Cleaning and draining your pool post-Harvey

Now that Hurricane Harvey’s rain has fallen, it comes time to assess the damage and clean up your pool. There are several factors to consider when cleaning or draining your pool, between your safety, particulates in the pool and rebalancing the chemistry of the water. We did a short “what to watch for” post last year during the torrential spring rains that Southeast Texas was getting. That’s a good reference while evaluating what you need to do.

The above picture shows one of our pools in the aftermath of Harvey. The owners were lucky not to have much in the way of flood damage, and their IntelliChem system did its job in helping keep the pool’s chemistry on point throughout the storm. We offer the IntelliChem system with all of our pools, and having one — and putting it to use — drastically reduces the need for draining your pool.

Cleaning and draining your pool: What to look for beforehand

Unfortunately, Harvey wasn’t as kind to all of our customers in Montgomery County and Southeast Texas. Some of them fell victim to the flooding that plagued (and still plagues) the region. That resulted in pictures such as the two below.

In the cleaning your pool article that was linked in the first paragraph, there were three things that needed to be monitored: safety from fallen items/animals that might have drifted in the pool area, particulates such as dirt/mulch and leaves, and water chemistry. Since Harvey was much more a rain event than a wind event in Montgomery County, falling debris from trees and houses weren’t as much of a concern. However, insects, reptiles and small mammals could have been washed into your pool area (depending on how much flooding you received) and the sheer amount of rain water will throw your chemistry off.

But a big X-factor in the Harvey clean-up will be keeping mindful of possible bacteria. The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals warns that animals and possible sewage in flood waters can cause spikes in E-Coli and other harmful bacteria. It advises using bacteria test strips on the water to get readings. If there is a bacteria issue, chlorine might not be effective, so use products such as Sea Klear PRS Stage 1 and 2 to break down the bacteria and trap it in your filters.

Draining your pool: Do’s and dont’s

We covered the process of this last year, which we paired with the other linked article in the first paragraph. Please feel free to read this, but we’ll also highlight a few things that might be relevant for this storm.

One of the main things you need to do is clean your filters constantly. The filters serve as an integral part of the cleaning process, as they trap the debris and separate it from the pool water. However, when you’re dealing with floods and rain water of this degree, the filters will get full, overwhelmed and not do their job fully if left unmonitored. Therefore, it’s important to clean and empty them yourself or call us to do it for you for a fee. Cleaning and emptying filters are available for a fee as part of our pool maintenance services.

Along with keeping the filters in tip-top working shape, you also need to brush your pool several times a day. Brushing the pool uproots debris that’s clinging the surface of your pool and releases it into the water. From there, the filters and vacuums can capture and separate it. Brushing the pool also is huge in preventing algae from forming down the road. It also allows the IntelliChem system to balance the water chemistry more effectively.

As far as dont’s, do not ever drain the pool completely. If you do that, the shell of the pool will “pop up” and “float” out of place, causing an extreme headache and even more labor. The saturation of the ground after a rain event like Harvey makes a dislodged shell even more of a concern, as the moisture and dirt below the surface push the shell out if there’s not enough volume inside the pool to push back against it. It’s a phenomenon we detail in this article.

Instead, drain the pool no more than halfway and refill the drained portion with clean water. From there, use vacuums and filtration to further clean the water, along with the IntelliChem system’s water chemistry capabilities. Sometimes one draining will do the trick; sometimes you’ll need more. Either way, never drain the pool more than halfway. This is another service we provide for a fee as part of our pool maintenance package.

Either way, your pool will once again look like this.

Give us a call for help in this area, and stay safe.


Discover Ultimate Pools

Ultimate Pools has been a leader in pool building and outdoor improvements in Magnolia, The Woodlands and Southeast Texas since 1991, specializing as a pool builder since 1999. From pools, waterfalls, hot tubs, decks, outdoor kitchens and outdoor improvements, Ultimate Pools will provide the highest of quality and customer service to you. Surf our website, send us an email, give us a call at (936) 321-9632, or visit our offices at 5170 FM 1488, Magnolia, TX 77354 today!

Hurricane Harvey and your pool

Southeast Texas is no stranger to hurricanes and tropical storms in the late summer and early fall. Unfortunately, we’re dealing with another one this week, as Tropical Storm Harvey is set to become Hurricane Harvey and make landfall sometime on Friday, most likely between Matagorda Bay and Corpus Christi.

If it strengthens as anticipated, Harvey will be the first Category 3 hurricane to hit the United States since 2005, which was the year of Katrina and Rita. Hopefully, Hurricane Harvey won’t have nearly the destructive impact those two storms had.

The landfall impact of Hurricane Harvey in Greater Houston and Montgomery County won’t be direct, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be an impact. Schools in Greater Houston are already taking precautions in the wake of the storm, as are businesses and government services.

Hurricane Harvey and swimming pools

There is a wide berth on the impact of hurricanes and tropical storms, but as a pool owner/prospective buyer, you’re here because you want to know how this storm could affect your pool. Well, you’re in luck, as we’ve produced literature in the past talking about the effects of rain on both the building of your pool (and corresponding elements such as decking) and how to clean your pool after a big storm or flooding. The latter is something we penned last year after a spring deluge. We also had a post highlighting the clean-up of a pool after a particular set of storms.

While everyone is well aware of the problems that come from hurricane landfall (remember Hurricane Ike in 2008?) as far as wind and lightning, many of the problems when it comes to pools has to do with the amount of rainfall.

While tropical storms don’t get the headlines of hurricanes, those are the type of storms that tend to have the most continuous damage in Southeast Texas. Hurricanes tend to make landfall hot and blow right through to inland areas, exiting relatively quickly. For example, Ike powered through Houston and motored into the Great Lakes region. Meanwhile, Southeast Texas residents can remember weaker tropical storm systems being caught along the coast, stagnating and dumping buckets of rain for days on end. Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 was the most notable example of that phenomenon, as the storm camped off the coast for two weeks feeding Metro Houston with rain. Unfortunately, some models expect Hurricane Harvey to have a similar effect.

What does that mean for pool owners? As detailed in our linked article above, the deluge of rain causes flooding, which can make your water quite dirty. That’s not all, though. Excess rain also throws off the chemical levels of your water (making it susceptible to algae growth, among other things), overwhelms your filtration system with particulates, and even introduces animals (dead or alive) to your pool. So if you see anything askew be sure to do this:

Then gives us a call and we’ll do our best to help you dry out and get your pool back in line.

Hurricane Harvey and pools in the building process

Now what should you look for if you’re in the process of getting a pool/deck built or looking to break ground? Our effects of rain series also details that. Excess moisture in soil causes a delay in the initial dig, as saturated soil is prone to collapse or erosion. If the initial dig has been made, the hole can’t be surfaced until it’s sufficiently dry. If done too early, tiles can pop off, walls can collapse and the pool can “float away” (read the recent link for more on what that means).

Excess moisture also does a number on decks and stone, so it’s important for the surface to be dry. Otherwise, the foundation for your new deck could be slippery and insecure and your tiles/stone could pop off. So bear with us if the storm and rain causes delays in the installation of your pool — a few days delay here will save you money and considerable headaches later. However, we’re available to walk you through the process of dealing with these storms, so don’t be afraid to contact us!

Stay dry, stay safe and read up on all the linked articles. Beats standing in the rain!


Discover Ultimate Pools

Ultimate Pools has been a leader in pool building and outdoor improvements in Magnolia, The Woodlands and Southeast Texas since 1991, specializing as a pool builder since 1999. From pools, waterfalls, hot tubs, decks, outdoor kitchens and outdoor improvements, Ultimate Pools will provide the highest of quality and customer service to you. Surf our website, send us an email, give us a call at (936) 321-9632, or visit our offices at 5170 FM 1488, Magnolia, TX 77354 today!

Ultimate Pools among best pool builders in Montgomery County

Since we started building pools in 1999, Ultimate Pools has strived to be one of the best pool builders in Southeast Texas. It seems that work is getting recognized online. Two online business ratings companies, The Prime Buyer’s Report and Nextdoor.com, have rated Ultimate Pools among their top 10 pool builders in the Magnolia area and greater Montgomery County.

They’ve come to these conclusions using different methodologies. While Nextdoor.com relies on direct online reviews from customers, The Prime Buyer’s Report utilizes phone-call surveys, along with research into licensing and business practices. Their methodology is outlined here. We appreciate both companies for their approaches and for recognizing the work and effort that is the bedrock of our business.

Don’t take our word for it, though. Here are the links to the Prime Buyer’s Report and Nextdoor best pool builders lists for Magnolia, The Woodlands, Conroe, Montgomery County and Southeast Texas.


Discover Ultimate Pools

Ultimate Pools has been a leader in pool building and outdoor improvements in Magnolia, The Woodlands and Southeast Texas since 1991, specializing as a pool builder since 1999. From pools, waterfalls, hot tubs, decks, outdoor kitchens and outdoor improvements, Ultimate Pools will provide the highest of quality and customer service to you. Surf our website, send us an email, give us a call at (936) 321-9632, or visit our offices at 5170 FM 1488, Magnolia, TX 77354 today!

It’s our 25th anniversary!

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On November 4, 1991, Bryan and Deborah Stuart set into motion what is now Ultimate Pools today. We are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the start of A Total Coverage. A Total Coverage is the outdoor improvement wing of What’s Next Inc. and Ultimate Pools.

The silver anniversary

The start of A Total Coverage was a humble one, as the Stuarts and their children hand-delivered fliers to get the word out about A Total Coverage’s sprinkler and irrigation systems. The business expanded into products and services such as landscaping, lighting, fencing and outdoor kitchens, and we were incorporated into What’s Next Inc. in March 1993. From there, the business has expanded into pool building, which is the foundation of what we do now.

But this isn’t a history lesson and, don’t worry, there won’t be an anniversary test. If you want one of those, check out the history page and read up. Instead, we’re thankful that we’ve been able to last for 25 years as a small family business and we are gracious that you have allowed us to be part of your community. We enjoy working in Montgomery County, Harris County, Greater Houston and Southeast Texas more than you know.

So, once again, thank you for being part of our silver anniversary as a company. We are proud of the 25 years that we’ve been in business and can’t wait for several more!


Discover Ultimate Pools

Ultimate Pools has been a leader in pool building and outdoor improvements in Magnolia, The Woodlands and Southeast Texas since 1991, specializing as a pool builder since 1999. From pools, waterfalls, hot tubs, decks, outdoor kitchens and outdoor improvements, Ultimate Pools will provide the highest of quality and customer service to you. Surf our website, send us an email, give us a call at (936) 321-9632, or visit our offices at 5170 FM 1488, Magnolia, TX 77354 today!

Keep mosquitoes at bay with MistAway

With their buzzing and biting — and the aftermath of those bites — mosquitoes are extremely annoying. What’s also annoying is having to pack canisters of bug spray for a simple walk out to your swimming pool. This is especially true this time of the year, as the seasons start to change but the mugginess remains.

There is a solution to the mosquito problem that doesn’t involve bathing in Deep Woods OFF! though. MistAway Systems in Houston has come up with several mosquito-killing systems that kill mosquitoes in and around your yard for good.

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Killing mosquitoes for good

The problem with mosquitoes is that they never seem to go away. No matter how much bug spray you put on or how many bug zappers you position around the yard, they keep coming. What MistAway does is kill off a mosquito’s reproductive capabilities, eventually snuffing out their existence for good. So how does this work?

Before we get into what MistAway does, it’s important for you to know how mosquitoes become a problem in the first place. While living in the humid climate of Southeast Texas doesn’t help, there are things you can do to lessen the mosquito breeding area.

1. Soak up puddles and pools of standing water: Standing water is a prime breeding spot for mosquitoes, and having a couple of puddles in your backyard or around your house will cause a mosquito frenzy. Considering that mosquitoes can reproduce by the tens of thousands, do your best to identify places where water pools (perhaps areas where hoses drip) and keep them dry with sand and mulch.

2. Don’t overwater your plants: Plants make your yard and the area around your pool look great, but they can also be great breeding places for mosquitoes. Think spring break in Cancun and you get a good idea of how the combination of how moisture and dirt can trigger the mosquito population. So be a bit conservative with your watering and be sure to also make sure that you don’t leave standing water in any pots. While you’re at it, also make sure you drain your watering can completely. Any excess water is a bad thing.

Systemically killing mosquitoes

There are two types of systems that we install from MistAway — one with a 55-gallon drum and the Gen III. The drum can be purchased with an agitator that mixes up the chemicals, while the Gen III mixes a batch every time the chemicals are spread. Both systems send out a dosage of chemicals through small tubing to nozzles situated throughout the yard. Those nozzles spray repellent into the air, which is consumed by the mosquitoes that are encircling the pool.

Mosquitoes are not able to fly very far, about 100 feet or so, so they won’t be able to get where they need to go to reproduce (especially if you get rid of the breeding areas in your yard mentioned above). Slowly but surely, the mosquito population will dwindle down to zero. It takes about a month or so for all of the local mosquitoes to come to your pool, get infected with the repellent, and meet their demise. It’s pretty nice once they meet their demise, though. Spray at dusk and dawn for maximum exposure and effectiveness and get nozzles with a check valve to prevent dripping. The spray also helps kill off annoying bugs and spiders, too.

The chemicals of MistAway

So what chemicals does MistAway use to kill mosquitoes? Riptide is the primary one. It is a water-based solution that mixes with botanical pyrethrum to provide a solution that incapacitates and kills mosquitoes. Pyrethrum is an extract from a white daisy that creates a poison that kills all sorts of flying pests. In layman’s terms, Riptide is the Advil and pyrethrum is the ibuprofen within the Advil that cures everything.

Riptide isn’t the only insecticide one can place in the MistAway. Spectrum is another option you can choose. The Spectrum repellents are a purely chemical version of insect killer if you prefer to go that route.


Discover Ultimate Pools

Ultimate Pools has been a leading pool builder in Magnolia, The Woodlands and Southeast Texas since 1991. From pools, waterfalls, hot tubs, decks, outdoor kitchens and outdoor improvements, Ultimate Pools will provide the highest of quality and customer service to you. Surf our website, send us an email, give us a call at (936) 321-9632, or visit our offices at 5170 FM 1488, Magnolia, TX 77354 today!