Is Chemical Automation Right For Your Pool?
What would you say is the #1 complaint about swimming pools? If you own a pool I am sure you said maintenance, and you would be right. Keeping up with the pool is not nearly as fun as swimming in it, and who has time for it? I deal with hundreds of pool owners every season and most people are just looking for ways to make owning their pool easier. One way we can combat this is with pool chemical automation.
WARNING! The systems I am about to describe are not a complete hands off solution, they are close but every pool system no matter how advanced is going to need periodic attention. DO NOT FIRE YOUR POOL GUY……yet.
Why Automate Pool Chemistry?
Because proper pool chemistry is more important than most pool owners know or will admit. Most people think if the pool is clear it is ok and if it is not just shock it! Well there is a lot more going on under the surface than that. The most important factors in a clean and clear pool are chlorine and PH. We all know that chlorine sanitizes the water but it only does so effectively when your pool’s PH level is within the proper range, ideally 7.2-7.6 parts per million.
The truth is while many people may shock their pool regularly and make sure the chlorine level is high most are not adjusting PH properly and it is costing them.
Problems with Unbalanced PH
- Using more chlorine than needed – (costing $$)
- Swimmer discomfort; itchy burning eyes, and irritated skin
- Pool equipment damage due to corrosion or scale build up
- Pool surface damage – premature fading of pool liners and rough discolored gunite pool finishes
Above are just a few of the most costly and damaging problems to unbalanced PH. If you only test your water a couple times a month or even once a week changes in PH can still occur and even if you are testing regularly your could be adding the wrong amount of acid to your pool to properly adjust it thus causing more problems.
This is where chemical automation swoops in to save the day like a really nerdy Superman!
If your pool could test the water not only everyday but every second and adjust as needed your pool water could be essentially perfect all season long without out you doing anything! That technology exists and Hayward’s Sense and Dispense system is an affordable option for residential pool owners seeking this upgrade.
In the video below we visit a pool in Gloucester Massachusetts that has one of these Hayward chemical automation systems. The video gives you an idea of the basics of the equipment and what it might look like.
Pool Automation Equipment
AS you can see in the video above you will need room in your pool shed or pool area for some extra equipment. In this pool house we have a large CO2 tank that helps regulate the PH. You can also use a large vat of muriatic acid but due to its volatile nature I would recommend the CO2.
Other than the gas tank the rest of the equipment is pretty small and fits on a small portion of the pool shed wall. It does not take up much more room than a standard salt generator control box. On top of that the installation is quite simple. The salt generator gets plumbed in-line after the heater, and the two probe lines get tapped into the plumbing with a 3/8 nipple. One probe taps into the suction line and the other into the pressure side, this allows the water to flow through the probes.
Pool Automation Cost
When implementing a system such as this you have to take two costs into account; upfront installation and long term cost savings. To install a unit like the one shown in the video with the AquaPro and Sense and Dispense you are looking at a cost of about $2,600. If you add the option wireless package as seen in the video so you can control and monitor this system from any internet enabled device you will add another $800-$1,000. It is not a small investment by any means but just a few short years ago systems like this were only available to large commercial pool outfits and cost ten thousand dollars or more!
Now discussing cost savings; we all know salt generators save us hundreds of dollars a year in chlorine costs. Regulating the PH will also save us money on external PH adjusters we buy at the pool store. Then there is the most important cost…YOUR TIME. By monitoring your important chemistry levels you spend less time testing and adjusting pool water chemistry and more time enjoying your pool.
Who Is Chemical Automation Good For?
Anyone who wants to spend less time maintaining their pool and more time enjoying it! But really, if you have a salt system or a heater which is sensitive to PH changes it makes most sense. Also gunite pools with expensive finishes like pebble tech which can react poorly yo high PH with calcium deposits and roughness. All of these items make proper chlorine and ph levels imperative and thus if you are not keeping track of these levels it could lead to very expensive problems down the road. That is where pool chemical automation can save you, and make your pool ownership a more hassle free experience. You are investing or have invested tens of thousands of dollars into your backyard some of you more than six figures! It makes sense to invest in a system that can help you maintain a clean, properly functioning pool for years to come.