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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

How Long Should You Stay in the Spa

A few weeks ago, we wrote a blog about the health benefits of your spa. However, in that blog we mentioned that you only receive those benefits if you stay in the spa for the right amount of time. In this blog, we will talk about what we consider to be the right amount of time to spend in the spa and what conditions impact this length of time.

External Temperature

It may feel better to soak in the spa when it’s cold outside, but this is not necessarily the best environment for your body. The transition from a spa to a cold temperature causes the body to cool itself too quickly which can result in dizziness. On the other hand, higher temperatures allows your body to cool itself slower and makes the adjustment back to normal temperature much easier. Thus, you can stay in the hot tub longer when the outside temperature is hotter despite how nice it may feel to remain in the hot tub on a cold winter night.

Spa Temperature

Most hot tubs reach maximum temperatures around 104 degrees Fahrenheit preset by the heater, as any temperature over this heat can lead to concern. 104 degrees may feel great and relaxing for some, but by turning the temperature down just a degree or two you are able to safely stay in the spa for a much longer time.

How Deep You Sit

If you sit with the water up to your neck then odds are you are going to overheat rather fast and want to leave the spa. Whereas if you sit with the water to around chest level then you will be much better off. I personally enjoy alternating my position to prevent overheating thus allowing myself to stay in the spa for a longer, more enjoyable time.

Other Conditions

One of the other main reasons to shorten spa time is alcohol consumption. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a drink in the spa, if you are drinking a lot then you should avoid the spa because it dehydrates you and can lead to dizziness and unexpected increased intoxication. Health conditions like pregnancy or a heart condition are another good reason to limit spa time. Finally, children should spend less time in the spa because their smaller bodies make it harder for their bodies to readjust their body temperature to normal levels.

Final Verdict

As a general rule of thumb, 20 minutes is about the right amount of time you should soak with a maximum of 30 minutes. Beyond this point the spa begins to dry out your skin and overheat your body. Everyone is different, so you can soak for as long as you feel comfortable hypothetically. However, health studies have just suggested that the best time for soaking is up to 20 minutes if you want to receive the best health benefits.

It is the Time of Year for Fall Fun

It’s that time of the year – look outside and see the leaves changing color! From Halloween to Thanksgiving, Fall is one of our favorite times of the year. Below we listed some of our favorite things to do at this time of the year so be sure to check them out and make the most of your fall.

Using the Pool in the Day and Spa at Night

It is tough if you’re feeling that you’re not making the most of your pool and spa, but have no fear because fall is the perfect time for this. The days are warm making it a great time to go for a quick swim in your pool, while nights are cold making it a great time for a spa. With that said, enjoy the weather and hit your spa at night for a nice sleeping pill!

Go to Your Local Pumpkin Patch

You’re never too old to go to your local pumpkin patch and pick out a pumpkin. The pumpkin patch is a great place to visit and get in season, whether it be with a family or with a date. Everyone loves carving a pumpkin and you are truly missing out on October if you don’t carve a pumpkin and set it on your front porch.

Get Dressed Up for Halloween

Some people may think getting dressed up for Halloween is just for kids, but getting dressed up is fun no matter your age. There’s only one time of the year that you get to dress up as whatever you want, so be sure to attend or host a Halloween party. Find a partner or few friends and get a group costume going if you really love to dress up.

Spend Thanksgiving with the People You’re Thankful For

Thanksgiving is a holiday unique to us Americans, and, although the rest of the world finds it odd, it’s many people’s favorite time of the year. Thanksgiving food is amazing, but Thanksgiving is really pointless if you don’t spend it with the people you love. So while we highly recommend cooking a turkey and some mashed potatoes, the most important thing is to make sure you gather the people you’re thankful for to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

Experience Black Friday

Whether you’re shopping or not, you have to experience Black Friday. It’s truly amazing to watch the hype and spirit that surrounds Black Friday. People plan for weeks and line up for days just to save a few bucks. The atmosphere of Black Friday is truly unlike anything you’ve ever experienced and we recommend you watch, whether it be in person or online, if you aren’t planning to shop.

 

 

Fall is one of our favorite times of the year. The weather is perfect, the holidays are great, and the atmosphere is energetic. Fall is one of the best seasons to get into and really go all out, and we think you can do just that by following these tips. How do you like to celebrate fall and get into the spirit?

Getting to Know Your Neighbors

We all have neighbors, but not everyone knows their neighbors. I know my neighbors quite well and we get along nicely; however, it occurred to me that many people do not have a similar relationship. Oftentimes, people have those neighbors that they drive by and wave to but never truly talk to or interact with. Thus, I decided to write this blog to offer ways to get to know your neighbors whether they be new neighbors or old neighbors you just never got around to knowing.

Nextdoor.com

NextdoorNextdoor is a private social networking service for neighborhoods and can be a great way to communicate online with your neighbors. The Rossmoor neighborhood is showcased at https://nextdoor.com/neighborhood/rossmoor–los-alamitos–ca/ and you can put in your address and it will direct you to an online community just for your surrounding neighborhood.

People are using Nextdoor to:

  • Quickly get the word out about a break-in
  • Organize a Neighborhood Watch Group
  • Track down a trustworthy babysitter
  • Find out who does the best swimming pool construction in town
  • Ask for help keeping an eye out for a lost dog
  • Find a new home for an outgrown bike
  • Finally call that nice man down the street by his first name

Nextdoor’s mission is to provide a trusted platform where neighbors work together to build stronger, safer, happier communities, all over the world. Nextdoor is a great way to stay up-to-date with your neighborhood without the hassle of speaking to every neighbor in your area.

Knock, Knock

There’s no better way to introduce yourself to neighbors than the old-fashioned tradition of knocking on someone’s door. How often do neighbors go and knock on each other’s doors these days? Not enough. In the modern age, we have grown accustomed to talking via text and social media at the expense of friendly, person-to-person interactions. I may have advocated for Nextdoor.com due to its convenience, but I have always found the best way to meet your neighbors is to simply go next door and knock. Bringing a gift of some sort or some form of baked goods is a great excuse for knocking on your neighbor’s door and can be a great start to a friendly relationship.

Invite Them Over For Dinner

If you have spoken to your neighbors a few times but don’t know them as well as you wish, then a dinner is the great way to grow more acquainted. Dinner can be at your house, someone else’s house, or a restaurant, but in the end, there is no better way to get to know someone than over dinner. Many of us know our neighbors but not very well – a dinner can be a perfect way to grow this relationship and learn more about your neighbors next-door.

Host a Party

Every few years, my neighbors and I plan a block party. Block parties are amazing because you are hanging out with the people who live in your area, and they are a perfect way to socialize with those people around you. Block parties can be rather hard to organize though, so a simple party at your house with food, drinks, and swimming is a great option, as well. Invite over a combination of good friends and new neighbors which will allow you to meet your new neighbors without putting the pressure on you to constantly be interacting with only them. Whether it be a block party or a smaller house party, having a party with your neighbors is a great way to meet them and form stronger relationships.

Being friends with your neighbor can be incredibly beneficial whether you are running low on sugar, need someone to watch your house while you are on vacation, or want to avoid a noise disturbance at your next party. Getting to know your neighbors doesn’t have to be anything extravagant and can be as easy as checking a social media site or knocking on their door; thus, we think everyone should be, or at least make an effort to be, friends with their neighbors.

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.

No 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.

When 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.