Saltwater vs. Freshwater Pools: Comparison & Contrast

Saltwater vs. Freshwater Pools: Comparison & Contrast

Freshwater chlorine pools have been the gold standard of swimming pools for multiple decades. However, the trend of saltwater pools is beginning to challenge the notion that chlorine is automatically the superior choice. Is a saltwater swimming pool ever equal to or even better than a traditional chlorine pool?

In the debate of saltwater vs. freshwater pools, neither option is strictly “better” than the other. The answer depends on the price you’re willing to pay, your commitment to ongoing maintenance, and the effect both pools will have on you when you go swimming. Before you make your choice, educate yourself on both types of pools and their pros and cons.

Have you ever considered a saltwater swimming pool? Compare it against a standard chlorine pool for a more detailed picture. #outdoorliving Click To Tweet

Saltwater vs. Freshwater Pools, Creekstone Outdoor Living, Spring, TX

Chlorine Content

Contrary to popular belief, saltwater pools are not chlorine-free. Instead, the drastically lower levels of chlorine are produced through electrolysis, where the water passes through mild electrical currents to produce just enough chlorine to disinfect the pool. This is in contrast to a typical pool where the chlorine must be manually added and maintained at a higher level. For the most part, the level of chlorine in a saltwater pool is low enough that swimmers won’t notice any dry skin or bleaching on their clothes.

Pro Tip: Are you considering a saltwater pool to get around a chlorine allergy? Saltwater pools still contain some chlorine! Make sure the levels are safe for yourself and your family.

Costs

It’s difficult to estimate the exact costs of both kinds of pool and contrast the two. However, there’s no question that a saltwater pool is a more expensive investment initially. The chlorine generator and its power usage can also add up quickly. Additionally, any custom features or pool additions will need to be salt-proofed in order to be used without damage. Because of the complex system, any repairs or extensive maintenance will need to be performed by an expert rather than the homeowner.

Maintenance & Damages

Speaking of maintenance, saltwater pools require slightly less ongoing work than conventional chlorine pools. Because of the electrolysis process, a saltwater pool does a pretty good job balancing its own pH and chemicals without intervention. Chlorine pools require periodic chemical checks and rebalancing.

However, if something in your pool breaks or needs extensive work, the job is far more straightforward and affordable in a chlorine pool. Saltwater pools’ specialized fixtures cost far more than their conventional counterparts and should only be handled by experts. A leaky pool or broken pipe will cost far less time and money for the owner of a chlorine pool.

A Different Swimming Experience

It’s impossible to say that a chlorine pool is better than a saltwater pool, and vice versa. However, different homeowners may have different preferences or requirements that make one the clearly superior choice. Don’t make this decision lightly. Consider the initial and ongoing commitments both types of pools will require before you decide.

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Detecting Leaks in Your Houston Pool

Detecting Leaks in Your Houston Pool

Does your pool have a leak? If you’ve noticed your water level is lowering and you know you’re not losing water to evaporation, it’s quite possible there’s a leak somewhere in your pool. For rather obvious reasons, this is not a good arrangement for your pool or your backyard. You’ll want to find and fix the leak as quickly as possible.

There are three primary methods of pool leak detection: the ink test, the bucket test, and checking the piping. These tests are designed to help you determine if a leak is present and to give you an idea of where it might be located. Try performing all three of these tests before calling an expert to fix the leak.

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The Bucket Test

This should be your first step in leak testing. Set a bucket in the pool on the first stair and fill it with water until it matches your pool water level. Leave it there for a few hours to a day and watch the water levels change. If both go down at about the same speed, don’t worry about a leak–you most likely just have a lot of evaporation happening. However, if the pool water is lower than the bucket when you check, there’s a leak somewhere and it’s time to move on to the next method to find it.

Check the Pipes

The most likely place for a leak to occur is in your pool’s pipe system. Check your pipes for leaks or weak points, and inspect the ground near your pool for any signs of excessive moisture. If you find the leak in your pipes, patch it up temporarily and call a professional to fix the leak. However, if your pipes are just fine, the leak is somewhere in your pool shell and it’s time to employ the final leak detection test.

Pro Tip: Don’t try to repair your pool pumps on your own. Without a good knowledge of the machinery, you may just make a leak worse or create a new one.

The Ink Test

Use the ink test if you know your pool shell is leaking but you aren’t sure where. Find the wettest point in the ground outside your pool–this is where the water is escaping. Once you’ve found it, get into the pool with a little bottle of dye or dark food coloring. Moving slowly to avoid stirring up the water, squirt a few drops of dye into the water near where you suspect the leak might be. Watch where the dye drains and make a note of it. You’ve found the leak! Now it’s time to get a professional patch job done.

Keep Your Houston Pool Usable

A swimming pool leak can cost you a surprising amount of money in wasted water, not to mention the damage the excess water can do to your backyard. Detecting and patching pool leaks quickly is essential to maintaining an enjoyable backyard for the foreseeable future. With these pool leak detection techniques, you’ll never have to go long without a properly maintained swimming pool!

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5 Swimming Pool Games for Kids

5 Swimming Pool Games for Kids

What’s more fun than a swim on a hot summer day? Pool games, of course! They’re a sure-fire way to encourage your family to get outside and get in some exercise during a summer afternoon. Let’s look at a few fun swimming pool games for kids and adults alike!

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Games for the Pool

Swimming pool games can vary from uniquely pool-centered activities to slightly altered versions of old favorites. Regardless of your preference, you’re sure to find something to love in several of these popular pool games and activities:

  1. Bucket race
  2. Underwater hoop swimming
  3. Balloon boat race
  4. Cardboard boat race
  5. Treasure hunt

1) Bucket Race

There are two variants of this game that you can try depending on your kids’ skill level: underwater and floating buckets. Either way, the core principle of collecting as many balls or toys as possible and filling the bucket in a set time applies. However, expert swimmers may appreciate the extra challenge of having to retrieve toys that sink to the bottom of the pool. Beginners, meanwhile, will prefer to grab a floating toy. Either way, this game is sure to get everyone excited and active!

Pro Tip: For a math challenge, write numbers on the balls you use for the bucket race. Whoever has the highest number at the end wins!

2) Underwater Hoop Swimming

Tie some weights to plastic hula hoops and place them strategically around your swimming pool to form a submerged obstacle course. You can challenge your kids to a race through these hoops or just see what different mazes they can construct for each other. For an added challenge, vary the lengths of the string to create some hoops all the way at the bottom and some nearer the surface.

3) Balloon Boat Race

With little balloon-powered boats like this one, set up a race in your pool. Whose boat will reach the finish line first? This has the added bonus of giving your kids the chance to customize their boats before the race starts.

4) Cardboard Boat Race

Speaking of boat races, why not build one out of cardboard and go sailing in the pool? These boats may not last long even with duct tape waterproofing, but building them is a fun experience and gives your kids the chance to go boating without leaving home. See whose boat stays afloat the longest!

5) Treasure Hunt

Toss some change into the pool, set a time limit, and see who’s the richest by the end! This treasure hunt is sure to get your kids moving fast. For an added bonus, encourage your younger kids to practice their math skills by counting the nickels, dimes, pennies, and quarters they’ve collected.

Everybody in the Pool!

Whether your goal is to liven up a party, teach your kids in a fun way, or just enjoy the end of summer, these swimming pool games are sure to provide plenty of entertainment for kids and adults alike. Combined with a custom backyard and a brand new swimming pool, these games are the perfect way to keep everyone happy.

What’s your favorite swimming pool game? Join the conversation to share yours and see what other people like to do in the pool!

Pool Safety: Staying Safe with Kids

Pool Safety: Staying Safe with Kids

As many homeowners have discovered, adding a custom, private swimming pool to the backyard provides countless hours of fun and entertainment for people of all ages. However, never forget that an open body of water can pose a hazard if not handled correctly. This is especially critical to consider if you have kids.

While pool safety is important for everyone to understand and practice, kids can be especially vulnerable to potential dangers in an improperly maintained or protected swimming pool. The best way to keep your kids safe is a combination of safety training and special safety features to keep your pool safe. Let’s look at a few proven ways to protect your little ones.

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Install Safety Features

Certain pool safety features, such as 4-foot high pool fencing in your backyard, are legally required. In addition to this basic precaution, consider adding a few extra safety features for an extra layer of protection. Ask your pool builder about adding a few things to your building plan:

  • Closing and self-latching gate for the fence
  • Pool cover
  • Pool alarm
  • Drain covers

Pro Tip: A swimming pool’s drain suction is too powerful for a small child to swim away from, whether it’s in your home pool or a public pool. If you visit a public pool and notice the drains are uncovered, it’s not worth the risk.

Prepare Your Kids

Do your kids know how to swim? If not, make sure they do! Swimming is more than just a fun summer activity–in an emergency scenario, knowing how to stay above water could easily save your child’s life. Sign your child up for swim lessons and encourage them to keep in practice.

Supervise Your Kids in the Pool

Even the most well-trained swimmer child is still a child. Their size and age make them vulnerable to unsafe pool conditions if they can’t properly swim or the pool isn’t properly maintained. Always keep an eye on your kids while they’re swimming, whether you’re at home or in public. It’s better to be a little too careful than to be careless.

Promote Pool Safety for Your Kids

A swimming pool adds monetary and entertainment value to your home and provides countless hours of fun. But make sure to keep safety in mind. With the proper safety features and precautions, your whole family can enjoy your pool safely for years to come.

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How to Keep Your Swimming Pool Clean

How to Keep Your Swimming Pool Clean

A swimming pool provides the final touch of elegance and fun that your backyard needs. Of course, your pool can’t clean itself. Every so often, you’ll need to dedicate a certain amount of time to swimming pool cleaning to keep the water fresh and enjoyable to swim in.

Basic pool maintenance is an important part of installing and enjoying a swimming pool. While replacing parts or fixing major damage requires expert intervention, most pool cleaning tasks are simple enough for you to do on your own. If you take the time to maintain your pool water’s pH, clean the filters, keep leaves out of the pool, and maintain the overall setting, your pool is sure to stay clean and ready to use for quite some time.

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Clear Fallen Debris

Leaves, dead bugs, twigs, and other debris will inevitably find their way into your pool from time to time, especially if you have a garden nearby. Make sure to regularly skim the top of the water with a pool net to remove these floating debris and keep them from clogging your pool filter. If your plants tend to shed a lot, you may have to do this almost daily. This quick cleaning solution just takes a few minutes, however, and involves a lot less time and money than replacing a damaged filtration system.

Clean the Pool Shell

Balancing your pool water’s pH and keeping debris out of the pool will go a long way toward keeping it clean. However, grime or minor algae growth will occasionally show itself. When you notice this happening, use an automatic cleaner in your pool to remove the grime and keep the shell clean. Ideally, you’ll only have to do this monthly.

Clean or Replace the Filters

Even if you do your best to keep leaves and bugs out of the water, your pool filters still pick up a lot of debris and grime. At least once a month, perhaps more often if your pool gets dirty quickly, make sure to remove and thoroughly clean your pool filters. Your owner’s manual has all the instructions you need to safely access the filters.

Maintain the Water Itself

An alkaline swimming pool allows for easier algae growth, while a slightly acidic pool may be uncomfortable to swim in. Fortunately, it’s easy to find pool pH kits that provide you with the exact pH of the water. Once you know if your water is too acidic or alkaline, consult a professional to see which chemicals to buy and restore balance.

Pro Tip: Makeup, sunscreen, and skin oils may leave a sheen on the top of your pool. Leave a clean tennis ball floating in the pool overnight to absorb the worst of the oil.

Stay on Top of Swimming Pool Maintenance

To keep your swimming pool usable and clean for as long as possible, make sure to perform regular maintenance checkups and clean the entire pool thoroughly. The work may be time-consuming, but once you’re finished, your pool will be much more pleasant and safe to use. It’s always worth the extra investment of time and effort into swimming pool cleaning to keep your pool looking good.

Connect with us to learn more about maintaining your brand new pool.

6 Eye-Catching Pool Design Ideas

6 Eye-Catching Pool Design Ideas

Your swimming pool should match your home and your style. Of course, there’s no right or wrong way to design your pool, but some styles and shapes look more appealing than others. As you design your backyard, the best approach to planning your swimming pool is to decide which already-present features of your backyard or home you want to emphasize. A pool designed to complement what’s already there will look fantastic!

These 6 pool design ideas are sure to grab your attention! #outdoorliving Click To Tweet

Popular Swimming Pool Decorations

Creating the perfect swimming pool could involve detailed planning and extensive renovations, or it could be as simple as adding a few underwater LED lights. Whatever your preference, these popular ideas are sure to make your pool stand out in the neighborhood.

  1. Modern
  2. Serpentine
  3. Natural
  4. Lush and tropical
  5. Underwater lights
  6. Party-friendly

1) Modern

A modern-style swimming pool requires on defined shapes and a clean, unified color scheme. Some homeowners opt for neutral colors like grey or white for their modern pool. If you’re in love with the modern aesthetic, less is more! Stick to a particular shape and clean color for your modern pool area.

2) Serpentine

Easily moldable and customizable gunite pools are perfect for a serpentine design. Designed to mimic a snake’s curved body on the ground, these pool shapes invoke a sense of spontaneity in your backyard design. This style is perfect for anyone looking for a more eccentric style of swimming pool.

3) Natural

A round or gently curved swimming pool bordered by a flower garden conjures up images of a pond surrounded by nature in the woods. This pool design is sure to invite your family and guests to relax in a serene environment and enjoy the sunlight. Just make sure to be vigilant about cleaning–plants growing too close to the pool can shed leaves and pollen into the water.

4) Lush and Tropical

A swimming pool flanked by palm trees and tiki torches lets you enjoy your own personal tropical paradise without leaving home! Bring your dream vacation to your backyard with a tropical-themed swimming pool. Complete the atmosphere with a fire pit for evening cookouts.

5) Underwater Lights

Hot tubs or spas often come with underwater lights installed, but have you considered doing the same on your swimming pool? After the sun sets, a few strategically mounted LED lights give the water a magical glow. Give it a shot!

Pro Tip: Soft underwater lights are an important part of chromatherapy, the use of visible light to promote calm and overall wellness. This works equally well in your swimming pool as in your spa.

6) Party-Friendly

If you frequently entertain guests in your backyard, chances are you’ll need a pool and outdoor environment suited to handling a lot of people at one time. If this is the case, consider a few special features your guests are sure to love, such as a swim-up bar to serve drinks right at the pool’s edge. Add an outdoor kitchen and your party space is complete!

Creating Your Perfect Pool

As you work on a swimming pool design, consider how the completed pool will likely be used. Are you planning to entertain a lot of people, or is this mostly a passion project for yourself and your family? Your answer may influence just how large and elaborate your final swimming pool is. Start with these pool design ideas and work from there.

Join the conversation to see pictures of completed swimming pools and find your favorite style!

SPEAK WITH A DESIGNER

Meet with your design experts to find the perfect style and fit for your ourtdoor space.

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