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Cleaning and Service Equipment and Supplies

Heating the Hot Tub

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Heating the Hot Tub

Several ways are applicable when heating water in a hot tub. These include; the use of electricity, solar, heat pumps, and external heat change. Looking at it from a narrow perspective, it is practical to use electricity to heat portable hot tubs. With this, there is no need to consider other alternatives. From a broader perspective, when it comes to inbuilt concrete tubs, common in health spas and resorts, the situation is different. It holds large volumes of water, meaning it is uneconomical and impractical to heat the water using electricity. This paves the way for the use of fossils fuels, which are an alternative source.  

Heating the Hot Tub

The dominance of electric heaters

Electric heaters are convenient and dominant with portable tubs. Brian Koops, Vice President of Engineering and Technical Services for Jacuzzi, states that all his company vessels use electricity. This is because it is reliable and compact, hence placed in a central cabinet. Only one heater is necessary to run all the machines in the spa.

 John Milligan, CEO of NESPA, a manufacturer of prefabricated custom spas, agrees with this notion. Electric heaters are preferable because they are clean, easy to use, and maintain. Electricity eases so many technical parts of life. In the same way, electric heaters speed up the manufacturing and installation processes. In case of a fault, all that’s required is a replacement. All operations are back to normal in minutes. When it comes to other sources of energy, they do not bear the same benefits.

Professionals in the spa industry don’t dispute the benefits brought by electric heaters. They believe that more focus should be on improving existing electric heaters. The same old models of heaters have been in place for a long time, and engineers should consider improving the standards. The material used to make the heaters is prone to corrosion, giving users a hard time dealing with it. The use of friendly material is preferable in the evolvement of the heaters.

System effectiveness

As stated earlier, electric heaters heat water fast, though it’s indisputable that gas heaters are faster. Approximately, in an hour, electric heaters raise the temperature of water by 4-6 degrees Celsius. This is in consideration of the volume of water and the size of the heaters.

The main concern is how effective the electric heater is in meeting the needs of the client. Hales states that to increase the temperature of the water that is 60 degrees to 100 degrees by evening, it will require the use of different heaters or a different way to operate the system to maintain the high temperature. Clients choose how they want to operate their spas. They can use the five and a half kilowatts heaters that are really fast but costly. They can also opt for a 4 kilowatt, which is slow and maintains temperatures at a certain level without using excess energy.

California Energy Commission dictates the energy consumption and standard efficiency in portable spas. They require spas in the Golden States to meet the set requirements for yearly energy consumption. These standards are not compulsory, but if one wishes to sell these services within California, they will be bound by this law. This statute has been adopted by other states as well.

Koops, states that the systems are made in a way that it is directly connected to water so that all the energy passes to the water. This, however, does not guarantee 100% effectiveness. It is possible to lose heat from the water. When the electrodes are transferred to water, energy has no other place to go; therefore, heat is lost to the atmosphere. Due to this, usage and maintenance of water is part of the system efficiency. Managing the systems so that there is no heat loss is a huge challenge to the constructors. Hales explains that foam insulators are useful in coating heaters to prevent heat loss, exempting the area in contact with water. 

The area of the hose is also foam-coated instead of the use of pipes to prevent the cooling of water.

Hydraulic efficiency is also important to improve the general efficiency of the spa. This gives way for a smooth flow of water delivered to consumers for therapy. These are just a few ways to improve spa Efficiency. Constructors have to look into the functioning of the whole spa systems and energy efficiency as well as to update these areas.

Usage of high efficiency insulated cover, insulation in the cabinets, and on-board software all play an important part in improving spa efficiency.

Determining the energy source

Milligan prefers the use of both gas and electricity for his prefabricated custom spas, which are bigger than portable spas. Consumers don’t necessarily know exactly how hot tubs work, but they purchase these vessels with expectations. It is important to explain to clients clearly when choosing the type of energy source required. The cost, the temperature desired, how to get to the desired temperature, and maintenance are factors to consider.

If you want your water to heat faster, the gas would be a better option. If you wouldn’t mind waiting for the water to heat and maintained at that temperature, then electric energy will be appropriate. The cost depends on the cost of the energy source chosen. Insulation is also a factor when choosing the type of energy. It is mandatory for vessel insulation when using electric energy. The issue arises when the vessel is more than 100 inches wide. Subtract 5 inches on each side to sit on, 90 inches remain. If the vessels are bigger than this, there is no other alternative than to switch to gas energy. It is a common problem in freeform vessels, and opting for rectilinear is a convenient design. At the end of the day, these factors are important for customer satisfaction.

Pool News coverage brought to you by Pool Magazine's own Marcus Packer. Marcus Packer is a 20 year pool industry veteran pool builder and pool service technician. In addition to being a swimming pool professional, Marcus has been a writer and long time contributor for Newsweek Magazine's home improvement section and more recently for Florida Travel + Life. Have a story idea or tip you'd like to share with Pool Magazine? Email mpacker@poolmagazine.com your story idea.

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Cleaning and Service Equipment and Supplies

What Does a Pool Skimmer Do?

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What Does a Pool Skimmer Do?

Swimming pools are a fantastic backyard amenity that incorporates high initial and lifetime costs. Therefore, swimming pools usually need a lot of maintenance. Failure to maintain your pool skimmer leads to common problems like algae and stains. Therefore, it is essential to keep your pool water in good shape at all times. Constantly clean your pool and use the right chemicals to maintain accurate water chemistry.

Offering Pool What Does a Pool Skimmer Do?amid the GlobaL Pandemic

Founder and COO of America’s Swimming Pool Company, Stewart Vernon, says that the company has tremendously grown over time. Now the pool experts in their company usually take care of more than 20000 swimming pools per week. So, they have extensive experience in pool maintenance. Also, they know how to help pool owners keep their pools in good shape.

Understanding the meaning of a pool skimmer

One of the common pool equipment used to clean pools is a pool skimmer. Pool skimmers are responsible for trapping large dirt particles and debris. Typically, a pool skimmer is part and parcel of the filtration system of the pool. Leaves, among other debris, get filtered and stored in the skimmer to keep the pool water crystal clear. A pool skimmer appears like a small opening on one side of the pool. Most people are often afraid to put their hands inside this opening. This opening absorbs water from the pool, filters it, cleans it, and forces it back into the pool.

What Should You Know About Pool Skimmers?

It is essential to keep the pool water filtered at all times. The skimmer only does a small part of the work involved during the filtration process. Mostly, the pool filter does the main work. But this does not mean that a pool skimmer is not essential. In fact, pools cannot survive without pool skimmers.

The entire filtration system is crucial for the proper functioning of the pool. It is the reason why pools are clean and safe. The filtration system also facilitates the mixture of water and pool chemicals.

Founder and COO of America’s Swimming Pool Company, Stewart Vernon

Usually, contractors install pool skimmers during the initial construction of the pool. So, it would be impossible to purchase it and conduct a DIY installation. The pool skimmer has a basket that often carries all the dirt particles filtered out from the pool. You should empty this basket from time to time, at least once a week if the pool is frequently used.

Are there options for a built-in pool skimmer?

Vernon says, “Pool skimmers only function to their level best if contractors built the pool properly. A good performing skimmer keeps your pool water clean. But if you are looking for an alternative, you need not worry. There are many other types of equipment that work like skimmers and still keep your pool crystal clear.”

Robotic Skimmers

Consider using a robotic skimmer if your pool builder did not construct the pool with an inbuilt skimmer. Robotic skimmers work well with both inground and aboveground swimming pools. They are simple to operate. All you have to do is place them in the pool and turn them on for a certain period. Then, leave them to clean the pool. Robotic skimmers automatically move across the entire pool like automatic cleaners. These skimmers cost about $60 to $500; it depends on the model you choose. Ultimately, always select a robotic skimmer that caters to all your requirements.

Hand Skimmers

Unlike robotic skimmers, hand skimmers require manual operation. The good thing with hand skimmers is that they are pretty affordable. Generally, a hand skimmer refers to a filter basket with a long handle. You can easily move it around the pool to get rid of leaves, among other dirt particles. Unfortunately, using a hand skimmer usually consumes a lot of time and effort.

Keep these things in mind during summer

Vernon says, “Every pool owner needs to evaluate their pool filtration systems more frequently. It is important to get your pool inspected by a professional at the beginning and the end of every swimming season. Doing this will make your pool more immune to algae, among other issues. Not to mention, your pool will remain clean and safe for use throughout the entire swimming season.”

He proceeds to say, “Contrary to popular belief, employing a dependable pool professional can save you a lot of effort, money, and time. Although you may have to pay for weekly maintenance, your pool will eventually incorporate fewer maintenance costs.”

During winter or when the pool is not in use, consider winterizing it. Pool winterization typically means closing your pool for a specific season. Call in a professional to do this for you. There’s no need to leave the pool running when it’s not in use. This will overwork the pool filter, pump, and skimmer for no good reason.

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Cleaning and Service Equipment and Supplies

Chlorine Prices Going Up… Tablet Shortage Continues

Homeowners can expect to pay up to 58% more for chlorine tablets this summer say experts.

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Chlorine Prices Going Up - Chlorine Tablet Supply Shortage

Millions of homeowners can expect to pay more to clean and sanitize their swimming pools this summer. According to financial analysts the chlorine shortage we first reported on in September has not improved in the slightest. The fact is that the outlook looks bleak through the summer for the situation to improve.

Why are Chlorine Tablet prices so high right now?

Kate McShane of Goldman Sachs warns in a recent research report released Monday that the chlorine shortage in the United States has not improved. Shortages and price increases stem from an enormous fire at the BioLab factory, one of the country’s largest chlorine tablet manufacturers. The fire put an additional stress on already dwindling supplies.

McShane indicated that prices for chlorine have gone up roughly 37% year over year due to the ongoing shortages. Prices are expected to spike 58% year over year through June to August. This coincides likely enough with the height of pool season. Homeowners are sure to be looking at much higher prices than in previous years.

The same bucket of Chlorine Tablets you bought last year may cost up to 58% more this summer say leading financial analysts.

“Of the 26 pool shops we spoke to, 15 expressed uncertainty or doubt when asked about whether they will have enough chlorine for pool season. Adding to the pressure created by the chlorine shortage, respondents called out a plastic bucket shortage, driven by COVID-related manufacturing slowdowns, which has made procuring certain volume sizes of chlorine more difficult for retailers, and has led suppliers to deliver chlorine in either bags or in buckets with different colored lids, according to respondents,” McShane said.

McShane continued, “When asked about whether the cost and availability of chlorine have improved in the last month or so, several respondents noted that while the supply of chlorine has improved somewhat, cost has not.”

Commentary from the industry’s main pool equipment supplier Pool Corp. on its recent earnings day underscores the severity of the chlorine shortage.

Recent comments from Pool Corp. the industry’s leading supplier of pool equipment emphasize how badly the supply chain has suffered in recent months.

“I mean overall, I would tell you the price on dichlor and trichlor [chlorine tablets], which is the product that was impacted by the shortage, they’re up about 60%. So if you think about how that’s going to shake out for the balance of the year, it will probably remain at elevated level because I believe that the industry is going to be short for the season,” Pool Corp CFO Mark Joslin explained to analysts on a recent earnings call on April 22.

Homeowners Looking for Chlorine Alternatives

Homeowners are bound to look for creative sanitization solutions due to the shortage, Joslin said.

“Now that simply means that people are going to move their method of sanitization to another product, either a granular product or liquid chlorine. But there’s no shortage of ways to sanitize the pool. It just simply means at a certain point people will shift. We’ve also seen certain parts of the country accelerating the use of salt as a method of sanitization too,” Joslin added.

Despite the increasing prices, shares of Pool Corp continue to rise. Shares this quarter are up 11% as Pool Corp continues to absorb market share in a market where seemingly everyone is looking for a pool. First quarter sales and profits rose 57% and 165%, respectively.

Fairview, TX based Orenda Technologies summarized this years price hikes when they stated “Between manufacturing shortages, health and safety protocols and shipping delays, costs in all aspects of the supply chain are higher than ever thanks to COVID-19. This is not just in the pool business, it’s pretty much the entire global economy. Unique to pools, however, is the catastrophe of losing a major chlorine manufacturing plant, responsible for over a third of domestic trichlor production. That hits everyone hard.”

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Cleaning and Service Equipment and Supplies

Pool Metals and Metal Staining

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Pool Metals and Metal Staining

Metals are naturally existing elements found in every place; in water, soil and stones. Metals in soil and stones dissolve in acidic rainwater, which is then carried to surface water and groundwater. Through this, the dissolved metals find their way to pools and tubs when filled. Exposure of metals to water cause staining on pool surfaces and equipment. This article discusses the techniques to control the presence of pool metals. It also discusses the different kinds of metal staining and the relevant chemicals to eliminate and hinder stains.

Pool Metals and Metal Staining

Metals in pools and hot tub water

There are 91 existing metals, but only 6 are problematic to hot tubs and pools. The 6 metals include magnesium, copper, cobalt, iron, manganese and calcium. Here we will only discuss 4 that are cobalt, copper, magnesium and iron.

Fill water, inclusive of almost all municipal and well water supplies that fill hot tubs and pools, contains a few metals. It is advisable to test for metal concentration in source water before filling the hot tubs and pools.

Tests for iron and copper are easily accessible, though the majority only measures the free form of the dissolved metals. They also do not test the sequestered and complexed forms of dissolved metals. A two-phase metal test containing adequate reducing and releasing agents give better results on free, complexed and some oxidized metals.

Sources of metal contamination in the pool and hot tub water are plaster and pebble surfaces, water features, decking materials, metal equipment, galvanic corrosion, chemicals and runoff.

In addition, flagstone, marble and stone contain iron that leaches into the pool after every rainfall. Imbalanced water may cause the introduction of copper from heat exchangers found in gas-fired water heaters. Moreover, copper-based algaecides and mineral-based water treatment may be a source of pool metals. Plant fertilizers can also introduce metals when incorrectly applied or due to uncontrolled flooding. More sources of metal include irrigation methods with well water.

Preventing stains

Water Treatment

Avoid using untreated water with high metal concentration (higher than 1ppm) in hot tubs or pool. Treat the water when the metal concentration is higher than 0.2 ppm. Sediment filters (10 microns or less) eliminate the majority of the bigger oxidized particles. Use filters that have metal adsorbents to treat water, to minimize dissolved metals concentration.

Primary Sanitizers and Stabilizers

Maintain proper concentration of primary sanitizers and other similar stabilizers to prevent organic contaminants. These include; pathogens, non-hazardous bacteria and algae minimizing the need for a copper-based algaecide.

Bonding of Metals and Water

The majority of the pool and hot tub equipment are metal-made. For example, electrolytic halogen generators, the heating core of electric heat pump, gas-fired pool and hot tub heaters, ladders, light rings and handrails.

To enhance chemical and electrical safety, install a bonding system in the hot tub or pool. The bonding system involves joining the copper wire with all the metal elements and water combined. This minimizes electric potential difference. Lack of this system, enables dissolution of pool metals, causing staining that damages the equipment. This is the process known as galvanic corrosion and can heighten due to several factors such as salt water, stray direct current as well as its power supplies. Anodes (zinc metal) reduce the damage on the equipment but don’t deal with the cause of corrosion. Test the bonding system every year, or any other time there is corrosion.

Pool & Hot Tub pH

pH is the most vital yet most ignored factor in preventing metal release in water. Low pH water (below 7) is acidic and corrosive. Acidic water dissolves metals from the pool equipment.

Improper water chemistry harms pool surfaces and machinery. Always ensure to maintain an accurate pH, alkalinity (carbonate) and calcium (hardness). If inadequate, water draws carbonate and calcium from cementitious surfaces, discharging metals into the water.

Sequestering Agents

Sequestering agents join with the dissolved pool metals to reduce oxidation hence reduces staining. They chelate the metals, not eliminate them. They require a complex modern ultra filtration system to remove sequestered metal particles as the particles are too small for the pool filtration system. Add this agent on a regular basis, as a secondary disinfection and primary sanitizer systems keep on destroying them.

Ways to reduce metal concentration in hot tubs and pool water

  • Bind the metals using polymer and water-insoluble natural adsorbents
  • Filter the water through a reverse osmosis system
  • Remove and replace a part of the water with fresh metal-free water

Removing stains from the pool and hot tub surfaces

1. Metal stain removal from the surface

2. Chelation of the dissolved metals in the water with a sequestering agent

3. Elimination of the metals from the water.

To get rid of pool metals and metal stains, add oxalic acid, ascorbic acid and citric acid or a similar product into the pool water. An experienced pool service expert should only execute the use of Muriatic acid in the removal of metal stains as it can lead to permanent damage to the pool surface. Chelation of dissolved metals and minimizing concentrations of dissolved metal have been earlier tackled.

Figuring out the difference between metal stains and those by organic contamination can be difficult. For evaluation, establish the origin of the stain, asses the water chemistry and test the stain with either citric acid or ascorbic acid.

Note: Some organic stains, similar to those brought about by iron bacteria, vanish after treatment with ascorbic acid but return with the introduction of chlorine residuals.

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