Saturday, June 29, 2019

iChlor Salt Cell Overview

The Pentair iChlor is a great salt water system and the control panel is very user-friendly. There are a lot of different lights and functions so to clear things up for you I made a short video going over all of the lights and functions.

The Status LED indicates the following on the iChlor Salt System.
Cell Status: Shows the status of the iChlor.
Green: iChlor is operating normally and producing chlorine.
No Light: iChlor is off and not producing chlorine. It may be in an off-period of the sanitizing cycle and will return on shortly. This happens if the percentage is set to less than 100%. If you set it at 20% the iChlor will be running for 12 minutes every hour and off for 48 minutes. So the cell light will be off when it is not producing during that time. There is nothing wrong with the unit.

Red: iChlor is in “Standby” mode (system off, no chlorine production) due to a cold water condition. The iChlor will resume to normal operation mode, including salinity report, once water temperature rises above 52° F (11° C). In this mode, the display will read “COLD” to indicate the condition. The salt cell will not function or produce salt in water temperatures below 52° F (11° C).
Short Red Flash: Unit has detected a malfunction on the temperature sensor, and will indicate it with
short red flashes either while the cell is off (LED off), or while the cell is ON (Green LED). The unit will continue normal operation, but salinity indication might not be accurate until the flow switch is replaced.

Green (Flashing): iChlor needs to be inspected. The blades may have calcium buildup or any other
condition that causes a lack of conductivity. The iChlor is not producing chlorine.
In this mode, the display will read “CELL” to indicate the condition. Clean the salt cell at this time to remove the calcium build up.

Flow Status: This light indicates the status of water flowing through the iChlor.
Red: Insufficient water flow through the iChlor, no chlorine is being produced.
Green: Sufficient water flow to produce chlorine.
Short Flickering: Short flickering: iChlor is in communication with an IntelliFlo pump, and it is monitoring the pump status. This short flickering will be present as long as there is communication with the pump, either with no flow (RED FLOW LED) or with good flow (GREEN FLOW LED).

Here is what the Salt Level LED Light indicates.
Green LED: Good salt level. The pool water salt level is between 3000 ppm and 4500.
Green LED (Flashing): Salt level is above 4500 ppm. The salt level is too high
Red LED: Low salt. The salt level is between 2600 ppm and 3000 ppm. Ithe iChlor will stillproduce chlorine but at a reduced level.
Red LED (Flashing) Very low salt. The salt level is between 2000 ppm and 2600 ppm. The iChlor
will produce chlorine at a very reduced rate.
Red LED (Flashing): Not enough salt. The salt level has fallen below 2000 ppm. The iChlor will not produce chlorine.

Digital Display Overview:
The iChlor  Display shows the “output %” and cell polarity, while it is operating.

To adjust output percentage simply press either LESS or MORE button. If your iChlor is connected and controlled by a Pentair Automated system you will not be able to adjust the output from the cell, only from the automated system settings or the app.

Once the output begins to flash on the digital display, this indicates that the iChlor is ready to change output levels. While output is flashing, press LESS or MORE button, to change output in 1% increments.

Note: Press and hold LESS or MORE button to change output in larger increments (5% jumps).

Once the desired setting is programmed and you stop changing the setting, the digital display will stop flashing after a few seconds.

The last setting after the digital display stops flashing will be the new set output level.

Cell polarity indicator:
Cell polarity is displayed as a small rotating character on the left side of the output % display. Clockwise rotation indicates Forward polarity on the blades. Counterclockwise rotation indicates Reverse polarity on the blades. The rotating feature also indicates chlorine production. If the cell is OFF, the character will not be displayed.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Adding DE to your Filter: a Detailed Guide

Adding the right amount of D.E. (Diatomaceous Earth) can be challenging as the measurement guides can vary from bag to bag. Adding too much or too little can affect filter performance and water quality. Note: You DO NOT use D.E. in a Cartridge filter - it will clog it up.

The simplest way to add the correct amount is with a D.E. scoop. I use the DE EZ Scoop (1 Lb.) by Aladdin (300). You can find an exact clone of this scoop at Leslie's pool supplies. This takes all the guesswork out of adding D.E. to your pool.

In the video, you will see my D.E. amount recommendation but you can also use the one on the Aladdin cup itself which is one scoop per 5 sq. ft. of filter area. I was trained by an old-time pool guy who had over 40 years of experience and the measurements I use were passed down to me by him and I have been using the same D.E. measurements for over 15 years now.

I have cleaned over 4,000 filters with the majority until recently being D.E. filters (Cartridge filters are becoming more popular and make up a good percentage of the filters I clean now). So, you will have satisfactory results using either.

The D.E. bag or box also has some other tips like adding a cup of D.E. before a big party. You can do this without harm, but I just make sure my D.E. filters opened up and cleaned every six months with occasional backwashing in the Summer after heavy use or when the gauge goes up 10 psi from the clean pressure (example: If the gauge reads 20 psi after cleaning and two months later goes up to 30 psi I will backwash the filter).

Anytime the gauge is at 30 psi or over it is time to backwash in most cases (some filters however just run high due to the return line plumbing). But in most cases, the pressure gauge is an effective way to tell if you need to backwash your filter.

Backwashing tip: If you open the valve to backwash your filter and nothing but clear water comes out then it is time to take it apart and clean it. That means the D.E. has compacted and turned to a clay-like consistency and won't come off the grids in backwash mode.

Note: All measurements below are with the Aladdin DE Scoop

My recommended dosage amount of D.E.:
36 sq. ft filter = 6 full scoops
48 sq. ft filter = 8 full scoops
60 sq. ft filter = 10 full scoops
72 sq. ft filter = 12 full scoops

45 sec to 1-minute filter backwashing with the Aladdin 300 DE E-Z Scoop:

24 sq ft filter: 2 scoops
36 sq ft filter: 3 scoops
48 sq ft filter: 4 scoops
60 sq ft filter: 6 scoops
72 sq ft filter: 8 scoops

How Much D.E. (Diatomaceous Earth) do I Add?:
QUAD D.E.® Cartridge Style Filter – How to Add D.E.:

Aqua-Cel DE Pool Filter Media is the safest way to add Diatomaceous Earth (DE), to your DE filter. It comes in a 12 lbs. bag with 12 water-soluble bags inside each weighing one pound. To recharge your DE filter, you would just take the water-soluble bag and drop it into the skimmer while the pool is running. The bag will dissolve in 40-60 seconds and you will not be exposed to any of the dust from the DE powder.

They are also pre-measured, and each water-soluble bag contains 1 lb. of DE. This makes adding the correct amount of DE to your filter very easy. Just follow the dosage chart on the back of the bag for your filter size and that is it. Take out a water-soluble bag, drop it in the skimmer, watch it dissolve and then add another bag. It is that simple. Every 12 lbs. bag of Aqua-Cel comes with 12 pre-measured bags so one bag is enough for your filter cleaning. Depending on your filter size and how often you backwash, one bag of Aqua-Cel could last you the entire year. Aqua-Cel is also great for Backwashing your filter during the season.

CelaPool™, a revolutionary new low dust diatomaceous earth (DE) filter aid by EP Minerals. CelaPool is a form of DE that produces very little dust, in fact, none at all in my testing.

It is a relatively new product and it is not widely available yet. PoolCorp (SCP & Superior) will be stocking it sometime in 2017 for the pool service professional. Leslie's Pools should also stock it for the retail pool customer so check with your local pool store. Since it is new it is rather expensive online but available:

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Brute Pole by Skimlite - the Strongest Pool Pole Ever!

I have been using the Skimlite pool poles since I started servicing pools back in 1988. It has always been my go-to pool pole and over the years Skimlite has expanded their professional grade pool pole line up significantly. I will go over two of their newest lines of poles, the SnapLite 6000 series and the Brute line.

Here is a little on the SnapLite Series by Skimlite:

“SNAPLITE™ 6000 SERIES The SnapLite™ series is quickly becoming one of Skimlite’s most popular poles. The lock is similar to what has been utilized as the primary locking mechanism in the painting industry for years. With a simple push of a button, you can slide and lock your pole to your desired length. All Snaplite™ poles have a unique decagon shape to them which keeps the pole from rotating and provides ultra-smooth sliding.”

What I like about the SnapLite poles is how easy it is to extend and retract the poles with the push of a button. No more twisting to lock the pole sections in place and the pole will extend and collapse at the push of the button. The button itself is very well made and can be easily replaced when needed. The pole sections are also very strong, and this pole is a great all-purpose pole for both the homeowner and the pool service professional.

Here are the sizes you can order:
6012 – (6′ to 12′) Two Piece

6016 – (8′ to 16′) Two Piece

6317 – (6′ to 17′) Three Piece

6323 – (8′ to 23′) Three Piece

6024 – (12′ to 24′) Two Piece

6032 – (16′ to 32′) Two Piece

“THE BRUTE SERIES is unlike any poles on the market. All Brute Series poles are larger in diameter and stronger than conventional poles. These were created to satisfy those who use heavy vac systems or who just prefer to have the absolute heaviest and strongest pole available. All Brute Series poles have been redesigned to ship via small parcel in its own personal custom box. Brute Series poles also have the ability to achieve even longer length by simply snapping on 54321’s which are 8′ extensions.”

Make no mistake, you will not be able to find a stronger pool pole on the market today than the Brute poles. This is how thick this pole is, the second section of this pole is as thick as the first section on other SkimLite poles! The front it tapered down so that it will fit all standard pool equipment, but the Brute Series Pole was designed specifically for the heavy vacuum systems that are used today by pool service professionals. If you use a Vacuum System and have had a pole break on you, rest assured, the Brute Pole will not bend or break.

Here are the sizes of the Brute Series Poles:

5432 – (8′ to 29′) Three Piece

9416- (5′ to 15′) Four Piece

9816 – (8′ to 16′) Two Piece

9618- (6.5′ to 18′) Three Piece

9824 – (8′ to 20′) Three Piece

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Friday, June 21, 2019

Stop Aggressive Dogs in their Tracks: Dazer II Ultrasonic Dog Deterrent

The Dazer II Ultrasonic Dog Deterrent is a great way to stay safe while you are entering a customer’s backyard. Over the years I have been bitten by several aggressive dogs and in almost every case the customer either let the dog out on accident or forgot to put them away. I carry Mace on my truck for extreme emergencies but the Dazer II is per friendly and perfectly safe.

For me, one of the biggest hazards of my job is aggressive dogs. Most of the dogs on my route are very friendly but there are those certain dogs that the customer puts away on the service days. I have even had aggressive dogs escape from a neighbor’s house and come charging out their front door at me. You never know what a dog will do and you can never rely on the customer or even the neighbors to keep their aggressive dog from attacking you.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big dog lover. I carry all kinds of treats on my truck and the dogs on my route can’t wait to see me each week. The last thing I would want to do is to harm any dog and the Dazer II is perfectly safe. It confuses the dog more than anything. The Ultrasonic noise keeps them from focusing and even the most aggressive dog I have used it on doesn’t get close enough to bite me.

The Dazer II is small enough to carry in your pocket or clip it on your belt for easy access. After using on a dog for a couple of weeks all you need to do is pull it out of your pocket and show it to them and they will stay away. It is very simple to use, just press a button and point it at the dog. So far it has held up well and after using it for a couple of months I highly recommend it.

Here is more from the manufacturer:
“Using the latest ultrasonic technology, the DAZER II produces a discomforting but not harmful high powered sound, audible to dogs but not to humans. Help stop the approach of unwanted dogs at up to 20 feet. Also, a useful aid in training dogs. Made of lightweight high impact plastic, the DAZER II features a belt clip and low battery indicator, includes an alkaline battery and is MADE IN USA.”

I find the Dazer II to be highly effective and I carry it in my pocket when I am entering a customer’s yard with a dog. In the video, you see that the customer forgot to close the backdoor and the dogs were in the yard when I entered. The Dazer II kept the dogs from biting me as I carefully left the backyard and went back to my truck. If I wasn’t carrying the Dazer II these dogs would have bitten me for sure. You can see the aggressive stance they took and without the Dazer II, I would have not escaped.

I also use the Dazer II on barking dogs that can be aggressive at times. The Boxer in the video always charges at me and tries to sneak up on me while I am servicing the pool. With the Dazer II she backs away quickly and stops barking immediately. Of course, if the dog is old and deaf it will not work but in most cases, the device is very effective. I feel very safe entering any yard with the Dazer II.

You can purchase the Dazer II here for about $27.00:

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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Ways to Prevent Algae in your Pool

Getting Algae constantly in your pool each week can be very frustrating. Below are several methods to prevent algae from forming in your pool and all of these methods are tested and proven to work.

Adding Borates to your pool to achieve a level of 30-50 ppm has many benefits. I have a series of videos on Borates and highly recommend adding Borates to your pool. I have added Borates to my pool and couldn't be happier. The results are well worth it. 

Here are the proven benefits of having a Borate level of 30-50 ppm:

Lower Chlorine usage: The Borate helps reduce chlorine usage by eliminating Carbon Dioxide and also by keeping the pH stable. Chlorine last longer when the pH is right at 7.6-7.8. When the chlorine is in the ideal range the killing element in chlorine the HOCI is at the most balanced percentage so the chlorine in a pool with a pH of 7.4 is 30% more effective than in a pool with a pH of 8.0. This is a big factor in creating the safest swim environment and the borates will keep the pH much more stable and in turn make the chlorine much more effective.

pH is stable: The pH won't change much in a pool with Borate in it. So, if you have a Salt Water Pool this is a must since the pH tends to rise dramatically. In fact, in a Salt Water Pool the pH can rise to over 8.4 very rapidly. You will find yourself putting tons of acid in each week just to keep the pH below 7.8. With borates in the pool, the pH will be stable and easy to control.  It is a must for a pool with a Salt Water Generator. It also will keep your salt cell from building up calcium rapidly since is sequesters the Calcium in the water. This means the salt cell will remain clean and your salt system will run much more efficiently.

Water is more sparkling: The Borate is more reflective so when the Sun hits the pool the water will really sparkle. The fact that it sequesters calcium will give the water an added clarity and you will notice the sparkle is almost blinding. The difference is very marked and noticeable and it is a good bonus benefit of borates.

Softer and less irritating water: The water feels softer and doesn't burn your eyes. It also will keep your skin and hair hydrated so after swimming your skin won't be as dried out. Borax has been used for a very long time as a softener for laundry. You will find it in the laundry aisle and it makes sense that it will also make the water feel softer and prevent dry skin.

Less Algae growth: Boric Acid is a known Biostat. This prevents the algae cell from forming and multiplying. Thus, a pool with a Borate level between 30-50 ppm will prevent algae growth. Since borate prevents the algae cell from growing, algae blooms will be a thing of the past. No more algaecides or shocking the pool, algae just won’t grow in your pool any longer.

PoolRx is a simple way to keep your pool algae free all season long. It is also effective in cleaning a green pool and a side benefit of the product is that you will use less chlorine in the pool all season long.  In this Podcast, I talk to Fred Schweer VP of Sales at PoolRx Worldwide about using PoolRx in the beginning of the season and to clean up a green pool. He also offers tips to pool service professionals on how to market and sell PoolRx to the customers on your route.

PoolRx is a Mineral Technology  does  two very simple things when used in your pool or spa; it eliminates all algae and will allow you to use less chlorine during the pool season. The active ingredient is Copper Sulphate Pentahydrate (chelated).

What Chelated means is that the metals in the PoolRx have been bonded to form two coordinated bonds similar to what Metal Sequestering Agents do. This means that the Metal Ions will remain in the PoolRx unit with no metal ions being introduced into the pool or spa water. PoolRx is Chelated so the metal ions stay within the PoolRx unit itself.

Make sure that you choose the right size PoolRX unit so that the treatment will be effective. You can place it either in your skimmer or pump basket. When you first insert the unit run your pool for 3-4 hours. Then run it the normal cycle to get at least one full cycle of water from the pool, into the filter and back into the pool again. The PoolRx unit should last 4-6 months.

PoolRx eliminates all algae fast. Even microalgae that you can't see but uses up the chlorine in your pool.

Any Sodium Bromide product will work effectively in treating Yellow Algae. As long as the active ingredient is Sodium Bromide it will work in clearing up the algae.

Bring the chlorine up to what we refer to as "Blazing High" if it is at zero ppm. One common
mistake is not starting with a good chlorine level. Sodium Bromide will convert the chlorine to
Bromine and the Sun will also burn some off as the Bromine Molecule does not bond with the Cyanuric Acid molecule (conditioner does not protect Bromine) so even more chlorine will burn off. And some of the chlorine will be "eaten" or used up by the Yellow Algae itself.

So, it is very important to have a good chlorine level first 5-10 ppm and to also add a gallon of liquid chlorine or Clorox bleach with each 4 oz. capful of Sodium Bromide. Otherwise, you might have an even worse problem.

But if you follow the procedure in the video below the yellow mustard algae will be destroyed and you can use a maintenance dose to prevent it from returning - about 1 oz.
per 10,000 gallons. I use Sodium Bromide almost exclusively on my route and week to week it is the most effective way to treat algae.

Black algae can be tough to treat and get rid of as the roots extend into the plaster and even if you keep high chlorine levels in the pool the black algae can still persist. It doesn't help that the heads of the black algae also offer a protective film that keeps the chlorine from killing it.

The most effective treatment in a white plaster pool or older color plaster pool is with granular Trichlor which is the same chemical found in the 3” tablets but in granular form. A popular brand is HASA Algi-Ban. You would aggressively brush the heads off the black algae and then sprinkle the granular Trichlor even on the pool bottom, covering as much black algae as possible.

Unhook any automatic cleaner and turn the system off for 24 hours if possible. The chlorine level will be really high so no swimming for at least a week or more.

By the next day the black algae should be gone. I typically use a 10 lb bucket in a large pool (20,000 gallons) with moderate to severe black algae. If you pool us smaller you can use less. Careful not to let it pool up in a pile in one area as it could stain the plaster.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Aquabot RAPIDS 2500 Robotic Pool Cleaner, Blue Tooth Controls and a 2 Year Bumper to Bumper Warranty!

The Aqaubot Rapids 2500 is Aqaubots latest entries into the Robotic cleaner market. It is a retail only cleaner and you can only find it at your local brick and mortar pool store or from your local pool service company. It comes loaded with features and is backed by a full 2 Year Bumper to Bumper Warranty.

Here is more about the Rapids 2500 from Aqaubot:

“The Aquabot Rapids 2500 is designed to clean Residential In-Ground Pools of all sizes and surfaces. Thanks to the patented AquaSmart Gyro System, the Aquabot Rapids 2500 will automatically brush, vacuum and micro-filter dirt, debris, and contaminants from the pool’s floor, walls and waterline in a synchronized fashion helping to keep the cable from tangling.

The AquaSmart Gyro System is an intelligent program for robotic pool cleaners that aids the cleaner to efficiently clean any standard residential swimming pool. The smart algorithm installed in the brain of the cleaner enables the robot to cover the pool in a systematized fashion, without wasting time. Additionally, the Rapids 2500 comes equipped with the Aquabrush Clean System, which is a patented vibrating brush located at the bottom of the unit. This system increases the cleaning efficiency of the unit.”

Key Features:
Cleans and Scrubs Pool Floor, Wall and Waterline
Dual Drive Motors
Vibrating Brush agitates stubborn dirt and debris for a more thorough cleaning
Extra Long 60’ Cable with 4 Wire Swivel
Top Access Filter Baskets
Timer Setting for 1.5, 2 or 2.5 hours shut off
Dirty Filter Indicator
Programmable for 2, 3 or 4 Days increments

Bonus Features:
Bluetooth Capable Control your pool cleaner right from your smartphone!
4 Wire Aquabot Swivel Helps prevent cable tangling!
AquaSmart Gyro System Helps clean your pool in a systematic fashion!
Free Caddy Included Storage and easy transport of your cleaner.

The Rapids 2500 is a great premium cleaner from Aquabot and it would be perfect for a medium to a large pool. The 60 feet of cable makes this an ideal choice and the top loading debris chambers make this a very easy cleaner to use. These retail pool store only cleaners are often a great choice because the manufacturer will give you a longer warranty and these cleaners come loaded with features like the Bluetooth capability.

I thought the Bluetooth connection from the App to the Rapids 2500 was really good. You can use the remote control in the App to control the cleaner and move it around the pool very easily. All the programming also is done in the App making it very easy to set up and run the cleaner. It is a great idea and the App is very good and very responsive.

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Green Pool Clean Up Methods

There are several reasons why your pool is green. Or you may do pool service and part of your services offered is green pool cleanups. I will cover some of the Green Pool Clean Up Methods that I use on my pool route.

Green Pool Clean Up Step by Step:
Make sure the pool can be cleared up vs draining it and refilling the pool. A rule of thumb is that if there are more than 4 inches of sediment on the bottom, draining may be better. This would be a lot of algae and dirt on the pool bottom so more like a pool that has been sitting unattended for over a year or more. Generally, a pool that has only been green for a few months can be cleared up with just chemicals and algaecide.

Step One: Scoop out all of the leaves and debris from the bottom and surface. Don't worry about stirring everything up, you will vacuum at the end of the treatment.

Step Two: Brush the pool as best as you can. Some of the algae might be really tough to brush off. If you have a plaster or Pebble Tec Pool a Steel Algae Brush will help. But a lot of the algae will be loosened once you add the chemicals to the pool.

Step Three: If you have a D.E. Or Cartridge filter take it apart and clean it. The filter type is usually on the label on the filter.
If you have a Sand filter you will just be Backwashing it during this process. For a D.E. Or Cartridge filter, you probably will have to clean it again at least one more time or more.

Step Four: Bomb the pool out. You want to bring the chlorine level up to 30-50 ppm to start to kill the algae. A lot of the chlorine will be destroyed by the algae and other organic material in the pool in the first 24 hours. A shorthand guide:

14,000-gallon pool: 4-6 gallons of 12.5% liquid chlorine or a combination of that and 1 lb. Bags of shock.
20,000-gallon pool: 8-10 gallons of 12.5% chlorine.
30,000-gallon pool: 12-16 gallons of liquid chlorine.
I suggest using Sodium Bromide to help kill the algae. Sodium Bromide is very effective, however, it does “use up” some of the chlorine so don't overdo it. I suggest one capful added with one gallon of liquid chlorine. So, if you are adding 8 gallons of liquid chlorine, 4 capfuls of Sodium Bromide should be sufficient. You want some of the chlorine to be active, so you don't want to add 8 capfuls of Sodium Bromide to the pool. Each Capful is about 4 oz.

Step Five: Run the pool for 24-48 hours straight during the process. You may have to add more chlorine after 24 hours and clean the filter again. No need to vacuum the pool yet. Let everything slowly settle to the bottom first. This may take a couple of days.

Step 6: After the pool has cleared enough for you to see the bottom, you can manually vacuum out the pool. The stuff on the bottom will be dead algae and other organics like dead mosquito larvae and other bugs and plants. If you have a sand filter or a D.E. Filter with a “Waste Mode” vacuum the pool with the Multi-Port Valve to that setting. If you do not have a backwash valve with a “Waste Mode” you can vacuum directly to the filter. Note that you will need to clean the filter after vacuuming if you do not vacuum to Waste.

A portable clean-up pump comes in handy here, but it is an investment of about $200. If you plan on using it again it would be a worthwhile investment, otherwise, just vacuum to the filter and clean the filter.
It may take a week or two weeks to completely clear up but the pool will eventually turn back into a crystal clear blue pool.

Using a pool Floc has its benefits and you might want to purchase a bottle to help accelerate your pools recovery. Basically, the Floc will help to clump up all of the dead algae and organic particles and sink them to the pool bottom. Generally, you will leave your pool off for the Floc to be more effective. Once everything drops down to the bottom the pool will be much clearer, and everything will be easier to vacuum out. Floc is optional but can help to clear the pool up faster, especially if you have an inefficient filter type like a Sand Filter.

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Cleaning a Pentair iChlor Salt Cell

One thing you will learn if you have a pool with a Salt Water System otherwise known as a Salt Water generator is that over time the salt cell can get calcium build-up on it. Depending on your area this could range from a slight amount of calcium to a large amount. The Pentair iChlor is no exception and once the salt level light starts to flash red it is time to remove the cell and inspect the plates inside for any calcium build-up.

It is important to note that when the cell does get dirty it will stop producing chlorine. This is important because if you're not paying attention and checking your salt system weekly, the chlorine in your pool could reach zero ppm and the water quality can deteriorate quickly. I recommend checking your salt system every few days to make sure the dirty cell warning light is not flashing red.

Cleaning the iChlor is easy and all you need is the Pentair Salt Cell cleaning cap. It is known as the Pentair 520670 IntelliChlor Acid Washing Kit. The kit comes with basically a cap and an O-ring that you would simply thread on to one end of the salt cell.

Before you begin it is important to turn the power off to the pump so that when you remove the salt cell the pump will remain off for the entire cleaning process. You also want to turn the power off to the salt cell or simply unplug the cell by unscrewing the pin type plug from the power unit or automated system. Once you have the power off to both the pool pump and the salt cell, you can unthread the cell from the pipe and then start the cleaning process.

The acid to water ratio will vary depending on how dirty the salt cell is. I like using a 4 to 1 ratio in most cases which means one-part water and 4 parts acid. You can also do a 3 to 1 ratio or 1-part water to 3 parts acid if needed. I prefer using 31% Muriatic Acid to clean the salt cells on my route, but you can also use a weaker percentage and even White Vinegar if you want. It will just work slower than the 31% Muriatic Acid. Typically, I soak the salt cell in the water acid mixture for 10-15 minutes. You can use a partially filled acid gallon bottle with a small amount of acid on the bottom of the gallon and submerge it into the pool to fill it with water to reach the 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 ratio.

At this point, gloves would be recommended. You will pour this acid water mixture directly into the iChlor Salt cell with the Pentair 520670 Acid Wash Kit on the bottom. Brace the iChlor cell somewhere as it is a little top heavy and could tip over. Then simply wait for 10-15 for all of the bubblings to stop. Warning! If you see no calcium build up on the cell do not pour the acid mix in as this could damage the cell plates. If they are clean there is no need for an acid bath.

Once done, you can pour the acid from the cell in a container and dump it back into the pool. Then just put the cell back on, plug it back in and turn on the power to the system. Once the cell boots up you should see that the clean cell indicator has stopped flashing. Your iChlor is now clean and functioning properly.
Here is more on the iChlor Salt System:

Easy Setup:
Adjust your sanitizing level in 1% increments from
1-100%. Push the button, and you’re done.

Smart Design:
Automatic reverse cycling helps prevent scale
build-up. And, unlike its competitors, the electronics
are isolated in the cell and away from high-heat
components for more dependable performance.

Two Model Sizes:
Choose from two model sizes to meet your pool
chlorination needs. Sizing is based on pool capacity
in gallons:

Available Models:
• iChlor 15 (0.6) for pools up to 15,000 gallons.
• iChlor 30 (1.0) for pools up to 30,000 gallons.

Fact Center
• Indoor/outdoor, vertical/horizontal installation.
• 115/230V, 50/60Hz power center.
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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Who Makes the Best Variable Speed Pump?

So, who makes the best Variable Speed Pump? I get asked this question often and the answer is cut and dry nor black and white. It is based more on some factors that you need to consider before making the choice on a Variable Speed Pump (VS Pump).

Pentair was the first with their IntelliFlo VS pump and it is still the benchmark pump because there are just so many of them installed in backyards. When they first came out many thought they would never catch on and the first generation of the IntelliFlo did have a few issues. In the beginning, I didn’t like them much myself and thought it was a fad that would fade away. Now many states like California and Arizona require you to install one once your standard single speed pump needs to be replaced.

So, Pentair being the first makes it the best, right? Not exactly, but you can’t go wrong with a 3 HP IntelliFlo VS pump. It features a great price point and is super reliable. The menu can be challenging to understand but it has a long track record and is tough to beat. The flow rate of the IntelliFlo VS is also excellent and if you choose to go with Pentair you are making a very solid choice.

I will say that one factor to consider when you have an automated system already installed is to go with the VS pump that matches the brand of your automated system. The only exception is the Jandy Aqualink which is compatible with the Pentair IntelliFlo VS. But in most cases, if you have Hayward Automation, go with a Hayward VS pump. If you have a Jandy Aqualink go with a Jandy VS pump. And if you have a Pentair Automated system go with the IntelliFlo VS pump.

Let me touch on the Jandy VS Pumps. These are very good pumps and feature Century motors that have a great track record in the industry. The only thing you need to note is that the Jandy VS pumps need a separate controller to work. If the pump is a stand-alone without an automated system you would need a JEP-R Controller or the iQPump01 to actually program and control the pump. These can be mounted separately from the pump on the wall for instance and the iQPump01 works over the internet so you can control the pump from anywhere. The flow rate is comparable to the Pentair VS pump and they also feature a 3 HP version. The Jandy VS pump is about as good as the Pentair IntelliFlo, it is like comparing BMW with Mercedes.

Hayward had a steep hill to climb with their VS pump drive failures from two years ago. They have extended the warranty on their VS pumps to 4 years if you have an older model to cover the drive issue. Their new VS pumps feature the Smart Pool Control which is the only thing that has saved the Hayward VS Pump line-up. With ta Hayward VS pump like the TriStar 950 and Smart Pool control you can control everything on your equipment pad that a stand-alone automated system can. You can turn on the heater, turn it to spa mode, turn on the lights and much more form your Smart Phone using the Hayward OMNI Logic app. They also off a 3-year warranty on their new VS pumps with the TriStar 950 sporting a 4-year warranty.  So Hayward is back in the game with their VS pump lineup.

All of these pumps require a 230 Volt set up which can be a drawback if you are running your current pump off of 115 Volts. The solution for this is to install the Pentair SuperFlo VS pump which has been designed to work with 230 Volts as well as 115 Volts. It is a 1.5 HP VS pump so it has plenty of power for your older pool set up and it is also very reliable. Hayward has also made the TriStar 950 with Smart Pool Control a dual voltage VS pump. So you can also connect the TriStar 950 to a 115 Volt set up. The pump will throttle down from the 3 HP rating to a 1.5 HP rating and work fine with your 115 Volt equipment.

The lines are a little blurred when it comes to picking the best Vs pump for your pool. You would want to match the VS pump to your current automation and if you don’t have an automated system and want one, the Hayward VS pump with the Smart Pool control is a great option.  I wouldn’t say these three VS pump brands are equal but there is not much separating each VS pump from one another.  Pentair, Jandy, and Hayward all make a quality VS pump so you will have to do your research and decide which one is the best for your pool.

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Monday, June 3, 2019

Aqaubot Classic Junior Robotic Pool Cleaner - Only $550!

The Aquabot Classic Junior is as Old School as you can get. It uses the original body design of the first robotic cleaners that were made by Aquabot. This is not a bad thing actually. The design of the cleaner allows it to be highly reliable and also very efficient. It also allows it to have a price point of around $550 which is a true bargain for a robotic cleaner with these features. The only downside is that it does not climb the walls passed the slope (or cove) and does not come with a cord swivel.

With that said if your budget is less than $600 and you are looking for a solid robotic cleaner, the Aqaubot Junior does come with some great features. You can see all the key features below:

For In-Ground Pools
Shape: Rectangle, Lap, Kidney, L-Shape, Round, Oval
Surfaces: Vinyl, Gunite/Concrete, Fiberglass. Except for Tile
Pool to Wall Transition: 90 Degree Angle
Cable Length: 50'
Scrubbing: Fixed Scrubbing Brushes
Cleans: Pool Floor, Cove, & Partial Wall
4 Hour Cycle Time, External Timer Compatible
Water Mixing Capability 70 Gallons per Minute
Filter Type Fine Bag (2 Microns)
Bottom Loading
Warranty 2 Years, 1st Year 100%, 2nd Year Limited

The fact that it doesn’t have any fancy programs and less moving parts means that in the long run this cleaner will last and work for many years. The rubber brushes are easy to replace when they wear down and there isn’t a whole lot of parts for this cleaner in general. The bottom loading debris bag is great also at picking up dirt and debris down to 2 microns – which is better than most pool filters.

The fact that this cleaner operates separately from your pool equipment is a definite bonus. This means that your pool filter will stay cleaner each week and allow you to clean it less often. With a traditional suction side cleaner, all the dirt that is picked up will go directly into the filter. With a robotic cleaner, all the dirt and debris go into the cleaner itself.

I think this would be a great choice for a starter robotic pool cleaner and a great choice for those budget-conscious consumers that want the ease of use and cleaning ability of a robotic pool cleaner but don’t want to pay more than $600. Just note that this cleaner will not clean the walls past the slope or the water line of the pool.

More Aqaubot Robotic Cleaner Reviews:

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