Features That Make Pool Maintenance Easier

Having your own custom swimming pool makes your backyard stand out and lets you relax and have fun with your family. When you decide to build a pool, it is important to not only consider your short-term goals but also how you plan to keep your pool clean and looking great for years to come. Regular pool maintenance is essential. Luckily, there are many decisions you can make during the design and building process that will help you care for your pool.

These features help make pool maintenance easier: 

QuikDekClor Automatic Chlorinator

Adding chlorine to your water on a regular basis is one of the most important pool maintenance steps. Traditionally, you would add chlorine tabs to your pool skimmer or a floating dispenser. However, this creates corrosive conditions when your pool is not running and may damage your equipment. It also takes more time to ensure that you add the right amount of chlorine and that it distributes properly through your pool.

The QuikDekClor system can simplify how you add chemicals to your pool. We install this at the deck of your pool rather than the equipment pad so you have quick and easy access. It creates even water flow around chlorine tabs and circulates chlorinated water through your pool. This prevents corrosion and may reduce the amount of chemicals needed.

In-Floor Cleaning and Circulation System

One of the pool features that we highly recommend you install is A&A’s in-floor cleaning system. Unlike conventional systems that only circulate water at the top of your pool, this innovative technology allows water to flow throughout your entire swimming pool. This means your pool pump can do its job more effectively and your pool water stays cleaner for longer.

The A&A system may also reduce the amount of pool chemicals you need to add to sanitize your water. Since the pump can circulate water throughout your whole pool, it distributes chlorine and other chemicals evenly throughout the water, not just at the surface. This means there are no areas of your pool that are left vulnerable to algae growth due to poor sanitation.

This feature also includes cleaning heads that are strategically placed in the floor of your pool. When these pop up, they release a powerful jet of water which pushes any debris toward your skimmer for easy clean-up. This eliminates the need for a robotic pool vacuum, which may be visually distracting. When the cleaning head is not activated, it is very discreet and does not interfere with the aesthetics of your pool.

Variable Speed Pool Pump

Your pool pump is the heart of your circulation system. A variable speed pump is the best option to ensure that water flows effectively throughout your whole swimming pool. This translates to energy savings and more efficient pool maintenance. Installing a variable speed pump is also necessary if you want to include the A&A in-floor system.

Make Pool Maintenance Easy

When you build a pool with Pools by Design, we want to make sure your pool is gorgeous and built to last. We discuss not only features to help your pool look better, but also features that improve its function. This ensures that you will be completely thrilled with your new backyard oasis.

Contact us today to schedule a free design consultation. We will build a pool that looks great and makes pool maintenance as simple as possible.

The Pool Design Process

Having your own custom pool is a luxury and will make you the envy of your friends and neighbors. Our team of highly-skilled pool designers and builders will work with you every step of the way to make sure you absolutely love the finished result. During the pool design process, we will guide you as you choose exactly how you want your new pool to look and function.

Here are some of the choices you will make during the process of designing and building your swimming pool:

Big Picture Design

The first step of the design process is a consultation with one of our pool builders where we will discuss how you and your family plan to use your pool. We will then determine the type of pool that will best meet your needs.

Your pool should integrate perfectly with your backyard and should complement the architectural style of your home. We build traditional, contemporary, and infinity-edge pools and spas. Beyond these larger categories, you will be able to choose the size, shape, and depth of your pool.

Water Features

After you determine the overall size and shape of your pool, you will be able to choose water features and other design elements to enhance your pool and make it truly your own.

Some of the features you may choose to include in your swimming pool design are:

Spillover Spas

Your pool and spa should integrate with each other to create a harmonious design. A spillover spa has water that flows over the edge of the hot tub and into your pool.

Rain Curtains

A rain curtain is a pool feature that creates the illusion of rainfall with a thin flow of water. It can connect your spa to your pool or can flow from a wall.


A waterfall adds natural elegance to your pool design and is a popular choice for traditional pools. This feature is relaxing to watch and looks gorgeous.


A pool fountain can be simple or extravagant depending on your preferences. As with any other element of your pool, we will work closely with you to find the best type of fountain.

In addition to these aesthetic features, we will also discuss add-ons that improve the function of your pool. These include an in-floor cleaning system, a variable speed pool pump, LED lights, and more. We will clearly explain your options and help you make the best decision for your needs and desires.

Landscape Design and Outdoor Living

Once we design your custom pool, we will help you create a backyard that perfectly complements your swimming pool.

Depending on your budget and how you plan to use your outdoor living space, this can include a variety of different features:


Whether you prefer a natural desert landscape or a tropical oasis, we can help you select the best plants and landscape design to help your pool stand out.

Fire Pits

Imagine relaxing on a cool winter night with your family around a beautiful fire pit. We can turn this dream into a reality with a custom fire pit and outdoor lounging area.

Outdoor Kitchen or BBQ Island

If you love to host parties or want a new kitchen area to use, we can design and build a gorgeous outdoor kitchen or BBQ island.

Pools by Design

Adding a pool to your backyard is an investment and it is important to choose the best swimming pool builders. Pools by Design is the only member of the Master Pools Guild in Tucson, AZ. We are dedicated to providing the best service and design to make your backyard a vacation destination.

Call us today to schedule a free initial pool design consultation.

Benefits of LED Pool Lights

When you install a custom pool or spa, you will need to consider what sort of lighting you would like to utilize. The three main options are incandescent bulbs, halogen, and light-emitting diode (LED) pool lights. Of the three, LED lights are the most energy-efficient and customizable option.

Here are some of the benefits of installing LED lights in your pool:

Energy Efficiency

When you build a custom pool, you should consider the long-term cost of each feature in addition to the initial price. LED lights, depending on the size and type, may cost slightly more than incandescent or halogen lights. However, LED produces a brighter light than both other types of pool lights and it does so while using less electricity. Incandescent pool lights may cost up to $1 a day to operate, whereas LED pool lights cost pennies a day. This translates to serious savings over the life of your pool.


A swimming pool is an investment and you want to know that your pool will last for years to come. At Pools by Design, we choose the best features made from the highest-quality materials to help ensure that your pool is built for beauty and longevity. LED pool lights are incredibly durable compared to other pool lighting options. An incandescent bulb only lasts about a year before it starts to dim. Comparatively, an LED light can last up to 20 years, all while producing brighter light at a lower daily cost.

Unique Colors

Incandescent lighting makes it possible to swim at night, but the color is not very interesting or unique. When you choose LED lights, you have many more options when it comes to color. You can highlight certain areas of your pool, such as water features, with different colored lights. Some bulbs even allow you to use an app or a remote to change the color of your pool lights whenever you would like. You can choose themed colors for pool parties or even create your own custom light shows.

Brighter Lights

When you go for a swim or a dip in your hot tub at night, you want to be able to see your pool. While incandescent or halogen underwater lights are bright enough to get the job done, it takes a lot more energy to produce the same brightness as LED lights. Even at a lower wattage, LED pool lights are brighter. This is better for your safety and for the look of your custom pool.

Explore Our Luxury Pool Features

LED Pool Lights, Pebble Tec, and More

At Pools by Design, we want to help create the pool of your dreams. When you work with us, you have the option to add high-quality and luxurious features to your pool. These include LED lights, pebble tec, in-floor cleaning, and more. These upgrades are often beneficial not only for the look and feel of your pool, but also in terms of cost savings and efficient operation.

Contact us today to learn more about building a custom pool with LED lights.

How Often to Use Pool Shock

Having your own custom pool allows you to enjoy time with your family and friends and helps you beat the heat during scorching Tucson summers. In order to get the most use out of your swimming pool, you need to perform proper maintenance. Although features such as an in-floor cleaning system can keep your water clean for longer, adding pool chemicals is important to kill bacteria and keep your pool safe for swimming. Pool shock is a strong chemical that you will need to add to your pool every so often.

Some tips for how and when to use pool shock: 

What Pool Shock Is and How It Works

Pool shock is a powerful granular form of chlorine that is stronger than the chlorine tabs you normally use in your pool. There are a few different chemical compounds that you can use. Calcium hypochlorite (cal hypo) is the most economical option. Sodium dichlor costs slightly more but does not create calcium build-up. In some cases, you may want to use non-chlorine shock, such as potassium monopersulfate.

There are two types of chlorine in your pool. The first is free chlorine, which has not reacted with bacteria. The second is combined chlorine or chloramines. This builds up as free chlorine reacts with bacteria. This creates an unpleasant chemical smell. Too many chloramines can also result in unsanitary water. Pool shock works by adding a high concentration of chlorine, which breaks the bonds in chloramines. Non-chlorine shock also breaks chloramine bonds but does this using oxygen instead of chlorine.

Why Do You Need To Use Pool Shock?

A pool is an easy place for bacteria to grow and accumulate. While you may think grabbing the pool net and scooping up leaves and debris from your pool is enough to keep it sanitary, the truth is that is only part of the cleaning process. Bacteria that you cannot see can do more damage to your water and if left unchecked, can lead to algae growths that will make it impossible to enjoy your pool. Shocking your pool regularly is a lot easier than you may think and it is essential to keep your pool pristine.

How To Shock Your Pool

In most cases, you should shock when the sun has set. The sun’s harsh ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause the chlorine in pool shock to dissolve. This makes the process less effective.

Before beginning the shocking process, make sure you are wearing the necessary protective gear. Pool shock contains strong chemicals and can damage your skin and eyes if you are not careful. Gloves, eyewear, and clothing that covers your skin are all essential.

Next, you will want to check your pool’s pH level to determine the appropriate amount of pool shock to add. For most types of shock, you will need to dilute it before adding it to your pool. This is done by mixing the powder with water.

To ensure you evenly distribute the shock, follow and pour along the edges of your pool. Once this is complete, you should not swim until your pool filter has completely cycled the water. This usually takes 2-4 hours. Before you swim, you should test the chlorine level. If it is under 5 parts per million (ppm) it is safe to swim.

When to Shock Your Pool

You should create a schedule to shock your pool regularly. This depends on how often you use your pool and how many people typically swim. As a general rule, shocking every week or every other week at a minimum is a good goal. In addition to this schedule, you should consider shocking your swimming pool after pool parties, big storms, or if you notice algae.

Get The Most Out of Your Pool By Using Pool Shock

Having a pool is a luxury in the Arizona heat. In order to enjoy swimming as much as possible, it is important to stay on top of maintenance. At Pools by Design, we install innovative features such as an A&A in-floor cleaning system. When we build your new pool we will make sure to give you all the information you need about upkeep.

Turn your backyard into a vacation destination with Pools by Design. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

How to Use Pool Tiles in Your Pool Design

It is hard to make it through an Arizona summer without a nice, refreshing pool to help escape the heat. Having a pool in your own backyard can make your whole summer feel like a relaxing vacation. Your new pool will be the focal point of your yard and will give it the lavish look and feel of your own personal paradise. In order to create the pool of your dreams, it is important to consider the features that will give it the look you desire. Pool tiles are one of the many elements that allow you to add your own flair to your pool design.

Tips for how you can use pool tiles in your new pool or spa:

What Pool Tiles Can Do For Your Pool

Adding a pool to your backyard helps give your home the ultimate “wow factor.” At Pools by Design, we strive to make sure your pool matches your vision. We know how to transform your backyard into your own vacation destination.

Even a seemingly simple detail such as the type of pool tile you use can make a huge difference. Certain colors and materials can make your pool look as blue as the Caribbean ocean. Other colors can capture and highlight the Arizona sunset. By using different colors and textures you can achieve a design that will reflect your unique personality while enhancing the architectural style of your home.

Types of Pool Tiles

There are many different options of pool tiles to choose from. Choosing the right type is essential to make sure your pool looks exactly the way you want it.

Some of your options include: 

Glass Tile

Glass tile is the best choice to give your pool a luxurious look. The shiny reflection will illuminate the water and turn your pool into the color of the tile you choose. Picking a simple blue will reflect throughout the water and create the perfect contrast with Arizona’s desert. This helps your pool stand out. The glass will also capture the water’s movements when the sunlight shines on it.

Stone Tile

Stone tile matches the tones of the mountains and desert surrounding your home. This type of pool tile is best suited to homeowners who want their pool and backyard to match the natural feel of the Sonoran desert. Stone can also be used to build up pillars along the edge of your pool to evoke a more rustic feeling.

Porcelain Stone

Using porcelain stone to outline your pool is a common feature in the Arizona deserts. The strength of the stone makes it easy to be submerged into the water without the worry of constant upkeep. Porcelain tiles come with many different designs painted on them. This makes your pool extremely customizable as you can choose the tile design that you like best.

Incorporate Pool Tiles Into Your Pool Design

Swimming pool tiles can turn your pool into a bright and enticing desert escape. Capturing the colors of the sky and the movements of the water will make your pool your home’s most alluring feature. Pools by Design is here to transform your home into the desert paradise of your dreams. We help you every step of the way. This includes creating the overall design, adding water features, and even addressing the smallest details, such as the type of pool tiles you prefer.

Contact us today for a free estimate for your custom swimming pool.

How Pool Heaters Work

Even in Arizona, sunshine alone cannot always keep your pool water comfortable. Pool heaters or heat pumps can keep your pool warm enough to swim in throughout the year. At Pools By Design, we can help you pick the ideal pool heater for your size and type of pool. Our experts focus on energy efficiency and can extend your pool season significantly.

Here are some facts about how pool heaters work:

Types of Heaters

Choosing the right type of heater is critical and it is important that you understand how each option works. Pool heating systems are typically classified into three types: heat pumps, solar heaters, and natural gas pool heaters.

Pool Heat Pumps

A pool heat pump uses electricity but does not actually generate its own heat. Instead, heat pumps have a fan which draws in the outside air that has been warmed by the sun through an evaporator coil. Liquid refrigerant within the coil absorbs heat and transforms into a warm gas. This gas then passes through a compressor. Here, it transfers heat through a heat exchanger condenser to the cool pool water. Now warm, the pool water flows back into the pool and the heated gas is condensed and returns back into the evaporator where the cycle begins again.

Solar Heaters

Solar pool heaters use the power of the sun to heat your pool water. Most solar heating systems include a collector or a series of collectors, a filter, a pump, and a flow control valve. The pool water is first pumped through the filter to remove any debris, then through the solar collector where it is heated. Some systems have sensors that can indicate if the collector temperature is sufficiently warm or similar to the actual pool temperature. The system then uses an automatic or manual valve to divert water through the collector to be heated. Depending on the situation, the water may bypass the collector altogether.

Gas Heaters

If you decide on a gas pool heater you will have to decide whether to run it on liquid propane or natural gas. Like the heat pump and solar heater, a gas system has a pump to filter water. The pump circulates the pool’s water and passes it through a filter. This water then moves to the heater. Gas burns in the heater’s combustion chamber, heating the water and then returning it to the pool.

These types of systems heat the water quickly and are most efficient when heating a pool for short periods of time. This makes them a good choice for pools that are used infrequently. Unlike heat pumps and solar pool heaters, which rely on either the outside air temperature or the rays of the sun, gas pool heaters can maintain your pool’s temperature regardless of the weather or climate.

Choose the Right Pool Heater

At Pools by Design we take pride in providing our customers with excellent service, exceptional attention to detail, and quality products. We make sure your new custom pool is perfect down to the last detail, including your choice of pool heater. Let us help you extend your swim season by providing you with the heated pool or spa of your dreams.

If you have questions about our top-rated services, or if you would like a free pool design consultation, call us today.

Chlorine vs. Salt Water Pools

Both chlorine and salt water pools can make a great addition to a backyard. When you create a custom swimming pool, you have many different decisions to make. These include visual design elements as well as the inner workings of your pool. One of the major choices you will make during the pool design process is choosing between a traditional chlorine pool and a salt water pool. There are pros and cons to each option and each type of pool will require different maintenance. Luckily, Pools by Design can help you learn the information you need to make an informed decision.

Here are some of the benefits and disadvantages of each type of pool system:

Chlorine Pools


The main benefit of a chlorine pool is that it is less expensive to set up initially. You don’t need to install a separate chlorinator to get your traditional chlorine pool up and running. This is something that is required for salt water pools. In many cases, all you need is tablets of chlorine and a floating system or basic pump to get the chlorine into the water.


In order to keep your chlorine pool clean, you need to maintain the chlorine level. This requires adding pool chemicals every 3-7 days. Over time, the cost of pool chemicals can add up and may even surpass the initial pool equipment cost for a salt water pool.

Chlorine is also harsh on your eyes, skin, and hair. If you swim often, you may start to notice a difference in how dry your skin feels. These types of pools often have a distinct smell, which may linger on your swimsuit even after you wash it. This can negatively impact your experience with your new swimming pool.

Salt Water Pools


Salt water pools function by turning salt into chlorine through a salt-chlorine generator. This uses salt cells to create chlorine and as a result, you spend less on pool supplies. You do need to buy pool salt, but you add pool salt less frequently than you would need to add chlorine to a traditional pool.

Many pool owners claim that salt water pools have water that feels smoother and is more pleasant to swim in. Salt water systems are easier on your body and won’t leave you with the same dry skin and itchy eyes that can come from swimming in a traditional chlorine pool.


The major downside to salt water pools is the initial cost. You need to pay more to install a salt chlorine generator, usually between $1,500 and $2,000. You also need to replace the water chlorinator every 5-7 years. However, many pool owners decide that the benefits of salt water pools outweigh the cost.

We Build Chlorine and Salt Water Pools

At Pools by Design, we can turn the pool of your dreams into a reality. Whether you choose a traditional chlorine pool or a salt water pool, we will build a custom design that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.

Contact us today for a free cost estimate for your custom swimming pool. We look forward to working with you.

How to Maintain Your Pool Filter

Regular pool maintenance is important to keep your swimming pool sparkling clean and running smoothly. One of the key elements in pool maintenance is your pool filter. Your filtration system removes contaminants and debris from your pool by working with your pool pump. This is accomplished by water running through the filter and circulating back into your pool. Because this is such an integral part of keeping your pool clean, it is important that you keep it properly maintained. This ensures your pool is always clean and running the best it can.

Here are some tips for maintaining your pool filter: 

Type of Pool Filter Systems

There are three main types of filters and each one has a different maintenance process.

Sand Filters

A pool sand filter uses a layer of sand to keep your water clean. When water goes through the sand, debris and contaminants are filtered out. This is a common type of filter choice as it is cost-effective and efficient.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filters

DE pool filters use a fine powder to maintain the cleanliness of your pool water. This powder is the crushed exoskeletons of fossilized diatoms. It works well because it is so porous and water can flow through it easily.

Cartridge Filters

This type of system includes pool filter cartridges that capture debris as it flows through a mesh filter surface. These are the simplest to clean and maintain, as you can easily remove the cartridges for maintenance.

Create a Gorgeous Custom Pool with Pools by Design.

We help you choose the right pool filter and more.

When you build a swimming pool with Pools by Design, we will work with you to determine how you want your pool to look and how you want it to function. We will go over your different options for pool filters and will make sure you know how to maintain your pool long-term.

We look forward to turning your dream swimming pool into a reality.

How Often Should You Add Chlorine to Your Pool?

Maintaining swimming pools can be a complicated task and there are many factors you need to consider to keep your pool running smoothly. A pool is a big investment and you want to make sure it looks great and works well so that you can get the most use out of it. Unless you opted to install a salt water pool system, one step you need to take to keep your pool clean is adding chlorine regularly. However, it can be difficult to determine exactly how to keep this chemical element at the right concentration in your inground pool.

How often should you add chlorine to your pool?

Understanding How Chlorine Works

Before determining how often you need to add this chemical to your pool, it is important that you understand how chlorine works as it relates to pool sanitation. The chemical element naturally occurs as chlorine gas, so when you add it to your pool you are adding a stabilized version of elemental chlorine. When it enters your pool, it will react with water to form hypochlorous acid (HOCl) and other chemical compounds.

The chlorine compounds then react with bacteria in your pool. This process can be complicated. The simple explanation is that the compounds destroy the lipids (fats) in bacteria cell walls. This kills the bacteria, which leaves your pool clean and safe for you to swim in without worrying about harmful germs.

Too Much Chlorine

You may think that since chlorine kills bacteria that can harm you or your family, it is best to add as much as possible. However, too much of this compound in your pool can be just as harmful as letting bacteria thrive. For example, if you add too much of this pool chemical, chlorine gas can start to form at the surface of your pool. This not only smells bad but can actively hurt you by making it difficult to breathe.

The Right Level of Pool Chemicals

Since adding chemicals to your pool is a chemical reaction, it must be done with the utmost care to stay in the right range where chlorine kills bacteria without harming you. Ideally, you should have 3 ppm (parts per million) of chlorine in your pool. This means that for every million molecules in your pool water, 3 of them should be chlorine. Although this seems like a small amount, this chemical is powerful enough that this small concentration is enough to keep your pool clean.

You can test your pool water using chemical test strips, which you can purchase at any pool supply store. These can show you the ppm values of any number of important pool chemicals. They also help you manage pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Each chemical level can be managed by adding different compounds to your pool.

Under normal circumstances, you should add a tablet of chlorine every 3-7 days, depending on the results of your water tests. Tablets are often the best option, as they are easier to handle and measure. Make sure to store them in a cool and dry place. Do not keep them for too long as they become less effective over time.

Build the Pool of your Dreams with Pools by Design

Chlorine or Salt Water Systems

At Pools by Design we will help you design the pool of your dreams. We will be sure to go over pool maintenance so that your new pool will always look its best.

We look forward to working with you to create a swimming pool that you and your family will love.

How a Pool Vacuum Factors into Pool Maintenance

Once you design and build your own custom swimming pool, you need to keep it clean and functioning. Regular pool maintenance is important to ensure your pool looks its best and keeps working for years to come. Using a pool vacuum is one step in maintaining your inground pool. Whether you vacuum manually or use a robotic cleaner, you need to vacuum regularly.

Here are some facts about how a pool vacuum factors into maintenance:

What a Pool Vacuum Does

A vacuum removes dirt and debris from the bottom of your pool. Your pool’s filtration system works hard to remove as much of these undesirable materials as possible, but regular vacuuming of the floor and walls helps your pool filter run more efficiently. You should also skim the top of your pool regularly to remove any leaves or other foreign objects.

Pool vacuums also keep your swimming pool looking its best. No one wants to look in their custom pool and see a collection of leaves and branches on the pool floor. When you vacuum regularly, you will see the difference. Removing dirt and debris also helps reduce algae growth, so when your friends and family come over you know that your pool will look its best.

How to Vacuum Your Pool: Manual vs. Robotic

When it comes to pool vacuums, you have two primary choices. You can either do the work manually or you can invest in an automated vacuum cleaner. Some pool owners also find that a combination of both options works best for their maintenance schedule.

Manual Pool Vacuuming

In order to vacuum manually, you will need some supplies. You need to have a vacuum head, which is the part of the vacuum that sucks up debris from the bottom of your pool. You also need a telescopic pole, which you attach to the head so that you can reach the bottom of your pool. These then connect to a vacuum hose, which you hook up to a return jet in your pool. This replaces the air in the hose and vacuum head with water. Once this is done, you remove the hose carefully and attach it either to a vacuum plate or to your pool skimmer. You then work your way across the pool floor. This does take some time and effort to do correctly.

Robotic Vacuum Cleaners

If you don’t have time in your busy schedule to vacuum your pool manually, you can invest in a robotic cleaner. You have a few different options for these automatic pool cleaners.

The first is a suction-side pool cleaner, which hooks up to your skimmer and moves around your pool. It is less expensive, but not as effective as other models. Your next option is a pressure-side cleaner. This attaches to your pool water return jets and includes a filter bag which holds any debris. Finally, you can choose a robotic pool cleaner that runs on electricity. This is the easiest to maintain and reduces stress on the filtration system. However, this is the most expensive option. 

Pool Vacuum

Whether you vacuum your pool manually or choose an automated pool vacuum cleaner, you want to keep your pool looking its best. When you create a custom pool with Pools by Design, we will help you decide how to maintain your pool and will give you helpful tips to keep it running for years to come.

We look forward to helping you design and build the pool of your dreams.