Hot weather means more algae blooms

Algae blooms are not a unique subject matter to readers of this website. During last spring’s heavy rains we wrote about how excess moisture and materials can cause algae to bloom. While that remains true, excess moisture isn’t the only thing that can prompt algae blooms. Hot weather like we’ve seen recently can be a catalyst, too.

Despite the weather being dry (and very hot) we’ve gotten reports of algae accumulating in the pools of customers. So why is this happening?

How heat causes algae blooms

pool spa rocks woodlands

So why is the algae blooming in this heat? If you’re looking for something to blame, just look straight up in the sky. Be sure to put on sunglasses though, as the sun is the primary culprit in the recent algae blooms. The strength of the sun, and the heat that it generates, eats up the chlorine in the pool. With the amount of chlorine lessened, dirt and phosphates can morph into algae and turn pool water murky and give it green, yellow, even dark colors. The hotter the air and the stronger the sun, the more likely that this event will happen.

So how can you minimize the effects of the sun and heat on algae blooms? The best way to do this is to pump up the amount of cynaric acid in your water. Cynaric acid serves as a stabilizer that protects disinfectants such as chlorine and allows them to do their work in keeping your pool clean and swim ready. Cynaric acid pretty much keeps everything in tip-top shape, serving the same purpose that sulfites do in wine and allowing chlorine to do to water what pasteurization does to milk.

Like anything else, too much cynaric acid can be harmful and skew the readings when it comes to the water’s calcium content and alkalinity. But if you find the right balance, you’ll keep algae blooms at bay. Monitor your chlorine levels on your IntelliChem or ScreenLogic and when they get low, increase the cynaric acid before adding more chlorine. A little water chemistry can keep the algae at bay and your pool looking beautiful.

First Twitter, now Instagram!

open free form pool spa woodlands

After launching our Twitter page recently, we’ve decided to add Instagram to the Ultimate Pools repertoire. Follow us @ultimate_pools, click on the camera icon at the top right of the website or just go to this link. As we go through the summer and into the fall we’ll add picture updates of what we’re working on and some of the swimming pools that we’ve finished. So follow us and enjoy the ride!

Decking: The companies we use

The pool and spa get most of the attention during our installations, but decking really ties your new pool together. While we’ve had plenty of articles about the installation and upkeep of swimming pools and hot tubs (please feel free to peruse the website to enjoy this content), we haven’t had much on decking. But that’s about to change.

We’ll jump into the deep end (pun intended) in terms of decking the next couple of weeks. While we’ll get into the nuts and bolts of decking in our next article, in this article you’ll learn about the companies we work with and the products and services that they provide. We hope this article can be a resource in your decking research. Search the websites of the companies we use to figure out what kind of tile/coping/stone, etc., you’d like surrounding your pool.

So here we go.

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Decking partners of Ultimate Pools

Stone: We use three companies to provide stone for your deck. They are Model Stone, Champions Stone and A&A Stone. These are our go-tos when it comes to flagstone, but there are plenty of stones to choose from. Oklahoma Wister is a popular style and can be found at these companies.

Tile and coping: Before getting into the companies that provide these services, let’s describe what coping is. When looking at the picture above, coping is the stone border in between the pool and the rest of the deck. That border also goes over the edge and toward the water, where the coping meets the tile. We utilize Master Tile and Noble Tile Houston for these elements. Check out the Pool and Spa Division at Master Tile when looking for the perfect tile and coping.

Pavers and decoration: Pavers help durability by serving as a sturdy foundation to your deck. There are two main pavers, cement pavers and stone pavers, which are also known as travertine. Belgard is our source for cement pavers, while Keystone provides stone pavers. As far as colors and decoration, Proline Stamps has accents that will cap off your decking experience.

Check out the options on these websites to figure out exactly what you want in your decking. We’ll get it done from there.

Ultimate Pools is on Twitter!

pool spa rocks oak ridge

Slowly but surely, Ultimate Pools has joined the 21st century. We have Facebook, an interactive website, even a Google+ page. Now we have Twitter! Ultimate Pools launched its Twitter page today, and you can check it out here.

Follow our Tweets and get the latest in who we are, what we’re up to now, and what we’ll be doing next. We’ll share content from this website along with adding a few more things that will be Twitter-exclusive. So follow along with us today!

Lightning: Its effects and ways to protect against it

lightning strike 2

A well-placed lightning strike can cause considerable damage to anything it strikes. One bolt can produce up to a billion volts of electricity, so anything that gets struck tends to suffer significant damage, like the tree above. Needless to say, lightning damage can be a factor for your pool as well — but not necessarily in the way you might think.

After dealing recently with the effects of flooding, we’re turning our attention to lightning. One strike, whether it hits the pool equipment directly or causes an electrical surge that trickles down to the lighting, wiring, or the modem of the internet router inside the house, can cause quite a bit of chaos with your pool’s features. In this article we’ll go over what kind of damage a bolt can cause and steps that can be taken to try to head off damage if lightning does strike.

Effects of lightning

Very rarely does the bolt of lightning actually hit the pool or pool equipment. Instead, the surge of electricity is typically going to hit at the tallest point of the yard. Most likely, that will be a tree, a metal pole, or the roof of the house. From there, the bolt makes the journey down to the surface, where it can hit the water or get into the modem connection or lighting wiring. After that, this is what tends to happen:

  • The modem could get knocked offline: If your pool is connected to the internet via ScreenLogic, the electrical surge can either knock out the power to your house, which will turn the internet connection off, or blow out the communication wires between your modem and the pool. The first can be fixed when the power comes on, the second would necessitate a rewiring of the ScreenLogic so you can control your pool’s functions remotely.
  • The underground lighting wires could be compromised: The surge from the lightning can travel all the way from the strike point down into the underground wiring, either damaging the lights or shorting them entirely. If its the former, it might take days or months until you realize that there is a problem. This is especially true with copper wiring.

As far as the actual pool and spa, you won’t need to be worried about physical damage unless there’s a direct hit. That hit could come from the lightning bolt itself or from falling debris such as tree branches. Lightning could also inflict damage on any sort of irrigation system you have installed too. If that happens, we can repair for a fee through A Total Coverage.

Solutions/Preventative Measures

While you obviously can’t prevent your house from being struck by lightning, there are measures that can be taken to minimize the damage from the bolt. One option is to purchase a surge protector device for your pool’s computer system. The surge protector is designed to take all of the brunt from the lightning strike and protect the system for damage. It basically acts in the same way as an insurance deductible. It will need to be replaced with each strike, but if there’s any damage to the computer system the surge protector’s warranty will cover it.

The other option is to have your homeowner’s insurance cover the damage costs and the cost of having an electrician fix any faulty lighting or wiring. While you wouldn’t have to keep buying surge protectors, the deductible on your homeowner’s insurance could be quite large (5-10 percent of your insurance value). Either way, those options are worth looking into so you have a plan of attack if a lightning bolt compromises your pool or irrigation systems.