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We all know it to be true that keeping good records is not only important but is required by law for a few years. Typically between three and five years.

This usually means that log books are kept and old sheets are either transcribed into digital storage (spreadsheets, pdf, etc.) or are filed into paper archives where they are, for most purposes, out of reach.

When it comes to pools and pool equipment, knowing what is installed, when it was installed, when it was last serviced and if there have been any major repairs since install can be the difference between a simple repair or a series of troubleshooting sessions that you may or may not pay for. It also allows for planning budgets, downtime and scheduling.

Likewise, pool chemistry should be logged in detail as regularly as is required by code and is feasible.

Keeping accurate and detailed chemistry records helps to identify & correct troublesome chemistry trends before they become problems. Chemistry logs are also going to be required by many manufacturers for warranty purposes, especially those warranties that span multiple years.

At a minimum, we recommend the following testing schedule, though some areas may require more.

Daily: pH (x3), Chlorine (x3), Alkalinity (x1)

Weekly: Calcium, phosphates, salinity (when using a chlorine generator), Calculate & balance to L.S.I.

(Additional testing may be required in certain areas which may include lab testing for fecal coliform and/or turbidity.)

Enter the Digital Recordkeeping & Pool Management systems.

In the last few years, there has been a rise in digital solutions to the recordkeeping requirements. Among the vast array of benefits these systems provide their users, the good ones all provide at least the following features.

Log Storage

Usually equipment and chemistry records are kept in binders or books and stored in separate locations (chemistry logs in the aquatics office and equipment logs in the facilities/maintenance office), however with ever increasing mobile access to digital solutions (think spreadsheet apps, pool management apps/web suites) more and more facilities are able to connect these records into a unified platform which allows facilities to track their maintenance & chemistry logs together in an easy to use, searchable, and printable format. After all, if you have more data at your disposal, you can make better decisions about operation & maintenance.

Data protection

Paper logs, binders and books can be misplaced or damaged. Once those sheets of paper are compromised, the data is lost (unless you have transcribed them into a digital backup). Digital solutions create a layer of protection to guard against data loss. The digital solution allows for storage of data in apps(on phones & in web servers) and generally allow for download/saving to your computer, this means that your data is safe even if you lose or damage the paper log book.

Improved Communication

With a digital solution, the data can be shared between multiple users automatically, this means that when guards test readings that should indicate a problem, the manager is aware of it and can take/direct action.

Likewise, when maintenance is required, or a problem with a piece of equipment is noticed, the facilities techs have all the historical service records at their fingertips so they know what needs to be done without searching through old records or invoices.

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Welcome to the fifth installment of our Water Series, today’s facts are about water in America.



In a year, the average American residence uses over 100,000 gallons.
The first water pipes in the U.S. were made from hollowed logs.
Leaks in the New York City water supply system account for 36 million gallons of wasted water per day.
There are around one million miles of water pipeline and aqueducts in the U.S. and Canada, enough to circle the globe 40 times.
Approximately 400 billion gallons of water are used in the United States per day; nearly half of that is used for thermo-electric power generation.
On average, an American resident uses about 100 gallons of water per day. Flushing the toilet actually takes up the largest amount of this water. By comparison on average, a European resident uses about 50 gallons of water per day and a resident of sub-Saharan Africa uses 2 to 5 gallons of water per day.
The average cost for water supplied to a home in the U.S. is about $2.00 for 1,000 gallons, which equals about 5 gallons for a penny.
Bottled water can be up to 1000 times more expensive than tap water and it may not be as safe. “Legally Safe” and “Totally Safe” mean two completely different things to the EPA. The CWA (Clean Water Act) regulates 9 contaminants. If tap water contains less than the maximum acceptable levels of those contaminants you water is legally safe. Yet the EPA is investigating 10,000 others that are not regulated, known to be in tap water, with safety unknown. Hence, the reason you should ‘treat’ “Legally Safe” water.
The United States uses nearly 80 percent of its water for irrigation and thermo-electric power.
Approximately 85 percent of U.S. residents receive their water from public water facilities. The remaining 15 percent supply their own water from private wells or other sources.
Each day, enough rain falls on the United States to cover the entire state of Vermont with 2 feet of water
Each day, U.S. water users withdraw enough water to fill a line of Olympic-size swimming pools that would reach around the world.
More than one-quarter of all bottled water comes from a municipal water supply – the same place that tap water comes from.
The largest selling brand of bottled water (Aquafina) is treated tap water packaged by Pepsi. Not to be outdone, Coke sells it under the label Dasani.

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Hello and Happy World Water Day! In honor of this day we bring you our final blog in our random water facts series. Being in the aquatics industry makes water very important to us, being a sustainable company makes it more so. We hope you enjoyed our water facts series of blogs. Thank you for reading.



Water is part of a deeply interconnected system. What we pour on the ground ends up in our water, and what we spew into the sky ends up in our water.
Since the average faucet releases 2 gallons of water per minute, you can save up to four gallons of water every morning by turning off the tap while you brush your teeth.
A running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water each day.
At one drip per second, a faucet can leak 3,000 gallons in a year.
A bath uses up to 70 gallons of water; a five-minute shower uses 10 to 25 gallons.
You use 8 liters to flush a toilet – about the same as you use to brush your teeth.
Each day the sun evaporates a trillion tons of water.
Freshwater animals are disappearing five times faster than land animals.
Water dissolves more substances than any other liquid. Wherever it travels, water carries chemicals, minerals, and nutrients with it.
Four liters (1 gallon) of gasoline can contaminate approximately 2.8 million liters (750,000 gallons) of water.
If all new sources of contamination could be eliminated, in 10 years, 98% of all available groundwater would then be free of pollution.
There are 12,000 different toxic chemical compounds in industrial use today, and more than 500 new chemicals are developed each year.
Two thirds of the water used in a home is used in the bathroom.
Less than 1% of the water treated by public water suppliers is used for drinking and cooking.
Less than 1% of the water supply on earth can be used as drinking water.
Groundwater can take a human lifetime just to traverse ONE mile.
When water contains a lot of calcium and magnesium, it is called hard water. Hard water is not suited for all purposes water is normally used for.
The Antarctic has been covered in ice for more than 30m years. Right now, it is covered by 10 thousand trillion tons of snow and ice.
In 1998 the National Resources Defense Council completed a 4-year test of 103 bottles waters and found that 1/3 of them contained bacteria and other chemicals at levels exceeding industry standards.

…and for some fun.


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Automation and pH Control for Your Pool
Mar 29, 2017 by Timothy Petschautomation, controller, pH3 Comments
swimming pool evaporation
I have just visited with a high end HOA, in the desert, close to Las Vegas to discuss upgrading their water to a Salt Pure® system. As is my habit I began my site visit with a tour of the mechanical room and a discussion on current pool operations.

Keep in mind that this is a high end residential development, with all the amenities that one could ask for, including 2 outdoor pools and a large spa.

Their method of operation was to have a pool service company come by twice a week in the winter months and 3 times in the summer to vacuum the pool, backwash the filters (whether they needed it or not!), presumably take water chemistry readings and then dump, yes dump, liquid chlorine and acid into the water. I asked the folks if they ever saw algae in the pools and if their skins ever itched, and if they had water quality issues…there was a resounding YES to all three!

No chemistry controller, no client oversight, heaters had failed, and the pools needed to be replastered.

My first recommendation was that they automate before switching systems. Why? Well, what they were not aware of is the vitally important role the pH plays in recreational water. The chlorine the service company was using, Sodium Hypochlorite has a pH of around 12.9, pool water needs to be 7.2-7.6 (we prefer 7.4). So as soon as the chlorine is introduced to the water the pH spikes up; these guys knew that so they chased it with a healthy dose of Acid to lower the pH, and then job done they left the site. Did the pH stay in the lower acceptable range? No, it did not…after it bottomed out it began to climb back up, and as it got into higher range the chlorine became less and less effective resulting in lower quality and potentially unsafe water.

Automating your pH, from the author’s point of view is the most critical step you can implement in a commercial pool. pH cannot be controlled! It is constantly fluctuating and when manually adjusted, fluctuations can be extreme. Automation constantly monitors the pH in the water, using a sensor, and injects small amounts of acid as needed, continuously, tightening the pH bandwidth.

In short, if you are manually adjusting your chemicals in your commercial pool, and do only one thing to improve your water quality and safety, that one thing should be automating your pH.

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Cloudy, hazy, dull – and no, we aren’t talking about Seattle’s weather. We’re talking about cloudy pools.

It can happen without warning, one day your pool is perfect, properly balanced and clear as glass. Then all of a sudden… it’s cloudy and looks like nobody has balanced it in months.

Typically the first reaction is to throw chlorine at it (since we all know adding more chlorine fixes everything, right? ;)) so, blurp, the chlorine goes in… but nothing changes. You wait a bit and you check your readings and yup, the chlorine is there, higher than it was before but the pool is still cloudy. So you think, “gotta be the filters” right? Everybody knows, if the chlorine is good, it has to be the filters! So you rush back to the pump room and clean the filters (even though they don’t actually need it yet). Confidently you return to the pool deck and wait, expecting the freshly cleaned filters to do their magic and scrub all the nasty out. Problem solved, right?

What if overnight the problem not only didn’t go away, but actually got worse! Oh, no! Now what to do? The filters are clean, the chemicals are in the right ranges, you’ve done everything!

… Or have you?

Did you know that oils from people’s skin, hair products and lotions can build up in your system and cause some pretty crazy things to happen?

Some of the things that can happen are;

Oil sheens – the surface of the water will look like, well an oil spill happened.
Filter caking / channeling (sand) – the oils and grease clog up the filter causing the sand to compress and stick together resulting in caking and eventually channeling.
Clogged/greasy filter grids (DE) – DE Filters catch everything, and when the grids get oily and sticky, they tend to not clean off as easily and flow is restricted.
Excessive scum lines and slippery deck surfaces – more oil and grease equals more buildup around the pool, on hand rails and on the deck around the ladders and stairs.

In some cases this buildup can even result in bubbles forming in filter pits and/or on the surface of the water and can create a hard to remove haze. In especially bad cases this can cause the main drains to be obscured causing a shut down.

The treatment? Easy… Enzymes.

In recent years the value of using regular doses of enzymes to break down these oily/ greasy substances (especially heading into spring/summer) has been proven to many commercial operators. Some are stand alone products, others are mixed in with other chemicals used in multi-faceted water care programs.

If you aren’t using an enzyme regimen during summer already, next time you see some clouding show up out of nowhere, instead of reaching for the chlorine, try reaching for some enzymes you might just like what you see.

Thoughts About Your Concrete Pool Deck
All pools and spas should have a pool deck around them, most codes require a minimum of about 5′ of deck and require that decks slope towards the drain at about 1/4″ per linear foot. This will vary depending on where you live. Please check the local ordinances for more information.

Here are some random thoughts about decks that might be useful to you:

Before the pool opens be sure that the deck is clear of obstacles and water..should someone slip or trip, bingo, potential injury and lawsuit
Cracks in decks can be a potential tripping hazard… see above point
Be sure to have your sign that says “no running” posted prominently.
Don’t put potted plants around the pool, they may look pretty, but that fertilizer you add is full of nitrates, you know – the stuff that instantly neutralizes chlorine and makes your water turn super cloudy.
Periodically hose your deck down, if you need to scrub your deck you can make a mild solution of bleach and water (remember to add chems to water, not the reverse!)
Do not use TSP or any cleaning product with phosphates as an ingredient..see potted plant section.
If your deck material is the porous kind, sandstone, you may consider using a clear sealant to reduce water penetration into the deck.
With thoughtful planning, your deck will look great, be a safe place and attract your swimmers to spend time hanging out at your pool.

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Often one of the first questions asked when I discuss converting a new account to a Salt Pure® system is, ‘What does it take to operate?’ The reality is that there isn’t much more (and often, actually less) required vs. a traditional system.

The answer to this is really two parts; the first is for the controller, the second is for the rest of the equipment.

Controller operation breaks down into three categories:

Checking/Verification – Daily checks to ensure the system is in line

A. Using the daily water tests already conducted, the results are compared to the control system to verify it is reading correctly.

2. Maintenance – periodic maintenance tasks necessary to ensure proper operation

A. Calibration – After verifying the readings, when they are mismatched, the sensors are calibrated to match the hand readings.

B. Cleaning – When calibration becomes too frequent, the sensors should be cleaned.

3. Adjustments – Minor adjustments to control parameters for more accurate control

A. Adjustments are made periodically as pool usage changes or when new control sets are added.

Operation of the Salt Pure® and UV systems can really just be “set it and forget it”once the controller is running things. Beyond that periodic cleaning of salt cells and UV sleeves that takes place as needed. (Not unlike Cal-Hypo feeders and chlorine/acid pumps, but easier.)

At the end of the day, operation of a Salt Pure® System really comes down to making sure the controller is working correctly. If it is, everything else will fall into place and keep the pool clean and sanitary.

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A chemical automation system is admittedly the best way to ensure proper water chemistry at any commercial swimming pool installation. Because of this, many states have made them mandatory! Commercial pools face greater and more varying demands than residential pools and it can be a losing battle to try keeping pH and sanitizer levels balanced by hand. An automated system ensures that only the required chemicals will be added to the water and in very precise quantities. In addition, automation systems usually provide multiple safety features that ensure that neither the patrons or the equipment will face any risks in case of a major malfunction.

Serious consideration must be given before committing to any particular system.

Here are some points that you should consider before choosing a system for your installation.

Indoor / Outdoor Installation

Depending on the type of installation, the water chemistry requirements can vary dramatically.

Outdoor installations have to use stabilizers to protect the pool sanitizing agent from the sun. The most common stabilizer is cyanuric acid. Cyanuric acid can also be introduced as a by-product from secondary reactions by sanitizer shocks like Di-Chlor and Tri-Chlor.

Cyanuric acid negatively affects the ORP probe’s ability to read correctly. That in turn makes automation at best cumbersome, in some cases impossible. Therefore, outdoor installations usually require specialized probes or reagent systems, which are more expensive.


Are you automating a recreation pool, a lap pool, a medical pool or maybe a spa? Again, the type of usage and the expected water temperature do affect the water chemistry requirements.

Bring those requirements into light when inquiring about chemistry automation systems.

Decide what to automate

Automation systems have a great variety of sensors and options for automating pretty much every piece of pump room equipment imaginable. It is very easy to get lost in the available variety and go overboard. The very basic options would be:

pH Control
Detection of Temperature
Detection of Water Flow
Common sense or sometimes local code (especially when using chlorine generation), dictates that sanitation systems have a backup system. There are few options for pH control like acid or CO2. Sanitation solutions are a little more versatile. Options include tablet feeder to liquid chlorine and from chlorine generation systems, etc. Make sure you notate all existing equipment as well as any anticipated short term expansions and discuss them with a specialist. For sanitation specifically, you have to keep in mind that there are two main options to track disinfectant levels. ORP (Oxidation Reduction Potential) and PPM. Depending on the disinfectant medium you use (or if you have had stray current issues in the past), ORP tracking may not be a good option for you. Many older installations might have stray current issues and do not even know it. Stray current issues are hard to detect and even harder and costlier to resolve. If your installation is older, you might want to save yourself the time and aggravation and go straight to a little more expensive ppm solution probe and skip ORP tracking altogether. (California requires PPM)

Remote Access

Most modern controllers offer the ability to gain remote access to the chemical controller in some way. At first it might seem overkill but the benefits, especially for around the clock operations, are very real.

Remote access usually is coupled with remote notification which is an added benefit. Unless there is staff on location 24/7, notifications and remote access are a smart option.

Warranty and consumables lifetimes

Make sure you compare warranties, support plans and consumables lifetimes. The fact that automation systems have consumables and that they eventually will need to be replaced is sometimes overseen. Make sure you take into account how often and how much those consumables will cost. Ask about their general availability or any specific storing requirements. Be prepared for consumables coming of age and budget for it. The cost of consumables is part of the cost of doing business and cannot be avoided, but it can certainly be budgeted for. Take advantage of any added value offerings suppliers have to offer and don’t let yourself get caught in a nasty situation by not knowing what your warranty requirements are until it’s too late.


Protect your bottom line but don’t lose sight of the greater scheme of things, like they say, “You get what you pay for”. Carefully weigh what are you giving up in exchange for a lower price. Hard-earned experience has proven time and time again that there’s no such thing as good and cheap. It’s either good or it’s cheap. As mentioned earlier, don’t go overboard either. Focus on what you really need and what’s the minimum required to get you there. Invest in people as much as you do on equipment. Does your supplier offer on-going training? Are they knowledgeable? Be sure to work with people you trust opposed to the lowest bidder.

Hopefully these few pointers will help you focus your efforts in the right direction and of course when not sure ask questions, require clarification or more information if you need it. Any reputable supplier will have no problem taking all the time you need in order for you to make the right calls.

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Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Pools
Nov 09, 2016 by Timothy Petsch0 Comment
I guess I can’t help but see a commercial swimming pool in everything, so when I think of the past and upcoming holidays they remind me of swimming pools.

Halloween Pools.

These are the scary ones, probably not using a chemistry controller, so the pH levels are never secure and other water balances are suspect at best. The pool is never really clean and when you enter the pool area that old familiar chlorine smell is ever present. I would even imagine that the swimmers are not too happy

Thanksgiving Pools.

Total chemical automation, uses salt and low-pressure UV, operator takes a great deal of pride in his/her job, balances the pool to LSI on a weekly basis. Water and air quality are amazing, and their pools are filled with happy bathers totally enjoying their time in the water.

Christmas Pools.

Well that one is wrapped up and under the tree…..

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This question has bounced around my office a few times over the last few weeks. As the season came to an end for most outdoor pools, we saw a surge of CYA-related problems come through the tech support channels.

The specific circumstances changed in each case, some saw their controller stop tracking correctly, others encountered frequent clouding issues, others yet saw debilitating chlorine demand and others still a resurgence of chlorine resistant “Pink algae” (after treating for it 2 or 3 times).

The problem in each case was an elevated level of CYA that either reduced the effectiveness of their chlorine to almost nothing, or worse, created demand scenarios their systems simply could not keep up with.

In every case the only “fix” to the problem is a dilution, for some that was 25 – 50% of their pool, for others it was a 90% drain to get into measurable range, and then partial drains to continue dropping back into allowable limits.

Draining is a costly endeavor though, from the water and chemicals to time and lost revenues. Unfortunately, it is the only way to reduce CYA currently.

I am repeatedly ask why trichlor is even allowed and frankly, I just don’t know. I do know that some states have strict limits on CYA levels, and some flat out ban it for commercial use (which would also ban the use of di/tri-chlor). None recommend it be used on indoor pools, and most ban it for indoor use (even where use outdoors is allowed).

For years I’ve been an advocate for the minimal use of CYA (TMI recommends 25 ppm or less), and avoiding stabilized chlorine in commercial pools. This is why:

Cyanuric Acid must be diluted out, it is not consumed nor is it removable by any chemical means currently available to us. This means that once you make the decision to add the CYA, you are committing yourself to either waiting for it to dilute out from backwashing, or, draining your pool at some point.

I am not a fan of “solutions” that can create problems AND are not reversible.

Cyanuric AcidCyanuric Acid has been used as a chlorine stabilizer for a long time and it has been proven that minimal use can greatly assist outdoor pools in warmer states. CYA is either a standalone chemical added at the beginning of the season, or is an additive to the chlorine used throughout the season (i.e. dichlor & trichlor). The commonly accepted practice of adding CYA or monitoring rise to maintain a residual of 20-40ppm for outdoor pools has been a standard for years, and so long as levels are not allowed to exceed those ranges things generally work well.
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