What you should do before meeting your pool builder

contemporary pool shenandoah

With March Madness behind us, we are coming upon our spring blitz. Summer is approaching at a rapid clip, so now is a time when people look into installing a swimming pool. We enjoy this time of year, as it gives us a chance to meet new customers and further branch out into the community.

But it’s not necessarily as simple as “I want a pool, what can you do for me?” Well, it can be if you want, but that initial meeting with a pool builder could be a humbling and discouraging one without doing some research first. The last thing we want to do is to discourage and intimidate you from getting that dream pool by quoting a ridiculously large fee that’s way out of your price range.

So with that being said, here is a checklist of what you should research/have in mind prior to meeting with a pool builder. Or, in other words, this is our version of this:

What to do before meeting the builder

Before deciding which features are important and which bells and whistles you want to have alongside your swimming pool, the first thing you have to do its figure out the exact money you want to spend. If we know your financial ballpark before we start discussing the size of your pool and all of the options that can be added along with it, we can devise with a realistic game plan that fits your vision of your pool while also being within your budget.

A lot of times pool builders will include all of bells and whistles in their initial estimate, which makes for a large, intimidating quote. If you figure out your budget beforehand and communicate it to us, we can skip the awkward initial stages and start further along down the path of building your pool.

Once you have your budget in place, it’s time to prioritize your features. Here are some of the main questions you have to ask yourself:

  • How big do I want my pool to be?
  • How much decking do I want surrounding my pool?
  • Do I want a hot tub and if I do, where do I want it to be in relation to my pool?
  • Do I want features such as waterfalls, waterslides, lighting or a swim-up bar?
  • Do I want any automated systems such as IntelliTouch, EasyTouch, robotic cleaners or water chemistry tools such as IntelliChem or ozonators?
  • Do I want lighting and if I do, do I want LED or regular lighting?

Once you have answered the following questions, then you have to rank each answer in the order of most important to least important. Unless you have an unlimited budget, you might have to choose between a few square feet of decking over a waterfall, at least initially. Either way, it’s important to have a ranking of priorities that you can communicate to your builder to find the perfect combination of features.

When considering your priority rankings, also keep in mind that some aspects of the pool-building process need to be settled right away, while others can be added down the road. Therefore, keep the following things in mind in this order when you are deciding what your dream pool should be:

  • Once the project has started, your pool size is permanent and your deck size might as well be: You can’t just call an audible and make your pool bigger once the ground has been broken — the size of your pool is set from that point on. Also, adjusting your decking size is a huge pain and can be quite costly. If you decide to add more decking after the deck has been framed out, the colors might not match and the costs will likely rise. Therefore, decide these sizes and costs first before proceeding. This is the point where you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to sacrifice size for more bells and whistles.
  • Decide whether you want a spa and where you want that spa to be: A spa doesn’t necessarily need to be present at the start of construction, but it’s best to tell your builder at that point whether you’ll eventually want one. If you want one down the road and communicate that to us, we can install the necessary piping and drainage at initial construction for a much lower cost than it would be down the road. However, once you decide you want a spa, you need to come up with a set placement for it. You can’t pick up and move the spa, and the overall cost of the spa is directly related to its distance from the pool equipment pad.
  • Features can come later, but it’s best to decide now if you’ll eventually want them: Items such as waterfalls, plaster, slides, swim-up bars, and fire pits are things that can be added down the road and can be treated as line-item additions, but it’s best to plan for their addition during the initial construction. If you decide at the beginning that you’ll want a waterfall down the road, we can install a main drain now and wouldn’t need to drain or replaster the pool in the future to install the waterfall. Having to drain and replaster the pool in the future would cost considerably more money, so if you think you might want a waterfall down the road let us know now. Your bank account will thank you.
  • You can add smart systems at any time: Items such as the IntelliTouch, EasyTouch, ScreenLogic, ozonators or robotic cleaners can be installed at any point along the way. We add these systems to pools that were built years ago, so if you decide you want to control your pool functions and water chemistry through your computer or smartphone down the road, we can help.
  • Lighting can be installed at any time, but once you decide on the type of lighting, that’s permanent: We can install regular lights or LED lights whenever you’d like, but if you get regular lights initially, we can’t retrofit existing lighting niches to LED down the road and vice versa. The technology for that change simply isn’t available yet. It’ll come, perhaps soon, but for now, whatever lights you choose are the lights you’re staying with.

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!

Spa mode helps keep spa water fresh and clean

Taking a dip in your spa usually isn’t the first impulse you have during the winter months. With the temperature being inconsistent at best and cold at worst, it’s easy to forget about your pool and spa and not put it into spa mode, letting the water sit idle until there’s a hint of spring in the air.

That is not a good idea.

Keeping your pool sitting in pool mode during the winter months can make that first spring dip into the pool uncomfortable, even harmful. Even when you aren’t planning on using it for a considerable length of time, it’s extremely important to switch your pool from pool mode to spa mode for a few minutes a day to keep your water’s circulation and chlorine dispersal in tip-top shape.

spa pool

What exactly does spa mode do?

Before we identify the consequences of not utlizing spa mode every day, we’ll explain what spa mode does in the first place. From here on out we’ll explain spa mode in relation to your actual spa, as that’s the part of your pool system where water needs to be circulated the most.

There are two main lines that are utilized when spa mode is activated — the suction line and the return line. The suction line takes water from the pool and sends it back in the pump for it to be refreshed. Once the water travels up to the pump it is sent back through the return line into your pool through a variety of avenues which include waterfalls, the jets in the spa, and bubblers.

On the way back to the pool, water is sent through to the cleaner line to the cleaner pump, where debris is filtered out and chlorine is added before returned to the pool as fresh water. That is why it is also important to periodically clean your filters, which will help your suction and return lines keep your water as clean as possible.

Consequences of not running spa mode

Ok, so you’ve let your pool sit during the winter months and are itching to jump into the spa and take a soak. Maybe you are looking to have some friends over to celebrate the first pool day of the spring. You turn on the jets and the first thing you notice is a strong chlorine odor. You ignore it, thinking that it’s just the chlorine working overtime to treat your pool.

That’s not what’s happening.

That smell coming from the jets and waterfalls isn’t indicative of over-chlorination. Instead, it’s indicative of the presence of chloramine. Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia. While it is a disinfectant, it isn’t nearly as effective at combating debris and bacteria as traditional chlorine. It’s also a lot harder to filter out through the suction and cleaner lines in the pool and can cause respiratory and skin discomfort at times, along with that annoying smell.

As for that smell, chloramines are smelly because they basically are the product of stale, spoiled, used-up chlorine. Equate it to milk being left out for too long. The heavy chlorine smell is a sign that the powerful cleaning elements of the chlorine in your pool have been compromised, leaving less-effective, “spoiled” chloramines. Not only is the smell unpleasant, but the ability of your suction cleaners, robotic cleaners or smart automated systems such as IntelliTouch to keep your water cleaned and chemistry on-point is negatively impacted.

Be proactive

Whether you are planning on using your pool or spa in a day, a week, or in a few months, you should put your pool into spa mode five minutes a day. That means running all of your water features such as jets, waterfalls and air bubblers, along with any water pumps you might have, for five minutes. Prior to putting the pool into spa mode you need to turn your pool’s air blowers on and keep them going for an extra minute after switching back to pool mode to clear out any remaining water.

Putting your pool into spa mode is something that can be handled remotely with smart systems such as IntelliTouch, EasyTouch, and EasyTouch Lite. You can program the time you want the pool to be in spa mode and let the system do the work. That will make that first spa day of spring a lot more pleasant!


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!