Monday, December 11, 2017

Water Tech Blue Diamond Robotic Pool Cleaner Review - 4 Year 500 Cycle Warranty!

The Blue Diamond Robotic Pool Cleaner by Water Tech is an underrated and often overlooked cleaner. It comes with a lot of premium features and is priced just under $1,000. The Blue Diamond also comes with an industry leading 4 year warranty (or 500 cleaning cycles) so you can rest assured that you will get years of use out of this cleaner. Here are some of the specifications and features of the cleaner. I will touch on a few of these later in this article.

Caddy cart with every unit
Can clean most pools in 60 minutes, up to 90 minutes on larger pools
Can maneuver and will turn in the pool without pistons
The safest operating robotic cleaner, running on 24 volts
Approved for use by ETL, CSA, TUV, CE, GS
Oil-Free drive motor
“Hex Wheels”- Heavy Duty Stainless Steel supported wheel tubes
Swivel on cord- No more cord tangling
Equipped with PVA brushes that will operate in ANY type of pool surface
NO FLOATS are needed as with other robots
Cycle Counter- Warranty testing
All motors are pressure tested under water to 1.5 atmosphere (17 ft.)

Cord Length: 60 ft.
Factory Warranty: 4 year / 500 cycles
Suction Power: 4225 Gal / Hr
Cleaning Coverage: 5900 sq ft per hr
Unit Weight: 16.5
Drive Motor: 24v DC Oil Free High Speed Brushless
Pump Motor: 24v DC High Flow

To order the Blue Diamond:


The Blue Diamond features unique foam brushes on front and back that expand when they fill with water much like a sponge. These brushes pick up dirt and debris and feed them into the debris openings on the bottom of the cleaner. They are made of Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) and are algae resistant allowing the cleaner to quickly and effectively clean any pool surface. The Blue Diamond is suitable for all pool surfaces and it uses a track system to grip the pool walls. As long as there is a slope between the pool floor and wall the Blue Diamond will clean your pool walls up to the waterline.

The Blue Diamond is designed to clean your pool in one hour or 1.5 hours if you have a larger pool. The control panel is programmed to run the cleaner for 1.5 hours each cleaning cycle. The Aqua Smart guidance system is designed to target the areas of your pool that need the most attention allowing the Blue Diamond to clean your pool up to 20 times faster than a traditional robotic cleaners.

It also has an obstacle sensor that will prevent it from getting stuck on ladders, step areas or any other obstacle in your pool. There is also a Beach Entry detector so if your pool has a Beach Entry the Blue Diamond is designed to avoid exiting the water in that area.

The bottom loading debris bag does have it's benefits. It allows for a larger area for debris then your top loading cleaners and the debris bag will trap dirt, algae and debris down to an amazing 2 microns. This is as good or better than a D.E. Filter. The cleaner will also pump over 4,000 gallons per hour so as it is cleaning it is also circulating your pool water.

The 60 ft of cable is great for a small, medium or large pool. The cable itself is made out of a very durable plastic and there is a cord swivel to prevent tangling. The swivel is a great feature and many of the problems with robotic cleaners stem from the cord getting tangled. With the included swivel you don't need to worry about spending time untangling the cleaner after each cleaning cycle.

One of the things I like the most about the cleaner is the 4 year 500 cycle warranty. You can't beat a warranty like that. Here are the terms of the warranty:

Blue Diamond: 4 years for the main parts-drive motors and pump motors. 2 year for electrical cable and power supply (transformer).

PARTS NOT COVERED UNDER WARRANTY: The filter bag, drive belts, plastic components, drive tracks, and brushes require replacement in the ordinary course of use due to normal wear. Therefore they are not covered by warranty.

The Blue Diamond is a traditional robotic cleaner in every sense but it cleans very effectively from the pool floor to the pool walls and picks up fine dirt and debris very well. If your looking for a simple to use and effective cleaner the Blue Diamond should not be overlooked

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Pinch A Penny Pool Stores

Retail pool stores are still a great place to find hands on one on one help with all of your pool care needs. In 1988 when I started in the business I worked for a local pool store and learned the ropes of pool service. I spend some time talking to Bob Slaughter from Pinch A Penny and we discuss some aspects of their franchise pool stores.

Although I am a big proponent of getting help online for your pool care needs, there is still a definite place for the brick and mortar pool stores. Not only are you supporting your local business by shopping in a pool retail store, but you are keeping a vital link between the pool manufacturers and the consumer open. Many manufacturers makes retail only specific products and will also give you an extended warranty of you purchase from a pool store verses purchasing online. From the beginning of the pool industry, manufacturers have used retail pool stores to showcase their products. Liken it to Best Buy with electronics. You cannot go into a Walmart and find the same level of products at your fingertips that Best Buy stocks. The Same goes with the local retail pool store which can stock many more pool products then a Home Depot or Walmart.

This allows manufacturers to make a wide variety of products for the consumer. Retail pool stores stock products so manufacturers can produce more and continue to refine their products making them better and better each year. The sheer variety of products is tied directly to the retail pool store and this helps you as a consumer overall. With more products there is more competition and the prices will stay competitive. This also allows you to choose the best product for your needs.

There is nothing wrong with shopping online and I think there is a place for both online pool stores and retail pool stores. With a retail pool store you can walk in and have the product in your hands the same day. This is important if you are trying to get your pool balanced or want to put in a new pool pump for an upcoming party. You can also have your pool chemistry tested in a retail pool store as well as have your pool motor and salt cell tested. This can save you money in the long run, instead of replacing a motor that may still be functioning, the pool store can test it and even rebuilt it for you.

Here is some more about Pinch A penny:

Pinch A Penny Pool Patio Spa is America's Largest Franchised Retail Pool Supply and Service Company.

Pinch A Penny's direction is quite simple. We strive to be unrivaled in providing value, quality, and service to our customers. That's why we're now over 230 stores strong and growing. It’s also because our swimming pool expertise is something you can count on to keep your pool and spa its healthiest and your family its happiest.
In fact, Pinch A Penny stores are all staffed with fully-trained experts. We have more Certified Pool Operators than any other company and our continuing education programs are unparalleled. Why trust your swimming pool or spa to anyone else? Only Pinch A Penny gives you the answers, tools, and products you need to make your pool care routine go swimmingly.
Since opening its first store in 1975, Pinch A Penny has become the largest franchised retail pool, patio and spa company. A family-owned business, Pinch A Penny began with the Thomas family opening a discount store within an industrial park in Clearwater, Florida. This first store evolved into a full-time, full-service retail pool supply store offering everything needed to operate and enjoy a swimming pool or spa. Pinch A Penny carries a wide variety of products such as chemicals, equipment, patio furniture, giftware, toys and floats.
Pinch A Penny began issuing franchises in 1976, always promoting its “family-owned” culture. Today, Pinch A Penny is over 230 stores strong and growing and provides virtually every product needed to help you enjoy a pool or spa to its fullest.

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Monday, December 4, 2017

Polaris 7240 Sport Robotic Pool Cleaner

The Polaris 7240 Sport is a new Robotic Pool Cleaner by Zodiac designed for a small to medium pool. This is an entry level Robotic Pool Cleaner and part of Zodiac's Trade Series line which means it is not sold online and it is only available at your local brick and mortar pool store or from your pool service professional. The Polaris 7240 Sport has a lot of the same features found in their larger robotic cleaners but for an entry level price.

Here are some of the features of the Polaris 7240 Sport:

Cyclonic Vacuum Technology- Captures debris without losing suction
Navigates Floors and Climbs Walls- For full pool coverage and a thorough clean
Lightweight Handling - Compact design is easy to carry
Easy Clean Filter Canister with Transparent Lid - Simply remove, unlatch, shake and spray

And here are some of the cleaners Specs:

Vacuum Technology: Cyclonic
Easy Clean Filter Canister: Yes
Surface Cleaning Ability: Floors and walls
Drive: Tracks drive
Brush: Pleated
Cable Length: 50' cable
Maximum Pool Size: Up to 36'

The cleaner itself is very compact and only weighs 13 lbs. So it is ideal for those homeowners who are looking for something more convenient to use in their pools each week. Because of the small size I would only recommend it for small to medium size pools. If you have a larger pool you may want to look at their 8050 Sport model which I have reviewed and tested in this video:
Polaris 8050 Robotic Pool Cleaner Review:
Polaris 8050 Sport: Unboxing and Caddy Assembly:

The 7240 Sport has many of the same features of the 8050 Sport only on a smaller level. And when I say smaller I really mean it with this cleaner. It is the smallest robotic cleaner that I have tested and used thus far. But this doesn't mean it does not do the same job as it's larger counterpart. It does have a smaller cleaning path but with the same cyclonic vacuum technology of the other Polaris Robotic cleaners it really sucks up the dirt and debris. The track system allows it to easily climb the pool walls to the waterline. The track system also allows it to get up an over any obstacles in your pool, including Anti-Vortex main drains and the step areas.

For such a small cleaner it does come with 50 ft of cable so it will work in most pools effectively. When I make reference to a larger pool, I am referring to a pool 20 by 40 ft or larger. So if you have a 32 ft by 16 ft or a 30 ft by 14 ft pool, the Polaris 7420 is suitable for your pool. I would just suggest a cleaner with a larger cleaning path and a larger debris canister for those larger pools. Here in my area most pools fall into the small to medium size category and I think Zodiac was very smart designing this cleaner for those pools.

The top load debris canister is surprisingly large and is very easy to open and clean out. Simply press on the latch in front and the canister and easily remove it. The clear plastic top is also a nice touch as you can easily see if the debris canister needs to be emptied.
The Controller is also very simple to use and it just has one button to start and stop the cleaner. There is a programmed run time of 2 hours and the cleaner will leave your pool spotless each week. There is no caddy cart included but you can purchase one separately from Zodiac if you wish.

If you are looking for a compact and easy to use Robotic Pool Cleaner I would look at the Polaris 7240 Sport as it cleans effectively, rapidly and efficiently. It is suitable for all pool surface types and does a great job of also climbing and cleaning the pool walls.

My other Polaris Robotic Pool Cleaner Reviews:
Polaris 8050 Robotic Pool Cleaner Review:
Polaris 8050 Sport: Unboxing and Caddy Assembly:
Polaris 9450 Sport Robotic Pool Cleaner – Review:
Polaris 9550/955 Robotic Pool Cleaner Review & Field Test:
Polaris 9550/955 Sport in ACTION!:
Polaris 9550/955 Sport - Unboxing and Caddy Assembly:
Polaris 9550/955 Robotic Pool Cleaner Control Unit Overview:
Polaris 9650iQ Sport Robotic Pool Cleaner - WiFi Access iAquaLink Control:
Polaris 9650iQ Sport iAqualink Control Set Up and Walk Thru:

Thursday, November 30, 2017

An Overview of Taylor Test Kits & Some common Testing Errors

Taylor Technologies is the leading manufacturer of Pool Test Kits and they make a variety of different kits. I discuss some of the products that Taylor makes with Wayne Ivusich who is the Director of Education at Taylor Technologies. We go over some of Taylor's more common test kits as well as their advanced testers.

For most pool service professionals the Taylor K-2006 or K-2005 are the go to test kits. The test factors in each kit are extensive and will be pretty much all you will need for your day to day testing. Taylor also makes a K-1000 series of test kits for the homeowner. Whichever test kit you select for your pool route or home, you can rest assured that a Taylor product will give you the most accurate test results.

I have been using the Taylor Test kits almost from day one when I started pool service back in the late 1980's and early 90's. One thing that sets Taylor apart from many other kits is the number of test factors their K-2000 kits can preform. You can do Free Chlorine & Combined Chlorine, Total Alkalinity, pH with acid demand and base demand, Calcium Hardness and Cyanuric Acid. You can learn more about these test kits from the videos below:

Taylor Test Kit (K-1006 - K-2150):
Taylor Complete FAS-DPD Pool Water Test Kit K-2006:

There are many variations on the exact levels for a balanced pool but here is a general area that most of manufacturers and pool professionals adhere to.

pH: 7.2 – 7.8
Alkalinity: 80 – 120 ppm.
Calcium Hardness: 180 – 220 ppm.
Chlorine: 1-3 ppm.
Bromine: 3-5 ppm.
Cyanuric Acid: 30 – 50 ppm.

I personally prefer the pH at 7.6-7.8 and I prefer the chlorine level at 3.0 ppm or higher especially in the Summer months. But to balance your pool water you want the reading in these ranges or as close to these levels as possible. It is near impossible to keep your pool at these ideal levels week to week so that is why testing the water each week is vital.

I suggest testing the pool water at least once a week and to avoid errors in your readings try to avoid these testing mistakes:

Makes sure your reagents are not expired. They do not last forever and you should replace them every season if you don't use them all up during the year. The refills are affordable and will insure accurate test results.

Try to take the water sample from the middle of the pool about elbow deep. Make sure you fill the tubes to the exact mark and do the reagent drop test right away.

Make sure the tubes are clean especially if you service pools for a living, you don't want the last test results to interfere with your current one.

With the swirl tests try to get a good wrist movement to mix the reagent up properly. If you struggle with this check out this helpful product that does the swirling for you:

Taylor SpeedStir 9265 Magnetic Stirrer:

Keep the tubes at eye level and look directly at the color and not down into it. I prefer doing the reading outside in natural light. Remove your sunglasses for a more accurate color match.

If you follow these steps you will get very accurate reading when you do your water testing. To learn more about the line up of Taylor Technologies testing products you can visit their website here:

You can also order the test kits directly from my website:

Monday, November 27, 2017

How to Get Rid of Baotman Bugs in Your Swimming Pool

There are two kinds of bugs that can infest your swimming pool, Water Boatman bugs and Backswimmers. (Notonectidae ). The Boatman bugs are harmless but they can take over your pool very quickly. The Backswimmers have a nasty bite and I have been stung by one myself and it is not fun. But they don't tend to swarm like the Boatman bugs. On a recent visit to my Dad's house in Indio California, I witnessed the Boatman Bug invasion of Biblical proportions.

The Coachella Valley is a desert region in California that has been recently overrun by the Boatman bugs. No one know exactly where they are coming from but they are falling from the sky like snow. They usually run their course in a body of water, but in this case with more and more falling from the sky a pool just gets re-infested day after day.

Boatman bugs will fly and then land on your pool surface. They then gather air in their wings and go under the surface to search for food and a place to lay their eggs. So one way to prevent them from multiplying is to eliminate their food source, which is algae. You may not even be able to see algae in your pool but there could be some micro algae on the pool walls. So the first step in preventing the Boatman bugs from multiplying in your pool is to eliminate all algae. You can pour in a bottle of Polyquat 60 which is the most effective algaecide in this case, but it does break down in the water over time.

I prefer using the PoolRx Mineral treatment as it will last up to 3-6 months and will eliminate 100% of algae in your pool, especially the micro algae that you cannot even see. PoolRx is safe for all pool types and once inserted in your pool's pump basket will start working right away. By the next day any algae will have been killed and the Boatman bugs will have no food source or egg laying source. Keeping your chlorine up at 3.0-5.0 ppm will prevent algae growth but be aware that the Boatman bugs are not effected at all by high chlorine levels. You will want to keep your chlorine level up only to prevent algae growth.

So how do you get rid of the Boatman bugs? By removing their food source you at least will prevent a larger infestation. But if they are falling out of the sky all you can do it prevent your pool filtration system from getting clogged up. This is important because once your filter stops working effectively the pool circulation will become slow and algae could form in your pool. Since algae is the boatman bugs food source you do not want that to happen.

So I suggest installing a Filter Sock (Filter Saver) in your pool's skimmer basket. This is a cloth like sock that covers all of the holes in your skimmer basket. All of the Boatman bugs will be caught in the skimmer basket while the pool is running. Then, simply take the basket out every few hours and spray the Boatman bugs with bleach. A direct spray of bleach will kill them.

If you have an automatic cleaner you may want to remove it for the duration of the infestation or you can install an inline canister to trap the bugs that are sucked up from the pool bottom. A canister with a fine mesh bag like the Hayward W530 Leaf Canister is the best choice. If you have a bouncing type cleaner you may want to remove it since the bouncing motion creates air in the water and that is counter productive to keeping the Boatman bugs on the surface.

Adding dish soap to the pool surface like Dawn is also a good way of controlling the bugs. The dish soap will keep most bugs from swimming effectively on the pool surface. This is very effective for gnats and other small insects that may live in your grass, and this method can trap the Boatman bugs underwater.

Another effective trick is to use a Liquid Pool Cover in your pool during the infestation. One of the side effects of a liquid pool cover is that it allows a thin film of chemical to coat the pool surface. Bugs have a hard time in breaking through this film and this can prevent many of the Boatman bugs from going underwater. They will still get under but not in great numbers. You want the Boatman bugs to remain on the surface so that the pool skimmer can pick them up.

In the case of those who are living in an area like the Coachella Valley, you can only take steps to keep them from multiplying and clogging up your pool filter. Like in my Dad's case he lives near many lakes situated on the golf course which are perfect breeding grounds for the Boatman bugs. The over all solution is to eliminate those breeding grounds and I think then the problem will gradually go away.

Keep your chlorine level high at all times
Add a PoolRx unit to prevent algae growth
Add a Filter Sock to your Skimmer Basket
Add an inline canister to your Automatic Cleaner
Remove your Automatic Cleaner if it is the bouncing type
Add a Liquid Pool Cover product to your pool
Use dish soap in the pool water to trap the Boatman bugs

Videos you might find helpful:
PoolRx Overview and Use Video: Eliminates and Prevents all Algae:
PoolRx will Solve: Algae Every Week, Constant Low Chlorine Levels, High Phosphates:
Podcast AUDIO ONLY - Episode 5: PoolRx Explained, an Interview with Fred Schweer of PoolRx:
Polyquat 60 Algaecides:
Filter Sock Filter Saver - Prevent Bugs and Debris from Entering the Pool Filter:
Hayward W530 Large Capacity Leaf Canister with Mesh Bag – Review:

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Pool Blaster Leaf Demon Battery Powered Leaf Vac

The Pool Blaster Leaf Demon is a powerful battery operated vacuum for pools with large leaf debris on the bottom. It is designed to work just like a standard Leaf Vacuum but with no hoses. The motor blade is powered by eight AA batteries and the debris is trapped in the bag on top. The Leaf Demon works surprisingly well and is sold exclusively at Leslie's Pool Supplies stores.

You can also purchase online version of this cleaner, it is exactly the same except for the color scheme. link:

Video: Pool Blaster Battery Powered Leaf Vac by Water Tech - Review & Demo -

If your pool gets a lot of leaves the Battery Powered Leaf Vac would be a solid investment. It comes with a one year manufacturer warranty and it is effective in pools with a lot of debris on the bottom. You can also lock the handle and use it as a skimmer but I think the best use for the vacuum is on the pool bottom. It connects easily to your standard pool pole and is simple to use. Just push it back and forth along the bottom and it will pick up leaves and debris effectively.
If you carefully place the battery seal on the vacuum and use silicone lube to seal it, then the battery compartment water seal should keep the batteries dry and free from corrosion. There have been water seal failures noted in some reviews but I think it is from not placing the seal on properly. Again, you have a 30 day return window and a one year warranty so I wouldn't worry about investing in one.

I like the overall design of the Leaf Vacuum and I really like the fact that you do not need to use a garden hose to power the cleaner. The battery powered propeller works very well in picking up leaves and debris. It won't pick up rocks or coins and the fine dirt will pass right through the bag but for the primary use of picking up leaves and debris the Leaf vacuum is great.

To learn more about Water Tech you can listen to my Podcast with the owner Guy Erlich:

Here are some other products made by Water Tech:

Water Tech Pool Blaster Videos:
Water Tech Precision 2.0Li Professional Pool Vacuum Overview & Review:
Pool Blaster Max Li Pool and Spa Cleaner by Water Tech:
Volt FX-8Li Battery Powered Vacuum by Water Tech - NEW Features for 2017!:
Volt FX-2 Battery Powered Vacuum by Water Tech - Review & Overview:
Volt FX-4Li Battery Powered Vacuum by Water Tech - Review & Overview:
Pool Blaster Leaf Demon Battery Powered Leaf Vac:
Pool Blaster Battery Powered Pool & Spa Vacs by Water Tech: Overview:
Pool Blaster Aqua Broom by Water Tech - Review and Demo:
Pool Blaster Catfish by Water Tech® - Review:
Pool Blaster Battery Powered Leaf Vac by Water Tech - Review & Demo:
Pool Blaster MAX – Review:
Pool Blaster Max CG - Commercial Grade Review:
Pool Blaster SPA VAC by Water Tech - Product Review:
Pool Blaster PRO 1500 - Review and Field Testing:

Pool Blaster MAX or MAX CG has NO SUCTION - Troubleshooting & Tips:
Pool Blaster PBW022SS Max CG Sand and Silt Bag – Review:

Monday, November 20, 2017

Water Tech Pool Blaster Battery Operated Vacuums for Your Pool & Spa - Overview

Water Tech Corp is the leading manufacturer of battery powered pool vacuums. These are self contained portable vacuums that have a water proof motor and a debris bag inside that trap dirt and debris. These vacuums are a great way to clean your pool and spa and in this Podcast I talk to Guy Erlich, President of Water Tech Corp and he touches on the benefits and features of their products.

Listen to the Podcast: 

Subscribe to my Podcast on iTunes:

Subscribe on Google Play:

As you can see from the list below I have tested and used many of their battery operated vacuums and if you want to learn about a specific cleaner you can click on the video link and see it in action. I personal think that their products are excellent and I use them each week on my pool route.

Water Tech Pool Blaster Videos:
Water Tech Precision 2.0Li Professional Pool Vacuum Overview & Review:
Pool Blaster Max Li Pool and Spa Cleaner by Water Tech:
Volt FX-8Li Battery Powered Vacuum by Water Tech - NEW Features for 2017!:
Volt FX-2 Battery Powered Vacuum by Water Tech - Review & Overview:
Volt FX-4Li Battery Powered Vacuum by Water Tech - Review & Overview:
Pool Blaster Leaf Demon Battery Powered Leaf Vac:
Pool Blaster Battery Powered Pool & Spa Vacs by Water Tech: Overview:
Pool Blaster Aqua Broom by Water Tech - Review and Demo:
Pool Blaster Catfish by Water Tech® - Review:
Pool Blaster Battery Powered Leaf Vac by Water Tech - Review & Demo:
Pool Blaster MAX – Review:
Pool Blaster Max CG - Commercial Grade Review:
Pool Blaster SPA VAC by Water Tech - Product Review:
Pool Blaster PRO 1500 - Review and Field Testing:
Pool Blaster MAX or MAX CG has NO SUCTION - Troubleshooting & Tips:
Pool Blaster PBW022SS Max CG Sand and Silt Bag – Review:

In the Podcast we discuss choosing the correct Pool Blaster Cleaner for your needs. I will touch briefly on a few of the products that I think are pretty universal in their use. Basically the smaller units are for spas or small above ground pools and the larger vacuums are for spas as well as for larger pools.

For a default cleaner I would say the Pool Blaster Max Li would be the unit that is compact and powerful enough for a spa, an Above Ground Pool and to spot vacuum a standard size pool. The Max Li attaches to a standard pool pole and with the sand silt bag would do a fine job in cleaning any body of water.

Pool Blaster Max Li Pool and Spa Cleaner by Water Tech:

If your looking for a more powerful vacuum I suggest the Volt FX-8. The Volt FX-8 is very similar to the Pool Blaster Max Li but everything about it has been beefed up. Think Pool Blaster Max on steroids. You will find this vacuum to be extremely powerful and the debris chamber is much larger than the Pool Blaster Max. The Volt FX-8 is available only at your retail brick and mortar pool store but it is well worth the drive to purchase and you will really love this vacuum.

Volt FX-8Li Battery Powered Vacuum by Water Tech - NEW Features for 2017!:

Much like their Catfish unit which is one of their biggest sellers, the Volt FX-4 is an excellent choice for a cleaner. The smaller hard plastic vacuum head is perfect for water features and spas and you will find the power of the Volt FX-4 great for sucking up dirt and debris. I like the ease of use of this unit and the charging port on the back.

Volt FX-4Li Battery Powered Vacuum by Water Tech - Review & Overview:

If you have a pool that gets a lot of leaf debris on the bottom, the Battery Powered Leaf Vacuum would be an great choice. They make a few versions of this cleaner but they are the same in every way except for the color and the purchasing location. These vacuums are great at picking up larger leaf debris on a pool bottom and work off of regular AA batteries.

Pool Blaster Leaf Demon Battery Powered Leaf Vac:
Pool Blaster Battery Powered Leaf Vac by Water Tech - Review & Demo:

To purchase a vacuum:


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Using a Drone for Business on a Budget: HD Drone Options in the $100 to $300 Price Range

A Drone otherwise known as a Quadcopter is a perfect way to get stunning aerial photos for your business. If you are a pool builder or a Realtor videos and photos from a drone will enhance your project or listing. Contractors can use a drone to plot a site and home inspectors can check those hard to see areas on the roof for damage. There are just so many uses for a drone and in this video I will show you some ways to do this on a budget.

For me a budget drone would be one priced from $100 to $250 or $300 at the most. If you are going to invest in a high priced drone you might as well go all the way to $1,000 and get a DJ Mavic or Phantom which are top of the line drones. But technically if you don't use them often it might be a bad investment and if you crash or damage the drone it would be a pretty big hit. Bottom line, investing a $1,000 or more into a product used for occasional filming doesn't make much sense and that is why many businesses don't use drones.

The lowest priced drones that can hold a 4K sports type camera – think GoPro, are the Contixo F17 and the MJX Bug 3. I own both of these drones and they are almost identical. Both can hold a 4K camera on the bottom and the F17 has a version called the F17+ that includes the camera. You can buy the drone without the camera and then purchase a sports 4K camera online for as little as $50. These drones are great because they start at just $109.00 and the F17+ with the camera is around $240.00. With this drone you can take stunning videos of a project and it is an extremely affordable way to film your project.

Some things to note about the F17 and Bug 3 are that neither has a feature called Altitude Hold. Altitude Hold is a feature that allows the drone to maintain a steady altitude. A drone with altitude hold will stay at the  last altitude reached by the throttle and basically hover at this altitude. So to keep the drone steady in a hover type position, you need to really practice your throttle control. You will constantly need to maintain a steady throttle to create a steady video frame. This takes practice but can be mastered making these drones perfect for any footage needed. These drones do not have FPV (First Person View) so you cannot see the footage as you are filming. They also do not have GPS but if you want to invest as little as $170, one of these two drones would be perfect for you.

The next step up is a drone in the $250 to $300 category.  There are two drones that I suggest in this price range. Look at either the Contixo F18 (shown in this video) or the MJX Bug 2 drone. Both have build in 1080p HD cameras for videos and photos and come with some essential features found on the $600 to $1,000 drones. 

These features include Altitude Hold, GPS assisted hovering, FPV through the camera on the front of the drone viewable through your smart phone or device, and a range of over ½ mile. They also feature GPS positioning so the drone can auto return to the launch position.  These are all of the essential features I mention in the video and if you are comfortable with investing more than $200 you may want to get one of these drones which are manufactured by companies with a solid reputation.

So you don't need to spend $1,000 to get good quality drone footage for your photo shoot. Note also that most people will be viewing the footage on their smart phones so any quality issues will be negligible. To learn more about the two drones in the video you can visit my website or watch the videos of the Contixo F17 and F18 from these video links:

Contixo F18 RC Quadcopter (Drone) 1080P HD Live FPV Video,  Advanced GPS Assisted Hovering:

Contixo F17 Plus RC Drone w/ 4K Camera: Perfect for Aerial Footage for Pool Builders & R.E. Agents:

$100-$200 Drones 4K Camera Mount:
Contixo F17 with 4K camera:
Bug 3 Drone:

$200-$300 HD Drones:
Contixo F18:
Bug 2 Drone:
Hubsan H501S X4:

Drones I also recommend:


Monday, November 13, 2017

Where to Buy your Pool Supplies Online - Featuring

Shopping online for your swimming pool equipment, parts and chemicals has grown steadily over the years with a multitude of online pool stores to choose from. In this Podcast I talk with Matt Simmons from Inyo Pools. Inyo Pools is more than an online pool store which you can find at They offer phone help, live chat, Blog articles as well as some great “How To” YouTube videos.

Recently I have partnered with Inyo Pools to give you what I think is the best online shopping option on the internet. They really care about the customer and have a staff of year round full time employees who have the knowledge to help you find the right part for your pool care needs. Since I do not sell any products directly I have no vested interest in which products you purchase. But I always like to give my viewers purchasing options so that they can get the products they need from reputable online retailers.

Listen to the Podcast to learn about Inyo Pools in great detail. I discuss the ins and outs of Inyo Pools with Matt and we touch on online shopping and why Inyo pools should be your top choice. Matt offers some great tips on shopping for your pool parts as well as finding great resources for all of your pool care needs.
Here is some more about Inyo Pools:
In 2001 two life long friends were backpacking in INYO National Forest. Patrick worked in the Swimming Pool Industry and Danny had a computer background. Patrick and Danny were both at a point where they wanted to start their own business and felt that blending both of their talents would create the perfect business model. The business plan was to provide swimming pool supplies through the web at significant discounts and the customer could do all this from the convenience of their computer.
As time went on and more and more people started to purchase their swimming pool supplies from INYO we realized that our customers not only wanted low prices but wanted answers to questions like "which is the best product", "how do I install products", "what parts do I need"? INYO realized customers wanted answers to their questions. INYO was determined to find them.
INYO's philosophy has grown and developed, but the essentials remain. INYO is determined to find our customers both the answers they need and the lowest prices for their swimming pool products.
To shop at Inyo Pools use this link:

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Pool Filter Clamp Won't Go On or Come Off? Solution - Install a New Clamp Assembly

One of the most frustrating things that can happen when you are taking apart your filter to clean it is the clamp is stuck on the filter. This happens often with the spring barrel nut type clamps commonly found on the Pentair FNS Plus, Clean & clear Plus and the Quad D.E. Filters. I also see this issue with the Hayward filter clamps but more so on the Pentair filters. The only real solution is to install a new Clamp Assembly on the filter.

Basically the threaded part of the clamp gets stripped by a nut that is put on a little off center. This is pretty much unavoidable as the filter clamp starts to get old and the threads will begin to strip over time. There is no way to safely repair this as the filter is under tremendous pressure and if the clamp breaks the filter tank top will explode off. If you are unlucky and standing next to it when that happens, the results can be fatal. So as soon as you discover that the clamp is not going back on without a Herculean effort as you tighten the nut or if the nut seems to miss some threads as you tighten it, replace the clamp immediately.

Pentair uses the same Clamp Assembly on all three of it's most popular filters and I find that this clamp in particular on the older filters is prone to wear out. If you need to purchase a new one for your filter this clamp fits all FNS Plus, Clean and Clear Plus and Quad D.E. Filters:

Pentair 190003 Tension Control Clamp Kit Replacement Pool and Spa Filter:

Hayward makes a few different models. If you have a Perflex D.E. filter this is the one you probably need:

Hayward ECX5000C Clamp Assembly with Spring:

For other Hayward filter try this clamp:
These clamps are filter specific so you must get the exact replacement clamp for your filter. Some of the older filters may have discontinued making the clamp so you might have to bring your old one into a local pool store and see of they can match it up. Sometimes you can also get away with just replacing the Spring Barrel and Nut and get one or two more uses out of the clamp. But generally if you are having a hard time tightening it down you need to just replace it.
The best way to prevent the threads on the clamp from stripping is to use the Multi-Tork Socket tool to get the nut on and off the filter. I find that as I am using these socket tools that the nut goes on very smoothly and evenly. I think the threads will strip more easily if you are using a standard hand wrench to tighten it or loosen it. I suggest getting the Multi-Tork Sockets to prevent the clamp from being damaged when you take your filter apart to clean it.

You can learn more about the Multi-Tork Socket Sets here:

Podcast with Multi-Tork owner Tal Millican:
Multi-Tork Filter Socket Tool - For Faster Filter Cleaning:
Multi-Tork MT-100 Double-Hex Anodized Aluminum Pool Socket:
Multi-Tork MT-100H Socket for Hayward Filters & Harmsco Filters:
Multi-Tork MTJ-770 Filter Socket for Faster Cleaning of Sta-Rite System 3 Filters:
Button Hook - Filter Drain Plug Removal Tool & More!:
KLORKINATOR. Klick. Twist. Done. - Lid & Cover Removal Tool:

For more videos covering D.E. Pool Filters you can watch this Playlist:

D.E. Filter cleaning, Backwashing & Tips:

Monday, November 6, 2017

All About D.E. Pool Filters

D.E. Pool Filters are a popular filter choice for a pool filter type and they are the most efficient pool filters as far as water clarity and fine filtration. D.E. filters can filter down to as little as 5 microns making them the most effective pool filter on them market. In this Podcast I go over the benefits of a D.E. filter, the drawbacks and I offer some tips if you own a D.E. filter or are thinking of installing one.

There are three main types of D.E. filters on the market today. The most common is the traditional grid type D.E. filter which consists of a Top Manifold, 8 grids in a circular pattern and a bottom manifold. This is the type made by Pentair, Jandy, Hayward as well as off brand makers like Waterway. Pentair makes a unique D.E. filter known as the Quad D.E. Filter and this filter consists of up to 4 cartridges instead of the vertical grids. They also make a Quad D.E. Filter for their Sta-Rite brand. The last type is made by Hayward and is often referred to as a “Bump D.E. Filter” and is their Perflex D.E. Filter. These filters are usually found on above ground pools and are not very popular in my area.

What makes the D.E. filter so effective is the D.E. itself or Diatomceous Earth, that is used to coat the grids. This white powder material will filter out dirt, viruses and bacteria as well as fine particles allowing for crystal clear water to flow back into the pool. If you have ever cleaned a D.E. filter you will notice that the D.E. will be coated with dirt and algae as well as fine debris, leaving the grids clean and white underneath. A cartridge filter cannot do this by design as the dirt, algae and debris will stick to the pleats in the cartridge material themselves. The D.E. acts as a type of secondary media or you can even look at the D.E. as a shield that absorbs all of the filtered particles allowing for clear water to return to the pool.

There are some drawbacks to D.E. Filters that you need to be aware of. The first drawback is the D.E. powder itself. It is messy and if you have an all cement deck it can be a pain to clean up after cleaning or backwashing your filter. D.E. is also banned by many cities and if they find you expelling D.E. into the street they will fine you anywhere from $10,000 or more. Some cities even ban installation of D.E. filters entirely.

Another drawback is that if a grid or manifold has a tear or crack, the D.E. filter media will blow right back into the pool. Even the smallest tear will allow large amounts of D.E. back into your pool. This will turn the water cloudy and also create poor filtration leading to algae growth and the chlorine zeroing out. A simple fix is to take the filter apart and replace all of the torn or broken parts. But be aware that a D.E. leaking back into your pool is a common issue with a D.E. Filter.

A couple more of the benefits of a D.E. filter is that you can backwash the filter in between cleanings and that you only need to clean a D.E. filter once every 6 months in most cases. Backwashing a D.E. filter is easy and this will expel dirt, algae and particles from the filter allowing the filter to run efficiently again. Since the D.E. in the filter traps dirt and particles so effectively the filter can go a long time in between cleanings. Typically you will clean a D.E. filter less often then a Cartridge Filter.

The Podcast covers much more on D.E. filters and below is a list of video links on D.E. Filters.

Diatomaceous Earth (D.E. Filter): basically this filter type uses D.E. to filter out the dirt, bacteria and viruses. It is the best filtration, down to 5 Microns.
The Good:
- Filters down to 5 Microns or less - excellent
- Can be backwashed in between cleanings
- Only have to take it apart and clean it every six months (In most cases)
- Grids are long lasting and durable
- Water clarity is very good
The Bad:
- Can be a pain to take apart and clean
- D.E. is messy and gets everywhere
- Grids can tear and leak D.E. into the pool 
- Filtration Sq Ft. is limited
- D.E. is banned in some areas and huge fines can occur if it is in the street.

D.E. Filter Tips, Tricks & Troubleshooting Playlist: