Pool maintenance: Five things to check in the fall

The chilly weather we had this weekend was a reminder that fall is upon us. While we’ll have plenty of time to swim in the upcoming months (thank you Southeast Texas subtropical weather), now is the time to make sure your pool maintenance is on point. Everyone likes lists, so we’ve compiled a quick checklist of five things you need to check on this fall to keep your pool maintenance up to date.

Five fall maintenance steps

1. Clean your filters: As we have written in a previous article, fall and spring are the ideal times to clean your pool filters. With the increased amount of leaves and debris that fly into your pool during this time of year, you want to make sure that your filters are in tip-top shape. It’s more important this year than normal, as the rainwater and biologicals (leaves, dirt, and other natural debris) from Hurricane Harvey have certainly tested the capacity of your filters.

Clean filters allow for your robotic cleaners to do their job and your water chemistry to stay on point. And it’s best to clean them now while it’s still warm — going out and doing it in the winter when the water and air temperature are in the 40s and 50s is no one’s idea of a good time.

2. Cover/drain your backflow preventer: One of the biggest problems one can run into in pool maintenance is a frozen backflow preventer. When a freeze comes (and it’ll most certainly come), the backflow preventers are susceptible to cracking. They crack because they aren’t completely drained, therefore the remaining water inside freezes, expands and puts stress on the backflow preventer. Near-freezing temperatures and wind can also cause trouble, as cold wind sometimes cools the preventer enough to cause freezing and cracking.

Draining the backflow is important (and something we’ll come over to do for a fee), but covering the preventer to keep out the wind is important, too. There are several ways to do this: you can wrap the preventer in a plastic bag, shield it with a dry box, or even put a trash can upside down over it. Call us for consultation or head to the websites of our suppliers (Febco, Wilkins and Watts) for covering and draining tips. These tips also work on backflow preventers for sprinkler systems. A Total Coverage can handle those issues.

3. Check your water chemistry: This is something that you should do regularly, but if you only do it a few times a year, the fall is one of those times. You’re just emerging from the high-usage summer/early fall months, which typically involves regularly placing chlorine tablets in the pool. If you use chlorine tablets regularly (or more than that), there’s a chance that your pool chemistry is a little off-kilter. Too much chlorine can result in too much cynaric acid, which not only will stain the surface of your pool, but could also corrode the elements of your heater (which we’ll go into more in point No. 4).

Along with the cynaric acid, it’s important to check your water’s calcium and alkalinity readings as well. Checking on these things are something you should do weekly via your IntelliChem system, but it’s very important during the fall months.

4. Make sure your heater and lights are tip-top shape: When it’s 95 degrees with 90 percent humidity, as it is during the summer months on non-rainy days, the last thing you think about is heating your pool. But come Thanksgiving and Christmas, when the water and air are cooler, a heater is suddenly very important for that post-meal/post-giftgiving dip. So it would stink if you turned on your heater Thanksgiving Day, only for it to be needing maintenance. As much as we’d like to help you right away in those circumstances, the logistics of the holidays make it extremely difficult to do so.

Therefore, this is the perfect time for a dry run of your heater to make sure everything is good to go. Hopefully all will be good, but if there’s corrosion or any other problems, finding that now will give you plenty of time to contact us and for us to come out and attend to the problem. A quick check/call now is a heck of a lot better than discovering the problem on Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve. The same logic applies with lights — discovering any lighting problems now will allow us to fix them in time for your holiday get-togethers.

5. Skim your pool for leaves: This plays into No. 1 a bit, but it’s important to make sure that the leaves that fall in your pool don’t stay and accumulate. Not only do they make the surface of the water grimy, but they put stress on the the filters and the water chemistry readings. Stagnant leaves can get stuck in robotic cleaners and filters and clog skimmers. The remnants of them can also throw your chemistry out of whack and make your pool prone to staining. Here’s a previous article we wrote on leaf removal.

Leaves can also wreak havoc on variable flow pumps. They can crack baskets and manifolds while causing all sorts of issues. The IntelliFlo VF pump has monitors that alert you before such things happen, but even if you have one, be sure to remove falling leaves from your pool regularly.

While you can do a lot of this maintenance on your own, feel free to give us a call for help at any time. We’ll come out and perform these services for you for a fee.


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, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, send us an email, give us a call at (936) 321-9632, or visit our offices at 5170 FM 1488, Magnolia, TX 77354 today!

IntelliFlo® VF pumps are a convenient money saver

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One of the most overlooked, yet important, aspects to a swimming pool is the water pump. Being able to pump new, fresh water into a pool keeps your pool crystal clear and healthy to swim in. But the process of pumping water can be a costly one, both in terms of electricity costs and in terms of needing to get the pump replaced down the road.

Pentair has come up with a solution with its IntelliFlo® VF pump, a variable flow pump which allows homeowners to control the speed and pressure of the water flow in their pool through their smartphone or computer, allowing them to set and change the settings of the water flow. This is in contrast to the standard variable speed pumps, which have to be set and run manually by the user. That means the user has to be able to figure out the speed and flow through the water pump by themselves.

But the ease of managing the IntelliFlo® is just one of the perks of this new technology, which Ultimate Pools will install for a fee on a new pool or retrofit to an old pool. The IntelliFlo® variable flow pump is a product that helps the homeowner in three other areas.

1. Saving on electricity costs: The efficient flow of the variable flow pump and the ease you can control that flow through your devices takes a considerable chunk out of your electricty bill. Instead of being subject to one or two flow speeds in a pump and having to run the pump several times in a day, you can simply turn on an IntelliFlo® pump once a day and adjust from a high number of speed and flow levels.

This savings this causes adds up quickly. Instead of spending $3.47 a day in electricity costs to run a pump in your pool, it costs roughly 50 cents a day to use the variable flow pump, a savings of nearly three dollars a day! That adds up to $1,084 of electricity savings a year, which almost covers the cost of installing the IntelliFlo®. By year two, that cost is paid off, and by year 5 (which is the standard life of a standard pump) you have enough to take a family vacation.

As far as longevity goes, that’s another reason why we’re high on variable flow pumps.

2. They’ll last for a decade, and then some: Like we said before, a typical water pump lasts around five years before it needs to be replaced. Pentair’s IntelliFlo® variable speed pumps have lasted over 15 years in tests, which means that your newly installed IntelliFlo® variable flow pump will likely be the only water pump you’ll ever need for your pool. That peace of mind, coupled with the money saved on electricity, is a nice thing to have in your back pocket.

3. The pump can regulate itself: With the smart technology of the IntelliFlo® variable pump, a pump can tell when it needs to speed up or, more importantly, ramp down its output. One of the main problems with standard water pumps and variable speed water pumps is that they can break in high pressure situations. They are reliant on you to be able to tell when there’s high pressure in the pump to turn it down and if you don’t identify that, you can subject your pump to breaking or getting excess wear that causes further damage down the road.

The IntelliFlo® variable pump can sense when there’s too much pressure based on set settings and take the necessarily steps to preserve itself. It can also tell when its filters need to be cleaned and notify of that. The IntelliFlo® takes logs of these occurrences and keeps records of the up times and down times of the pump for future use.


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!