Friday, June 30, 2017

How to Check Your Pool's Salt Level (Salinity Level)

Knowing your swimming pool's Salinity Level often referred to as the pool's “Salt Level” is very important in insuring a Salt Water Pool is properly sanitized. If the salt level is too low the salt cell will not produce chlorine or will produce it at a much lower level. So proper testing at the beginning of the pool season and during the season is critical.

If you have a salt system that displays the salinity level of the water, generally that reading is accurate. But there are a few things that could give the system a false salt level reading. If the salt cell has a lot of calcium build up on the plates inside of it, a false salinity level is often displayed. I suggest inspecting the salt cell monthly and cleaning it when needed. Some systems will indicate when the cell is dirty and needs cleaning. So a salt cell with a lot of build up can give the system a false salinity level.

If the salt cell is old and near the end of it's useful service lifespan, a false salinity reading can also be displayed. The salt cell just is not working correctly anymore, which also effects the salinity displayed on the control panel. Likewise, if the control center or power unit also has a problem, it can display a false salinity level. Very cold water can also throw off the salinity reading giving you a false low salt level reading.

So just relying on the salt system to display the salinity level for you can be problematic in the above listed situations. That is why I suggest using an alternate method of checking the pools salinity level. You can do this with a digital salinity tester, sodium chloride test strips or taking a sample into your local pool store for testing.

My preferred method of checking the Salinity Level is with a digital salinity tester. This is the most accurate and reliable method, as well as the easiest. There are many testers available online, some as inexpensive as $25.00. I prefer using the HACH or LaMotte brands, but of course the price is higher but the reliability and workmanship are factored into the higher price.

Here are the two I use on my pool route which are priced around the $90 range:

Salinity Tester (Salt level) #9531600 by Hach®: 

TRACER PockeTester with Carrying Case by LaMotte – Salt/TDS/Temp: 

Simply dip the tester in the water sample and the pools salinity level is displayed on the screen. The results are accurate to +/- 1%. So the results of the test are quick and reliable every time.

The next method is with test strips, like the AquaChek 561140A Salt Water Swimming Pool Test Strips.
This method is fairly easy but you only get a ballpark reading and there is also user error since you have to watch for a color change in the strip. The test takes about 3-4 minutes and the results are accurate to a point. You will at least know within a margin of error the salinity level in the water. The strips are very inexpensive, around $10.00:

The last method is to take a water sample in to your local pool store and they will test the salt level for you. There is nothing wrong with this at all, except that you are going into a pool store and will likely walk out with products. But your local pool store would be happy to check your salt level for you. This method is usually free so utilize your local retail store and support small business in your area.

So these are the methods you can use to check your pools salt level. Check it often to make sure your salt system is working correctly and that chlorine is being produced to sanitize your pool.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Zodiac Pool Systems: A Behind the Scenes Headquarters Tour

I recently was invited to tour the Zodiac Pool Systems headquarters in Vista California. This is a rare invitation and I spent the day touring the facility and meeting many of the people that help run Zodiac Pool Systems. One of the most surprising things for me was how massive the Zodiac headquarters actually is.

The Zodiac headquarters is home to their U.S. Staff and their Technical Support Team. Along with that they have a massive warehouse where all of their products ship from. In the warehouse section they do some manufacturing and assembly of products as well as extensive product testing. Across the street in a massive warehouse they build and assemble the JXi pool heater. I was totally impressed with how much is done right here in California.

Walking around the facility was like “Disneyland” for a pool guys. They had so many cool things on display like the Golden Polaris Vac Sweep (later renamed the Polaris 180). When you enter their Engineering Department they have all of their many patents up on one wall in one massive display. They had so much cool stuff just lying around I could have spent the entire day just wandering the hallways of the offices.

Going out into the massive warehouse was an eye opener. You see walls and walls of products, assembly areas, testing pools and activity everywhere. I thought the testing areas were fantastic. They have pumps running 24/7 and cleaners running in their test pools. The quality testing of their products is taken to a whole new level by Zodiac. If there is a defect they will find it and correct it before anything hits the open market.

Across the street is where they make and assemble the JXi  pool heater as well as their larger heater. I wasn't able to film in this building but I have say that seeing a product being built from the ground up is the coolest thing. Most of the work is done by hand in an assembly line fashion and I have to give props to Zodiac for making their products here in the USA. In a era of outsourcing, Zodiac is willing to absorb the higher cost to make their products here and the insure that the consumer gets a high quality product.

Also in the “Heater Building” were a wide range of testing machines. One machine could hold a product in it like a giant oven and the operator could simulate the Sun's UV rays at high noon for any amount of time. Another machine dropped the temperature below freezing or blazing hot. One dropped a product from different heights and another machine would pull on a product to test the tear strength. Again, all of this is done to make sure the products produced are of the highest quality.

I spent some time walking around tech support also. All of the calls from the US come into the Zodiac headquarters where calls are answered in one minute or less. They handle about 7,000 calls a week in the Summer. The tech support is quite impressive and Zodiac is trying to change the face of the industry by putting the customer first. I heard many calls and was impressed with the fast and friendly resolution of the calls.

It is noted in the video that all of the Customer Service staff is CPO Certified. This means that they hae passed a test to become “Certified Pool Operator” from the National Swimming Pool Foundation NSPF: “A CPO®Certification provides individuals with the basic knowledge, techniques, and skills of pool and spa operations. This training has helped protect millions of swimmers by reducing hazards at aquatic facilities. The NSPF®Certified Pool/Spa Operator® (CPO®) Certification program, the world's leading verifiable pool and spa training credential, is available as a blended training program.”

I can go on all day with how impressed I was in my tour of the Zodiac headquarters. Suffice to say Zodiac is striving to be number one in product reliability, customer service and support and to be on the leading edge of innovation in the pool industry. The fact that they ship and manufacturer products here in the US says a lot about the company and what they stand for.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Aquabot Breeze IQ Robotic Pool Cleaner: 60 ft of Cable & Filters Down to 2 Microns!

The Aquabot Breeze IQ is one of Aquabot's newer models and it is packed with many great features. Aquabot is the leading manufacturer of robotic pool cleaners and they have a great many models to choose from. Below I will go over some of the key features of the Breeze IQ.

The Breeze IQ will filter down to an industry leading 2 microns – about as good as a D.E. Pool filter in comparison. The top load filter chambers are lined with a fine fabric that traps dirt, debris and organisms down to 2 microns. This means that the Breeze IQ will leave any pool spotless down to the finest particles. This is the finest filter you can get in a top loading robotic cleaner.

It comes with 60 feet of cable and Aquabot's patented cord swivel. This will ensure the cleaner will clean your entire pool without the cord tangling. The extra long cable also means the Breeze IQ is suitable for larger pools. Believe me, having a cord swivel makes a world of difference.

Another nice feature of the Breeze IQ is that the control panel is super easy to operate. It just has 3 buttons, a 2 hour cleaning mode, a 1.5 hour cleaning mode and a power button. Simple is good and the Breeze IQ controller couldn't be easier. It also features a dirty canister indicator, so once that light turns on you know it is time to empty the debris chamber.

The short run cycle is because the Breeze IQ features the Aqua Smart Gyro System which allows the cleaner to operate with the best cleaning pattern possible. It doesn't just go forward and backwards in the pool but turns and pivots so that the cleaning pattern is broader making the cleaning time much shorter for most pool types. In my testing it has left my pool spotless every time.

I like these more traditional robotic cleaners with the track system. This gives the cleaner great wall climbing ability and the Breeze IQ will clean your pool walls to the tile line. It can climb a 90 degree angle wall without issue and can get itself out of the pool step area with ease. The tracks also grip the surface and can get over any obstacles in the pool like anti-vortex main drains. The track system also makes the cleaner safe for all surface types including vinyl pools.

The PVC scrubbing brushes on the front and back will loosen up dirt and debris and the cleaner will suck just about anything up. The top access debris chamber is a great feature and it makes cleaning out the debris very quick and easy. Simply pop the chambers out, open them up and hose out the debris. As I mentioned these chambers will filter down to 2 microns and you can really see the dirt stuck to the filters. They are also large capacity chamber and can hold a lot of leaves and debris.

The extra large hand;e on top makes it very easy to get the Breeze IQ in and out of your pool. It is also a very light weight cleaner and very well balanced. The Breeze IQ comes with a 2 year manufacturer warranty with the 1st year being 100% and the 2nd year just a limited warranty. The Breeze IQ is sold in retail stores and online. To order on use the link below:

To learn more about other Aquabot Robotic Cleaner Models:

Aquabot Robotic cleaner Playlist:


Monday, June 19, 2017

PoolRx Will Fix It: Algae Every Week, Constant Low Chlorine Levels, High Phosphates

In my previous video I gave you an overview of the PoolRx product but in this video I show you actual test pools. PoolRx does an amazing job in pools that are feeding grounds for algae. Even with high phosphates or high nitrate levels, the PoolRx will completely turn your pool around.

I have been testing the PoolRx in a few of my problem pools on my pool route and the results have been great. These pools have constant algae, very low chlorine residuals week to week and high Phosphate levels. The majority of my pools are in great shape, but like any large pool route there are a few that need special attention.

If your looking for a quick fix for your pools water balancing and water quality issues PoolRx will provide that. I have been doing extensive testing on my pool route and the results have been amazingly good.

The first pool in the video has very high phosphate levels. The customer recently had their yard fertilized and since then the algae has been a constant problem. Chlorine has also been zeroing out week to week. Like all of the other pools in the video this is a large pool, over 25,000 gallons. So I used the Black PoolRx which is rated for 20,000 to 30,000 gallons of water. One week after I applied the PoolRx the pool was completely algae free.

If you haven’t seen the other PoolRx video I filmed here is the link. It is an overview video and tells you everything you need to know about the product.

PoolRx Overview and Use Video: Eliminates and Prevents all Algae:

Basically Pool Rx is a special mineral treatment that prevents and eliminates all algae in your pool. A side benefit is that since the chlorine no longer needs to work so hard, there is a greater residual each week. So you use less chlorine and the pool remains algae free.

To use PoolRx simply pick the right size unit for your pool; 7,500-20,000 gallons is the Blue Unit. 20,000-30,000 gallons is the Black unit. If you have a 40,000 gallon pool for instance you would need two of the Blue units. For a spa choose either the 100-400 gallon Yellow Unit or the 400-1,000 gallon small Black Unit. It is pretty simple.

Then you would just insert the PoolRx into your skimmer or pump basket (pump basket being the preferred method) and run your pool the normal cycle or at least for 4 hours. You also want to start with a clean pool filter, basically you want to circulate the mineral from the PoolRx into the pool so it is dispersed properly.

The Spa in this video was just getting hammered each week from the Orange tree above it. With the spa being heated all week and the pollen covering the surface the chlorine was being used up constantly. Since the spa is around 400 gallons I used the small Yellow poolRx unit designed for spas or small bodies of water. One week later it was completely clear and had a very strong chlorine residual.

The Grey plaster pool that appears next has had many problems since the D.E. filter had some torn grids and was shooting D.E. back into the pool. It wasn’t filtering properly for a couple of weeks while I got approval to change all of the grids out. The recovery was very slow so I decided to drop a PoolRx unit in to speed things up. After running for a couple of weeks with the new filter grids installed and the PoolRx in the pump basket the pool has never looked better. The chlorine is also very stable in this account now as a side benefit.

This last pool was a new account that I started. The filter was very dirty and the Conditioner levels (CYA) were well over 200 ppm. It also had a nitrates in the pool water. It was just burning thru chlorine and the algae was just not going away. After one week running with the PoolRx in the pump, the pool has cleared up and is looking great. It still will need a partial drain, but the customer can now use their pool and enjoy it in the meantime.

I can’t say enough about how effective the PoolRx product is. I have it in five pools on my route and in two spas and these accounts have never looked better. The product will last the entire season in most cases, 4-6 months. After that you can add a “Booster Minerals” Packet or purchase a new PoolRx unit. If you have a problem pool it is well worth the investment.

To learn more and to order:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Full Face Snorkel Mask by DAXGD: 180 Degree View, Anti-Fogging and Anti-Leak

Full Face Snorkeling Masks are becoming more popular everyday. These are Snorkeling Masks that cover the face completely much like a full face gas mask. This particular one is the DAXGD Full Face Diving Mask. These Full Face Snorkeling Masks cover your mouth, nose and eyes and offer great 180 degree visibility while under water.

This mask works just like your standard snorkeling mask except instead of putting the snorkel in your mouth and having the goggles cover your nose and eyes, this one will cover your entire face, minus your ears. Note that since the Snorkel is on top you get just about the same depth as if you used the standard one that fits in your mouth. The standard one looks longer but remember this one is attached to the top of the mask and that one goes in your mouth. For kids the Full Face Snorkel is the way to go.

I ordered the Small/Medium size for my 9 year old son and it fits his face nicely. They also sell a Large one. There is a size chart on their listing found here. You can also use this link to purchase the Full Face Snorkel:

To size the mask you measure from the eyes to the chin as shown in the sizing charts pictured with these Full Face Snorkels. Basically under <4.7 inches S/M and greater than >4.7 inches L size. If you have smaller kids I have seen kid sizes online that measure less than <3.7 inches and are sold as XS.

My son has problems with the pool water getting into his nose and mouth when he goes underwater. So I thought this would be a great solution for this problem. It goes much further than wearing a pair of goggles and he really loves swimming with this mask on. Of course it is designed for more than pool use but I think many pool owners and their kids would benefit from a Full Face Snorkel.

With the mask on and tight, breathing is very easy. I tried it on and I could breathe normally without any problems. When you take the mask all the way under a ball inside the snorkel will float up preventing any water from coming into the mask. It is really quite innovative and the seal is very water tight. The anti-fog section in front of the eyes stays very clear while wearing this under water.

It also is surprisingly light weight and fits on your head very well. Yes, you can feel you are wearing it but besides that it doesn't feel heavy or awkward. It is fairly east to get on and off, although my son still can't put it on himself. The straps are easy to pull if you are an adult, and removing it is also easy. This one has a snap down snorkel so it is easy to store it after use.

I would say a Full Face Snorkel is a great upgrade from your standard snorkel kit. Much better than just wearing goggles in the pool and you can dive down just the same if you like. If you were thinking about investing in one of these don't hesitate, they are great!

Here is a brief description of the one I got:
DAXGD snorkeling diving mask is designed with the most advanced full face viewing window, provide 180 degree field of vision. Separate inhaling and exhaling make the viewing window anti-fogging, get clear view underwater
Fast folding snorkel tube, no disassembly, more lightweight than other types of diving masks. Two sizes to choose from, soft silicone seal fit your face and keep out water, 4-point head strap fixes all shapes of head and feels comfortable, the strap is adjustable Comes with a detachable support frame for GoPro action cameras.”

Thursday, June 8, 2017

How to Install a Pentair QUAD D.E. Filter or a Pool Cartridge Filter

The Pentair Quad D.E. Filter is one of the best D.E. Filters on the market today. It combines the fine filtration of a D.E. Filter with the ease of cleaning presented in a Cartridge Filter. I will go over the installation of the Quad D.E. Filter in this article.

The first thing you need to know about the Quad D.E. Filter is that the Inlet and Outlet are reversed from your standard D.E. Filter. For that reason that is why the push/pull backwash valve will not work on this filter and if you have one installed on your old filter it should be removed. When talking to Pentair it is perfectly fine to install the Quad D.E. Filter without a backwash valve. The ease of cleaning the filter makes backwashing unnecessary and backwashing will shorten the lifespan of the cartridges.

If you do want to install a backwash valve, you will need to install a filter specific one found here:
Pentair 263080 FullFloXF High Performance Backwash Valve with Inlet on Top:

I prefer to install them without a backwash valve and in this installation it worked out well as the customer didn't want to invest the money for the cost of one.

Let me focus on an important detail that many installers miss. I have had a few comments on YouTube from homeowners who have had professionally installed Quad D.E. Filters with blown up or exploded cartridges. The reason; the installer installed it with the Inlet and Outlet reversed. Or to explain it better, installed it without reversing the Inlet and Outlet. The Inlet is from the pump and on a Quad D.E. Filter it is located on the top and the Outlet – water going to the heater or pool return is on the bottom. Again, the D.E. Filter that is being replaced has the Outlet on top and Inlet on bottom.

To give me extra time when I am cementing PVC pipes I like using the Weld-On Pool Heavy 746 Gray Glue 13569. It is carried by my local supplier and should be stocked in your local pool store or plumbing supply store. I like the Grey cement because it gives you some more time to fiddle with the PVC fittings before the cement dries. The regular Blue cement is very quick drying so you have to work very fast when using it. You can also use Weld-On 711 which is similar to the 746. You can read about the difference on their website:

A PVC cutting tool is essential for installation. I tried the cheaper ones and they tend to break after a few jobs. Basically if you are only doing one install at your own pool then order this cheap pair -expect it to last for at least this one job.

Superior Tool 37116 One Handed PVC Cutter:

For a longer lasting an more durable pair of cutters like the ones I used in this video, try:
Superior Tool Company 37115 PVC Pipe Cutter - Heavy Duty Cutter up to 2-1/2-Inch O.D.

You can also just use a hacksaw if you prefer. A hacksaw is recommend on older PVC pipe to prevent snapping.

I always like to do a dry fitting run thru first before I start to cement the PVC pipes together. I also use a Sharpie to mark the angles of any elbows so that when I do put everything together it will line up nicely. I carry couplings also in case I make an error and in this installation I did have to cut one straight PVC pipe afterwards when I made a slight angle error in my dry fitting. Not a big deal really and it can happen, so I also carry extra straight PVC and extra Elbows.

I use Primer on the PVC fittings but I have also done installs without it and it doesn't seem to make a big difference. Just be sure to wear gloves when using Primer as it is very strong and toxic and can burn your exposed skin.

Set time is always debated when I do an install video. I like to let everything set for 24 hours. So I wait until the next day to turn everything on. This eliminates any guessing as to when the cement is dry. After 24 hours it will be plenty dry. Problems arise when you turn everything on too soon. Better to err on the side of caution verses redoing the plumbing.

One note about the PVC pipe size. On this pool which was constructed in the 1970's they used 1 1/2” PVC pipes. If you also have 1 1/2” PVC pipes you can go bigger, meaning moving up to 2” PVC pipes. But this is also dependent on the pool return lines. In this pool it has two ½” stub pipe return lines in the deep end. This means that there was no real good reason to go up to 2” PVC since the return lines restrict the flow. But if your pool has standard return lines, going up to 2” PVC will help a bit with the water flow.

So watch the video as I install this Quad D.E. Filter and you should be able to also install your own filter.

Other Videos in this series:
Quad DE Filter Cleaning:
Pentair QUAD D.E.® Cartridge Style Filter Overview:
How to Add D.E. to a QUAD D.E.® Cartridge Style Filter:
Pentair QUAD D.E.® Cartridge Style Filter Assembly:

Monday, June 5, 2017

YouTube: Swimming Pool Tips & How To Pool Help Resource Guide

In this article I go over some of the resources that can be found along with my YouTube Channel Videos. I have over 650 videos and that can be a daunting task if your looking for a particular problem. To help bring everything together I have created an eBook filled with articles and links.

This video is just a highlight of the resources, so I will go into detail here in this article. My eBook “Swimming Pool Essential Guide V1.6” brings everything together for you in one place. It is an amazing resource for you if you are a homeowner caring for your own pool or if you are pool service professional. What makes this eBook unique is that it has over 500 video links throughout. I dubbed it a vBook because it has so many video links.

The eBook is organized by sections so that you can easily find what you are looking for. I picked a specific eBook format that has a “search” box so that you can also simply type in a word like “green pool” and all of the pages related to that will pop up for you. It is in a Flip Book format, but I can also send you a PDF downloadable version once you place your order. And the book is sold for a very low price of just $9.99. I use a secure Paypal checkout to make the transaction safe and quick for you.

Along with the eBook, if you have been a Subscriber of my YouTube Channel you know I have large library of videos. I do product reviews, green pool clean-up videos, water balancing and chemistry, repairs and how-to and just about anything you need for your pool care can be found on my YouTube Channel. I offer all of my videos and expertise for FREE so that you can get the most enjoyment out of your pool ownership experience.

If you are new to the pool service business or just need General Liability Insurance, I have formed a group on Patreon to connect one on one with you. As a homeowner you are welcome to join at the $3.00 or $5.00 a month level and I would love and appreciate your support! For those in the industry at the $10 or $20 a month level you can text me directly or call me on the phone. At both these levels you will also get Liability Insurance at a discounted rate of $50 per month with no application fee.

At the $5, $10 & $20 levels on Patreon you also get a FREE copy of my eBook – just my way of saying thanks for joining. To join me on Patreon:

One other resource that I have created is my website, Swimming Pool On my website you can find articles as well as videos, links to purchase products and a listing of pool service companies that I endorse. It is a great resource and please visit my website today:

I don't sell banner ads on my website and everyone listed there is listed at no charge. This keeps me as unbiased as possible. If someone paid me every month I would be inclined to push their product over another product. I don't sell or ship anything directly. I do have links on my site and I do get a small percentage from a sale. I don't push products on you and if you want to buy something I am happy to provide an easy to access link.

I also post on Facebook, Twitter and write a new Blog Article at least once a week. Please look for me on these sites also:

Follow Me:

I hope you find everything that I do helpful to you. This is just my way of paying it forward. I know that it can be frustrating at times to own a pool and I am here to help. Please feel free to email me at: if you have any questions about your pool.

And please support my work on Patreon at the $3 or $5 level if I have saved you money in the past or currently. It would be a good way to say “Thank You” to me.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Aquabot Breeze SE Robotic Pool Cleaner Priced Under $500!

The Aquabot Breeze SE is one of Aquabot's newest robotic pool cleaners. It is loaded with features but is priced at the entry level price point of under $500. Aquabot is the leading manufacturer of robotic cleaners and the Breeze SE is a great machine. Below I will detail some of the features that make the Breeze SE a Top Pick for a robotic pool cleaner for your pool.

The Breeze SE has a compact and well balanced design that is suitable for all pool surface types. The first thing that sets the Breeze SE apart is that it has top loading debris chambers that filter the pool water down to 2 microns. That is equivalent to the filtration of a D.E. Filter. The debris chamber is lined with a fine filter media that traps dirt, leaves and small particles down to 2 microns. It is an incredible filtration level for a cleaner priced under $500.

Unlike the other Aquabot models in this price range, the Breeze SE features a scrubbing brush to help loosen up dirt and algae in the pool surface. This is a Hyper-Scrubbing brush that spins 2X faster than a standard robots scrubbing brush. You just don't find too many cleaners in this price range equipped with a scrubbing brush.

Probably the only drawback with the Breeze SE is that it only comes with 40 feet of cable. So for a very large pool you might not have enough cable, but for a small to standard size pool the cable should be more than sufficient. The cable comes with Aquabot's patented swivel to help prevent cord tangling. The cord is also made out of a thick material which further prevents cord tangling.

The Breeze SE also pumps an industry leading 80 gallons per minute. For such a compact cleaner that is a lot of water moving thru it. The cleaner is designed to climb the walls only to the cove of the pool, or where the wall starts to go up from the pool bottom. But in my testing the cleaner climbed a lot higher up in my pool, so climbing ability will vary. Suffice to say that this thing is very powerful and moves very well in a pool.

The cleaner operates in a forward and backward motion with a tab in front that you can move to adjust the cleaner axle. If you put the tab directly in the middle it will just go over a small area of the pool. Moving the tab more to the right or left will create a good curved motion and the cleaner moving in the forward and backward pattern will clean the entire pool. This simple cleaning pattern also makes the Breeze SE less prone to breaking down.

The Breeze SE does come with a 2 year limited warranty. Year one is a 100% bumper to bumper warranty and year two is a limited warranty.

The Breeze SE is packed with features and the price point is very affordable, so you get a lot of return on your investment in this cleaner. It filters down to 2 microns, pumps 80 gallons per minute and has a light weight and sleek design. You won't find a better robotic pool cleaner for the price.

The Good:
Filters down to 2 microns
Top loading debris chambers
Hyper-Scrubbing Brush
Pumps 80 gallons per minute
Cord Swivel
Light weight
2 year limited warranty

The Bad:
Only 40 ft of cable

To see more Aquabot Robotic cleaners I have reviewed -