simple step-by-step guide to getting rid of the algae.

1. Machine Wash Your Suits

Wash all your bathing suits in the washing machine and dry in a dryer.This should kill the algae if it has infected these items.

2. Clean Your Toys and Floats

Disinfect all toys and floats with a chlorine based solution. Clorox cleaner(not bleach) should work just fine in this case. You don’t want to bleach your toys and floats.

3. Move Equipment to Shallow End

Place all maintenance equipment, including hoses and poles, in your pool (the shallow end, if you have one). When you treat the pool with shock, this will sanitize all your equipment. You can also throw anything you think might be infected with mustard algae in the pool.

4. Vacuum The Algae OUT

Fill up your pool with fresh water to the very top. Hook up your manual vacuum cleaner (do not use an automatic vacuum for this) and turn your filter to waste, not backwash.

Mustard algae can live in your filter, so you don’t want to vacuum the algae through your system. Since you are vacuuming the water directly out of your pool, you are going to lose some water. That’s why recommend filling your pool up to the top, before you vacuum, to compensate for water loss.

Vacuum Pool Manually

How to Vacuum a Pool Manually

If you don’t own an automatic cleaner, or having water issues, you need to learn how to vacuum a pool manually with this easy-to-follow VIDEO tutorial.

Click here to learn more »

5. Get Your Water Tested

Make sure your pool water is properly balanced using test strips. Your pH levels should be between 7.4 and 7.6 and your alkalinity should be between 120 and 150 ppm (parts per million). This will allow the shock treatment to be more effective.

How to Get Rid of Mustard Algae in a Pool

Got mustard algae? Here’s a very simple tutorial that will walk you through how to remove stubborn mustard algae from your swimming pool.

Click here to learn more »

6. Brush Your Pool

Brush the algae off your pool walls and floor using a pool brush. Also, brush the entire pool. You want to break up the algae and get it in suspension so that the chlorine from the shock can attack and destroy it.

7. Triple Shock Your Pool

Just like a regular algae-killing treatment, you want to shock the heck out of it! Three pounds per 10,000 gallons of water. Make sure you shock at dusk or nighttime, and leave your filter and pump running 24 hours a day until the algae is gone.

Shocking a Swimming Pool

How to Shock a Swimming Pool

Want to learn how to shock a pool? Watch this video and follow along with these easy steps to successfully shock your swimming pool.

Click here to learn more »

8. Keep Brushing

Keep brushing your pool for the next couple of days. It’s a good idea to keep your pool properly sanitized during this time.

Keep checking your pH and alkalinity levels to make sure they stay in range. You want to keep that algae from attaching itself to anything, like the walls and floor of your pool. If the algae is in suspension, you will have an easier time killing it.

9. Make Sure It’s Safe

After a couple of days, if the algae seems to be gone, it’s safe to take any toys, floats, equipment, and bathing suits out of the pool.

I would suggest shocking your pool one more time for good measure. It doesn’t have to be a triple shock, you can just use one pound of shock per 10,000 gallons. Just make sure your filter is still running and you shock at night or dusk.

10. Check and Repeat

After you’ve done your final shock treatment, it’s time to test your water and repeat if needed.

If the water chemistry is good and the water looks clear, then you should be fine for now. If, however, the pool water isn’t chemically correct, be sure to get it back where it needs to be.

How To Prevent Yellow or Mustard Algae from Growing

Keeping your pool properly balanced and sanitized is the key to keeping all forms of algae from growing. Make sure you:

  • Keep your pH, alkalinity and sanitizer levels in the correct range at all times.
  • Run your pump and filter for 8 to 12 hours a day all season long.
  • Keep your pool clean by regularly vacuuming and brushing.
  • Shock your pool every week. One pound per 10,000 gallons.
  • Keep your additional pool equipment clean including pool toys, floats, ladders, steps, diving boards, slides, solar blankets and covers.

Happy Swimming!

This blog is straight from http://www.swimuniversity.com/  brought to you by Pools by Design