Monday, June 17, 2019

Aquabot RAPIDS 2500 Robotic Pool Cleaner, Blue Tooth Controls and a 2 Year Bumper to Bumper Warranty!

The Aqaubot Rapids 2500 is Aqaubots latest entries into the Robotic cleaner market. It is a retail only cleaner and you can only find it at your local brick and mortar pool store or from your local pool service company. It comes loaded with features and is backed by a full 2 Year Bumper to Bumper Warranty.

Here is more about the Rapids 2500 from Aqaubot:

“The Aquabot Rapids 2500 is designed to clean Residential In-Ground Pools of all sizes and surfaces. Thanks to the patented AquaSmart Gyro System, the Aquabot Rapids 2500 will automatically brush, vacuum and micro-filter dirt, debris, and contaminants from the pool’s floor, walls and waterline in a synchronized fashion helping to keep the cable from tangling.

The AquaSmart Gyro System is an intelligent program for robotic pool cleaners that aids the cleaner to efficiently clean any standard residential swimming pool. The smart algorithm installed in the brain of the cleaner enables the robot to cover the pool in a systematized fashion, without wasting time. Additionally, the Rapids 2500 comes equipped with the Aquabrush Clean System, which is a patented vibrating brush located at the bottom of the unit. This system increases the cleaning efficiency of the unit.”

Key Features:
Cleans and Scrubs Pool Floor, Wall and Waterline
Dual Drive Motors
Vibrating Brush agitates stubborn dirt and debris for a more thorough cleaning
Extra Long 60’ Cable with 4 Wire Swivel
Top Access Filter Baskets
Timer Setting for 1.5, 2 or 2.5 hours shut off
Dirty Filter Indicator
Programmable for 2, 3 or 4 Days increments

Bonus Features:
Bluetooth Capable Control your pool cleaner right from your smartphone!
4 Wire Aquabot Swivel Helps prevent cable tangling!
AquaSmart Gyro System Helps clean your pool in a systematic fashion!
Free Caddy Included Storage and easy transport of your cleaner.

The Rapids 2500 is a great premium cleaner from Aquabot and it would be perfect for a medium to a large pool. The 60 feet of cable makes this an ideal choice and the top loading debris chambers make this a very easy cleaner to use. These retail pool store only cleaners are often a great choice because the manufacturer will give you a longer warranty and these cleaners come loaded with features like the Bluetooth capability.

I thought the Bluetooth connection from the App to the Rapids 2500 was really good. You can use the remote control in the App to control the cleaner and move it around the pool very easily. All the programming also is done in the App making it very easy to set up and run the cleaner. It is a great idea and the App is very good and very responsive.

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Green Pool Clean Up Methods

There are several reasons why your pool is green. Or you may do pool service and part of your services offered is green pool cleanups. I will cover some of the Green Pool Clean Up Methods that I use on my pool route.

Green Pool Clean Up Step by Step:
Make sure the pool can be cleared up vs draining it and refilling the pool. A rule of thumb is that if there are more than 4 inches of sediment on the bottom, draining may be better. This would be a lot of algae and dirt on the pool bottom so more like a pool that has been sitting unattended for over a year or more. Generally, a pool that has only been green for a few months can be cleared up with just chemicals and algaecide.

Step One: Scoop out all of the leaves and debris from the bottom and surface. Don't worry about stirring everything up, you will vacuum at the end of the treatment.

Step Two: Brush the pool as best as you can. Some of the algae might be really tough to brush off. If you have a plaster or Pebble Tec Pool a Steel Algae Brush will help. But a lot of the algae will be loosened once you add the chemicals to the pool.

Step Three: If you have a D.E. Or Cartridge filter take it apart and clean it. The filter type is usually on the label on the filter.
If you have a Sand filter you will just be Backwashing it during this process. For a D.E. Or Cartridge filter, you probably will have to clean it again at least one more time or more.

Step Four: Bomb the pool out. You want to bring the chlorine level up to 30-50 ppm to start to kill the algae. A lot of the chlorine will be destroyed by the algae and other organic material in the pool in the first 24 hours. A shorthand guide:

14,000-gallon pool: 4-6 gallons of 12.5% liquid chlorine or a combination of that and 1 lb. Bags of shock.
20,000-gallon pool: 8-10 gallons of 12.5% chlorine.
30,000-gallon pool: 12-16 gallons of liquid chlorine.
I suggest using Sodium Bromide to help kill the algae. Sodium Bromide is very effective, however, it does “use up” some of the chlorine so don't overdo it. I suggest one capful added with one gallon of liquid chlorine. So, if you are adding 8 gallons of liquid chlorine, 4 capfuls of Sodium Bromide should be sufficient. You want some of the chlorine to be active, so you don't want to add 8 capfuls of Sodium Bromide to the pool. Each Capful is about 4 oz.

Step Five: Run the pool for 24-48 hours straight during the process. You may have to add more chlorine after 24 hours and clean the filter again. No need to vacuum the pool yet. Let everything slowly settle to the bottom first. This may take a couple of days.

Step 6: After the pool has cleared enough for you to see the bottom, you can manually vacuum out the pool. The stuff on the bottom will be dead algae and other organics like dead mosquito larvae and other bugs and plants. If you have a sand filter or a D.E. Filter with a “Waste Mode” vacuum the pool with the Multi-Port Valve to that setting. If you do not have a backwash valve with a “Waste Mode” you can vacuum directly to the filter. Note that you will need to clean the filter after vacuuming if you do not vacuum to Waste.

A portable clean-up pump comes in handy here, but it is an investment of about $200. If you plan on using it again it would be a worthwhile investment, otherwise, just vacuum to the filter and clean the filter.
It may take a week or two weeks to completely clear up but the pool will eventually turn back into a crystal clear blue pool.

Using a pool Floc has its benefits and you might want to purchase a bottle to help accelerate your pools recovery. Basically, the Floc will help to clump up all of the dead algae and organic particles and sink them to the pool bottom. Generally, you will leave your pool off for the Floc to be more effective. Once everything drops down to the bottom the pool will be much clearer, and everything will be easier to vacuum out. Floc is optional but can help to clear the pool up faster, especially if you have an inefficient filter type like a Sand Filter.

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Cleaning a Pentair iChlor Salt Cell

One thing you will learn if you have a pool with a Salt Water System otherwise known as a Salt Water generator is that over time the salt cell can get calcium build-up on it. Depending on your area this could range from a slight amount of calcium to a large amount. The Pentair iChlor is no exception and once the salt level light starts to flash red it is time to remove the cell and inspect the plates inside for any calcium build-up.

It is important to note that when the cell does get dirty it will stop producing chlorine. This is important because if you're not paying attention and checking your salt system weekly, the chlorine in your pool could reach zero ppm and the water quality can deteriorate quickly. I recommend checking your salt system every few days to make sure the dirty cell warning light is not flashing red.

Cleaning the iChlor is easy and all you need is the Pentair Salt Cell cleaning cap. It is known as the Pentair 520670 IntelliChlor Acid Washing Kit. The kit comes with basically a cap and an O-ring that you would simply thread on to one end of the salt cell.

Before you begin it is important to turn the power off to the pump so that when you remove the salt cell the pump will remain off for the entire cleaning process. You also want to turn the power off to the salt cell or simply unplug the cell by unscrewing the pin type plug from the power unit or automated system. Once you have the power off to both the pool pump and the salt cell, you can unthread the cell from the pipe and then start the cleaning process.

The acid to water ratio will vary depending on how dirty the salt cell is. I like using a 4 to 1 ratio in most cases which means one-part water and 4 parts acid. You can also do a 3 to 1 ratio or 1-part water to 3 parts acid if needed. I prefer using 31% Muriatic Acid to clean the salt cells on my route, but you can also use a weaker percentage and even White Vinegar if you want. It will just work slower than the 31% Muriatic Acid. Typically, I soak the salt cell in the water acid mixture for 10-15 minutes. You can use a partially filled acid gallon bottle with a small amount of acid on the bottom of the gallon and submerge it into the pool to fill it with water to reach the 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 ratio.

At this point, gloves would be recommended. You will pour this acid water mixture directly into the iChlor Salt cell with the Pentair 520670 Acid Wash Kit on the bottom. Brace the iChlor cell somewhere as it is a little top heavy and could tip over. Then simply wait for 10-15 for all of the bubblings to stop. Warning! If you see no calcium build up on the cell do not pour the acid mix in as this could damage the cell plates. If they are clean there is no need for an acid bath.

Once done, you can pour the acid from the cell in a container and dump it back into the pool. Then just put the cell back on, plug it back in and turn on the power to the system. Once the cell boots up you should see that the clean cell indicator has stopped flashing. Your iChlor is now clean and functioning properly.
Here is more on the iChlor Salt System:

Easy Setup:
Adjust your sanitizing level in 1% increments from
1-100%. Push the button, and you’re done.

Smart Design:
Automatic reverse cycling helps prevent scale
build-up. And, unlike its competitors, the electronics
are isolated in the cell and away from high-heat
components for more dependable performance.

Two Model Sizes:
Choose from two model sizes to meet your pool
chlorination needs. Sizing is based on pool capacity
in gallons:

Available Models:
• iChlor 15 (0.6) for pools up to 15,000 gallons.
• iChlor 30 (1.0) for pools up to 30,000 gallons.

Fact Center
• Indoor/outdoor, vertical/horizontal installation.
• 115/230V, 50/60Hz power center.
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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Who Makes the Best Variable Speed Pump?

So, who makes the best Variable Speed Pump? I get asked this question often and the answer is cut and dry nor black and white. It is based more on some factors that you need to consider before making the choice on a Variable Speed Pump (VS Pump).

Pentair was the first with their IntelliFlo VS pump and it is still the benchmark pump because there are just so many of them installed in backyards. When they first came out many thought they would never catch on and the first generation of the IntelliFlo did have a few issues. In the beginning, I didn’t like them much myself and thought it was a fad that would fade away. Now many states like California and Arizona require you to install one once your standard single speed pump needs to be replaced.

So, Pentair being the first makes it the best, right? Not exactly, but you can’t go wrong with a 3 HP IntelliFlo VS pump. It features a great price point and is super reliable. The menu can be challenging to understand but it has a long track record and is tough to beat. The flow rate of the IntelliFlo VS is also excellent and if you choose to go with Pentair you are making a very solid choice.

I will say that one factor to consider when you have an automated system already installed is to go with the VS pump that matches the brand of your automated system. The only exception is the Jandy Aqualink which is compatible with the Pentair IntelliFlo VS. But in most cases, if you have Hayward Automation, go with a Hayward VS pump. If you have a Jandy Aqualink go with a Jandy VS pump. And if you have a Pentair Automated system go with the IntelliFlo VS pump.

Let me touch on the Jandy VS Pumps. These are very good pumps and feature Century motors that have a great track record in the industry. The only thing you need to note is that the Jandy VS pumps need a separate controller to work. If the pump is a stand-alone without an automated system you would need a JEP-R Controller or the iQPump01 to actually program and control the pump. These can be mounted separately from the pump on the wall for instance and the iQPump01 works over the internet so you can control the pump from anywhere. The flow rate is comparable to the Pentair VS pump and they also feature a 3 HP version. The Jandy VS pump is about as good as the Pentair IntelliFlo, it is like comparing BMW with Mercedes.

Hayward had a steep hill to climb with their VS pump drive failures from two years ago. They have extended the warranty on their VS pumps to 4 years if you have an older model to cover the drive issue. Their new VS pumps feature the Smart Pool Control which is the only thing that has saved the Hayward VS Pump line-up. With ta Hayward VS pump like the TriStar 950 and Smart Pool control you can control everything on your equipment pad that a stand-alone automated system can. You can turn on the heater, turn it to spa mode, turn on the lights and much more form your Smart Phone using the Hayward OMNI Logic app. They also off a 3-year warranty on their new VS pumps with the TriStar 950 sporting a 4-year warranty.  So Hayward is back in the game with their VS pump lineup.

All of these pumps require a 230 Volt set up which can be a drawback if you are running your current pump off of 115 Volts. The solution for this is to install the Pentair SuperFlo VS pump which has been designed to work with 230 Volts as well as 115 Volts. It is a 1.5 HP VS pump so it has plenty of power for your older pool set up and it is also very reliable. Hayward has also made the TriStar 950 with Smart Pool Control a dual voltage VS pump. So you can also connect the TriStar 950 to a 115 Volt set up. The pump will throttle down from the 3 HP rating to a 1.5 HP rating and work fine with your 115 Volt equipment.

The lines are a little blurred when it comes to picking the best Vs pump for your pool. You would want to match the VS pump to your current automation and if you don’t have an automated system and want one, the Hayward VS pump with the Smart Pool control is a great option.  I wouldn’t say these three VS pump brands are equal but there is not much separating each VS pump from one another.  Pentair, Jandy, and Hayward all make a quality VS pump so you will have to do your research and decide which one is the best for your pool.

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Monday, June 3, 2019

Aqaubot Classic Junior Robotic Pool Cleaner - Only $550!

The Aquabot Classic Junior is as Old School as you can get. It uses the original body design of the first robotic cleaners that were made by Aquabot. This is not a bad thing actually. The design of the cleaner allows it to be highly reliable and also very efficient. It also allows it to have a price point of around $550 which is a true bargain for a robotic cleaner with these features. The only downside is that it does not climb the walls passed the slope (or cove) and does not come with a cord swivel.

With that said if your budget is less than $600 and you are looking for a solid robotic cleaner, the Aqaubot Junior does come with some great features. You can see all the key features below:

For In-Ground Pools
Shape: Rectangle, Lap, Kidney, L-Shape, Round, Oval
Surfaces: Vinyl, Gunite/Concrete, Fiberglass. Except for Tile
Pool to Wall Transition: 90 Degree Angle
Cable Length: 50'
Scrubbing: Fixed Scrubbing Brushes
Cleans: Pool Floor, Cove, & Partial Wall
4 Hour Cycle Time, External Timer Compatible
Water Mixing Capability 70 Gallons per Minute
Filter Type Fine Bag (2 Microns)
Bottom Loading
Warranty 2 Years, 1st Year 100%, 2nd Year Limited

The fact that it doesn’t have any fancy programs and less moving parts means that in the long run this cleaner will last and work for many years. The rubber brushes are easy to replace when they wear down and there isn’t a whole lot of parts for this cleaner in general. The bottom loading debris bag is great also at picking up dirt and debris down to 2 microns – which is better than most pool filters.

The fact that this cleaner operates separately from your pool equipment is a definite bonus. This means that your pool filter will stay cleaner each week and allow you to clean it less often. With a traditional suction side cleaner, all the dirt that is picked up will go directly into the filter. With a robotic cleaner, all the dirt and debris go into the cleaner itself.

I think this would be a great choice for a starter robotic pool cleaner and a great choice for those budget-conscious consumers that want the ease of use and cleaning ability of a robotic pool cleaner but don’t want to pay more than $600. Just note that this cleaner will not clean the walls past the slope or the water line of the pool.

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Don't get sued, ways to avoid a lawsuit in your pool service business

There are many things that are out of your control when you are servicing a pool. The weather, how the homeowner treats their pool, the gardener and other factors like these. But there is one thing that you are certainly in control of and that is a liability on your pool route. Mistakes are of course something we all make but liability is an entirely different ballgame. These are things you should not have done which now opens you up to liability and a possible lawsuit.

Don’t Fill the Customer’s Pool:
If you have done this long enough you have probably filled a customer’s pool out of frustration or maybe kindness. You see the water is low each week and the customer is not filling the pool. The pump may not be running well, and the pool may be turning. So, you decide to take matters in your own hand and fill their pool.  So, you drop in the garden hose or turn on the fill line.  You then get distracted or receive a phone call and leave the property. 4 hours later you get a call from the customer stating that you left the water on and now their yard and the house are flooded. This is a liability that could have been avoided. Don’t fill the customer’s pool. Make it clear that filling the pool each week is the customer’s responsibility.

If for any reason you do need to fill a pool, maybe the house is vacant or there I some other compelling reason, place your truck keys on the hose spigot or fill line handle. That way you cannot leave without turning off the water. But this is not a bulletproof method so use extreme caution if you do need to fill a pool. Make it your default operating method to not fill any pools on your route.

Don’t Drain a Fiberglass or Vinyl Pool:
It may be just ignorance or a lack of understanding of how a fiberglass pool or vinyl pool is set in the ground. You may just assume they are just like a plaster pool and when a potential customer or existing customer calls you and wants their pool drained you don’t see any problem with it. If you drain a Fiberglass in-ground pool, there is a high probability that it will pop out of the ground or a wall may collapse in on it. Unlike a standard plaster or PebbleTec pool which has a heavy cement foundation called Gunite, a Fiberglass pool is held in by the water inside of it. When drained nothing is holding it in the ground and it is likely to simply pop out of the ground.

A Vinyl pool is very similar in that nothing is holding it down except the weight of the water. Another issue is that the water is also stretching out the liner so that it clips into the sides around the entire pool. Once it drains to a certain point the liner can tear right out of the wall. The same goes for a large above ground pool. If you were to drain it the walls could collapse in and ruin the pool.

The bottom line, you should not drain a Fiberglass pool or Vinyl liner pool. Only those who specialize in each of these pools types are qualified to drain them. And this is only done to replace the liner or repair the Fiberglass pool.

Don’t Leave a Plaster Pool Empty:
A plaster or PebbleTec pool will rarely if ever pop out of the ground. The only way for this to happen is if there is more water under the pool than in it. Heavy rains of 6-8 inches can do this or if you drain it and let the water soak into the soil around the empty pool this can happen. But it is very, very rare.

The liability comes into play if you drain a plaster pool and leave it empty longer than needed for an acid wash and refill. Leaving it empty for a week in 90-degree weather can cause damage to the plaster. Once refilled you will see the plaster start to chip and break off in the pool. The best thing you can do is drain the pool and refill it as soon as possible. Do not leave it empty for a long period of time.
There are of course many more things that you can do to cause liability. A good rule of thumb is don’t do anything outside of your line of specialty. Also, don’t do things when you are tired or in a rush. And don’t do anything you don’t know how to do. From equipment install to acid washes, if you are not trained to do these things don’t so them. This will save you from some serious liability.

Last, you will want to have a General Liability policy of at least 2 million dollars with one million per occurrence. Don’t go into any backyard without it.

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Monday, May 27, 2019

Aquabot Viva Premium Robotic Pool Cleaner

The Aquabot Viva is a top of the line premium cleaner that comes with lots of bells and whistles. The price point is at the higher end coming in over $1,500 dollars at your local pool store and you do get a lot for your money. It is backed by an amazing 4-year warranty so rest assured you will get years of use out of the Aquabot Viva.

Here is more on the Aquabot Viva:

“Aquatic Distributors proudly brings you the next generation Aquabot Viva (The Most Advanced Remote Control Pool Cleaner) for your inground swimming pool! This state-of-the-art pool machine comes equipped with “Smart Control”, a unique and easily understandable control panel that allows you to customize the Vivas’s speed, climbing prowess, hours of operation, size and shape of the pool, type of deep end, and even when the filter needs cleaning.

Comes equipped with our patented PVA Brushes. Originally designed to climb the slick tile walls of pools, PVA Brushes offer 100% greater traction, virtually clinging to the walls providing unequaled gripping ability.

The new Aquabot Viva features a revolutionary RADIO REMOTE CONTROL which gives the Viva the ability to clean any area of the pool at the touch of a button!

In addition, the new VIVA employs a very carefully engineered, state-of-the-art Aquacontrol technology allowing communication with the device. This unique control keypad gives the end-user the ability to customize the robot in order to change the program, choose different features, and have complete control of the cleaning parameters.

The Aquacontrol is a unique control panel that allows you to communicate directly with the robot and customize it. This Human Machine Interface gives you the option to program different parameters so the pool can always be cleaned as efficiently as possible. Be sure to select each feature to the best of your knowledge in order to get the maximum life out of the robot. If you prefer not to select any features, the robot will work in default mode and choose the parameters for you.”

Key Features & Performance

Product/Pool Features:
For In-Ground Pools
Shape: Rectangle, Lap, Kidney, L-Shape, Round, Oval
Surfaces: Ideal for Tile, Vinyl, Gunite/Concrete, Fiberglass
Pool to Wall Transition: 90 degrees
Equipped with Hydro-Robotic Technology
Includes Caddy
Power Consumption: 140 Watts
Cable Length: 75'
Patented PVA Brushes
Cleans Pool Floor and Wall
Aqua Smart System
Timer Settings: Automatic Shut Off
Water Mixing Capability:
91.6 Gallons per Minute
Filter Type:
Bottom Loading
Extra large reusable filter bag
4 Years
(1st Year 100%, 2nd, 3rd & 4th Year Limited)

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