Thursday, May 16, 2019

Summertime and your Swimming Pool

Summer can be a challenging time for your swimming pool care. The days are longer, some regions have temperatures of over 100 degrees for weeks on end and the UV index is at the highest point. All of this will make maintaining a pool much more difficult. Here are some helpful tips for you so that you can make it through the Summer season with a sparkling clear blue pool.

One thing that is often overlooked is the pool’s filtration system. At the beginning of each season, you need to make sure the filter is operating properly and is cleaned. I like to clean and inspect my DE and Cartridge filters in March before the season starts here in California. If the grids have tears or the cartridges are old this is the time to replace them. One of the major problems that contribute to algae and pools unable to hold a good chlorine level is a poorly running filtration system. So, make sure the filter is clean and in good running condition.

During the Summer season algae can be a big problem. It can bloom for several reasons, but the primary reason is not adding chlorine to the proper level. Keeping your chlorine at 3.0 ppm to 5.0 ppm is a good idea. If the chlorine zeros out during the week algae can certainly bloom. So, check your chlorine level at least once a week or more and make sure you add chlorine consistently to the pool.

If your Conditioner level, CYA level is too low the chlorine will burn off quickly due to the intense UV rays in the Summer. Try to keep your CYA level at 30-50 ppm and raise it if necessary. If the Conditioner level gets too high, over 100 ppm then the chlorine becomes less effective. In this case, you will have to literally keep the chlorine at 10 ppm each week just to prevent algae growth. So, adjusting the CYA level in the pool is also a critical factor in the Summer.

The water level is one thing that is often overlooked during the season and it is one thing that can turn your pool green very quickly. Older pools do not have the main drain and skimmer connected and most of the older pools do not have the ability to turn off the skimmer if the water gets too low. This means that when the water level gets below the skimmer, the pool will begin to suck air. The pump will stop running and the pool water will not circulate. So, until you add water and correct this the pool will in effect stop running for that week. In 100-degree weather, this can easily lead to algae and a green pool.

If you do see any algae in the pool you will want to attack it aggressively. Failure to do this will result in a large algae bloom. Even a small amount in the step area can bloom into algae all over the pool walls in a few days. This is because the algae will use up the chlorine in the pool which will lead to it spreading rapidly. The best defense is prevention. You can start the season with a PoolRX in the pool, use a Poly Quat 60 or add Borates to your pool to bring it to 30-50 ppm. All these steps will help prevent algae in your pool during the season.

The point here is to be proactive with your pool care in the Summer. Start with a clean filter. Keep the chlorine level up, tread algae when you see it and fill your pool to keep the water circulating properly.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Primate X 6 ft Extension for your Primate Pole - Easy way to extend your pool pole

The Primate Carbon Fiber pole is one of the best new pool poles on the market today. To make it more versatile in larger pools Primate Pool Tools has developed a unique 6-foot extension known simply as the Primate X. Adding one Primate X to your existing Primate Pole will allow you to extend the pole to 22 ft. This is perfect for those larger pools, Commercial Pools, and Infinity Edge pools.

The Primate X is made out of the same spun Carbon Fiber making it extremely strong and the front is also reinforced with fiberglass. Since it is made out of Carbon Fiber it weighs less than 1 lbs. Imagine a pole 22 feet in length that weighs only 3 lbs!

Here is more about the Primate Pole:
This is probably the most unique 3-piece pool service pole (Tri-Pole) that I have ever used.  The Primate 3X Pole is also the most compact and lightweight pole that I have used also. 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.

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 the 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.

Primate Pole Review:

To learn more and to order:

Friday, May 10, 2019 Pool Routing Software

Running a pool service business is no easy task. The billing alone can take hours and it can be a frustrating experience. But what if there was a program where you can enter items and prices daily on your route on the job site and then at the end of the month you could push a button and everything for all your service accounts can automatically be entered into the customer’s bill. Instead of hours you now spend just 15 minutes a day with your billing.  can do just that and more. It was designed by a pool service professional with the pool service pro in mind. It not only can do the billing for you but there are other outstanding features that make it the total Routing Software package. Here are just a few of the features of the software below.

“Save Time and Stay Organized. Being a power user has never been so easy!

Manage your routes, employees, billing, collections, and repairs like a pro!

Online Invoicing & Online Payments Included!
Customers receive their invoices instantly! You collect online payments within minutes of signing up!

One-Click Book Keeping!
Keep your customers up-to-date! With one click:
         Text a reminder to bring accounts current & pay online
          Send an email reminder to make a payment
         Print a late notice showing past payments and invoices
        Write off unreceived payments as bad debt

Run Your Billing in Minutes!
Create your invoices with just three clicks. On the go, or from your home:
`       Add extra work to that month's invoice
          Edit your invoice
          Email all invoices
          Print all invoices
         Update customer information and more!

Get Bids approved online
Stop waiting for approvals on your bids. The customer can approve your bid while they are at work, or at the mall or even at their kid's soccer game using their phone. You will receive a email with their signature for approval and their contact info to easily schedule the work. 

Do you have repairs to schedule?
Easily schedule repairs and keep track of up to 20 employees completing repairs. It's so easy!
          Calendar views by Month
         Calendar views by Week
          Calendar views by Day
          Calendar summary list

View Gate/Lock Codes
Never get stuck without the front gate code or combination to gain entrance
         View All Customer's Codes with one click
          Perfect for your phone/tablet
          Don't write down codes anymore
         Stop searching for the right code”

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Hayward VS OMNI with Alexa Voice Control

The Hayward VS Omni with Smart Pool Control is one of the most innovative ways to control your pool equipment on the market today. One of the nice features is that it also works with Amazon Alexa Voice Commands. So if you use your Alexa for everything around your house, you can now also use it to control your pool equipment.

Here are some of the steps to get started:

The voice commands are really easy to master, and the Alexa App does a great job of including a variety of commands that are useful and practical. Here are a few for you below.

Alexa, “Open Hayward”
Alexa,” Ask Hayward for help”
To exit the tutorial say: “Alexa, stop”
Alexa, “Ask Hayward for status”
Alexa, Ask “Hayward for {pool} status”
Alexa, “Ask Hayward for {spa} status”

Turn Equipment ON/OFF:
Alexa, “Ask Hayward to turn ON {Pool} filter pump”
Alexa, “Ask Hayward to turn OFF {Spa} bubbler”  
Alexa, “Ask Hayward to turn EVERYTHING OFF Adjust Pump Speeds”
Alexa, Ask Hayward to set my {Pool} filter pump to (high) speed”
Alexa, “Ask Hayward to adjust my {Spa} filter pump to (50%)”

Adjust Heater Temperatures:
Alexa,” Ask Hayward to set my {Pool} heater to (85) degrees”
Alexa, “Ask Hayward to adjust my {Spa} heater to (100) degrees”

Adjust Lights:
Alexa, “Ask Hayward to set my {Pool} lights to (voodoo lounge)”
Alexa, “Ask Hayward to change my {Spa} light to (deep blue sea)”

Turn Themes ON/OFF:
Alexa, “Ask Hayward to turn ON {Spa Party}”
Alexa, “Ask Hayward to turn OFF my {Pool Party}”
Here is more about the VS OMNI with Smart Pool Control:

The VS OMNI Variable Speed Pumps with Smart Pool Control is the easiest way to fully automate your entire equipment pad. I am not just talking about controlling the Variable speed Pump from the OmniLogic App but controlling every piece of equipment from the pool and spa lights, heater, cleaner booster pump, water feature pumps, salt system, spa booster pump, spa air blower and more. The Smart Pool Control can automate everything on your existing equipment pad. The OMNI VS Pump and Smart Pool control is backed by an industry leading 4-year warranty (TriStar 950)!

There are 4 different OMNI VS pumps to choose from. The TriStar 950 is the top of the line version with 2.7 total HP and the latest version comes with reversible voltage. This means that you can wire it at 110V or at 220V. This is great if you have an older pool without a standard 220V connection that most Variable Speed Pumps require. Just note that if you do wire it at 110V the total HP of the pump will be throttled down to about half the 2.7 HP that it is rated for. This is the pump that I would recommend for most pools that are medium to large in size and of course for those who are running their pool equipment on 110V. You can also purchase the TriStar 900, Super Pump Vs 700 and the MaxFlo Vs 500 with the Smart Pool Control.

No matter which OMNI VS pump you choose the Smart Pool Control is a real game changer for the industry.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Best Chlorine Types for your Pool

Liquid Chlorine or Bleach is the tried and true standard chemical of choice for most pool service professionals. It is easy to use and relatively inexpensive and it has the least side effects of any of the chlorine you can choose from. It is usually sold in 12.5% active chlorine per gallon with Bleach coming in at about half that strength at 6.5%. It will raise the pH slightly, but it does not contain any Stabilizer or Conditioner making it ideal for all pool types. This means that when you add a gallon of liquid chlorine and your Conditioner level (CYA) is 50 ppm it will stay at 50 ppm even if you add 20 gallons of liquid chlorine.

Fastest acting of all chlorine types
Will not raise your CYA level
Safe for all pool types
Easy to use

Breaks down by the Sun’s UV Rays so your pool needs a CYA level of 30-50 ppm
Short shelf life so rotate stock or buy fresh chlorine when needed
The gallons can be heavy compared to a bag of shock
Is seen as weaker than shock based on the low percentage of chlorine but is stronger

Cal Hypo is very popular and there are a number of reasons why it is widely used in the industry. It is easy to carry and comes in different strengths 60-75% active chlorine. One of the major side effects is that it contains calcium, so over time it will raise your pool’s calcium hardness. Not an issue if you live in an area with soft water but I caution the use in areas with hard water. It also has a high pH of around 12 so it will raise the pH in a pool if you use a significant amount each week. It can also make the pool cloudy if you pour a bag directly in. A very powerful form of shock.

Strong and easy to use
Does not contain Conditioner so it will not raise the pool’s CYA levels
Safe for all pool surface types but use caution with a vinyl liner

Raises Calcium Harness in a pool
Raises the pH in a pool
Clouds up the pool water

Dichlor is a very popular form of chlorine and the granular form makes it very easy to measure and use in a pool. It is pH neutral which means it will not raise or lower the pool pH in any significant way. It does contain Conditioner, about 45%-50% by weight. So, if you add 10 lbs. of Dichlor to a pool you are also adding about 5 lbs. of Conditioner. Over time this will increase the pool’s CYA levels. A little Dichlor goes a long way making this an ideal chemical to carry on your truck if you service pools. Just don’t overuse it because of the high amount of Conditioner in the product. It is usually about 62% active chlorine by weight.

Easy to use and powerful
pH neutral
Safe for all surface types
Long the shelf life of 2-3 years

Adds Conditioner to the pool

Tri-Chlor or Trichloroisocyanuric Acid comes in three forms. The familiar 3” tablets that slowly dissolve in your pool, a very fine powder shock and a granular form. About 50% of the Tri-Chlor by weight is Conditioner. So, a 50 lbs. bucket of tablets is about 25 lbs. of Conditioner. If you overuse tablets your pool’s CYA level can go up rapidly. Trichlor tablets are usually 95% to 99% active chlorine. Tri-Chlor tablets have a very low pH of 2-3 so they will lower the pH in your pool. The tablets contain acid in the for of Cyanuric Acid so if one falls into the pool it is likely to stain the surface by burning it.

The powder form of Tri-Chlor shock is a good mix of both power and less Conditioner per pound. It is fast acting but has a strong chemical smell so use caution when using it. It is less pure than the tablet form and is usually 65%-70% active chlorine.  I use it on my route and find it to be effective in shocking a pool.

Tri-Chlor granular is very powerful stuff. It is basically the Tri-Chlor Tablet grounded up in granular form and is 99% active chlorine. Use with extreme caution as the Conditioner in the granular can stain the plaster. The CYA in the tablet is basically acid and if you let it pile up on the pool surface it will stain the plaster as if you dropped a 3” Tablet into the pool. Never add this to the skimmer and if you do use it for Black or Mustard algae make sure it is evenly dispersed on the pool surface. Not for use in Vinyl, Fiberglass or color plaster pools.

Very strong and slow dissolving in tablet form so it releases chlorine all week long
Easy to use and affordable

Can stain the pool surface
Contains 50% CYA by weight

Friday, May 3, 2019

Step by Step Cleaning Procedure for your Pool

In this article, I go over the Step by Step procedure I take when I service a swimming pool. This is a basic video guide on how to maintain a swimming pool for either a homeowner or pool service professional. I walk you thru the steps I take on a pool from beginning to end.

The very first thing I do is a scan of the pool for anything unusual. A dead Gopher on the pool floor would be something noteworthy. I also can assess the pools clarity level by just eyeballing it and can pretty much tell if there is a chemistry issue – like no Chlorine or Combined Chlorine.

I do all these steps in order so not to forget to do something. Doing this over and over on a pool route puts your brain in robot mode and you can't think back two stops previous and try to remember if you added chemicals or not. So, if you do the steps in order chances are you won't forget anything.

Step One: Check the Chemicals
The first thing I do is check the water chemistry. There are several test factors that you need to be aware of and not all of them need to be done weekly. Each week you do need to check the Chlorine level – if you have the right test kit you can also check for Total Chlorine. But at a minimum, you need to get the Free Chlorine level. You should also check the pH each week, or how acidic or alkaline the water is. If the pH is too low or too high it can have some significant effects on the pool water quality and the pool surface itself.

I check the Alkalinity level once a month as a rule. Since the Alkalinity level is tied into the pH it normally does not move dramatically in one direction or the other. For a new pool plaster, it can move more so, in that case, I check it every week for the first three months. But once the plaster cures or if you have another surface type like Vinyl or Fiberglass the Alkalinity is stable.

The Calcium Hardness level also does not move much so I check that every three months. Again, for a new pool plaster, you will need to check it more often but for an established pool, it is stable.

I check the CYA or Cyanuric Acid level at the beginning of the season – here that is in April and maybe again if I notice any water issues like low chlorine each week.

If you have a Salt Water Pool I check the salt level also at the beginning of the season and then again if problems arise. Since the salt in the water does not evaporate it stays stable all season long

Here are the Ideal Ranges for the Test Factors:
FC – Free Chlorine 1.5-3 ppm
CC – Combined Chlorine 0.5 <
BR – Bromine 4-6 ppm
PH – Acidity/Alkalinity 7.4-7.8
TA – Total Alkalinity 80-120
CH – Calcium Hardness 220-350 *
CYA – Cyanuric Acid 30-80 ppm
SALT 2800- 3100 ppm > **

* Levels may be lower in a Vinyl or Fiberglass Pool
** Depending on the salt system brand

Step Two: Check the Equipment & Empty the Baskets
Keeping the pump basket and skimmer basket clean and empty each week is the most critical thing you can do for water circulation purposes. You can have a clean filter but still, have a cloudy pool or a pool with algae because of a clogged pump basket.

So, it is essential to empty both the pump basket and skimmer basket each week of service. I also do a general check of the equipment including checking the filter pressure and listening for any motor noises that will indicate a problem. I also check the timer or automated system for any issues. Last, I scan for any water leaks around the equipment area. Part of the job is making sure everything is running well each week.

Step Three: Clean the pool
Keeping the pool clean each week helps to make the pool look good and reduces chemical use and prevents equipment failure. So, weekly cleaning is important. If you are pressed for time you can also invest in a good automatic cleaner to help with weekly maintenance. But manual cleaning still works well. Basically, you want to skim all of the leaves off of the top and bottom, clean the tiles, vacuum the bottom and brush the walls and step areas. All of this will keep the pool looking good as well as prevent algae and possibly staining of the pool.

Step Four: Add Chemicals
It is important to do these steps in order. You can add chemicals if you want after testing the water but keep the same routine at each pool. That way later in the day, you won't be trying to think back and ask yourself, “Did I add acid twice at that account?” Or, “I think I added some chlorine at the Smith residents, right?” I can't remember what I had for breakfast on a good day, so do yourself a favor and do things in order.

Basically, you add chlorine in some form to sanitize the water, add Muriatic Acid to lower the pH, add Borax or Soda Ash to raise the pH and you add Baking Soda to raise the Alkalinity. This is all you need in most cases. Pretty simple.
I don't spend a lot of time on treating algae as I have several videos on my YouTube Channel that goes over that in detail.

Here is the video that shows all these steps for you. I also have a list of other videos that you can refer to in more detail below. So, if you follow these simple steps each week at your own pool or on a service route, you should be good to go.

Monday, April 29, 2019

MX8 Elite Updated Review 3 Years Later

The Zodiac MX8 Elite has been on the market for about 3 years now. It is basically an upgraded version of the MX8 cleaner with the main upgrade being the scrubbing ability of the cleaner. On each turbine are two brushes and as they spin these brushes will scrub the pool floor and walls up to the waterline. This is still one of my Top three Suction Side cleaners and here is why.

Based on the Zodiac MX8 design which uses rotating turbines, but on this version the turbines did not actually touch the pool surface until this Elite version added brushes to the bottom of the turbines. So now as the turbines spin, the brushes lift off caked on dirt and algae. You can hear them scrubbing the surface with a microphone in the water (I used my waterproof camera mic to pick up the sounds).

The scrubbing action will put this cleaner the top of the list in choices for your pool. It picks up large debris, leaves and dirt very well. This is almost a flawless cleaner in every respect. It does have trouble with long stringy leaf debris as that can jam the turbine. But most pools do not have this type of debris in it so that should not be an issue. And with the easy open top it really is not a game breaker, simply snap open the top and remove any debris that may be jamming the cleaner.

The wall climbing ability of the MX8 Elite is unsurpassed by any cleaner on the market. It scales the walls as if it were just strolling along on the bottom of the pool. Now with the brushes it not only climbs the walls but scrubs them for you. So, your pool will get full coverage from top to bottom. If having your pool cleaned from the floors to the water line is something you want, the MX8 Elite will not disappoint.

It also has a very wide cleaning area so as it is moving on the pool it is cleaning very efficiently. For a large pool that is a definite bonus as it will clean the pool faster than other suction side cleaners.

I wasn't a fan of the locking hoses when this cleaner first came on the market.
But after a few years now I see that this hose type is very durable and long lasting. The MX8 Elite cleaners that I have on my route have hoses that I have not had to replace. The MX8 elite comes with 12 hoses or 39 feet of hose, so plenty of hoses for a large pool. One thing about the locking hoses is that unlike standard universal hoses, they won’t start to crack and let air into the system.

The parts on this cleaner do wear out like any other cleaner, but they are easy to change and are not expensive. This cleaner is constantly moving and turning so it does wear out the gears so expect to be changing parts every two years. Since the parts are all modular they simply screw in and you are done in minutes.

So the MX8 Elite is loaded with great features. From the Cyclonic Scrubbing to the extreme wall climbing, this would be a solid choice for your pool. It is only sold at your local retail pool store or from your local pool service provider.

MX8 Elite Playlist: