Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Bidding Process from the Homeowner and the Service Company's Perspective

As a homeowner looking for any type of pool service whether it be monthly service, a one time clean up or an install or repair, there are certain things to looks for. Of course, in my opinion, the most important thing you need to check for is to see if the service provider is licensed and insured. Insured in the respect that they carry a General Liability policy of at least 2 million dollars or more. Not that anything will likely happen, but something might happen none the less. Without insurance, there is little recourse in my opinion.

The best way to find a good pool service company is the old-fashioned way. Ask a friend or family member whom they use for service. The number one way to gain business is still through referrals from current customers. In some cases, over 25% of new clients may come from referrals from current clients. So, you always want to, of course, keep your clients 100% satisfied with your service. This means showing up every week and addressing any issues or problems right away.

You want to make the bid concise with everything disclosed. For example: “For a pool your size it will be $90 per month. This includes the Acid and Liquid Chlorine but does not including any Conditioner, 3” Tablets or other chemicals. Those would be charged to you each month separately when needed. There is also, an $85 filter cleaning charge and I clean all the filters twice a year in March and then again in September. If your filter needs additional cleaning, there will be an additional $85 charge at the time of that cleaning.”

Another common mistake is underbidding the service account. Look carefully at all the factors around the service account. Large trees surrounding the pool will mean more time each week cleaning the pool. Pool running on poor or old equipment will mean more chemical usage. No automatic cleaner means you will be vacuuming the pool more often. A very large pool takes more time and chemicals. All of this should be quickly assessed and factored into the bid. If you bid too low, it is hard to come back the next month and tell the customer it will be $20 more per month. That doesn’t go over very well.

You are also assessing the potential client during the bidding process. Is the customer someone, you can work with long term or are there some red flags? Here are some red flags to look for:

A potential customer is rude and short with you.

They seem very demanding or overly picky.

The equipment is old and needs to be replaced but customer doesn’t want to invest in new equipment.

They complain endlessly about the previous service company.

They try to cut your service rate down when you give them your bid amount.

One even asked me one time, “Is it legal for my previous pool service to put a lien on my house for non-payment?” Not kidding.

And finally, don’t touch anything. Don’t open pump lids, don’t open the filter tank or filter air relief. Don’t touch the Automated System. Don’t pull the cleaner to the side to inspect it. It probably won’t happen, but chances are something that could break at that very moment. Or you might have trouble putting the pump lid back on. Or the cleaner hose will snap as you pull it to the side. It is not your service account yet, so hands-off. After you land the account then if something breaks you can fix it. I had this happen to me, so you are better off just standing by the pool with your hands in your pockets.

Monday, September 16, 2019

The Pool Blaster Hydro 100 Cord-free Pool and Spa Cleaner

The Pool Blaster Hydro 100 Cord-free Pool and Spa cleaner is a surprisingly powerful and I was really impressed by how well this little vacuum worked. This is not a device to be used for larger pools, but it is perfect for your above ground spa, kiddy pool, and water features. I suppose you could use it for a larger pool, but I would suggest in that case to purchase the Hydro 500 instead. For around $100 the Hydro 100 is a great buy.

Here is a description of the Hydro 100 from Water Tech:
A cord-free, rechargeable, easy solution for removing debris from any pool or spa. Lightweight and simple to use. The well-balanced design offers a comfortable handheld feel for quick cleanup. 

Transform to extended-reach cleanup by attaching the free 4-piece sectional pole. Water Tech's Pool Blaster Hydro 100 is another great product offered by Water Tech, The Pool Invention People. 

•SKU: 14051AL
•Includes USB Cable for Charging
(USB Charging Adapter Not Included)
•Run time: Up to 40 minutes

•Push Button ON/OFF Switch
•Includes (1) Reusable All Purpose Filter Bag
•Includes 4 Piece Sectional Pool Pole
•Includes 2 Vacuum Heads
•Quickly removes all debris, leaves, sand, and algae
•Cordless, No Hoses Needed
•Attaches to any standard telescopic pool pole

The Water Tech Aqua Broom is probably their most popular small vacuum but that runs off of four “D” batteries which in my opinion is a dated tech. Hydro 100 is more powerful than the Aqua Broom and the battery is water sealed and rechargeable. So if you are comparing the two look at the Hydro 100 as the vacuum of the future and the Aqua Broom as the old standby.  If you have an older Aqua Broom this would be a great update for you.

I think the number one question is how well the Hydro 100 picks up debris. The chamber does look deceivingly small. In my testing, though I found that the little bag actually picked up and held a good volume of dirt and leaves. The fact that it trapped so much dirt was also very impressive to me. Again, the debris bag looks pretty small, but it has a good capacity for debris.

I think the Hydro 100 is one of the top choices for a small battery-powered vacuum. If you don’t need a full-size vacuum and you are budget conscious the Hydro 100 has al of the elements that make it a great buy.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Swimming Pool Filter Cleaning Tips

If you do pool service and clean 60 or 80 filters every 6 months, or if you are a homeowner who cleans their own filter, the process can be both messy and time-consuming. There are ways to speed up the process and I will share some tips here for you.

The first thing is staying clean and if you do 4-6 filters in one day that can be challenging. A few years ago I got smart and decided to wear a cooking apron. This allowed me to take apart filters all day and still stay relatively clean. I recently upgraded to a water-resistant vinyl apron which also now keeps me clean as well as dry. I also get aprons with pockets so that I can put the filter knob or bolt in a safe place while I clean the filter. Sometimes you will set the bolt or nut down somewhere and lose it. To prevent wasted time looking for the filter bolt, just stick it in your apron pocket. Also, a must are long pants and long sleeve shirts for those very rough fiberglass lids (to keep your arms from getting fiberglass splinters as you put the lid back on). I also wear waterproof boots that keep my feet dry all day and also give me great traction in wet and muddy areas.

I use an old shoulder bag to carry all of my gear back each time. Everything is in this bag. My drill, screwdrivers, extra parts, silicone spray, etc. This allows me to make one trip back and eliminates wasted time going back to my truck. Another good idea is to carry your own spray nozzle and hose, a lot of times the customer’s hose is in bad shape. To save time by using your own hose and nozzle versus spending extra time fighting with a torn hose or bad or weak nozzle.

The Multi-Tork Socket sets are a great tool to quickly remove the filter bold or clamp and to put it back on rapidly. These sockets are designed for the most common filter models. Just attach the socket to your cordless drill, set the socket over the filter bolt and turn it on to unscrew it in mere seconds. Once you start using the Multi-Tork Sockets you will be amazed at the time saved at each filter. In fact, if you do five filters a day and at each one, you save 3 minutes that is equal to over one hour each week. To learn more about the Multi-Tork Sockets:

I also carry a variety of spare parts on my truck. Basically, everything I need is on my truck for every filter on my pool route. I carry grids of various sizes, o-rings for every tank and plenty of nuts and filter bolts. This saves loads of time because you are not going back later or the next day because of one small part. On occasion when I need to replace more than 1-2 grids I will have to leave the pool off and return with a full 8-grid set. But this is not very common. I care everything needed to complete the cleaning and this in itself is a great time saver.

Another big time saver is that I switched over to silicone spray lube vs the Magic Lube for the filter tank o-ring. Not only is it cleaner and quicker to apply, but the o-rings last a lot longer with the silicone spray. I am only changing 2-3 o-rings per 70 filters where before I was changing at least a 12-14. The silicone seems to extend the life of the filter tank o-ring and the lids are very easy to get back on the tank. My supplier currently stocks the BOS-60-3062 BOSS SILICONE LUBRICANT SPRAY but any silicone spray like the ones they sell for RV’s will work just fine. Using silicone spray is a great time saver.

Time is money and when you are cleaning multiple filters, anything you can do to shave off 5 or 10 minutes means the more filters you can clean per day.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Are Pool and Spa Photometer Water Testers Accurate?

Have you ever wondered if digital pool photometers are accurate? It is hard to compare them to a reagent drop test or test strips and the only real way to test if they are accurate is to put them up against another photometer. I had just the opportunity to test their accuracy when I was able to use five PoolLab 1.0 photometers and my eXact iDip Photometer/Digital Tester.

Keep in mind this wasn’t done in a laboratory and I tried to get the exact same amount of sample water in each photometer, but there is a slight margin of error in this type of experiment. Even so, all of the test results from the testing were right in line with each other. This goes to show how accurate photometer testing really is.

Here is how a photometer works:
“Most photometers detect the light with photoresistors, photodiodes or photomultipliers. To analyze the light, the photometer may measure the light after it has passed through a filter or through a monochromator for determination at defined wavelengths or for analysis of the spectral distribution of the light.” -Wikipedia

The water sample in blanked or zeroed out so that the photometer tester gets an accurate reading on the state of the water sample before the reagent is introduced. Once the reagent is put in the water sample, the photometer tester will read the color change of the water sample. For example in the pH testing, the lighter the color the lower the pH, just like in a reagent test kit or the tabs on a test strip. The darker the color the higher the pH. The thing about the digital photometer is that it will read the color exactly and give you a digital readout of what the pH is based on the color spectrum. This eliminates user error and the need to guess at what color the reagent is.

The first test was for the pH. I used the same exact water sample in each PoolLab 1.0 and the eXact pH+ Digital Tester. The results were all within 00.10 of each other.

eXact pH +           = 7.73
PoolLab 1.0 Unit 1 = 7.73
PoolLab 1.0 Unit 2 = 7.67
PoolLab 1.0 Unit 3 = 7.63
PoolLab 1.0 Unit 4 = 7.63
PoolLab 1.0 Unit 5 = 7.59

Interesting how the pH was dropping slightly over time. Between the first test and the last test, about 5 minutes had elapsed. I did press the wrong button on the PoolLab 1.0 Unit 3 and had to reset it so that delayed things a bit. I was more careful about the Alkalinity test that I did next so that wouldn’t happen again. But you can see with even factoring in that the 10 ML sample may not have been exactly precise in each PoolLab 1.0 Unit, the results were all within the range of each other.

The PoolLab 1.0 uses a pre-measured tablet that you simply break up in the photometer chamber. This releases the reagent. The eXact pH+ uses a probe that measures the pH in the sample and no regent is needed. Digital Testers are extremely accurate within +/- 0.1% so I was sure that the pH was 7.73 in this test.

Here are the results for the Alkalinity test with five PoolLab 1.0 and the eXact iDip photometer. The eXact iDip uses a pre-measured test strip vs the tablets of the PoolLab 1.0.

eXact iDip Photometer = 146 ppm
PoolLab 1.0 Unit 1 = 156
PoolLab 1.0 Unit 2 = 153
PoolLab 1.0 Unit 3 = 146
PoolLab 1.0 Unit 4 = 147
PoolLab 1.0 Unit 5 = 149

The average between the 6 testers is 149 ppm and this is within the margin of error for the Alkalinity test. Basically, 4 of the 6 results were right in line with each other with one being 10 ppm over the others. This can be accounted for if the water sample wasn’t exactly 10 ML in one of the units. The pre-measured tablets all came from the same package so the only real variable is the 10 ML water sample.

These results show that using a digital photometer for your pool and spa water testing is very accurate. If you used the correct water sample volume and the correct reagent amount, the test can be relied on accurate.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

What is on My Servie Truck: A Look at my Current Pool Equipment

I am always testing new products and of course using old standby equipment on my pool service route. I always like to go over the current equipment I am so that you too can benefit from some great products.

I will start with my current vacuum systems. I have a Power Vac in my garage which in itself is an awesome vacuum system. The reason it is not currently on my truck is that I am still putting the Riptide Vacuum System to the test. This is a relatively new system but excellent. It has the same 30 lbs thrust motor found on the Power Vac and Hammer-Head Vacuum System and the shell of the Riptide is the main thing that puts it above the others. The vacuum head is made out of a durable plastic that comes with a 10-year warranty. So, you are getting a well build Vacuum System with the Riptide.

The Vacuum System I am using the most is the Bottom Feeder. It weighs just 12 lbs including the battery and has no cords. So it is not only light and compact but easy to use. Just connect it to your pool pole and drop it in. That easy. It has an 18 lbs thrust motor but is still plenty powerful for large piles of leaf debris. It also can be used with a cartridge adapter – basically a cartridge filter on top that allows it to vacuum down to 20 microns. The only drawback is that the battery is good for only 2 hours before needing to be recharged. All in all a great little portable vacuum system.

Currently, I am testing out the Primate Carbon Fiber Pool Poles and I am using all three versions. They make a 3X Tri-Pole, a 2X two-piece 8-16 ft pole and a small 6-11 ft pole called the 2X BETA. These are great poles that are super light, each weighs around 2 lbs. and the carbon fiber makes them 3 times stronger than aluminum. The price point is on the higher end due to the carbon fiber material. But if you are looking for a premium pool pole, look no further.

Here is a playlist featuring all the Primate Pool Poles:

I also use the Smart Company Power Pole which is a great 2-piece pole and the quick push lever lock button is excellent. The 2nd tube slides out so smoothly and locks into place in an instant. A great pole also. Most recently I have also been testing the Skimlite SnapLite pole which is very similar to the Power Pole. The version I am testing is the SnapLite 3617 Tri-Pole that extends from 6 ft to 17 ft. A great compact Tri-Pole with the excellent build quality of Skimlite. I am a bit of a pool pole junky and I have close to a dozen different poles in my garage at this time.

Skimlite SnapLite Poles: 
Piranha Power Pole:

I really like the Water Tech Battery operated vacuums and I am always trying out their latest homeowner version. Currently, I am using their new Hydro 500 which is an excellent cleaner. It features their new cone design with the expanded debris chamber and exceptional power. Of course I am still using Precision 2.0 and it is going on 2 years now and still working great. With the sand silt bag, it can pick up algae dust as well as D.E. and is pretty amazing.

So the equipment on my truck is constantly changing as I try new products out. I will revisit my truck in 2020 and let you know how these are holding up and what I new equipment I am using.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Primate 2X BETA 6FT by 11 FT Carbon Fiber Skimming Pool Pole

Primate 2X  BETA (6 x 11ft) Telescoping Pool Pole is the latest edition to the line-up of the Primate Carbon Fiber Pool Poles. This pole is specifically designed for skimming a pool’s surface, brushing a pool, cleaning out small spas, water features, above ground pools and smaller in-ground pools. It is small, compact and weighs a little over 1.5 lbs.

Here is more from Primate Pool Tools:

Primate 2X BETA (6 x 11 ft) Telescoping Pool Pole
Description: The P2X BETA is identical to its brothers the P3X and 2X in strength and durability and features our flagship lever lock mechanism. However, this version (BETA) is a smaller more compact 2-part pole for those who would prefer something smaller and lighter for skimming, brushing, and tile scrubbing.


Measurements: Collapsed length – 72″, fully extended – 144″

Weight: 1 lb. 10 oz

Materials: Carbon fiber tubing with fiberglass reinforcement at stress and wear points.

This is becoming my favorite Primate Pole. I really love the compact size and the weight of this pole. Of course, if you are using it to vacuum a pool that is over 6 feet deep you will need the larger Primate Pole or an Extension. But for skimming and cleaning those smaller bodies of water this pole is more than perfect. On my route, there are lots of opportunities to use this little guy an much of my route consists of smaller pools and spas.

The compact size of this pole is amazing. When fully retracted it is less than 6 ft in length. Meaning you can tuck it away inside your truck bed or put it in your truck’s backseat. If you service pools with tight areas or have a screened-in pool, the 2X BETA would be a perfect fit. It is so easy to store, carry and use that it is a must-have 2nd pole option. I carry the Primate 2X 8ft by 16 ft pole and this little guy and it is a great pole combo.

The fact that it only extends out to a little under 11 ft. is a bit of a drawback for vacuuming. The intended purpose of this pole is for surface skimming but that doesn’t mean it is any weaker than the other Primate Poles. It is made from the same carbon fiber and the front is also reinforced with fiberglass. It is small but mighty. If you do need to use it for vacuuming, I suggest picking up the Primate X 6ft extension. Just clip on the Primate X to the front of the 2X BETA and you now have a pole that extends to 17 ft.

It features the same Lever Lock as the other Primate Poles making it very easy to extend the 2nd section out and bring it in. I find that the combination of the lightness and the ability to easily extend the pole a great skimming combination. Using it all day on your pool route will save the strain on your back as well as your wrists. If you have a bad back or wrist issues, this pole will make your day easier and you will really feel the difference after one week.

The price point of the 2X BETA is great and currently, it is $139.00 on their site. Very affordable and for that price you are getting an exceptionally well-made product.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Some Tips For Dealing with Heavy Debris Swimming Pools

If you have a pool that gets a lot of leaf debris in it each week or if you service pools that have heavy debris, there are a few things you can do to make it at least manageable. I will go over some of the things that I think will help you the most with a heavy debris pool.

This sounds simple and it is probably the thing that will help the most, but it is one thing many customers do not want to do. Simply, trim the trees and keep them trimmed back every season. Trimming the trees around the pool can go a long way in eliminating excessive leaf debris. If you haven’t had your trees trimmed in years, it is probably way overdue. Trimming the trees get rid of all the leaf debris that would fall off into the pool over time and will also prevent a lot of the leaves that would fall in from overhanging branches. I have had many clients also just take a tree or several trees out because managing the debris was a losing battle. But simply trimming the trees around the pool will help.

A device that I really love and which works surprisingly well is the PoolSkim. It is a simple device that you connect to one of your pool’s return lines and it acts as a secondary skimmer. You will need to have 1 ½” threaded return lines to connect the PoolSkim but once connected it uses the return jet to trap debris into a bag. Amazingly you will see an 80% or more drop in the total leaf debris and not only on the surface but on the bottom as well. The PoolSkim will pick up the leaves before they have a chance to drop to the bottom of the pool.

To learn more about the PoolSkim:

Once the debris falls to the bottom of the pool a conventional manual vacuum attached to your pool system will usually not be effective. The debris is usually too large for the vacuum head. The cheapest thing you can use to pick up the leaf debris is a Leaf Bagger or Leaf Master. This device is designed to use water pressure to push debris into a large bag on top. They work surprisingly well. You would simply attach a garden hose to the Leaf Master, attach the Leaf Master to your standard pool pole and drop it to the pool bottom. Turn on the garden hose and watch the debris be blasted into the bag on top. Very effective and easy to use.

To learn more about the Leaf Master:

If you do service for a living the Leaf Master is great, but to really maximize your time out there you are better off investing in a Vacuum System. This is a device that has been around for about 15 years that works off of the same concept of a Leaf Master but on steroids. It is powered by a 30 lbs. thrust motor, think powerboat and is powered by a large battery, much like the ones found on boats and power wheelchairs. You can typically run a vacuum system for hours before recharging the battery. This means you can vacuum multiple heavy debris pools quickly and save tons of time on your route. These are very handy for wind prone areas like mine where the Santa Ana winds make a mess of everything from October through February.

There are a few popular vacuum system and I have videos on the three that I use.

Riptide Vacuum System:

A vacuum system is a big investment for sure with prices starting at $1,000 and going up to $1,700 but in the long run, they will pay off. Even if you are a homeowner with a heavy debris pool a vacuum system is the way to go over spending the money on a Robotic or Pressure Side Cleaner. For about the same cost you can purchase a Power Vac or Riptide with a battery case and vacuum your pool with ease each week. Something to consider if your pool is trashed each week with debris.
A pool that gets a large amount of debris each week can be a real pain to keep clean. But with the right equipment, you can make quick work of it.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Primate 2X Carbon Fiber 8-16 Ft Pool Pole - Weighs just 2 lbs!

Primate 2X (8 x 16 ft) Telescoping Pool Pole is the latest edition to the line-up of the Primate Carbon Fiber Pool Poles. If you use a standard 2-piece pole on your pool route, the Primate 2X pole would be a great fit for you. The Carbon Fiber makes it extremely durable and light which is a perfect combination for a professional pool pole.

Here is more from Primate Pool Tools:

The P2X is the newest edition to our carbon fiber service pole series. It is identical to its brother the P3X in strength, weight, and durability and features our flagship lever lock mechanism.

However, this version is a 2-part pole for those who would prefer a traditional 8 x 16 ft service pole. 

Measurements: Collapsed length – 96″, fully extended – 184″
Weight: 2 lb. 4 oz
Materials: Carbon fiber tubing with fiberglass reinforcement at stress and wear points.

The 2X pole is almost the same length as the 3X pole when fully extended. The 3X will extend to 15’ 7” and the 2X pole fully extended is 15’ 4” so the difference is pretty slight. If you are wondering the 8 x 16 ft Power Pole extends to just about the same length as the 2X Primate Pole.
This pole was specifically designed for the service techs who prefer the 8 x 16 ft pool poles.

Another main difference is that the 3X will collapse down to 6 ft making it a very compact pole. The 2X only collapses down to 8 ft so it is not as compact but weighs the same 2 lbs. 4 oz. It just feels a bit heavier because of the weight distribution. If you already use an 8 x 16 ft pool pole your will really like the 2X pole. I find it convenient to have just two pole sections, although I am a big fan of the tri-pole configuration. But I know the 3-piece pole does not appeal to everyone.

The fact that this pole weighs just a little over 2 lbs. is the game-changer here. I have a bad back and a bad wrist and using these carbon fiber poles has really been a blessing. It may not seem like much going from a 3 lbs. pole to a 2 lbs. pole but it does make a pretty big difference throughout the day. After one week with the 2X Primate Pole, you will certainly notice that your back and wrists feel a lot better. Skimming and brushing are much easier and just carrying your stuff back and forth is much easier.

The price point may be prohibitive to some. I always say get the best equipment and since it is a tax write off anyway, why not? But the pole does retail for $219 and if you are a member of my Coaching Group you do get $20 off. It is not the fact that they are making a ton of money off of each pole, the price of the Carbon Fiber material and the labor to have each pole handspun here in the USA makes the price point higher than your standard aluminum pool pole.

The fact that it is made from Carbon Fiber means that the pole should outlast any aluminum service pole. The Carbon Fiber won’t make it indestructible, but it is 3X stronger than aluminum and the front is reinforced with fiberglass.

If you wanted to extend the pole to make it longer for Commercial accounts or for those residential pools that require a longer pole, Primate sells 6 ft and 8 ft snap-on extensions called the Primate “X” which are also carbon fiber and will extend the 2X pole to 21 ft or 23 ft depending on which the extension you purchase. You can also use another extension to take the pole to 30 ft.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Tips on Draining Your Swimming Pool

Draining your swimming pool sounds simple enough. But there are many things to be aware of and some things that you overlook could cost you thousands of dollars and could cause potential damage to your pool.

The only in-ground pool types that you can safely drain are plaster/cement and Pebble Tec pools. If you drain a drop-in fiberglass pool down the walls may collapse and the pool can be damaged. If you drain in an in-ground vinyl pool the liner can separate from the wall and this will severely damage the pool to the point where you will need a new liner. The drop-in Fiberglass Pool and an in-ground Vinyl Pool should only be drained by a company the specializes in them. Otherwise, you can potentially damage these types of pools by draining them down.

The first thing to check is how your city looks at pool draining. Most cities in every region ban draining your pool down directly into the gutter outside in the street. Here in my area if you drain a green pool or a blue pool directly into the street in front of your house you will get cited and the fines can range from $5,000 to $10,000. A steep price to pay for not following the city rules.

The best place to drain a pool down is directly into the sewer line. Locating the serer line on the property can be the hard part. If the customer has never had his mainline snaked by a plumber, they may not know where it is even located. You are looking for a black pipe with a square cap that will fit an adjustable wrench. Usually, it is 3 inches or more in diameter. I find some right behind where the kitchen sink is located on the house. Sometimes they are next to a bathroom. Seen a few just on the side of the house. Mine happens to be in my garage floor covered with a metal cap. Some may be covered up by bushes or even dirt if it is set low enough.

One trick if you cannot locate the sewer line is to use the washing machine waste line. This also goes directly into the sewer. If the washing machine is in a downstairs room or the garage, simply remove the waste line and insert your pool hose, making sure it is deep enough to stay in and not fall out. Now you can drain the pool down into the sewer line through the washing machine’s waste line.

You also do not want to drain the pool directly into the yard around the pool. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it may seem convenient to just let the water run into the dirt around your pool area. The problem with this is that you are putting 15,000 or 20,000 gallons of water directly into the soil around your pool, raising the water table – meaning the ground is getting saturated with water and once the pool is empty the weight of the water is no longer holding the pool down. If the water under the pool is very wet, the pool may simply lift and pop out. This is called pool pop-out which is rare but draining the water into the soil around the pool could cause this.

Speaking of pools popping out, it is extremely rare. The ground will need to totally saturated with water and this can only happen if you drain the pool into the soil or if you have some serious rain, 4-6 inches in a short period of time. The pool shell is extremely heavy with all of the gunite and rebar so it is not a common experience. A pool builder in Florida constructed over 2,000 pools and only 2 pools ever popped out. Both pools were empty after the gunite and there was hurricane type rainfall. In most areas, you should not be concerned about the pool popping out.

One concern when the pool is empty is the ambient temperature. If you drain a pool in 95-100 degree weather and leave it empty for more than 24 hours there is a chance the Sun can damage the exposed plaster surface. After refilling you may notice cracking and chipping of the plaster. This is due to the Sun exposure and if the plaster is older or in poor shape you risk damaging it by draining the pool on a very hot day. You also do not want to drain a pool that his chips and cracks in it to begin with. This will lead to more chipping and cracking.

If you are in doubt, I would have someone who specializes in draining pools look at your pool first to evaluate it. Partial draining to lower the CYA or the salt content is common and doesn’t present much of an issue. Just be sure to drain it directly into the sewer line to avoid potential fines from your city.

Monday, August 19, 2019

eXact iDip Professional Test Kit

The eXact iDip® Professional Test Kit is one of the most underrated Photometer/Digital Test Kits on the market today. The concept is a bit complicated and I can see why most pool pros and homeowners pass on it. After using it and testing the kit I can say it is extremely easy to use and very accurate. So accurate that it is EPA approved for the Free and Total Chlorine Tests. The Professional Test Kit would be perfect for Commercial Pool use as well as Residential Pool use.

Let me try to take the mystery out of the eXact iDip Kits. It is a photometer that reads the color released on the pre-measured test strip. Other photometers use reagents or pills but the concept is the same. The photometer will read the light spectrum and give you a digital readout of the test factor you are doing at that moment. The eXact iDip is very accurate when done correctly.

It also links via Bluetooth with the downloadable app and you do all the testing from the app on your phone or device. The test results can be saved and also emailed to yourself or your customer. The one negative and the aspect that leads to confusion is that only the Chlorine, Alkalinity and pH test comes free included in the app. Additional test parameters will need to be purchased and downloaded in-app at $4.99 each or as a bundle (Pool Bundle) for $8.99. This is a onetime purchase so if you want to test for the CYA or Calcium Hardness you would need to purchase those test parameters for the app. There are over 40 test parameters available.

Once you purchase the test parameter for say, Copper, you would then need to order the Copper test strips.  Now the eXact iDip can test for Copper going forward as long as you have the test strips. Once the test parameter is purchased you have unlimited use of it. Should the test parameters all be free? I think that would help sell the product but it is the decision of the parent company Industrial Test Systems and not mine. You would purchase the test parameters and test strips that you need and truthfully you don’t need all 40 plus. Besides Copper, I would suggest Iron, Phosphates, and Nitrates give yourself a well-rounded tester.

The pH+ is a pretty nice digital water tester. It can do pH, Conductivity, TDS, Salinity and water temperature. If you purchase the optional ORP probe you can swap out the pH probe and also record the ORP. It is a very versatile and accurate digital tester and together with the eXact iDip it makes the Pro-Test Kit a real winner. The number of test factors that these two testers can do will take your water testing to a new level.

The coolest feature is that with the reading from the iDip and pH+ the app will give you the Langelier Saturation Index (LSI) reading by extracting the results from the test factors recorded from your water sample. This is a great way to check to see if the water is corrosive or scale forming. This alone makes this test kit by far the most comprehensive one on the market today.

To order the Pro-Kit and save 15% use this promo code: SPLEARNIDIP

For the Starter Kit order here with Promo code to save 15%:

Here is more about the eXact iDip from the manufacturer:

“The eXact iDip® Professional Test Kit is the latest generation test kit that combines two state of the art water quality test instruments. The first is the revolutionary Level 1 NSF/ANSI-50 Certified eXact iDip® Smart Photometer System which integrates patented 2–way wireless communication with any compatible iOS or Android smart device and has the potential to test over 40 water parameters. The second is the NEW eXact® pH+ Smart Meter system which capitalizes on electrochemistry technology combined with Bluetooth connectivity.
Pre-configured kit comes with exactly what is needed to start testing (excluding app software). Packed in a rugged and durable plastic case with secure fasteners and padded compartments. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with the minimum iOS system version 9.0 and Android version 5.0 with Bluetooth® 4.0.

Standard navy blue plastic carrying case w/ Foam included
eXact iDip® 525 Photometer
eXact pH+ Smart Meter System
pH 4 & pH 7 buffer solution pouches
Cleaning brush
Acrylic Calibration Key
Instruction manual
25 tests of each
Total Alkalinity, pH, Free Chlorine (DPD-1), Combined/Total Chlorine (DPD-3), Calcium Hardness, Cyanuric Acid, Conductivity, TDS, Salinity, and Temperature
Free downloadable app with pre-installed tests: pH, Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, Total Alkalinity. Additional test parameters will need to be purchased and downloaded in-app at at $4.99 each or as a bundle (Pool Bundle) for $8.99”