Getting Your Pool Ready for Winter

There are many great things about living in the Phoenix area: wonderful weather, swimming seasons that last far longer than most other places, and, if you own a pool, not a lot of maintenance is necessary to get your pool ready for the “harsh” winter months that lie ahead! There are a few pool maintenance things, however, that will help extend the life of your equipment and keep your pool running crystal clear through the sunny days of winter, anxiously awaiting the day that you will dip your toes into its cool waters once again!

Pool Maintenance You Won’t Need to Do

First on the list is what you DON’T need to do when preparing your pool for the winter season. You won’t have to run the pump nearly as long as you do during the heat of summer, which in turn lowers the effect the pump has on your monthly utility bills! You also won’t need to use as much chemicals as you do in the summer—but be sure to keep an eye on the acidity of your pool; the pH demands tend to rise in colder weather and more acid will be needed.

What to Do When Temperatures Drop

If the pool’s total dissolved solids are in the high range, chances are it’s time to empty and refill; pools should be emptied every other year, and this is the perfect time to do so, as the surface of the pool won’t be damaged when exposed to the cooler weather. If your pool floor is stained, this time of year is when you can acid wash to help the pool return to its former glory. When summer rears its ugly head once more, your backyard oasis will be more than ready to do its job of keeping you cool and happy—even on the hottest days of the year!

Things to Watch for Over the Winter Months

Pools with heaters allow you to extend the swimming season, but when it’s time to turn on those heaters, you need to check a few things in the cabinet of your heater first. Rodents and rabbits love dark and cozy places to raise their young, and a pool heater cabinet can be just like a luxury condo! Colorful wires make soft beds and sharp rodent teeth will chew them easily, so be sure to doublecheck that nothing has moved into your heater! Also, check the top cover of the heater for leaves and other debris and clear off any that is found; a fire can and will start if this step is skipped, and the consequences can be catastrophic.

Give Us a Call Today

We at New Image Landscape and Pools can help keep your pool in tip top shape so it will be ready for you when bikini weather rolls around once again! Call us today for all the help you need with your pool and tips for winter pool maintenance.

Fall Maintenance Tips for Your Pool and Landscape

As the temperatures drop and the leaves turn to their brilliant fall colors, we in Arizona grab our warm sweaters and sigh a deep breath of relief that the end of summer has arrived—oh, who are we kidding? If you’ve lived in the desert for any length of time, you understand that fall temperatures aren’t truly cool until after Halloween. We still have quite a while to go before we pull out the sweaters and long pants, but there are still some important upkeep matters we can take care of once the temperatures drop below 100 degrees, and our tips will ensure your Arizona landscape and pool will be beautiful all year long!

The Bounty of Your Fall Arizona Landscape

Fall, or at least after the monsoon season has ended and the triple digits have dropped to double digits, is the perfect time to start work on the landscape that more than likely you have neglected due to the heat! Fall is when we fertilize to keep the ground healthy, but it is also the best time to start planting flowers and that vegetable garden you’ve dreamed of starting for years. Now is when you work on maintaining your trees: planting new ones, staking young ones, or pruning branches before the “cold” weather of winter begins. If you’re anxious for your yard to look colorful, this is the time when the fall annuals bloom; pick up a bowl or flat from your local home store and your yard will soon become a breathtaking display that will be the envy of all your neighbors!

Keeping That Pool Pretty

When we are actively swimming in the pool in the summer, we tend to be a tad more vigilant about keeping up with the chemicals and other routine maintenance, but once we aren’t out there as much, we kind of forget the pool exists. Out of sight, out of mind can lead to unwanted consequences; it’s easier and less expensive to maintain a balanced pool than it is to play catch up with the chemicals!

For those with heated pools, there will be no change in chemical additives, but for non-heated pools, you CAN step back on the chemicals you add. Draining your pool at the end of fall, once the ambient temperature has dropped below 80 degrees, is something that should be done every other year or every couple of years to keep your pool equipment working in prime condition and lessen the hard water stains on your pool walls.

We Can Help

Give us a call today and let New Image Landscape and Pools help get your Arizona landscape ready for the next season!

How to Keep Your Pool Chemicals Balanced

Whether you have just purchased a home with a pre-existing pool or you have just completed the building process of your brand new one, the number one fear most pool owners have is how to keep the pool looking clear, blue, and clean without having to do a lot of work! We understand completely. A pool with unbalanced chemicals is more than just an unsightly mess; it can bring along a host of problems that include odors, insects, and sickness. But if you follow these special tips our wonderful staff at New Image Landscape and Pools have provided for your convenience, you’ll soon discover pool ownership is even better than you dreamed it could be with the proper pool maintenance!

Start with a Clean Base

Maintaining a chemically balanced pool can be difficult if the water is old. There are different schools of thought as to how often a pool should be drained, but we think it should be drained at a minimum once every other year. Starting with a clean base allows the chemicals to do their job, which makes your job easier!

Frequent Testing

Department stores, grocery stores, and pool stores all sell testing kits that make it easy to determine if your chemicals are balanced. Simply dip the tester in the water and add the drops that come with the kit and compare the color of the water against the chart provided. Also have your water tested for total dissolved solids; without testing and treatment, the water soon becomes unmanageable! Checking your levels frequently allows you to keep ahead of any problems instead of trying to play catch-up with a green pool.

Keep the Pump Well Maintained and Running Enough Hours

Keeping the pump well maintained and running is as important as using the correct chemicals. Remember: The number of hours you run your pump will change with the seasons! In the summer when the temperatures are high and your family is spending a lot more time enjoying the benefits of its cooling waters, the pump should be run more frequently—approximately one hour per 10 degrees of ambient temperature during the heat of the day to keep algae from flourishing. In the winter months, running just a few hours a day is all that will be needed to keep your pool balanced and clean.

Contact a Professional 

When all else fails, contact a professional! We at New Image Landscape and Pools want our customers to be happy with their new pools, and if we built yours, we will be happy to guide you through the process! Give us a call today and let’s figure out together what we can do to help with your pool maintenance to keep your pool balanced and your family happy.

Winterizing Your Pool in Arizona

For many pool owners in America, the approach of fall means it is time to shut the pool down for the winter. Here in Arizona, winter has a different meaning, but if you aren’t going to use your pool very often during the winter, you may want to shut it down, as keeping it open year-round requires extra maintenance. Maintaining proper pH levels can be more difficult during the winter, as the colder temperatures can cause these levels to increase much more quickly. Here is out guide on winterizing your pool.

Balancing Your Pool’s pH Levels

Balancing the pH levels in your pool is extremely important. If you don’t, your pool could develop stains and algae could begin to grow, which can cause many different problems. You should check your pool’s pH levels about once a week. If you would like help with checking your pool’s pH levels, we offer weekly pool maintenance services. Once you’ve properly balanced your pool’s pH levels, you can cut down on the amount of chlorine you put into your pool. Ultraviolet rays from the sun help evaporate the chlorine in your pool. During the winter the sun’s rays aren’t as strong, so you don’t need to add chlorine as often.

Covering Pool

There are several advantages to covering your pool during the winter. Pool covers prevent chlorine from evaporating out of the water as quickly since the sun’s UV rays will not be directly hitting the water. Pool covers are also useful in keeping your pool free of debris. Before you put the cover over your pool, you want to make sure all debris is out of the water. You should do this by using a pool skimmer, vacuum, and brushes.

How to Winterize Your Pool

The first thing you will want to do when winterizing your pool is to check your pool’s chemical levels. This includes the pH level, calcium hardness, and chlorine levels. Once you have adjusted the chemical levels in the water, you will want to make sure the pool is completely clean. You’ll want to brush, vacuum, and skim the sides and bottom of the pool as well as scrub any oils off the pool tiles. Make sure to also clean out the skimmer basket, filter, and pump basket.

Our Pool Maintenance Services

If you would like help with preparing your pool for the winter, or with weekly maintenance and chemical level balances, we offer pool maintenance services. We have been working on pools in the area for more than three decades and can help you with all of your pool upkeep and maintenance needs. For more information, please contact us today!

5 Pool Maintenance Tips

As summer draws near, its time to stop looking at the water-filled hole in the ground as a constant reminder of all the things you need to do and start looking at it as the summer oasis you’ve always intended. We tend to get a little lazy about pool maintenance during the winter months because we don’t put the time IN the pool. As long as it isn’t green and too debris-filled, many feel they’ve done what needs to be done and can slack off until warmer days. Well, warmer days are here; isn’t it time you got serious again about your pool maintenance? Here’s a list of the top five pool maintenance tips that will help your pool get back to sparkling in no time!

Net, Pole, and a Brush

It’s time to start with the basics. Every pool owner should have these three tools in their pool tool arsenal, and while there’s nothing overly exciting about skimming and sweeping down the sides of your pool every day, there’s a lot of zen to be found in the simple motions required.

Proper Chemicals

The proper balance of chemicals is crucial to the continued good health of your pool equipment. Test kits can be bought at any pool or home improvement stores, or you can hire a pool service like New Image Landscape and Pools to do the hard work while you sit back and reap the benefits!

Equipment Maintenance

Keeping your pool equipment in good shape is equally important. No matter how diligent you are about skimming, brushing, and keeping the chemicals balanced, if you don’t keep your equipment in good repair, all your efforts won’t help a bit. Adding a backwash hose to your pool tools will help extend the life of your pool; when the pressure goes up, backwashing the pool water helps bring it back down.

Keep Dogs Out of Pools

A dog can be as dirty as one hundred people jumping in your pool at once; can you imagine what that might do to your filtration system?

Maintaining Greenery Around Pools

Another important tip to maintaining a clean and clear pool is in maintaining the landscaping that surrounds it. Do not plant deciduous trees, or ANY trees, for that matter, any closer than eight feet away from the pool; the leaves they shed can clog your pool equipment, and the root systems from the trees can break pipes and lift decking, causing thousands of dollars in repairs.

Pool Ownership Can Be Rewarding

But pool maintenance can also be a lot of very hard work. Give us a call today and schedule an appointment to see what we can do to put the fun back in your pool parties and take the burdens away!

Top Benefits of a Salt Water Pool System

Many people enjoy having a pool in their backyard, but if you have ever owned one, you know how much work goes into it. Most residential pools are maintained through a mixture of harsh chemicals like chlorine, but if you want the beauty of a pool without adding harsh chemicals, you should try a salt water pool. Here are just some of the benefits that come with salt water pool systems.

Gentle on Eyes and Skin

One of the main benefits of a salt water system is a drastically lower amount of chemicals required to maintain it. Chlorine levels are generally lower with a salt generator. People who are sensitive to chlorine often report fewer irritations when using a salt water system. Say goodbye to green hair, dried out skin, and eye irritation.

Safer Than Chlorine

In tablet or liquid form, chlorine can be dangerous to store and transport. Studies have shown that chlorinated water may also pose a long-term health risk, which may not apply to salt water systems to the same extent. Based on the lower amount of harsh chemicals, there is a lower risk of long term health problems from a salt water pool as opposed to a chlorinated one.

The Water Feels Softer

If you have a water softener in your home, you know that the addition of salt makes water feel smooth and silky to the touch, much like rain water. Most people prefer this to the sometimes-abrasive feel of chlorinated water. The salt added to the water literally makes the water softer, providing you with a less harsh and more relaxing feel. This softer water leaves you feeling more hydrated and has you worrying less about the hard-chemical abrasion.

Less Maintenance

The best benefit of all! Pool maintenance is more “hands-off” with a salt water system, as the salt cell simply produces chlorine as needed. That said, you still have to monitor chlorine levels periodically to make sure everything is working okay, but most of the heavy lifting is done through the pool system. The system uses a process called electrolysis to create minimal amounts of chlorine that allow your system to stay fresh and clean, but won’t provide nearly as much chemical impact on your experience. You check the levels and pretty much forget about all the maintenance, cleaning, and monitoring required by standard chlorine systems.

The Importance of Shock in a Pool

You may have heard the term “shock” pool bandied about among pool owners. This is actually a very important aspect of pool maintenance. Shocking a swimming pool—also called super chlorination—is actually a very important step in pool management, so it’s important that you understand the when, why, and how of shocking a pool. Most pool owners don’t even think about shocking their pools until they step out and see either algae, cloudy water, or both. However, by shocking the pool, these issues can be avoided.

Why Do You Need to Shock Your Pool?

When people swim in the pool, organics and contaminants are introduced into the water through things like saliva, sweat, skin cells, body lotions, urine, and many other such things. Natural contaminants such as leaves and dirt can also contaminate the water. These substances are a food source for algae and bacteria. Using pool sanitizers (such as chlorine) can kill the bacteria/algae and breakdown contaminants.

Types of Pool Shock

Essentially, there are two different types of pool shock: chlorine and non-chlorine. When using chlorine, the levels of chlorine in the pool raised very high to destroy contaminants. When using this type of pool shock, you have to wait for the chlorine levels to lower to normal levels before you can use the pool. This can take time, and testing is required.

With non-chlorine treatments, potassium monopersulfate is used rather than chlorine. While it is effective at oxidizing contaminants, it will not kill bacteria. The main benefit of this type of pool shock is that you don’t have as long of a wait to use the pool afterwards.

Maintaining your pool’s proper chemical balance can reduce the need to shock your pool. And of course, this is done through regular maintenance and monitoring of chemical levels. However, you may find that even the best monitoring and care can cause issues with your pool. This can happen through heavy use, after a rain or windstorm, or even after a water change.

The professionals at New Image Landscape and Pools understand all the intricacies of caring for your pool and the times when it may be necessary to shock your pool. If you feel your pool needs a shock, or you just want more information about the proper maintenance and care, just give us a call.

Top Ways to Keep Your Pool Water Blue

We are finally coming out the other side of yet another hot summer in Phoenix. You and your pool are probably excited about the reduced strain that cooler temperatures bring. While the necessary consistency of pool maintenance is substantially lower during the winter, it is important to not forget about your pool altogether. There are certain pool upkeep practices that are always good to follow, but there are a few specific ones that become very important during the winter months. The following are some of the surest ways to ensure you have a beautiful and healthy pool all winter long.

Stay on Top of the pH Levels

Proper pH balance is one of the most fundamental aspects of a healthy pool. Maintaining these levels is the best way to keep the pool aesthetically pleasing throughout the winter and ease the transition as the temperatures rise next year. A healthy range is from 7.2 to 7.6. Checking the chemicals once a week, while intermittently adding chlorine as needed, is a good practice.

Do Not Over-Chlorinate

It is easy to find yourself in auto-pilot, adding three chlorine tablets every week, as is often necessary in the summer. But over-chlorinating your pool can be just as big of a problem as under-chlorinating.  During the winter in Phoenix, one tablet of chlorine per week will go as far as three per week during the summer. Testing your chemicals is the surest way to make sure you are adding the right amount of chlorine.

Maintain a Simple Cleaning Routine

While you can reduce the frequency of your pool cleaning routine, you still need to do it regularly. The most important aspect of any cleaning process is skimming the pool and removing any debris. Vacuuming the bottom of the pool for debris and scrubbing the sides of the pool are important as well, but not required as often.

Mid-Winter Shock

Shocking your pool is the quickest and surest method of sanitizing your pool. It is very important to not do this procedure very often, but doing it once in the heart of winter goes a long way in getting your pool through the end of winter so it is ready for swimming season.

Consider Covering Your Pool

Closing your pool for the winter is a process that requires a bit of work now, but will save you work throughout the entire winter. The basic steps for closing your pool are ensuring your chemicals are in balance and the pool is completely clean, then adding additional chemicals like an algaecide, granular chlorine, and metal control. Run your pool pump for a day or two and then cover your pool. There are many different types of pool filtration systems, so consult your owner’s manual to learn how to winterize your specific system.

While winter offers a bit of a break from the often-strenuous task of caring for your pool during the summer, there is still a bit of work to be done. If you stay on top of it, it will be a breeze to keep that pool water clear and beautiful throughout the winter!

How to Make Your Pool High-Tech!

Technology can be a wonderful thing. It can make our chores easier and allow us to spend more time enjoying our technology-driven playthings and less time maintaining them. Take your average backyard pool, for example. In the old days, we were lucky to have a kidney shaped pool with a single light and a single-phase pump circulating the pool, with no more than a 1.0 or 1.5 horsepower motor. Today’s technology, however, offers bells and whistles you never dreamed of, with most actions being controlled by a single app on your phone, computer, or tablet. Lower energy bills, colorful lights, and pools that clean themselves can be yours when you turn your pool into a smart pool with technology and automation.

Integrated into Your Smart Home System

A smart home plus a smart pool equals one very happy homeowner, and most automation systems will integrate with your smart home systems. The automation total control system will replace your traditional subpanel breaker box, with all the leading manufacturers making smart systems to automate their own equipment. Start with a variable speed pump, the latest and greatest ways to circulate, filter, and clean your pool while using less energy, thereby costing less money. These money savers are required by law in most states, including Arizona, California, and Nevada, and can be controlled by the smart app on your phone.

Robotic Pool Cleaners

The standard pool cleaners are water powered gadgets that randomly run around the pool only when the pump is circulating, but a robotic cleaner runs independent from the pool equipment, plugs into an outlet, maps out your pool, and never covers the same spot twice. They also do a better job at climbing and scrubbing the walls; the only downside is they won’t connect to your smart pool app. Some cleaners do have their own separate app, however, and can cost you anywhere from $800 to $1800 depending on the sophistication of the unit.

LED Lighting & Water Features

Advances in pool technology have also improved the lighting and water feature areas of your pool. LED lighting connects to your pool app and offers a variety of colors and modes that can be set to go on and off with timers controlled by your app. Smaller accent lights can be used in shallower and darker areas of your pool, thus illuminating them better for nighttime swimming. Finally, LED sheer descents provide a glasslike waterfall effect, and LED-lighted jets offer a pool lighting show that will amaze and awe your family and friends!

Let New Image Landscape and Pools Help You Make Your Pool Life Easier

Give us a call and let’s start a conversation about how smart technology can change your life!

Dealing with Algae: How to get Rid of Algae

As important as algae is to our ecosystems, you really don’t want it in your pool! These microorganisms make a pool look nasty—in small amounts they make a swimmer feel uncomfortable and slimy, while in large amounts they can lead to more harmful bacteria growing in pools. If your pool has algae, you need to deal with it!

What Kind of Algae Is it?

If you imagine algae as a green cloud in the water, you’re not wrong—but it comes in other forms too. This algae—called simply “green algae”—is the easiest to get rid of, which makes it nice that it’s the most common!

Yellow and black algae also exist, though they are less common. Yellow algae looks like mustard stains in a pool and grows in spots of the pool that don’t get much sun. Black algae is the most problematic of all pool algae—it takes the form of dark spots throughout a pool, and sets in roots that reach into the plaster or grout.

What Do You Need?

One of the most common ways of addressing green algae is with shock. If your pool water is light green, you’ll need to add double the shock to your pool—this amounts to 2 pounds of shock per 10,000 gallons, with more shock the darker green the pool. Remember to shock at night! Also, if you have an automatic chlorinator, do not pour shock through the skimmer—an ingredient in shock and a certain ingredient in most chlorine can great an explosive gas!

Another method for green algae is called “Flocing:” it requires an underwater vacuum and a chemical called “Flocculant.” Add the floc to your pool and circulate the water, following directions according to your chosen floc. The floc dissolves the algae, which settles on the bottom—then you vacuum it up. It’s hard work, but the results are quicker than shocking.

Yellow algae is dealt with similarly, but involves vacuuming whatever you can out of the pool first, then brushing the sides, and finally shocking at a higher dosage. Black algae is the same, except that the brush needs to be stronger and you skip the vacuuming. Black algae also may require especially strong chemicals. Always remember to clean out your filter and disinfect swimsuits if you discover algae!

Algae Solutions from New Image Landscape and Pools

If your algae is becoming a recurring problem, talk to us at New Image to find a longer-term solution! We can upgrade your pool equipment and even add automated features so that you don’t need to spend so much time cleaning. With our help, you’ll have a sparkling pool all year around with barely having to lift a finger!

Or if perhaps pool care has just become too much of a hassle, ask us about what you can do with the space instead. From pagodas to grilling stations, we’ve got all sorts of tricks up our sleeves to transform that pool space into something beautiful and low-maintenance!

Pool upgrades, pool replacement, we do it all! Call us at 480-654-4422 and we can start weighing your options!