Monday, May 25, 2020

Betta Solar Powered Swimming Pool Surface Skimmer

The Betta Solar Powered Solar Skimmer is the latest surface skimmer to hit the market and sells currently for $450. The overall design of the Betta is great and it has the look and feel of a high-priced RC boat. Maybe it is the brushless motors on the back or the sleek design, but this thing looks and feels impressive. It comes backed by a 1-year limited warranty.

Order on Amazon:

Here is more about the Betta from the manufacturer:
Automatically remove various floating objects on the water surface, such as leaves, dust, pollen and dead insects, etc.

100% of energy power comes from solar energy. There is no cable connection, and a built-in battery provides power for use at night.

The underwater brush-less motor directly drives the thruster, eliminating the shortcomings of the low life of traditional reduction gears.

Unique wireless remote control function, which is convenient for you to easily switch between automatic and remote control. You can use the remote control to operate the robot to perform fast fixed-point clearing, or use the remote control to control the robot to dock at any time and anywhere.

The large basket capacity and the unique upper handle solution are suitable for cleaning the basket without removing the machine from the water.

Up to 21.5% conversion efficiency of the solar panel's surface is covered by a piece of wear-resistant ETFE material. This makes the solar panel more effective and durable, therefore having a longer life.

The body is made of UV-resistant material. No need to worry about ultraviolet radiation causing damage to the body while it's out in the sun.E material. This makes the solar panel more effective and durable, therefore having a longer life.

The ultrasonic radar sensors, control the robot's ability to navigate itself around the pool.

The underwater brush-less motor directly drives the thruster, eliminating the shortcomings and low life of traditional reduction gears.

The large capacity debris basket has a handle and unique upper removal, lock latch. This makes it easy to remove and clean the basket. There is no need to remove the robot from the water; simply dock the robot, open the latch and grab the basket. It is super easy to remove and put back in. In addition, the basket's placement and weave like design prevent any debris from falling back into the pool.

I can’t speak beyond my initial testing but this thing runs from early in the morning to late at night -sometimes it is still running at 11 pm in the pool. It seems to be designed to last with the brushless motors and premium solar panels. One thing I really like is how quite this machine is. So, silent. The remote is decent and I don’t see myself using it much but it is nice to have. Overall I am impressed by the look and feel of the Betta and how it is working in my pool at the moment.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Tips on Adjusting your Swimming Pool Saltwater Generator Chlorine Output

Initially setting up the chlorine output on your saltwater generator or saltwater system can be complicated once you turn it on and realize that there are so many factors that affect the chlorine output of a SWG. To make it easy I will refer to the salt system going forward as the SWG. I will go over each factor for you here so that you get a better idea of how to set your chlorine output for that ideal range of 3-5 ppm.

Pool Size:
How large your pool is or specifically how many gallons of water are in it is a big factor. If your pool is 8,000 gallons the SWG will have an easier time of producing chlorine. The larger the pool the larger the Salt Cell rating is needed and the longer the run time.

Salt Cell Size:
Each SWG has different salt cell sizes. For example, the Intellichor 40 and Hayward T-Cell 15 are rated for a pool of up to 40,000 gallons. The Ichlor 30 and Jandy TruClear is rated for pools up to 30,000. The Intellichlor IC20 for a pool up to 20,000-gallons. Your salt cell should be rated for your pool size to be effective. If you put an IC20 in a 25,000-gallon pool it will need to run 24/7 just to be partially effective. An IC40 in a 15,000-gallon pool would be ideal with plenty of margins.

Salt Cell Output Setting:
A SWG will allow you to change the chlorine output on your salt cell. You can run your salt cell at 100% output which means as long as the pump is on the SWG will be making chlorine. If you set it at 50% that means that during a one hour period when the pump is on it will be off for 30 minutes and on for 30 minutes. It will only produce ½ the chlorine at 50% output. The output % is another factor.

Pump Run Time:
The longer you run your pool pump the more chlorine the SWG will produce. If you run your pump for 20 hours the SWG set at 100% will be producing more chlorine than a pool running for 10 hours at 100% output. If you have a Variable Speed Pump running it at 3000 RPM for 8 hours will produce more chlorine than running it at 2400 RPM for 8 hours. Note that the max speed of a pump is calculated at 3450 RPM is the speed of a standard single-speed non-variable speed pump.

Cyanuric Acid Level (CYA):
Like any other form of chlorine the SWG is producing chlorine that needs to be protected from the harsh UV rays of the sun. Ideally, your CYA level should be 30-50 ppm but if you notice the chlorine level is still not holding you can increase the CYA to 80 ppm. If the CYA is below 30 ppm chances are your SWG will be producing chlorine at a rate that is less than the burn off from the UV rays. Check to make sure the CYA is at alt least 30 ppm.

Overall Water Quality:
Phosphates, nitrates, contaminants like suntan lotion, body oil, pets swimming all effect how the chlorine produced by your SWG is used up. If you have a Phosphate level over 500 ppb chances are the chlorine generated won’t hold day to day. If the pool has a very high bather load every day chances are the SWG can’t keep up with the usage. Treat these issues to ensure the SWG can produce enough chlorine each day. If you have a high bather load increase the pump run time and set the SWG to 100% output.

Water Temperature:
The colder the water the less effective the SWG production will be. SWG work poorly in colder water and most of them stop generating chlorine when the water temperature is in the 60-degree range.

Dirty Salt Cell
If the salt cell has calcium build up on the cell plates it will produce less chlorine even set at 100% output. Make sure you inspect your salt the system regularly to see if there are any warning lights on the controller indicating a dirty salt cell (calcium build up on the plates).

Salt Level:
If the salt level is below 3000 ppm most SWG will work at a reduced output or won’t work at all. Make sure to check the pools salinity level or salt level so that it is at the manufacturer's recommended level.

To set your SWG output you will need to combine some of these factors to get the 3-5 ppm chlorine output. If you notice your chlorine is at 1 ppm and your pool’s runtime is good but the SWG is set to only 40%, simply increase the output. If your output is at 100% put your pump is not running long enough, simply increase your pump run time. Doing a combination of these factors will allow you to set the correct chlorine output level.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Swimming Pool Salt Water System Pros and Cons

I have heard this many times from customers that have a saltwater system installed. They tell me the salesperson or pool service company told them they would save a lot of money on chlorine with a salt system and it was the way to go. It may indeed be the way to go but if you get one because you think you will save money on chlorine you are mistaken or have been misinformed.

You really don't save any money when you convert to a salt pool. In fact, it cost a lot more than using Chlorine or Bleach in your pool. Factor in the cost of the unit plus install, say $1,000 and then a new salt cell every 3-5 years at $500 and the salt to start $150 and you’re looking at over $1,600 for the first 5 years. So, you would have to spend over $320 a year on chlorine to match that number. Typically, you are not spending over $100 a season for your chlorine.

I am pretty honest about the true benefit of a saltwater system, the fact that it adds chlorine to the pool without you having to do anything. This means no more trips to the pool store for shock or liquid chlorine. It is a great time saver for sure. But for me, that is the one and only benefit.

With that said, a saltwater system is a preference. And if you can absorb the cost of the system and don't mind the extra overall cost of a salt pool, then it is the way to go. I mean who wants to add tablets and liquid chlorine or shock every week to their pool? With a Saltwater Generator connected to your pool equipment, you can basically set it and forget it. Of course, there is some maintenance required like cleaning the salt cell, making sure the salt level is good and setting the output to the correct setting to chlorinate your pool, but for the most part it is much easier than trying to maintain a steady chlorine reading during the season by manually adding chlorine to the pool.

But in the long run, as stated above there is no way it can beat the overall cost of maintaining your pool with chlorine. So, if the salesperson tries to convince you that a Saltwater Pool is cheaper to operate he is misinformed. Basically, upgrading is a personal choice and one you should make according to your overall pool care budget. Everything depends on how much more you are willing to spend on not worrying about adding chlorine each week to your pool. I personally have a Saltwater Pool and I am so used to the convenience of it that I wouldn’t be able to go back to a manual chlorine pool. So, once you convert you probably will not go back either.

There are many very good Salt Systems to choose from in today's market. And many with installation will be under $1,000 so it is getting more and more affordable. I would suggest looking into the Jandy TruClear and the Pentair iChlor Salt Water Systems to start with. Both are great compact systems loaded with the latest technology. Both are rated for about 30,000 gallons so even if you have a very large pool these systems will work fine for you. There are also some off-brand salt systems that start around the $500 range so shop around for the best system depending on your budget. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Replace your Undersized Above Ground Pool Equipment

One of the biggest problems with above ground, pools are that most of the time the equipment is undersized and underpowered. I’ve always wondered why a 10,000-gallon in-ground pool has a 1.5 HP pump and a 150 sq ft filter but the same above ground pool is sold with a tiny 40 sq ft filter and maybe .25 (1/4) HP pump. Huh? I think 10,000 gallons are 10,000 gallons whether in the cement or sitting on top of it. The Raypak Protégé CFP Filter system is the answer to this strange enigma.

If your having a tough time keeping your above ground pool clean and clear the problem is more than likely an undersized filter and pump. With the Raypak Protégé CFP Filter and pump combo it will give your above ground pool exactly what it needs – a real filtration system. Dump that 40 sq ft joke of a filter and the utility pump and upgrade to a real set of equipment. Backed by a one year warranty and made by a company with over 70 years in the Industry the CFP system will make your above ground pool care simple and easy.

One of the key components for a balanced pool is filtration. If your filter is undersized or your pump is underpowered keeping chlorine in the pool becomes a big challenge. Keeping the pool from turning cloudy or green also becomes a big challenge. You will be amazed that by just replacing your above ground pool equipment will transform your pool into a clean and safe swimming experience. You would choose your CFP system based on pool size and of course the bigger the above ground pool the bigger the CFP system.

To order:

Here is more about the Raypak CFP system:
The Raypak Protege CFP Filter System comes with our AGP above ground pool pump and cartridge filter. The high-impact resistant filter tank is UV resistant and is equipped with a strong but easy-open ring-lock lid. Best of all, the Raypak CFP filter systems for above ground pools are a breeze to set up, operate and maintain.

Conveniently sized as a 50 SF, 100 SF, 150 SF or 200 SF cartridge filter system, there's one for every above-ground pool size!

Compatible for use with Above Ground Pools.
Pre-Piped Plumbing System and Sturdy Filter Base for easy installation.
Equipped with a strong, easy-open Ring Lock Lid for easy cleaning and maintenance.
UV-resistant construction.
This high performing Protege cartridge filter and AGP series pool pump keep your above ground pool sparkling and swim-ready all year round.
This the pre-piped system includes a cartridge filter and a Pool Pump.

Available Models:
RPCFP50 Combo
50 sq ft Cartridge Filter with
0.75 HP Single Speed Pump Model #RPAGP75

RPCFP75 Combo
75 sq ft Cartridge Filter with
1.0 HP Single Speed Pump Model #RPAGP100

RPCFP100 Combo
100 sq ft Cartridge Filter with
1.0 HP Single Speed Pump Model #RPAGP100

RPCFP150 Combo
150 sq ft Cartridge Filter with
1.5 HP Single Speed Pump Model #RPAGP150

RPCFP152 Combo
150 sq ft Cartridge Filter with
1.5 HP Dual Speed Pump Model #RPAGP152

RPCFP202 Combo
180 sq ft Cartridge Filter with
1.5 HP Dual Speed Pump Model #RPAGP152

All the parts to connect the system comes in the box including the base to mount it on. You also have both standard unions and hose connectors for the plumbing to and from your above ground pool. The motor features a convenient plug, so you can plug it directly into a GFI outlet without any need to wire the pump in. Upgrading your current above ground pool equipment couldn’t be any easier.

I like the easy set-up of this system and the fact, the filter has two Inlets for an easy install. The filter feels very well made and solid and the pump appears to be of very good quality. Again, you are purchasing equipment form a major manufacturer who stands behind their products.

Monday, May 18, 2020

PAL EvenGlow Pool and Spa Retro Fit Lights

The PAL EVENGLOW light system shown here for a pool and spa retrofit will retail for around $1,250 plus install. This set includes a new pool light, a new spa light, both with an 80 ft cord and the driver with the included remote. If you have an existing Pentair, Jandy or Hayward Automated system, you can set the DIP switches in the driver so that the lights can be controlled from your existing automated system. With that out of the way, I need to mention that the EvenGlow lights are totally awesome!

This is PAL Lighting first reach into the existing pool and spa market. PAL Lighting – over 30 years’ experience in aquatic lighting and are the leaders in the state of the art engineering and manufacturing. The EvenGlow lights are designed of course for new builds but are also made to retrofit into your existing pool and spa niche. There are millions of standard incandescent lights right now in pools and spas across the country and the PAL EvenGlow lights would be a perfect upgrade.

For example, if you have a regular 400-watt pool light and a 100-watt spa light and you run your pool and spa light for 4 hours one night, that is 2000 watts of electricity. Replace those with the PAL EvenGlow LED pool and spa light and since they generate only 37 watts every hour after 4 hours that is only 148 watts and a savings of 1,852 watts. I should also mention that these lights are backed by a 3-year warranty and are rated for 50,000 hours of use. So if you use these lights 4 hours a night they should last around 34 years!

The PAL EvenGlow lights will be available at your local Leslie’s Pool Supplies Retail outlet and you can have them expertly installed by a Leslie’s Installation Specialist.

Here is some more about these amazing lights:
Unique lens optics creates EvenGlow effect in the pool
No more harsh LED or Incandescent light
No more hot LED laser-like beams across the pool
Reduce shadowing and hot spots
Three year warranty (with professional install)
Proprietary Color Touch light control
Latest in RF and WiFi technology
Infinite color selection
Reliable constant output power supplies
Industry best warranty rate
Easy retrofit to existing niches
Fits any standard 8” wet niche
Frosted lens design for EvenGlow Effect
30 watts power draw at 12vdc (12” Pool Light)
7 watts power draw at 12vdc (Smal Spa Light)
RGB with Color Touch Technology
Cool White coming soon for commercial
Stainless Escutcheon fitted with light
Replaceable hook at bottom of the light
UL Listed

Some of the features I really like are how fast you can spin the remote to create an infinite color show effect. I also like the dim feature (note that it only works in PAL mode and is not dimmable connected to an automated system). Dimming the lights when I am using the pool at night makes for a perfect lake feel with just enough light to be safe but not the typical blinding light underwater. I also like the rich and vibrant colors that this light produces. You have to see it in person to realize how much better they look over the standard color changing lights.

The remote is simply awesome. Easy to use and very touch-friendly. You can also order an optional WiFi Module and control the lights with your smartphone or device with the PAL lighting app. Available for both Apple and Android devices.

The PAL EvenGlow lights are the total upgrade package for your pool and spa. I wouldn’t hesitate to go with these lights if you are thinking about upgrading your pool and spa light.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Spa eXact® EZ Photometer Part No. 486202: Easy and Accurate Hot Tub Results!

If you have a spa or a hot tub and you are looking for a great water tester that is accurate and affordable, the Spa eXact EZ would be a perfect tester for you. Test strips are good, but they cannot give you spot-on readings like a photometer test kit. And balancing your spa water is a critical thing since the water quality impacts the bathing experience more in such a small body of water.

For example, if the pH is below 7.0 a test strip won’t be able to tell you how low it is. If the pH is actually at 6.5 you will start to get itchy skin and burning eyes as the spa water pH falls below your body's pH. The Spa eXact EZ will tell you exactly what the pH is in the pool and eliminates the guesswork involved with test strips. It also is specially calibrated for the hot water of a spa or hot tub.

To learn more you can go to their website listing here: Buy for $129:

The kit with a carrying case and the eXact Strips is also available for purchase Spa eXact® EZ Photometer Starter Kit Part No. 486202-K:

Here is more about the Spa eXact EZ: The NSF/ANSI 50 L1 Certified Spa eXact® EZ Photometer tests 7 important spa water parameters with lab-quality results. All tests have been specifically calibrated for spa temperatures and use our patented eXact® Strips, a quick and easy reagent system for analysis. Simply dip an eXact® Strip Micro into the water sample for 10 seconds using a simple back and forth motion, discard the strip, and read the results instantaneously!

Detects: Total Alkalinity 20 - 200ppm
Total Bromine 0.00- 17.0ppm
Calcium Hardness 23 - 700ppm
Free Chlorine 0.00 - 12.0ppm
Combined Chlorine 0.00 - 12.0ppm
Total Chlorine 0.00 - 12.0ppmpH 6.0 - 8.4

Details: Clamshell comes with basic components to start water testing Spa eXact® EZ Photometer Cleaning brush Instruction manual Individually wrapped reagents (6 tests each) *Carry case and reagent bottles NOT included

Parameter, Part #, Range (ppm)
Alkalinity, Total 486641 20 - 200
Bromine, Total (DPD-4) 486644 0.00 - 17.0
Calcium Hardness 486629 23 - 700
Chlorine, Combined 486638 0.0 - 12.0
Chlorine, Free 486637 0.00 - 12.0 Chlorine, Total 486670 0.00 - 12.0
pH-II 486639-II 6.0 - 8.4 pH

YouTube Video Index: – A list of all of my videos. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Polaris ALPHA IQ+ In Action - See it Cleaning a Pool!

Here is a look at the ALPHA IQ+ in action cleaning a very dirty pool. It is truly an awesome machine and will leave your pool spotless each time you use it. This is one smart robot and if you are looking for a premium cleaner that has all the bells and whistles look no further.
To see the ALPHA IQ+ cleaning a pool check out this video:

The ALPHA IQ+ does an amazing job of cleaning a pool from the floors to the waterline.  There are actually 4 versions of the cleaner and the IQ+ and IQ differ in a few ways. Everything else is the same between the 4 models except the features listed. You can find the VRX white body model at Leslie’s Pool Supplies.

Cable Length: 70 ft of cable
Remote Control: In-app Targeted Spot Cleaning
Cleaning Cycle: Schedule Recurring & Programming In-App
Cleaning Modes: Smart Cycle, Quick Clean, Waterline Only & Custom Modes
Brushes: Solid Blade

This is the one in the video and the review video. It has in-app scheduling
Cable Length: 60 ft of cable
Remote Control: Yes, using iAquaLink Control
Cleaning Cycle: Manual Settings: Daily, Every 2 Days, Every 3 Days
Cleaning Modes: SMART Cycle and Quick Clean
Brushes: Pleated

The Polaris ALPHA IQ+ Robotic Pool Cleaner is the most innovative robotic cleaner on the market today. The fact that you can use the iAqualink app to control it, turn it on and off and set a weekly schedule makes it a techie’s dream machine! The software in the Alpha IQ+ features pool mapping and advanced navigation making it the smartest robot out there, giving it a high IQ so to speak and hence the name.

Here are some of the features of the ALPHA IQ+:

Robotic Pool Cleaner with Full Featured Wi-Fi Connectivity
70 ft Double Insulated Floating Cable.
Filtration Method: Illuminated Extra Large All Purpose Filter Canister
Remote Control: In-App with Targeted Spot Cleaning Action
Cleaning Modes: SMART Cycle, Quick Clean, Deep Clean, Waterline Only, and Custom
Schedules: Schedule Recurring Programming.
Dirty Canister Indicator: In-App and On Control Box
Drive: 4WD Navigates Obstacles
Vortex Vacuum Technology
Easy Lift System
Dynamic Bladed Brushes
Includes Powder Coated Alloy Caddy
Suitable for In-Ground Pools up to 60 ft.

Monitor cleaning status, check water temperature, and strategically spot clean your pool with this intelligent robotic pool cleaner.

The smart functionality of the Polaris ALPHA IQ+ Robotic Pool Cleaner connects to your home WI-Fi giving you remote access for scheduling cleaning cycles, 7 cleaning modes, targeting cleaning areas, and receiving direct over-the-air performance updates.

The cleaner starts in the “Smart Cycle” and then proceeds to map your particular pool to come up with the best cleaning pattern. At my pool, it set the future cleaning “Smart Cycle” to 1:56. It also features a built-in Navigation system or “Sensor Nav System” that adjusts and adapts the cleaner to the pool. That along with the Deliberate Navigation which allows the cleaner to scan and measure the pool will allow the ALPHA IQ+ to clean your pool like no other cleaner on the market today.

There are also some nice touches like an illuminated debris canister and the clear top of the canister allows you to see when it is filling up. There is also a “Full canister” warning light on the Control Pad and in the app.

Another a nice feature is, of course, the in-app controls. You can turn the cleaner on and off, select the cleaning mode, and set a weekly cleaning schedule all within the app. There is also a handy remote-control feature and the unit will display the pool water temperature. Not to mention if the control box is plugged into an outlet and the cleaner is in the pool, you can access these features from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. So, if you are two hours away simply start the cleaner from the app on your device and come home to a spotless pool.

Of course, the cleaner does an excellent job of cleaning the floors, walls and waterline which goes without saying. If you are looking for the ALPHA IQ+ at your local Leslie’s Pool Supplies store it is sold under the name Polaris VRXIQ+ and comes in a very attractive white body configuration. It is the same exact cleaner with the same functions just in a different color scheme and name: