Thursday, February 21, 2019

All About the Primate Pool Pole: Carbon Fiber Pool Pole that Weighs just 2 Lbs!

In this Podcast I talk to Joe DiAnna the owner of Primate Pool Tools which is the company that makes the Primate Pool Pole. I have been using this pole now for 3 months and it is truly a great product. There are so many great features as you will see below.

This is the most unique 3-piece pool service pole (Tri-Pole) on the market today.  The Primate 3X Pole is also the most compact and lightweight pole that I have used. It collapses down to 6 ft and extends to 15.6 ft and weighs only 2 lbs. 4 oz.  Oh, and it is made from Carbon Fiber making it 3 times stronger than a standard aluminum pole.

I will admit that it took a few days to get used to the unique way that you extend the Primate 3X Pole. The last section just has two holes and you need fully extend that one each time you pull it out. So, the 2nd piece acts as the main height adjuster if you use the full 15.6 ft of pole. Tricky since my regular Tri-Pole uses the 3rd Section as the height adjustment. But like I mentioned it just takes a few days to get the hang of it and then you are all good. They also sell two additional clip-in sections that will extend the pole to 22 feet and 28 feet if needed.

For me, the main selling point of the Primate 3X Pole is how light this pole is! It weighs just 2.4 lbs. so you barely even feel like you are holding a service pole. It is amazingly light and easy to carry and use.  After using it for a week I feel like I couldn’t go back to a standard pole because of how light the Primate pole is. I feel like something this light can’t be strong enough to use day and day out, but the Carbon Fiber Material is deceiving.  The pole is 3 times stronger than an aluminum service pole making it a great choice for everyday pool service use. The manufacturer doesn’t claim it is indestructible, but it sure feels like it, especially with the reinforced first section of the pole.

The unique Lever Lock is another feature that makes the Primate Pole stand out. It is the same locking device found on tree trimmers and the like and it makes closing and opening the 2nd pole section a breeze. Simply snap open the Lever Lock, slide the pole out and lock it in place. In most cases, you will be using only the first 2 pole sections in skimming and brushing a pool, so this makes extending the pole quick and easy. It is truly a unique feature on a pool pole and the Lever Lock works great.
Here are some more great features of the Primate 3X Pole from the manufacturer:
Does not absorb temperature like metal, will never be scalding hot or ice cold to the touch.
Better grip/traction than aluminum.

Because of its strength (does not bend or warp) it moves through water easier when submerged.

Lighter than all heavy duty metal and fiberglass poles at 2lbs 4oz. We've had veteran service guys with arthritis, lower back problems, and shoulder/elbow problems all tell us it's easier on their injuries!

The World's Strongest Service Pole!
Quality materials make quality tools, built from ultra-strong CARBON FIBER and reinforced with fiberglass, our design is lighter and three times stronger than aluminum, making it the most durable pole available on the market.

Unique lever Lock!
Our lever locking system is a game changer. This minimalist design lets you make length adjustments with ONE EASY ACTION. Flip the lever open to loosen and make your adjustment and snap it back down to lock in place.

Familiar and Fast!
Adjusting the third extension of our pole is just as quick, and familiar. This length of the pole is equipped with TWO SNAP LOCKS. Simply follow the red guide to line the internal V-clips with the holes and lock it in place as you would any standard tool.

At two pounds four ounces, our carbon fiber design is HALF THE WEIGHT of a standard three-piece service pole. At 6 ft collapsed it sits comfortably and safely inside all truck beds.
The Primate Pole is designed to last for years and it is a premium service pole which is reflected in the higher price point. You are also investing in a pole that is super lightweight, super strong and very easy to use and store.

To learn more and to order:

Monday, February 18, 2019

'Lil Rebel Suction Side cleaner -Great for an Above Ground Pool or a small In-Ground Pool

The ‘Lil Rebel suction-side cleaner for aboveground pools was created specifically for aboveground pools, this automatic, suction-side, two-wheeled cleaner is the ideal size for the smaller pumping capabilities and is designed for these smaller pools. It will also work great in a small to medium size in-ground pool (I would say 5,000 to 15,000 gallons).

There are some notable features of the ‘Lil Rebel that I really like and that are pretty unique to this cleaner. The price point is also excellent, most stores carry it for under $200. This is a retail pool store only cleaner so you can purchase it at your local pool store or get it from your local pool service provider.

It comes with 12 hoses but instead of the standard 3 feet hose (1 meter) length, the hoses are just 2 ½ feet long. These smaller hoses are a smart idea. If you use all of them, you get 32 feet of total hose which is plenty for most small to medium size pools. The shorter hoses allow for more precise installation with more exact hose length. The smaller hose length also will prevent common hose issues like coiling in the pool. I think the smaller hose should be used in more full-size cleaners also.
The light compact size makes it ideal for pools with smaller pumps, although it can easily be used in a small to medium in-ground pool. It comes with a full-size skimmer adapter so it is very easy to adjust the suction of the cleaner and you can also connect it to a vacuum/side port. I tested it in a plaster and Pebbletec Pool and it works extremely well, much like the larger Rebel Cleaner it is based on.

In fact, the ‘Lil Rebel has the same turbine and debris opening as the larger Rebel cleaner and a very similar gear set up, so it is basically a Rebel on a smaller scale. It works almost the same as the larger Rebel and you will find that it will pick up the same debris as the larger Rebel Cleaner. The build quality feels and looks just as good as the Rebel and you are getting a compact and well-built cleaner in the ‘Lil Rebel.

Here are some of the exact same features of the ‘Lil Rebel and the Rebel:
Two-wheeled maneuverability tackles more dirt and debris and provides superior coverage
Compact design handles tight corners and 90° angles
Dual-action roller skirt easily maneuvers over and around obstacles for uninterrupted cleaning
Sure-Flow Turbine enables clear passage for dirt and debris
So, you can see the ‘Lil Rebel is much like the Rebel Cleaner in many ways except for the size of the cleaner.
If you have an above ground pool the ‘Lil Rebel would be a great choice for a suction side cleaner. If you have a small or medium size in-ground pool the ‘Lil Rebel will work fine for you also.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Don't Touch That! Things Around your Pool You Shouldn't Touch

Like anything else, a pool is pretty complex with many ins and outs and dos and don’ts and I will go over some things you probably should not touch around your pool until you gain more knowledge. Recently my home furnace went out, so I went up into the attic to see if anything obvious was amiss. I thought maybe I would be able to figure it out.  I stood there for about five minutes and then decided that this was out of my league and I simply called my AC guy. I figured I would do more harm than good if I tried to “fix” anything myself. The same goes for your pool in many respects. If you don’t know how to do something, stop and don’t touch anything!

I will start with something that seems very basic, your pool’s timer. Generally, it is an Intermatic Timer with a yellow dial and two trippers that control when the pool comes on and goes off. This mechanism uses a very simple principle, the “on” tripper has a notch that will cause the pool pump to turn on when the tripper is engaged and an “off” tripper with a notch that is slightly different the “on” tripper to turn the pool pump off. A lot of times I find that the homeowner wanted to reset his timer but failed to tighten down the “on” tripper or “off” tripper and either the pool was left running for 24 hours or only turned on each day for 20 minutes. Depending on which tripper was put on loose. I’ve also seen the “on” and “off” trippers reversed so instead of setting the pool to run for 4 hours it is running for 20 hours.

You can see something as simple as your timer can be messed up if you are not careful.  Just make sure the trippers are on tight and that you have them on the right spot on the yellow dial.
Automated systems can be just as daunting, and you can also make multiple errors in programming the schedule on them. Since they are designed to hold multiple schedules one issue you will run into is that when you go to change a program you are usually adding a program. To change the program, you need to enter into that specific schedule and edit it. But many times, I have seen customers just add a schedule thinking they are editing an existing one. This means that now you have the originally programmed scheduling running and a new one. The best thing to do is to delete all the programs and start over. I often do this when I am rescheduling a customer’s automated system, I just delete all the schedules and enter new ones.

Then we have the stand-alone Variable Speed pumps. One design feature in the Pentair VS pumps is the on/off (Start/stop) button. They put this here because you can’t program it while it is running and if you are using the pool and want to turn the pump off, you can by simply hitting the start/stop button. The problem arises when you hit the start/stop button and then forget that the pump will not turn back on until you hit the start/stop button again. This means that the schedule program will stay off all week and the pump will be off until you hit the start/stop button.

You can see just the timer of the pool pump can cause errors, so be very aware of what you are doing if you plan on resetting the pool run time or adjusting the schedule on your system.

Another thing that appears simple but can cause problems for you is when you go to empty the skimmer or pump baskets. There is a method to this and if you don’t follow it you can really clog up your system or even cause the pump to burn out.

Here is what I suggest you do for your skimmer basket:
Turn pump on. If there are too many leaves in the skimmer and the main drain engages, turn the pool off again. Scoop out some leaves without lifting the basket. Then turn the pool pump on and continue to scoop out the leaves. When the skimmer is now free of floating leaves and debris, you can pull the basket out and then dump the rest of the leaves and debris.

You don’t want to lift the basket out with the pool off since leaves and debris can get passed the basket when you pull it out and enter the pump basket when you turn the pool on. If there is a lot of debris it can even clog the lines. So, I prefer to empty the skimmer basket with the pool running after I have cleared the floating debris.

Pump Basket:
When you empty the pump basket the one thing key thing that you need to do is refill the pump pot area known also like the wet end of the pump. If you empty the basket and fail to fill this area with water before you put the lid on and start the pump, the pump could burn out if you try to prime it for a long period of time. The worst thing you could do is clean the pump basket and just put the lid on and then start the pump.

Here is what you should do:
Turn the pump off. Remove the lid. Empty out the pump basket. Fill the pump pot area with water from a hose or a bucket of water. Put the lid back on. Start the pump. Never walk away until the pump is primed and full of water.

I could cover many more areas but I think you can see the point here with just these two examples. Knowing your way around your pool can be complex and if you are going to do anything yourself get educated with YouTube videos and of course read the owner’s manuals.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Pool Lab 1.0 Pool and Spa Photometer Water Tester

The Pool Lab 1.0 is a new product for the USA and comes to us from Germany. It is a very well-constructed and simple to use Photometer pool and spa water tester. It is completely waterproof so you would simply dip it into the pool to retrieve the water sample and then use the tablet reagent to run the test. After the test is done the digital display will let you know the exact level of the test factor you were checking. It also can send the test results to your phone or device via Bluetooth through the Lab connect app and you can store the readings in the app or online in the cloud. So, this is great for both the pool service tech and the homeowner who wishes to easily keep a record of the tests results.

Here is more on the PoolLab® 1.0 Photometer from the manufacturer:

“The new PoolLab® 1.0 is a triple wavelength photometer for professional water analysis of private pools and spas.

An in-built but changeable cuvette allows quick water sampling by just dipping in the IP68 waterproof PoolLab®.

PoolLab® with its 6 buttons is designed for instant access to the parameters installed, which are: pH, Chlorine (free/combined/total), Alkalinity (Acid Capacity), Cyanuric Acid (Stabilizer). Active Oxygen (MPS), Bromine, Chlorine Dioxide, Ozone, Hydrogen Peroxide, Total Hardness, and Calcium Hardness.

As PoolLab® uses wireless Bluetooth 4.0 technology, it can easily be connected to free software and app for test result management. Once test results are synchronized, software and app allow dosage recommendations, based on individually entered water treatment chemicals. The user can print test result reports, perform index calculation, such as LSI, and much more.

A free cloud server takes care that data on app and software are constantly synchronized if the user decides to use this feature.”

Here are the test factor ranges of the Pool Lab 1.0:
Active Oxygen (MPS)    0.0 - 30.0 mg/l (ppm)     DPD N°4 Photometer*

Alkalinity      0 - 300 mg/l (ppm) CaCO3      Alkalinity-M Photometer

Bromine     0.0 - 13.5 mg/l (ppm)      DPD N°1 Photometer, Glycine*

Chlorine (free/combined/total)      0.00 - 6.00 mg/l (ppm)      DPD N°1 Photometer, DPD N°3 Photometer

Chlorine Dioxide      0.0 - 11.4 mg/l (ppm)      DPD N°1 Photometer, Glycine*

Cyanuric acid     0 – 160 mg/l (ppm)     CYA-Test Photometer

Hardness (Total, Calcium)   |   0 - 500 mg/l (ppm)     (POL20TH1*, POL20TH2*)/(Calcium Hardness N°1* / N°2*)

Hydrogen Peroxide   |   0.00-2.90 mg/l (ppm) 0-200 mg/l (ppm)   |   Hyd. Peroxide (LR/HR) Photometer*

Ozone   |   0.00 - 4.00 mg/l (ppm)   |   DPD N°1 Photometer, DPD N°3 Photometer, Glycine*

pH value | 6.5 - 8.4   |   Phenol Red Photometer

The Basic Kit comes in a nice carrying case as the following items:

PoolLab 1.0 Photometer
Light shield
3 x AAA batteries
Plastic stirring rod
20 tablets DPD N° 1 (free chlorine)
10 tablets DPD N° 3 (combined/total chlorine)
20 tablets Phenol Red (pH)
10 tablets Alkalinity-M (Alkalinity/Acid Capacity)
10 tablets CYA-Test (Cyanuric Acid/Stabilizer)
Printed manual

I think both the ease of use and the ability to transfer the test results from the Pool Lab 1.0 unit to your phone or device via the Lab Connect app is the best selling point of the unit. The unit itself can store 250 test results but transferring them in the app is very easy to do.

What makes the Pool Lab 1.0 so accurate is the fact that it uses pre-measured tablet reagents, so this eliminates any user error by using liquid reagents. The digital display will let you know the exact levels of your test without you trying to guess the color. If you are in the market for an accurate and easy to use water tester check into the Pool Lab 1.0 Photometer.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Skimmer: Pool Route Management Software

Pool Route Software is a growing area in the service industry and if you are just starting out in the business this is the perfect time to start looking at your options. Mitigating an existing route takes some time but if you are just beginning it would be simple to use a program to track your route. One such program is called Skimmer.

The software developer behind Skimmer wanted to give it a streamlined look, but also make it highly functional. He has succeeded on both counts as the app looks much like something Apple would develop for the iPhone. It is extremely smooth and user-friendly. New features will be added including integrated invoicing with Quick books.  Below are some of the key features from their website.

Skimmer Features:

Track all your customers, each with the ability to have multiple locations and bodies of water. Always have up-to-date contact information, wherever you go.

Everything you need to customize and optimize routes, along with tracking all your service stop data. Easily move stops to a different day or from one tech to another.

Your Route on a Map
Once you see your entire day’s route on a map, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Immediately, you’ll see ways to reduce travel time and increase profit.

Route Distance and Time
Skimmer calculates the total miles and time it will take to complete the day’s route for you. No guessing. No hoping. Just the exact numbers you need to create the perfect route.

Drag and Drop
Drag and drop the route stops in the precise order you want them. After every change, Skimmer will automatically re-calculate the distance and time, so you can easily optimize your route.

Save Your Optimized Route
Now that you’ve created the perfect route, save it as your new default. Every week from here on out, you will run the fastest route possible!

Service Emails
Email your customers beautiful service reports automatically when you finish each route stop. Include a photo along with chemical readings and dosages.

Work Orders
Easily track repairs, service calls, and filter cleanings. Techs can take photos and fully describe the issue so you know what parts to buy before going.

Shopping List
Need a part? Put it on the built-in shopping list and track it through every stage from purchasing to installing and finally invoicing the customer.

Invoicing Report
You’ve done the work, now get paid for it. Skimmer makes it easy to see all the work you've done for each customer for any period of time, making billing a snap.

Customize Your Service Report
Add your company logo and include only the details you choose, such as chemical readings, dosages, and completed checklist items.

Include a Photo with Every Stop
Make sure your customers know you were there by including a photo and showing them how good their pool looked when you finished service.

Track Readings and Dosages
Think nothing could be as fast as writing values down? Think again! Skimmer is the fastest way to enter all your Readings and Dosages. Period. Just check out the video below. Plus, you can fully customize the values to choose from for your personal company.

Track Filter Cleanings
(without having to remember anything)
Tracking filter cleanings can be a real pain if you're using spreadsheets and scraps of paper. It's so easy to miss a customer and lose out on that money. But with Skimmer, you never have to worry about that again.

Skimmer Tracks Everything for You
Simply tell Skimmer the last time you cleaned a customer's filter, sit back, and let Skimmer remind you every time you need to clean the filter again. You don't have to track it or remember it.

Pool route software can make your job easier out there and Skimmer is also set for those service companies with employees and contractors. Visit their site to see helpful videos and demos of the software.

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Monday, February 4, 2019

New! Polaris Quattro Sport Pressure Side Cleaner

The Polaris Quattro Sport is the first real update of the Polaris Pressure Side Cleaner in over 40 years. Over the years Polaris has tweaked the design of the Polaris by changing the drive from a drive shaft to a belt and then to a chain, but the basic 3-wheel design stayed the same. The Polaris Quattro Sport is a huge leap forward in Pressure Side Cleaners.

There is a lot to like about the new Quattro Sport including the sleek design of the cleaner. With the internal debris canister, the cleaner looks very clean as it works its way around the pool. No more unsightly debris bag full of dirt and leaves on top. The four-wheel compact design also allows the cleaner to clean the entire pool including the floors walls and the waterline. This is the only Pressure Cleaner that can do this.
Here are some of the great new features of the Quattro Sport:

Active Brushing
Equipped with rotating brushes that actively scrub and scour floors, walls and the waterline —Quattro Sport penetrates deep to remove fine, stuck-on debris.

Aggressive Wall Climbing
Quattro Sport boasts 4WD agility, enabling unmatched climbing to ensure superior cleaning from floor to waterline.

Dual-Stage Filtration
From leaves and acorns to sand and silt, the dual-stage filtration system collects both large debris and fine particulates.

Large Easy-Clean Debris Canister
Quattro Sport replaces the customary filter bag with a large capacity easy-clean debris canister and transparent window — allowing users to see when the canister is full, so they can simply remove, shake, and spray the canister clean.

Multi-Directional Navigation
Engineered to turn on a dime, its innovative navigation technology ensures quick, efficient and complete cleaning coverage for the entire pool.

Looking at the Polaris Quattro Sport you will see a great combination of Polaris/Zodiac technology. It has a scrubbing brush on front just like a robotic pool cleaner and a canister debris chamber taken right from their robotic cleaner line. Then you have the scrubbing assembly of the MX-8 Elite cleaner to give the Quattro better traction on the walls and floor.

Instead of an external back-up valve the Quattro features an internal Directional Control Device that spins the cleaner out of the corner and step areas. This is also taken from the MX-8 Elite cleaner. The cleaning time and pattern is much tighter without the 30 second back up cycle every 2 minutes which means the Quattro can run for a shorter time and clean a pool much more effectively.

Combine all of this with the large debris opening and 3 Venturi of the Polaris Pressure Cleaners and you have the most innovative cleaner on the market today.  
The Polaris Quattro requires a separate booster pump installed at the equipment area. If you are upgrading from an existing Pressure Side Cleaner the Quattro will work fine as it uses the same wall adapter and booster pump as your old cleaner. The Polaris Quattro is sold only at your local pool store or you can purchase it from your local pool service provider. It is not sold online.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Servicing your Pool in the Winter -Some Tips to Make it Through the Season

Doing pool service and taking care of your own pool is different during each season of the year. Winter time in some areas means the pool is closed and covered. In my region and in areas where the temperatures do not get into the freezing territory the pool will stay open all year round. So, taking care of a pool in the Winter is vastly different than taking care of a pool during the Summer.

One thing that we must deal with in the Winter is the weather and the wind and rain can be an issue. The Santa Ana Winds will blow in my area from October through February and these winds can reach gust up to 60 mph making a real mess of the pools. You need to be very proactive when it comes to leaves and dirt in your pool. The leaves from the wind can easily clog your skimmer and pump basket causing your pump to work very poorly. If left unchecked your pump can even burn out due to lack of water flow. So be ready to scoop out the leaves and empty the skimmer and pump baskets.

Any dirt that gets in the pool from the wind or rain should be vacuumed out quickly to avoid any staining. If you leave dirt in the pool for long periods of time, metal in the soil could cause stains on the pool surface. I recommend getting a good automatic cleaner or be ready to manually vacuum your pool when needed. The bottom line is that even though it is the middle of Winter and no one is using the pool, you still need to clean it regularly. In fact, your pool may be dirtier in the Winter than in the Summer in most cases.

If your area gets excessive rain you may notice that the pool may overflow with water. In most cases, the pool water is safe and won’t do any damage if you have sufficient drains around the pool deck. If the water overflows and it looks like it will enter your house or do other types of property damage you will need to get a Sump Pump and have it ready to drain some of the water from the pool.

You will notice that in really cold water the pool chemicals will stay very constant and you will not be adding much chlorine, acid or base to the pool. Generally, in water temperature, less than 65 degrees the pools salt system will also stop operating. At this point simply switch to liquid chlorine and use that as your primary sanitizer. Typically in colder water, one gallon of liquid chlorine will hold a good chlorine level for 2 to 3 weeks or more.

If you service your pool in the Winter the water can be bone-chilling cold so wearing the proper gloves is essential. I like the Atlas 772 Nitrile Coated Gloves which as 25-inch-long and will protect your hands from the cold water while emptying the skimmer basket and cleaning the pool.

Cold water gloves:

If you have an automated system or a stand-alone VS pump you may notice the pool turning on at odd hours in the night and at unscheduled times. These systems have a Freeze Mode or Freeze Protect Mode so when the air temperature gets below 37 degrees the pump will turn on. This is to prevent the pipes from freezing but in most areas where we do not get freezing temperatures this feature is more of an annoyance. You can’t disable the feature so to prevent the pool from running all the time I suggest switching the pool’s start schedule to the coldest point of the night, usually, Midnight to 8 am. That way the pump is set to run anyway at that time and won’t be running all night and then the regularly scheduled runtime.

Getting through the Winter can be tough with the winds and the rains and the freezing cold water. But Spring is around the corner and then Summer when owning a pool really pays off.