Save 💰; Upgrade Your Pool Pump to IntelliFlo VSF

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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.

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.

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?

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

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.

Weather

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!

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

Hidden 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.

 

Impact 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.

Craftsmanship 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.

Warranties 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.

California Drought Update from a Swimming Pool Perspective

Have you noticed photos of the wildflowers blooming this spring after the amazingly wet season after the recent 6-year long California Drought? We have seen the news reports and the photos all over our social media feeds. On April 7, 2017, California Governor Brown terminated the January 17, 2014 Drought State of Emergency impacting all but Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne counties. California residents successfully conserved water in unprecedented levels, reducing water use in communities by 22% between 2014 and 2017.

 

Throughout the drought many counties and municipalities enacted swimming pool permit restrictions in an effort to conserve water; however, luckily, we weren’t affected by these restrictions in our local area.

 

In fact, residential swimming pool and spa owners are already conserving water compared to a conventional backyard. Swimming pools use less water than the same square footage of a lawn and if you add in a pool deck area, rather than grass, the water savings are increased.  Drought resistant/tolerant landscaping with native plants adds even more water conservation.

 

According to the California Pool & Spa Association, you can continue to do your part to conserve water in the following ways:

 

If you own a pool:

  • Install a pool cover to reduce water evaporation by as much as 90%
  • Shut off waterfalls, fountains and other water features to reduce water loss and evaporation
  • Check the pool for leaks, contact your pool service professional for guidance.
  • Minimize splashing or lower the pool’s water level to reduce “splash out.”
  • Plug the overflow line when the pool is in use.
  • Replace traditional sand and DE Filters with cartridge filters that do not require backwashing.
  • Keep your pool clean to reduce frequency of backwashing.
  • If your pool is heated, reduce the water temperature to reduce evaporation.

 

If you own spa:

  • Keep it covered.
  • Maintain the chemicals to extend water life.
  • Check the equipment for leaks.
  • Drain only when absolutely necessary.
  • Check with your pool service professional for new technology that helps keep the water clean and reduce the need to drain the spa.
  • If you drain your spa, reuse the water to irrigate plants and landscaping.

 

If you have any questions about the current condition of your pool/spa and landscaping, we are happy to meet and discuss your water conservation opportunities.

 

How to Keep Your Swimming Pool Clean: Pool Sanitization Guide

Pool sanitization is an important part of the pool building process and can be a difficult decision for most people.

The typical method of keeping one’s pool clean is Chlorine, but in this article we’ll talk about other methods as well. Check out each method below so you can pick which option you think is the right one for you and your family.

Chlorine

Chlorine is by far the most popular because of its effectiveness and availability in liquid, gas, or solid form. Chlorine’s long half-life allows it to be stored for long periods of time. It also continues to break down bacteria for a long after its addition to the pool. However, chlorine has some downsides. Chlorine dissipates quickly so your pool must be tested regularly if using this chemical. It can also be irritating to swimmers as its byproducts affect eyes and skin. Beyond this irritation, chlorine has been associated with various health issues such as chest tightness and difficulty breathing.

Ozone

pool sanitizationThis is our go-to. Ozone is 100 times stronger than chlorine, allowing a smaller amount of chemicals to be used. Ozone also aides in reducing pool maintenance as it breaks down grease and oils that clog filters. Ozone does not affect pH levels of pools and thus requires less adjustment. However, ozone also has its cons. It has a short half-life and thus must be used quickly after being manufactured. However, this is rarely an issue for customers. The ozone gas itself can also be harmful in high concentrations, but this would only happen in a major accident. Ozone is not perfect, but, in our eyes, it is the closest method we have as its issues can easily be solved.

Bromine

Another option for pool sanitization is bromine. Bromine is very similar to chlorine but has different strengths and waste products. Bromine is more stable than chlorine and works for a longer time. It also has a less pungent smell, but its smell can be harder to get rid of. Bromine is less popular because it is overall weaker than chlorine, not to mention more expensive.

Ionizers

Ionizers release ions into pools to kill bacteria and as a result,  reduce the need for swimming pool chemicals. The ions also do not harm pool equipment and are inexpensive to maintain. However, ionizers are rarely used because they require more maintenance. Ionizers do not oxidize pool water and take hours to fight contaminants. They also affect a pool’s pH and actually need the addition of chlorine to sufficiently sanitize a pool. Thus, ionizers are rarely used because of their complexity and necessary attention.

These are the four most common methods of pool sanitization that Sunset Designers and Builders uses. All four are effective ways of sanitizing a pool, but we personally prefer the ozone method. We do this via the company UltraPure. The next blog will go more into detail about UltraPure and the process of sanitizing through ozone!

Solar Pool Covers for Heating Your Pool – Part 1

I am fascinated with an email that I received from a customer and close friend about Solar Pool Covers.

We typically think of complete coverage which has several advantages but also several disadvantages; too big, too hard to remove and put back and too expensive. I was so intrigued by this customers idea of partial solar pool covers that I have purchased 3 round covers for my pool and 1 for my spa. I have started to conduct a test of 3 temperature readings a day of both air and water temps. Once I collect my data, I will report back to you and share the theory offered by my client. Either way, I see a benefit in less water loss and increase in water temp, two things all pool owners desire.

Please read the email from our customer below.

Stay tuned for the results of my observations of Solar Pool Covers on my pool and to share the Theory of our customer.

———————————————————–

John,

I have probably mentioned this to you before, but perhaps not comprehensively. You might find our experiences with solar pool covers valuable for your other customers.

Before you remodeled our pool, we would buy a full sized solar pool cover every two years or so. Back in the 90’s when we were doing this they cost a little over $100. We would cut the cover to size for the whole pool. As far as heating and water conservation, the cover worked great. In those days we did not have a pool heater, yet our record temperature with the cover alone was 97 degrees! The downsides were having to drag the cover off when we wanted to use the pool, determine where to put it when it was off, and drag it back on when we were done swimming and how ugly it looked.

When you remodeled the pool in 2001, we decided that we weren’t going to cover up our beautiful new pool with an ugly cover. As a compromise, I bought two round solar pool covers. I think they are ten feet in diameter, but size will be dependent on pool width and length. At first we bought the standard blue, then tried black and finally settled on clear covers. Although logic suggests that darker covers work better, my research and experience indicates that the clear covers actually work significantly better. Although the darker covers heat up more rapidly, it is the infrared going through the covers and getting trapped in the water that really heats the pool. Also, clear covers are far less obvious to the eyes, and the inevitable scaling does not show as much on them. Experience has also shown that 16 mil thick covers work the best and are, overall, easier to handle, although somewhat heavier. The 12 mil covers last two good years, and we usually got a third year out of them. The 16 mil covers are now going on four years old and may even go five years or more. I buy the covers online when needed and have them shipped. The price varies and deals are sometimes available.

In the last several years we have saved our oldest cover and cut it in half so that we now use two and a half covers on the pool. Altogether, they cover about 70% of the pool surface and keep the pool at around ~ 87 degrees in the summer. When we swim, we fold and stack them in a corner of the pool. They take up a space about three feet wide. When we have parties, I remove them entirely and put them in the side yard. As far as evaporation goes, I would guess that since the covers are on % of the surface, they reduce evaporation by approximately 70%. We have a pool heater now, thanks to your remodel job, but only use it on cool days to supplement the covers. When the sun begins getting low in the sky in the fall the covers don’t do much anymore. We remove, clean and store them in the shed until late spring.

I don’t know the physics of it, but from observation, deduction and just plain guessing, I have a theory…