Sunset Pools and Spas

Create the Optimum Swimming Experience with Outdoor Pool Lights

There's nothing better than a cool swim on a hot night - but do you really want to swim in the dark? Of course not, and that's exactly why so many pool owners want lights in and around their outdoor pools.

Not only do outdoor pool lights make a swimming experience far more enjoyable because it's possible to use it more often, but lighting also makes for a much safer and, of course, better-looking pool.

Lighting contributes greatly to the aesthetic of backyard pools, highlighting features such as walkways and paths around the pool and even areas such as pool decks, pergolas, slides, fireplaces, and diving boards – whatever makes your pool unique. If you’re looking for some inspiration, just explore Sunset Pools Project Gallery.

What should you consider when the aim is to create the optimal swimming experience with lights?

The most important thing to determine is how much lighting will be required to cover all the areas you want lit. “The spread” of light depends on the pool lights used and the level of reflection. Most pool installers typically recommend LED lighting with a spread of about 15-20 feet but there are several other things to address.

Other important considerations to make when it comes to outdoor pool lighting is the shape of the pool and the material used within it. Darker surfaces, for example, will require more lighting and irregular shaped pools demand near perfect positioning to ensure not only that it looks great but that it provides enough light in areas to make the pool as safe as possible.

While any qualified electrician can install supplementary lighting around a pool, when it comes to installing lights within your pool, turning to a qualified installer of outdoor pool lights like Sunset Pools & Spas is the best course of action thanks to its decades of experience. Even when you turn to a knowledgeable expert to install outdoor pool lights, however, there are still several important considerations pool owners will need to make – whether you are buying replacement pool lights or if you are still in the design phase of an inground pool construction project.

A qualified professional will be able to assess your existing pool or its development plans and make an appropriate recommendation, but two of the most important variables that pool owners should be aware of include voltage and cord length. Voltage is arguably the most important factor when it comes to lighting within an inground pool. Today, most pools use 120-volt lights but there are some local areas across the United States that have specific rules and laws about what kind of actual lighting is allowed so you'll want to check with your installer to make sure you are in compliance with regulations.

Another consideration pool owners will need to make is regarding the cord length. Some pools and properties are larger than others, of course, so measuring from the light to the junction box is going to be critical. Ideally, these cords will have enough “slack” (or extra cord) to pull the light up onto the pool deck. Most pool light cords range in length from 15 to 100 feet so buy what you need and make sure they are of the highest quality to ensure safety.

Turn to a professional to install lights within the pool itself. These are electrical components and need a qualified person to ensure installation is safe. Sunset Pools & Spas is knowledgeable about making these specific pool improvements and can do the work right the first time.

Lighting is an important part of the optimal pool experience - choose wisely and swim often! 

How to Winterize a Pool

“Sunset” Your Pool for The Winter Season

It is unfortunate, but outdoor pools are not able to stay open all year long. With the cold weather months now upon us, it is time for owners and operators of outdoor, inground pools to start thinking about the process of “winterizing” their pool.

How Do You Winterize a Pool?

As the summer comes to a close in Chicago, outdoor pools need to close up until the start of the spring season. Winterizing your pool in northern climates is an important step in making sure the pool can be used when the spring finally, and in all its glorious, fun-loving fashion, comes back around.

Let the following serve as a basic checklist as you start the process of closing or winterizing their pool for the cold weather months:

  1. The first step that outdoor pool owners should take is to test their water. After a long summer of use, a pool’s chemistry could be out of balance. The chemicals to check and “balance” for those preparing to winterize a pool include pH and total alkalinity. Ideally, pH levels should be adjusted to 7.2-7.4 (check with your pool installer for a specific pH level for your own pool).
     
    While many pool kits offer basic water testing capabilities, keep in mind that there is usually no replacement for a full test. Check with Sunset Pools & Spas for more information on water testing and other pool maintenance services.
     
  2. Before closing down a pool for the winter, it is important to make sure that it is cleaned thoroughly one last time. That means removing any debris (leaves, sticks, rocks, etc.) from filters, brushing the sides and vacuuming out any floating debris. This makes sure that filters remain clear and no unsightly stains remain as the pool is closed up for the winter as that is certainly not something you want to see or experience in the spring. The process of winterizing a pool also provides the perfect opportunity to check for leaks
     
  3. Don’t put away the chlorine just yet! It is recommended that pools being winterized go through “shocking”, the process of adding chlorine (or non-chlorine) chemicals in order to raise the “free chlorine” levels to a point where contaminants such as algae, combined chlorine (also known as chloramines) and bacteria are destroyed. While best to check with your pool installer, most winter pool chemical kits recommend a chlorine level of between 2-3 ppm.
     
    Chlorine is not the only chemical, of course, that should be added to a pool before winterization processes are complete. Pool owners and operators should also consider the addition of other winterizing chemicals including algaecide.
     
  4. One of the final steps to is to remove any objects that are used in or around the pool including ladders or pool lights, and make sure to plug the return jet too. Doing so will ensure damage will not occur when the cold winter months result could potentially result in water freezing. Those prepping their pool for the winter months may also want to consider repairing pool equipment, preparing their plumbing lines and winterizing their filtration equipment. 
     
  5. Installing the winter pool cover is the last step of a good winterization process. Make sure that the cover is centered and that the cover is secured tightly. Custom pool covers offer better protection that one size fits all options, so check with your pool builder to learn about the best pool cover options available for you.
     

While a lot of work goes into a Chicago pool opening and pool closing service, Sunset Pools & Spas has a professional, trained and courteous staff on hand to manage both winterizing outdoor pools and preparing them for springtime and summertime fun too. Get in touch with Sunset Pools & Spas today to schedule a consultation.

How To Winterize a Pool Infographic 

Remodeling Your Swimming Pool: Helpful Tips from the Pros

There are several ways that pool owners can approach the business of remodeling their pools, and not all of them result from just wanting something more aesthetically pleasing. Any pool can incur damages over time, whether that be from years of use or years of exposure to the elements. Sometimes, people are interested in adding more modern technological features to their pool spaces, and other times it could simply be a matter of safety.

Whatever the reason, there a few ways to approach a remodel that can improve the looks and the functionality of your pool. The following swimming pool remodeling ideas from Sunset Pools & Spas could help with both:

Change the Tile at the Waterline

One of the most obvious benefits to using tile at the waterline in the first place is that it masks the grime that typically marks the water level, regardless of how clean you keep your pool. Over time, those marks can show up quite clearly, so one feature worth adding during a remodel would be new tiles to spruce up the look and longevity of the pool by hiding that waterline.

Consider Resurfacing

If your budget can provide for it, there comes a time when every pool needs a resurfacing or re-plastering. If the surface of a pool has worn down unevenly or lost its grip, adding one of the newer aggregate finishes could bolster the overall aesthetic and safety of the pool, especially if you opt for certain colors in the aggregate. Quartz and stones can even be added for an even higher-end look.

Be More Energy-Efficient

If you’re investing in a remodel anyway, consider doing so with new energy-efficient parts and materials to use less energy and perhaps lower your monthly electric bill. For example, there are several solar-powered features available at Sunset Pools & Spas, as well as variable-speed pool pumps that could even earn you a rebate from your utility company.

Switch to LED Lights

Whether your pool currently features lights or not, adding LED lighting in the remodel can completely alter the mood of a space without having to spend a whole lot of money. These lights come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors, and some can even be controlled by a smartphone app. For an easy boost to the ambiance of a pool, LED lights are about as quick and easy as it gets.

Go Automated

LED lighting isn’t the only pool feature that can be controlled by smartphones. There are systems that also can connect to the pump, pool heater, and actuators that can allow some pools to switch from a pool to a spa with just a tap of an app.

If you’re interested in undergoing a swimming pool remodel sometime soon, we would love to help here at Sunset Pools & Spas. Stop in any time and a swimming pool remodeling contractor will walk you through your options and help you price out the best remodel options for you and your family. Before you know it, your old pool will look and function like new.