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Backyard Pool: Opening for Business

Homeowners want to know more about how they could make their backyard pool space bigger and exciting. This is a great opportunity for the outdoor kitchen.

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Backyard Pool: Opening for Business

The current lockdown in Mid March had homeowners thinking if they want to stay in their homes or not. Staying in one area for an extended period will create a desire for re-evaluation. Homeowners are inquiring about how they could make their backyard pool space bigger and exciting. This is a great opportunity for the outdoor kitchen industry.

Backyard Pool: Opening for Business

The outdoor kitchen not only creates space but also increases the value of the premise. Wade Fortin, the marketing manager at Bull Outdoor Products, says it’s a win for both the Homeowners and the outdoor kitchen industry. The company, like others, recorded massive sales during the quarantine. They had over a million views on social media and email marketing campaigns, and over 18,000 views on their websites in one week. This created excitement for the coming season.

Fortin states that people’s expectations of shopping for an outdoor kitchen will be on the rise if it hasn’t. Staying at home creates the desire to invest in an exquisite backyard. Even after the reopening of some states, homeowners still have the desire to improve their home experience. Contractors can make use of the interest in outdoor kitchen markets.

A considerable addition

Outdoor Kitchen and the pool and Spa industry have always been common. Currently, it’s the best time to make the most of what clients can do while staying at home.

Most times building a pool and installing an outdoor kitchen go hand in hand.

chief designer and head of product at Kalamazoo, Russ Faulk

Outdoor kitchens make the backyard pool area interesting and exciting. It gives homeowners the feeling of restaurant experience. Indoor ovens, as well as grills, cannot perform on a restaurant unit level because of the heat required. But it still is a better option for the feeling is close to reality.

An Outdoor kitchen improves the homeowner’s lifestyle. It makes the meal feel like a special event. Many use their outside kitchen compared to their inside kitchen. According to Faulk, an outdoor kitchen has increased his time outside. He spends more time cooking outdoors than indoors. He is appreciative of the experience that he doesn’t have to feel constrained in the walls of his home.

An outdoor kitchen further appeals to the sense of smell. Kimberly Stuteville, a national sales director at Napoleon Grills, argues that clients can take foods whose smell they are sensitive to while outside. Cooking outside is also convenient for those who don’t like their homes filled with the smell of a particular food the whole day. An outside kitchen is a great place to have a good time and eliminates the need to move meals from the indoor kitchen to the backyard. Installation and maintenance of backyard pools involve a lot of money, unlike an outdoor kitchen that is cost-friendly. It is up to the homeowners to make this simple decision to add to their backyard pool experience.

Design and installation changes

The change in lifestyle caused by the Covid-19 crisis has affected constructions and installation of structures. Many homeowners disapprove of many servicemen entering their compounds. This has led to changes in designs, such as disregarding masonry, which was considered before the pandemic. Dealers are getting more requests on the installation of outdoor kitchen roofs to cater for all seasons. With the idea of spending more time outdoors in homes, consumers have opted for structures suitable for extreme weather. It has also led to an increase in the ‘Do It Yourself’ consumers. Homeowners who are very cautious about the social distancing rule opt to put up the structures themselves.

Webrooms and showrooms

Post- Covid, consumers will want to have an online experience of the products sold. After the crisis, social distancing will continue to be a part of people’s lives, and online presence will still be applicable. Some retailers have the advantage of space that they can use to showcase their designs and products. Retailers are hesitant about web rooms because insights from the bricks and motor dealers reveal that showcasing products online will reduce the number of people coming to the store.

Kimberly Stuteville disagrees, saying that a majority of consumers start online. When they have an idea of something, they first look it up online and assume the online displays are similar to the showroom. Web rooms create all kinds of ad mats, 360-degree views, and videos, making the consumer feel like they are in the physical showroom. The physical showroom is still in existence, and after the pandemic, clients can visit the showroom for a touch and feel the experience.

If they had a virtual experience, the physical experience would make them more comfortable. Philip Chamberlain, a national sales manager at Forshaw, states that display is very key in sales. Dealers select displays based on what is marketable. It also varies depending on the geographical locations. For example, states in the South will sell more refrigerators than in the North. Kalamazoo advises that dealers invest in displays to create a feeling of what the consumer would want.

You can venture into a variety of displays, like hand sketches and detailed CAD drawings, to show what is consistent with the inside space. Other Retailers have come up with the idea of setting up their outside kitchen display outdoors, to give the consumer an exact feel of the experience. They even go as far as having food give-away prepared in this kitchen. For those with limited space, the virtual display is still an option as people believe what you show is what you sell.

Hope for growth

Before the Coronavirus shutdown, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association predicted that U.S sales outdoor kitchens would increase by 16% for the 2020 season. Manufacturers have admitted to this prediction and even higher than expected sales.

This is not a new experience. Before, when the country faced a crisis, and people resulted in staying home, there was a tremendous increase in sales. With more and more uncertainty of the future, homeowners opt to invest in an incredible outdoor backyard pool experience.

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.

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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Contractors and Builders

Prevention of Pool Cover Installation Mistakes

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Prevention of Pool Cover Installation Mistakes

The pool industry has been apt in both the safety and automatic cover sectors. Throughout the years, the pool and spa experts have become comfortable estimating and installing these items. Contractors are now familiar with the procedure.This article reviews the probable pool cover installation mistakes and how to avoid them.

There are minimal pool cover installation mistakes than before.

vice president of sales for Cover Pools, Barry Greenwald
Prevention of Pool Cover Installation Mistakes

Safety Covers

Improper overlap

Those who have no idea of how the safety covers functions may not comprehend the need for exact measurements. The cover should be a replica of the pool’s form. Installers ought to get the exact safety cover measurements to fit the pool. It is not about attempting to place an oversize cover on a pool.

At times, experts install the covers in a crooked manner, such that the overlap in one end is way smaller than the other. Proper overlap is key to achieving its safety function and avoid pool cover installation mistakes.

Overlapping can also reduce the covers’ lifespan. Wrong-shaped covers and improper overlaps make the fabric rub against the deck causing wear and tear. A material meant to last 12-15 years, in a worst-case scenario, only serves for 3 years. This is a great disservice to the user.

Errors in the A-B method implementation

The technique for estimating free form covers is a bit complicated, and some experts don’t get it correct. A number install the poles at an inaccurate distance from the pool or from each other. The poles should be 3-feet apart from the waterline, lest the image will be inaccurate.

Some interchange the measurements of A and B. When facing the pool, point A is to the left and point B to the right. Interchanging the measurements will have the cover made upside down.

Incorrect pool cover installation around obstructions

When placing covers around water features and high walls, the objective is to minimize interference. To work around this problem, installers support some parts of the cover on a cable system, making it less disruptive. This, however, should not be the lazy way out as it compromises safety and maintenance. Using this method will leave a 4- inch gap that permits the entry of debris as well as become a safety risk.

Moreover, producers report projects where builders place covers too high from the obstructions. The problem with this is it uses up extra material hence unable to fit the rest of the pool. Second, during winter, the material will be unable to bear snow loads. The best solution in massive features is to float using a raft as you drill through the wall.

When carrying out pool cover installation, it is best to begin with the obstruction to guarantee a cozy fit for the other features. Here, there is no chance of overlap, therefore minimizing errors.

Space to stretch

After some time, the fabric may stretch due to gravity and snowfalls. Many times, installers don’t create accurate tension to allow for this. This happens when they place the anchors near the cover, or disregard to change the spring tension appropriately.

The spring’s tension should be tight so that if the cover stretches, it will still maintain its tightness.

Automatic Cover

Not settling the pool or vault

The success of automatic pool cover installation lies in exact measurements. Even a small wrinkle can prevent the cover from opening and shutting.

This is the point of majority pool cover installation mistakes. It’s not about the shape you visualize; rather, it takes time to take accurate measurements, especially the width of the cover, cover drum, and lead edge bar.

Heavy masonry lids

The brick lids ought to be at a similar height as the deck. The trays and brackets anchoring them can’t be too low that they meddle with the capability of the cover to the spindle. If the lid is too bulky, place the brackets and tray low. The total of all the lid components ought not to be bulkier than the adapting.

In addition, use light and small pieces that one can be able to lift. Not only about the weight, but also avoid weird shapes such as long rectangles.

Inaccurate placing of the mechanism

The system ought to be level with the track. This lessens the measure of work by the system. If it’s excessively low, it delays the cover as it rises and lowers into the pool. This causes either the cover or motor to wear earlier. Furthermore, it ought to be between the tracks, failure to which the cover won’t open and close correctly.

Cutting the track or ropes too short

Cutting ropes and tracks are vital to fit the task. The problem is that most installers cut them too short. On the rope, a short rope means the cover can’t be fully open. To avoid this, cut the rope when the cover is open.

On the track, a short track has its misgivings. The track joins the guide and the end of the track, combining the plates. This is impossible if the track is short. Furthermore, when the track makes a sharp angle as the material spools from the roller, it wears the track and covers edge due to excessive pressure on the load.

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Cleaning and Service Equipment and Supplies

Selling Automatic Pool Cleaners Online

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Selling Automatic Pool Cleaners Online

Amidst the pandemic this summer, Rene Huston, president of Patio Pleasures acknowledges an increase in their sales, of up to 10 pools in a day, if available. The unanticipated pandemic that led to the cancellation of travel plans had people invest that money for their backyard luxury. This is no wonder; there is an increase in the sales of automatic pool cleaners, especially high-quality robotic models. Clients also opt to invest cash they would have used elsewhere to enjoy the benefits of the long-term, cost-efficient APC’s.

Since their introduction in the 1950s, automatic pool cleaners have become part of pools in North America due to their personality and efficiency. They move around the pool on their own, cleaning the pools, hence minimizing the need for manual vacuuming and sweeping.

Jeannie Pearcy, owner of SwimFun Pool & Patio in Olathe, Kansas, United States, tells her clients a pool cleaner is similar to a Roomba for your pool.

Recently, online competition affected APC sales at brick and mortar vendors. Reacting to retailer’s complaints, APC producers began making ‘trade-only’ products. These products are only physically accessible through pool and spa shops. These products come with extra features like additional supplies longer warranties or refundable offers. Furthermore, you can access and depend on service from the vendor and manufacturer. Discussing with pool and spa vendors, there are varying opinions on the sell of automatic pool cleaners.

Store manager for Outback Pools & Spas in Wichita Falls, TX., Jimmy Cooper, appreciates manufacturers for looking out for their welfare too. Clients get to experience what a brick and mortar can do. Customers can purchase these pool products online though you can have horrible encounters with them. This gives the stores a chance to enlighten clients on what they can do.

Online vs Retail stores

It may seem like the ideal service to request for a robotic automatic pool cleaner from your home and have it brought within two days. However, their satisfaction can be short-lived either with the delivery of the wrong product or early failure of the product.

Most clients come to Huston’s store, complaining of an ineffective online product. They use this opportunity to explain the advantages if they had bought it from them. Such discussions and encounters build the confidence of customers in brick and mortar vendors.

Moreover, when online clients take their automatic pool cleaners to Cooper’s store for maintenance or service, he cannot do anything about it because the product is not from his store. He instead offers to sell them a similar product from his store. To ease their frustrations, he explains the benefits of buying from stores.

With this approach, Cooper believes he has changed the opinion of half of the online buyers to in store clients.

For years, Huston has avoided servicing online bought goods. However, now her opinion has begun to change. At times, it depends on how busy they are at a particular time though she’s still unsettled. She’s a bit receptive, taking into consideration the profits they could earn.

Maintenance Intervals

One of the significant selling points of an automatic pool cleaner is its ability to somehow get rid of the pool guy, as Cooper states.

Cooper calculates with his clients an hour service each week for a year in comparison to purchasing a cleaner. They realise a $1000 or $1500 cleaners operating two or three hours in a day for a year is cheaper than they thought.

The service crew is not always there, and the pool requires cleaning between their visits. Even with an automatic pool cleaner, manual work like scrubbing the pool walls requires the service crew. Depending on the water environment, manual vacuuming may also be necessary.

Selling Game Plan

Since APCs are more virtually intriguing compared to other pool equipment, retailers depend on popular displays in the store to start a discussion with a client.

After capturing the customer’s attention, Huston urges would-be buyers to go with a unit home and try it out. This program at Patio pleasures permits clients day access to the unit. When returned, they do a far check to ensure the unit is clean, the baskets and other pieces still in place.

The program, try before you buy, has also worked for Pearcy. Even if the Client does not purchase the unit, then, they include it in their purchase wish list and save up for it. Furthermore, SwimFun sells the season’s trial unit at a cheaper price with a limited warranty.

Cooper recognizes that persuading clients on the advantages of an automatic cleaner has become simpler. This is due to the increase of dependence and convenience of technology though some purchasers are still ignorant.

With a number of sales strategies in place, verbal means is the most powerful convincing method in the sell of automatic pool cleaners. This is the reason the product will remain a powerful sale in the retail sector.

Conclusion

Huston notes that pool owners are seeking ways to maintain their pools happy and healthy. Time is of the essence; get an automatic pool cleaner as it is the ideal choice for your pool.

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