Thursday, March 30, 2017

How to Use a Ratchet Tie-Down Strap

Securing your load on your vehicle is not only a safety issue but the law in many states. For me as a pool service professional I have two heavy carts riding on the tongue of my bumper. A Ratchet Tie-Down Strap is one of the most effective ways of securing your load.

There is a bit of a learning curve with a Ratchet Tie-Down Strap on how to actually use it effectively. I have purchased many sets over the years and I have not found any that explain the set-up well. The manufacturer simply expects you to know how to use the product. So this video will cover the installation and set-up of the Ratchet.

I am using an Everest 15 foot long by 2 in 1,100 lbs load limit Ratchet Tie Down. It has a break strength of 3,300 lbs so is is more than sufficient to hold both of these service carts in place if something were to happen to the Receiver or Hitches. Both carts together weigh less than 250 lbs. But it is better to get the strongest tie down you can find just to be on the safe side.

Most Tie Down Straps are the hook type, which means on the ends of the strap there are strong metal hooks. You must have a secure area to attach these hooks to, preferably on opposite side of the truck bed, but you can loop them around the cargo and attach it onto the same side. My 2005 Nissan Frontier has a set of tracks and tie down holders built into the bed of the truck. My old Toyota had two tie down holds at each end of the bed. You will have to find these locations on your specific vehicle.

So you would “hook” the Tie Down Strap onto one of these secure areas on side of your truck, for me it is easier to hook it to the passenger side of my truck. Then you would take the strap and work it around the load you are securing. In my case I walked it around both of my service carts to the driver side of my truck.

Then you would take the Ratchet end and hook it into the opposite side, if possible. Now comes the tricky part. How to get the Tie Down Strap into the Ratchet correctly. 

It is pretty easy once you have seen it done. You take the front or top of the Ratchet end and simply put the Tie Down Strap directly through the slit in the center of the Ratchet. Then you take it and bring it back out towards the strap creating a loop. A good way to distinguish the front/top of the Ratchet is to close it. The side that is closed is the back or bottom and the front is the side where the slit is facing.

Now you will pull the strap while holding the Ratchet until it is tightly around your load. Simply crank the Ratchet back and forth until everything is as tight as can be. You will here the sound of the Ratchet as it pulls everything tight. Then depending on how your Ratchet brand closes, securely close the Ratchet. This will lock the strap into place.

To disengage the Ratchet and loosen the strap, simply open up the Ratchet to it's fully open position and either pull the Ratchet towards your body or pull on the strap away from the Ratchet. This is actually pretty simple to do.

If you install the strap wrong onto the Ratchet by looping it in the wrong direction, it will start to be eaten by the Ratchet and hard to loosen. Make sure you loop it over the front of the slit after inserting the strap.

To purchase the Ratchet shown in the video here is the link from

For a look at the two pool carts on the back of my truck:
Riptide Pool Vacuum System Overview Video:
Pool Service Cart by T.Dula Specialties:

Monday, March 27, 2017

Riptide Vacuum Commercial Cart Transport Rack Overview

The Riptide Large Service Cart Transport Rack is an excellent hitch and lock system. Although many aspects of the Riptide are similar to its competitors the Transport Rack sets it apart. The Transport Rack is easy to assemble and install.

The Riptide Vacuum System is a great way to service those pools that constantly get a lot of leaves and debris. It works off of a 12V AH battery and all of the debris is trapped in the large filter bags on top. I really like the Large Service Cart because it can carry so much stuff back to the pool and it comes with a very nice cord reel that will feed out the cord as you need it.

So in order to get the cart onto your service truck and to secure it in place Riptide has come up with an innovative locking system. The cart and vacuum head are locked into place by a very secure double safety clamp on top and an extra deep grooved bottom hitch. You can rest assured that the cart and vacuum will not fall off during transport.

To avoid user error there is no pin on top but a safety latch that is locked once the handle on the Riptide cart is pushed all the way into the forward position. The deep grooved bottom hitch will allow the cart to sit securely onto the Transport Rack. All of this is accomplished without having to lift the cart, you just simply tilt it back and slide it over the bottom hitch into the groove.

Also included is a license plate bracket so that you can move your license plate if you mount the Riptide directly in the center of your truck. This license plate bracket will allow you to move your plate to a visible area and it comes with a light that you can wire to your truck.

The Transport rack will mount to your standard Class III 2” Receiver. On my truck I use the T.Dula T-Bar Mount which allows me to connect to service carts to my truck at the same time. I highly recommend the T-Bar mount if you want to connect a standard Service Cart as well as the Riptide Cart.

T-Bar Mount: Connect Two Pool Service Carts to Your Truck at the Same Time:

Another nice feature of the Transport Rack is the ability to add a full size padlock to secure the cart and vacuum from theft. A slot on top is designed to allow one padlock to secure both the cart and vacuum at the same time. This will give you piece of mind when you park your truck and the Riptide is not in use.

Also included is one Anti-Wobble plate that you can add to the Receiver to keep the Transport
Rack steady. Note that this is not a design issue but anything that you insert into the Receiver will have a little play (movement) and the Anti-Wobble/ Anti-Rattle plates are universally used when transporting any item like a boat, bike rack etc. With the Anti-Wobble Plate installed the Riptide Transport Rack is steady and firm over dips, R/R tracks, speed bumps and other rough driving terrain.

One thing I had to add to my truck was a CURT 45794 2" Raised Receiver Adapter:

The Riptide Cart was riding too low to the ground for my service area. There are a lot of driveways with dips in front of them for rain runoff and I had to raise the cart up higher on my truck. You can also drill two more holes in the plate that holds the hitch and raise it up that way, but the Raised Receiver Adapter was easier for me. I set the Cart 4” higher and now there is no issues with it riding too low. The Curt Raised Receiver Adapter is rated to hold 350 lbs Tongue weight which is plenty for the Riptide Cart.

A note if you mount the Curt Raised Receiver to the T-bar Mount. The holes did not line up exactly so you can drill a little larger hole, or like me I used a Class 8 Hex Bolt instead of the pin – which didn't fit in the smaller area.

Also a note about the tongue weight that your service truck can handle. My Nissan Frontier can hold 850 lbs on the back bumper, or tongue weight. If you do decide to mount the Riptide Cart be sure your truck is rated for it.

The Riptide Vacuum System is an excellently designed product and Transport Rack is well made and will hold the cart in place without issues. To see more on the Riptide Vacuum System see these videos:

Riptide Pool Vacuum System Overview Video:
Riptide Vacuum System: Cart and Vacuum Set Up & Operation Video:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Casa Newport Skimmer Lids

This is the Casa Newport 9.9” Skimmer Lid. What makes the Casa Newport skimmer lid different is the unique design which adds a lot of style to your existing pool and deck. The Casa Newport lid is a faux metal lid, although they do make an actual metal lids also.

I really like the look of these skimmer lids and first saw them at a local pool show a couple of years ago. These are about 2-3 times the price of your standard skimmer lid so figure to spend $30 -$45 for the plastic lid depending on the size and style. The real metal lids will run you from $60- $80. These aren't inexpensive but they really look great.

I know a few small manufacturers personally like Tal from Multi-Tork and the cost for making a product is not cheap. So the prices will be higher since it cost more to make the product on a smaller scale. It is not that the manufacturer has a 200% mark-up, it just cost more to make and they have to pass that cost to the consumer.

Replacing your skimmer lid with the Casa Newport lid is a simple way to give your deck and pool a fresh and modern look. I can't tell you how many $60,000 pools I have seen where the builder sticks a white plastic lid on the deck. I am surprised that more builders don't install skimmer lids with more style like the Casa Newport lid.
The  Bronze lid in this video looks so good on the pool decks that I demoed it on. It is a very real looking plastic lid and it is made of high quality plastic. It fits well in the 9.9” skimmer openings and I like the two large finger grasps to pull it off.

The Casa Newport Skimmer Lid will fit most skimmers including Hayward, Sta-Rite, Waterway, Swim Quip and U3. I found it to fit very well in the Hayward and Swim Quip skimmers and a little tight in the Waterway skimmers.

The 9.9” lid will not fit Pentair or American Product skimmers as those are 9.1” in diameter. It is pretty simple to tell which skimmer lid you have as the manufacturer will print their name directly on the lid. For the Pentair and American Products skimmer you can order a 9.1” lid like this one found here on

If you are unsure and have an off brand or generic skimmer lid on your deck now you can contact the company directly from their website. You can also find other colors on their website. You can order directly from the manufacturer on their website once you are there:

To order the Bronze version see in this video on

So if you are looking for an affordable way to spruce up your pool and deck, the Casa Newport Skimmer lid is a great idea and an easy way to transform your pool area.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Riptide Vacuum System: Cart and Vacuum Set Up & Operation

The NEW Riptide Vacuum System is loaded with features and is a great way to clean those pools on your route that get a lot of debris. It is a powerful battery powered cleaner that traps debris in a fine micron bag on top. I will go over some of the features and set up of the Riptide Vacuum and large service cart.

The Riptide Vacuum is designed to be user friendly when replacing parts. The Motor is shipped disconnected from the cord and it is very easy to screw in the power cord. This feature allows for easy motor replacement down the road and once you connect the power cord to the motor you will n
ot need to disconnect it again until you change the motor.

The Riptide Vacuum does not use the standard clip for your pool pole to connect to the vacuum head. In order to create a rigid and reliable connection there is a “Quick Snap Pole Coupler” included that you will permanently attach to your pool pole. This will allow for trouble free connection to the Riptide vacuum. Also included is a plastic insert so that you can connect your pool leaf rake and brush to the pole with the “Quick Snap Pole Coupler” attached to the pole. I carry two poles on my truck and have one dedicated for the Riptide Vacuum.

The Riptide uses a unique locking bag that connected directly to the head of the vacuum into the plastic lip on top. These bags are designed to stay locked in place and not blow off from the water pressure. Getting the bags on at first can be tricky. But it is easy after the first 2 or 3 times. Simply make sure the bag grove is on the vacuum head lip, push down and slowly work your hands around, pushing down with some force until the bag snaps in. The bags easily lift off when you grab one of the tabs on the side. A very well done bag system. The included bag filters down to 100 microns. You can also order a 75 micron bag and 400 micron bag.

One of the best features of the Riptide is how the vacuum head is locked onto the service cart. It can't fall off during transport and can only be removed by moving the handle on the cart to the bottom point, thus releasing it. So no worries about the vacuum falling off while driving or while navigating your way to the pool.

I spend a lot of time in the video going over the cord reel. The cord reel is a very nice feature as it plays out the cord as you are vacuuming the pool. It is designed to hold the cord in place so it has just enough space for the 45 feet of cord (you can also get a custom reel with 75 ft of cord). So you need to roll the cord up in a specific manner so that the cord sits side by side in two rows. The best way to do it is to rewind the cord and use your hand, palm down, to keep it winding tightly. After 2 or 3 times you will get it down pat.

The large service cart can be heavy especially if you use a 100AH battery (65 lbs) and have the back bin full of chemicals. So it comes with the ability to adjust the axle so that you can make it easier to tilt backwards and make it less front or back heavy. I have my axle set at the factory middle setting and the cart is manageable. You can set the axle all the way to the front or all he way to the back.

I think one of the best features of the cart is the battery holder. There is no need for a case as the cart is designed to hold the battery in snug without movement. And since there is no case with a plug, you can charge the battery directly on the terminals on top. You would just need a charger like this one found on

You can also use a smaller battery to make the cart lighter. I install a 55AH battery and shaved off about 30 lbs. The Riptide will have the same power but you will need to charge the battery more often.

So the Riptide large service cart is loaded with great features and is very user friendly and easy to set up. For more on the Riptide see these related videos:

Riptide Pool Vacuum System Overview Video:
Riptide Vacuum Commercial Cart Transport Rack Set Up:

Friday, March 17, 2017

Riptide Pool Vacuum System

This is the NEW Riptide Vacuum System with the large Commercial Service Cart. The Riptide Vacuum works independently from your pools filtration system. It runs off of a 12 Volt  battery that is attached to the service cart. It has a powerful motor that sucks up leaves, dirt and debris into a bag on top of the vacuum.

There are similar products on the market and is there room for a third manufacturer of this type of vacuum? The manufacturer of the Riptide thinks so and this first model is pretty solid. Here are some key features on the vacuum.

The Vacuum has a 24” long vacuuming path. This makes it ideal for large sweeps on the bottom of the pool. The large head does make vacuuming steps and attached spas a little harder, but the shear power of the Riptide vacuum almost makes up for this. The motor is a 30 lb thrust motor and the Riptide casing is designed to hug the pool floor allowing it to have an excellent seal which allows it to pick up debris with ease. So the vacuum excels on the pool bottom and does decent on the steps and in spas. The Vacuum Head casing comes with a 10 year warranty,  which is excellent.

The bag on top is held on my a unique locking system. The vacuum head has a rim on it and the bags have a groove on them. Getting them on the first time can be difficult but after 2 or 3 times you will snap them on with ease. This locking system prevents the bags from blowing off the top of the vacuum. The Riptide comes with one 100 micron bag and you can order a 75 micron and a 400 micron bag.

 One thing I am still getting used to is the “Quick Snap Pole Coupler.” This attachment goes on your pool pole and stays on your pole to make attaching to he Riptide quick and easy. Included is one plastic fitting to be used with your leaf rake. You can share one with your brushes or purchase additional fittings. It is different and takes some getting used to.

The large service cart also takes some getting used to. It is on the heavy side but in my testing here in Southern California I didn't have any trouble with it. You can feel the weight of it when you are pulling it and it is hard to pull up steps if you have the 100AH battery on front and a back bin full of chemicals. On the plus side this cart holds just about everything you need. I suggest the large service cart for Commercial accounts or areas where all the yards have cement access and few steps. I also uses a 55 AH battery and it made the cart easier to pull as it shaves off almost 30 lbs.

The cart also features a cord reel which I actually like a lot. You just set the Riptide Cart with the cord reel facing the pool (cart sideways) and as you vacuum the cord will be feed out thru the cord reel. This also keeps the cord from kinking and tangling and it is very effective. Rolling up the cord is pretty easy also once you get the hang of it. It comes with 45 feet of cord and you can also order a model with 75 feet of cord.

The locking mechanism on the cart to the Transport Rack is where the Riptide really shines. I would say it is virtually impossible for the cart to come off the Transport Rack. The locking system is just that good. It is a solid locking system. And getting the service cart on and off the Transport Rack is really simple. Also a nice touch, there is a slot for a full size padlock.

The manufacturer sells direct from their website and they also offer  low financing of $93 per month for 24 months (9.9%). This is to make it easy on your budget and the monthly cost of the Riptide is about one average service account. To learn more you can visit their website:

I will be testing the Riptide over the next few months and will post any updates here for you.

Keep your eyes out in July of 2017 for the Riptide SL. This will be a smaller or standard size cart which will be more versatile than the Commercial Service Cart. Here is a CAD rendering of the cart, it looks really good.

Visit my Website:

Monday, March 13, 2017

Algae-ZILLA 10" Stainless Steel Algae Brush by SweepEase

This is the new SweepEase® Aquadynamic pool brush, the Algae-zilla 10” Stainless Steel Algae Brush. It uses the same innovative design of the original SweepEase brushes that allows for the brush to “stick” to the pool wall creating more force with much less effort. I got a chance to test this brush prior to it's production release and it works great.

This brush should be available online, in stores and at your pool wholesaler later this month. For more information on it now like pricing and where to purchase you can go to the SweepEase website and email the owner:

I like supporting these small business inventors, especially if their product is good. I have meet the owner a couple of times now at the pool shows and he is dedicated to bringing the best product to market. He has been developing the Algae-Zilla for over a year now and it shows.

This thing will take stubborn algae right off of the pool wall with very little effort. The compact 10” design and the Aquadynamic engineering gives this brush so much power. Yellow Algae that would not brush off with a regular algae brush comes off easily. Overall an excellent designed brush.

They also make two other brushes SweepEase® 18″ Brush (Stainless Steel-Poly Blend Brush) and a SweepEase® 18″ Brush (100% Poly Bristle Brush) which I use on my pool route exclusively. These brushes hold up extremely well and I recently dropped off my 18” Poly Blend to the owner after 1 ½ years off use for his display.

You shouldn't use this brush in your pool if it is Vinyl or Fiberglass as it may damage or tear the pool surface. But the brush is perfectly safe for Gunite, Cement and all Peeble Tec and Pebble Sheen pools. I would probably not use it in a painted pool also.

You can see the video of the other two brushes here:
SweepEase® AquaDynamic 18" Pool Brush – Review: 

Brushing your pool is of course essential to prevent dirt staining the pool walls and algae growth and a good quality pool brush is essential. You can purchase the SweepEase brushes thru my website:

If your experience algae issues in your pool I have several videos on clearing it up and preventing it. Algae can be a plague for your pool and it happens for a number of reasons. The Algae-ZILLA brush would be a good investment if your pool has problem algae and if you are in the pool service industry. Algae is pretty common in the Summer and some pools are more susceptible than others.

Here is a playlist covering algae in your pool:

Algae Removal & Pool Chemistry:

Monday, March 6, 2017

Skimdevil® Robotic Surface Cleaner Set Up & App Overview (RC Mode Shown)

The Skimdevil Solar-Powered Robotic Surface Skimmer is designed to be primarily controlled by a Smart Phone/Tablet Application (App). The Skimdevil is unique in this respect for a robotic pool cleaner. The App is designed for an Andriod device and an Apple device and is very good.

The Skimdevil is a robotic pool surface skimmer and would be great for pools that get a lot of surface debris, run off of a variable speed pump or has a skimmer that is not effective. The Skimdevil works great at removing the surface debris and will keep your pool surface looking mirror clean.

Once you install the Skimdevil App you can do all kinds of things with the cleaner. The Menu screen is set up in a very simple and easy to use fashion and the App connects with the Skimdevil via a Bluetooth connection. From this screen you can turn the cleaner on and also change the factory preset settings. Also displayed is the water temperature, wind speed, battery level and Bluetooth connectivity.

All you have to do after installing the App is to hit "Start" and the Skimdevil will start to operate with the factory set run time of 30 minutes on and 45 minutes paused.  It comes with a pre-programmed run schedule and once the cleaner is charged by the solar panels it will begin to operate each day (it comes fully charged from the factory). There is no need to go into the App and restart it once you initially set everything up. You can however use the App to change the Settings and to use the Skimdevil in the RC mode. 

From the menu screen you can turn the cleaner on by clicking “Start.” Once on it will run in your pool without needing to be turned on again as long as there is sufficient Sunlight to charge it each day. It comes factory set to run for 30 minutes and then to pause for 45 minutes. You can also change this in the “Setup” menu which I will touch on later.

There is a cool “RC” mode which allows you to take control of the Skimdevil and drive it around your pool. The controls are very responsive and if you feel like playing with the Skimdevil and using it like a remote control boat knock
yourself out. My son loves to driver it around the pool and it will be a hit at the next party. Note, make sure no one is in the pool while it is in use.

In the “Setup” menu you can fine tune the Skimdevil and change some of the factory settings. I will list all of the settings in order:

Daily Interval: Full
Day Only
Night Only

Cleaning: Constant
10 min - 5 hours
Pause: Off
10 min- 5 hours

Turbo Mode on/off
Distance to Edge: 1 (near) – 5 (far)
Pool Type: Residential, Commercial, Natural
Floating Obstacles on/off
Pool Edge: Infinity, Standard, Overflow
Beep Alert on/off
Menu Button: Disabled
30 minute cleaning – 3 hour cleaning
Basket: Auto, All Day, Night Only, Off
Front: Auto, Steady, Flash, Off

Total Cleaning Time
Serial #
Reset on/off

So you can see from the “Setup” menu there are many perimeters that you can set on the Skimdevil to customize it to your needs.

To see my review of the Skimdevil watch this video:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Skimdevil® Camio SX15 Robotic Solar Powered Surface Cleaner

The Skimdevil® Robotic Solar Powered Surface Cleaner is a revolutionary way to keep your pool clean everyday. It will operate all day long and skim the surface effectively eliminating all of your pools surface debris. The Skimdevil comes loaded with features and is the most high tech surface skimmer on the market.

The Skimdevil is designed to be primarily controlled by a Smartphone or Tablet App. You can download the App here:

Once you download and install the App in your device you can connect it to your Skimdevil and you can control the cleaner from your device or phone. It is quite innovative and the connection is very good thru the use of Bluetooth connectivity.

All you have to do after installing the App is to hit "Start" and the Skimdevil will start to operate with the factory set run time of 30 minutes on and 45 minutes paused.  It comes with a pre-programmed run schedule and once the cleaner is charged by the solar panels it will begin to operate each day (it comes fully charged from the factory). There is no need to go into the App and restart it once you initially set everything up. You can however use the App to change the Settings and to use the Skimdevil in the RC mode. 

The Skimdevil unit itself comes equipped with many features that allow it clean the pool surface in the most efficient way without getting stuck or caught up in any area of your pool.  It features  SkimSmart™ trademark technology which maps your pool surface for the best cleaning pattern.

It is equipped with infrared sensors that will turn the cleaner before it hits the pool wall and also can detect and avoid obstacles in the pool like automatic cleaner hoses. This allows the Skimdevil to move freely around your pool even if you have an automatic pool cleaner installed.

The debris tray is large and it can pick up very large debris since the front is wide open with no paddles obstructing it. When the Skimdevil reverses a gate engages to keep the debris from returning back into the pool. It is a highly effective system and you will be amazed at how nice the pool surface looks with the Skimdevil running.

The cleaner will run for 7 hours on a full charge. It uses a unique run/pause cycle to keep the surface clean as new leaves, pollen and dust blow in throughout the day. It comes factory set to run for 30 minutes and then pause for 45 minutes. You can also customize this in the App Set Up menu if you like.

The Solar panels on top will charge the cleaner on Sunny days and if you are using it in the off season or if you pool gets a lot of shade, it comes with a wall charger. So you can also charge the Skimdevil if needed. This makes the Skimdevil perfect for all pool applications and regions.

The Skimdevil works in all pool types and you can also set three pool types in the setting menu. The options are a Standard Pool, an Infinity Edge Pool or a Natural Body of Water. No matter your pool type the Skimdevil will work great.

If your pool has a lot of surface debris all season long and your skimmer is overworked each day, the Skimdevil will be perfect for you. It is also great for pools with Variable Speed pumps that run on low all day. And for pools that get a fine film of pollen or small particles on the surface each day. It is a very versatile cleaner and will leave your pool surface spotless.

The App is very user friendly and it has a simple to use menu that also displays the pool water temperature, the remaining battery life and the Bluetooth connectivity range. To start the Skimdevil simply click on the green start button on the App. You can also customize the cleaner in the Setup menu in the App.

It also has a cool RC mode where you can manually control the Skimdevil. This is a fun way to skim the pool surface and my son really loves driving the Skimdevil around the pool. The RC mode is a nice touch and unique among Robotic Pool Cleaners.

The Skimdevil is extremely light weight coming in at a mere 10 lbs. It is very easy to set in your pool and remove from the pool. The nice easy grip handle on top is a great feature, and the cleaner is well balanced so removing it is simple.

The price point is in the $700 range and the Skimdevil comes with a 1 year manufacturer warranty. The Skimdevil is the most high tech surface cleaner on the market today and worth a look if you are in the market for a Robotic Pool Surface Cleaner.

To get $25 0ff the purchase price when ordering on their website use this code: DVBR449.

To learn more and to order the Skimdevil cleaner:

You can also purchase the Skimdevil on