Sonarray Speaker

Turn Up the Tunes with SONARRAY

A few weeks ago, we posted about a revolutionary outdoor sound system – the Sonarray SR1. In case you missed it, the Sonarray SR1 is a new outdoor sound system that uses satellite speakers to provide your backyard with a type of surround-sound that cannot be heard with any other speaker system.

I had a Sonarray system installed a few months ago, and I have been in love with it since. I only have good things to say about the Sonarray SR1 sound system and think it is the best in the market by a wide margin. The built-in presets are wonderful, but you can even fine tune the sound to get it to your liking depending upon listening style. I encourage everyone that is on the fence to come give it a listen yourself in my backyard! In the meantime, we have a video below of me displaying the speakers and sound quality in my yard. This video shows just how easy it is to conceal these speakers as well as the quality of the sound, as the sound remains consistent even as I walk around the yard – check it out!

We are incredibly excited about the new Sonarray SR1 sound system and know you will feel the same once you have heard it! Give your ears a test drive! Call John now at (562) 881-6000!

succulent

Drought Tolerant or Artificial Grass Lawn

California may be out of its drought, but there is no guarantee things will remain this way. With a lack of rainfall, California is a perfect place to have a lawn that does not rely on water. Even if you love a classic grass lawn, perfect lawns are almost impossible to achieve hence why you see yellow and brown lawns all around the neighborhood. Drought tolerant and artificial grass lawns are two great alternatives that allow you to minimize water use while maximizing aesthetic appeal.

Drought Tolerant

Variety of plants that rely on little water including:

You can ask your local nursery about drought tolerant plants as well! Drought tolerant plants go great with hardscape designs. Hardscape has a lot of flexibility and allows you to tailor your yard in several ways. Hardscape has become more and more popular due to its aesthetic appeal and practicality.

Artificial Turf

Benefits

  • No watering, mowing, or feeding while still maintaining traditional front lawn grass look.
  • Life expectancy can be upwards of 25 years making investment worth it in long term.
  • New artificial grass can often fool most into looking like real grass.

Drawbacks

  • Provide no food or habitat for local birds or insects. Biological zero meaning you are not promoting biodiversity.
  • Feel is just not the same as regular grass.
  • Often made with recycled materials but not biodegradable.

The Future of Pool Heaters ♨️

eti400Up until now, a mid-80% efficiency for a pool and spa heater was considered very good and the best you could get. However, the ETi 400 is changing that with a 96% thermal efficiency. In this blog, we are going to look at the ETi 400, Pentair’s newest pool spa and heater, and look at the incredible benefits it brings – showing just why it is the future of pool heaters.

Durability and Longevity

The ETi 400 is made of titanium meaning it can withstand conditions that other heaters cannot. High operating temperatures and pool water chemistry can be rough on conventional pool heaters, but titanium allows the ETi 400 to withstand 1,800-degree Fahrenheit temperatures and not corrode when handling chlorine compounds. The titanium coupled with a sound design gives the ETi 400 durability and longevity in doing the job of heating your pool – meaning it will be the best and last heater you ever have to buy for your pool.

Efficiency and Cost Savings

As we mentioned, the ETi pushed the limits for pool heating with a 96% thermal efficiency. This difference in efficiency may not sound like a big deal, but in the end it saves you time and money. The higher efficiency means more energy is going directly into heating your pool which results in a warmer pool in a shorter amount of time. This also means that you are saving precious dollars on your energy bill every month because you are expending less energy heating your pool. On average for a 25,000-gallon pool, the ETi 400 would save $334 a year and reduce CO2 emissions by 3,201 lbs.

heater savingsOld pool heaters could roast a side of beef before your spa got to 100°, but now your spa is 100° before you even have time to change and get a drink! You would be amazed at how far pool technology has come since Sunset first opened in 1948, and we don’t expect the innovation to stop any time soon. This is why we are always making sure we are up to date with the latest pool technology and toys!

house

Light Up Your House with LEDs 💡 and Save 💲

LED lights were first developed in the 60’s, but did not become popular for almost 50 years after. Nowadays, everywhere you look you’ll see LED lights, and there’s a reason for that. LED lights are not only more efficient than incandescent lights, but also much more customizable. The various shapes and sizes of LED lights provide limitless opportunities allowing you to customize your project as you wish. In this article, we’ll highlight various benefits of LED lights and offer various options to help illuminate your house.

Benefits of LEDs

Longer Life

LED lights don’t burn out like regular lights, and, as a result, last much longer with a life expectation of 100,000 hours. In other words, if you were to leave an LED light on for 8 hours a day it would take about 20 years before having to replace the LED light.

More Efficient

Incandescent bulbs make light by heating a metal filament that releases light and energy – the only problem with this is that 80-90% of this energy is released as heat not light. LED lights are the opposite as their energy is released as 80-90% light and not heat. This means LED lights need less energy to light the same amount of space compared to incandescent lights.

Less Heat

The improved efficiency of LED lights allows them to give off less heat than other light bulbs. This means that LEDs will remain cool and not heat up a space; thus, LED lights can save you money by lessening the need for AC or fans.

Less Expensive

Because LED lights use less energy, they therefore cost less money. People often assume LEDs cost more because their upfront price is higher, but their energy efficiency paired with their longer life expectancy causes them to actually be much cheaper than incandescent or halogen bulbs.

Environmentally Friendly

LED lights do not emit UV and infrared light causing them to be much more environmentally friendly. LEDs also do not contain any toxic chemicals and are 100% recyclable.

Design Flexibility

LED lights come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors allowing for flexibility in design and various methods for illumination. LED lights can also be individually dimmed allowing dynamic control of lighting, color, and distribution. With LED lights, you can achieve miraculous lighting effects not only for the eye but also for the mood and mind. We’ll cover a few of the places LEDs could be used in your yard to help customize your lighting and upgrade your yard as a whole.

Yard Lights

Yard lights come in a variety of shapes and sizes from spotlights to flood lights to specialty lighting. One common use of LED lights is to illuminate a specific plant within your yard. LED lights can also light walkways or decks to emphasize them. The possibilities for lighting your yard with LEDs are truly limitless and an LED light can be placed anywhere you can imagine.

Pool Lights

Nothing is more eye catching than a well-lit pool, and this is why pools are the perfect spots for LEDs. The large color range of LEDs is beneficial in a pool as you can illuminate the water in any color of the rainbow. LED lights can also light up water features like a waterfall or spitters. Regardless of your choice, LED lights are a must in any pool for night swimming.

Home Lights

LED lights work not only outdoors but also inside. Replacing any simple light from a lamp to a ceiling light with an LED will help to save you money and benefit the environment. The option to dim LEDs is especially helpful indoors and can help set the mood. So next time your incandescent bulb burns out, try upgrading to an LED light.

LED lights are better than incandescent bulbs in almost every way, and in our eyes there’s no reason not to make the switch. However, be careful not to go overboard and light up your yard like it’s Christmas; light placement is an art and sometimes less is more.

save money pump

Save 💰; Upgrade Your Pool Pump to IntelliFlo VSF

Pentair recently designed a new variable speed pump called the IntelliFlo VSF that is exclusive to pool professionals and cannot be simply purchased online. This new IntelliFlo VSF is more advanced than any prior pumps and offers numerous reasons to make the upgrade. IntelliFlo pumps are in more pools worldwide than any other variable speed pumps because IntelliFlo pumps are more advanced and reliable than any other pump. Check out the numerous reasons to upgrade.

Save Money

Switching to the IntelliFlo VSF pump will not only save you energy but also money. The Intelliflo VSF offers up to 90% energy savings leading to massive savings in your energy bill. At 16 cents a kilowatt hour you would save about $7,500 in 5 years by upgrading – that means the pump will pay for itself in the long run and can be seen as a long term investment.

Changing Flow Conditions

The new IntelliFlo VSF is the first pump to adjust to changes in flow conditions to maintain its programming. This is almost like having cruise control for your pump and ensures that you conserve energy and water in any condition. Every pool is designed different and conditions are constantly changing, but the VSF pool pump adapts to this and ensures that your pump is always running effectively as you desire. With the new VSF pool pump, you will never have to worry about your flow rate or other features again – you just relax and enjoy your pool.

Quiet as a Mouse

Well actually quieter than a mouse. The IntelliFlo VSF pump works at 45 decibels which is on average quieter than the sound of rainfall and slightly louder than the sound of a library. This quietness means you can relax and not be bothered by the irritating noise pool pumps typically bring.

Quiet IntelliFloUpgrading to a new pool pump may sound like a waste, but if you have an old pump that’s sucking up energy and making a ton of noise than it may be time for an upgrade. Upgrading to the IntelliFlo VSF will be a decision you won’t regret as you’ll come to save money over time and never have to listen to a loud pool pump again.

Sonarray Speaker

Pump Up Your Outdoor Sound System with SonArray

I recently had a SonArray SR1 landscape audio system installed in my backyard, and the stereo system has completely transformed my backyard musically! The SonArray SR1 system is heard and not seen, as the speakers provide clear high-quality sound without taking aesthetic appeal away from your landscape. With the SonArray system, I can host guests and play music at a volume that will neither disrupt a conversation or upset my neighbors! The combination of quality and flexibility that SonArray offers sets it apart as the best outdoor sound system on the market.

Higher Quality

The SonArray SR1 is a sound system consisting of a subwoofer speaker and satellite speakers – all of which are composed of only the highest quality materials. These speakers work together to deliver amazing sound quality at perfectly even volume level – similar to the experience of surround sound speakers indoors. The subwoofer is strong, yet smooth leading to a perfect pairing of bass with clarity. On top of this, the amplifier provided with the SonArray SR1 system utilizes built-in presets to minimize the time spent testing the system and maximizing the sound quality. In the end, all of this is a bunch of jargon attempting to convey the amazing sound quality that the SonArray SR1 system provides. If you don’t believe me, ask to hear for yourself! I am glad to show you a demo at my home!

Sound System Layout

The SonArray SR1 is unique because of its layout within your backyard. The subwoofer is placed in a central location, and the satellite speakers are dispersed evenly across the perimeter. This way you won’t be pointing your speakers at your neighbor but back towards your own home – that way you can keep both your neighbors and guests happy! The SonArray SR1 speakers are also designed to be hidden, so it appears that the incredible sound is coming out of thin air! The subwoofer is partially buried under the ground, while the 8 speakers are compact and on stakes that easily camouflage in the foliage. This combination of quality, layout, and concealment makes this speaker system one of a kind and is sure to blow away any guests you may host!

Personal Experience

The reason I rave about the SonArray SR1 system is because I recently installed the system in my own backyard. I love hosting friends in my backyard, so I love having a good sound system to keep everyone pleased. In the past, I have always felt that my speaker system was lacking and not able to provide the level of quality that is possible indoors. The SonArray SR1 System changes this though – the quality of the sound it provides is truly magical and is nothing like I have been able to find in the past.

Give your ears a test drive! Call me now at (562) 881-6000 or respond to this email!

wet cat

2017 vs 2018 – A Weather Comparison

In the middle of 2016, El Niño appeared to be a bust – in fact, we even wrote a blog about it which you can find here.  However, near the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 California saw a historical downpour of rain that has helped alleviate the drought. In this blog, we are going to recap 2017’s historical year in California and look ahead towards 2018 and see what lies in store for us weather wise.

2017 Recap

  • The “water year” for California technically runs from October 1 to September 30, and this past year was one of the most wet years on record.
  • Precipitation exceeded 100 inches in higher elevations like the Sierra Nevada Mountains and amounts around 25-50 inches at lower elevations.
  • Snowpack in the mountains has increased dramatically along with reservoir levels with Lake Shasta around 73% full at the beginning of October – 23% higher than usual at that time of the year.
  • The precipitation was the highest on record across the Northern Sierra Mountains and second highest on record in the San Joaquin Valley.
  • As you can see on the drought monitor, this year has been huge in terms of alleviating the drought with 0% of California suffering from severe drought conditions or worse, while this number was almost 60% a year ago.

2018 Forecast

  • La Niña is currently brewing in the Pacific Ocean and is expected to impact California weather.
  • La Niña is the opposite of El Niño, which we have spoken extensively about in the past which can be found here. La Niña typically brings cold and snowy conditions in the Pacific Northwest and drier weather in places like Southern California due to cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures along the equator in the Pacific. This means that we will likely have a dry winter in Southern California, but it may not be a terrible winter for all of California as a whole.
  • With this being said, the future of California weather is still unclear. As for what exactly will happen this year, the federal government’s sharpest weather minds cannot predict whether La Niña will leave California with less rain, more rain, or the normal amount. Looks like we are just going to have to wait and see what happens, but if a dry winter does occur you know La Niña is to blame.
  • If low rain were to occur, parts of California could return to drought like conditions; however, the conditions would be much less severe than they were years ago.

What do you think will happen? Let us know your prediction in the comments.

Thomas Fire Map

The Devastation of the California Wildfires

As everyone is surely aware, wildfires have been devastating cities across California. However, many people are unaware of the cause of such fires, as well as the magnitude to which these fires are impacting communities. We wanted to write this blog to examine the cause of these fires, look at their impact, and take a moment to thank those brave fire fighters working effortlessly to keep us safe.

What is Causing This Outbreak in Wildfires?

California is coming off one of the wettest winters in years, so why are wildfires the worst they have been in years. Believe it or not, the wet winter negatively contributed to these fires because the rain left hillsides covered in grass and vegetation which then became dried out over the summer. This means that the hills were covered in dried out grass that provided tinder and fuel to these raging fires – there are also estimated to be 102 million dead trees due to the 5-year dry spell and bark beetle infestation. These factors, coupled with intense winds, make the fires stronger and pushing them further than ever before.

The Impact of These Fires

Cal Fire reported over 6,700 fires in California in 2017 which burned 505,000 acres. To put that in perspective, there were 4,742 fires in 2016 with 244,297 acres burned. This horrific year for fires first worsened in Northern California. The Northern California wildfires took 42 lives and burned 5,700 homes and businesses – making the Northern California series of fires the most deadly and destructive in California history. Now the fires continue in Southern California with new fires seeming to arise every day. The most significant and destructive fire is the Thomas Fire which had scorched over 270,000 acres and over 1,000 buildings. As of Christmas, the fire was only about 50% contained and had impacted over 100,000 Californians, according to Cal Fire. Below you can see a map of the fires that occurred in California from October to December and boundaries of the Thomas Fire specifically.

CA Fire MapFire Fighting Efforts

During the Northern California fires, there were some 9,000 firefighters working long hours to battle the raging hours. The combination of steep terrain, intense heat, and lack of sleep had Northern California firefighters “pushing it to the limits” according to one commander. The Southern California firefighters have been facing similar challenges, with more than 8,400 firefighters working around the clock with 1,000 fire engines and 34 helicopters. One firefighter, Cory Iverson, died fighting the fires and a funeral procession was recently held through 5 counties. We want to thank every firefighter working tirelessly to save these communities – especially those who may have spent the holidays fighting fires rather than with their families.

These California fires are looking to become the worst of all time; thus, we wanted to take a minute to update everyone on the magnitude of such fires. Beyond this, we are incredibly appreciative of everyone working effortlessly to stop such fires and keep us safe.

EasyTouch tablet control

Pool Control Made Easy with EasyTouch Integration

The EasyTouch system by Pentair offers a new level of control for pool and spa control systems. In the past, to use your spa you would have to walk over to the heater, fight off the spider webs and insects, flip the switch to spa, turn the lever, and guesstimate the temperature. Even worse is when you have to do this process in reverse after being in the awesome spa. However, with the development of the EasyTouch, Pentair has made controlling your spa not only easier but also more effective. Keep reading to see what makes the EasyTouch just so awesome.

App Integration

Controlling your pool can now be done not only from your phone but from your wrist. Yes you read that right – the EasyTouch can be controlled via the ScreenLogic app in both the App Store and Android market. This means that you can download the app onto your Apple watch or other wrist device and simultaneously control your pool. However, don’t get too carried away because these smart devices are still not typically waterproof.

SunsetBlog - EasyTouch 1Fast Response

As you leave work you can start heating your spa with the simple touch of a button on your phone or watch. This will give you just enough time to make some food and put your swimsuit on before stepping into your nice, warm 100 degree Jacuzzi. The ScreenLogic app allows you to control your pool and spa from anywhere instead of in the past where it could only be done by the dusty, spider web filled heater.

Scheduled Heating

If you come home every night at 6 and go in the spa at 6:30 then there’s no need to constantly be turning on the spa with your phone; rather, you can just schedule the spa to start heating at 6 and it will be ready for you at 6:30 every night. This feature will eliminate the risk of you forgetting to turn the spa on and getting home to a cold spa rather than the warm, relaxing one you are used to. This is just another feature that makes the EasyTouch by Pentair so incredibly awesome and unparalleled in terms of control.

The EasyTouch by Pentair is on an entirely different level than other pool control systems. There is no other control device that offers such convenience as the EasyTouch and any other system would be troublesome in comparison. If you don’t have the EasyTouch then give us a call at (562) 881-6000 and we can come help install it for your pool.

Solar Lily Pads

Wintering Up Your Yard

Christmas is right around the corner meaning we are just reaching the peak of winter, and this colder weather is here to stay for a while. With that being said, there are a few changes we recommend you make to your yard in order to prepare it for winter. In this blog, we will cover a few of those changes that we make that will just help your yard and house function properly during these next few months.

 

Turn Your Sprinklers off with Rain

This one seems to become more and more important every year as we get further into the drought. Depending on the amount of rain you may be able to shut your sprinklers off for a few days or a few weeks or months. However, you just want to ensure you check the weather and water your lawn and plants the minimal amount over these next few months. This will not only save you money, but will help in fighting a future drought.

 

Flush Out Drains and Gutters

With all the leaves falling your drains and gutters can often get clogged. This is not really a problem until it starts to rain and your gutters cannot drain the water. Now we do not have heavy amounts of rain here so odds are your house may be fine without this change, but if heavy amounts of rain were to happen clogged gutters could cause damage to wood, foundation, and landscaping. Unclogging your drains and gutters is an easy process that takes a few quick minutes, and it would be a shame if your house got damaged because you forgot to spend a few minutes flushing out your drains and gutters. Don’t feel safe doing it yourself, then recruit a neighbor kid for a few extra bucks.

Put Solar Lily Pads on to Conserve Water

Even though the sun is not out and shining as often your pool water is still constantly evaporating. This is why you want to put your solar lily pads on your pool in order to conserve water and prevent evaporation. In addition, these pads can help heat your pool and have it ready if you ever want to take a warm late night swim. After all, nobody wants to swim in a cold pool during the winter months. If you still do not own lily pads and are interested in what they are then check out this article. If you interested in purchasing some then simply shoot us back an email and we’ll be glad to set you up.

 

These are just a few of the yearly changes we make to our yard and house to ensure we are ready for winter. These changes take a matter of minutes but can make a big difference in your water usage and spending. Luckily, we all live in Southern California and wintertime is not really “wintertime”. If we were on the East coast we would have to drain our pools and actually prepare for the winter. Thus, always be thankful for this awesome Southern California weather!