How to remove leaves from your swimming pool

pool with leaves 2

As we roll into the middle and later stages of autumn, leaves start to change color. Then the leaves fall off trees completely. When you are living in Southeast Texas (especially in a community such as The Woodlands that is centered around trees), this process is a rite of fall. But while the cascade of red, orange and yellow leaves can be quite beautiful, they can also be quite a pain to clean up. And we’re not simply talking about raking the yard.

Leaves can also be a nuisance to your swimming pool if you allow them to accumulate and float around on the water. Not only can they leave dirt and debris in the water, but they can also get stuck in your filters and manifold, sabotaging their effectiveness in filtering other debris that gets caught in your pool. Leaving leaves in the pool also diminishes the effectiveness of your pool cleaner. Breaking up leaves is difficult for pool cleaners, as parts of them can get stuck in the cleaner — similar to a vacuum’s effectiveness being diminished after it sucks a large object. This will result in a mobile pool cleaner that is compromised or completely ineffective.

And all of this doesn’t take into account what happens when the leaves absorb moisture and sink the surface of the pool. Not only can unattended leaves cause ugly stains at the sides or the bottom of your pool, but the deposits from the leaves can also make it easier for algae to bloom. And, as we’ve written before, that can be quite the problem in itself. And having a once-a-week maintenance visit isn’t enough to keep the leaves at bay.

Steps to take care of leaves

So how can you minimize the impact of fallen leaves on your swimming pool. Here are three things you can do.

  • Drag the leaves out of your pool with a rake: If you don’t have a pool rake with a net attached to pick up leaves, purchase one immediately. Dragging the surface and bottom of the pool right after leaves fall off the trees only takes a few minutes and can save you loads of work and stress down the road. If you rake the pool and pick up the big stuff early, it makes it easier for your cleaner and your filters to take care of the rest.
  • Scrub the sides and the bottom of your pool: Even if you have been able to clean all of the big leaves out of your pool, scrubbing your pool is a necessary pre-emptive step toward preventing against stains and future algae growth. Taking a pool brush and doing a solid, hard scrub of the sides and the bottom of your pool will go a long way in preventing stains. Stains are a lot easier to manage before they show up, so scrub your pool.
  • Clean your filters: Even if there aren’t leaves stuck in the filter, it’s good to get whatever gunk is in there out of the system periodically. Doing this at least once a season is necessary to keep your pool filtration on point. The best way to do this is with a mixture of 80 percent water and 20 percent muratic acid. A little muratic acid goes a long way in not only breaking up solid particles, but can also cut away at the film that results from debris. Weakening those elements allow them to be filtered out better or sucked up by your mobile cleaner.

Fall leaves are pretty, but that beauty doesn’t have to cause frustration down the road. A little maintenance with leaves now allows you to enjoy more football and apple cider later.

How to properly check for a leak in your pool

pool with wall

There has been a lot of talk about water bills lately in the Houston area thanks to reports of water bills skyrocketing recently. This issue was featured on Houston’s Channel 2 news a couple of weeks ago and is summed up with this article (which has an attached video).

Whether that skyrocketing is due to bad water meters, massive leakage, or self-correction from the water companies is up for debate, but it is something that has been a worry for homeowners. While we are completely confident that your Ultimate Pools pool won’t be the source of a spiked water bill, we do advise you to run your own test to make sure that you can determined whether a) you have a water leak in your pool and if so b) what the source of that leak is.

Is there a leak?

Before we start the test to determine the source of your leak, we have to determine whether there is a leak in the first place. To do this, you have to figure out what the normal rate of water evaporation is. That rate of water evaporation is dependent on external factors such as temperature, wind velocity and relative humdity along with the number of gallons of water that you’re measuring. For those of you who are mathematically inclined, check out this formula.

For those of you who aren’t, the basic rule of thumb is that any water depth loss of an inch or less in a 24-hour period can be attributed to natural evaporation. Surface level loss of 1-2 inches can be indicative of a leak but can also happen via evaporation in larger pools in hotter, drier, and windier conditions. Anything more than 2 inches is almost certainly indicative of a leak.

Finding the source

Now that we know what constitutes a leak, we can now figure out where the leak is coming from. The way to do this is by running this two-pronged test that will take roughly 48 hours to execute. Before running the test, go to your pool and figure out how far up the tile line on the side of your pool your water goes. Mark that point with an easily identifiable marker such as tape (do not use a permanent marker or anything that can’t be removed completely afterwards). Once you’ve done that, you can run the test.

  • Test one: Take an initial water surface reading, record it, then run your water pumps continuously for 24 hours. Once that 24 hours is up, measure your water surface level area and subtract it from the surface level from the day before.
  • Test two: Fill your pool back to the level it was at prior to the first test (you should still have the tape from that day on the tile). After that, wait 24 hours but be sure to turn off your water pumps and make sure there’s no water circulating in or out of the pool during that time. Measure again after the 24 hours is over and compare it to the marked level.

If you find a leak (a water level decrease of two inches or more) after running the first test with the pumps on, that indicates that you have a significant problem in your plumbing that needs to be addressed. In that case, there’s a significant amount of water that’s not making the journey from your pipes to the pool. Now, if you find a leak in the second test, that’s indicative of a leak in the pool’s structure.

If you’re worried about leakage and your pool, conduct these tests. At the very least, you’ll get a good idea of what you’re dealing with, if anything.

Throwback Thursday celebrates the first day of October!

Just because the calendar has changed to October does not mean pool season is over. You can still enjoy your Ultimate Pools pool for several weeks before any sort of chilly weather comes in. To get you in the mood, here are some pictures of a pool that we finished way back in the fall of 2006. Enjoy them, and enjoy these next few weeks of lovely Texas fall weather!

pool island late Sept. 06

pool rocks 2 late sept 06

pool rocks late Sept 06

pool rocks table sept 06

spa sept. 06

sweet pool rocks spa Sept. 06

Ultimate Pools honored to sponsor College Park volleyball

Courtesy of College Park volleyball.

Courtesy of College Park volleyball.

Football isn’t the only sport at The Woodlands College Park High School that Ultimate Pools sponsors. We are also happy to be in league with the school’s girls volleyball program, which started its season just a few weeks ago.

The Cavaliers have consistently been one of the top teams in the area, as they have made the playoffs eight years in a row and are off to a 14-7 start this season heading into the beginning of District 16-6A play. College Park went to the area round of the playoffs last season after winning in the bi-district round and finishing third place in District 14-5A.

College Park has also had a fair share of players move on to the college level, as the Cavaliers have sent players to universities such as Michigan, Ohio State, Virginia, UC San Diego, Sam Houston State and Tulsa. One alum, Lexi Erwin, plays professionally in Finland. College Park has two seniors committed to play for Division I schools next year, with Hanna Erwin set to go to the University of Denver and Kennedi Smith set to attend the University of New Hampshire.

Head out to College Park to watch the Cavaliers play district opponents such as The Woodlands, Oak Ridge, Conroe, Summer Creek, Kingwood and Atascosita. You can follow all levels of Cavaliers volleyball by clicking on their website or heading over to College Park volleyball is also very active on social media, so follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.