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The Basic Components of a Swimming Pool

CJ Kortes - Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Anyone who's ever taken a dip in a creek or lake might think that a swimming pool is a reasonably simple apparatus. However, it is a very complex system that must be correctly assembled by a qualified pool builder to work precisely.


Before you even get started with a pool project, you should understand a little more about the construction of your new favorite hangout. This will shed some light on the various expenses associated with the installation and upkeep of a pool. Beyond the actual pool, the parts we'll address are involved in the filtration, circulation, and heating of water.


Water first travels into the skimmer. This is the opening on the side of the pool where water enters the filtration system. It contains a basket that will collect debris such as hair and insects. Not surprisingly, users should clean this basket regularly.


From there, the water goes through a line into the pump. The pump boosts the pressure of the water so that it can complete its journey back to the pool. From the pump, water goes through a manifold valve that determines whether the water goes through filtration only or whether it is heated before returning to the pool.


The filter is a large cylinder full of sand. The water is forced through the filter, and the sand captures smaller debris like dirt. The filtered water then passes through the heater, if it is in use, and then goes into a line to go back to the pool. The filter can also discharge water to lower the level or to backwash itself and remove debris from the sand.


Water returns to the swimming pool through a return situated on the side of the pool. This creates the familiar water jet which kids love. The filter also permits the discharge of water through a drain, which is used to lower the water level for winter.


Also connected to the pump's section are vacuum ports. These provide a connection point for the pool vacuum, which may be used with an automated model that guides itself along the pool bottom or on the vacuum brush that is used to sweep the bottom and sides of the pool. This process is vital for getting heavier debris that sinks and won't reach the skimmer. It also cleans algae from the pool liner.


As you can see, a pool is more than a ladder and a few thousand gallons of water. It has some essential parts that must be properly constructed by the pool builder and adequately maintained by the owner.


While the basics of all pools are the same, there is lots of room for customization. At Hopkins Custom Pools, we have years of experience installing beautiful pools that meet the exact tastes of our clients. If you're ready to get underway with the design and construction of your beautiful custom pool, call us today at 972-771-1892 or, in east Texas, 903-881-7018.

Protecting Your Pool From Freezing Weather

CJ Kortes - Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The cold weather can cause your pool to suffer damage. It can be expensive to have parts of your pool repaired or replaced. Fortunately, winterizing your pool will protect it from damage. 

Balance the Pool Chemicals 

Your pool builder will recommend that you keep the chemicals in your pool balanced. You should check the water before the first freeze comes. Make the necessary adjustments in the chemicals so that you can keep the PH stable. You do not have to use as much chlorine during the winter as you do during the summer. You will also need to make sure to keep the water at the proper level. 

Keep the Pool Water Running 

If you know that the temperature will be below freezing, then you will need to make sure that you keep the pool water running. Running water is a lot less likely to freeze. That is why you will need to have it set to where the pool water runs 24 hours a day. If you have a newer pool, then it may have a freeze protector. 

These sensors can detect when the pool water drops below freezing. If the temperature is freezing, then it will keep the water running. 

Other Steps That You Can Take to Prevent the Pool Water From Freezing 
  • Keep the filter cleaned.
  • Insulate your plumbing lines.
  • Keep gas and electric heaters away from the pool filter and pool pump.
If you take the steps that are necessary for winterizing your pool, then you will be able to prevent it from suffering damage. Pool damage can put a hole in your wallet. You will be able to save money by being proactive with your pool maintenance.

Is your swimming pool heated?

CJ Kortes - Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A heated swimming pool gives you the opportunity to open your pool earlier in the year and keep it open a little past the end of summer. It also makes night swims and early morning swims more enjoyable, as you won't be freezing the entire time. 

Even indoor pools can benefit from a pool heater. Indoor pools don't have sunlight hitting the water, so there is no way to warm it up. The air around the pool doesn't help much, so a pool heater is the only option. 

Things to Consider

There are many factors to consider when deciding on which pool heater to purchase. You may be considering the cost of the pool heater and installation, or you may be considering the area you live in. The type of pool heater you will need highly depends on the climate where you live. 

Other factors that you must consider before purchasing a pool heater are the dimensions of your pool and the features that your pool has. By features, we mean if you have waterfalls or jets, you will need to factor that in when deciding on your pool heater. You will also have to think about how often you will be using the pool heater and whether your pool is indoors or outdoors. Another consideration to be made is if you want a solar, electric, or propane powered pool heater. 

Solar Powered Pool Heater

Solar powered pool heaters are more expensive up front, but they use the sun to make energy to heat the pool. This makes the cost of running them relatively inexpensive as you will only have to pay for repairs and maintenance. Unfortunately, solar powered pool heaters are not very effective on a cloudy day. Since the sun won't be hitting the solar panels directly on cloudy days, it will take much longer to heat your pool. These pool heaters are the best ones for the environment, however. 

Electric Pool Heater

Electric pool heaters are inexpensive to purchase, but they will raise your electric bill quite a bit. These pool heaters are good for the environment, but they are only useful for small pools. 

Propane Powered Pool Heater

Propane powered pool heaters are the most popular pool heaters on the market. They heat the water fast, and they are relatively inexpensive to purchase and run. The only downfall is that you will have to open an account with a propane company to have your tank refilled. 

Hiring a Professional

With all the factors to consider, you might be more comfortable letting a professional pool builder handle it all. At Hopkins Custom Pools, an experienced pool builder will determine which pool heater will be best for you and will manage the installation, making the process stress free for you. Even in Texas, the temperatures drop low enough to need a pool heater, so contact us today to talk about your pool.

The Importance of Water Circulation

CJ Kortes - Sunday, September 30, 2018

The trick to a good swimming pool is proper maintenance. When well maintained, your pool will give you optimal results. If it is not, expect problems. The most important aspect of a pool is water quality. Low-quality water can lead to serious health complications. It can also lead to unnecessary costs. Air circulation is a way of improving water quality. Here are reasons to invest in quality water circulation in your pool.

To improve water odor

Water is alive. It harbors many organisms. Stagnant water allows other microorganisms to use it as a host. For example, insects see an opportunity to lay their eggs. When the water is circulating well, the insects stay away from it.

Besides, water circulation prevents sludge from accumulating in your pool. When sanitizing your pool, your disinfectants will require continuous flow for them to be ejected out of the pool. If there is no flow, they will most likely form deposits on the pool. Some of them develop in other pool equipment such as water pump.

That concoction of sludge and chemical cleaning agents can cause a nasty odor on your pool. With improved circulation, that will not be a problem. You can effectively remove all the materials that can produce a bad smell.

To improve the quality of water

Regular cleaning and disinfection is a routine swimming pool task. Pool builders recommend a water circulation routine to ensure that all parts of the pool are treated uniformly. You need to enhance circulation even in the dead areas of the pool, such as below skimmers and ladders. You will need to brush these areas regularly.

Without movement, water is a host for a variety of water-borne vectors. Germs and bacteria form the bulk of these organisms. When the water is flowing effectively in and out of the pool, you can filter all the materials that provide these organisms with food.

They cannot survive in the absence of food, which leaves your pool clean. You can swim without fear. Contaminated water is a health hazard. It can cause water-borne diseases, skins problems, and other complications.

To reduce utility costs

A professional pool builder will tell you that poor quality water can cause significant pool damage. It can increase the level of mold and algae growing in dead areas. To remove them, you will need to hire an expert. That will add on your costs.

When water is not circulating correctly, you will use more cleaning chemicals than necessary. You will also use more energy to heat the water. You can save significantly on water and chemical bills if you maintain the circulation system.

You must also practice safe usage practices such as facing at least one of the jets downwards. You should ensure that your return jets give the water a circular motion.


Hopkins Custom Pools encourages you to practice good water circulation habits. If you make it a routine, you will not deal with significant pool problems. You will not need to consult a pool builder frequently.

Pool Chemistry 101

CJ Kortes - Friday, August 31, 2018

When it comes to swimming pools, the right chemicals are needed to keep the water sparkling clean and crystal clear. However, these chemicals cannot simply be dumped into an owner’s custom pool and expected to work. They must be added in the right amounts and at the right time. With that in mind, here’s a brief primer on the types of chemicals needed for a sanitary and beautiful pool: 

Water Clarifiers: 
These chemical are added to the water if it is turbid. This does not mean that the water is too unhealthy to swim in but that it has microscopic particles floating in it that make it look dull. These particles also have an electrical charge that causes them to repel each other. The water clarifier contains particles of the opposite charge that attract and capture the particles and make them easier to filter out. A stronger type of water clarifier is called a flocculent. This causes the particles to clump together, and fall to the bottom of the pool. That way, the customer or the pool company can remove them with the pool vacuum. 

Chemicals Used to Balance the Water 
Water that is considered balanced has certain chemical criteria. They include: 

  • A pH that is between 7.2 and 7.8. This is slightly alkaline.
  • A total alkalinity that’s between 80 and 120 parts per million
  • A calcium level that’s between 100 and 400 ppm
  • Total dissolved solids, or TDS of between 250 and 1500 ppm
  • No minerals that can stain

Water that does not have these values can be hard which leads to limescale and cloudiness. If the levels are very much out of balance, the water is said to be aggressive. This type of water can corrode the pool equipment and even destroy the pool shell. 

Chemicals used to bring the levels into balance are: 
  • Chlorine, which helps to sanitize the pool. Chlorine also helps adjust the custom pool’s pH level. Chlorine tablets lower the pH, while liquid chlorine raises it.
  • Soda ash, which raises the pH if it’s too low.
  • Muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate, which lower the pH if it’s too high.
  • Sequestering agents are chemicals added to water whose calcium levels are too high. They dissolve the calcium so that it is not as likely to create limescale or make the water cloudy. 
  • Bromine, which is a relative of chlorine and is most often used in hot tubs.
  • Biguanide or PHMB is another pool sanitizer. Pool owners who prefer it cite that it does not have a chlorine smell and does not irritate skin like chlorine does.
  • Ozone is used to kill microorganisms, but it is not long-lived and needs to be used with chlorine or bromine. The benefit of ozone is that reduces the levels of chlorine or bromine that need to be used to keep the pool clean.

For more information about Pool Chemistry 101, call our professionals at Hopkins Custom Pools the premier pool builder in Dallas, Texas. Visit our website at

Tips for Prepping Your Pool Before a Major Storm

CJ Kortes - Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Summertime is a great time to enjoy your pool. The summer heat also brings the chance of severe weather. When inclement weather is approaching, you want to make sure that your investment is protected. Storms can cause long-term damage to your pool area. Here are a few tips from Hopkins Custom Pools, your custom pool builder, that can keep your pool safe. 

Turn off the power 
Whether you have gas, electricity, or any other power supply for your pool, make sure to turn it off. If the area is expecting any flooding, you want to unplug the pump and filter system too. All other types of pool equipment need to be removed. You should store all items in a safe and dry indoor area. Flood waters can wreak havoc on pool equipment. You need to protect them before the approaching storm hits. 

Remove all loose items 
All the patio furniture that you have enjoyed throughout the year can become a liability when a storm rolls into town. High winds can turn a simple umbrella into a projectile. You need to take all your outdoor furniture and other accessories into a safe location. This includes items such as chaise lounges, umbrellas, pool toys, tables, chairs, and any other things that are not secured to the ground. If you don’t have room to store all of the items, you can always tie them down to keep them secured. 

Don’t cover the pool 
You may want to cover the pool. This truth is covering a pool can do more harm than good. High winds can blow debris on the pool cover. Depending on the type of material, you may have a damaged pool cover. Pool covers are big and bulky. That can make clean up even more difficult. It is also essential to not drain the pool. If there is no water in the pool, the debris can fall in and cause damage to the structure. A drained pool can bulge, split, or even pop out of the ground. 

Balance the pool chemicals 
You should test the pool’s water before the storm. If you need to add chemicals, this is an excellent time to do that. You need to balance the pool's chemistry before the storm hits. You may also want to shock the pool at this time. A super chlorinate with algaecide will give your pool added protection against dirt and debris that can get into the water. 

Trim any loose tree limbs 
If you are noticing any loose or overgrown tree limbs, you should think about removing them. They can break off in high winds and blow into the pool. This can add up to costly damage. If you want to go a step further, you should make sure any other landscaping items are trimmed and secured. 

Protecting a pool is important during a storm. You never know what Mother Nature will throw at you, but it is best to be prepared. If you do suffer damage to your pool, Hopkins Custom Pools is a custom pool builder that can help you out.

Tips for Maintaining Your Pool

CJ Kortes - Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Owning a pool can be a lot of work, but with a proper maintenance plan, you can establish a routine that will keep your swimming pool looking clean and fresh. Remember a proactive maintenance schedule will maximize the life of your pool and equipment. If we only react to problems and maintain them as they occur then the chance of equipment failure and other unforeseen issues is much higher. Here is a list of several tips you can use to maintain your pool and have clear water all summer long.

1. Clean out the Skimmer Weekly
The pool skimmer is installed to remove debris from the surface of the water before it is allowed to settle to the bottom.  If the pool skimmer is clogged, then it will no longer do its job correctly.  Cleaning the skimmer box weekly will significantly improve its performance and keep your water's surface clean.

2. Maintain pH
Your pool's pH level should always be somewhere in the range of 7.2 and 7.8, the lower the level is on this scale, the less amount of chlorine is needed. Since chlorine becomes less effective the higher the pool's pH levels are many people add more chlorine without realizing. If the levels are correctly maintained, then your pool will stay cleaner, and you will save money on wasted chlorine.

3. Watch the Water Level
It is essential that the water level in your pool is at the correct height, not too low or too high. When water levels are low, you run the risk of burning up your equipment, but if levels are high, the skimmer can't correctly trap debris.

4. Clean out the Filter
Regularly cleaning your pool filter is essential for having clear water. With the right equipment this process only needs to be done several times a year or after a heavy storm but if your equipment is old or cheap you may need to do this more frequently.

We understand that our lives can become busy with work and family that properly maintaining your swimming pool can sometimes become an afterthought. Here at Hopkins Custom Pools, we offer maintenance programs that keep your pool looking fresh and your mind at ease with one less thing to worry about. Contact us today to learn more about our pool services.

Outdoor Activities to Enjoy by the Pool

CJ Kortes - Friday, May 25, 2018

A pool is a marvelous thing to have in any home. The pool makes the ideal place to cool off cool on a sweltering day. One of the many advantages of having a pool is that there are so many opportunities for additional outdoor fun. The area surrounding the pool can be used for daily enjoyment. It can also be used as a place to entertain guests when they come over. Many people want to plan a series of fun activities that can be played next to the pool. Lots of things are possible nearly all year long. 

The Grill 

Cooking outdoors adds a unique flavor to any food. The chance to grill a well-seasoned piece of steak or a juicy bit of chicken is one that many people relish. A pool builder in Dallas can help by providing additional space for other activities that may also include a built-in area for the grill. Grilling is also perfect when having a large party of people over. 

Playing Horseshoes 

One of most amusing things to do by the pool is playing horseshoes. Horseshoes is a classic game that so many people still love today. One of the best things about horseshoes is that it can also be set up quickly. The items can be removed when they are not in use. Many people of many varied ages can also play this game. Even small children can participate by holding the shoes and throwing them. A set of horseshoes also takes up very little space so it can also be played in any yard no matter how large or small. 

Volleyball Games 

Highly active people love playing games like volleyball. A pool builder in Dallas can help the homeowner determine where to locate their volleyball area. This is also a game that can be played both on dry land and in the pool. People may choose to play volleyball when entertaining lots of guests. Many people can play volleyball at the same time. Only two or three people can also arrange teams. Volleyball nets can also be set up quickly and then taken down as needed when the weather turns colder. 

Cocktail Parties 

The backyard beckons to be used at all hours of the day. As the thick afternoon heat dissipates, it's the perfect time to hold a cocktail party. One way to entertain guests is with a charming series of cocktails. Small plates are easy to prepare and serve. This is a great way to present varied types of foods such as deviled eggs, finger sandwiches, and an assortment of salads. Guests can pick from lots of the kinds of foods to eat at the party. 

Any area by the pool can be a source of delight all year long.

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Looking for a Pool Builder?

CJ Kortes - Monday, April 30, 2018

If you live in the Dallas, Texas area you know that the climate is perfect for swimming. Having a pool of your own not only adds tremendous value to your home, but it’s also great for entertainment, leisure, and exercise. Once you’ve made the decision to have a swimming pool installed, it’s important to find a contractor who you can trust.You need an experienced pool builder in Dallas.

Hopkins Custom Pools is the company that can provide the services you need. The company offers the very best in knowledge, experience, and value. Owner Shane Hopkins and his dedicated team of employees work hard for their customers to bring quality pool and outdoor installations to your backyard. As a professional pool builder in Dallas and a business leader in the community, Shane is committed to getting the job done right every time.

If you’re not sure what kind of pool you’re looking for, Hopkins Custom Pools can show you a variety of designs that will be perfect for your garden oasis. Whether you want a sleek, modern look or a natural stone pool with a waterfall, the professional staff at Hopkins Custom Pools can make it happen. They have kid-friendly options too like a built-in rock slide and fun fountains that your children will love.

Hopkins Custom Pools can design the perfect outdoor living space for you and your family. Enjoy gourmet meals outdoors under a stylish cabana or relax by the fireplace on your patio living room. Install a complete backyard kitchen to give your cookouts real style. Create a garden feature with a custom-built arbor that you will enjoy for years to come.

Your dream space wouldn’t be complete without expert landscaping and water features that add ambiance and luxury to your garden. Hopkins Custom Pools is your partner when it comes to making your vision come to life. Their experts will create a custom design for you that will fit into the existing landscape. Imagine relaxing by your pool surrounded by lush plants and the sounds of nature; you can have this and more when you hire Shane Hopkins team to get the job done.

Hopkins Custom Pools is there for you every step of the way, even when it comes to financing your custom swimming pool. The company has partnered with LyonFinancial, an industry leader in pool financing. With staff providing service throughout the East Texas area, you can trust Hopkins Custom Pools to transform your outdoor living space into something truly special.

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Enjoy Warm Days Poolside with Family and Friends

CJ Kortes - Saturday, March 31, 2018

As the hot summer months are approaching, it's time to start thinking about how you want to spend it. You could, of course, go on a vacation for a few weeks and lounge by the pool soaking up the sun, or you could have a pool installed right in your backyard. Here are five reasons you want to consider installing a pool right where you are. 

1. Keep the kids close, but not indoors

For decades, it has been challenging to get kids away from TV screens. Portable screens on modern electronic devices have made this battle more difficult than ever. While you may not be able to keep them from occasionally glancing at their phone or tablet, a pool is a great way to keep your kids close but get them outdoors. By creating a place your kids can all bring their friends, you can also keep them close to home while giving them plenty of activities to enjoy. 

2. Entertain family and friends

There is little more enticing in the hot summer months than a poolside barbecue or luau. If you want your home to be the entertainment hub of the neighborhood and your extended family, installing a pool can be a great way to make sure you never lack for an abundant guest list. 

3. Create a backyard oasis

Modern pools are more than just a giant hole in the ground filled with water. Today, you can work with a pool builder to create a backyard oasis complete with water features and even lush landscaping and greenery. Enjoy your morning coffee or a Sunday brunch poolside with your family in your private oasis. 

4. Enjoy a weekly mini-vacation right at home

Of course, you'll want to take a summer vacation to some exotic locale, but having a pool right in your backyard can make every weekend feel like its mini-vacation. Even when summer activities are in full swing, starting your day with a leisurely breakfast poolside or even a quick cup of coffee can help get your busy day off to a great start. 

5. Great for physical fitness

With obesity rates on the rise, a pool in your backyard is better than having a gym in your own home. Not only is swimming and playing in the water loads of fun, but it also burns more calories than almost any other form of exercise. Whether you are just splashing leisurely in the pool, swimming laps or doing other strenuous water activities, a pool can give you a full workout and help you stay in shape. 

No matter what size of property you own, there is a pool that is right for you. From lap pools to swim spas, a custom pool builder can help you design just the right pool to fit in the space you have. They can also custom design your pool to blend perfectly with both the architecture of your home as well as the surrounding landscape.

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