Tuesday, July 16, 2019

What Size Saly System do I need for my Pool?

Sizing a Salt Water System known also as a Salt Water Generator (SWG) can seem easy enough since each salt system rates maximum pool size in gallons for you already. But herein lies the problem when sizing a salt water system. The cell size may be rated for your size pool but that may not be in fact the correct salt cell size. Huh? Here is the reason why.

Let’s say your pool is around 18,000 gallons. I will use the Pentair Intellichlor for our example here. For this pool size, the salt cell that would be rated for 20,000 gallons is the IC20 which is designed for pools up to 20,000 gallons. So, it would be only logical to purchase a Pentair Intellichlor Salt System with the IC20 cell. But this is the wrong choice in my opinion. You should actually purchase the IC40 Salt System which is rated for 40,000 gallons of water.

Here is why. The IC20 salt cell will produce .70 lbs. of chlorine in a 24-hour period. This means with the pool pump running at full speed (3450 RPM) it will produce .70 lbs. of chlorine which is equal to about 3/4 gallon of 12.5% liquid chlorine. But who runs their pool 24 hours at the full 3450 RPM these days? With the advent of Variable Speed Pumps running your pool at the full 3450 RPM is not realistic. And who runs their pumps 24/7 during the season? I hope you see where I am going with this. In theory, the IC20 can produce .70 lbs. of chlorine. In reality, it will produce far less.

Let’s say you run your pool at 2600 RPM for 12 hours a day. That means at 3450 RPM the IC20 would make .35 lbs of chlorine or about ¼ a gallon of 12.5% liquid chlorine. But at 2600 RPM which is a lower speed it probably will make about .20 lbs of chlorine each day. Maybe 1/6 of a gallon of 12.5% liquid chlorine. If your pool is a heavy use pool or prone to algae or running with a dirty filter this probably will not be enough chlorine on a daily and weekly basis for your pool.

But let us put the IC40 salt cell in place of the IC20 in this equation. The IC40 will produce 1.4 lbs. of chlorine in 24 hours running at 3450 RPM. That is twice the amount of the IC20 and more than 1 gallon of 12.5% liquid chlorine.

So, running your pool at 2600 RPM for 12 hours will make closer to .70 lbs of chlorine or somewhere between 1/2 and  ¾ of a gallon of 12.5% liquid chlorine. This could mean the difference between your chlorine level zeroing out every day or maintaining a good level at 2600 RPM for 12 hours a day. So the IC40 will produce twice the amount of chlorine as the IC20 regardless of how you set your pump to run. This is a huge advantage for any pool owner, and it makes adjusting the run time and chlorine production of your pool that much easier.

Another factor is the lifespan of the salt cell itself. The Pentair Intellichor cells are not cheap to replace. The IC series salt cells are rated for 10,000 hours of use. This means that after 10,000 hours the salt cell is finished, and you will need to purchase a new one. So if you have an 18,000-gallon pool and run your IC20 Salt System at 100% during the season to keep your pool chlorinated, figure to get 3-4 years out of that cell.

If you, in turn, run an IC40 salt cell at 50% output in the same pool every season you actually will get 20,000 hours of life out of the cell. So you will get 6-7 years of use from the larger salt cell since you are running it at only 50% of the output. So it actually makes sense to pay the higher upfront cost for the larger IC40 sat cell than the less expensive IC20 cell even though it is the one rated for your pool size.

Both in chlorine production and the useful cell life, the larger salt cell just makes more sense. Bigger is better in most cases when it comes to pool equipment and investing in a larger salt cell is a wise decision.  I suggest always going with the larger salt cell and larger system when you can.

IC20 20,000 gallon pool .70 lbs. in 24 hours
IC40 40,000 gallon pool 1.4 lbs in 24 hours
IC60 60,000 gallon pool 2 lbs in 24 hours
iChlor 15 15,000 gallon pool
iChlor 30 30,000 gallon pool

T-CELL-15- for pools up to 40,000 gallons
T-CELL-9 - for pools up to 25,000 gallons
T-CELL-3 - for pools up to 15,000 gallons

TruClear 35,000 gallons

Monday, July 15, 2019

Best Budget Suction Side Cleaner -Zodiac Ranger!

An automatic pool cleaner can be a big investment and there are so many different models and types out there which can make the choice downright confusing. Should you choose a Robotic Pool Cleaner, a Pressure Side Cleaner or a Suction side Cleaner? And which is the best in each category? While the Zodiac Ranger isn’t the top Suction Side Cleaner it is the by far the best value-priced cleaner on the market in my opinion.

Currently listed for $140 online it is a real bargain for what you get. It comes with 32 feet of real pool hoses, the same quality hoses found on the more expensive G2 cleaner. It also comes with the standard Zodiac Flow Keeper Valve for the skimmer and that valve alone is over $50.00 by itself. The cleaner head is also very high quality and has some good weight to it so the cleaner will not float or just drift in the pool. The fact that you can also replace the parts on the Ranger makes it a great buy. Unlike the $99 cleaners found online which have no spare parts for sale, making them a throwaway cleaner.

Suction Side Cleaners are usually the most affordable and I think the Zodiac Ranger is by far the best budget cleaner out there. Here are some of the features:

Effectively cleans above-ground swimming pools (not recommended for Intex/soft-sided pools), including dished-out bottoms up to 72 inches.

One moving part technology eliminates annoying hammer or flapper noise; works quickly, effectively, and quietly.

Unique Deflector Wheel helps prevent it from getting caught on steps, ladders, and corners!

Comes pre-assembled for easy installation and includes 32 feet of feed hose.

AG Disc allows the Ranger to glide effortlessly along the bottom of your pool, up to the sides and around steps, cleaning your whole pool.

Flowkeeper Valve and Insta-Skim Compact self-adjusting flow control valve automatically regulates water flow, ensuring peak performance.

Simple operation and easy maintenance

Just the Flow Keeper Regulator Valve by itself is some $50 if you were to just purchase that by itself. You also get ten “real” one meter hoses or over 32 feet of hose. What I mean by real is that these are genuine Zodiac cleaner hoses, the same hoses they use for their very popular G2 cleaner and the hoses that they used to use for all of their suction cleaners before their new locking type hoses. These hoses are extremely durable and long lasting. Cleaners in the $100-$150 range tend to come with cheap hoses that only last about 2 years. You should get several years out of the Ranger hoses.

The cleaner itself does a great job with debris in the pool. It is a bouncing type cleaner so it will also climb and clean the walls of your pool. In most cases, it won’t get caught or hung up in the step area of your pool, but there are the few odd shaped pools where the cleaner may have a problem. I would say for the price point you are getting a completely solid cleaner. The head of this cleaner is the same one that is being used by the Zodiac Australian version of the G2 cleaner and that one retails for $399 over in Australia.

I know the box and the listing online say that the Ranger is for an Above Ground Pool but this cleaner will work perfectly fine in a standard plaster in-ground pool as well. It will also work in an in-ground vinyl, fiberglass and tile pool. Zodiac just markets this cleaner at this price point for the Above Ground Pool Market. But it will again work perfectly fine in your inground pool.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Cyborg 2-Wheel Suction Side Pool Cleaner

The Cyborg is a 2-wheel suction side cleaner that is offered as an affordable option but is not one of those cheap generic type cleaners. It is a well made and very highly engineered cleaner that will leave your pool looking spotless every week.

The Cyborg comes with 40 feet of pool hoses and these hoses are very thick and well made. With 40 feet of hoses, the Cyborg is great for even a larger pool but will work equally fine in a smaller pool. One of the interesting features of the Cyborg is the flashing LED light that is built into the lid of the cleaner. When the Cyborg is functioning properly and is moving in the pool the LED light will be flashing green. When it is not moving or there is something jammed in the turbine it will not flash.
The overall design of the Cyborg is much like the Pentair Rebel and Hayward PoolCleaner 2-wheel cleaner. I would say the wall climbing ability is very similar to the Rebel and you will have to adjust the suction down at times to keep it from climbing out of the waterline in a pool. The turbine for picking up debris is also very much like the Pentair Rebel. It can easily pick up larger leaf debris as well as dirt in your pool. 

So why would you go with the Cyborg over the other 2-wheel type cleaners already on the market? I think the main reason would be the price point of the cleaner. It is less expensive, but it does the same job in the pool and the more expensive counterparts. In my testing of the Cyborg, I think it did an exceptional job in the pools that I used it in.  I have run a Cyborg in a very large 30,000-gallon pool and in a very small 8,000-gallon pool and it has performed excellently in both. So, the Cyborg is offered as another alternative for a suction side cleaner for your pool and it would be a solid choice.

Since it is a gear type cleaner it won’t get stuck in the step areas or in a corner of a pool.  It features a swivel on top to prevent the hoses from coiling up and twisting on themselves. And it features a very quick release clip on the body to release the top of the cleaner so that you can easily access the turbine to remove any debris jammed inside.

It is a very simple cleaner also and set up is quick and easy. Included are all the parts you will need to connect it to your pool skimmer, and you can also easily connect it to your pool’s vacuum port/side port with a Vac-Lock (not included).  

Here is more about the Cyborg from the manufacturer:

  • Easy to install in minutes without tools
  • Included 40-foot hose with an anti-twist swivel to keep the hose from twisting or kinking
  • Turbine drive cleaner with a smart skirt for thorough cleaning of the pool from dirt and debris
  • Optimized rubber wheel grip and bumpers go over obstacles and surfaces
  • LED light lights up when powered and cleaning

To purchase the Cyborg: https://amzn.to/2RTKwyi

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Retail Swimming Pool Stores 101

Everyone seems to have widely differing opinions on retail pool stores. Either you love them, hate them or you fall somewhere in between. With the advent of online internet pool stores, the retail pool store was supposed to go away a few years ago. But that is not the case and they have even become stronger I think because of the internet.

One reason retail pool stores have gained traction over the online stores is that the big and small manufacturers want them to stay in business. So, they tailor specific products that can only be purchased at a retail pool store. Jandy has effectively “left the internet” as they put and only make their products available at your local retail pool store or from your pool service provider. Dolphin, Water Tech, Pentair, Hayward to name a few also make retail pool store only products.
One of the benefits of buying a product from a retail pool, the store is the warranty on the product. Some manufacturers will offer a bonus year and even 3-4 years of a warranty on a product that you have purchased from a retail pool store. Many manufacturers limit online warranties to just 30 days or no warranty period whatsoever. Legal or not, they are punishing you for shopping online.  So why are these big manufacturers so keen on supporting the local brick and mortar pool stores?

I I think the answer is simple. Retail pool stores will advertise a product for a manufacturer in their print ads and online ads and they also need to stock the item. If you sold a product wouldn’t you want someone to order 1,000 units at a wholesale price from you versus you stocking the product and then buying 10 each week to ship out via their online storefront.  Yes, some large online pool stores do stock products but not to the extent that the retail pool store needs to. So, the manufacturers really need the retail pool stores to thrive so that their product gets in as many hands as possible.

So why do so many people tend to hate retail pool stores? I think the answer is that many will upsell products that are not needed or even wanted by the customer. You are entering a retail store like Best Buy or Kohl’s so the employees want to sell you stuff. If you walk in uneducated and looking like a lamb for the slaughter, you can easily be taken. I suggest doing your research before walking into a retail pool store. Research what the potential problem is or the product you want to purchase. Read up on it online first and then walk in educated and ready to purchase what you need. This is what I do when I am looking for something new to purchase at Best Buy. If I am looking at a new drone I will research it to death before I lay the cash down on the counter. You should be doing the same before you walk into a pool store.

There are many good people who own pool stores and really want to help you. They live in your neighborhood and even use the services you provide to them from your business. I really like the Mom & Pop pool stores and you will find the owner to be very knowledgeable about all the pool products and services they offer. I think there is no way to say pool stores are bad and give a blanket rating to all the retail pool stores out there. Like anything, there are good and bad owners and good and bad employees.

If you walk out of a pool store with $400 worth of chemicals, is it their fault for selling them to you? I don’t think so. You were ignorant of what you actually needed, and you left your self-open to be upsold a bunch of stuff you didn’t need. Should they have a good moral compass and only sell you what you need? Yes, but that comes with the premise that there are good owners and bad owners and good employees and bad employees. It is up to you to do the research and purchase what you need.

The bottom line is this. Retail pool stores serve a great purpose of having products, chemicals, and parts right on the spot for you. You pay more for having the convenience of walking in and then walking out with the product you need. The manufacturers need them too and will give customers the incentives of great warranties, rebates on products and specific pool store only products. This is actually a good thing and something that will benefit you as a retail pool store shopper.

Good or bad retail pool stores are here to stay and in my opinion, they are a vital part of the pool and spa industry.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Pool Guy Podcast Show Hosting Sites and App Listings

I started my Podcast back in July of 2017 and it has really grown over the last two years. In order to keep the content fresh and to give listeners more options, I decided to post a Podcast every weekday starting at the beginning of May this year. The feedback has been great, and I will continue with the format of a full Episode every Monday and a shorter 5-6 minute Episode Tues – Friday called a MiniCast.

I am on over 12 Podcast Hosting sites and you can listen and subscribe to any of these below:

The Pool Guy Podcast Show is a weekly Podcast where I talk about everything Swimming Pool Related.  I cover Swimming Pool Chemistry, Basic Pool Care, Swimming Pool Equipment as well as tips and tricks for the Pool Service Professional. I also conduct interviews with those in the Pool Service Industry and do Product Reviews. You will find everything you need right here on my Podcast Show. You can listen directly from the Website and I hope you Subscribe to my Podcast on any of the 12 hosting sites to get the newest episode sent to you. I release a Podcast Episode Monday through Friday. I also post an audio-only version of my Monday Podcast on my YouTube Channel. Tune in and learn all about Pool Care.

As the Host of the Show here is more about me that qualifies me in the Industry:
I am a Pool Service Professional with over 25 years of practical experience. I currently maintain a pool route so I am right there in the trenches every day. I have extensive experience in water chemistry, automatic cleaners, pool filtration, pool equipment, and automated systems.
I work in Southern California and have been in the pool industry since 1988 with a brief hiatus in the late 1990s to buy and sell Real Estate. My wife and I have been following the Dave Ramsey plan for several years and we have paid off all of our debt plus three houses in Southern California - WE ARE DEBT FREE!

Being financially independent has allowed me to freely share my knowledge with others through my videos and articles so that you can save money as you take care of your pool. I give out free advise to whoever asks and you can post a question or comment here, on YouTube, Facebook or my Blog and I will answer it to the best of my ability at no charge to you.
I am the creator of the #1 Swimming Pool Channel on YouTube which attracts viewers from within the industry and your typical homeowner who manages their own pool. My YouTube Channel Started in 2012 has over 64,000 subscribers and over 34 Million video views.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

iChlor Salt Cell Overview

The Pentair iChlor is a great salt water system and the control panel is very user-friendly. There are a lot of different lights and functions so to clear things up for you I made a short video going over all of the lights and functions.

The Status LED indicates the following on the iChlor Salt System.
Cell Status: Shows the status of the iChlor.
Green: iChlor is operating normally and producing chlorine.
No Light: iChlor is off and not producing chlorine. It may be in an off-period of the sanitizing cycle and will return on shortly. This happens if the percentage is set to less than 100%. If you set it at 20% the iChlor will be running for 12 minutes every hour and off for 48 minutes. So the cell light will be off when it is not producing during that time. There is nothing wrong with the unit.

Red: iChlor is in “Standby” mode (system off, no chlorine production) due to a cold water condition. The iChlor will resume to normal operation mode, including salinity report, once water temperature rises above 52° F (11° C). In this mode, the display will read “COLD” to indicate the condition. The salt cell will not function or produce salt in water temperatures below 52° F (11° C).
Short Red Flash: Unit has detected a malfunction on the temperature sensor, and will indicate it with
short red flashes either while the cell is off (LED off), or while the cell is ON (Green LED). The unit will continue normal operation, but salinity indication might not be accurate until the flow switch is replaced.

Green (Flashing): iChlor needs to be inspected. The blades may have calcium buildup or any other
condition that causes a lack of conductivity. The iChlor is not producing chlorine.
In this mode, the display will read “CELL” to indicate the condition. Clean the salt cell at this time to remove the calcium build up.

Flow Status: This light indicates the status of water flowing through the iChlor.
Red: Insufficient water flow through the iChlor, no chlorine is being produced.
Green: Sufficient water flow to produce chlorine.
Short Flickering: Short flickering: iChlor is in communication with an IntelliFlo pump, and it is monitoring the pump status. This short flickering will be present as long as there is communication with the pump, either with no flow (RED FLOW LED) or with good flow (GREEN FLOW LED).

Here is what the Salt Level LED Light indicates.
Green LED: Good salt level. The pool water salt level is between 3000 ppm and 4500.
Green LED (Flashing): Salt level is above 4500 ppm. The salt level is too high
Red LED: Low salt. The salt level is between 2600 ppm and 3000 ppm. Ithe iChlor will stillproduce chlorine but at a reduced level.
Red LED (Flashing) Very low salt. The salt level is between 2000 ppm and 2600 ppm. The iChlor
will produce chlorine at a very reduced rate.
Red LED (Flashing): Not enough salt. The salt level has fallen below 2000 ppm. The iChlor will not produce chlorine.

Digital Display Overview:
The iChlor  Display shows the “output %” and cell polarity, while it is operating.

To adjust output percentage simply press either LESS or MORE button. If your iChlor is connected and controlled by a Pentair Automated system you will not be able to adjust the output from the cell, only from the automated system settings or the app.

Once the output begins to flash on the digital display, this indicates that the iChlor is ready to change output levels. While output is flashing, press LESS or MORE button, to change output in 1% increments.

Note: Press and hold LESS or MORE button to change output in larger increments (5% jumps).

Once the desired setting is programmed and you stop changing the setting, the digital display will stop flashing after a few seconds.

The last setting after the digital display stops flashing will be the new set output level.

Cell polarity indicator:
Cell polarity is displayed as a small rotating character on the left side of the output % display. Clockwise rotation indicates Forward polarity on the blades. Counterclockwise rotation indicates Reverse polarity on the blades. The rotating feature also indicates chlorine production. If the cell is OFF, the character will not be displayed.

Visit my Website: http://www.swimmingpoollearning.com/

eBook: https://www.swimmingpoollearning.com/swimming-pool-care-ebook

YouTube Video Index: http://poolmandave.blogspot.com/2014/03/swimming-pool-tips-reviews-how-to-video.html – A list of all of my videos.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Adding DE to your Filter: a Detailed Guide

Adding the right amount of D.E. (Diatomaceous Earth) can be challenging as the measurement guides can vary from bag to bag. Adding too much or too little can affect filter performance and water quality. Note: You DO NOT use D.E. in a Cartridge filter - it will clog it up.

The simplest way to add the correct amount is with a D.E. scoop. I use the DE EZ Scoop (1 Lb.) by Aladdin (300). You can find an exact clone of this scoop at Leslie's pool supplies. This takes all the guesswork out of adding D.E. to your pool.

In the video, you will see my D.E. amount recommendation but you can also use the one on the Aladdin cup itself which is one scoop per 5 sq. ft. of filter area. I was trained by an old-time pool guy who had over 40 years of experience and the measurements I use were passed down to me by him and I have been using the same D.E. measurements for over 15 years now.

I have cleaned over 4,000 filters with the majority until recently being D.E. filters (Cartridge filters are becoming more popular and make up a good percentage of the filters I clean now). So, you will have satisfactory results using either.

The D.E. bag or box also has some other tips like adding a cup of D.E. before a big party. You can do this without harm, but I just make sure my D.E. filters opened up and cleaned every six months with occasional backwashing in the Summer after heavy use or when the gauge goes up 10 psi from the clean pressure (example: If the gauge reads 20 psi after cleaning and two months later goes up to 30 psi I will backwash the filter).

Anytime the gauge is at 30 psi or over it is time to backwash in most cases (some filters however just run high due to the return line plumbing). But in most cases, the pressure gauge is an effective way to tell if you need to backwash your filter.

Backwashing tip: If you open the valve to backwash your filter and nothing but clear water comes out then it is time to take it apart and clean it. That means the D.E. has compacted and turned to a clay-like consistency and won't come off the grids in backwash mode.

Note: All measurements below are with the Aladdin DE Scoop

My recommended dosage amount of D.E.:
36 sq. ft filter = 6 full scoops
48 sq. ft filter = 8 full scoops
60 sq. ft filter = 10 full scoops
72 sq. ft filter = 12 full scoops

45 sec to 1-minute filter backwashing with the Aladdin 300 DE E-Z Scoop:

24 sq ft filter: 2 scoops
36 sq ft filter: 3 scoops
48 sq ft filter: 4 scoops
60 sq ft filter: 6 scoops
72 sq ft filter: 8 scoops

How Much D.E. (Diatomaceous Earth) do I Add?: http://youtu.be/lz97RnlATi0
QUAD D.E.® Cartridge Style Filter – How to Add D.E.: https://youtu.be/kopsa6NS77U

Aqua-Cel DE Pool Filter Media is the safest way to add Diatomaceous Earth (DE), to your DE filter. It comes in a 12 lbs. bag with 12 water-soluble bags inside each weighing one pound. To recharge your DE filter, you would just take the water-soluble bag and drop it into the skimmer while the pool is running. The bag will dissolve in 40-60 seconds and you will not be exposed to any of the dust from the DE powder.

They are also pre-measured, and each water-soluble bag contains 1 lb. of DE. This makes adding the correct amount of DE to your filter very easy. Just follow the dosage chart on the back of the bag for your filter size and that is it. Take out a water-soluble bag, drop it in the skimmer, watch it dissolve and then add another bag. It is that simple. Every 12 lbs. bag of Aqua-Cel comes with 12 pre-measured bags so one bag is enough for your filter cleaning. Depending on your filter size and how often you backwash, one bag of Aqua-Cel could last you the entire year. Aqua-Cel is also great for Backwashing your filter during the season.

CelaPool™, a revolutionary new low dust diatomaceous earth (DE) filter aid by EP Minerals. CelaPool is a form of DE that produces very little dust, in fact, none at all in my testing.

It is a relatively new product and it is not widely available yet. PoolCorp (SCP & Superior) will be stocking it sometime in 2017 for the pool service professional. Leslie's Pools should also stock it for the retail pool customer so check with your local pool store. Since it is new it is rather expensive online but available:

Visit my Website: http://www.swimmingpoollearning.com/

eBook: https://www.swimmingpoollearning.com/swimming-pool-care-ebook

YouTube Video Index: http://poolmandave.blogspot.com/2014/03/swimming-pool-tips-reviews-how-to-video.html – A list of all of my videos.