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!

Building a Spa on your Deck

traditional-patioHot tubs and spas come in an array of shapes and sizes, and can be equipped with scores of accessories. Choosing the right spa depends on its intended use, how big your deck is, and what structural alterations will be required for your deck. You’ll also need to know the cost of installation,

Before long, fiberglass versions with circulating jets appeared called “spas.” Today the terms “hot tub” and “spa” are used interchangeably, but because most units are jetted, spa is the term more commonly used. Spas range in size from two-person models costing about $2,000, to 20-foot-long swim spas costing $18,000 or more. In between are those most popular for decks: 4- to 8-person models costing from $2,500 to $10,000. full-foam” insulation—a high-density, closed-cell polyurethane foam that fills the cavity between the fiberglass tub shell and the outer cabinet and helps reduce heat loss. In addition, full-foam insulation helps reduce noise and adds stability to the entire unit. Check installation costs as well. They’ll be dependent on the size of the spa and the ease of getting it where it needs to be. In some cases, limited access may require the use of a crane to lower the spa into place.

Adding structural components to carry the weight

The safest—and most cost-effective—location for a spa is the lower level of a deck. A deck only a few steps above ground, if built to code, Check your local codes for any restrictions governing the installation of a spa on a deck. If you want the tub on a deck more than a couple of feet above ground or on an upper level of a deck, things get more complicated. You’ll need to hire a structural engineer to provide specs for a site-specific framing structure to support the weight.
Accessing power and water

Spas require a nearby source of electricity. Because water is involved, any electrical hookup for a spa must include ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection. This nifty device shuts down the system within milliseconds if it detects the tiniest change in current flow caused by a short circuit. Some spas come with an extension cord with a GFCI built in that can be plugged into a 110-volt, 20-amp circuit.

Larger units require at least one dedicated 220-volt, 50-amp circuit. In addition, there must be an emergency shutoff within sight of the spa, but not closer than 5 feet or farther than 50 feet. Water access is simple; spas fill with an outdoor hose. The spa then heats and circulates the water. Insulated tub covers limit evaporation, but the tub will need occasional topping off. When it’s time to empty the unit, all spas have built-in hose bibs so you can drain the water

Safety

Getting in and out of a spa provides opportunities for mishaps. A handrail is a good idea for older—and younger—users. A cover with a lock is must if you have children. If you plan to build your spa into the deck, it may seem best to drop it into the deck so that the rim of the tub sits on the decking. Unfortunately, this makes it easy for people to fall in or step on the cover, and also complicates getting into the tub. The ideal arrangement is to set the spa partially into the deck so the rim is 17 to 24 inches above the decking. That way, bathers can sit on the rim, swing their feet over, and enter the water.

If you live in a region with a climate moderate enough for year-round use, a deck equipped with a spa should give you a slight edge in selling a home. Spas normally are assets as long as they have been properly maintained and there is no evidence of leakage or deferred maintenance. People react differently to the prospect of purchasing a house that has a spa. Some buyers may ask that it be removed as a condition of sale. Others will hardly be able to wait for that first soothing soak.

Closing Down Your Pool for the Winter

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When the kids are back in school and the leaves start to change color, you know another summer of swimming has come to an end. Closing down your pool for the winter takes some work, but it’s important to do it right so you can enjoy that sparkling cool water again next summer.

There are three basic steps for winterizing:

if you do it right, you’ll have less work to do next spring.

Clean everything out.

This includes ladders, baskets, wall fittings, hoses, pumps, filters,

heaters and anything else in your swimming pool that’s not water. Let everything dry completely before storing in a protected area. Pull the drain plugs on all filters and pumps to ensure all the water gets out. After everything’s removed, it’s time to skim, vacuum, and brush your pool. Be thorough; the cleaner your pool is now, the less work you’ll have to do in the spring.

Balance the water chemistry.

About a week before you close your swimming pool, adjust the water chemistry to the following levels:

pH: 7.2–7.6

Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm (parts per million)

Calcium hardness: 180-220 ppm

Then, shock the pool with chlorine with chlorine or a non-chlorine substitute to kill any lingering germs. Let the chlorine level return to 1-3 ppm over the next few days before proceeding.

Next, add a winterizing algaecide. Don’t add it until chlorine levels are back to normal; you want the algaecide to stick around, and chlorine in high concentrations will break it down.

Cover your pool.

Before putting the cover on, you’ll need to lower the water level. How low you go depends on your cover. If it’s mesh, which is common in warmer climates, decrease the water level 12 to 18 inches below the bottom of the cover. Solid, floating covers should go 3 to 6 inches below the top edge of the pool. If you have an above-ground pool, lower the water level 4 to 6 inches.  Make sure the cover fits tightly — there should be no gaps where leaves or critters might fall in.

Swimming pool Fun activities

kids-on-rafts-in-poolWHAT ARE SOME INTERESTING SWIMMING POOL GAMES YOU LIKE?

Here are some best swimming pool activity ideas great for spending Family bonding

Dive In Movie Night: watch a “water” themed movie while floating in the pool Have everyone bring something to float on. Relax in the pool and under the stars with family and friends. It’s the perfect way to spend a Friday summer night.

Water Joust: This activity is always a hit Two people stand on a large raft and battle each other with noodles or blow up toys like the traditional joust game you can use  traditional “queen size” inflatable mattress made for the water. Have a championship at the end for those with the most wins. For large groups only a few can participate; but it’s a great spectator sport.

Watermelon Polo: Get a small to medium sized watermelon and smear it in some sort of petroleum jelly like Vaseline. Float a hula hoop on each end of the pool and divide into teams. Play water polo with the greased melon and the floating hoops as goals. Great fun!

Invisi-bottle Take an empty clear 2 liter plastic bottle. One with a white cap, or the same color as your pool tiles is also a good idea. Fill the bottle with pool water and line the players up on the pool deck, backs to the water. When they hear the splash they can turn around and try to find it. It’s harder than it seems as the bottle camouflages to the bottom.

Atomic Whirlpool- Have everyone start slowly moving around in a circle, then move faster and faster and faster until a whirlpool is created and you can float on it. (Works better in a smaller pool.)

F-I-S-H The basketball game HORSE has people taking stunt shots, miss a shot get a letter. First to spell HORSE loses. For FISH, you can play with a poolside basketball net, or you could just have players go back and forth doing dives, splashes, and other acrobatic

Chicken Fight this is for the older kids, and maybe even for the parents. Ahem. Ride piggy back on the shoulders and then engage the other team. First one to fall of their ride’s shoulders loses. All sorts of age appropriate punching, kicking, and hair pulling is encouraged.

Diving Boards gone Extinct

pool 10 or 15 years ago find that roughly 90% of all in ground swimming pools had a  diving board. But today, the trend has done an almost complete 180 degree turn.

 Why diving boards have now essentially gone the way practically become extinct.

 For obvious reasons, diving boards have led to many accidents in the past. In  general, people do not own a swimming pool to add more stress to their life. In fact,  most are just looking for a tranquil place to relax and have fun.

 The diving boards of today are just not what they used to be’. This is due to their  rigidity and stiffness. 15 years ago, diving boards had major spring, but today, mainly because manufacturers are scared of lawsuits; it’s tough to find a diving board that has very much spring at all. And because these boards are so rigid, they lose their novelty rather quickly, causing pool owners to regret having installed them in the first place.

In order to do a diving pool the right way, it really needs to be at least 38′-39′ long. This is because the slope in the middle of the pool needs to be far enough away from the board itself so as to prevent the possibility of someone diving into this part of the pool and experiencing injury. The fact that the pool needs to be so long doesn’t lend itself to the general desires of many swimming pool owners This is especially applicable to subdivisions where backyards often times simply don’t accommodate such large sizes.

When choosing swimming pool equipment, the first rule is always safety first.

Whether you are adding a diving board to an existing pool or building a new pool and board together, check with local codes to be sure you meet specifications for pool depth and envelope size. Contractors have sometimes added a diving board according to a manufacturer’s specifications and then found that the building inspector refused to approve the installation because local codes had slightly different requirements. Also, check with your homeowner’s insurance company to see what a diving board would do to your rates.

If you have an old board that is showing signs of wear and tear, you may be able to replace it and re-use the same stand. But check your local codes first to be sure that is permitted

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.

 

By CODY CALAMAIO

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