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6 Things You Should Know Before Hiring a Charlotte Pool Builder

So you’ve decided that you want to add a pool to your backyard, but you don’t know where to start. While we associate pools with leisure and relaxation, there are actually a lot of questions you need to ask yourself before you add a pool to your home. Prior to contacting a Charlotte pool builder, make sure you know the following six pieces of information.

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1. What type of pool do you want? Under the umbrella of “pool,” there are quite a few styles to be chosen from. Do you envision yourself lounging in an aboveground pool or an in-ground pool? What shape of pool (square, rectangle, circle, etc.) matches the design of your home and the geographical features of your yard? How large do you want the pool to be, and do you have enough space to fit your chosen design on your property? Answering these questions can help you find the perfect Charlotte pool design.

 

2. What is your budget?  Different pool designs and pool building services will yield varied price tags. Decide what budget you are willing to set aside for your new pool and then use that information to help you choose a design and a builder.

 

3. What material do you want in your pool? Swimming pools may look similar from a distance, but can actually be built from a wide range of materials. From granite to gunite, vinyl-lined to poured concrete, the style and material build of your dream pool is one of the first questions your Charlotte pool builder is likely to ask.

 

4. What equipment will your pool use? Your Charlotte pool builder should help guide you through the selection of your pool filter and other pieces of pool maintenance equipment, but you should know the basics of different filter systems and chlorination methods before you meet with your pool builder.

 

5. What is your builder’s reputation like? Once you have sketched out the basic idea of your pool in your mind, you will start looking around for Charlotte pool builders and making a list of potential hires. If you have friends or family in the area, ask for references. If not, hit the internet to read customer reviews.

 

6. Do you trust your builder? Eventually, you will narrow down your Charlotte pool builder options to one or two contractors. Meet with the remaining candidates and see if you feel comfortable with the people who will be building your pool. The pool construction process can take some time, and you need to be able to trust the person working near, in, and around your home.

 

5 Steps to Uncovering and Treating Your Charlotte Pool for Spring

1. Remove the debris from the pool cover: Unless your area experienced an unseasonably warm and calm winter, chances are that your pool cover has born the brunt of the rough weather. Dead leaves, dirt, and excess water from melted snow can be just a few of the types of debris littering the top of your cover. Before opening a pool, clean and dry the cover so that you can store it away without worrying about mold or mildew. You can use a cover pump to collect the snow melt and debris into an easy to clean up pile or puddle.

 

2. Check the water: Most pool specialists recommend that you leave the water in your pool all winter long, no matter how cold it gets in your area. If you followed this directive, your next step is to gauge the water level and check the water for impurities. In order to start treating a pool for spring, you will want to vacuum out all of the dirt and debris you can from the bottom and sides of the pool.

 

3. Check the filter: You can only get so far in treating a pool for spring by hand. Your filter will help out nicely; just make sure you check all of the cartridges and valves after opening the pool to make sure that everything is in working order. If you removed and stored the pool pump and filtration unit, hook them back up to the pool system.

 

4. Replenish the water level: When opening a pool for spring, you may find that the water level is not quite where you want it to be. Once you start filtering the pool system, drag your hose out of storage as well and start refilling the pool.

 

shutterstock_161877653 The last step to opening a pool in spring is the actual treating of the pool water. Run your usual chlorine, alkalinity, and pH tests and add chemicals when necessary to get the water back to a safe chemical balance.

Is a Salt Water Pool for You?

shutterstock_4282489Salt water pools have been growing in popularity in recent years, and not just at luxury resorts. People are putting salt water pools in their own backyards with increasing frequency. However, before asking your Charlotte pool builder for a salt water pool – or converting your traditional pool to salt water – make sure this is the right choice for you and your family. Salt water pools, like any pools, come with pros and cons.

Advantages of Salt Water Pools

Salt water pools have lower levels of chlorine. It’s a myth that salt water pools don’t contain chlorine at all, but it is true that you do not have to add it manually. These pool systems convert the salt into chlorine with special chlorine generators. This lower chlorine level is gentler on your skin and eyes and is less likely to aggravate allergies or sensitivities.

In addition, while their name makes salt water pools sound like they are filled with ocean water, they actually contain much less salt than that. The amount of salt in these pools is about the same as your tears – meaning that opening your eyes under water is safe. A self-cleaning salt water pool also requires less maintenance than a chlorine pool, so you can go out of town for weeks without worrying about returning to green water.

Disadvantages of Salt Water Pools

A regular pool can be more economical to install, making it the best choice for many. Once installation of a salt water pool is complete however, you will spend less money on chlorine, meaning that in the long run, you can actually save money.The higher upfront cost remains a deterrent for some people.

Also, the wastewater or backwash from a salt water swimming pool may kill nearby plants. For this reason, you should be familiar with the ordinances concerning salt water pools in your area to make sure you are in compliance. Even though salt water pools do require less maintenance, they do use more electricity, which may be a concern for some.

It’s up to you to decide whether the benefits of a salt water pool outweigh the disadvantages. Ask your Houston pool builder for more information. 

How to Winterize Your Pool in Charlotte

The main purpose of winterizing a pool is to keep freezing and thawing cycles from damaging it. Closing a pool the right way can make a big difference in how easy it will be to open the pool when hot weather returns. Winterizing is something that a pool owner can do him- or herself if desired, or a professional can do it. Either way, it’s worth doing for optimal maintenance of a swimming pool in Charlotte. 

First, clean out the skimmer, pump basket, and the pool itself. Vacuum the pool and scrub the tile. Make sure that pH, calcium, total alkalinity, and chlorine levels are adjusted properly. Drain the water to just below the mouth of the skimmer to avoid skimmer throat damage caused by water trapped inside freezing. Complete draining of the pool, however, is usually not necessary and in some cases, could damage the pool. Installing the pool cover is the final step of winterizing your pool.

shutterstock_189809393Choosing Not to Winterize

In Texas, where freezing is rarely a huge concern for pool owners, complete winterizing may not always be necessary. For pool owners who decide not to winterize, there are some special precautions to take to be on the safe side.

A freeze guard or freeze switch should be in place; this is essentially a thermostat that will turn on the pump when the air temperature get cold enough. Ensure that automated valves are in proper working order. These valves in come control centers allow for cycling of the water through different devices, even including the spa, as part of the freeze switch cycle.

Finally, check the pool heater to make sure there are no issues and that it works correctly. Remove any accumulated debris, like leaves and twigs, from the area surrounding the heater to help eliminate any fire danger. These minimal steps for winterizing your pool – even when you decide not to winterize – can help ensure a protected pool that will be easy to open come spring. 

How to Close Your Pool without Draining It

It’s a common misconception that you should drain your pool for the winter. In fact, draining your pool can potentially damage it and should only be done in a few specific circumstances. Most of the time, when the weather cools and you are done with the pool for the year, you don’t need to drain it. Instead, learn how to close your pool properly in the fall to avoid damage to your pool and to make winterizing your pool as easy as possible.

The main reason for winterizing a pool is to protect it from the damage that the freezing of the water could cause. Another reason is so that it stays as clean as possible for the upcoming season. Learning how to close your pool the right way can save you a lot of time and work when warmer weather returns.

First, make sure the water chemistry is right. Your pH, calcium hardness, and total alkalinity should all be balanced. A winterizing chemical kit can help keep the water clear and blue for the upcoming season.

Lower the water level to just below the mouth of the skimmer. This removes the water from the throat of the skimmer, which could easily sustain damage should water left there freeze. Also remove the water from the plumbing lines using a shop vac. Be sure to plug the empty lines to prevent them from refilling.

An important part of winterizing your pool is covering it to keep debris out. There are various types of pool covers available – even custom-designed ones to fit unique pools, including those with water features and irregular shapes.

Drain the water from the filter equipment, and your pool is ready to overwinter, awaiting the first hot days of summer and the backyard fun and entertaining they will bring. Learning how to close your pool is the easy part – the hard part is waiting to open it back up. shutterstock_151653641

Common Swimming Pool Repairs

It can be frustrating when something goes wrong with your pool, but usually pool problems can be easily repaired. There are some repairs that require professional attention, but you can perform most swimming pool repairs on your own.

poolmain1Concrete and gunite pools aren’t known for having a lot of problems, but one of the more common problems they can have is plaster that chips, cracks, or wears out. These problems are easy to remedy and you can usually buy a plaster pool repair kit that will include everything you need for the swimming pool repair, including instructions.

Fiberglass pools also have the potential for cracking, as well as blistering and bubbling. You can also buy DIY kits to repair these issues yourself, but be aware that you may not be able to exactly match the color of the fiberglass. If you don’t care, you can definitely do this repair yourself. A professional can match the fiberglass so that the repaired area will not be conspicuous.

Pools with vinyl liners can also be repaired by the owner. These may get cracks or leaks, and many types of DIY kits are available for fixing them. However, even if the instructions say that you can perform the repair under water, it really is best to drain the water to below the level of the repair so that the patch will dry properly and completely.

Some swimming pool repairs may be too difficult for the pool owner to tackle alone or may even be a good opportunity to do that pool remodeling, replacement, or conversion you’ve been thinking about. Fall is a great time to start thinking about making repairs or improvements to your pool and other outdoor living features so that they will be ready to provide entertainment and relaxation come spring.

Fall Pool Maintenance Checklist

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Charlotte pool maintenance is a little different from pool maintenance in colder climates. Chances are you often use your pool well into the fall – or would like to. Especially if you heat your pool, the swimming season can be extended and the warm fall days present a great opportunity for swimming or relaxing in your pool. However, extending your pool season means some extra fall pool maintenance.

Fall pool maintenance involves basically the same steps as maintaining your pool in the summer, with one significant difference: leaves. Unsurprisingly, those beautiful fall leaves are the biggest hurdle to keeping your pool clean in the fall. It can be hard to keep up with the volume of leaves that can fall into your pool depending on the types of trees you have and their proximity to the pool. Very often, you will need to:

–          Skim the pool

–          Empty the skimmer baskets

–          Empty the pump baskets

–          Check the filter

–          Remove leaves from the bottom of the pool

Directing the jets toward the skimmer basket can help the debris flow toward the baskets, cutting down on the number of times you will need to skim the pool.

Some great items that can assist you with your never ending fall pool maintenance checklist include:

–          A pool cover

–          Small leaf skimmers

–          Leaf rakes

–          Leaf traps

–          Leaf eaters

Stay on top of your pool maintenance checklist in the fall and you will be able to enjoy your backyard oasis right on into the fall, weather permitting. Just as you have all summer, keep the water properly sanitized, the chemicals properly balanced, and the water level monitored and adjusted as needed. A properly maintained pool is wonderfully rewarding and a great place to exercise, play, relax, or entertain.

 

Charlotte Spa and Hot Tub Maintenance Tips for Fall

charlotte spa tips, lombardo pools

As the weather cools off and the pool becomes too chilly, many people find that the hot tub becomes their favorite spot. Keep yours sparkling clean and ready for use at all times with these tips for Charlotte spa maintenance.

Clean your spa shell with a mild, non-abrasive cleaner to remove buildup of dirt. You can also use baking soda for routine surface cleaning. Remove and clean any spa pillows and the vinyl cover as well.

Another part of Charlotte spa maintenance is cleaning the spa filter cartridges. Over time these cartridges can become clogged with calcification or mineral particles from hard water, and this can lead to reduce water flow. Cleaning your filter cartridges on a monthly basis is best.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for draining and replacing spa water. This is a normal part of Charlotte spa maintenance and helps eliminate detergent residue and soap film. Showering without soap before entering the spa is a good way to cut down on these residues in a natural way.

Many people in Charlotte enjoy their hot tubs year-round. For maximum energy efficiency, ensure that your spa cover stays in good condition. A cover that is cracked, faded, or cracking should be replaced. Charlotte doesn’t see a lot of snow or ice, but in the event of frozen precipitation, do not let it accumulate on your spa cover in any significant amounts. If condensation forms around the cover locks and freezes, do not try to pry the ice off, but rather splash or pour warm water over the ice to melt it.

If you are going to be away for a few days or longer, take steps to winterize your hot tub. For example, you will need to adjust the pH according to the manufacturer’s instructions, sanitize the water properly, lock the cover down, and lock the jets and lights using the control panel. When you return, you will need to sanitize the water and balance the pH again before using the hot tub. These spa maintenance tips can ensure a clean, safe, and properly working hot tub all year long.

Which Pool Cover is Right for You?

pool cover, lombardo pools

One of the hardest days of the year is the day that you officially close your swimming pool. The seasons are changing and the time for frolicking is over. While this can be a very sad time, there are also many things that need to be done in advance in order for this process to go smoothly. One of the most frequently asked questions that we have during this time deals with pool covers. Many people will ask about the importance of covering the pool and others will struggle about what type of cover to use. Here are a few things to keep in mind about pool covers.

First, pool covers can be made out of most materials. Some will use an old tarp and others will simply pull thick plastic across the pool. While this is definitely not the best route to go, it is fairly common. When covering your pool, the idea is to keep debris from entering the pool and damaging the liner. This can be accomplished in a few different ways.

The most common pool cover is the vinyl cover. Older versions of this cover will have large, water filled bags, which serve as weights to hold the cover in place. Newer versions of this cover have metal snaps that actually lock into the pool decking and hold the cover in place. This type of cover works well in a drier area. There is not a lot of tinsel strength to the cover, so large amounts of rain/snow could compromise the cover as well as your pool.

A mesh cover is also a common cover. This cover snaps in place just like a vinyl cover. As you would imagine, the mesh design allows water to flow through the cover, which eliminates any stress, and weight that could collect in the cover. This type of cover is not a good way to keep your pool clean during the winter months.

Finally, a hard cover is another option for covering your pool. Many of these covers are designed from fiberglass and they have the ability to hold a substantial amount of weight. This is by far the best cover if you want to keep your pool as clean as possible.

 

Charlotte Pool Maintenance Checklist

Swimming pools add value and beauty to your home and provide years of entertainment, leisure, and exercise for your family and friends – as long as they are properly maintained. Taking care of your pool is not difficult, but does require that you stay on top of the necessary tasks to ensure clean, sparkling water and a pool that lasts for a very long time. Here is a Charlotte pool maintenance checklist to get you started.

pool maintenance checklist, lombardo pools

Two to Three Times a Week
Empty the skimmer and pump basket at least two to three times a week. Vacuum the pool, brushing the bottom and sides. This can be beneficial even with an automatic pool cleaner, because it will loosen dirt or other types of particles that may adhere to the pool finish.

Weekly Pool Maintenance Checklist
Set aside a little time one day a week to perform these weekly tasks:

-Remove any large debris from the bottom of the pool

-Test and adjust chlorine or other sanitizer levels (at least once a week)

-Check the water level; it should be high enough so that the pump can operate properly

-Inspect the pool water visually for color, clarity, and any visible contaminants

-Remove any floating leaves or debris

-Test and adjust pH levels and alkalinity

-Clean tile at water line

-Check and adjust the water level

-Shock the pool as required (this may be needed only once every couple of weeks)

Monthly Tasks
It’s a good idea to check all safety equipment such as steps and handrails on a monthly basis to ensure they are in good working order. Also test and adjust calcium hardness, total dissolved solids, and alkalinity. If you have a saltwater pool, check the salt levels. If you have a vinyl liner, check for any tears or holes and repair them at once. Inspect any visible pool elements such as tile, grout, and sealant; check gunite, fiberglass, or concrete for cracks. Check motor and pump seals and clean the filter.

Following this pool maintenance checklist will allow you to enjoy your pool whenever you want to, for as long as you want to.