bad pool light

Electrical Safety for Pool Owners

One of our previous customers emailed me an article recently regarding pool electrical safety, and I decided this would be a good question to address for all our clients. Thus, in this blog we will cover the basics of electrical pool safety and eliminate any and all fears for pool owners in regard to electrical problems.

electric and water don't mixNo Need to Worry

We just want to preface this blog by reassuring our customers about the safety of their pools. Sunset Designers and Builders has been in business for over 65 years and in that time, we have never had an electrical accident. Through our experience, we have learned the correct and safe way to electrically wire pool lights and equipment, so there is no need to worry about potential electrical issues. Additionally, the advanced technology we use is designed in order to avoid accidents in any situation, so there should never be any issue with electrical. Now that you can sleep safe knowing that your children are safe swimming in a pool with electrical equipment, we should address the need to get your pool inspected every five years.

checklistWhen to Get Pool Inspections

As we said, pool inspections should be conducted every five years. Electrical inspections can be conducted by licensed electricians or pool contractors to ensure your pool is properly grounded and all lighting is properly wired. Pool inspections are easy and typically go without a problem, but one can never be too safe.

How do Electrical Accidents Happen?

Electrical accidents can and do happen; however, most of these accidents only happen in older pools that were not properly wired. Faulty lighting and bar wiring are large electrical hazards, but these have never been an issue in a pool designed by Sunset Designers and Builders. Thus, all our customers should be comfortable and safe swimming in their pools, but electrical issues can be a cause for concern in older pools lacking inspection.

5 Health Benefits of a Spa

If you know me, then you know I love my spa. I’ve found my spa to be a perfect way to relax after a long day, and I try to enjoy my spa as often as I can. I’ve always known spas brought health benefits, but when I began to research the extent of the benefits I was blown away. In this blog, I chose the 5 health benefits I found the most beneficial and decided to share them.

Improved Sleep

Your body temperature naturally dips at night starting about two hours before you go to sleep, and the higher temperature drop the more relaxed you become. Thus, if you raise your temperature a degree or two by relaxing in a spa then the steeper temperature drop will help you fall into a deep sleep. With this being said, we do not recommend sleeping in your spa, as that can be dangerous, but rather relaxing in your spa up to two hours before you go to bed to get the benefit of improved sleep.

Reduced Stress

Studies have shown that a combination of hot water, massaging jets, and the feel of weightlessness all work together to reduce mental and physical stress. Jets can also help stimulate the release of endorphins which cause you to feel better and more positive. Thus, if you want to reduce stress and anxiety then you should try getting in the spa for 20 minutes a day.

Lower Blood Pressure

blood pressureWhen you immerse yourself in warm water, your body’s reaction is to stabilize your temperature by pumping additional blood. This additional blood flow causes an increase in oxygen, antibodies, and white blood cells. The warmth then causes the blood vessels to dilate and expand lessening the resistance on the heart and lowering blood pressure.

Skin Care

The hot water of spas opens your pores to heal and rejuvenate skin. The hot water also cleans and disinfects the skin – which is a good reminder to keep your hot tub clean and well maintained. However, be careful not to stay in for too long or else you can dry your skin out instead of making it healthier.

Heals Body Aches

The increased blood circulation from hot water that we mentioned previously also helps relieve pain and body aches. The increased blood flow throughout the body also helps relax your muscles and ease inflammation. In conclusion, spas are a terrific way to relieve muscle soreness or more serious conditions like arthritis, tendonitis, or carpal tunnel.

These are just some of the great health benefits that come from regularly relaxing in your spa. You can receive these health benefits from a simple 20 minutes in the spa every day, which can be spent watching TV, listening to music, or whatever else you desire. I personally love my spa and try to spend some time in it every day. If you don’t have a spa and are interested in adding one then reach out to us and we can discuss your options.

Elevated Pool Update – Beauty, Safety and Improved Functionality

We designed the first elevated pool back in 2006 in my very own backyard. The elevated pool was designed to help make better use of limited space as properties continue to get smaller. In this blog, we will talk about the benefits of elevated pools, the current condition of the first elevated pool, and potential future innovations.

Brainstorming the First Elevated Pool

When it came time to remodel my pool back in 2006, I knew it was a perfect time to experiment with something new. I wanted a pool that could better suit my needs of hosting guests and optimizing space while simultaneously looking aesthetically pleasing. I also had a common issue with Rossmoor homes in that the pool was a few inches too high for ­the house foundation slab. This typically meant a drastic slope of concrete and was often unsightly. By elevating the pool, I was able to regrade the yard and add drains to work well in rain and look normal. After finishing the project, I realized that an elevated pool was a perfect solution not just for my home, but for all homes. Thus, Sunset began designing elevated pools and has never looked back.

What are the Benefits of an Elevated Pool?

Elevated pools allow you to make better use of limited space due to increased functionality with more seating. Elevated pools also allow users to swim surrounded by the environment rather than down in a hole like conventional pools. Elevated pools also look better partially because of the aesthetic beauty but also because fewer leaves and other debris blows into the pool. Finally, elevated pools are safer for little ones and big ones to ensure they do not fall into the pool. All of these features work together to make the elevated pool unique and our preference over old, traditional pools.

 

Current Condition of the First Elevated Pool

It’s been 11 years since my pool was first built, and it looks just as good today as it did when it was first built. I have no issues with my elevated pool, and I have truly loved the benefits it has brought me. Whenever I have new guests over to swim they love the additional seating and swimming environment the pool provides, and I think the elevated design helps it stand out from other pools. I will never have to remodel my pool again because of the long-lasting design, but if I were to I would choose an elevated design every time. The elevated pool design was one of the best ideas I have ever had, and it has truly changed my life for the better.

Zahn Drone Pool Effect

Swim in Space

Futuristic Swimming Pools

We like to think of our pools as innovative considering we used the most up-to-date technology and the advanced elevated pool design, but we must admit there are some futuristic pools out there that are truly innovative. In this blog, we’ll look at some futuristic pools that look incredible and use next-level technology, and some day one of these pool designs may become the standard for pools around the world.

Disappearing Pool

We have briefly discussed disappearing pools in the past when we wrote about The History of Swimming Pools. In case you forgot, disappearing pools allow you to optimize space as the area typically reserved for your pool can be transformed into a deck or grass. This innovative technology can be a game changer for yards lacking the space to support a pool, and could gain traction in the future. However, this technology limits the customization of the pool and eliminates many traditional pool features which we love.

Natural Swimming Pool

This swimming pool type is a lot less traditional compared to what we are used to. Natural swimming pools are made with natural clear water and is meant to feel like swimming in a pond. This pool originally designed by David Pagan Butler heats via solar energy and uses no chemicals; instead, it’s cleaned by the wildlife that lives in it. This pool is a little bit too natural for us, but if this is something that intrigues you then you could possibly own a pool like this in the future.

natural poolSwimming in Space

Hotels in space are becoming a reality, and what is a hotel without a swimming pool? Swimming in space would be like swimming on Earth but ten times cooler. The waves would be larger, swimmers would be able to jump out of water like dolphins, and possibly even run on water. Everything about swimming in space sounds incredible, but swimming in space does pose a lot of problems. One of the biggest questions is, how can you get a pool filled with water without gravity? Another problem would be ensuring that you could breathe because a lack of buoyancy would mean you don’t float to the surface. Questions like these will pose design challenges in the future, but this does not mean swimming in space will be impossible.

Many of these swimming pool designs sound incredible and could change the way we experience pools, but there’s always a trade-off. Most of these designs will take a long time to catch on and become price efficient, and in the meantime, they are just economically inefficient. Until then, we will continue to make our state-of-the-art pools and innovate wherever possible – always trying to make sure our customers receive the best service and equipment on the market.

pool construction growth

Trends Driving Pool Popularity

Above is a graph comparing the average United States pool construction growth since 2005 versus our own personal construction growth since 2005. It’s interesting to note our dip slightly before the recession and then a strong upward trend from 2008 to 2014. We like to contribute this success to implementing a strong digital marketing presence; in fact, we became so involved in digital marketing that we created our own company, Omnibeat! In this blog, we will explore other trends that we believe are driving this growth and try to justify the consistent progress we expect in the future. Way to go Nate Trimmer and Team Sunset!

Limitless Possibilities

If you wanted to build a pool 50 years ago then you would have a few different options, but for the most part everyone’s pools were “standard” and similar. However, in today’s market the pool possibilities are infinite and it seems like no two pools look the same anymore. The differences range from major differences like design and materials to minor differences like lighting and water features. The different options available for modern pools are truly astounding, and we think this potential for creativity and uniqueness is helping drive the pool market.

Technological Advancements

New advancements have made pool construction easier for everyone. There are now apps and websites which allow customers to begin visualizing their dream pools virtually. On the other side of it, we have modern technology like shotcrete that makes the pool building process much stronger and more efficient. Beyond this, pool control and maintenance has also become more convenient. Customers can now control their pool temperature and filter from their phones and receive better feedback about the quality of their pool allowing for easier maintenance and upkeep.

Generational Changes

With every new generation comes changes, and we believe that the new generation has brought positive results to the pool business. For one, we have found that pools serve as a great family mecca allowing parents and grandparents to entertain children and grandchildren. These younger children are also playing pool related sports in greater numbers, which is increasing the demand for pools to practice in. Additionally, a large population of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are reaching older ages where pools can be of great health benefit. Pools are a terrific way to exercise while putting minimal pressure on the joints, so pools can be a great workout tool for older generations.

cloudy sunWeather

Weather has been another strong influence on the pool business as of recently. In California, weather was a negative influence up until recently as people negatively correlated the drought with pools. However, now that the drought is practically over and we are experiencing nice, warm weather we are seeing a strong demand for pools to help homeowners escape the heat and cool off.

Easier Ways to Pay

Finally, a strong economy is potentially the central influence causing an increase in demand
for swimming pools. You could see in the graph at the beginning that the demand for pools took a sharp decline in 2008-2011 as America recovered from the recession, but our recovered economy is bringing about an increase in pool business. The reason for this partially relates to an increasing per capita disposable income in America, but also to the increased ability to finance pool construction. In this strong economy, you can get an affordable loan in more ways than ever before.

We believe that it is a combination of all these trends that is leading to the positive pool construction growth that you see in the chart at the beginning. We are incredibly thankful for this growth as it allowed us to keep doing what we love: build pools! If you have been seeing similar growth in your business or if you know someone that is looking to join in on the trend and get started on the pool of their dreams then email us and let us know – we love to hear from our amazing customers!

dog sunglasses in pool

Dogs in Swimming Pools

As it gets warmer you will likely start swimming more often, and you may be tempted to bring your dog in the pool with you. If you have one, however, before you do this you should know a few things and take some precautions. This blog will discuss the tradeoffs of dogs swimming in your pool, so you can know whether or not swimming is a good fit for your dog. Also, don’t miss a clip of Nate’s adorable new puppy (who’s not so much of a puppy anymore) Ragnar at the end of the blog.

Make Sure Your Dog Can Swim

People commonly assume that all dogs are natural swimmers, but this is not true. Some breeds of dogs instinctively doggy paddle when placed in water, but other breeds that are top heavy with short legs cannot swim well and will be at harm in a pool. Some examples of breeds that can’t swim are bulldogs, dachshunds, pugs, and boxers just to name a few. Thus, before you go throwing your dog into the pool trying to get it to swim, you should check to make sure your dog can swim by researching and testing their swimming abilities in shallow water.

Is It Safe for Dogs in Chlorine Pools?

Chlorine is not inherently dangerous for dogs, but, like many other things, the hazards of chlorine are dose dependent. Dogs’ eyes, ears, and noses are more sensitive than humans, so they may be more irritated by the chlorine than you. However, for the most part chlorine pools are safe for dogs, as long as they are not drinking the water in large amounts.

dog sheddingBe Wary of Shedding

Different breeds of dogs have various levels of shedding, but if your dog sheds heavily then its hair may pollute your pool and clog your filtration system if it goes swimming. After all, nobody wants to go swimming and come out covered in dog hair. If your dog does shed heavily and you still want to allow it to swim then just try to brush it ahead of time to limit shedding in the pool.

Maybe Opt for A Kiddie Pool

Maybe your dog sheds too much or maybe it can’t swim well, but it still wants to swim. Well, a kiddie pool can be the perfect solution. Dogs can have plenty of fun in kiddie pools while remaining safe and keeping your pool nice and clean.

In the end, the decision about whether to let your dog go swimming depends on the type of dog. If you have a dog that loves to swim, doesn’t shed, and can swim well then let them jump in the pool and join the family. However, if your dog sheds heavily, cannot swim, or maybe hates swimming then you should avoid bringing them in the pool and maybe opt for a kiddie pool instead. Having your dog in the pool can be a great experience, but like most other things you always should be careful and make sure you take precaution.

Ragnar In Pool

Watch Ragnar having a blast in his pool.

Things to Look for When Buying a House with a Swimming Pool

poor stepsHidden Repairs

Oftentimes when preparing a house for sale, homeowners will do makeshift repairs to make things look perfect and functional, but these repairs can often be an illusion. When looking to purchase a house with a swimming pool you should contact a pool inspector to test the equipment and pressure of the pool to ensure everything works properly and to avoid any leaks or issues. If there are repairs necessary then you should have those estimated ahead of time so you can factor them into the purchasing price.

Warranty Coverage

You should always check to see if your pool is covered under warranty. Sometimes the pool company will have gone out of business or maybe something else happened to terminate the warranty; if this is the case, then you should contact an insurance agent to find out how much a warranty would cost you monthly. Buying a pool without a warranty can add surprise monthly expenses, so you need to do research beforehand to make sure you get a fair price.

warranty cartoon

car in poolImpact on Insurance

Beyond warranty, pools also have an impact on your insurance as well. The value added to your home by a pool can vary significantly potentially impacting your premium, so you want to contact your insurance agent to get an estimate on what your monthly insurance will look like with a pool. Luckily, pools are less susceptible to damage in comparison to houses so homeowners should not worry too much about pools and their impact on insurance.

Pool Design

Probably the utmost question to ask yourself when buying a house with a pool is: do you like the design of the pool? You can always pay for a pool remodel, but if this is your plan then you should think a remodel through ahead of time to ensure you are prepared for the costs. Last thing you want is to end up with a pool, which you find distasteful, stuck in your backyard due to a lack of funding for a remodel. While the pool design and appearance should come second in priority to the house, you should still seriously consider the design of the pool and factor in any future remodels into your budget.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Pools are not just a one-time purchase and done type of ordeal – pools requiring cleaning and maintenance and, while these costs are not expensive, they need to be considered prior to purchasing.

 

Don’t get us wrong – buying a house with a pool is a blessing. However, we just want to make sure that prospective homeowners are prepared for what a pool entails and make sure that they get the right price for the home they purchase. Buying a pool should add value to the home, but the extent of this value can only be sometimes be overvalued. This is why all prospective homeowners should check these items and make sure they factor them into their budget before making the decision to buy a home with a pool.

Cost Variation in Swimming Pool Construction

Building a swimming pool is no minor thing; thus, when you decide to build a swimming pool you want to ensure you have all the facts about the unique features of pools and the costs that come with them. This post is written to educate customers on what elements of swimming pool construction add additional costs, so as to guarantee that clients avoid hidden fees and truly get the most out of their money.

pool tileQuality of Building Materials

The most important cost factor in your pool is the materials you decide upon. Porcelain tiles look incredible, but they come at a price. Vinyl can be cheaper than concrete or other materials, but your design flexibility and visual aesthetic capabilities are limited with vinyl. The same goes with coping and all the other materials that go into a pool. There will always be materials more expensive than others, but, more often than not, these higher prices will come with greater benefits.

Add-On’s

A spa and a water feature are nice additions to a pool, but they don’t come for free. These days there are innovative technologies that allow you to clean your pool more efficiently or even allow you to control your spa with your smartphone, and we believe these technologies are often worth the price. However, if you are working with a tight budget then you cannot afford to be adding all the newest technologies and every feature possible.

contractorCraftsmanship and Expertise

Oftentimes people think that the size and materials are the only factors that change price, but this is not true. When working with someone with experience and expertise you are paying for a promise on better design and execution. Someone with 30 years of experience in the business is going to design a more beautiful pool and make sure that the project is completely in a timely and efficient manner. You may be inclined to pick the cheaper, less-experienced pool contractor, but you also need to understand that this contractor will not be able to guarantee the same product the experienced contractor can. It is this same promise of quality that causes us to shop at stores like Nordstrom’s over buying cheap products online.

Magnitude and Scope

A larger pool is going to cost more – this everyone knows. However, what most people do not know is that magnitude goes beyond simply size. Deeper pools are also more expensive because it requires more digging and excavating. Design can also play a factor as a simple circle pool will be easier and less expensive than an elaborate design that requires precise planning. In the end, these additions all require more materials, labor, and time meaning more money, so when planning a pool, you need to take magnitude and scope into consideration with regards to your budget.

warrantycartoonWarranties and Support

Warranties can be a subtle yet important cost variation in pool building. You want to make certain that you work with a swimming pool company with longevity because your warranty is only good as long as the company you are working with is in business. It is for this reason that some warranties may be more expensive than others, but sometimes this warranty is worth the premium of making sure your pool remains functional for years to come.

In Summary

Buying a pool is like buying a car – you can buy your car with no accessories, the bare minimum, and be happy with your purchase. However, if you really want to enjoy your purchase and get the best experience out of it, then sometimes you need to add GPS, a sunroof, and a new interior. You may be happy with a simple pool that gets the job done and allows you to swim, but if you want a pool that will transform your backyard and amaze your visitors then you will likely have to spend a little extra. Pool buyers need to be wary of the cost variations mentioned in this blog to guarantee that they get an accurate and fair pricing for the pool project they are dreaming of.

5 Reasons to Hire a Pool Contractor

A pool can be the perfect addition if you’re looking to upgrade your bland backyard. No two pools will look the same, so that’s why you need to seize the opportunity and get your pool done right by a pool contractor. Pool contractors will help shape the backyard you’ve been dreaming of.

Their Knowledge and Expertise

Pool Contractors know what looks good no matter the layout of your yard. They’ll use their knowledge to help design the ideal pool to match your space and create the perfect backyard environment.

Boost Your Property Value

Having a beautiful pool can make your property more valuable. Pool contractors will know which shapes and styles suit your area best, thus giving your home a more beautiful aesthetic and higher value if you decide to put it on the market.

Their Recommendations

Pool contractors work goes beyond the build itself, as they can recommend the right equipment and services to keep your pool running and looking beautiful for a long time to come. They can also share water and energy savings tips to cut your bills in half.

Proper Systems

When dealing with pools for a living, you make sure to keep up to date with the newest and best pool equipment. We’ll make sure you have the state-of-the-art pool systems to keep your pool shining.

Family Mecca

A pool can transform your yard into a family mecca because, let’s face it, there’s nothing better than sitting poolside with your family and friends on a hot summer day. However, without a pool, your kids will be ditching you to go swimming in their friends’ pools. Time is precious, might as well make the most of them and share memories in your own backyard.

houzz

Find Your Local Professional with Houzz and Yelp

Houzz and Yelp are two excellent sources to help you find a talented local professional. Both of these sites revolve around customer reviews meaning that you can hear input from prior customers to ensure that the professional you are hiring will meet your expectations. In this post we will explain both Houzz and Yelp before then highlighting the benefits of each site and explaining how they can help you find the local professional right for the job.

Yelp

yelpYelp has hundreds of millions of users per month, so most people are familiar with Yelp. However, about 40% of Yelp’s reviews are devoted to shopping and restaurants meaning that not very many people use the app for local professionals. This should not be the case though, as there are over 127 million reviews on app, about 13% of which relate to home and local services. This means that you can search for a local professional on Yelp and likely find reviews from previous customers detailing the good and the bad of each professional.  These reviews can help you be confident in your decision because professional service is almost always consistent – a professional who puts in due diligence on one job is likely to do the same on the future jobs and vice versa. Here at Sunset we are happy with our 10 reviews but some local contractors have up to 100! This goes to show that Yelp can be used for things other than finding food reviews and can help you find a local professional for any service you may need.

Houzz

Houzz is another popular site similar to Yelp in that it integrates customer reviews, but it is different because professionals can create their own pages to display their products and advocate for their service. Houzz is less oriented to shopping and food services than Yelp and more focused on home improvement with profiles from all different professions. Regardless of the type of home improvement you are looking for, Houzz has you set and a simple search can lead you to professionals displaying their products with reviews to match. Sunset is proud to say we have 18 reviews on Houzz along with 2 Houzz Awards for Best Service over the past 2 years. Houzz is an excellent app for any type of home improvement and can be great motivation to help you find the right professional and get started on that home renovation you have always dreamed of.

Yelp and Houzz are two great apps that can help you find local professionals right for your job. The integration of customer reviews allows you to ensure that you will be pleased with your professional just as the previous clients were. We also encourage everyone to leave reviews more often on Yelp, Houzz, or whatever else may be. You benefit when others leave helpful reviews so why not return the favor and review something you experienced for someone else.