Monday, December 9, 2013

Review of the NEW Kreepy Krauly by Pentair

The all NEW Kreepy Krauly by Pentair (360040)
I will be the first to admit that I never thought Pentair would get around to updating their Kreepy Krauly cleaner. It looked outdated and kinda "old school" but worked like a beast so you could overlook the fact that it would never win a beauty contest, kind of "a cleaner only a Mother could love."

So I was a bit shocked when I saw the NEW Kreepy Krauly at my pool supply store. The redesign is so striking that if the box didn't say "New Kreepy Krauly" I wouldn't have recognized it. So let me go over in detail all the  great improvements Pentair has made on a cleaner that was already excellent.

The first thing you will notice is the plastic used is much stronger and durable. Other manufacturers have been using this plastic for a few years and I can vouch for it. It is very durable, chemical resistant and strong. The Kreepy Krauly already was a cleaner that would last forever so now when this one gets old you can pass it along to your Grand Kids. I give the updated plastic body a perfect 10.

Redesigned Dive Float
If you have a Kreepy Krauly you know that these cleaners work so well that they often will come out of the pool at the tile line and often get hung up on the canister or the hose coming out of your side port. I would use the:
 Kreepy Krauly Wall Climb Adjuster K12065

in all my pools with this cleaner to keep it from getting hung up. The NEW Kreepy Krauly comes with an adjustable Dive Float so you can easily set it so it won't get too high in your pool. This is a great idea and one that should have been done years ago.

Tabs used to set the Dive Float

These two little taps that you see in the photo to the left can be turned to adjust the Dive Float. So a problem that plagued the cleaner for years is solved for you. The Dive Float itself has been redesigned and is made of stronger plastic.It looks much more durable than the old version which tended to break off the cleaner. Another 10 out of 10 for the new Dive Float design.
Still picks up large size debris

Essentially nothing has changed in the design of the cleaners mouth. It still has the same size opening under the cleaner and under the wings - which have also been redesigned and are made out of slightly harder plastic also. It still uses the Flapper to pick up debris and if you are familiar with the Kreepy Krauly you know the Hammer is the only moving part and made of extremely durable hard rubber. The Kreepy will pick up huge size debris no problem. You can watch my video review here and see for yourself.

NEW Kreepy Krauly review:

I give it 9 out of 10 since the Hammer is still just as loud as the previous model which can be annoying to some customers. If this thing ran silent that would be perfect ...


New and Improved Bumper
The new Roller Bumper works great. The shape and the new beads that are used gets the cleaner out of corners and steps is an excellent design and a definite improvement over the old version.  If you watch the video I made listed above you will see it maneuver out of a very difficult set of stairs in a pool. I know that one of the drawbacks of these bouncing type cleaners is that they can get stuck on the step area of the pool. The new Bumper has been designed to maximize the Kreepy Krauly's ability to works it's way out of tough areas in your pool. I give the new Bumper 10 out of 10.

Foot Pad & Seal are two parts that wear out
One of the things you need to consider before you purchase any cleaner is how durable it is and how much the replacement parts cost. The Kreepy Krauly is an extremely durable cleaner with very long lasting parts. The only parts that wear out on a regular basis is the Foot Pad and the rubber Seal. The Foot Pad will last you one to two years depending on how ruff your pool surface is. The Seal should last you at least 2-3 years. The other parts are very durable and should last anywhere from 4-8 years at least. I took off one point because the cost of the replacement parts can be expensive but of course it is cheaper to replace parts over the years then to purchase a new cleaner. Parts durability 9 out of 10.

The NEW Kreepy Krauly (Model #360040): 9.5 out of 10

So if you own a Kreepy Krauly Classic and are thinking of upgrading to the New Kreepy Krauly I wouldn't hesitate. If you are thinking about purchasing a new cleaner I would recommend you research the available cleaners out there and see how they compare to the NEW Kreepy Krauly by Pentiar. I am pretty confident that you will end up purchasing this cleaner after doing your do diligence.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Who Makes the Best Pool Equipment -Pentair, Hayward, Jandy or Off Brands?

An old Brass Pump
Here is a question I get a lot on my YouTube Channel and one that can't be answered by just stating that one company is the best. The truth is they all make pretty comparable products with a few distinctions. First, they don't make pool equipment like they used to. If you are in the industry you will find a lot of old American Product filters and pumps still working fine in customers backyards along with old Purex/ Triton pumps. I hate to say it but the newer equipment is not made nearly as well. Pretty obvious when a 20 year old pump is outlasting a newly installed 5 year old pump. But I think that is a problem across the board as manufacturer switch to cheaper regions to make products which is a grip for another Blog.  Suffice to say that there is only a small distinction now between the companies. Here is a real world review of each brand from working off and on in the Pool Industry since 1988.

Pentair doesn't openly advertise this but they also own STA-RITE and Rainbow Pool Products
which makes them the largest manufacturer by far. Pentair makes the best filters of all the brands and in each category. They make the best D.E.. Cartridge and Sand Filters. I rate this based on quality of the fiber glass filter tanks themselves which are very reliable as well as the internal parts such as cartridges, filter elements and manifolds. They are made just a little bit better than the other manufacturers.  The only problem I have is that the backwash valve on the FNS Plus has been changed back to the old American Products (Pentair bought that company also)  style which is kinda blah - it tends to snap off and break since it is made of thinner plastic.

They also make the best and most reliable Salt Chlorine System: The Intellichlor IC40 or IC20. These Salt units just have fewer problems and are super reliable. I also like the fact that all the electronics are built into the cell so when you replace the cell you get basically a whole new unit.

Their regular pool pumps are on par with other brands. There isn't much difference between the Pentair Wisperflow and say the Hayward Super II pump. So as far as pumps go it is a pretty even playing field. Lately, the Wisperflow motors have been burning out faster than in the past, but so has every other pump motor brand...

But their Variable Speed and Dual Speed Pumps are the best in the industry. By far they are the easiest to program and operate as well as being very reliable. They were the first to come up with these pump types and are always improving and updating their tech. So Pentair is my 1st choice for a Variable/ Dual Speed Pump.

Their Heaters are also very good and somewhat reliable. As heaters go regardless of manufacturer they are always failing. I would say the Hayward Heaters are slightly more reliable but there really isn't a heater out there that will not break down on you every season or every other season. It is just how it goes.

The Automated systems IntelliTouch and Easy Touch are good. They are not quite as good as the Jandy Aqualink which was first in the business and is still the best and most reliable. The Pentair Valve actuators (the device that turns the valves automatically form say Pool to Spa) are sub par. . The gears and motor were redesigned a few years ago and they are constantly not turning correctly. I would recommend any other brand Valve Actuator over the Pentair one. Jandy Valve Actuators are the best.  But the automated system itself is easy to operate and reliable.

Here is an update on Pentair for 2017:

Pentair is holding steady by making quality equipment, although there is some grumbling ffrom the Warranty Techs who seem to have to fight Pentair more and more to get a Warranty repair cleared - just one money saving move by Pentair that is not good. But their Intelliflo pumps are still super reliable and their new ScreenLogic App allows you to control their Automated systems with your Smart Phone or Device for a small upgrade cost of $400, Their salt systems are still the best, although they did some cost saving work on the Power Unit - making it much harder to replace the fuse. Basically Pentair is going through some cost saving moves which might degrade their overall number one standing. Their Valve Actuators are still below par and still need improvement.

Filters: 10 out of 10 stars
Salt System: 10 out of 10 stars
Standard Pumps & Motors: 8 out of 10 stars
Variable & Dual Speed Pumps: 10 out of 10 stars
Heaters: 7 out of 10 stars
Automated Systems: 9 out of 10 stars


Jandy makes good products but they are still not as good as Pentair, but in the past year they have made considerable strides to be number one. See my update for 2017 below for the details. I will just touch on a few things that Jandy does well and bad.

Their automated system, AquaLink is still the best in the business. That are super reliable and have multiple platforms to access your pool equipment. I just like the AquaLink because the menu, interface and components are the best in the industry. Their Jandy Valve actuators are also the most reliable. It is just a great system.

Their filters need some work as the internal parts seem to crack and are not made as well as other brands. I like their pumps as they are quite and reliable.

Their heater are based on the old Ray-Pak brands which leads them to be unreliable at best. The heaters are getting better but are still not as good as the other brands.

The worst product they make is their AquaPure Salt System. It is the most unreliable salt system you can buy. Lots of error codes will make the stop working and if you can get it to stay working through one season you would be lucky. It is pretty bad.

Here is an update on Jandy for 2017:

They have come out with two new salt system to replace their unreliable AquaPure System. These two new systems are simpler and much more reliable- TrueClear and AquaPure Ei. They have a new heater based on a completely new compact 2 ft by 2 ft design - JXi. And last, their VS pumps have made considerable strides with the iQPUMP01 they are now the easiest Varaible speed pumps to program. Their New  VSPlusHP has a better flow rate then Pentairs IntelliFlo pump. So maybe in a year or two Jandy will pass Pentair in quality and innovation.

Jandy  Rating:
Filters: 8 out of 10 stars
Salt System: 7 out of 10 stars
Standard Pumps & Motors: 8 out of 10 stars
Variable & Dual Speed Pumps: 9 out of 10 stars
Heaters: 8 out of 10 stars
Automated Systems: 10 out of 10 stars


Hayward is not as big as Pentair and doesn't have the same marketing budget but they make good products also. Defaulting to Hayward is not a bad thing at all.

Their filters are on par with Pentair as far as reliability, design and ease of use (cleaning). I just prefer Pentair as they are still slightly better made. But if you can get a Hayward filter on the cheap verses Pentair don't hesitate to go with Hayward. It is a good product.

Their Aqua Rite Salt System is also a very good. I just think the Pentair Intellichlor is a better model but that is a debatable. Some people prefer the Aqua-Rite system and it is indeed a very good system. It is very reliable and easy to maintain. The salt cells are also very well made and long lasting. A very good system.

Their pumps are very well made and they make some models with gigantic pump basket areas (TriStar) which is nice if your pool gets lots of debris. I still prefer their Super II pumps over the others they make but all of their pumps are reliable.

The variable speed pumps by Hayward are good but the controls for them are a little hard to navigate and aren't as easy to program and operate as the Pentair models.

Hayward makes the most reliable heaters that have the fewest errors. They are also virtually rat proof so if you have problems with rodents in your area the Hayward Heater is for you. I've had rats living in my Pentair Heater just because it is a warm place and they can crawl through the heater panels easily.

The Hayward Goldline automated system is good. They work with little problems and are easy to program. The valve actuators are also very reliable and won't cause any issues. I think that Jandy & Pentair still makes a superior product in automation.

Update for Hayward for 2017:

The quality of the Hayward products have not changed much from the initial publish date of this article. When talking to warranty techs their main complaint is that Hayward is also going through some cost cutting moves, making for more warranty calls over Pentair and Jandy. But they still make good overall equipment. They have a new automated system that should compete well now with Pentair and Jandy. But their VS pumps are not on par with Pentair nor have they made strides to improve like Jandy. I would hope for greater innovations from Hayward in the next year to stay competitive.

Hayward Rating:
Filters: 9 out of 10 stars
Salt System: 9 out of 10 stars
Standard Pumps & Motors: 8 out of 10 stars
Variable & Dual Speed Pumps: 7 out of 10 stars
Heaters: 8 out of 10 stars
Automated Systems: 8 out of 10 stars


Waterway Filter & Pump Combo
There are a few independent smaller manufacturers like Waterway which is probably the biggest one out there at the moment. They make very good products and if the price is right there is no issue with buying a Waterway pump or filter. NexaPure makes a very good Salt Water System and you will find a scattering of these smaller companies that make good products. But there are a lot of other small companies that make substandard products so it is best to go with a larger well known brand like Pentair or Hayward. You really can't go wrong with the big brands as they are big because they make good products. So the bottom line is to shop around for the best price but to also keep in mind who makes the best equipment.

Off brand equipment update for 2017:

I would still steer away from the off brand equipment. There really is no reasdon not to go with Pentair, Jandy or Hayward at this point. Stick with the known brands and known products for best overall equipment results,

If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Friday, November 1, 2013

So You Wanna Have a Swimming Pool Built, Eh? - By Raymond Chandler

It was on of those typical California Mornings. Already hot enough to cook an egg and make you sweat for just breathing. I couldn't afford to sweat today or any day at that.

So I sat inside smoking and turned the air on to a crisp 60 degrees. I sat and waited which I am good at. The doorbell rang 10 minutes ahead of schedule. This could be good or bad and I was about to find out which. I opened the door and there stood the first mark. He wasn't much to look at. I could have picked him up and tossed him across the room without breaking a sweat. He was dressed fine like afterwards he was going to his sister's Wedding.

We shook hands, as I expected he tried too hard to grip me and it felt like A Butterfly kissing my hand. He introduced himself in a squeaky voice, "Hi, I'm Eugene Stanton from Sky Blue Pools. Nice to meet you."
"Same to you" I said. Eugene, huh? Too bad. I didn't like anyone named Eugene so that was strike one against Mr. Stanton. I took him out back and we got down to business.

I asked him if he was packing lead and he says, "Just in my pencils sir." So he was a smart guy, eh. Out back it was even hotter. You could now fry 2 eggs plus some bacon. I showed him where I wanted the pool dug and told him that area was likely safe, no bodies would come up when they dug there. Eugene laughed as if I was joking. I was dead serious. We went back in on account that Eugene was starting to sweat like he was already digging the pool up. It was a hot one for sure.

He reached into his briefcase, I told him to be careful what he pulled out of there. Again he laughs. This guy must think I am a regular riot act. He pulls out a few sketches to show me. The first sketch has more curves than the waitress down at the corner Diner. I told Eugene I like curves but only on the Dames. He shows me some other ideas which turned out better for him. I liked the last one he showed me so we settled on that one. Eugene then gives me the latest scoop, "You see sir in this business everything needs to be strictly in writing and very detailed at that. If it is not in the contract then it is not going to be in the backyard when the job is done. Everything you want needs to be detailed in this paper right here. Once you sign the contract it is binding after 72 hours. Here in California you have 72 hours called the cooling off period to change your mind. After that you are stuck with me, ha, ha."

I told him that in my business we never write anything down in case the Coppers get a hold of it. So I asked him to run that by me again so I got it straight. He says sure,

"Let's say you insist on some particular equipment. You lay it out for the sales guy. The sales guy says okay and  tells you that you are getting a 520 sq ft Pentair cartridge filter, a 2 Hp Wisperflow Pump and a 400 BTU MasterTemp Heater you want," I tell him to keep talking but it was all Greek to me, "but he doesn't write it into the contract as you said it. He just writes in Pentair Filter, Pentair Pump and Heater. Chances are Bub that what you asked for will not materialize in your backyard. It's gotta be written down specific like." I ask him if these Pentair guys are from Chicago cause I don't deal with anyone from Chicago. He tells me he doesn't think so. He shows me some pictures of the equipment and I ask if it comes in anny other colors besides Tan. He says no. I don't like Tan on account of Eddie LaBlanc. Not sure where he got that name from since he was about as French as the Czar of Russia. But good old Eddie wore them Tan suits all the time. No matter the job he was dressed in Tan. The boss got so fed up that he sent Eddie on a job in his Tan suit that we all knew he wouldn't be back from. So I wasn't to hot for Tan.

So I wanted to loosen Eugene up for my next question. I offer him a cigar or smoke and he says he doesn't smoke anymore. Strike two against Eugene. I say to him, "Suppose you start digging the pool and I don't like the exact location no more. Or it doesn't look like how I wanted it in the drawing over here, what happens?" He starts to shake his head and I know already I'm not gonna like the answer.
"You see sir, the contract is a legal binding document. Any changes at that point is at our discretion. If you feel like you still want the changes or don't like how the job is moving along then you will need to initiate Arbitration." I say to him, "You mean go to the Law and get them involved?"
"Not exactly. It is just a process through the courts where contract disputes are settled. It is extremely time consuming, I must warn you, so it is best to pick a reputable builder like ourselves and stick to what is in the contract to the letter." I ask him what does he mean a long process. "Well, if we start to dig and you don't like it, maybe you will be looking at the hole in the ground for six months or so."
 " What do you mean, I can't just get another guy to finish the job?"
"No sir. The contract is binding. No other company would dare do any work until the court releases you or we release you from the contract. Once you sign this contract you are bond by the terms." Well I wasn't signing no contract anytime soon, I was pretty spooked by what Eugene was telling me, although you couldn't tell.

I though I would drop one more line onto poor Eugene before I asked him to hit the pavement. "I was on the three W's last night." He stops me and asks what the Three W's was. I guess Eugene wasn't too sharp after all. "I mean the computer. the World Wide Web." He says he is familiar with the internet, a real wise guy. "I was on this forum and they were saying that the pool Start-up was pretty important. Should I get that in writing also?"  I show him the link:

He says most certainly. You don't want the builder finishing the job and then having to Start-up the pool on your own. He says that his company will send a guy by everyday for one week to brush and test the water. Again, his was a reputable company he says.

He asks me if I plan on financing the pool. I point to the briefcase on the counter and tell him there is 40 Grand in there so that should cover it. He laughs again. I would have opened the briefcase and shown him the dough but things could have gotten ugly at that point. I tell him, "Finance? A good friend of mine in Tennessee says if you don't have the dough then you shouldn't buy it. Why would I want to pay $250 a month for the next 10 years  for something I am only going to use maybe 20 times each year. Plus according to the Three W's it cost a lot of money just to keep the pool running without adding extra to it each month. The guys who finance everything find themselves in the Pudding sooner or later when their luck drys up. " Cash only for me. He says that is fine. The payment is structured in phases as the construction proceeds so it won't be all up front, maybe four or five payments. I tell him do I look like a guy who would give him the money up front. He doesn't answer which is smart for him.

I tell Eugene that it is time to hit the road. I liked the guy. I wouldn't want him in the box in court though. All the D.A. had do do was ask his name and Eugene would have spilled the beans all over the place. But his information was helpful. I told him I had four more guys like him lined up today and I would get back to him. He says I am smart to get other bids. Of course it is smart I tell him, do I look like a Dummy? He also says I could stop by and see his companies work or talk with previous clients. I liked that. Too bad for the kid his Mama named him Eugene. If he was named George or Henry maybe he could have gone somewhere in life. Maybe even President of the US. People like to vote for guys with normal sounding names and all.

But Eugene gave me a lot to think about. This job wasn't going to be the a piece of cake after all. I got out the Whiskey and poured myself a double shot. This was going to be a long day. I was pretty sure one of these guys would show up in a tan suit.

Here Is a pool by a builder in my area that is respectable:

Saturday, October 5, 2013

How Long Should I Run My Pool Pump?: Energy & Money Saving Tips

Woman in Texas got a $1.3 Million Dollar Electric Bill
There is no question about it, your pool pump will raise your electricity bill and sometimes it will raise it into the stratosphere. Maybe not $1.3 million but it can feel like it.

 I have a 2 hp Wisperflow at my house and I am pretty conservative with my power usage. I even get $50.00 back every month in the Summer from my local electric company (SCE) by not using my A/C during peak hours and my bill is still over $130 a month. It got as high as $180 this Summer. So how much of this is my pool pump?

My electric company Edison prepared a report for 2011 and the cost breakdown for my pool pump was as follows: $272.00 a year and 25% of my total electricity cost for the year. Only my Air Conditioner cost me more: $319.00 and 30% of my total electricity. It is the tier system that raises the cost in my area.

Lower your pump run time

Most people run their pools too long without even knowing it. If you have the correct filter size and pump size you can get away with running your pool a lot less. If you run a standard speed pump here are some example.

Example: 20,000 gallons of water, 60 sq ft D.E. Filter and a 1 hp pump. Four hours would get you at least one cycle a day. A cycle would be all 20,000 gallons going through the pool filtration system so that bacteria and disease causing microorganism will be killed and the pool is circulated long enough to remain clear. example two: 12,000 gallons a 150 sq ft cartridge filter and a 3/4 hp pump. Three to four hours will be fine to cycle the water through. Example three: 20,000 gallons a medium size sand filter and a 1 hp pump.Five hours should do the trick here as sand filters cycle water through slower than a standard pool.

 In the winter if you don't winterize your pool,you can try going to two or three hours since the water will be cold and bacteria and algae can't thrive in freezing water (besides no one will be swimming). So lowering your run time is the first step.

It doesn't matter when you run your pool pump in my area since I am on a Tier usage system. My electric company SCE does have a plan where you are charged less if you use power before 10 am and after 6 pm but you have to sign up for such a plan. Check with your local electric company if that sounds like it will work for you.

AQUAPower Skimmer Weir Door
This is the AQUAPower skimmer door and according to studies done by the manufacturer replacing your standard weir door with the AQUAPower will increase your water flow and thus you can run your pump even less during the Summer months. Here is how much the AQUAPower will increase your Pump Suctions:
Variable Speed: 300%
Two Speed: 200% to 300%
Single Speed: Over 50%

The design of the weir door also increases the skimming radius by 167%. So for a small initial investment you can save hundreds of dollars over the course of several years. I've field tested the AQUAPower in some pools on my route and it does increase the skimmer suction. The manufacturer website has all of the study data posted so if you want to read more you can visit them at:

You can also see my video of the AQUAPower:

The the AQUAPower is also a good money saving idea along with lowering your pool run time down. The next thing that will help is a Dual Speed or Variable Speed Pump.

Pentair Variable Speed Pump

These pumps will save you lots of money on your electric bill, but the upfront cost of installing one is a big hit to your budget. You will need not only the pump but a new timer to control the pump (You can install this model to your existing timer - P6E6VS4H-209L  Sta-Rite IntelliPro Variable Speed Pump) So for a good dual speed pump and a timer you are looking at $1,000 just for the pump & timer plus an installation fee. The variable speed pumps are made specifically to run off of an automated system which some people have installed when they build or remodel their pools. The control panel in the house can set the pump to run at many different speeds over the course of one day. You save most of your money of course while the pump is running on low speed but it could take as much as 12 hours to achieve just one cycle through your pool filter. Also be aware that the surface water will look stagnant and dirty as a side effect of running it on a low speed. You will sacrifice a clean pool for a lower energy bill this way. A good choice if you have the extra cash laying around to invest. Also some electric companies will give you a $200 rebate for installing on of these pumps.

I think the best way to save money on your electric bill is to simply lower your pool run time down verses buying a Dual Speed or Variable Speed pump. When your existing pump and motor does burn out then switching to a Dual speed pump would be logical. Replacing a good running pump to save money would not be wise, I think. Adding an AQAUPower skimmer door would also be a good investment that will pay off over the years as you can further reduce your pool run time. So the bottom line is to simply run your pool pump less hours each day and the savings will add up for you.

Here is a video on pool pump run times:

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Can I Use Clorox Bleach in my Pool?

Regular Unscented Bleach
I started doing pool service when I was 16 years old back in 1988. I took a break from the industry and did some Real Estate Investing and ran a small business for awhile. But I always loved working outdoors and so I decided to do pool service again. So I have about 15 years of practical experience in the field. My specialty has always been water chemistry as I was formally trained by an experts in the field. So I am well versed in most of the chemicals that are on the market today and I have used and tested a lot of different products. So when you hear those in the industry discourage and even slander anyone who uses bleach in their pool, you may think that it is not a product that you should use. In fact as you read this article you will find that using bleach and only bleach is a safe and smart choice. There is a lot of ignorance surrounding household bleach and the use of bleach in a swimming pool. Here is a video I made that goes in more detail on using Clorox bleach in your swimming pool:


Typical Pool Chemicals
If you walk into your local pool store you will get a whiff of the beautiful smell of pool chemicals. I am not sure how the employees can work in these stores without wearing a mask. Technically most of the chemicals on the shelves are meant to be stored outside and not in a 1,000 sq ft enclosed display area. I park my service truck outside because the chemical smell is so bad, plus everything in my garage would rust as a lot of the chemicals are strong oxidizers. But I digress here. My main point is that you will see a lot of chemicals. If you stand back and think about it for a minute and look at things logically - as Spock would say, "It doesn't seem logical Captain that a 15,000 gallon body of water circulating and filtering would require such massive amounts of chemicals. Logic dictates that this is some mass Romulan conspiracy."  Well maybe not exactly but you get the point. Do you really need all those chemicals? The answer is NO in most cases. There may be specific cases where you will need a Phosephate remover or a Metal Sequestering Agent but for 95% of pools you don't need anything but Chlorine, Acid and pH Down (occasionally you will need Alkalinity Up & an Algeacide).


So let me touch on why there are so many different types of sanitizers on the market and if they are actually necessary. You need to add a sanitizer to your pool in order to kill bacteria and disease causing organisms. The most popular type of sanitizer is chlorine.

 Strictly speaking to the homeowner who does their own pool you will only need to use bleach or liquid chlorine. All the other chemicals where at one time created for the pool service professional but now are marketed also to the homeowners. The advent of Conditioner in 1956  revolutionized the swimming pool industry. Before that time you had to add liquid chlorine once or twice a day as in the peak of Summer as the Sun would destroy 90% of it within two hours. Now that most pools use conditioner to help protect the chlorine from the Sun's UV rays, maintaining a good chlorine level is much easier.

For the pool service industry it allowed us to go from daily service to weekly service thus increasing the amount of pools one company could service tenfold. So since we no longer needed to go everyday to a pool chemicals where created to help maintain a good chlorine level all week long. The two most popular and widely used are now Trichlor 3" Tablets and Dichlor. Both of these are about 50% Stabilizer (conditioner/cyunaric acid)  and the rest a chlorine product.  Cal-Hypo and Lithium Hypochlorite are marketed mainly as a pool shock product. I use a combination of Liquid Chlorine, Dichlor, Trichlor Tablets and Cal-Hypo on my pool route for various reasons, chiefly because it is convenient for me since I only go to each pool once a week.

For the homeowner who is at his/her house all week you don't need all of these chemicals. With a Conditioner level of 30 ppm-50 ppm using bleach or liquid chlorine is all you need. I know this sounds like I am talking out of both sides of my mouth but let me explain further.

Here is a video on testing your Conditioner Level:


Sodium Hypochlorite Formula
The chemical in bleach is the same chemical found in liquid chlorine sold by you local pool store or hardware store. Bleach is just weaker by volume than liquid chlorine. Typically liquid chlorine is 10-12% Sodium Hypochlorite where bleach is about 5-6%  Sodium Hypochlorite. Adding Sodium Hypochlorite to the pool water makes HOCI which is the disease and organism destroying element in chlorine. HOCI is the disease killing chemical that is EPA approved and the one that has proven to be the most effective. It kills everything on contact and will completely sanitize your pool if added and circulated though your filter within hours. So in fact bleach is the same as liquid chlorine only weaker. So if you go into a pool store and the sales clerk tells you that using bleach will stain your plaster yellow over time or cause ammonia to form in your water and make it cloudy just shake your head and walk out. Ignorance is bliss as they say. So to clarify:  bleach is liquid chlorine and both produce HOCI.


So those who say that you can't use bleach only with the proper conditioner level will have a hard time arguing their case against the growing use of salt water systems. Basically what a salt system does is produce the equivalent of one gallon of 10% liquid chlorine each day and in the process creates HOCI which kills all the bacteria and disease causing organisms in the water. It is like adding bleach to your pool each day without you having to actually add anything as the salt system generates chlorine. If you have a salt water pool you will not need Trichlor tablets, Dichlor, Cal-Hypo or Lithium Hypochlorite. The salt generating systems are killing the chemical companies and I really like them because you won't need to handle any chemicals on a weekly basis. So I will argue that if you think you can't keep a pool sparkling blue with bleach, then the salt generating systems are also not effective. This of course is far from the truth.

To learn how a Salt Water System works watch this video:


A boat load of Trichlor Tablets...
Just about everything we use in the pool industry is a carcinogen or causes lung disease with long term improper exposure. From the test kits to the D.E. filter element to Trichlor Tablets - all are harmful with long term exposure. I go back to the beginning of this article where I mention the chemical smell in any pool store you enter. That smell should tell you something as it emanates from sealed containers. I take precautions like always wearing a nitrate laced glove whenever I touch any chemical product (including my test kit). I also wear a mask when applying chemicals to the pool. Most of the danger is not disclosed since it is classified as an industrial hazard.  Meaning long term exposure only effects those in the pool industry who handle the chemicals on a daily basis. Still, a carcinogen is a carcinogen.   You will find a warning about lung disease on the back of the bag of Dichotomous Earth (D.E.) in super small print and you will see a warning on the bag of Cal-Hypo warning you not to breathe the fumes as it causes nose and lung irritation. Bottom line, pool chemicals are dangerous.

Bleach on the other hand is odorless and perfectly safe to pour in your swimming pool. I wear gloves anyway when I add liquid chlorine since I am overly cautious anyway. Bleach is the safest sanitizer for the homeowner and if you don't want to handle dangerous chemicals in your backyard just use bleach or invest in a salt water system.


I now realize that the industry that I am in is very hazardous to my health. I was careless in my younger years and didn't wear gloves or really take things seriously. It wasn't until my hands started to develop chemical sores and burns that I realized that everything I was handling was killing me. I also started to develop chemically induced allergy symptoms. So I am now overly cautious and starting next Summer I will only be working part-time out in the field. I had a plan and it was spawned due to the chemical hazards that I experienced.

I have been actively working the Dave Ramsey Financial Plan over the last seven years with my wife and will be completely debt free with three paid for houses. I didn't take vacations, buy a new car or have much of a life in the process. But the end result is that since I have been working like a madman I can semi-retire next year and live off of our investments. So no worries here for me. But I am way off subject now. So to restate the main point of this article:

You can and should use bleach if you are a homeowner who is maintaining their own swimming pool. I hope that clarifies things for you. And if you want to watch my "Getting Out Of Debt Rant" here is that video:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Do I Need a Pool Service or Can I Take Care of My Own Pool?

Huntington Pools & Spas Showcase House Pool 2008

There are Pros and Cons for both options. Since I service pools for a living I am a little biased but I will start by taking the opposite position first and you can weigh the decision of doing it yourself. There are some benefits of doing your own pool.

If you have been to my YouTube Channel: mrdgvb1 you will find lots of Do-It-Yourself videos that I have created. One of the videos is on "Getting Out of Debt" which is one of my passions for people. Here is that video:

 I hate Debt as it destroys marriages, keeps you from becoming wealthy and makes only one person rich - the banks that hold all the notes. Debt steals your freedom and makes you a pseudo employee of the Bank. So I am for saving money when it comes to doing your own pool. And if you don't hire a pool service you can save $800-$1,000 a year. That is a lot of money that you can put towards paying off your credit cards, student loans and car payments. You can also reinvest a portion of that savings and purchase a good automatic pool cleaner and maybe new pool equipment to keep your pool looking great. Pool Service is a luxury item and if your budget is already tight and in the red, then hiring someone to do your pool is a bad idea.

A typical green pool that I clean-up
If you service your own pool and don't do it right your pool can end up looking like this. There are a few things you need if you plan on servicing your own pool -time, chemistry knowledge and functioning pool equipment. If any three are missing you pool will turn on you.

You need time to properly check and balance your pool. If you work 60 hours a week or have commitments out of work that you do each week and hardly step in your backyard then you don't have the time to do your own pool. You will also need time to clean your filter and make sure everything is running correctly. And you will need time to fix any problems with the pool right away.

Taylor K-2005 Test Kit
You will also need to know the basics of how to check and balance your pool properly to keep it sparking blue. There are just four basic things you will need; chlorine, some Conditioner to protect your chlorine from the Sun, pH Up and a base to raise the pH if it gets too low. I recommend a good test like this Taylor K-2005. It will test your Chlorine, pH, alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and Conditioner level. A good test kit is a must have if you want to keep your pool from turning green on you.

Good pool equipment
 If your pool equipment is old and not functioning properly you will have a battle on your hands to keep your pool looking blue. It is essential that your pump and filter be in top shape if you plan on doing your own pool. I suggest replacing your pump or filter right away if they are not working correctly. It will save you a lot of money on pool chemicals as you battle algae and a green pool. It is just must easier to bite the bullet and put in new equipment then to try and keep the old stuff running. Your pool will be much easier to maintain with good equipment. And make sure you put the correct size filter on your pool otherwise you will have water clarity issues. Half the battle in maintaining your pool is the equipment.

Solar Breeze
The last thing I would suggest is to invest a few hundred dollars in a good automatic pool cleaner. This will save you time in cleaning your pool each week and will keep the pool clean all week long. There are a lot of options on the market today and I have extensive reviews of automatic pool cleaners on my YouTube Channel. It is a large upfront investment but a good cleaner will save you hours each month and you will be glad you invested in one.

These are  some things to keep in mind if you want to do your pool yourself. It can be done if you have all these elements in place. If you feel more comfortable hiring someone here are some suggestions.

B.M. Wemple Pool Service Central Florida

If you find that you are not up to the challenge of servicing your own pool then hiring a pool service is a good option. But like anything you need to do proper research to find a good qualified pool service company. Here are some tips for you so you won't get burned by a flaky company or inexperienced pool guy.

The best place to get a good pool service is a referral from a friend or neighbor who already is using a pool service company. Just searching the internet or the phone book (does anyone still use one?) can be a bad choice. There are a lot of good qualified pool service companies but also a lot of shady ones. Make sure the company at least has a business license in your city or neighboring city. If they have a contractors license even better. The thing to really look for is if they carry Liability Insurance. This is a sure sign that they are legitimate and won't simply just disappear on you. I carry a total of $4 million dollars of Liability Insurance and it cost me over $1,450 a year for my policy. If you are interviewing pool guys and they don't carry Liability Insurance I would pass on them. Not that anything is likely to happen with your pool but it is just a reassuring thing if the person doing your pool is committed enough to carry the proper insurance just in case the unthinkable does happen.  They should also be able to provide you with some names and numbers of customers whom they service currently. Basically you are venting this person thoroughly so you won't have any issues. I unfortunately get lots of calls from people with green pools who already have a weekly pool service. That is basically like hiring a housekeeper who leaves the house messy and dusty each week. Not good.

There are benefits to hiring a large service company verses a sole proprietor and drawbacks to both. A large service company usually will charge more but they will have a dedicated repair service and billing department so you will more than likely get a higher quality of customer service. The problem is that the pool guy that is back there one year may be a different guy the next. There is no guarantee that the pool guy they send out will stick long term.

The individual pool guy is a good choice since you will get to know him better and he will be the same guy you see year in and year out. They may not be very speedy with repairs and problems as with a larger company. But the regular pool guy, if he is good, is someone whom you will trust. Customers leave their back doors open for me so I can get in their house when they are not home to adjust their automated control panels for them. I take the trash cans in for some of my customers and even help them when their cars won't start. All part of the job ;)
Huntington Pools & Spas Pasadena Showcase Pool 2005


I would hope that you can take care of your own pool or at least give it a try before hiring a pool service company. It can be frustrating at times and you may be wondering why you even have a swimming pool. But it can be done. If you find that you can't handle it then hire a qualified pool service.
We would be more than happy to take care of your pool for you. After all that is how we make our living. Someone has to do it ;)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Where Can I Buy My Swimming Pool Supplies?

I get this question a lot on my YouTube Channel and since I don't sell any products myself people tend to trust my unbiased opinion. If you are an "Old School" type buyer then you will get your supplies from a brick and mortar store. I will cover the online stores also.


Malins Pool Supply Chino, Ca
This is your best retail choice in most circumstances. You local pool supply store will stock and carry a wider variety of pool products than the large corporate pool stores. In most cases they also run a pool service company out of the store so the staff will have practical hands on experience. The owner usually is a pool man with several years of experience. They will also be honest about the products they sell since there isn't a huge incentive for pushing one product over another. So if you are looking for a good automatic cleaner, they will sell you the one that they think is best and not the one with the largest mark-up. They also usually don't try to up-sell you products you don't need. They want your return business and they also want you to call them if you run into a problem that is too big for you to do on your own. So they are usually customer service centered, plus they live in your neighborhood.

Leslie's Pool Supplies
In my area the largest corporate pool store is Leslie's pool supply. One thing you will notice is that their prices usually will beat your local Mom & Pop Pool Store. They can buy 10,000 Kreepy Krauly cleaners and thus keep their mark-up low. So as a price point you will do well here. They also make their own chemicals which are top notch and comparable to other major brands. The drawbacks are that most of the staff are trained in a board room and have little or no hands on pool service experience. They only know what they learn from the managers who also might not have any real service experience. So the knowledge base is on the low side. They are basically a retail store. They also try to up-sell you products that you probably don't need. Again, think retail. The managers make a commission on total store sales so if you go in looking for a basic automatic cleaner for $300, don't be surprised if they try to push you to buy a $1,200 robot cleaner. Leslie's pool serves it's purpose in the market - they are a retail pool supply store. You also can't get liquid chlorine at these stores which is a preferred sanitizer over the bags of shock.

Pinch-A-Penny is found back on the East Coast and are not in the Western area of the country. They are similar to Leslie's pools in that they have over 200 locations, but they are a franchised pool store so there is a good chance the owner of the store has some real practical pool service experience. They also boast that their staff is the highest trained in the industry. The prices in the store are very good and you can get a large variety of products. I still lean towards the smaller Mom & Pop type pool stores but you will do okay if you have to shop in these larger company type stores. Both Leslie's and Pinch-A-Penny have extensive websites so if you don't have one near you, you can still order products online.

Home Depot
This would be my last choice for you if you are shopping for pool supplies. The selection is usually limited to one brand. I know Walmart uses just Kem-Tek which is not a bad brand but you are limited to no choices basically. Finding someone with even limited knowledge of a product will be a problem. You will just have to stand there and read the package for yourself. You can also not get any equipment or automatic cleaners from these stores. They carry just the basic pool supplies and you will probably have to go to one of the above mentioned places anyway, so just forgo these stores. Plus, the chemicals &  stock is usually not very fresh which matters when buying your pool chemicals.


Many pool products are now AmazonPrime items so they are very safe to purchase and return if you don't like the product.. It is a great source for pool supplies and I have ordered from them. I like their generic pool cleaner parts from China as they work great and are super cheap.  I personally love and last year I spent over $2,700 buying stuff (my wife is shaking her head). I am also in the Top 500 of reviewers on I just caution you that if you are unsure and don't know exactly what you need it is better to go to your local pool store. is a great choice if the price point is your only concern.

This is also a great choice for online shopping. Pool Supply World also has an extensive YouTube Library of the products they sell and go beyond just making a sale. They try to educate the consumer so that you will make the best possible purchase. They also allow you to post reviews of a product which is a great way to also make sure you are getting a good quality product. You can see their YouTube Videos here: They are almost as good as my YouTube videos ;).
I like these two suppliers because they are again not just trying to unload products on you but try to help you make the best purchase for your dollar. They know that pool supplies are expensive to begin with and don't want you wasting your money on something that wouldn't suit your pool needs.

So these are your buying options for the Do-it-Yourself type. Again I don't sell any products myself so I am offering you an unbiased guide here. Hope you found this helpful.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

What is the Best Type of Automatic Cleaner for Your Pool - Pressure, Suction or Robot?

Zodiac MX8
Choosing the right automatic cleaner for your pool can be challenging and picking the wrong one in the same respects can be frustrating and disappointing. The majority of pools will do fine with a traditional suction side cleaner with few exceptions. That is why  suction side cleaners are the most popular and for good reason. Most of the newer pools will come with a side port connection - a pre-plumbed suction line near the middle of the pool where you can connect a suction side cleaner. You can also use a suction cleaner directly in the skimmer which many people do. If working correctly it will leave the pool bottom spotless. The drawbacks of a suction cleaner are that the skimming of the surface is not as great as suction is being diverted to the cleaner, it doesn't look very nice with hoses in the pool and large debris can clog it up and stop it. But for the most part a suction cleaner would be most peoples 1st choice for their  pool.

Polaris 280
Next up would be a pressure side cleaner. Their are two types, one that is plumbed into your pool with a booster pump and a dedicated return line. The other type of pressure cleaner will use your existing return line plumbing. The pressure side cleaner hooked up to a  booster pump is probably the best type of pool cleaner you can get. It will pick up large debris and also leave your skimmer at full power to effectively clean the surface while the cleaner takes care of the bottom. But you will need to have this type of pressure cleaner plumbed in when the pool is constructed or remodeled. A pretty major drawback. The second type of Pressure Cleaner will use the pool's existing threaded return lines. It will work pretty good except with the return jets restricted and one being used for the cleaner, the surface is not skimmed very well. But it is a good choice if you have lots of large debris that falls in the pool and settles on the bottom.

Dolphin Diagnostic 

Solar Breeze Robotic Surface cleaner
The last type of automatic cleaner to hit the market over the last few years is the robotic type of automatic pool cleaner. They basically work like your house vacuum. You would plug it in and drop it in your pool. A motor propels it across the bottom and it captures dirt and debris in a mesh bag. Most will work for a three hour period and then turn off. You basically will have to turn it on each time you want to clean your pool. The traditional robot cleaners are pretty expensive, 2 or 3 times the cost of a suction type cleaner. They are also very heavy to remove from your pool and may not clean as well as a suction and pressure side cleaner. But people like the convenience of them and it does allow the skimmer to work at full strength which helps keep the surface clean. A less traditional robot cleaner is making gains in the market and that one is the Solar Breeze. It has a motor but it is powered by Solar Panels on the top. The Solar Breeze will run all day long and into the night skimming the surface of your pool.  It is an intriguing and innovative use of the robot cleaner technology. It also has no hoses or cords which makes it a very unique cleaner.

So which cleaner is right for you? It really depends on the type of debris, how large your pool is and a personal preference. That question is more easily answered  on a one to one basis so you can consult your local pool service company, pool store or post your pool information hear and I will be happy to suggest one for you. I service over 100 pools a week at over 70 of them have an automatic cleaner of some type in them.

See also my post on the Top Ten Automatic Cleaners of 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Are Swimming Pool Forums Good?

When you do a Google search for any pool problem or swimming pool related issue, chances are you will find a post listed from a swimming pool forum in the search tag line. Either that or you will be directed to my YouTube channel ;) So you may wonder if the post is accurate since it is from a swimming pool forum and not the manufacturer or a pool company.

Here are the most popular forums that you will run into when you search for a pool solution:

And there are a few smaller forums also on the web.

So the question is can you trust the advice given out on these various forums? From hitting several of these over the years I have found that for the most part the advice is accurate. Maybe not 100% of the time but pretty close. Each of these forums has moderators that verify posts and there are many long time members that are qualified to answer or clarify a specific post or topics. The moderators will also post answers and clarifications so there are no glaring errors usually.

The BBB Method of Swimming Pool Care:

"CarlD" a longtime moderator of coined this term. It describes an unorthodox method developed in 1997 where you maintain your swimming pool with household products - Bleach, Borax and Baking Soda.

You would sanitize your swimming pool with regular household bleach. You would raise your pH with Borax and raise your Alkalinity with Baking Soda. You will still need Muriatic Acid to lower the pH.

No chlorine tablets, no chlorine shocks like Cal-Hypo, and no granular chlorine (Dichlor). Just plain old bleach. to read the full article on the BBB see this link:

Most of these forums follow the BBB method in varying degrees. will only allow posts that follow the BBB method so they are the most rigid (committed so to speak). But you will find some of the forums more liberal in that regard.

So the bottom line is that these forums are a great resource for the homeowner who wants to maintain his pool on his own. You don't need years of experience to become an expert, just follow and join one of these forums and you will have a sparkling blue pool all Summer long.

Here are the links to the above listed forums:

Oh, and you can also visit my YouTube Channel too and I will answer your questions the best I can.
Swimming Pool Tips, Reviews & How To- Mrdgvb1

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Top 10 Automatic Pool Cleaners of 2013: Number Ten

Zodiac T3
This is Zodiac's newest bouncing type cleaner the T3. It is rumored to be the cleaner to replace the G3. If you own a T5 I feel for you. That cleaner is poorly made and should not have been even marketed. It gave Zodiac a black eye along with their X7. But the T3 is going to redeem Zodiac. It is actually a very good cleaner. It has the new small diaphragm that the T5 & X7 have, which is the only good part in those cleaners. The new diaphragm picks up debris very well. The T3 is a very small cleaner. Very compact. It only has a handful of parts which is a good thing. It is also surprisingly heavy and well balanced but moves around the pool at a very fast pace. The only drawback is the locking style hoses which makes it impossible to hook up a regular vacuum head and spot vacuum the pool. But the T3 is a huge improvement over the T5 &  X7 and the price point is very good.

Top 10 Automatic Pool Cleaners of 2013: Number Nine

Zodiac Wahoo
Here is another cleaner you may not have seen anywhere before. It is made by Zodiac and is primarily marketed for the owners of  above ground pools.  Many pool guys will use it in a regular inground pool and I an guilty of that. If you do decide to use it in a regular inground pool be aware of some limitations. The back spur weight is just hard plastic so if it gets hung up in the step area it can rub and wear right through in a matter of weeks. That part is like $50 or 1/3 the price of the cleaner. So be careful. Usually a free form pool will have steps at an angle and this will be bad for the Wahoo. A square pool with steps all the way across is fine in most cases. If you have an above ground pool then go for this cleaner. It is priced around $150 and the parts are surprisingly very long lasting. The footpad, bottom disk and diaphragm will last you a good two to three years. There is no generic footpad for this cleaner and that part is about $60 so after three years you might just want to buy a whole new Wahoo and keep the old one for spare parts. It only comes with 30 ft of hoses (10 hoses) but it comes with the parts needed for a skimmer hook up. It doesn't come with any weights which you will only need if you put it in an inground pool and it gets hung up on your pool light fixture. That is not common but can happen as the bottom disk is flat and if your pool light sticks out it can get caught. Adding one or two hose weights to the front will cure this. A good choice here.

Top 10 Automatic Pool Cleaners of 2013: Number Eight

Hayward Navigator, Pool vac
Okay, If you own one of these hold onto the rock you are about to throw at me. True you are changing parts in this like some made scientist every year or so. And true there are a lot of parts in this cleaner. But they actually work very good when everything is working. It wouldn't be my first choice so that is why it has landed at number eight. If you bought one or inherited one from the house you just bought, don't worry - you can get many good years out of it. The first two years are actually good years - like the first two years of most marriages ;). But yes, have the schematics handy after that. It does pick up dirt, dust and algae dust very well and can handle some fair size debris too. It is technically a very good cleaner with one major drawback: It is a parts hog. Out off all the cleaners on the market, this one uses the most parts. But the parts are easy to change (relatively) and if you decide to keep your Navigator/Pool Vac you can become an expert at keeping it running. Okay now you can throw your rocks at me ;0

Top 10 Automatic Pool Cleaners of 2013: Number Seven

Polaris 360
Here is the Polaris 360, it is a Pressure Side Cleaner but does not require a booster pump. It runs off your existing return lines as long as they are 1.5" threaded return lines and not stub return lines. You can connect it to a stub pipe type return line but it wouldn't be cost effective as the adapters are expensive. So if you have 1.5" threaded return lines you are good to go. You would connect it to the most central return line and then add a restictor jet insert (comes with the cleaner) in one or two of the other return lines. I find that you will often need a 1.5" threaded plug in some cases (not included) to completely close of a return line. You will also need to have sufficient return pressure so a good 1-2 hp pump is a must.So with that said this cleaner is great if your pool has a lot of large debris all of the time. It will work almost as well as the booster pump version. The drawbacks are: since you are restricting and using the return jets, the surface isn't being skimmed very well. Also, it is based on the Polaris 380 so instead of the 280's drive shaft it has two belts that make the cleaner move. These belts wear out more often and need to be changed. In the plus column is the fact that it will leave your pool bottom spotless and is made to be long lasting and durable. A good choice if your pool is set up for this type of cleaner.