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.

How to Clean Pool Filters

How you clean your filter will depend on which type of filter system your pool uses. However, any of the three types of pool filters have options to make sure you keep them clean and functioning perfectly. Pool supplies can also help, and these filters types often have specialized cleaners you can purchase to assist with maintenance.

For sand filters, you need to use a sand filter cleaner to wash out the pool sand. You also want to put the filter on a backwash setting to rinse it out. You should also make sure to replace your pool sand every five years. For the most part, though, these filters require less maintenance.

DE filters also require a backwash during the maintenance process. However, this type of pool filter requires more frequent maintenance. You should normally clean your DE filter every month. You can also clean it when you notice that your water clarity is more cloudy or if you notice an issue with your filter’s pressure reading.

Cartridge filters are the easiest of the pool filter types to clean. All you need to do is remove the filter cartridge and spray it with a hose to remove any debris. After that, you simply place the cartridge back into the filter system.

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.

Choosing the Right Type of Pool Pump

When you design your custom swimming pool, you may be tempted to focus solely on the pool’s appearance. While it is important that you love the aesthetic appeal of your new inground pool, you also want it to work its best for years to come. This is why you need to make the best decisions possible when selecting the internal elements. These functional choices are just as important as creating the overall design. Picking the best type of pool pump will help ensure that your new swimming pool is sparkling clean and ready for you to enjoy.

Here are some things to keep in mind to help you choose the right type of pump:

How Your Pool Pump Works

Before you decide which type of pool pump to install, it’s important to understand how these devices work and why they are important to the overall function of your pool. Your pump and motor circulate water throughout your pool and push water through your pool’s filter, keeping the water in your swimming pool clean.

Essentially, your pump and your filter need to work together because if your pool pump is not moving water, your filter cannot keep your pool clean. You should also keep in mind that you want all the water volume in your pool to circulate through the pool pump and pool filter system at least once a day. As a result, you need to pick a pump that has enough power to circulate your pool’s volume of water.

Types of Pool Pumps

There are three main types of pool pumps for you to consider:

  • Single Speed Pool Pumps

Originally, all pools ran off single speed pumps. This can only run at one speed. In the state of Arizona, it is prohibited to install a new single speed pump, so the only reason you would have this is if it was installed in an old pool.

  • Dual Speed

As the name implies, this type of pump can run at two different speeds. This is a better option than the single-speed variety, as it lets you choose to run at either high speed or low speed. High speed uses more energy but circulates your water through the filter faster. Low speed is more energy-efficient, but you may need to run it for a longer time.

  • Variable Speed Pumps

This is the newest type of pool pump. In most cases, we recommend that you install a variable speed pump. This type of pump works by changing the speed beyond the simple high-speed and low-speed options of a dual speed pump. These are more expensive to install initially, but it is an investment that pays off by saving you money on energy bills and increasing the longevity of your pool.

Pool Pump

At Pools by Design, we will help you choose the type of pool pump system that works best with your new custom swimming pool.

From the visual design to the inner workings of your inground pool, we are here to help turn your dreams into reality. Call us today for a free estimate.

Pools by Design, A Featured Pool Builder in Luxe

If you are looking to find a swimming pool builder to create the pool of your dreams, there are many factors that you should consider. It is important that you not only get a beautiful design, but that you also get top-notch customer service. A pool is a big investment and it’s important to do research prior to building your custom pool or spa.

When it comes to Tucson, AZ pool builders, you will not find any pool companies that match our superior attention to detail and design skills. We incorporate luxurious water features that will improve the ambiance of your backyard. For many people, lounging poolside in their very own home is a dream. If you work with Pools by Design, it can become a reality.

Pool Builder Featured in Luxe

When you choose Pools by Design as your pool builder, you don’t have to rely on our word alone. Many satisfied customers highly recommend our pool building services. Various magazines have also featured us. For example, Luxe Interiors and Design™ featured our pools and spas:

A scan of the article where Pools by Design is a featured pool builder in Luxe

As this feature shows, we are a trusted Tucson pool builder. Our gorgeous pools and spas tell their own story and highlight our design skills and outstanding final products. Our customer reviews also speak volumes. Since 2009, we have been a trusted name in Southern Arizona pool building.

We know that when you’re making an investment, every testimonial makes a difference and can influence your decision. Our Luxe feature is yet another example of how multiple sources confirm our value as a pool builder. Besides Luxe, we have been featured in DesertLeaf, Tucson Lifestyle, and HomeMag.

How We Have Evolved

If you read our Luxe feature in 2014, you may also be wondering how Pools by Design has evolved in the past 5 years. While we are still a trusted pool builder and designer, we are even better today. As our owner Ken Larison mentioned in Luxe, Pools by Design continues to develop new construction techniques.

In this feature, we emphasize how we create custom designs that complement the overall aesthetics of each site. This continues to be true. We create traditional backyard pools as well as more avant-garde contemporary designs. Our Luxe feature included pictures of our gorgeous infinity-edge pools. This style of pool continues to be one of our most popular designs five years later.

When we appeared in Luxe, our owner Ken had been in the business of pool building and design for 35 years. Now, he has over 40 years of experience. Even after all this time, his passion for designing the pool of your dreams is just as strong. When you hire Pools by Design as your pool builder, you get the benefit of experience paired with the advantage of constant innovation.

High-Quality Tucson Pool Builders

Whether you found us in Luxe, saw us online, or heard about us from one of our satisfied customers, we are excited to work with you. Being your Tucson pool builder is a job that we take seriously and we are proud to continue to create the best pools and spas in southern Arizona.

Contact us today at 520.797.6675 and transform your backyard into your dream oasis!

The Benefits of a Simple Landscape Design

Pools by Design does more than creating your dream pool and spa. We also help you customize a landscape design to create an outdoor space that matches your vision. When it comes to landscaping, you can custom design whatever atmosphere you prefer. While some homes look great with a flashy backyard, you may want something more understated for your outdoor living space. We will work with you to create a yard that you are happy with, and for many homeowners, this translates to a simple, classic landscape.

Here are just a few of the benefits of choosing a more simple landscape:

Low Maintenance

When you create your landscape, you should consider both how you want it to look and the amount of effort you are willing to put into maintenance. The Southern Arizona heat makes it harder to grow certain plants. While lots of vibrant flowers and tropical plants can look great, you will need to commit to a lot of upkeep to maintain that look.

A simple landscape design doesn’t have to be boring. In many cases, you can make use of rock features or landscape architecture in order to add flair to classic landscaping design. Both of these options keep it simple and require little to no effort to keep them looking beautiful.  

Less Expensive

Building a custom swimming pool and choosing a landscape design to accompany it can get expensive very quickly. When you start a project such as creating a customized backyard, you likely have a budget in mind. Everyone has different priorities for the money they spend on yard design.

When you choose a simple landscape design, you free up more money for other projects. For example, you may want to create an extravagant pool with complex water features. Spending less money on landscaping may make this option more affordable. You could also use the money you save for an outdoor kitchen, a fire pit, or gorgeous patio furniture.

Minimalist Landscape Design

Simplicity has become more of a trend in recent years. Going for minimalist landscape design can actually be a deliberate decision. One example of this that is common in Tucson, AZ is called “xeriscaping.” This is a design that focuses on rocks and a small number of desert plants such as cacti. Although the design elements are minimal, the results are often striking.

Choosing a minimalist route for your landscape design also helps your pool and home stand out. If you go big for every aspect of your custom backyard, you may realize that it’s difficult for any one element to capture attention. Keeping certain areas simple is a great option to direct focus.

Create a landscape that best suits your yard with Pools by Design.

Landscape Design

Pools by Design will help you with every aspect of your brand new backyard. From a custom pool to professional landscape design, we will make sure that every element is exactly the way you want it.

We love designing landscape projects that make our clients’ dreams come true.

The Different Types of Pool Fountains

One of the benefits of building a custom pool is that you can turn your dream pool design into reality. Beyond the basic size and shape of your pool, your vision likely includes water features to enhance the look and feel of your swimming pool. Fountains are one of the many ways you can customize your pool design. With so many different types you choose from, you can find a pool fountain that fits exactly what you want.

Here are some of the different types of pool fountains:

Floating

Floating fountains rest on the surface of your pool and spray water from your pool’s return system or pump. When you create this type of fountain, you can choose exactly how simple or how complicated you want it to be. It can include a series of spouts for a multi-tiered effect, or it can spray water from the sides. You can also include a clear hose if you don’t want the water return to be visible. These are usually anchored in place or weighed down so they don’t float away.

Spillover

Spillovers let water flow from a higher place to a lower one. The most common spillover is from your hot tub to your pool, but there are many different options. You can also include a wall with a rain curtain as a type of spillover fountain. These are more tranquil than other options and can be an excellent choice to create a resort-like atmosphere. Watching the water fall gently into your custom pool is a great way to relax.

Poolside

Poolside fountains attach to the edge of your pool and shoot water across your pool. These are a great option for families. Your kids will love swimming under the water on hot summer days and you will too. You can customize this option by deciding whether you want a mist, a steady stream of water, or a coordinated spray. This type works great with classic pool design and can add an extra fun touch to your swimming pool.

Light-Up

If you want something more flashy for parties, you can add LED lights to your fountains. You can have these set up so that you can display different colors at different times. If you prefer, you can even have a remote control that allows you to cycle through colors and create a personal light show. The lights can create colored blasts of water that shoot across or pool or hot tub and create a unique experience for your family and for any guests.

Outside of Your Pool

At Pools by Design, we work with you to customize your entire backyard, not just your pool! You can include fountains around your pool as part of your landscaping. This helps enhance the overall appearance of your backyard. You can choose the design that best fits your pool and backyard. Some homeowners prefer modern fountains that play with unique shapes and design elements. You might also prefer a more classic design. Whatever you are looking for, Pools by Design will help you.

Design your custom backyard oasis with Pools by Design.

Customize pool fountains and other water features

Let Pools by Design help you create the backyard of your dreams.

From overall pool design to details such as pool fountains and landscaping, we are here to help you. Call us today for a free estimate.

Top 3 Maintenance Tips for Your Pool

Owning a pool or spa can improve your quality of life dramatically. Rather than having to go to a crowded public swimming pool, you can relax, exercise, and host events all in the comfort of your own backyard. However, maintaining your pool and spa can be a tricky task. If you don’t perform proper and consistent maintenance, before long, you will start to see problems. Anything from murky water to algae growth can occur if you don’t keep on top of your maintenance.

To keep things running smoothly, here are 3 tips to follow for your pool and spa:

1. Install Features to Improve Pool Maintenance

This tip comes into play at the very start of the design process. If you are creating a custom pool or hot tub, you can install features that will reduce the maintenance required. Although this costs more upfront, automated maintenance features can be worth the expense since they reduce your long-term costs.

One feature to consider is an in-floor system for circulation and filtration. This automatically circulates water. Another option to reduce maintenance is a salt-water system. These reduce the cost of supplies such as chlorine. Hiring a qualified builder also increases long-term functionality. Lastly, using quality materials in all stages of construction is also important, as this will help ensure your new pool will last for years to come.

2. Create a Pool Cleaning Schedule

Cleaning your swimming pool and hot tub is a process that requires you to complete multiple tasks at specific times. With skimming, scrubbing, vacuuming, and more to keep track of, it is easy to fall behind. The best way to keep your pool sparkling clean is to create a cleaning schedule that you can follow.

You can use whatever organization method works best for you, from a whiteboard to an application on your phone. These are a few of the tasks you should have on your to-do list:

  • Daily: Checking each part of your pool for normal function. If you see floating debris or you see the water level is getting low, you will notice this  right away if you are doing daily checks.
  • Weekly: Fully clean your pool and spa. This includes skimming, scrubbing the walls and floor, vacuuming if you don’t have an automated system, and adding any chemicals that are needed.
  • Monthly: Add shock treatment if your chlorine level is getting low and also make sure to clean out your pool filter.

3. Stay on Top of Repairs

When something goes wrong, you may be tempted to put it off or to assume that the problem will fix itself. However, the sooner you deal with repairs, the better. A small problem can quickly become a huge concern. Dealing with any required repairs early is going to save you money in the long run.

Performing daily checks will help you see if anything needs attention. For example, if you notice issues with your water level and suspect a leak, you want to call a repair company as soon as possible to determine where the leak may be. This will keep your water level more consistent, and repairing the leak may be easier than you think.

Pools by Design

Make Pool Maintenance easy with a high-quality design.

One of the best ways to make maintenance a breeze is to invest from the start in a custom pool made from the best materials. We create your dream pool and spa with your desired maintenance schedule in mind. Our top-of-the-line features and quality construction materials will make your life easier.

Call us today and tell us how we can take your backyard to the next level with a custom pool!

3 Steps For Designing Your Perfect Pool

Owning a pool and spa is one of the most luxurious investments that you can make. This addition will make you the envy of your friends and family and will turn your parties into events that won’t soon be forgotten. Imagine being able to come home after a long workday to lounge and relax poolside. If you want to bring this to reality you need to call Pools by Design. We can transform your backyard into an oasis that will take your home to the next level.

If you are looking to create a custom pool, these 3 steps will help you start the process:

1. Type of Pool Design

There is more than one type of swimming pool, and if you are starting the design process your first step should be deciding which type is best suited to your home. Here are a few of the different options you have:

  • Traditional. You don’t have to go over-the-top for your design to be stunning. Traditional designs can add a classic elegance to your backyard. This design is refreshing without being overwhelming.
  • Infinity Edge. Infinity edges feature water that appears to run right off the edge of your pool. This design is one of the most luxurious options. An infinity pool will make your backyard feel like a five-star resort.
  • Contemporary. These designs feature bold angles and modern aesthetic choices. Like an infinity edge, this design is more extravagant and will make your backyard into a work of art.

2. Pool Features

Once you pick a design for your pool, the next step is deciding which features you want to install. As with any other investment, there are benefits and trade-offs to each feature you choose. While there can be more cost upfront for multiple features, oftentimes these features reduce the long-term costs for pool supplies and maintenance.

One great option to consider is an in-floor system. This circulates water throughout your pool and keeps your tile cleaner for longer. This feature also increases your energy efficiency, which creates long-term savings. Another option is a salt-water pool. This type of system creates chlorine without the need to purchase costly supplies.

3. A Qualified Team

With an investment this important, you need to choose the right company to design and build your brand-new new pool or spa. Many companies will skimp on essential elements. This may be cheaper upfront, but it will cost you more over time if you do not pick the most qualified team for the job.

Your design team needs to have experience and skill. At Pools by Design, we consider ourselves more than just builders. We are artists. We will turn your dreams into reality. This is not demonstrated just in the design process, but also in all phases of construction. We only use the best building materials. Higher quality materials will ensure that your investment lasts longer and will not require costly repairs.

Pool Builders

Let us build your custom pool.

In Tucson, Arizona, your top choice for a new pool should be Pools by Design! We make you our #1 priority throughout the entire design process and will help you choose the type of design, features, and materials to fit your vision. Every step of the way, you can count on us.

Call us today and let us make your dream pool a reality!

Why Your Parties Will Benefit From a BBQ Grill

Installing a BBQ grill in your backyard can make you the envy of your friends and family. Barbecue grills increase your options for entertaining, and there are certain foods that you simply can’t prepare properly without one. With so many options from charcoal grills to wood pellet grills to electric grills, you have many choices. No matter what option you choose, though, you can be sure that your parties will be even more incredible when you add a BBQ island to your backyard.

When you install a BBQ grill, you take your hosting to the next level.

Special Events

You can use your outdoor grill for any occasion. However, there are certain special events where grilling out is almost expected. Hosting on any of these occasions is much better when you have a BBQ grill to prepare fresh barbeque for your guests. Some of these events include:

  • Sporting Events. When your team is playing, you want to invite all your friends over to experience the game with you. Grilling burgers, hot dogs, and more makes your game day parties even more memorable.
  • Fourth of July. Fourth of July is by far the most popular holiday for grilling among Americans. You don’t want to host a Fourth of July party without a BBQ grill to make the food people expect.
  • Memorial Day. Memorial Day is one of the most popular American holidays for grilling, second only to the Fourth of July. If you want to host friends and family for a Memorial Day party, you need an outdoor grill.

Delicious Food

The food you make on the grill has a smoky flavor that you simply can’t replicate in an oven. If you are making burgers, steaks, hot dogs, or brats, a BBQ grill is the way to go. The guests at your parties will notice the difference when you cook them delicious food on your grill.

Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to meat. You can create a variety of foods fit for any party on a BBQ grill. If you have vegetarian friends and family, they will love grilled vegetables made fresh in your backyard. When you install a grilling island, you aren’t limited to any one type of food for your parties.

Unique Parties

Grilling is not just about the food. It’s also about the experience. Your friends and family will have a great time swimming or lounging while you grill up a meal for them poolside. It’s a unique experience to be able to smell food being prepared all while enjoying all the luxury of a backyard swimming pool.

Not every host can offer this sort of experience. When you install a BBQ grill in your outdoor kitchen, your home can become an ideal location for hosting. Every one of your friends will want to spend time at your house, and your parties will create lasting memories.

Install an outdoor grill with Pools by Design.

BBQ Grill

Pools by Design specializes in outdoor living. From custom pools to outdoor kitchens, we can help you turn your backyard into your own personal oasis.

Whether you want to host parties or simply enjoy your backyard with yourself and your family, we can turn your dreams into a reality.