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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.

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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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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End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

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End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

The end of every pool season is a vital opportunity to finalize the summer’s last good swims and ensure that the following season is better. Accurate pool winterizing techniques rely on geographical location. However, closing products safeguard pools from the off-season impacts and eases the opening period. This saves on time and cash. Worry less with the products offered below that safeguard your pool during the winter season.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

Ramuc Pool Paint

Ramuc’s Clean & Prep solution is ideal for cleaning pool surfaces before closure. This helps to guarantee clean pool walls and set for the opening during spring. It eliminates debris, oil and other pollutants that form on the pool surface during the season. This product is effective in cleaning, removing grease stains and dissolving mineral deposits. It works on concrete, painted surfaces, fiberglass, gunite and bare plaster. It is a volatile organic compound with no smell nor fume and is biodegradable.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

Automatic Pool Covers

Automatic Pool Covers offers the ultimate APC 365. This is a high-quality automatic safety cover system unique for vinyl-lined pools. The system uses a coping and housing structure that permits an automatic cover joined to the pool. It’s designed for easy installation with a 48-by-48-inch enclosed coping and wall cap corner to guarantee a 100% correct fit. APC 365 System utilizes a slide-on polybox shelter to saves on installation time and maintains the housing’s lid with the flush deck.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

McEwen Industries

McEwen Super Solid is the toughest and puncture-repellant hard cover material, the company affirms. This strong fabric is lighter in weight compared to a traditional solid cover. This makes its installation and removal simpler as well as saves on time. It is accessible in a variety of colors.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

Natural Chemistry

Natural Chemistry’s Hassle Free Kit consists of 2 items that set pools up for easy openings. Pool Magic, together with Phosfree, contains natural enzymes to disintegrate remaining nonliving waste from the pool season. This is to minimize off-season scum lines. The modern upgraded kit box consists of Metal Free compounds to avoid metal staining and scales throughout winter, without including harmful phosphates.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

ProTeam

ProTeam Winter combination offers an easy, single-step product to aid shield pool surfaces from staining and scaling over the winter. This revolutionary formula consists of ProTeam Sub-Zero Crystals that offer extra safety against popular pool winterizing challenges. Further, it offers added pool water softeners to help with easier pool openings. It can also treat up to 15,000 gallons with one application.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

Aladdin

Accessible in 5 varying designs, this SkimSaver Lid’L Seal will fit most common broad and regular openings inground and aboveground skimmers. The product permits drainage of the skimmer, not the pool, preventing corrosion of the metallic pool walls throughout the year. Additionally, recessive lid helps to it getting removed by shifting ice. This leads to expensive freeze destruction to your skimmer.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

Anchor Industries

The Anchor’s Defender mesh and Standard mesh covers have webbing that’s sewn on every cover base. This feature offers support strength and a flat, smooth surface to avoid debris build up during winter. Mesh pool covers are self-draining. They drain water from the cover throughout winter. The Defender Mesh pool cover minimizes the loss of chemicals from pool water. Furthermore, it prevents entry of debris into the water and shields children or animals from falling in.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

Merlin Industries

Pool owners can get the best blend of tear strength, sunlight shade, and abrasion resistance thanks to Merlin’s standard mesh, Dura-Mesh II. Moreover, it offer a unique patented SmartMesh pool safety cover. This is the only fabric to give 100% sunlight shade and give 40-micron debris filtration.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

LOOP-LOC

Deck-Loc, a LOOP-LOC product, is a no-drill support system for composite decks. As the company states, owners can install pool covers on composite decks without boring any hole. It offers protection by turning the locks until they clinch beneath the deck boards. Using Deck-Loc renders the pool undamaged. Its material, 316 marine-grade stainless steel, is resistant to corrosion.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

SimPoolTec

Pool experts are aware that when pool winterizing, draining less water from the pool will minimize damage to the liners, winter covers and fiberglass pools. Skimmer Plugs offer all these advantages with a fast, dependable and cost-efficient technique of pool winterizing above and inground skimmers. Furthermore, it forms a watertight seal when dipped into the skimmer’s current faceplate. This ensures there is no wastage of water, tools and time. They are accessible to fit every skimmer with sales materials and displays helping you sell more plugs.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

Jack’s Magic Products

Jack’s Magic Super Pacs are a dry, unrefined multi-enzyme that prevents the accumulation of oils, grease, suntan lotions and other organic pollutants that cause scum lines in pools and spas. They work very well in high chlorine amounts, up to 50ppm. The phosphate-free product enhances filter efficiency, minimizes the use of chemicals and aids to prevent dull, unclear water. An ounce of the products treats 20,000 gallons of pool water in fourteen days. For application, place the water-soluble pouch in the skimmer basket.

End of Pool Season: Pool Winterizing Products

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