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

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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

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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

The Supreme Sales Advantage of a Family Business Is the Family Story

should i build a poolBy Daphne Mallory

Selling your products or services is the lifeblood of any business. The biggest mistake I made in the startup phase of my family business was not making the investment to get trained to sell. I hid in my home office following an online marketing plan. After failing hard, I got the message. I love selling now. I like making money. Sales is my opportunity to share solutions that will make a difference in peoples’ lives. When I solve problems, I get paid.

family business has an opportunity to employ sales strategies in a way that’s different from other entrepreneurs. The talents and skills of everyone working together as well as your family story can be your competitive advantage. Here how to sell together:

Paint a family portrait

Jane Grote Abell, chairwoman of Donato’s Pizza, started her story on an episode of Undercover Boss episode: “I think the main difference between Donato’s and other pizza companies is that we’re a family.”

She went on to tell the story of how her dad, at age 18 bought, a pizza place with $1,300.  She shared how her dad chose the name Donato’s because it means “to give a good thing.” Her grandfather wanted him to choose the name Grody. Abell explained that her dad went with his gut, and now the name Donato’s translates into how she operates all areas of the family business today.

That story has stayed with me. If I am ever in a city with Donato’s, I will buy pizza there and not from another chain.

Tell people how did you family business started. Describe for them a time when you worked alongside your family through difficult personal or business circumstances. The power of a well-told story will take you from obscurity to preeminence in your area. Prospects will remember you and forget your competition.

Sell like a politician

You routinely see the spouses of politicians at fundraisers, even though the “other half” is not running for office. Why? Many voters believe they can know and trust a candidate by getting to know their spouse. The same is true in family business, if you’re married. Your partner can make or break you.

I asked a successful family business owner about this. His business involves selling contracts internationally, so he makes trips overseas at least four months out of the year. He does not make a trip without his wife. He is convinced that she is the closer. Clients believe that he is honest because she comes across as sincere. Her official role in the family business is human resources, but she transforms into a salesperson when meeting with prospects.

Make sure that every family member who interacts with the public on behalf of your business knows how to sell through words and actions. Like any political family, you risk destroying your credibility because all eyes are watching.

Sell through service

It takes less effort and money to sell to an existing customer than it does to find new customers. Many entrepreneurs don’t land repeat business because they don’t deliver quality services. Someone drops the ball and the customer walks away with a negative experience. Your family business can stand out of from the crowd in this one area alone.

Work together as a well oiled machine and make it your mission to handle each customer as though they are a member of your family. Divide the work load among each member who is competent and willing to deliver services.

I recently experienced this at a family auto run dealership in Twin Falls, Idaho. The dad dealt with my paperwork, his son took me for a test and, when I returned, another family member parked the car. I watched him go on to clean and prep another car. The experience was endearing to me, a mom of four. It made an impact on my purchase decision. I did not go to a larger dealership located less than a mile because of it.

Doubling your sales can be simple but it does take hard work. Hone your family story, share it with everyone you come in contact with and deliver quality services together. There is strength in numbers. Don’t hide your family, leverage it in the sales process.

By Daphne Mallory

8 Ways to Embrace the Wonder of Fall

There is something about the change in the weather, the calm before the holiday chaos and the clear night skies that makes fall the perfect time to take stock of where you’ve been and what the coming months may bring. This season take pleasure in the small, simple things, like collecting acorns, pressing oak leaves and wrapping up in warm blankets to count the stars overhead. These suggestions will help you feather and enjoy your nest.
by Apartment 46 for the Home
1. Press leaves. Sitting under a big September moon in the crisp evening air, I found myself thinking about the past nine months and how thankful I was to be right there in that moment. Fall feels like a desperately needed time-out to me, and in those moments before Halloween hits my neighborhood, it’s an opportunity to celebrate the natural world and the little gifts it leaves, literally, on my doorstep.If you have kids, it’s a wonderful time of year to get them involved in decorating the house for the change of season. Have them gather up fallen leaves of different colors, shapes and sizes. Press the leaves between two sheets of paper for a few nights, and when they’re dried, attach them to card stock with double-sided tape. You can display them garland-style on a mirror or mantel by clipping them with clothespins to a length of twine, or you can get a little fancy and arrange them gallery-style in a well-used space.

Apartment 46 for the Home
2. Collect seedpods. One of the simplest and yet most gratifying things to do is to stop and marvel about what nature has to offer at this time of year. Fallen leaves start to blanket the landscape, empty nests provide a window into a bird’s world, and long, sinewy branches rattle in the breeze.Whether you live in a small studio in a big city or a rambling ranch home far away from prying eyes, small things of beauty are everywhere. Take time to collect a bowlful of unexpected seedpods or other fallen curios and display them in a place that invites others to pick them up, check them out and admire the treasures of the natural world.

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3. Find your happy place. Wind down and calm your mind by savoring the last few rays of the day. Try soaking up that sunlight splashed across your favorite chair or stand outside on the balcony to take a few deep breaths. If you haven’t yet set aside a place where you can be still for a few minutes, now’s the time. Put a chair in the bedroom corner and keep it free of clutter so you can sink in and give yourself a break before jumping into the next set of chores. Put a bench on the back porch or throw a blanket on the grass and make a point of sitting on it as day turns to dusk. I often sit on my back steps to catch the evening breeze, because when space is limited, you’ve got to make the most of what you have.
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4. Upgrade your bedding. During hot and humid times, a good night’s rest is often found under a single top sheet, but when the weather changes and the nighttime temperatures drop, adding to your bedding can significantly improve the quality and maybe even the amount of your sleep.Summer is a time for coverlets; fall calls for adding a more substantial blanket. It’s not yet time to break out the heavy comforter, but blankets are perfect for layering when the nights get a little colder. Choose a material that feels good against your skin and envelops you in comfort. If you’re soothed by scents, spritz your blankets with organic rose, geranium or lavender water (as opposed to oils, which stain fabric), before you put them in the dryer, and they’ll come out with a subtle hint of your favorite relaxing floral.

5. Turn a few pages. In every room of my house there are books, magazines and catalogs in various stages of being looked at or read, and all have at least one dog-eared page. No matter how voracious a reader you are, carving out time to read a few pages or interesting articles every couple of days can do a great deal to refocus your mind, put complex things into perspective and allow you to unplug from the world for a minute.
6. Take a long soak. One of the most basic human comforts is warmth, and a hot bath is the perfect way to make everything feel a little less overwhelming. I’ve long dreamed of having a soaking tub with a view of the night sky, but right now I have a shower-tub combo with a view of my neighbor’s two-story. If you’re in a similar situation, dim the lights or turn them off altogether in favor of candlelight to create a more Zen-like atmosphere. Put a small stool within reach so you can bring in a cup of tea or glass of wine. Add a few drops of essential oil to your soak and let go of everything on your mind, or just spend uninterrupted time thinking about what’s most important to you.
7. Create a special table setting. You don’t need to be a party planner to host a memorable evening. You probably have everything you need in your cupboards and drawers to set a warm and welcoming table.Mismatched plates with a hodgepodge of flatwaredon’t matter nearly as much as the people surrounding the table and adding their lives and laughter to the mix. Drape a table with an uncommon cover — think vintage Mexican serapes or Turkish towels. Candleholders are easy to come by, and tea lights are sold by the extra-huge bag at most discount stores. In a pinch use small juice glasses for votives and vary the height and selection for a more relaxed feeling.
Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

8. Start a fire. Fire pits come in all shapes and sizes, from built-ins to small, movable models and even non-wood designs, so there’s really something for everyone, assuming you have a safe space to have one. Keep them well away from anything flammable, and monitor them at all times. Movable fire pits can be surrounded by lounge chairs to set a campout sort of mood. Be sure to think about your neighbors and consider a smokeless variety when air quality is a concern.Roast a few marshmallows and pop them in mugs of pumpkin-spiced cocoa to underscore that fall feeling. A big basket full of throw blankets lets you stay cozy while the fire winds down. Write down some wishes on slips of paper and toss them into the embers. Let the ashes keep your hopes secure while you ponder the months to come.

Brought to you by your lake conroe pool builder, Pools By Design

Tips for fall pool maintenance!

 

Found on Swimmingpool.com

Submitted by Janel Evans on 
 

Even though Fall is just around the corner, not everyone is rushing to pull out their sweaters and boots just yet! In many parts of the world, swimming pools are still being used – even as the leaves begin to change color. There are still many warm days left, and if you have a pool heater, you may be able to use your pool year round. However, the way you care for your pool may change with the change of the seasons from summer to fall. Here are a few tips for you to remember:Father and Son Cleaning Pool

  • Because your pool needed more chemicals during the summer due to evaporation, use and swimmer load, you will be able to use less as the temperature lowers. You should only have to check your pool chemistryonce a week during the fall season.
  • When the season changes to fall, the leaves begin to fall also, and more than likely into your pool. Be sure to skim your pool regularly to remove leaves and other debris. Sometimes leaves can stain if they remain on the bottom of the pool for too long.
  • Remember that because of reduced use, you can also reduce the use of your pump and filter. In most areas, you should probably only have to run them 4-8 hours a day.

Once your pool is too cool for swimming, be sure that you have it closed properly. A homeowner can choose to do this, but is best done by a pool professional to protect your investment. That way, you can ensure that everything will be ready when the pool is ready to be opened again in the spring! If you have any questions regarding your pool operation or proper chemistry, contact your local pool professional. 

Found on Swimmingpool.com

Swim strokes info

As your Woodlands pool builderI try to bring you all kinds of info.
THE FOUR STROKES

The four competitive swimming strokes are freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. The combination of all four strokes is called individual medley.

In freestyle events, the competitor may swim any stroke. The stroke most commonly used is sometimes called the crawl, which is characterized by the alternate stroking of the arms over the surface of the water surface and an alternating (up-and-down) flutter kick.

 

Backstroke consists of an alternating motion of the arms with a flut­ter kick while on the back. On turns, swimmers may rotate to the stomach and perform a flip turn and some part of the swimmer must touch the wall. The swimmer must finish on the back.

The breaststroke requires simultaneous movements of the arms on the same horizontal plane. The hands are pressed out from in front of the breast in a heart shaped pattern and recovered under or on the surface of the water. The kick is a simultaneous somewhat circular motion similar to the action of a frog. On turns and at the finish, the swimmer must touch the wall with both hands simultaneously at, above or below the water surface.

Some consider the butterfly to be the most beautiful of the strokes. It features a simultaneous recovery of the arms over the water combined with an undulating dolphin kick. In the kick, the swimmer must keep both legs together and may not flutter, scissors or use the breaststroke kick. Both hands must touch the wall simultaneously on the turns and the finish.
The individual medley, commonly referred to as the I.M., features all four strokes. In the IM, the swimmer begins with the butterfly, then changes after one-fourth of the race to backstroke, then breaststroke and finally freestyle.

Article found on usaswimming.com

Innovative pool construction in The Woodlands

Water pools are one of the most exotic needs of the people these days and that is why people like to have nice pools for their personal use and also for commercial uses. These pools are available in variety of shapes and designs. These pools in Woodlands are more special as they are absolutely good looking. There is no doubt that these pools in Woodlands are at the top of anybody attractive list. These pools are designed by the most expert engineers and they are maintained by excellent people who are trained and skilled to maintain these pools.

The most exciting fact of these pools lies in the fact that they are facilitated with fantastic drainage system which is extremely necessary for those pools that are frequently used.  If you look at all the Woodlands pools, then you can easily understand the highest qualities of these pools. Beside the drainage system, these pools are also known for the extremely good workmanship on behalf of these skilled workmen.

There are many companies in Woodlands that are engaged in the Woodlands pool construction for a long period of time now. These companies avail the services of the most skilled people who have a great working knowledge with the construction of these individual and other pools that are used by many people together. As a matter of fact, these pools in Woodlands get much importance in the public life. Therefore, these pools are in great demand in the city.

The companies and the people who are associated with the Woodlands pool construction are known for their admirable work. These companies have a long experience in this field and that is why they are capable of bringing a complete change in the whole concept of these pool constructions. These attractive pools vary in design, size, and their finishing. These sizes and shapes are very much finalized by the makers as they have the final authority to decide what people are looking for.   As far as the affordability factor of these pools is concerned, these companies allow a number of packages for the people to choose from them.

The 411 on Pool Construction in The Woodlands

If you build a pool at your house in the Woodlands, your friends and family will love spending more time there. Plus, it would be a great way to get over the heat during the summer and your entire family will look forward to that season because of it – especially the kids. So, if you don’t have a pool yet, you should definitely look into pool construction in the Woodlands. It won’t be hard to build one in your backyard and it will even add onto your house’s resale value. Here are several things you need to know.

You need to get in touch with a professional company or a contractor that specializes in pool construction in the Woodlands. They would be the ideal guides to help you make your decisions during the process.

Now, pool construction requires money and although you can set your own budget, contractors can usually do this much better. Your pool’s budget will depend on the kind of pool that you want, its size and shape, the materials that will be used, and the pool accessories you want to add. The budget will also take other things into consideration, like the water bill, electricity bill, cost of maintenance, water pump, pool cleaning chemicals and pool filters.

Your budget will also depend on your pool’s specifics. Although it would be cheaper to get a pool above ground, in-ground pools could be very expensive. Because of this, it would be smart to ask your contractor for help before making your final decision on the matter.

Pools are usually made out of gunite, poured concrete, stainless steel or fiber glass.

You might want your pool to have tiled walls and floors, too. However, you need to ensure that these are cleaned on a regular basis since algae could grow on them and make the pool unhygienic.

Above all things, safety would be of the utmost importance, most of all of you will be having small kids in the pool. Fortunately, safety fences can be set around the pool when it isn’t being used and your contractor should also be able to give you a demonstration on safety after your pool construction in the Woodlands is done.

The Woodlands pool builder-Leak detection

Your pool will naturally lose some water to evaporation, some to splash-out and some to backwash waste water. You may also gain water from rainfall.  Pools by design’s rule of thumb is that if you’re routinely adding more than two inches of water to your pool per week, you may have a leak.  It is worth spending some time and money to repair.

Is the pool leaking only with the equipment on?

This may indicate a pressure-side return leak.  With the filter pump on, the plumbing on the pressure side is under pressure. This can open up small drips into spraying gushers. Check the waste or backwash line for water consistently running. One inch of your pool water can equal 500 gallons.

Is the pool leaking only with the equipment off?

This usually indicates a suction-side leak. With the filter pump on, the plumbing on the suction side is under vacuum. Air can be drawn in through otherwise leaking voids. You may notice air in the pump basket (if you have a clear lid), air bubbling out of the return lines, or air repeatedly built up inside the filter tank. Use tape or a pencil to mark water levels. Is the pump basket lid on tight with a good, lubed o-ring?

Does the pool leak all the time?

In this situation the woodlands pool builder does not rule out leaks in the plumbing, but turns a suspicious eye on the shell of the pool, looking for cracks in the plaster or tears in the vinyl. Look closely at the tile line and look real closely inside of the skimmer(s). The most common leak we  fix is a separation between the plastic skimmer and the concrete pool. This is easily fixed with some pool putty. If you see something that looks like a crack, drop some of your pH indicator test reagent near it with your pump shut off and water still.  See if the dye is sucked into the crack. Under water lights can and do leak as well.  Especially the conduit that runs from the light niche to the junction box. Filling the opening of the conduit in the back of the light niche with putty, silicone, or caulk is a way to fix this problem.
Are there leaks at the equipment pad?

Look closely at the filter, pump, heater, and valves. Check the ground for moisture. Turn the pump on and off looking closely for spraying water when the pump is turned off.
Does the water seem to stabilize at any particular level?

Your Woodlands pool builder considers this to be the least expensive leak detection. You may be able to close the skimmer valve and allow the water level to drop below the skimmer. If it keeps going, we can rule out the skimmer (although there can always be more than one leak). The underwater light is a common leak source. If the water stabilizes, dye test around this level very carefully. Look for small debris which may have been sucked into the crack or void. This is a good indication of a leak.
Are there any wet areas around the pool?

Take a walk around the pool’s edge and between the pool and the equipment pad. Check for wet soil and eroded areas