Swimming Pools: The Untapped Resource for Health and Fitness

           If you had to decide between using your backyard for leisure or installing a home gym for working out, which would you choose? Many people don't realize that a swimming pool can be both! Swimming is a chance to work out your entire body in a way that increases muscle strength, builds endurance, and promotes flexibility at the same time.

            From professional athletes recovering from injury to senior citizens looking to alleviate arthritis pain, people have longed turned to pools as an effective from of low-impact exercise. When you’re waist-deep in water, your body bears only 50% of its weight. The result is that exercises like jogging and aerobics can be done with less impact on stiff joints, sore knees, or weak bones. At the same time, water resistance turns simple motions like walking into tough, strength-building workouts. Because water is around 800 times denser than air, swimming requires work with every movement, which is why it’s a dynamic way to burn calories. According to Emory University’s Healthier People algorithm, a 200-pound male who swims moderately for only 30 minutes will burn about 270 calories. Swimming laps in a pool burns an average of 476 calories per hour. According to Livestrong.com, swimming in the breast stroke position burns an average of 863 calories per hour for a person who weighs 190 pounds. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps famously claimed to eat a 4,000-calorie breakfast (including chocolate-chip pancakes) as part of his training routine, in part because he needed so much energy for a day of swimming.

            Athletes often use swimming as a way to increase cardiovascular endurance and improve their overall fitness before returning to sport-specific exercise routines. The effects can be pronounced for people who are new to swimming – because your muscles aren’t accustomed to the motions involved in pool workouts, it will give your body a stimulating new challenge. Swimming also enhances your cardiovascular system by expanding lung capacity – and not just because you sometimes hold your breath underwater. Exercises such as swimming laps require breath control, so you become accustomed to performing high-intensity tasks with limited oxygen. When your cardio routine takes you back on land – where oxygen is in limitless supply – you’ll find your endurance to be even more enhanced because of increased lung capacity. Non-athletes and older swimmers can also appreciate this effect, because it leads to a lower heart rate and decreased blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, swimming for thirty minutes per day can decrease the risk of coronary heart disease in women by 30 to 40%.

            The relaxing sounds and repetitive movements of swimming can do more than just build muscle and burn fat – swimming has been proven to promote a relaxation response from the mind. A City University of New York study found that women who swam reported similar mood enhancement to those who did yoga, with decreased feelings of anger, confusion, tension, and depression. Swimming produces endorphins – the human brain’s natural antidepressant – and according to Livestrong.com, it can promote hippocampal neurogenesis, a process in which the brain replaces cells lost through stress.

            Fitness isn’t something that’s important three months out of the year – it’s a daily routine and a long-term commitment! Pool enclosures allow you to use your pool year-round, instead of “opening” in May and “closing” in early September. A pool enclosure also keeps out mosquitos, helps protect your skin, can help you save money on chlorine treatments, and let’s you use all of your energy on swimming laps, not scooping out leaves. A screen pool enclosure can help give you a private, climate-controlled environment so that you can take your entire workout poolside.

Contact us today to find out how swimming pool enclosures can give you a maintenance-free pool experience - and let you devote all of your time to exciting new workouts. 

Five Reasons a Pool Enclosure is a Good Investment

Why build an enclosure over your pool when you could just cover it with a simple tarp? Here are our top five reasons pool enclosures take the everyday hassle out of owning a pool and can make your backyard safer and more valuable:

Pool enclosures mean putting safety first. Water accidents are, according to the World Health Organization, the leading cause of fatal injuries for children. A New York State study found that with swimming pool accidents, the second most common factor was lack of a fence enclosing the pool area. A pool enclosure with doors that lock helps keep young family members from an unattended pool, and it also discourages other people in your neighborhood who might sneak in. Pool covers, on the other hand, can easily be compromised and might increase the risk, because someone who falls in can then become trapped under it. You can compare prices for enclosures and pool covers, but you can't put a premium on peace of mind.

You can save on chemical treatment with enclosures. Most of the elements that make residential pool cleaning such a frequent necessity are from the outside environment. Wind blows dirt, pollen, twigs, and dead bugs into your pool, and bird droppings introduce nitrate that works as food for microbes like algae. Enclosures for an inground swimming pool make it easier to maintain proper pH levels by keeping out leading contaminants. Most pool industry experts recommend shocking your pool about once a week. Granular chlorine usually sells at a market price of around $3 per pound – so the cost of this cleaning adds up quickly. With a screen enclosure, shocking your pool is no longer a weekly habit, and you will notice the savings in little time.

 

You can catch some sun without catching more problems. Screen pool enclosures filter out UV rays, promoting healthy skin and making it easier to maintain clean water. One reason that pool water cleaning so often requires dumping in more chlorine is because of UV rays. Chlorine in pool water bonds to oxygen to create the negatively charged particle that we measure as “free chlorine.” But UV rays break apart this bond, causing the chlorine to evaporate. This is why so many pool owners must buy more expensive chlorine treatments that include cyanuric acid. A swimming pool enclosure helps chlorine last longer, so your pool needs treatment less often, and you can use a simpler chemical mix to get the job done. Needing less chlorine saves you money every month – and keeping your family’s skin safe is priceless.

 

Enclosures are more foolproof than pool covers. Prices ranging from $15,000 to $25,000 in Texas make pool enclosures a great one-time investment that pays off for decades. Screened pool enclosures made from aluminum are resistant to rust and warp and are also stain-proof. Pool covers are a hassle to get on and off and will tear over time due to frequent use and hazards such as animals. Removing a pool cover often means sucking up leaves and standing water that have accumulated on top of it. This can clog up your pool vacuum, and it usually results in much of the contaminated water and debris spilling into your pool anyway. A standard winter cover tarp can cost on average up to $225, and they usually last for one to three seasons. Mesh covers, which last between 6 and 10 years, can cost on average up to $3000, while automatic covers can run upwards of $5,000 to $15,000. Over a decade or two, a pool enclosure may save you thousands just by eliminating the need for pool covers.

 

Pool enclosures make a great addition to your house. Aluminum screen enclosures can be painted almost any color, so you match the façade of your house or make your enclosure blend in with a surrounding garden. Enclosures are also very customizable in terms of shape and materials used – when selecting rugged screen, you can choose from brass, bronze, or stainless steel to build a barrier that looks good and will last. An aluminum enclosure is also a safer long-term investment, because aluminum does not burn in an average household fire. Wooden fences, by comparison, would need to be rebuilt or demolished after a fire, potentially costing thousands.

 

Interested in hearing more? Contact us today on 281-579-7322 to talk more about designing an enclosure that matches your style and budget or email us at info@houstonpoolenclosures.com

Spring Cleaning and Summer Fun: Important Hacks for Every Pool Owner

Spring Cleaning and Summer Fun: Important Hacks for Every Pool Owner

            Residential swimming pools can be an uphill battle for any family. Spring cleaning for pool owners means clearing out debris and working hard to open their pool in a way that promotes cleanliness throughout the pool season. Summer means constantly checking water levels because of evaporation and keeping a vigilant eye out for algae. Cleaning a pool correctly can quickly become costly, especially if you are constantly treating your water with chlorine and soda ash. While chemical treatment is at the center of any swimming pool maintenance plan, there are also simple steps you can take to make your pool a less costly and less time-consuming investment.

Clean out your pool before you open it. While your pool is still empty, clear out as much large debris as possible, especially leaves and trash. One of the first steps in pool water cleaning is always chlorine treatment. But remember that the oxidizing agents in chlorine don’t discriminate – they attack the cellular structures in living bacteria, but they also break down dead leaves, grass, dirt, and tree bark. So if you pour chlorine into a pool littered with debris, you’re wasting much of a costly chemical as it attacks the wrong things. Sweeping out leaves with a soft broom or using a leaf blower is a much less expensive approach.

Give your pool a break from sunlight. One of the leading culprits in cleaning pool water is green algae, which can appear as a green growth around your pool or as a discoloration in the water. By covering your pool during periods of non-use, you deprive algae of the sunlight that helps them thrive. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can also neutralize much of the chlorine in your pool. For this reason, many owners treat their pool at night. You should also consider adding cyanuric acid to your treatment mix, which forms a weak bond with chlorine that protects it from UV rays.   

Be precise with your shock treatments. Remember what your high school chemistry teacher taught you – always add chemicals to water, not water to chemicals. Remember that warm water dissolves faster than cold water. Stir the bucket for at least one minute. Slowly walk and poor the shock around the edge of your pool, and never add shock directly to your skimmer. Know the specific chemical you’re using, and talk to your pool provider to know if it’s advantageous for you to use granular chlorine (which contains cyanuric acid) or lithium hypochlorite (which is made for homeowners who have high amounts of calcium in their water supply).      

Don’t forget to clean your filter cartridges. Filters should be cleaned once every four to six months and after major events like storms. Have a pool professional show you how to disassemble your filter and safely remove the cartridges. Always spray down your cartridges with a regular garden hose, never a pressure washing wand or hard brush, which can damage the cartridge material. Many owners place their cartridges in muriatic acid to dissolve minerals that accumulate as water passes through the filter. When working with any acid, remember to use gloves and eye and mouth protection. Most experts recommend a mix of 10 parts water to 1 part acid. And again, pour the chemical into the water, not the other way around.  

Test your water frequently to know if it needs treatment. Most pools should be tested two to three times a week and once per week during non-use in the winter. If you don’t have a home testing kit, take a sample into a professional pool store for analysis. All water should be tested for pH level (7.2 to 7.8), alkalinity (80 to 120 parts per million), chlorine levels (2.0 to 4.0 parts per million), and calcium hardness (250 to 450 parts per million).

Consider investing in a swimming pool enclosure. Most of the pathogens that take up residence in your pool come from the environment outside of your backyard. Wind consistently blows dirt, pollen, grass, and garbage into the pool environment, and storms can bring in muddy runoff. Rainwater can introduce algae spores, and bird droppings landing in your pool give them nitrate to feed on and grow. A screened-in aluminum pool enclosure protects your pool from debris and pathogens, which enables you to use far less of these pricey chemical treatments throughout the year. A screen pool enclosure also blocks UV rays, which adds to the life of chlorine you put in your pool. You can also house your pool equipment inside enclosures, preventing theft or encounters with animals.

Contact us today at info@houstonpoolenclosures.com to learn more about how an aluminum screened pool enclosure can simplify your pool experience and save you money in the long run.

Building a Pool Enclosure that Lasts

 

                  A swimming pool enclosure can be a sizeable investment and addition to your house. Potential customers often ask us what the return on their investment could be. The answer relies on how long your pool enclosure will last which depends on how well it’s built. If built well and with quality materials, your enclosure becomes a long-term investment in saving time and money.

                 Installing one means no weekly routine of cleaning out drain baskets and scooping out leaves. It helps maintain the pH balance of your pool, which means less money spent on treatment chemicals. It also keeps animal claws away from the delicate lining of your pool walls. But to realize the benefits of protecting your pool from the elements, you first need to know how the structure itself will stand up to the elements. From the outside, enclosures must face precipitation, wind, birds, human activity, and anything tossed at it through severe weather. From the inside, they are subject to humidity and pool treatment chemicals such as chlorine. When installed properly using the right materials, pool enclosures can last decades without maintenance, giving you a pool environment you can always use but never have to think about.

                  For the frame of the enclosure, some owners’ first aesthetic instincts are to go with wooden beams. But for lasting value, aluminum pool enclosure frames are the best, because they do not rot, warp, rust, or need frequent repainting. And while a household fire will quickly eat through wood, aluminum is non-combustible and will not burn during a fire. Aluminum has long been one of the most widely applied materials across industries, because it is light – about one-third the weight of copper or steel – and is easily transported and cheaply installed. Aluminum is ideal for year-round protection, because it becomes stronger as the temperature falls. Aluminum is also stain-resistant, and with an enamel finish, you have many options for customizing the color of your enclosure. Paint it to match the façade of your house, or choose black or dark grey to compliment the greenery around your yard.   

                  One peril that pool enclosures face around the calendar is accumulating rainwater. Many enclosures have sloped roofs, so that rainwater slides down the structure instead of building up on glass panels. But if your enclosure is connected to your house, rainwater often slides down and gathers at the point where the cage meets the fascia of the house’s roof. Over time, water will seep into the wood of the roof, promoting rot. To prevent this, it is essential to install a pool cage gutter between the roof and the cage, taking water from the cage into a drain and also supporting the cage’s weight to ensure structural integrity. 

                  A popular enclosure style for many homeowners outside of Texas is a glassed enclosure made of polycarbonate, the same material that is used in airplane windows and bus stop shelters. Polycarbonate has an impact resistance of up to 200 times that of regular glass and 10 times that of acrylic glass. But glassed enclosures can be less than ideal when living in Houston, San Antonio or just about anywhere in Texas, because trapped sunlight creates a greenhouse effect that makes the environment unbearably warm during the summer. Most homeowners in Houston or Killeen opt for a pool screen enclosure, using 18x14 mesh which brings in air and lets you better enjoy the outdoor environment while keeping bugs and mosquitos out! If you have pets be sure to ask us about pet proof screening mesh, which is more rugged than what is typically used. We can install this tougher mesh on the lower panels to ensure your dog or cat doesn’t rip through it.

                  By using the most innovative materials available, we built pool enclosures that last decades with minimal to no maintenance that can not only help you save time and money in the long run, but also add months to your pool season and protect your family from harmful UV rays. Remember that a pool enclosure is a life-long investment – so never settle for anything less than a lifetime warranty that is transferable.

Contact us today at info@houstonpoolenclosures.com to learn more about our aluminum pool enclosures that go the distance.  

Our New Website!

Our old website had seen better days. We aren't the most digitally saavy group but we knew it was time for an upgrade. Hopefully you enjoy our new galleries showing off some of the possible designs you could have in your own backyard. 

We've also added a blog and you're reading our first post now! We will work to keep up the blogging to show you our new projects and favorite designs. If there are any topics you'd like us to cover please email us at info@houstonpoolenclosures.com or fill out our contact form and let us know what you'd like to hear more about in our next post. 

While we hope the new site helps us continue to grow the business we will remain ever focused on providing the highest quality and most beautiful pool enclosures to our customers for the best price.