Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spa Lifts Recalled by S.R. Smith

SR Smith has recalled nearly 1,900 pool lifts, the Consumer Product Safety Commission stated in a press release last month.
The lifts come from the company’s Splash! and PAL Hi/Lo and Spa lines. They are most commonly used in municipal and community swimming facilities or hotels.
The Canby, Ore.-based pool products manufacturer is recalling 1,800 Splash! lifts manufactured between January 2013 and September 2015.
Also affected are approximately 40 lifts from the PAL Hi/Lo and Spa lines: PAL Hi/Lo lifts with model numbers 250-0000, -0005, and 005K; and Spa model 275-0000 with manufacturer dates between December 2014 and September 2015.
CPSC stated that the lifts were being recalled due to inadequate welds in the base plate or mast. In at least two incidents, the lifts fell over — one occurred with an individual in the seat. No injuries have been reported.
Owners of recalled lifts should stop using them immediately and contact the manufacturer for a free replacement base or mast assembly, CPSC said.
To find out if a specific unit is included in the recall, users can check the base of the mast to find the model number and manufacturing date. The names “Splash!” and “PAL” also are printed on the base of the lifts.
As of press time, SR Smith had not responded to requests for comments.
SR Smith can be reached by phone at (888) 497-9290; email at; to learn more online.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Reducing Swimming Pool Heat Loss

Are you suffering from heat loss in your swimming pool?

Here are some of the major primary energy losses from swimming pools:

Evaporation is the primary mode of swimming pool heat loss, accounting for approximately 70% of the heat lost from both indoor and outdoor pools (Figure 1) . The remaining heat losses are generally from radiant heat for outdoor pools and ventilation for indoor pools. 

Evaporation dominates pool heat losses because each gallon of water that evaporates removes 8,300 Btus of heat from the pool, whereas heating the gallon of replacement water to the temperature of the pool requires only 8.3 Btus per degree Fahrenheit of temperature rise—or between 80 and 200 Btus per gallon for the typical heat gain required. Evaporation from indoor pools generates an additional energy penalty because the ambient air must be dehumidified or replaced with fresh air. 

The best way to reduce evaporation losses is to cover the pool when it is not in use. Pool covers block evaporation as well as radiant losses, and they can provide some insulation from convective losses. Achievable savings from pool covers depend on how long the pool is covered and on local conditions that affect how evaporation is taking place, with reported savings of 50% or more compared to the energy required for heating uncovered pools.

For outdoor pools, evaporation losses are driven by the ambient temperature, humidity and average wind speed. Windy and arid environments cause faster evaporation and greater energy losses. 

Additional Energy-Saving Ideas 

Pool owners are also encouraged to invest in other energy-saving measures to further reduce their pool operating bills. For additional energy savings, here are some ideas for more efficient heating and circulation systems:

• Air-source heat pumps cost more than gas heaters, but with a reported coefficient of performance of 4.3, they can pay for themselves in 1.5 to 2.5 years. 

 • Condensing gas boiler pool heaters offer efficiencies above 90% compared to their conventional counterparts, which have efficiencies in the mid 80s. 

 Solar thermal pool heaters are the most cost effective use of solar energy in most climates. 

• Variable-speed drive control allows pool circulation pumps to be ramped up and down with demand to achieve pumping energy savings of up to 50%.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

HammerHead Pool Cleaners- What's the difference between a Resort Unit and a Service Unit?

Service Units

The service units are designed for pool to pool service route work. The popular Service-21 is now the industry standard for a self-contained cleaner. Instant cleaning means no set-up times, no pumps to prime, and no valves to set. You'll work faster and easier than ever before.

Ready to mount on your truck or trailer, the Service-21 can cut your cleaning time as much as 50% and that can mean hours off your day. Also available is the Service-30 with the larger head and a longer cord (60').

Resort Units

The resort units are designed for maintenance work where the unit will be left on site. The popular Resort-30 is the choice of YMCA, hotel, condo, resort, military and water park pool managers nationwide. Resorts units are NOT compatible with the truck-trailer mount system.

The Resort-30 can cut your cleaning time by as much as 50%. Also available is the Resort-21 with a smaller vacuum head.

Monday, January 4, 2016

What are Chloramines?

When any type of chlorine is added to water, it forms hypochlorous acid (HOCl - the most powerful killing form of chlorine in water) and hypochlorite ion (OCl-), a relatively weak form of chlorine in water. The percentage of HOCl and OCl- is determined by the pH of the water. As the pH goes up, less of the chlorine is in the killing form and more of the chlorine is in the weaker form. The combined total of HOCl and OCl- is the measure of free available chlorine. Free available chlorine is the active, killing type of chlorine that we want in the water.

Chlorine molecules can combine with ammonia and nitrogen compounds in the water to form chloramines, sometimes also called Combined Chlorine. By combining with ammonia and nitrogen, a chloramine loses much of its sanitizing power. Chloramines are 60 to 80 times less effective than an uncombined free chlorine molecule.

Chloramines are formed any time ammonia and nitrogen are in the water. Some of the ammonia and nitrogen compounds are introduced into the water by swimmers and bathers in the form of perspiration, urine, saliva, sputum and fecal matter. An active swimmer sweats one pint per hour, while the average person sweats three pints per hour in a heated spa. Ammonia and nitrogen compounds are also introduced into the water by rain, especially Acid Rain. Each drop of rain has some dissolved nitrogen from our atmosphere and from automobile emissions. Many lawn products contain both nitrogen and ammonia and phosphates, all very bad for pools, can raise your chlorine demand, and encourage algae growth.

Chloramines, or combined chlorine smell bad, they are eye and skin irritants, and they get in the way of free chlorine trying to do it's job. When a pool smells strongly of Chlorine, what smells is not free available chlorine, but Chloramines . When testing for Free and Total Chlorine with a DPD or other capable pool test kit, the level of combined chlorine molecules in your pool can be detected. The formula is quite simple. The difference between Free Chlorine reading and the Total Chlorine reading is the Combined Chlorine reading. Anything over 0.3ppm should be treated to bring the level down by removing the Chloramines from the pool.

Chloramines can be removed from the water by the following three methods:

  • By adding a mega-dose of chlorine. Usually 3 to 6 times more chlorine than a normal dose is added to the water, or the level of chlorine is raised to 5 to 10 ppm and held there for 4 hours. This is called super-chlorination. To remove chloramines, the ratio of chlorine to ammonia must be at least 7.6 to 1. If this ratio is not obtained, then more chloramines will be produced. A threshold of "breakpoint chlorination" must be reached where total oxidation takes place. This "shock" to the pool will rip apart the molecular combinations, and destroy chloramines. Swimmers and bathers should not enter the water until the level of chlorine has dropped to 3 ppm or less.
  • By adding a non-chlorine shock to the water. The most common chemical used for this is potassium peroxymonosulfate. This "shocking" requires the addition of one pound of shock for each 10,000 gallons of pool water. The same threshold of breakpoint oxidation must be reached when using non-chlorine shock. So, feel free to add a little extra, just to be sure.
  • By adding ozone to the water. If an ozone generator is installed on a pool or spa, then oxidation of the ammonia and nitrogen compounds will take place whenever the ozone system is operating. The longer the system operates, the more the ozone can destroy the ammonia and nitrogen. Although most ozone systems operate only when the pool or spa pump is operating, there are 24 -hour systems available which will continuously oxidize ammonia and nitrogen as they enter the water.
  • Remember, when you smell a strong chlorine odor in a pool - and your eyes are red, it's not because there is too much [free] chlorine in the water, but too much Combined Chlorine. Free chlorine by itself does not smell, nor sting the eyes. The solution to this is to add a whole lot more chlorine, to reach breakpoint chlorination, where the molecular combination of chlorine and nitrogen [or ammonia] will be removed. At least for a while.

An alternative for treating your pool water is Sphagnum Moss. Sphagnum Moss was first commonly used during World War I for wound treatment.

Sphagnum Moss provides the following for your pool:

  • Clarifies water.
  • With normal biocide levels, prevents eye and skin irritation, hair discoloration, reactive airway 
  • disease, and "chlorine" smell.
  • Stabilizes pH.
  • Absorbs positively-charged ions.
  • Inhibits bacterial and algae protection.
  • Inhibits biofilm formation.
  • Removes scale from water surfaces.
  • Inhibits corrosion.

Effects of Sphagnum Moss on Scale:
  • Observations in PoolNaturally Plus treated pools and spas demonstrated removal of staining and scale of pool surfaces and reduced scaling in heat exchanges.
  • Laboratory studies show the ability of moss to inhibit and remove scale and maintain soluble Ca levels.

For more information on the use of Sphagnum Moss please click here.

Information provided by:

*Michigan Pool News:

*University of Maryland-Sustainability

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

ORP Control

ORP is the oxidation reduction potential of water that is treated with an oxidizer, such as chlorine. Over the years, I have heard plenty of explanations of what ORP actually is, and how it works, with unfortunate results. Recently, I was driving and while playing with the gadgets on my new car, it dawned on me — ORP control can be compared to the cruise control in a modern automobile!
You see, ORP is a qualitative measurement of how well the oxidizer is performing. Regardless of the residual of oxidizer, a steady ORP will provide superior water quality, keep chloramines at bay, and, with further research, can provide the keys to today’s sanitation issues.
On a side note — pH control has to be stable at all times; if your pH is all over the place, have it evaluated by a pool professional. A pH system should be capable of maintaining a rock steady pH at all times, or else your ORP control will falter. I recommend a pH set point of 7.4 — the pH of the human tear.
So let’s get started with the explanation:
In your car, you have a cruise control system that maintains a steady mph (speed) regardless of the amount of gasoline being utilized (this is measured in mpg). If you activate the cruise control on your car, and set your odometer display to show the mpg’s your car is using, you will see the following:
• Mph is steady throughout the time cruise control is on.
• Mpg varies, depending on the road conditions.
• If the road is level, your mpg’s remain stable with a stable speed (mph).
• If the road goes on an incline, mpg’s go down because more gasoline is used to get more power to climb the hill at the same mph.
• If the road goes on a decline, mpg’s go up because less gasoline is used to reduce the power needed to maintain the same mph.
Now let’s translate this to ORP control:
In your pool, you have an ORP/pH control system that maintains a steady ORP regardless of the amount of oxidizer residual in the pool water. If you activate the ORP control, you will see the following:
• Mph = ORP
• Gasoline use = Chlorine ppm (residual).
• Mpg = Patron use in a pool (up means lower usage, down means heavier bather loads).
• When a pool is opened in the morning, you will have a “level road condition” — the pool ORP is steady, and chlorine ppm is at a starting point.
• Once a pool starts being used by patrons, the chlorine level (ppm) will fluctuate, while ORP remains the same throughout the day.
• As usage increases — it’s like going up an incline in the car — more gasoline (ppm) is needed to maintain a steady mph (ORP).
• As usage decreases — it’s like going down a decline in the car — less gasoline (ppm) is needed to maintain a steady mph (ORP).
At day’s end, you may end up with a higher ppm, and the ORP will start to climb — think of it as the cruise control being shut off while going down a decline — mph goes up, and mpg’s go up. The car will stay this way until it makes it to a level road, and then ORP and ppm will stabilize. When the pool is reopened the next morning, you should be back to that “level road” condition, and the cycle will repeat.
Maybe now some of you will start having an “aha!” moment, and start recognizing that while ORP is steady, chlorine will fluctuate. This is a normal occurrence, and anyone thinking that ORP is supposed to maintain a steady ppm will be pleasantly corrected of this notion at this point.
Now if your pool tends to drop off its ORP set point and stays that way during busy periods, that’s an indicator that your “engine” (the chlorinator) is too small for your application. I suggest you have your system re-evaluated by a pool consultant (one who knows about HCF — high capacity feed chlorination).
Installing larger chlorinators will ensure that your water quality control equipment is properly sized and configured to meet the demands your pool will throw at you. Remember: Consistent maintenance of an ORP level will result in better water/air quality.

*Provided by Clemente Rivera of

Friday, December 4, 2015

Another Way to Sanitize Pool Water Without Using More Chemicals

Today, industry professionals face a number of questions from clients on how they can use fewer chemicals (i.e.chlorine [Cl] and/or bromine [Br]) in their pool, what alternatives are available to reduce chemical odors in and around the water, and what options do they have in cases where children may have sensitive skin and develop rashes or hives in pools using traditional sanitizing methods?

For several years, pool professionals have offered salt chlorine generators which have met many of these needs, but pool professionals are now finding ultraviolet (UV) manufacturers have improved their product designs to work on residential pools to provide additional benefits. For instance, UV sanitizers do not add anything corrosive to the water and do not require additional pH balancing acids as these systems do not alter the water’s chemistry. This makes UV sanitizers an easy, effective option for pool owners looking to reduce their chemical usage with the added bonus of reducing chloramines, unwanted smells, and skin irritations. It is important to match the unit size to the pool type (e.g. flow rates, commercial/residential, and indoor/outdoor) in conjunction with the pool’s bather loads.

Low- versus medium-pressure UV systems

There are two types of UV lamps: low-pressure, high-output lamps, which emit UV rays at 254 nanometres (nm), and medium-pressure lamps that emit UV rays between 200 and 600 nm.

Low-pressure lamps are better suited for residential applications, while medium-pressure models are designed for large commercial installations. The differences between each lamp are cost, flow requirements, and the ability to destroy chloramines (NH2Cl).
Medium-pressure lamps are commonly used in indoor pool applications as their large light spectral is more effective at reducing the health problems caused by nitrogen trichloride (i.e. chloramines), which have been linked to numerous pool closures due to poor indoor air quality (IAQ).
Pool professionals dealing with an indoor residential pool, where air quality can also be a particular concern, should consider a semi-commercial or commercial UV unit to ensure the client gets the water and air quality improvement they desire.
For outdoor residential pools, UV units must be selected based on the pool’s flow rate to ensure the system properly eradicates waterborne pathogens. When working with a semi-commercial application,e.g. a hotel, motel, or fitness facility with flow rates more than 416 litres per minute (lpm) (110 gallons per minute (gpm), a low pressure, high output UV system, or an amalgam unit designed to accommodate higher flow rates, should be considered.
Most UV system manufacturers provide tables, charts, and even mobile applications for pool professionals to determine which unit their client should purchase based on the aforementioned factors. It is important pool professionals consult manufacturer guidelines when recommending a UV system to a client.

Explaining UV and its benefits

When a client asks their pool service professional how they can reduce the amount of chemicals used in their pool, it is the perfect time to explain the benefits they would see by adding a UV sanitizer. In doing so, it is important to explain how the system works in addition to its benefits relative to other alternative sanitizer options in the marketplace.
Also take the time to explain how the system can be easily installed (added) onto their pool’s existing circulation system. When doing this, use manufacturer diagrams and brochures to illustrate the process, showing how the pool water passes through the light chamber in the unit, exposing it to a high intensity, germicidal UV ray that destroys waterborne pathogens, including algae, bacteria, and cyst, as well as viruses such as E.Coli,Cryptosporidium (Crypto), and Giardia.

It is important the pool owner understands UV is a physical rather than a chemical process, which is what makes these sanitization systems environmentally friendly. There is no residual effect that is harmful to bathers, animals, plants, or the environment. The result is clean water that looks, feels, and smells better.

A few last words

It is important to know, like any equipment, not all UV systems are created equal. Therefore, retailers should check the following:
  • Are the UV systems truly environmentally friendly?
  • Are the units energy efficient?
  • Can the unit selected for the job accommodate the pool's flow rate?
  • Every reliable UV system is designed to handle a maximum flow rate.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Finding the Perfect UV System for Your Facility

Tips on selecting, installing and maintaining UV systems in commercial pools

The prevalence of UV water treatment is growing in commercial pool applications throughout the U.S.
Installing a UV-C system at a commercial aquatics facility will lower chemical usage by up to 30- to 50 percent and achieve safer water by eliminating pathogens, viruses and chloramines. In addition, the reduced chloramines will improve the air quality around the pool, especially for indoor facilities. This article will cover the selection of UV-C systems, as well as their installation and maintenance.
Getting started
UV sanitizers offer plenty of unique benefits. However, there are different types, and the proper unit should be selected for specific aquatics applications. In particular, it is important to match the unit size to the pool or waterfeature type — for example, splashpad, play structure, lazy river, etc. Pool professionals who understand the differences can easily determine which unit to recommend.
There are two types of UV lamps. First, there are low-pressure, high-output lamps, which emit UV rays at 254 nanometers. On the other hand, medium-pressure lamps emit UV rays between 200- and 600 nm.
Low-pressure lamps are better suited for semicommercial and commercial applications with lower flow rates and light bather loads, while medium-pressure models are designed for large commercial installations with high flow rates and heavy bather loads. The differences between each lamp are cost, flow requirements and the ability to destroy chloramines (NH2Cl).
Medium-pressure lamps are commonly used for indoor pool applications because their large light spectral is more effective at reducing the health problems caused by nitrogen trichloride (i.e., chloramines), which have been linked to numerous pool closures due to poor indoor air quality.
For semicommercial applications such as hotels, motels or fitness facilities with flow rates more than 110 gallons per minute, a low-pressure, high-output UV system, or an amalgam unit designed to accommodate higher flow rates should be considered.
Selecting a UV-C sanitizer
UV-C systems are sized according to the gallons per minute generated through the filtration system, not the volume of water in the vessel. Bigger is not always better here. The gpm rating is based on lamp and vessel design along with a computational fluid dynamic computer simulation. The correct power rating for a commercial UV unit is 40 megajoules, based on the NSF/ANSI 50 standard. That is the point at which it will sterilize all pathogens found in pool water.
A UV-C unit will handle a range of flows. Manufacturers will produce each unit for a minimum and maximum flow in gpm. As an example, unit XYZ will handle 57 to 80 gpm. If the pool system’s flow rate exceeds the UV-C unit’s maximum gpm rating, the sanitizer cannot achieve the intended 99.9 percent single-organism sterilization. If the water flows through the UV vessel too quickly, the contact between the water column and the UV-C light in the chamber is not long enough to achieve sterilization.
Conversely, if the pool water flows too slowly, it stays in the light chamber too long, and some free chlorine photo-oxidation will occur, thereby increasing the amount of chlorine needed in the pool to achieve enough free chlorine residual.
All of the sterilization happens within the vessel, and UV-C does not leave a residual or create any corrosive gas. Another factor that should be considered when selecting a UV-C unit will be lamp life. UV-C lamps are rated in hours of service life, which is the period of time during which the lamp will produce enough millijoules of UV-C power to properly sanitize the single-cell organisms in the water. Lamp life typically ranges from 6,000 to 16,000 hours, which, in real-world terms, means there are lamps that have a 12-, 16- or 24-month service life. It’s beneficial to purchase a unit that is NSF 50 certified because many municipalities require this.
Installation procedures
UV-C units should be installed in line in the plumbing.
UV-C units must be placed after the filter, and particulate in the water can create a shadow effect inside the unit, between the lamp and any single-cell organism we are trying to sterilize.
If there is a heater in the system, the preferred location for the UV-C unit is before the heater. Using a UV-C unit will extend the life of the heater by removing chloramines, which  are corrosive to the metal in the heat exchanger. Some equipment pads are tight, so if the UV-C unit must be installed after the heater, check with the manufacturer to ensure that the plastic used in that particular unit will handle hot water coming out of the heater.
The units should be installed with enough room for technicians or operators to perform lamp replacements and quartz-tube cleanings in the future. The glass lamp and quartz tubes cannot be bent, so it is important that there be enough space to remove them straight out of the UV system.
A typical pool with a UV-C unit also will include a chlorine feeder. This should be plumbed after the UV-C unit, typically last in line before the water returns to the pool.
UV systems can be easily added to an existing circulation system — again, after the filter and before other accessories such as heaters or chlorinators.
The unit should be plumbed in according to the manufacturer’s instructions so the UV system properly fills with water in relation to the unit’s flow rating.
Many professionals plumb in a bypass. This makes servicing and maintenance easier by allowing the operator or technician to separate the UV system when necessary, especially during winterization. Because the UV lamp and quartz tube are made of glass, they must be brought inside to avoid winter damage, such as freezing, when the pool is not being used. This applies to outdoor commercial pools that might close in the winter.

As found on Aquatics International: