Surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased demand for pool services and products. Consequently, the majority of pool companies have been hectic from the start of the last summer. Mark Bauckman, vice president of Fluidra product development, says, “We always see the number of sales made. Last summer, a lot of people were investing on pools and pool products.” Pool and Spa Automation manufacturers report that there was a significant increase in sales last year. Think about it. The majority of homeowners are now revamping their backyard spaces to create the ideal staycation in their homes.
The innovation of smart pools
With the expansion of the pool industry, there have been numerous innovations over the years. Swimming pools are now easier to control more than ever. Some pools have voice-activated systems compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Moreover, there have been several apps that show how to balance water chemistry and maintain your pool. “Such innovations have been well received by customers and are now gaining a lot of popularity,” says Greg Fournier, senior product manager for Hayward Pool Products.
Currently, almost everything is technology-driven. Therefore, we plan to come up with a smart pool.group category leader for Pentair automation, KEVAN COOPER
The smart pool is uniquely designed to function as per the needs of the customer. As a result, pool owners will spend less time operating and maintaining their pools. Smart pools work like home appliances. For example, if they sense the pool owner opening the front door, the pump would automatically go on. Such pools rely on day temperatures and time to function. Gauckman says, “One of the main advantages of having a smart pool is that you save a lot of energy.”
Automatic and robotic pool cleaners
Fournier says, “Robotic cleaners are also growing in popularity. You can operate this equipment using a simple app or remote control.” On the other hand, Bauckman is expecting to see more advanced versions of automatic pool cleaners. Robotic pool cleaners with additional sensors will indisputably function more efficiently and make it easier for you to clean even the most unreachable areas. Tim Murphy, President of Blue Square, reports an increased demand for their products. Even so, he is expecting to see more growth.”
The benefits extend to pool experts too
Bauckman says that smart pool appliances will benefit not only the user but also the pool professional. “Fixing a smart pool is easier since you can easily find the primary source of the problem. Also, there are usually some sections in the pool equipment that you wouldn’t want the pool owner to reach. Smart pools make this possible.” Bauckman anticipates that these pool and spa automation products will get combined with business management systems.”
Addition of new technology features
At present, most pool manufacturers are doing their best to make pool and spa automation products available to many people, Fournier says. Consequently, there is a wide range of products and services offered in the market. Unlike before, portable and smaller equipment are in the market.
“A good example is the Bluetooth pool pump. You can easily switch on and switch off the pump using an app.” says Mike Tuttobene, Waterway sales vice president. You can also control the speed of the pump using the app.
Chemtrolnational sales manager, Dave Button, says, “Pool experts are now making pools more user-friendly by coming up with controllers incorporating more complex functions. “Back in the day, it was possible to regulate the main pool pump. However, it was impossible to control variable frequency drives. Additionally, Ultraviolet regulators only enabled you to switch them on and off. But now, you can intensify the light radiated by Ultraviolet systems. Furthermore, modern systems are systems that allow you to regulate the opening of the main drain, unlike traditional systems.”
Modification of pool lights
In this present age and time, pool owners fall in love with the evolution of automated lights. I mean, every pool owner wants to have a multicolored swimming pool or water features. Murphy says, “Majority of pool owners wants their pool lighting to automatically switch colors.” Fortunately, there are many innovations meant to cater to such customer requirements.
Pool experts are working towards more advanced versions of pool lighting that can switch up the backyard into a serene haven.PAL Lightingnational sales manager, Jai O’Neill
Additionally, he says that these modern pool lighting systems allow you to control the intensity of light getting radiated. He says, “occasionally, pool experts will require a certain number of lumens for their pool. And such pool and spa automation systems allow you to control them.”
Ultimately, the COVID-19 pandemic led to increased demand for pool and spa automation products. Most homeowners are looking for more user-friendly products that allow them to consume less time, energy, and effort during operation.
Automatic Spa Covers
Over the years, automatic pool coves have increasingly become popular among most homeowners. These safety features protect pools from dirt and help pool owners save energy. At present, there is an increased demand for automatic covers, especially among spa owners. Indisputably, spa owners are also looking to protect their investments. Automatic spa covers are therefore becoming popular in the pool industry. The best thing about these features is that they are user-friendly; you can operate them with the simple touch of a button. Ultimately, homeowners don’t mind spending on these features.
The increased demand for automatic spa covers
Several states make it compulsory for all pool owners to have safety covers. Consequently, almost every pool owner is familiar with automatic pool covers. Once spa owners see how this feature works well, they’ll always want to purchase one for their spa. Allan Horwood of Pool Patrol in British Columbia concurs, and he states, “Before, using safety covers in spas was quite odd. However, it is now common to protect your spa using a cover.”
“There has been a steady rise in demand for automatic pool and spa covers in the United States.”VP of sales for Automatic Pool Covers, Mike Shadoan
Nonetheless, Shadoan says that automatic pool and spa covers are costly. But people are always willing to buy products that offer value for money. There’s, therefore, a golden opportunity for pool professionals who wish to sell these safety features.
Is selling automatic spa covers a good idea?
A good percentage of pool owners love automatic spa covers because they are simple to use. I mean, no one wants to struggle to remove the automatic pool/spa cover after a grueling day. With auto covers, you can open and close the pool using a remote.
A unique opportunity for pool contractors
Last year, the industry experienced a surge in demand for pool services. Homeowners were looking for ways to upgrade their backyards. Consequently, they installed swimming pools, among other outdoor features. Automatic pool and spa covers were therefore in high demand. Pool contractors who sell these safety features are often privileged. When they go onsite to provide installation services, they will most likely sell other pool products and water features. For example, high-end customers may request an additional water feature like a spa. And this helps pool contractors to increase their revenue. Ultimately, there are so many golden opportunities that come with selling automatic pool covers.
Installing automatic spa covers
Is there a difference between automatic pool covers and automatic spa covers? Well, yes. The major difference between these features is space and aesthetics. Automatic spa covers are more versatile since they are smaller. Thus, they tend to provide more aesthetics. Pool contractors can install auto covers on spas that are above the deck or flush with the deck.
Suppose the spa is above the ground; you’ll have to raise it by approximately 20 inches above the deck. It would help if you also placed the cover box above the deck. Nevertheless, note that the installation process is different for existing spas. In such instances, there’s usually limited space to work with. Consequently, there might be insufficient space to install the housing for the cover mechanism.
Dealing with such projects requires you to be innovative. You may decide to flush mount the safety cover on the paver. Doing this helps you create a nice, clean look. You can also add a storage space along the edge of the spa; here, you can store your cleaning equipment, among other products. Subsequently, you end up making the most out of your space.
Balancing between functionality and aesthetics
You have to find the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality when installing an automatic spa cover. Most clients prefer using concrete lids on their pool covers so that they can walk around the cover. Also, concrete lids are more popular because they provide more aesthetics. Meeting the customer’s requirements will require you to use a heavy-duty bracket. This way, it can handle the weight of the concrete lid. Even so, always tell your clients to minimize their movement on the cover. At times, the stone can move, and this can lead to serious accidents.
Shadoan says, “Pool contractors should explain how these features work. They should inform their clients that lifting the stone from time to time is important. Also, let them know that walking, standing, or sitting on the lid can lead to serious accidents.”
Are automatic spa covers worth the purchase?
Currently, there is a broad spectrum of automatic spa cover designs. Therefore, every spa owner can find something that caters to their needs. Needless to say, automatic spa covers are not for everyone. They are ideal for pool owners who want to match their pool cover and spa cover more often than not. Ultimately, automatic spa covers offer excellent functionality and aesthetics.
Large Format Pool and Spa Tiles: Installation, Advantages, and Disadvantages
Large-Format tiles have increasingly become popular among most homeowners. They come in different shapes and sizes. Besides, these tiles offer exceptional aesthetics. Nonetheless, installing large-format pool and spa tiles is relatively complex. This article outlines a few tips that help with large-format tile installation.
Choose non-slip pool and spa tiles
Large-format tiles should be slip-resistant. Keep in mind that a slippery pool surface can lead to severe accidents. Swimmers can fall and break their body parts. Even worse, they could die. The most recent award-winning poolscape by Chafey incorporated large dark tiles that had a blend of various surface materials. Some were textured, glossy, and matter. Chafey used the glossy finish on the vertical pool surfaces. He did, however, use the matte for the horizontal surface to add extra safety.
Come up with a solid plan before installation
Every pool contractor should have a solid plan of how the pool and spa tiles should fit the surface. It would be best to know all the surface measurements since you’ll be dealing with bigger tiles. Plan how you want to layer the corners and steps. Doing this helps you know if you have enough material.
Select a flexible material for easy installation
Another thing to consider is the adaptability of the material. At times, you won’t be able to fit full-sized tiles across the whole pool. Some sections might require you to cut the large tile into two. For example, if you are using a 12 by 24-inch material, you would have to cut it into a six by 24-inch material to fit the waterline areas. On the flip side, areas like the back of a vanishing edge wall would need full-sized tiles.
Use a blend of large-format tiles and mosaic for best results
Incorporating a blend of mosaic and large-format pool and spa tiles makes the pool more appealing. The mosaic design is often meant to underscore water features or any other breathtaking areas of the pool. Co-owner of Alpentile, Amy Denny, says that they usually combine large format with mosaic in a variety of numerous projects. Doing this is also cost-effective since you get to balance your costs.
Through-body tiles are the best
Selecting a through-body tile is also essential. These pieces often have a consistent color. And this makes it less challenging to surface the pool, unlike glazed tiles. Subsequently, through-body tiles simplify the installation process.
How do you install large-format tiles?
The process of installing large-format pool and spa tiles is more or less the same for different designs. Co-founder of National Tile and Stone Authority, Greg Andrews, states, “It would be wrong to think that installing larger tiles takes a shorter time.”
Allow sufficient time for proper curing
During installation, you should always give large-format pool and spa tiles enough time to cure. Ensure the thin-set cures properly before you proceed to the next step. Typically, thinset needs air to cure Thinset typically requires air to cure. While the area between the separate tiles can quickly cure, the area behind the tiles will need more time. Dealing with larger pieces is actually worse because they need more time to cure. Pool experts report that the back center of the tile can take months to cure. Even so, experts don’t give it as much curing time. On average, large-format tiles will need 21 to 28 days to cure. “It would be best to inform the pool owner that they will have to wait 3 to 4 weeks for the tiles to cure,” says Amy Deny.
Prevent the formation of voids
Large-format tiles are more vulnerable to getting voids. So, be careful when applying the thinset. Use the correct troweling methods. Installers should not use the spot bonding method. This technique can form a lot of voids beneath the material. Voids often act as a travel medium for water, among other fluids. In turn, they affect the pool’s structure.
Reduce lippage and work with the warpage
Large-format tiles are more susceptible to warping. Luckily, you can use spacers to protect the tiles. Spacers regulate the elevation of each tile; in such a way, one tile piece is higher than another. This helps in preventing lippage. Pool pros advise offsetting the pool tiles by not more than a third of the tile. Remember, you don’t want the end of the tile to connect with the highest point of the crown.
Pool and SpaTiles
Large-format pool and spa tiles offer excellent aesthetics, functionality, and durability. As a result, they are becoming a popular tile option among most pool owners. However, before purchasing these tiles, there are several factors to consider. Also, during installation, ensure you prevent voids, control lippage, and allow proper curing.
Trichlor Shortage in the Pool Industry
Trichlor is essential for maintaining clean pools. Unfortunately, trichlor is in short supply in the industry. The main reason for this trichlor shortage was the factory fire in Lake Charles that happened a while back. The fire damaged the only primary source of trichlor production. But does this affect the pool industry?
Fortunately, most pool companies will remain unaffected. The majority of pool owners use other pool sanitizing options, like sodium hypochlorite and baquacil. However, some pool owners will be affected by this shortage. As we speak, manufacturers are increasing the prices of chlorine tablets. And this poses a considerable challenge to commercial pool owners since the peak season is approaching.
How to deal with trichlor shortage
Pool supply companies and service providers came up with several strategies to help them deal with the situation. President of Patio Pleasures Pools & Spas, Rene Huston, began piling up on tabs. She says, “Immediately we heard about the tragedy, we bought tabs in excess, and we continue to do so. At some point, everyone is going to need chlorine, and the supply will probably be limited.” Well, piling your stock is not such a bad idea. However, you have to find a safe storage space for the stock. Moreover, you need a lot of cash to pay your suppliers.
The first sign of trichlor shortage
Before the global pandemic, trichlor used to cost about $70 to $75 per bucket. The prices started increasing gradually from 2019 to 2020. At this time, pool service techs bought this chemical for about $85. However, all this changed from around year August. The market prices rose to $125 per bucket. And this was frustrating for most pool owners. Trichlor prices are still expected to increase this summer. On the flip side, suppliers are placing a limit on all their purchases.
Preparation for the upcoming swimming peak season
The owner of Richard’s Pool Service, Richard Garnai, says that trichlor shortage is not a major problem for them. He has a solution to the problem. He states, “Based on my supplier’s report, I’m sure there will be enough tabs to make it through summer.” And even if things go south, Richard is not worried. He plans to make his mix manually. “If the shortage becomes too much, I’ll use chlorine and cyanuric acid to achieve the same results.” He also recommends limiting tab use during this period so that you can have enough during summer. Although bromine can be an alternative, this chemical is susceptible to degradation when exposed to sunlight.
Keeping it real with customers
All pool service techs need to educate their clients. By now, most pool owners are already bothered by the surge in trichlor prices. Be honest with your customers and explain to them exactly what’s happening in the industry. But don’t stop there. Tell them how you plan to handle the situation. Also, assure them that you will do your best to support them this summer. Most customers will respond well to this.
Customers are starting to stock up as early as now. Pool experts advise that it would be better to purchase the tabs as early as now because there’s a possibility they won’t be available from July. The same goes for pool equipment. Pool companies are now encouraging pool owners to conduct all their replacements and repairs before the peak season.
Consider using non-chlorine pool systems
Aside from stockpiling, there are other ways to deal with trichlor shortage. Consider using chlorine alternatives. Fortunately, you don’t have to use chlorine to keep your pool clean at all times. Furthermore, by maintaining balanced water chemistry and using preventative algaecides, you can reduce your use of chlorine. Keeping all your pool equipment in good condition also helps you reduce the pool’s dependence on chlorine.
Moreover, consider using UV light systems to operate swimming pools. This helps you lower the demand for chlorine in pools. Salt chlorinator systems also enable you to reduce the use of chlorine tablets.
Luckily, most pool owners are embracing these systems positively. All you need to do is explain to them the benefits offered by these systems. Some companies send email campaigns to inform clients about salt and UV systems. Installing these pool systems helps pool owners save on energy and provide a safe swimming environment. As a result, putting up UV and salt systems is a great way to deal with the trichlor shortage.
Nobody knows how long the trichlor shortage is going to last. But pool professionals report that the shortage is likely to increase this summer. Generally, 2021 will be no different from 2020. Nonetheless, things should start getting better next year. Industry veterans say that there won’t be any shortages in supply and labor in 2022. Things will start going back to normal gradually. Even so, everyone in the pool industry should prepare themselves for the 2021 summer.
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