Cleaning your pool filters: Why it’s important to do

Ultimate Pools offers many cutting-edge products, such as IntelliChem and Dolphin cleaners, that help keep your pool clean and swimmable at all times. That being said, it’s important for pool owners to clean their filters on a regular basis, as clean pool filters provide a base that keeps your pool water fresh and ready to go at all times. If your pool filter is dirty or compromised, water flow is compromised and your IntelliChem/Dolphin Cleaners aren’t as effective in doing their jobs.

How do you know when it’s time to get your pool filters cleaned? Here are some common indicators:

pool with waterfall steps

  • When the spillway of your spa is producing a weak stream of water: When a pool filter is clean, the pumps in your spa will send out a steady stream of water in pool mode which eventually gets circulated throughout your spa and pool. When a filter is dirty, that water stream is reduced greatly, even to the point of dribbling out. That lessens the circulation of water throughout your pool.
  • Your suction cleaner isn’t moving as fast: Your suction cleaners (such as the Pentair Racer) use the energy that comes from water being pumped into your pool to run. If you notice that your cleaner is going slower or even sputtering along, then there’s a good chance that your filter is dirty and depriving your cleaner of the necessary water energy. As a side note, robotic cleaners such as the Dolphin cleaner do not rely on suction and still work effectively when your pool is in this state.
  • If your pool isn’t chlorinating properly: Whether you use a smart system such as IntelliChem to refresh your chlorine levels or prefer to use chlorine disks, a dirty pool filter will hamper the efficiency of getting the appropriate level of chlorine in the water. If you notice that your readings are off, or that the chlorine disks aren’t as effective, the filter might need to be cleaned.

Cleaning filters and water pumps

There are other ways to figure out when it’s time to clean your pool filters. One of them is checking to see if there’s any change of pressure in your conventional water pump. This will only work if a) you have a conventional pump instead of a variable pump like the IntelliFlo® VF pump and b) if you took a reading of your water pressure upon installation of the pump.

Part b is very important because it gives you a base pressure to base future observations off of. If there is an increase of over 10 PSI from installation, then your pool filter is dirty and likely clogged, but there is no way to know this if you don’t take an initial reading. However, once the filter is cleaned you can reset the pressure gauge as a reference for future readings. If you have the IntelliFlo VF pump, reset your sensor for the same effect.

How often should you get your filters cleaned?

Getting your filters clean increases the life of your pool and also decreases the frequency and cost of replacing your filters. While your pool filter will never be fully back to 100 percent pristine after you get it cleaned — body oils and suntan lotion, among other things, prevent a 100 percent cleaning — treating pool filter cleaning as a regular process such as changing oil in your car will save you money and aggravation in the long run.

So how often should you get your filters cleaned? At Ultimate Pools, we recommend getting it done twice a year. There are two ideal times to do this — in the spring after the pollen has fallen (which usually proceeds the hot weather ideal for swimming) and once your pool season ends (typically late fall). You can get the most bang for your buck by having them cleaned at these times.

As far as cleanings, it is possible for you to do them yourself, but to do that, you have to get the exact model of your filter and research how to specifically clean that model. That can be inconvenient and difficult, so let us do it for you. We offer cleaning of your pool filters on a by-appointment basis. Give us a call or email us to set this up!


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!

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.


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!

IntelliFlo® VF pumps are a convenient money saver

pool rocks river

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!