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Pool and Spa Industry: The Path to Success

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Pool and Spa Industry: The Path to Success

The main challenge in the pool and spa industry is customer demand. Several factors steer these demands, such as; the state of economy and desire for water luxuries. The main inspiration to these demands is companies’ anticipated success, a good reputation built by consumers for effective previous projects. In one view, the perception is the industry is a whole, with the employees united to give the best product outcome. In another view, the industries compete against each other. The downfall of one is a benefit to the other. They do not share their information to keep up with the competition. Every company has picked up either of the views.

Pool and Spa Industry: The Path to Success

The company’s geographical location is a factor when determining what view they will adopt. For a company to break from the norm and work with others, it needs to see the bigger picture. The sharing of information is for the good of everyone. This will lead to improved work standards and a satisfied client. It is evident that the first view on sharing information is popular and expanding. Pool professionals share their information on social media through podcasts for wider outreach. The shift in attitude has been beneficial to the industry. Reports state there have been partnerships between companies to share knowledge or equipment leading to mutual benefit.

Industry competitiveness

Steve Kenny, a builder service tech-based in East Hampton, says that it is still important that you have good connections in this Industry. The major challenge is that quite a number of companies still maintain a secretive mentality. He recalls that everyone around did not share any information when starting. It was a ‘survival for the fittest’ kind of environment. Later on, Kenny benefited from the pool and spa industry’s education programs, enabling him to lift his company to among the best construction companies. It was a journey that took some time, but his determination, key resources, and helpful people made this possible. He still aspires to learn, grow, and do better each time. There are limited and scarce market opportunities in the northeast. This discourages information sharing from maintaining their competitiveness.

Many of the subs I work with will tell me that other builders don not want them to share how they do things, so they can maintain a competitive advantage

president of Texas & Caribbean based Elite concepts, Mike Nantz

Sharing knowledge

Robert Foutz Jr, a seasoned industry trainer, says that in Southern California, the market is abundant, and sharing information is a normal part of their business. It is unnecessary to compete for clients as it is not a wonder to see several trucks heading in different directions to offer their services to different clients. It is possible to service as many pools as you desire or can handle. He adds that sharing knowledge in this industry is important. Educating people is beneficial as it breaks the preconceived notion that pool workers are not intelligent because they clean pools.

It may seem easy to vacuum a pool, but it takes a bit of intelligence to keep the stains and scales off the wall, to keep the water balanced, to do the repairs, and the equipment required. This improves their image to the public. Yearly at WPSS, Foutz holds classes on the working of a pool. This focuses on the necessary pool equipment and basic operations. The popularity of the class and the ignorance of some learners show the benefits of free information. It is key to note that everyone started with no information, and they had to learn from others. Initially, his class title was to be ‘Dumb Mistakes’ because he would talk about the common dumb mistakes and how to go about it. Older members of his class rejected this proposal, and finally, they settled on the title, How a pool works.”

He realized that most people have no idea about the basics of handling a pool. He teaches the basics like how a heater heats, how a pump pumps, and how a filter filters. His classes are not only meant for the annual tradeshow seminars. He also introduced a casual exchange program at IPSSA chapter meetings. He has made these seminars more like a club where people can have refreshments and bond as they have their discussions. Such forums have created a platform where people can help each other in times of need. They have established a friendly bond, and they uplift each other when necessary because you do not know when your time if need will come.

The benefits

According to Nantz, a teacher with a 20-year experience states that his inspiration behind educating and mentoring is based on his values instilled by his parents. He says that sharing knowledge in the pool and spa industry gives him the ultimate satisfaction. He states there is power in giving, and if you share with someone, you will end up gaining more. His motivation also comes from the impact that inexperienced employees can cause to the consumer. This will end up destroying the industry’s reputation. He further states that it is disheartening when contractors are ignorant and make mistakes in their projects for lack of knowledge.

It is unreasonable to compete with ignorant competitors because they instead ruin the reputation of the whole industry. It is advisable to have more knowledgeable experts fill the industry and who show interest in expanding their knowledge. This improves standards, increases income, builds reputation, leads to market growth, and satisfied customers. There is no negative impact on sharing information. Kenny adds that the pool and spa industry is complex and requires experts who are willing to help to prevent mistakes. The mentality of withholding information to oneself is old-fashioned and should stop. When you share information, you gain more ideas and increase the probabilities of success.

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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

Pool Stains, What They Mean & How To Remove Them

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Pool Stains - What They Mean and How To Remove Them - Steps for Removing Pool Stains

There is nothing worse than a dirty pool than perhaps a stained pool. Identifying pool stains and what they mean is important. There are different approaches towards cleaning certain types of stains. Figuring out what is causing the stain is often possible by looking at the color of the stain. Various maintenance issues have a tendency to create a certain colored stain in the pool. Identifying what those colors indicate can help you locate the source of the problem.

Pool Stains - What They Mean & How To Remove Them - Pool Stain Comparison Chart
How well do you know your pool stains? View our Pool stain comparison chart.

Types of Pool Stains & What They Mean

Pool Stains - Green Brown Stains

Green Brown Stains

This type of pool stain is typically caused by decaying organic matter such as leaves and debris. Allowing leaf debris to accumulate at the bottom of the pool can cause an unsightly greenish-brown stain.

Stain Removal

To remove an organic stain quickly, sprinkle granular chlorine shock directly on them. On vinyl-liner pools, you’ll want to pre-dissolve the shock first in a five-gallon bucket of water before pouring it on and brushing it in.

Red Blue Stains

Berries cause reddish-blue pool stains. If you have berry trees in your backyard, this could very well be the culprit of red-blue stains in your pool. As the berries decay, the juice and skin of the berry can cause a stain that looks almost purple in color.

Again, you’ll want to take the same approach as removing organic stains. Brushing the liner with shock is your best option here and should remove the stain quickly.

Red Blue Pool Stains
Blue Green Black Stains in your pool

Blue Green Black Stains

Blue-ish Green-ish Black stains on the bottom of your pool could very well be berries too. However if there aren’t any berry trees in close proximity, high levels of copper could be the cause. If you have copper piping as part of your pool equipment setup, corrosion could cause stains that are of a blue-green black composition.

Mineral Based Algaecides

The leaching effect of copper intrusion has been known to cause stains that can be difficult to remove. Heavy doses of copper-based mineral algaecides have also been shown to produce similar stains. There are products such as Stain Free, A+ Stain Remover, and Jack’s Magic Blue Stuff that do an admirable job of removing stains on vinyl liners.

Green Brown Red Stains

Pool stains that are greenish brownish red usually indicate the presence of iron in the pool. As iron rusts, it has a tendency to leave a rusty greenish brown-red stain. This is true in all types of pools.

Leaching Metal Stains in the Pool

Metal leaching can occur that produces a stain from the pool coping, decking material, and a variety of other sources. Marble, granite, and flagstone all contain the mineral Iron and can leach into your swimming pool after a heavy rainstorm. Stains of this nature also occur without proper waterproofing.

Removing green brown red stains in your swimming pool
Brown Black Purple Stains - Manganese staining

Brown Black Purple Stains

This type of stain may look like a big bruise on the bottom of your pool. Stains that are brownish, black purple tend to be the cause of high levels of manganese. This can actually come from the local water supply, especially if the source is well water. Superchlorination is the best way to handle the problem as it oxidizes the manganese to a rust like substance that can be vacuumed off the pool floor. The next step should be cleaning out the pool filter as manganese can cling to surfaces.

Testing for Organic Stains & Metal Stains in Pools

You can easily remove organic stains with a little elbow grease and the right supplies. The typical field test pool contractors use for determining what type of stain they’re dealing with is to simply rub some chlorine on the stain to see if it dissipates. Metal doesn’t react to chlorine. This is why components such as pool ladders are made of metal. If the stain doesn’t react to the stain, then it’s probably metallic in nature.

One way to test if it’s a metal stain that you’re dealing with is to apply some ascorbic acid to the stain. If the stain is removed or at least reacts (lightens) in the presence of rubbing with Vitamin C powder, you have a pretty good indication that it’s a metal stain.

Plaster hydration stains
Plaster hydration stains – Photo Credit: Culator

Hydration Stains in Pools With a Plaster Interior

These stains tend to look like metal staining but are present in plaster pools. Since these types of stains can be difficult to remove there are some things you need to know first. Plaster hydration stains occur when the pool plasterer plasters the pool while the form isn’t completely dry or moisture or humidity is present. If you’re certain that the stain isn’t metallic (stain doesn’t react to ascorbic acid) then acid washing the pool interior is the best option for removing hydration stains.

Removing Organic Pool Stains

Once you’ve determined that it is actually an organic stain that you’re dealing with, chlorine is going to be your best friend here. Honestly, if you had the right amount of chlorine to begin with, you probably wouldn’t even have an organic pool stain. Superchlorination of the water is your best option for dealing with organic stains. Shocking the pool is going to help remove stains caused by leaf debris and decaying organic material. The go-to solution for many pool contractors is to use Cal Hypo (Calcium Hypochlorite Shock).

  • The process here is to test and balance your pool chemistry. Your ideal comfort zone for alkalinity is going to be in the range of 100ppm to 150ppm with 125ppm being the sweet spot.
  • The next step would be to shock the pool. For smaller stains a regular dose of Cal Hypo should do the trick. For larger pools or larger stains you’re going to want to up the dose. The typical regimen is 3 pounds per 10,000 gallons.
  • The third step in the process is brushing the pool to physically remove the stain. On vinyl liners you’ll want to be careful here making sure not to tear the liner while attempting to clean it.
  • Next, run your pump overnight and allow the water to circulate throughout the swimming pool. Make sure to do this for at least 8 hours.
  • Brush again in the morning. Repeat the entire process until satisfied with the results.

Removing Metal Pool Stains

The process of removing metal pool stains is a bit different than removing organic stains, however, using the correct products will greatly assist you in getting rid of metallic pool stains. There are a number of products on the market as we mentioned previously that can assist you in removing metal pool stains. Consequently, finding the right product to use all has to do with first identifying which type of pool stain you actually have.

Cleaning a pool stain is only half the problem. Keeping them from coming back is the real issue. Recurring pool stains can be a real nuisance. Moreover, people are less concerned with cleaning a stain and more concerned about why it occurred to begin with. Ideally, people want to keep mineral and metal stains from coming back.

Our top picks for Metal Removal products

Metal-Free by Natural Chemistry

CuLator 4.0 Powerpak

There are a number of products that pool service professionals use for tackling metal pool stains. Some tried and true products the pros use are Metal-Free by Natural Chemistry, and CuLator 4.0 Powerpak.

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Best Robot Pool Cleaners & Pool Monitors

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Best Robot Pool Cleaners & Pool Monitors

Swimming pools are indisputably excellent sources of enjoyment and relaxation. Even so, cleaning and maintaining a pool is not a walk in the park. Pool maintenance usually consumes a lot of time and effort. Unfortunately, you can never skip pool maintenance if you want to maintain crystal clear pool water. On average, you need to clean your pool at least twice a week. Moreover, you need to ensure you have balanced water chemistry at all times. Fortunately, there is a wide range of pool cleaning equipment you can use to keep your pool in good shape. In this article, we look at the best robot pool cleaners of 2021.

Best Robot Pool Cleaners & Pool Monitors

2021 best robot pool cleaners

The pool filter is usually responsible for getting rid of dirt and debris in your pool. However, some particles may be too large to go through the filter. As a result, you need to use a vacuum or robotic pool cleaner to clean the pool. At present, there is a wide range of robot pool cleaners in the market. Each offers unique functionality.

There are two primary types of automatic pool cleaners; pressure cleaners and robotic cleaners. Both deliver excellent functionality. But pressure cleaners usually depend on the pool filter and pump to function. At times, they rely on a booster pump to operate. On the flip side, robotic cleaners depend on electricity to function and work independently. Also, some robotic cleaners use smart technology like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to function.

Factors to consider when buying a robotic pool cleaner

Typically, robot pool cleaners incorporate a head unit responsible for running all operations of the cleaner. You can set a robotic cleaner to work at your preferred timings during the day. Most robotic pool cleaners have floor and wall cleaning options. In addition, pool professionals usually advise getting a robotic pool cleaner that cleans the waterline. Such pool cleaners reduce the need for brushing your pool surfaces. Nevertheless, these robotic pool cleaners tend to be more expensive.

All robot pool cleaners use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi systems to function. Thus, you can easily control the robotic cleaner using a smartphone app. You can start and stop the robotic cleaner at any time. When buying a pool cleaner, always buy one with a quality debris canister. The debris canister is responsible for trapping debris in the pool. After cleaning the pool, you need to empty and remove the canister according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Another factor to consider when buying a robotic pool cleaner is the size and shape of your pool. If you have a complex pool design, buy a robotic cleaner that can navigate tough corners. Also, if your pool has steps, choose a robotic cleaner that can go up the steps.

Different types of robot pool cleaners

It is important to note that robot pool cleaners are costly. Thus, before purchasing this equipment, ensure you analyze your requirements. Even so, pool experts report that robotic pool cleaners are worth the purchase.

DOLPHIN Sigma Robotic Pool Cleaner with Bluetooth and Massive Top-Load Cartridge Filters, Ideal for Pools up to 50 Feet.

Hassle-free clean. Easy-to-use, robotic pool cleaner equipped with an anti-tangling swivel cable, allowing Sigma to move freely around large residential pools up to 50 feet with ease. Backed by a 3 year quality assurance.

$1,497 on Amazon

Polaris Alpha IQ+

This is one of the best robotic pool cleaners you can find in the market. The Polaris Alpha IQ+ incorporates a fast and straightforward installation process. Also, it does an excellent job of helping you maintain crystal clear pool water. You can find it for about $1,458.96 on Amazon

Aquabot Turbo T4RC

Another robotic pool cleaner is the Aquabot Turbo T4RC. It is lightweight and uses a series of brushes to keep the pool clean. You can find it on Amazon for as low as $1,999.

Polaris 9550 Sport

Best Robot Pool Cleaners & Pool Monitors

Another Polaris robotic cleaner is the Polaris 9550 Sport that goes for approximately $1299 on Amazon. This cleaner is ideal for getting rid of dirt on pool surfaces of inground pools.

Smart pool water monitors

Maintaining balanced water chemistry is essential. Currently, there are several pieces of equipment specially designed to check the pool pH, calcium hardness, and chlorine levels. Smart monitor systems do this job and send measurements to your smartphone app every day.

WaterGuru Sense

This smart monitor system is specially designed to stay in the pool skimmer. The WaterGuru Sense smart monitor measures the pool pH and chlorine levels. You can find it on Amazon for as low as $295.

cFloat

Another smart monitor system is the cFloat. This system helps you improve water quality at all times. It goes for approximately $399 on Amazon.

Sutro Smart Pool Water Monitor

This smart monitor helps you know your pool chemistry. Also, it advises you on all the chemical adjustments you need to make. Purchasing a Sutro smart pool water monitor costs approximately $199.

Ultimately

Today, there is a wide range of smart pool equipment. Before purchasing any pool equipment, ensure you evaluate all your requirements.

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Dealing With the Trichlor Shortage Head On

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Dealing With the Trichlor Shortage Head On

The recent fire that destroyed the chemical plant in Louisiana is the main reason for the current chlorine shortage. As a result, a good percentage of pool companies were adversely affected. At the same time, some pool companies remained unaffected by these events and have been able to carry on business as usual. Such companies relied on other pool sanitation systems like saltwater systems and baquacil.

Dealing With the Trichlor Shortage Head On

But generally, the shortage of chlorine is a big challenge for many pool owners. There has been a significant rise in the price of chlorine due to increased demand.

How did pool professionals deal with tricholor shortage?

Once the news hit home, pool experts came up with several strategies to deal with this sudden shortage of chlorine. President of Patio Pleasures Pools & Spas, Rene Huston, said that trichlor shortage forced them to stock up in excess. This way, they would still have supplies in the next swimming pool peak season. Although this was a good idea, they realized that the demand was too high. In particular, the demand was three times than what we would sell in normal seasons.”

Most pool companies stocked up the chlorine in excess to deal with the shortage. Even so, this strategy also comes with other challenges. When you decide to stockpile chlorine, you need to create safe storage space. As a result, pool product suppliers have had to expand their warehouses to accommodate excess stock. Aside from creating a stock house, you need a lot of money to purchase chlorine in bulk. Unfortunately, very few pool experts have enough cash to stockpile.

What were the early signs of chlorine shortage?

People started noticing the shortage of chlorine by a sudden hike in prices. Before, pool owners bought a 50-lb buck of 3-inch unwrapped tablets at $70 to $75. Last year., the price rose to $125. Thus, pool owners had to pay almost twice what they used to pay to get chlorine tablets.

CEO/RMO of Cline Commercial Pool Service in California, Lori Ann Cline, says that she received a notice that the price of chorine would rise by approximately 15 to 20% during summer. Therefore, her company had no choice other than increase their prices to retain their profits. Contrary to popular belief, the increase in prices has not helped them deal with scarcity. In fact, most of their suppliers are currently reducing their purchases every week. So, they cannot buy as much chlorine as they would wish. Unlike before, they cannot order multiple buckets of trichlor.

Dealing with the situation beforehand

The owner of Richard’s Pool Service, Richard Garnai, says that the shortage of trichlor has not been a big problem for them. They already had a solid plan for dealing with the shortage. Their suppliers advised them to purchase trichlor in bulk. This way, they would be able to meet the expected surge in demand during summer. If they run out of stock, he considers manufacturing the chemical himself. Additionally, he plans to use cyanuric acid and liquid chlorine if he runs out of stock.

Garnai advises pool experts not to depend on tabs this summer. He says that looking for other options is a great idea. Trying to reduce the use of chlorine tabs is a great idea to deal with this problem. Some of the alternatives to trichlor include calcium hypochlorite and liquid chlorine. Although bromine is also a great alternative, it tends to degrade when exposed to sunlight.

Education programs

At the moment, it is essential to educate customers about this sudden shortage. Most customers are angry about this whole situation. Consider informing your customers that you are suddenly experiencing a chlorine shortage, and it would be best to look for other alternatives. Explaining the sudden increase in prices is also a good idea. Pool professionals are also encouraging customers to stock up tabs before summer. Fortunately, most customers are responding positively.

Using alternatives to chlorine

At present, there is a broad spectrum of techniques that can help you lower chlorine usage in your pool. These techniques help pool experts deal with the trichlor shortage well. When reducing the pool’s dependence on chlorine, the first thing to do is keep the pool in good condition. Using UV, Ozone, and AOP pool systems also helps you reduce chlorine usage. Consequently, pool experts are trying to encourage customers to consider other pool sanitation alternatives. Fortunately, most customers are responding positively. Nonetheless, pool experts hope that they won’t experience these challenges in demand and supply come next year.

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