4528 Bissonet Street
77401 Bellaire, TX

Our Monthly FYI

FYIMonth of April 2013

 

For 2013, we would like to bring renewed attention to becoming more “green” by introducing you to products available that reduce the environmental impact, reduce electricity use, conserve water, reduce health risks, and save money.  This is the third in a series of articles that will highlight products that are available

 

After investing the money that you have in a pool, it makes sense that you want to get as much use as possible out of it. Consider a heat pump, a pool chiller, or a heat pump/chiller combination. 

 

Summers in Houston can render pool water that is simply too warm to be enjoyable.  Pool chillers have become increasingly popular to drop the pool temperature a few degrees to make the pool water refreshing.  The pool water is circulated through the chiller while a fan cools the droplets and removes the heat from the water instantly.  The water is then pumped back into the pool lines and circulated back into the pool.

 

Our mild winters make it ideal to continue using the pool; however the water temperature can get pretty chilly.  Heat pumps simply absorb free heat from the air (or utilize heat from the compressor) and transfer it to the water, making the heating process efficient, ecological, and cost effective. 

 

Heat pump/chiller combinations keep the water at a set point temperature for year-round swimming comfort.  The heat/chill combo unit eliminates the need for 2 pieces of equipment…similar to a house central air/heat unit.  Although heat pump heaters are not as powerful as gas heaters and need to run for longer periods, they are still much cheaper to operate.

 

A pool heater or pool chiller can greatly increase your enjoyment of your pool by making it useable all day and extending the “swimming season”.   There can also be significant health benefits as swimming is very good exercise particularly for people who suffer from arthritis and muscular diseases.

 

For more information, email or call us. 

 

Happy Easter and Happy April !

 

FYIMonth of March 2013

 

For 2013, we would like to bring renewed attention to becoming more “green” by introducing you to products available that reduce the environmental impact, reduce electricity use, conserve water, reduce health risks, and save money.   This is the second in a series of articles that will highlight products that are available

 

Your pool’s filter has the dirty job of removing all the biofilm, dirt, algae, and debris that enters the pool.  Since water is required to clean out the filter, let’s take a look at the different filters, their consumption rate of water, overall filtering ability, and products available to improve filtration. 

 

Cartridge filters have become a very popular choice in new pool construction.  They require no backwashing, and thus no backwash plumbing line.  Cartridge filters will use the least amount of water to maintain, however they require disassembly in order to clean. Cartridges should be replaced every 2 – 4 years.  Replacement cartridges can be purchased with Microban antimicrobial protection.  Infused into the fabric during the manufacturing process, Microban protection fights the growth of stain and odor-causing bacteria that can affect the filter’s performance and the amount of chemicals needed to keep the pool sanitary. .    

 

Diatomaceous (or D.E.) filters provide the finest filtration in terms of particle size that can be captured and ease of cleanup when a pool is trying to recover from a storm or an algae breakout.  Cellulose fiber is a great alterative to D.E. It has exceptional filtration abilities, is nontoxic, biodegradable, and can provide a longer filter cycle between backwashes.

 

Sand filters, while easy upkeep, require the most frequent backwashing and do not filter as fine a particle as other filter types.  Filter silica sand requires replacing every 3 – 5 years as the sand becomes polished and loses its filtering effectiveness.  Zeolites and crushed glass filter media are excellent choices to use in lieu of silica sand. Both medias provide super fine particle filtration, removes eye irritating chloramines, and less frequent backwashing. 

 

Sweetwater Pool & Patio is now an authorized Pentair Water Pool and Spa Pool Energy Expert.  We can examine your pool, determine its true energy usage and costs, and identify exactly how much you can save. Then, you’ll receive a detailed Audit Report with our recommendations. 

 

For more information, email or call us. 

Happy March!

 

FYIMonth of February 2013

 

For 2013, we would like to bring renewed attention to becoming more “green” by introducing you to products available that reduce the environmental impact, reduce electricity use, conserve water, reduce health risks, and save money.   This is the first in a series of articles that will highlight products that are available

 

Your pool’s pump is likely the largest user of electricity next to your air conditioner.  Standard pool pumps can consume as much energy as all other home appliances combined.  Variable speed pumps can cut energy use up to 90%. 

This is accomplished by having a variable drive that allows custom programming for the optimum speed for filtering, heating cleaning, operating water features, and more. For most all applications, the optimum speed is significantly lower than

the unchangeable speed of traditional pumps, so you can exploit a fundamental pump principle (reducing pump speed lowers  power consumption). The result of these combined innovations is impressive!

 

In addition to the electrical saving, variable speed pumps provide longer, trouble-free service life—for an even greater return on investment.  Because a permanent

magnet motor produces far less heat and vibration than traditional induction motors, this results in less stress and wear on pump components and a much longer motor life than we typically get in Texas.

 

Variable speed pumps are also the quietest running pump on the planet!

Thanks again to its permanent magnet motor and totally enclosed fan cooled design, variable speed pumps are also the quietest pumps ever built—at low speeds, you may not even know they’re operating!

 

Sweetwater Pool & Patio is now an authorized Pentair Water Pool and Spa Pool Energy Expert.  We can examine your pool, determine its true energy usage and costs, and identify exactly how much you can save. Then, you’ll receive a detailed Audit Report with our recommendations. 

 

For more information, email or call us. 

Have a fantastic February!

 

January 2013

 

Wow! Finally some cool weather but what a storm. Our guys were hoping the last bit of leaves left on the trees would hold out just one more week. Oh well. Please help us keep the water flowing in your pool until our next visit by emptying those skimmer baskets regularly. Remember to turn off the pool equipment before emptying the baskets so that leaves don’t get pulled into the plumbing lines.

 

As you plan for the holidays, we hope that you enjoy the fellowship of friends and family.

 

May you have continued Blessings

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FYI – Month of June 2012 – Summer is Coming,The Pests Are Here

Fire Ants have popped up all over with the recent rain

http://nisuscorp.com/images/uploads/application_fire_ant_spray.jpghttp://nisuscorp.com/images/uploads/images-products/fireback_ants_sm_200x234.pngFire Ant Mound Injector $13.98
Features

  • Unique Injector rod has omni-directional spray head and provides deep access to mound.

  • Immediately lowers the ants’ body temperatures which disables them; this deters escape and moving of the queen.

  • For outdoor use only.

    Get rid of unwanted guests

    http://nisuscorp.com/images/uploads/application_wasp_hornet.jpghttp://nisuscorp.com/images/uploads/images-products/fireback_wasp_sm_200x234.pngWasp & Hornet Jet Spray $9.75
    Features

  • Jet spray will reach nest 20 feet above ground.

  • Immediately drops wasps by lowering their body temperature, then the insecticide kills them.

  • Non-flammable solvent-based insecticide.

  • Non-conductive to 47kV.

  • Can be used on wasp and hornet nests both outdoors and indoors in attics and other places where nests are built.

  • Residual action will kill as wasps and hornets return to nest.

  • Also a broad spectrum insecticide that includes clover mites, fleas and ticks.

Both products available for pickup or delivery.

 

FYI – Month of May 2012 – Extended Service Plans with ProEdge Care

 

Sooner or later, most pool owners will replace some or all of their pool equipment.  Whether you are considering an energy efficient variable speed pump, a new gas heater, multi-spectrum underwater lights, a salt chlorine generator, or an automation system controlled by your iphone or ipad, today’s pool equipment is high tech.

 

Even the best, most reliable products may need to be repaired, and those repairs can be expensive. Sweetwater Pool & Patio is partnered with Zodiac to offer ProEdge Care Extended Service Plans.  With ProEdge Care Extended Service Plans (ESP), you can be protected from repair and replacement costs for up to four years.  ESPs increase the resale value of your home.  ProEdge Care ESPs are transferable to the next homeowner, giving any potential buyer peace of mind. Each Extended Service Agreement is secured, underwritten, insured, and administered by A.M. Best A (Excellent) rated insurance company, Service Net. Eliminate worries about expensive repair costs and gain peace of mind by asking about Extended Service Plans today.  For more information, visit http://www.zodiacpoolsystems.com/Products/Extended-Service-Plans

 

FYI – Month of April 2012 - Spring

Spring officially began March 20th and brought pollen…LOTS of pollen.  Filters and baskets are getting stressed with all the stuff that is entering the pool.   To keep your system operating effectively, filters should be disassembled and cleaned, automatic cleaners tuned up, cell cleaning for salt systems and salt levels boosted within range.  We will contact you to schedule any needed services that are reported from the field personnel.

 

Because pollen can continue to worsen as the weather warms up, pools can easily look discolored when the yellow, green and brown gunk ends up floating on the surface.  We stock a variety of products that can help.  The Skim-Mor skimmer™ screen has a specially coated material that attracts oils, lotions, and very fine pollen.  It traps debris that skimmer baskets let pass, thereby it helps extend the cycle between filter cleans.  It’s easy to use-just slip it onto the skimmer basket.  Let us know if you would like to order a package (email us at info@sweetwaterpoolandpatio.com )              Skim-Mor skimmer™ $11.95 5-pak

 

FYIMonth of March 2012  

 

Spring officially begins March 20th.  For the pool professional, it means algae will be springing up.  This year, we are geared up for some unique challenges.  The drought last year created historically low water levels in our lakes, streams, ponds and rivers.  This has exposed different strains of algae and bacteria that became airborne and may soon start showing up in swimming pools.  We will be tracking algae outbreaks and the effectiveness of the products we use to combat them.  We encourage you to contact us if algae are spotted in your swimming pool.  That will help us to quickly address outbreaks

 

FYIMonth of February 2012     

 

Salt chlorine generators are programmed to shut down chlorine production as the water temperature drops to 55°F or below.  While our air temperature can fluctuate drastically from one day to the next, the water temperature in the pool is much slower to warm up after a few days of cold weather. Even when the water temperature is above 55°F, the chlorine generator may not operate consistently enough to handle production for the warm days.  Those with salt systems that may be operating sporadically, we will maintain the chlorine level in your pool by adding stabilized chlorine tablets or sticks for the duration of the winter.

 

Speaking of salt water pools – do you love how soft your water feels with the salt chlorination system but hate the expense of replacing worn out cells and control boards?  One alternative is BioGuard Optimizer Plus - it softens water to skin and eyes. In addition to creating soft and soothing water, this product helps suppress algae growth and is proven to improve water clarity.

 

THANKSGIVING 2012     

 

Thanksgiving - a time of enjoying a bountiful table of food, gathering of family and friends, and a time of thankfulness for the good in our lives. 

At this very special time of the year, we strive to take the time to go to our hearts and deeply appreciate the things that make our lives worth living.

 

On behalf of the staff at Sweetwater Pool & Patio, thank you for being our customer this past year.  We thank you for your business, your encouragement, your suggestions, your feedback, your challenges, and your words of appreciation. We want you to know we appreciate the business you have given us, and we hope to continue serving you during the coming year. 

 

In appreciation,
 

The staff of Sweetwater Pool & Patio

 

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.
                                                                                                                 Cicero
 

NOVEMBER 2012   FYI

 

So we are having a bumper crop of acorns this year…does that mean we are in for an exceptionally cold winter?  According to weather folklore, the amount of acorns can predict the length and intensity of the upcoming months.  Whether true or not, the squirrels are happily gathering up the nuts, and we wish we could equip them with leaf rakes to scoop up the massive amount of acorns falling in pools. 

 

Temperatures will be dropping over the weekend and it’s the perfect time to start using your spa.   Remember to check and empty skimmer and pump baskets before turning on the heater, as maximum water flow is needed for the heater to operate. 

Filter pressure can also restrict water flow; it may be time to have the filter serviced. 

 

Speaking of filters…Did you know that DE filters must have new powder added after every backwash (even if you are just trying to lower the water level after a rain)? 

 

Unlike furnaces, pool heaters sit outside increasing the service needs to prevent or address clogs, rust and corrosion.  Why don’t you call us for a maintenance check-up before firing up the heater?

 

OCTOBER 2012

 

FYI – Falling leaves are announcing the arrival of Autumn

 

Leaves are small and light but in great numbers, they can turn your pool green in a matter of days. The more leaves that collect in the skimmer, the less the filter pump can circulate water through the system and back into the pool. The less the pool water circulates, the less chlorinating sticks and tabs can add chlorine to the water increasing the opportunity for algae to take hold. Most of all, it is critical for the longevity of the pool equipment to maintain water flow. Skimmer baskets specifically designed with a unique tower-vent that provides some water to the pump no matter how much debris collects in the basket are available and we will be using those to replace standard baskets as needed.

 

In addition, we respectfully ask for your help with emptying the skimmer baskets between our visits. Many pool owners may find it necessary to perform this task even twice a day. There are certain things to remember when you pull the basket out of a skimmer. Most skimmer baskets are made of plastic, and with the assistance of leaves, will float when the filter pump is off. If this is the case, your service technician might currently have a rock in the skimmer basket (a rock that is bigger than the hole down at the bottom of the skimmer). Keeping the baskets from floating keeps leaves from entering and clogging the plumbing line when the filter pump turns back on. In some cases where leaves are overwhelming, the tech might use two baskets in one skimmer. This provides added support to the first basket and allows for the overflow of leaves to be caught by the second basket as the top basket is pulled for emptying. When emptying the skimmer baskets, be sure to place the rock, tabs and or sticks back in the empty basket.  Lastly, emptying the basket while the filter pump is off releases the suction hold on the basket, which makes it easier to remove and will prevent leaves from being pulled into the lines.

 

We appreciate your help over the next few weeks.

 

FYI –

Month of September 2012      Pool Plaster

 

Plaster has been used as a swimming pool surface coating for the past 50 years. There is no other pool surface on the market with this time tested history. Factoring in the long life span of plaster, it truly is the most economical option for your pool's interior, and thus a real value for your investment.

Sweetwater Pool & Patio offers several options for your pool interior. In addition to white plaster, we offer a quartz aggregate coating. This interior surface, which consists of quartz crystals added to white cement, has become very popular due to its durability and versatility with respect to colors and shades.

 

THE BENEFITS OF PLASTER

PLASTER IS A TIME TESTED PRODUCT: Plaster has been used as a swimming pool surface coating for the past 50 years. This experience has shown that plaster is a durable surface that can stand up to the environment of proper pool water chemistry. There is no other pool surface on the market with this time tested history.

PLASTER IS ECONOMICAL: Plaster is the most economical pool surface. Its initial cost is well below more expensive options. In addition, the average plaster surface can easily last 12 or more years, which makes plaster one of the most economical components of a swimming pool. That's value for your investment.

REPAIRABLE AND FORGIVING: Taking care of your pool takes time and attention. As time goes on,
 a pool surface can become stained, discolored, and/or damaged. Stains on a plastered pool can be chemically removed or sanded off. A plaster surface can tolerated several of these procedures in its lifetime.

PLASTER IS NON-TOXIC AND ECOLOGICALLY SOUND: There is a lot of concern today about toxic products. Pool plaster is made from some of Mother Nature's finest materials. Plaster, being a cement product, is the backbone of construction and the world.

PLASTER IS AVAILABLE IN A VARIETY OF COLORS: Pool Plaster is available world-wide. You need not worry that your pool surface will become obsolete. Plaster can be done in a wide variety of colors to create any appearance desired. The color is not just surface coating but continuous through the entire material. In addition, options are available for different finish techniques including exposed aggregate, that allow for great variety in obtaining a desired pool appearance.

 

FYI –

Month of August 2012

 

Pool/spa lights are carefully designed to work underwater and are mandated to be wired to a Ground Fault Circuit interrupter (GFCI). The GFCI is an extremely sensitive circuit breaker which is designed to detect electricity going somewhere it shouldn't, and cut off power. Visible fogging, sweating or water inside the pool light fixture is cause for concern, and servicing is needed immediately by qualified licensed service technician. Even if the pool light does not come on, one should never assume that there is no electricity.

 

When there is no visible damage/corrosion to the fixture, bulb and gasket replacement is all that might be needed. If the bulb burns out soon after it is replaced, the fixture will likely need replacement or at the very minimum have the power disconnected to it. If the fixture does need to be replaced, ask about replacement options since LED fixtures now are a lot more brilliant than earlier models and have about 25 times more “burn” time than the traditional bulbs.

 

Please be sure to call us if you notice anything suspicious with your pool lights the next time you go swimming or to simply get more information on those fancy new LED lights.

 

 

FYI  Month of July 2012       Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane season is officially from June 1 – November 30 each year.  In addition to being prepared with food, water, batteries and evacuation plan, pool owners must take certain steps both before and after the storm to minimize the damaging effects to the swimming pool.  Here is an overview of those precautions.

 

  1. Do Not Empty Your Pool.  You may lower the water level a couple of inches but keeping the water in the pool provides the weight to hold the pool in the ground.  An empty pool is a high risk for popping out of the ground.

  2. Turn off electric power to swimming pool equipment.  Circuit breakers at the main electrical panel should be turned off to prevent pump motors, lighting, and heaters from operating.

  3. Protect the equipment.  Wrap the pump motor and time clock/controller box with waterproof plastic and secure it in place to prevent sand and driving rain from entering. 

  4. Remove all loose items from the pool area.  Patio furniture, toys and pool tools can become dangerous projectiles in high winds and should be stored inside a building.  It is not advisable to throw the patio furniture in the pool due to risk of damage or staining to the pool interior.

  5. Add extra chlorine to the pool.  To prevent contamination from the excessive storm water and debris, add an additional dose of granular chlorine. 

    After the Storm

  6. As before the storm, Do Not empty the pool.An empty is subject to “floating” or popping out of the ground due to “lift” pressure from excessive ground water caused by heavy rains.  If the pool will need to be drained due to excessive debris and/or damage, seek professional advice.

  7. Remove debris from pool first.Remove large objects by hand and use a leaf rake to remove smaller debris from the pool.  Do not use the pool’s vacuum system as you will likely plug the plumbing.

  8. Check electrical equipment before restarting system.Remove plastic covering and let the electrical devices dry thoroughly before turning circuit breakers on again.  If they have been exposed or submerged in water, they should be checked by a professional. 

  9. Prime and clean the filter equipment.Prime the pump, clean the filter and run the system 24 hours a day until water clarity if restored.

  10. Add chlorine to pool.To prevent contamination from the storm debris and excessive water, add a “shock” dose of granular chlorine to the pool water.

  11. Balance the pool water chemistry.  Readjust the pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, conditioner and salt levels and monitor over several days.

 November 24, 2011

 

This is the week of Thanksgiving - a time of enjoying a bountiful table of food, gathering of family and friends, and a time of thankfulness for the good in our lives. 

 

On behalf of the staff at Sweetwater Pool & Patio, thank you for being a customer this past year.  We want you to know we appreciate the business you have given us, and we hope to continue serving you during the coming year. 

 

                                                            With regards from

                                                            Sweetwater Pool & Patio

 

FYIMonth of October 2011               Salt-chlorination and pH

 

Excerpt from Industry News

Weekly Service Calls Not Enough for Salt Pools
Weekly chemical adjustments of salt-chlorinated pools are not sufficient to keep the water balanced, according to new research by the National Industry Research Center (NPIRC)*.  With weekly manual adjustment to the chlorine output, the pools’ free chlorine concentration remained acceptably stable throughout the study.  The water’s pH, however, proved to be more difficult to control.  Every time the pH was adjusted into the “ideal” range of 7.2 to 7.6, it was found to drift up to 8.0 or above within three days or less

 

*The NPIRC, located at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, was founded in 2004 to provide a scientific environment for testing pool chemistry. 
 

 

We recommend twice a week visits in order to keep pH within range. 

 

pH - What is it and how does it affect my pool?
pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of the water.  Our cleaning techs test and adjust the pH in your swimming pool on every visit.  Many factors can affect pH such as airborne contaminants, rain, fill water, pollutants, swimmers, chlorine and other products added to the pool.  A salt-chlorinated pool exacerbates the side effects of a high pH.

Low pH
Eroding of the pool plaster or grouting
Corroding of the metal pool accessories
Staining resulting from metal corrosion
Rapid dissipation of chlorine
Burning eyes and nose
Dry and itchy skin and scalp

High pH
scaling or calcium buildup on pool surfaces, waterline and accessories
dull or cloudy pool water
Clogging of filter medium or elements
Drop in disinfection potential of chlorine
Burning eyes and nose

Dry, itchy skin and scalp

 

FYIMonth of September 2011           Eco friendly tile cleaning Remove hard water rings

 

The pH fluctuation with salt water pools, the “hard water” effects of constant water evaporation, body oil and air-borne debris can all contribute to create an unsightly “bathtub” ring on your pool tile.  Regular tile cleaning can help keep dirt and oil under control, but eventually the scale and mineral residue start building up. Additives and cleaning solutions don’t always work in removing the buildup.. We can restore your pool tile and water features to their original beauty – Our tile cleaning process safely cleans calcium from pool tile and fountains with no sand or damaging glass beads. Our tile cleaning method is environmentally sound, pH neutral, and will not harm foliage or vegetation. The mineral blasting media we use gently removes calcium, mold, mildew, and hard water deposits from the tiles. The abrasive is aggressive enough to remove the toughest deposits, but gentle enough to not damage the grout or scratch the tile glaze.   For more information or to receive before and after photos, email us at info@sweetwater.cc

 

FYI – Month of August 2011                   Is there a leak or is it just too hot?

 

Too hot…HECK YEAH.  Suspect that your pool is losing too much water to just be evaporation?  Leaking…maybe.  Weather conditions (wind and temperature) are certainly a factor in how much evaporation will occur, however a loss of more than a ¼ “ of water a day could indicate a leak in the plumbing or structure.  Before investing in a leak detection service, performing a couple of simple tests can tell you if a leak does exist. 

Test #1

  • Turn off any automatic water fill device and set the pool equipment to run continuously for 24 hours
  • Fill the pool or spa to its normal operating level and mark the level with a pencil
  • Place a bucket of water on the top step of the pool and mark the water line both inside and outside the bucket
  • After 24 hours, measure (with a ruler) to see if the water loss inside the bucket is the same as the pool water loss marked on the outside of the bucket

 

Test #2 (to determine the water loss is not due to evaporation)

  • Turn the pool equipment OFF and set clock/computer to keep off for 24 hours
  • Place a bucket of water on the top step of the pool and mark the water line both inside and outside the bucket
  • After 24 hours, measure to see if the water loss inside the bucket is the same as the pool water loss marked on the outside of the bucket

 

A general rule is that return plumbing lines leak mainly when the pool equipment is ON and suction plumbing lines leak when the equipment if OFF.  Although a complete leak detection would need to be performed to determine the exact location of the leak(s), conducting the above tests will eliminate unnecessary expenses when the evaporation is the culprit.

 

FYI

Month of July 2011                                                                        Uninvited Guests?

The hot and dry weather has everyone seeking shelter and drinking more water…and that includes bugs and insects.  Don’t let insects ruin your swim party.  Keep wasps, ants, spiders and snakes away from the pool area and the backyard with our new line of pest control products.  Commercial strength and easy to use, the wasp spray will knock ‘em dead and the fire ant mount injector system won’t just relocate the colony but eradicate it.  Pick up your can of “kill” today.

With the 4th of July just over a week away, plan to stop by our pool store for a few provisions.  Here are some suggestions for your list:

  • Extra chlorine shock, muriatic acid and clarifier – extreme weather and extra swimmers can wreak havoc on a swimming pool in a matter of hours.Having some basic chemicals on hand can keep the pool sparkling between the weekly visits.

  • Water balloons, a basketball, pool toys – keep ‘em entertained

  • A new float – you deserve it (and by the way, all floats are on sale now!)

  • Bug spray – see above

  • Charcoal, fire starter, wood chips, rubs – The 4th of July must have a cookout!

Our pool store will be open July 2nd & 3rd.  Saturday (9am-5pm) and Sunday (11am-3pm)

Have a Safe & Fun Holiday!

 

FYI –

Month of June 2011           Protection/Safety  

 

Smart Pool YardGuard Gate / Door Alarm is designed to alert you upon an unauthorized entry into your pool area. The YardGuard alarm meets or exceeds state barrier alarm codes. Simply install the contact set (included) on the desired gate or door, install the alarm's sentry, and it is ready to protect your pool area. Unauthorized entry causes a loud (120 DB) alarm to sound. The alarm is designed with a 7-second delay for adult pass through. Its convenient pass/reset button is easy to operate and the unit even includes a low battery cheep. All hardware is included for a gate, door, or window mount. Listed by ETL and UL. Protect your pool this season with your YardGuard alarm. Only $44.95

 

Available at our retail center located at 4528 Bissonnet, Bellaire, Texas

Store hours Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm; Saturdays 9am – 5pm; Sundays 11am – 3pm

 

Stop by this Friday & Saturday for our Memorial weekend 2-day event.  Free barbeque (cooked on the Big Green Egg), refreshments, and Sidewalk Sale (Huge savings on toys, floats, and games).

 

FYI

Month of April 2011                                                                        Swimming Pool Safety   

Springtime is once again upon us and your pool will be the favorite family hangout as heat waves become more frequent. Gear up for the swim season by holding a “family meeting” to discuss pool safety rules with your loved ones. Be extra diligent at the start of the season and actively supervise children in and around the pool. Here are other tips and items to look for that will help you keep your friends and family safe.

  • Stay where you can see, hear and reach kids in the pool. Avoid talking on the phone, preparing a meal, reading and other distractions
  • Teach children never to swim alone
  • Teach children never to go near pool drains, with or without a cover, and to pin up long hair when in water
  • Install multiple drains in all pools and spas. This minimizes the suction of any one drain, reducing risk of death or injury
  • Regularly check to make sure drain covers are secure and have no cracks. Replace all main drain covers with VGB Act compliant covers
  • Know where the manual cut-off switch for the pump is in case of emergency. Consider installing an approved safety vacuum release system (SVRS). This is a device that quickly and automatically turns off the pump (and stops the suction) when something is trapped in or blocks the drain
  • Have phone access near the pool and teach children to get an adult and call 911 in emergencies
  • If your child can’t swim, stay within an arm’s reach and don’t rely on “water wings” or other inflatable swim aids
  • Check all gates leading to the pool and insure that they are self closing and self latching
  • Replace broken or damaged skimmer lids
  • Repair or replace damaged coping and/or uneven decking
  • Be mindful of power lines overhead
  • Consider refresher swimming lessons or even CPR classes

 

Visit the links below for additional safety information.

http://www.houstonredcross.org/courses/ American Red Cross CPR classes

http://www.ymcahouston.org/water-safety-tips/     YMCA water safety tips

 

FYI – Month of March 2011 Chlorine – delivering the proper amount to your swimming pool

In January we discussed the importance of chlorine from a historical viewpoint.  But how do you know how much chlorine to keep in your swimming pool?  Swimming pools require a minimum of 1.0ppm (parts per million) of free chlorine  to effectively sanitize and kill bacteria.  Since pool water must have this minimum ppm, chlorine is generally kept above 1.0ppm to compensate for conditions such as heat, rain, presence of algae, swimmers, etc.  Dispensing chlorine into the water thru a tablet feeder (also called a chlorinator), a floating tablet holder, the skimmer basket, or a salt to chlorine generator provides continuous additions of chlorine.  Testing the water lets you know the current chlorine level and whether to increase or decrease the setting for the amount of chlorine being fed.  Testing also reveals not only the total amount of chlorine present in the water, but the amount of free chlorine in the water.  When there is a differential between free chlorine (chlorine that is still available to kill bacteria) and total chlorine (which includes chlorine that is no longer useful but has not left the water yet), the pool water should be “shocked” or oxidized to remove this differential.  The most common oxidizer is also a chlorine product.  The addition of this oxidizer, while it temporarily raises the chlorine level, is an important process to prevent cloudy water, strong odor, kill algae, and remove organic waste matter. In summary, by consistently adding chlorine to the pool and measuring  the chlorine level, pool water is kept safe and sanitary. 

 

REMINDER:  It is time for filters to be disassembled and cleaned for the swim season.  Call today to schedule this important service.

 

FYI – Month of February 2011 -   Spring potpourri

Spring may not officially begin for another month, but you only have to step outside to see that the calendar doesn’t dictate the weather in Houston.  Spring has arrived and so has pollen, and soon to follow …algae.  Swimming pool water will be tested and rebalanced.  Filters disassembled and cleaned.  Automatic cleaners tuned up.  Salt systems cell cleaning and salt levels boosted within range.  We will contact you to schedule the needed services.

 

Pollen will continue to worsen as the weather warms up.  Pools can easily look discolored when the yellow, green and brown gunk ends up floating on the surface.  The Skim-Mor skimmer™ screen has a specially coated material that attracts oils, lotions, and very fine pollen.  It traps debris that skimmer baskets let pass, thereby it helps extend the cycle between filter cleans.  It’s easy to use-just slip it onto the skimmer basket.  Let us know if you would like to order a package (email us at info@sweetwaterpoolandpatio.com )

 

_________ Skim-Mor skimmer™ $11.95 5-pak

Quantity desired

 

Our retail is moving back to 4528 Bissonnet and will be open for business there as of February 26th.  We are excited to combine the retail and service sides of our business in one building.  This will give our customers better access to our inventory and technical assistance from entire staff.  When we have completed the move and improvements, we will announce an official grand re-opening.   Keep an eye out for that special sales event soon. 

 

 

FYI – Month of January 2011 Chlorine – the unsung hero

Chlorine was first discovered in 1774.  As the chloride ion, it is part of common salt and other compounds, is abundant in nature and necessary to most forms of life, including humans.  Chlorine’s first usage as a disinfectant in the United States came as early as 1896, where it was used to purify the city drinking water in Louisville.  While chorine’s effectiveness in disinfecting water for drinking and swimming and its use in bleaching are universally recognized, it is not that well known that chlorine is also used to make many of the products we use every day for health, safety, nutrition, security, transportation, lifestyle and high-tech innovation.  For example, chlorine chemistry is important to the production of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, safety equipment, computers, automobiles, aircraft parts, and crop-protection chemicals.  The list is virtually endless.  Its use is so vital that chlorine has been deemed an essential asset and “critical infrastructure” by the Department of Homeland Security. 

In swimming pools, chlorine continues to outperform any other sanitizer.  While many alteratives can kill bacteria at the point of contact, chlorine has the unique ability to provide the quick kill and remain active long after treatment.  In addition to its ability to sanitize, chlorine performs an important side benefit that many alternatives cannot match.  It can oxidize organic compounds like ammonia, urea or amino acids.  Simply put, chlorine effectively kills pathogens and algae, oxidizes organic wastes, removes contaminants, and is stable enough to leave a residual for continuous disinfection.[i] Next month, we will look more closely at the process of delivering the proper amount of chlorine to your swimming pool.

 

[i] Source Doug Walsh, Service Industry News Volume 24, Number 9, May 15, 2010
 

 

 

 

 

FYI – Month of January 2011 Chlorine – the unsung hero

Chlorine was first discovered in 1774.  As the chloride ion, it is part of common salt and other compounds, is abundant in nature and necessary to most forms of life, including humans.  Chlorine’s first usage as a disinfectant in the United States came as early as 1896, where it was used to purify the city drinking water in Louisville.  While chorine’s effectiveness in disinfecting water for drinking and swimming and its use in bleaching are universally recognized, it is not that well known that chlorine is also used to make many of the products we use every day for health, safety, nutrition, security, transportation, lifestyle and high-tech innovation.  For example, chlorine chemistry is important to the production of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, safety equipment, computers, automobiles, aircraft parts, and crop-protection chemicals.  The list is virtually endless.  Its use is so vital that chlorine has been deemed an essential asset and “critical infrastructure” by the Department of Homeland Security. 

In swimming pools, chlorine continues to outperform any other sanitizer.  While many alteratives can kill bacteria at the point of contact, chlorine has the unique ability to provide the quick kill and remain active long after treatment.  In addition to its ability to sanitize, chlorine performs an important side benefit that many alternatives cannot match.  It can oxidize organic compounds like ammonia, urea or amino acids.  Simply put, chlorine effectively kills pathogens and algae, oxidizes organic wastes, removes contaminants, and is stable enough to leave a residual for continuous disinfection.[i] Next month, we will look more closely at the process of delivering the proper amount of chlorine to your swimming pool.

                                                                       

Sweetwater Pool and Patio
The Pool Care Professionals 713-665-4441

 

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_____________________________________
 

[i] Source Doug Walsh, Service Industry News Volume 24, Number 9, May 15, 2010
 

 

 

 

FYI –

Month of February 2010   The forgotten garden hose

 

The hard freeze last month had you protecting not only pets and plants, but your pool and house plumbing as well.  One thing I forgot to protect was my garden hose.  You may have since discovered, like me, yours is cracked, split or just too stiff to be useable.  Spring is lurking just around the corner and now is the time to replace those hoses. 

For most of us, a hose is a hose is a hose, as long as it transports water from the faucet to the garden. But if you've ever struggled with a cheap hose--one that's hard to maneuver and a wrestling match to coil, that kinks at the faucet and sprouts leaks after just a few years--you know there is more to a good hose than meets the eye.  When you are shopping for a new garden hose, here are a few qualities to look for:  The best hoses incorporate multiple layers of reinforcing fabrics.  The strongest couplings are made of brass--the thicker, the better--and the best swivels are hexagonal (as opposed to round). Also, look for a protective collar just below the coupling--it's designed to prevent the hose from kinking at the faucet. The best hoses also come with lifetime guarantees.

We carry the Gilmour Flexogen 8-ply garden hose in 50, 75 and 100 foot lengths.  Order yours today - delivered to your doorstep (actually to the faucet) on our next visit. 

 

 

                                                                        Sweetwater Pool and Patio

The Pool Care Professionals 713-665-4441

Quantity

 

___________  50’ Flexogen garden hose  $34.50       Account Name_____________________________

___________  75’ Flexogen garden hose  $49.95                  

___________ 100’  Flexogen garden hose  $67.95     Address__________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Patented 8-ply construction
  • Over 500 PSI burst strength
  • Strong enough to hold the highest pressure on the hottest days
  • Double tire cord reinforced for strength
  • Lightweight, coils and handles easily in all weather
  • Flow Guard Plus™ protective collar on hoses resists kinks at faucet

 

  • Heavy-duty, cruch resistant, Full -Flo® brass couplings with built-in washer for tight sealing
  • Maximum kink resistance
  • Polished surface resists abrasions, stains, and mildew
  • Lifetime warranty
  •  
  • FYI –

    Month of March 2010        

     

    Brrrrr…….what a winter it has been!  Depending on the day, it could be 32° and snowing or 82° and sunny.  Spring is just around the corner and you may want to get a head start on the swim season.  Now is a great time to schedule a professional heater check up.  Annual regular maintenance is important to insure that your heater runs safely at peak performance and efficiency. 

     

    Special Offer to our Valued Customers.   Every know someone that has a swimming pool and we would love to have you recommend us.  For every new customer you refer to us, we will send you a $50.00 gift certificate as a Thank You.  Just pass our name and phone along to any pool owner that could use our services.  We will be asking every new customer how they heard about us.  When they give your name, we will mail you our thank you gift.  It’s that simple and truly appreciated.

     

    Announcement:  The shopping center where our retail store resides is being torn down to make room for the owner’s hospital expansion.  We will be moving back to our original location just inside the Loop (4528 Bissonnet).  The exact move date is to be determined but should occur before May.  We will keep you posted.

FYI

Month of May 2010   

 

With warm days and cool nights, water evaporation increases.  It is critical for correct operation of pool equipment that we both work to maintain the water level in your pool to approximately halfway up the skimmer opening.  Although you are responsible for maintaining water level, our pool technicians are instructed to add water to your pool as required while they are performing their maintenance duties.  Our techs turn the water off before they leave.  However, some pools need more water than can be added during routine servicing.  The Gilmour water meter (pictured below) can be easily installed at your water spigot and water can continue to be added up to 4 hours after our visit.  At a cost of $15.95, we believe this meter is the best choice currently available.  The water meter is designed to automatically shut off, but we ask that you always turn off the water spigot when the meter is not in use.  Whenever you desire water from your hose, just turn the dial on the water meter to “continuous flow” and just turning off the spigot when you are done.  

                                                                        Sweetwater Pool and Patio

The Pool Care Professionals 713-665-4441

  • Measure gallons or approximate minutes
  • Dial can be set for automatic shut-off at any point up to 700 gallons or 4 hours
  • Includes manual on/off settings
  • Slow shut-off feature protects hose and plumbing from damage
  • Attaches to faucet, hose or sprinkler
  • Swivel nut for easy connection
  • Minimum flow rate is 2 GPM for proper operation
  • Flow rate varies with water source and sprinkler used
  • Works with water pressure ranging from 15 PSI to 120 PSI
  • May not work with small drip irrigation systems

 

 

 

 

Yes Send me _____ @ $15.95

                             Quan

Orders received will be delivered and installed during the regular maintenance visit

 

 

 

 

 

Account Name:__________________________     Address__________________________

 

 

  • Measure gallons or approximate minutes
  • Dial can be set for automatic shut-off at any point up to 700 gallons or 4 hours
  • Includes manual on/off settings
  • Slow shut-off feature protects hose and plumbing from damage
  • Attaches to faucet, hose or sprinkler
  • Swivel nut for easy connection
  • Minimum flow rate is 2 GPM for proper operation
  • Flow rate varies with water source and sprinkler used
 

 

 

Fall and Holiday Candles

 

In-store close out 

Final clearance on all Beanpod soy candles and melter beads

 

If you are a candle lover, don’t miss this!  Beanpod candles are 100% soy, extremely fragrant and long-lasting.  All candle inventory at or below cost.  Dozens of scents but stop by soon for the best selection

4805 Bissonnet, Bellaire Texas  Hours M-F 10 – 6; Sat 9 – 5; Sunday 11 – 3

 

FYI

Month of June 2010 
Memorial Day weekend – the official start of swim season and your pool should be the favorite family hangout this summer. Hold a “family meeting” to review pool safety rules. Here are some tips and reminders to help you keep your friends and family safe.

  • Stay where you can see, hear and reach kids in the pool. Avoid talking on the phone, preparing a meal, reading and other distractions
  • Teach children never to swim alone
  • Teach children never to go near pool drains and to pin up long hair when in water
  • Install multiple drains in all pools and spas. This minimizes the suction of any one drain, reducing risk of death or injury
  • Regularly check to make sure drain covers are secure and have no cracks. Replace all main drain covers with VGB Act compliant covers
  • Know where the manual cut-off switch for the pump is in case of emergency. Consider installing an approved safety vacuum release system (SVRS). This is a device that quickly and automatically turns off the pump (and stops the suction) when something is trapped in or blocks the drain
  • Have phone access near the pool and teach children to get an adult and call 911 in emergencies
  • If your child can’t swim, stay within an arm’s reach and don’t rely on “water wings” or other inflatable swim aids
  • Check all gates leading to the pool and insure that they are self closing and self latching
  • Replace broken or damaged skimmer lids
  • Repair or replace damaged coping and/or uneven decking
  • Be mindful of power lines overhead
  • Consider refresher swimming lessons or even CPR classes

 

FYI  Month of July 2010      Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane season is officially from June 1 – November 30 each year.  In addition to being prepared with food, water, batteries and evacuation plan, pool owners must take certain steps both before and after the storm to minimize the damaging effects to the swimming pool.  Here is an overview of those precautions.

  1. Do Not Empty Your Pool.  You may lower the water level a couple of inches but keeping the water in the pool provides the weight to hold the pool in the ground.  An empty pool is a high risk for popping out of the ground.
  2. Turn off electric power to swimming pool equipment.  Circuit breakers at the main electrical panel should be turned off to prevent pump motors, lighting, and heaters from operating.
  3. Protect the equipment.  Wrap the pump motor and time clock/controller box with waterproof plastic and secure it in place to prevent sand and driving rain from entering. 
  4. Remove all loose items from the pool area.  Patio furniture, toys and pool tools can become dangerous projectiles in high winds and should be stored inside a building.  It is not advisable to throw the patio furniture in the pool due to risk of damage or staining to the pool interior.
  5. Add extra chlorine to the pool.  To prevent contamination from the excessive storm water and debris, add an additional dose of granular chlorine. 

After the Storm

  1. As before the storm, Do Not empty the pool.An empty is subject to “floating” or popping out of the ground due to “lift” pressure from excessive ground water caused by heavy rains.  If the pool will need to be drained due to excessive debris and/or damage, seek professional advice.

  2. Remove debris from pool first.Remove large objects by hand and use a leaf rake to remove smaller debris from the pool.  Do not use the pool’s vacuum system as you will likely plug the plumbing.

  3. Check electrical equipment before restarting system.Remove plastic covering and let the electrical devices dry thoroughly before turning circuit breakers on again.  If they have been exposed or submerged in water, they should be checked by a professional. 

  4. Prime and clean the filter equipment.Prime the pump, clean the filter and run the system 24 hours a day until water clarity if restored.

  5. Add chlorine to pool.To prevent contamination from the storm debris and excessive water, add a “shock” dose of granular chlorine to the pool water.

  6. Balance the pool water chemistry.  Readjust the pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, conditioner and salt levels and monitor over several days.

     

    Although the above is not a comprehensive list, it should provide you a general guideline of what to do before and after a hurricane or any major storm.  Sweetwater Pool and Patio has compiled the essential points on this list and now offers a Hurricane Pool Prep and Post Storm package. Mindful of the damage that occurred with Ike 2 years ago; many homeowners will want to be more proactive with storm preparation.  Whether you choose to have Sweetwater perform the needed preventative steps or to do them yourself, minimal negative impact to your swimming pool and equipment is our goal.  We are always available to answer your questions and concerns.

     

                                                                            Sweetwater Pool and Patio

    The Pool Care Professionals 713-665-4441

     

Pre Storm Package

Post Storm Package

Pre-storm prep including                                                   lower water level,                                                                   turn off equipment at breaker panel,                            wrap motor(s) in moisture protective wrap (2 motors included),                                                                                    add additional chemicals to the pool

Post storm Including readjusting water level in pool, turn on breakers at electrical panel, remove plastic protective wrap from motor(s), turn on equipment, prime pump/filter, check for leaks/damage, and add chemicals to rebalance water chemistry. Submit estimate for any needed repairs & cleanup.

Pre or Post Package $49.95

 

FYI  Month of August 2010    

 

The expansion joint is an important interface between the pool and the deck. These two independent structures need to remain independent. Keeping debris out of the joint ensures that the joint is "true" and the two structures are not in contact with each other. When they do come in contact, the pool may develop a crack in the tile, which is usually an indication that the "beam" has cracked all the way through. The beam is defined as the top 6 or 8 inches of the pool wall which holds the tile & coping. Beam damage gets worse with time, eventually crumbling, requiring beam reconstruction. To avoid this costly expense, caulk those joints! Caulking also keeps out water which can freeze and expand. This can damage the coping, beam and eventually, the tile.

 

A good caulk job starts with good surface prep. The sides of the joint must be clean, dry, rough and solid. Backer rod foam should be placed in the joint to give the caulk something to sit on top of. The caulk is shot into the joint to a depth of 3/8 - 1/2". The caulk should be an elastomeric sealant, suitable for outdoor use.  Replace or repair caulking annually if it cracks or pulls away from either side.

 

Prices for professional expansion joint caulking run $3.50 - $5.50 per linear foot. Add up the perimeter of the pool to figure your price. The variance depends on the width of the joint, which is usually 1/2" - 1".  Price includes full prep, caulking and finishing.

 

FYI  Month of September 2010          

 

Back to School/End of Summer Service Special

PumpsŸ Motors ŸFiltersŸ HeatersŸ ChlorinatorsŸ ControllersŸ Time clocksŸ Automatic CleanersŸ LightingŸ ElectricalŸ PlumbingŸ Leaks

 

10% OFF* ALL REPAIRS PERFORMED DURING THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER

 

*Maximum discount $125.  Offer good 9/1 – 9/30/2010

 

FYI  Month of October 2010      

 

Automatic cleaners – Polaris, Letro, Kreepy Krauly, Baracuda, Navigator….no matter which brand or model you may have residing in your swimming pool, it will require some annual upkeep.  The effects of constant chlorine and UV exposure promote breakage, corrosion, sticking and just ordinary wear and tear.  The most common items tend to be bags, tires, backup valves, clamps and sweep tail parts like scrubbers and wear rings.  About every other year, most units will need an overhaul that includes replacing all the internal and external moving parts.  The exact time span for your cleaner will depend a lot on how many hours a day the unit runs, the condition/roughness of the pool floor, and the type of debris the cleaner encounters.  Rough plaster and sand or fine grit will accelerate wear on moving parts. The most frequently asked question we get is whether you should replace the cleaner or repair it.  Our recommendation is that after 2 years, that brand new cleaner will need the moving parts replaced just the same as the one you already have.  But, once the hoses need replacement, it is generally more cost effective to invest in a new cleaner than to rebuild the cleaner head and replace the hoses.

 

FYI – Month of November 2010  Ready to Use Your Heater…Read this first

 

Gas pressure – a heater cannot function properly (and in many instances at all) without the correct amount of gas.  Heaters less than 5 years old are generally LoNox (low emissions) and are extremely sensitive to operating within a specific range of gas pressure.  When the gas pressure is outside of this range, heaters can malfunction, components can fail, or at a minimum operate at much reduced efficiency.  The amount of gas delivered to your heater can be affected by other gas appliances in use.  We recommend to test the gas pressure with the heater in operation and while other gas driven appliances are turned on.  This will ensure that when you are attempting to heat your spa and dry a load of clothes at the same time, there is adequate gas to keep the pool heater operating efficiently and safely. 

Periods of Inactivity  - Even if the heater was checked out in the spring and operating effectively, summer's inactivity may well have left it in need of a fall overhaul. Regular use of the heater would ward off problems such as corrosion, windblown dirt and pest infestations, however, when it is left idle while the summer sun does its heating work on the water, the unit can become a potential home for ants, rodents, and spiders which can block electrical contacts or gas lines.  This is especially true in our area that experiences a fair amount of rain followed by a hot summer.

Our 18-point check-up includes cleaning debris and cob webs from the heater cabinet, the burners and orfices and the heat exchanger; inspection of the gas valve and other components; removal of corrosion/scale formation; and verifying the amount of gas pressure being delivered to the heater

 

 

 

  • Inspect the burners and verify that they are clean.

  • Inspect the fan.(if equipped)

  • Check operation of the pressure switch.

  • Visual check of main burner flame.

  • Inspect bypass valve in header

  • Inspect exhaust Temperature limit switch (if equipped)

  • Inspect automatic gas valve.

  • Inspect fusible link.

  • Inspect temperature control.

  • Vacuum leaves & debris from exchanger & bottom.

  • Inspect fire wall bricks.

  • Clean pressure relief valve. (if equipped)

  • Inspect combustion chamber and burner for corrosion.

  • Inspect electrical controls for deterioration.

  • Inspect and clean spider webs & other debris in the orifices.

  • Check for proper milivolt pilot output.(if equipped)

  • Check gas line for leaks & flex conduit.

  • Check gas pressure

FYI – Month of December 2010  Circulation is essential

Good circulation is essential to keeping your swimming pool water clear and facilitating debris removal.  To keep the water flowing, homeowners should maintain the water level at mid-tile and empty skimmer baskets regularly (daily if necessary).  If leaves get past the skimmer basket when the basket is removed for cleaning, those leaves make their way to fill up the small basket located in front of the pump and can even plug up the plumbing lines.  For this reason, it is recommended to turn off the pool before emptying the skimmer baskets.

 

The length of time the water is flowing is also an important consideration.  Most pools are designed to “turn over” all the gallonage of the pool in 4 – 6 hours.  But not all the water in the pool passes through the filter during one turnover.  In fact, studies show that it takes 4 turnovers to have all the pool’s water pass through the filter. 

 

The speed of the water flow is yet another component.  The slower the water moves through the filter, the better the filtration.  Variable speed pumps allow you to adjust the flow, increasing efficiency and reducing energy costs. 

 

To keep your pool water looking good, keep the water moving. 

                                                                        Merry Christmas!

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