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Pool and Spa Corrosion – An Atomic Point Of View

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Pool and Spa Corrosion - An Atomic Point Of View

Today, corrosion is one of the most common problems faced by a majority of individuals. Statistical reports show that corrosion caused damages worth one trillion in 2016. In particular, the majority of swimming pools and spas are prone to corrosion. And the effects of this are damaging and often lead to significant pool repair costs. Fortunately, there are several techniques pool owners and contractors can implement to reduce pool and spa corrosion. But typically, as a pool owner, you need to understand the term corrosion at an in-depth level. This way, you’ll be able to help your customers prevent and treat this problem.

Pool and Spa Corrosion - An Atomic Point Of View

Foundational knowledge – The basic atomic model

Do you remember the term atoms in your science or chemistry class? Let’s rewind our knowledge a little bit. Usually, all materials consist of atoms. And a material that has one type of atom is an element. Every element has its atomic number. In the middle of the atom is the nucleus. The nucleus has both protons and neutrons. Also, electrons encompass the nucleus. Typically, electrons carry a negative charge. On the other hand, Protons always have a positive charge.

So how is all this information related to pool and spa corrosion?

Usually, electron number will dictate the corrosion reaction. For example, Sodium always loses electrons, hence becoming a positively charged ion or a proton. Conversely, chlorine tends to gain electrons. Such elements steal electrons from other elements. Therefore, they are known as negative ions. When positive and negative ions combine, they become insoluble solids. And this is why rust is often left behind once pool and spa corrosion has occurred.

What are the main ingredients for corrosion?

Generally, certain factors have to be present for corrosion to take place. Below are all the ingredients needed for corrosion.

  • A cathode is responsible for gaining electrons. It is the oxidizer during corrosion. A good example is oxygen; Oxygen steals electrons from the metal in the pool equipment hence causes pool and spa corrosion.
  • An anode is Responsible for losing electrons. It is the element that gets oxidized. In our case, this could be the metal used to make the pool equipment. It loses electrons to the cathode.
  • An electrolyte: Electrolytes exist in liquid form. So, in our case, this is the pool water. Often saltwater is an exemplary conductor. Thus, it tends to be very corrosive. Note that the more the liquid dissolves materials, the more corrosive it becomes. That’s why salt water is more corrosive than normal pool water.
  • The electrical contact of the cathode and anode. Typically, there has to be an electric path for the electric circuit to become complete.

So, if you want to reduce or prevent pool and spa corrosion, you must eliminate one of these factors. Of course, you cannot get rid of some of the factors mentioned above in most instances. Thus, you would have to identify creative ways of how to prevent corrosion.

How does corrosion in swimming pools and spas occur?

First, note that corrosion is an electrochemical reaction. Corrosion occurs when the metal (material of the pool equipment) loses electrons to another element (e.g., oxygen) found in the electrolyte (pool water). When this happens, a corrosion cell gets formed. Note that the quantity of material lost to corrosion matches the corrosion current. On the flip side, the corrosion current is indirectly proportional to the cell’s resistance and directly proportional to the cell voltage.

So, if you increase the cell’s resistance, you will reduce the rate of pool and spa corrosion. A real-life illustration is a pool heat exchanger experiencing a buildup of calcium carbonate deposits. In case you continue having unbalanced water chemistry, the heat exchanger gets more and more vulnerable to coating, especially on its inner diameter. And when there is a partial coating, some parts of the heat exchanger are generally more susceptible than others. Consequently, the section beneath the coating will be anodic, and the one outside the coating will be the cathode.

How do you prevent pool and spa corrosion?

If you have any metal equipment, corrosion should not come as a surprise to you. Corrosion occurs even on stainless steel. And it’s almost close to impossible to stop corrosion from ever happening on a metal. As a result, the techniques for preventing corrosion are often meant to slow down the reaction to 0%.

This method usually works pretty well only if done correctly. In fact, when you use the right techniques, you may not have to deal with corrosion for decades. As a pool owner, it would be best to identify the best practices that would help you prevent pool and spa corrosion. This way, you won’t have to deal with the massive costs that come with pool equipment repairs and replacements. Besides, you’ll prolong the durability of your pool.

it is clear that pool and spa corrosion is an electrochemical reaction. Understanding how corrosion works will help you find the best techniques for mitigating this problem.

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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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Claffey Pools Acquired by Riverbend Sandler Pools

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Claffey Pools Acquired by Riverbend Sandler Pools

The pool industry has seen a spate of recent acquisition announcements. The latest, being the recent acquisition of Claffey pools by Riverbend Sandler Pools. Backed by Chicago-based Concentric Equity Partners, they are continuing efforts to consolidate the swimming pool construction and maintenance industry in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.

The acquisition agreement was signed on December 31, 2021 but only made public on Thursday. Full details about the exact terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This marks the third major pool builder purchased by the holding company, after acquiring Pulliam Pools back in November. The acquisition of the Fort Worth-based firm made it one of the nation’s largest pool construction companies.

This recent acquisition of Claffey Pools which is ranked within the nations top pool construction companies with about $32 million in reported residential construction revenue in 2020. A builder of high-end inground swimming pools, Claffey’s average pool project costs around $142,000.

Riverbend Sandler intends to make considerable advancements by acquiring existing service and maintenance companies, in addition to focusing on construction. Consequently, they hope to become a key service provider in the state’s pool service and maintenance sector.

This in itself appears to be a key decision point for the Claffeys who are looking to expand their pool service and maintenance divisions. Last year’s Texas Pool freeze caused unprecedented amounts of damage across the Lone Star state and saw Claffey perform over 1,000 repairs as a result.

In regards to any restructuring of the organization, the Claffeys, along with their 95 employees, will remain with the company. Riverbend Sandler has announced its intentions to continue its expansion. It will continue to concentrate on Texas, for the time being, looking seriously to expand into the Austin, Houston, and San Antonio markets after having established the predominant marketshare in the Dallas area.

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GENESIS Announces Newest Platinum Sponsor: Pool Magazine

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GENESIS Platinum Sponsor - Pool Magazine

(Alexandria, Va.) – GENESIS is pleased to announce its newest Platinum Sponsor, Pool Magazine. The GENESIS sponsorship program showcases companies that are dedicated to the highest standards of best practices, quality, and ethics in the pool and spa industry.

“We look forward to collaborating with PHTA and expanding our relationship as a Platinum Sponsor,” says Joe Trusty, CEO & Editor-in-Chief. “We are excited for this next chapter and look forward to making a positive impact on the industry.”

As a Platinum Sponsor, Pool Magazine will have the opportunity to maximize its brand visibility, connect with thousands of engaged industry professionals, and unlock valuable opportunities.

“We are delighted to add Pool Magazine to our distinguished list of Platinum Sponsors,” says Janay Rickwalder, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations of PHTA. “Pool Magazine has everything we look for in a partner: quality services that can benefit our members, an understanding of the importance of continuing education, and a finger on the pulse of industry trends. I am excited for this collaboration and to working together in 2022.”

For more information, please contact Janay Rickwalder, PHTA’s Vice President of Communications and Public Relations, at jrickwalder@phta.org or 703.357.3918.

###

About the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance 

The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), a non-profit organization with nearly 3,500 members from around the world, was established in 1956 to support, promote, and protect the common interests of the $36.5B pool, hot tub and spa industry. PHTA provides education, advocacy, standards development, research, and market growth to increase our members’ professionalism, knowledge and profitability. Additionally, PHTA facilitates the expansion of swimming, water safety and related research and outreach activities aimed at introducing more people to swimming, making swimming environments safer and keeping pools open to serve communities. For more information, visit www.phta.org

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Pool Contractors Gift New Pool To Grandma After Disaster

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Pool Contractors Gift New Pool to 80 Year Old Grandmother in Indianapolis

A group of pool contractors are the answer to one homeowners prayers. For years, Kitty Smitth, an 80-year old resident of Indianapolis, had dreamed of having an inground swimming pool for her 29 grandchildren and great-grandchildren to enjoy. Smith had just recently used her life savings to purchase a home and property in South Indianapolis that she was hoping would allow her to finally realize those dreams.

Smith acknowledges that the home she purchased needed a lot of work inside, but held out hope of enjoying the backyard with her family. For Smith and her grandchildren, the backyard pool meant a safe haven from the dangers of the pandemic that was sweeping across the country last summer.

“They were here, swimming and playing. I can’t tell you how great that was. This has just been my dream my whole life,” she told reporters.

Smith’s pool collapsed after a snowstorm this February. Photo Credit: WTHR

Future summer dreams would be put to an end this February when a winter storm caused her pool to collapse into a heap of disintegrating concrete and collapsed fiberglass walls. Smith was horrified to find that her backyard pool had collapsed in on itself in the night. “My whole body just started going numb and shaking. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” she told reporters.

An engineering report was conducted to determine the cause of the failure. Analysis determined that a leak may have contributed to its collapse. A new pool cover, which had just been installed, combined with the inadequate water level in the pool may have contributed to adding stress on the walls of the pool.

To add insult to injury, Smith quickly found out that her homeowners insurance would not cover the damage. Despite being a customer of the same company for over 40 years and having a policy that includes the replacement cost of an inground pool, her insurance company refused to pay a cent. They claimed her policy excluded any leak in the structure of the pool.

Smith was faced with an impossible problem. The cost of installing a new inground pool would be at least $60,000 plus an additional $20,000 for hauling away the debris from the old pool that had collapsed. “I just put everything into my house”, Smith told reporters, indicating that she didn’t have the financial resources to rebuild the pool. She stated that she felt like her insurance company had left her high and dry.

Smith contacted investigative reporters and discussed her problem with them. The reporters shared her story with some folks they knew in the pool industry that could help lend a hand. Ultimately, eight separate Indiana companies came together headed up under Automatic Pool Covers owner, Michael Shebek. Shebek pooled his resources and network to help put together a team that will help rebuild Smith’s backyard.

What is truly incredible about this story is that although some of the companies on this list are competitors, they are all united in the single goal to help one local resident recover the usage of her pool.

Shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday, Smith was greeted with the surprise of a lifetime. The contractors who have agreed to rebuild her pool at zero cost, showed up at her house along with the 13news team to break the good news. Overwhelmed with emotion, Smith hugged them all and said “I don’t know your names but I know your hearts,” telling the contractors, “I love you.”

A team of local pool contractors has vowed to help Smith rebuild her pool. Photo Credit: WTHR

Smith will hopefully have a new pool to enjoy with her grandchildren this summer. The contractors have all assured her that the unsightly mess in her backyard will be removed and a new pool installed. The entire cost of the project is estimated to cost approximately $90,000.

“Just no words. There aren’t words big enough to thank everyone,” Smith said. “I’m just so thankful.”

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