Archive for February, 2015

High Tech Pool And Spa Stuff- Sanitization- Part 2

Bob Russell | February 12, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Ultra Violet

Since the advent of the residential swimming pool there has been a quest for the perfect bather experience.

In the 50′s and 60′s pool owners would employ liquid chlorine (bleach) to minimize algae growth and prevent water-bourn ailments such as ear infections. During this time period ear infections became so associated with swimming pools the term “swimming pool ear” was coined to describe the painful affliction caused by bacteria breeding in unsanitary pools.

By the 60′s and 70′s we had made good progress in the area of pools and spa sanitization and our focus moved towards bather comfort. During this era, irritating odors and red eyes marked the recreational swimming experience. It was during this time “Bromine” was introduced as an alternative- this did in fact lessen, but not eliminate, the adverse effects of what we now understand to be a very treatable sanitization problem- caused by ammonia.

The source of ammonia, as it turns out, was the bathers. Ammonia readily forms a compound with chlorine- it is this compound (often referred to as “chloramines”) that is responsible for irritation of swimmer mucous membranes. If you’ve ever made the mistake of mixing ammonia and bleach together while cleaning your house, you’ll probably never forget it.

Unfortunately, many still blame chlorine for the irritation we now know to be caused by ammonia introduced by bathers. “Free Chlorine” is virtually odorless at levels that are more than adequate to maintain healthy water. As a comparison, the drinking water standard allows 4.0 ppm chlorine; the standard for pool sanitization is 3.0 ppm chlorine.

Ammonia- the real culprit for eye irritation, is easily oxidized and gassed off with appropriate treatments. Chlorine remains the preferred sanitizer for a host of reasons, not the least of which is: it is the most environmentally compatible sanitizer, it is also the least costly.

The use of ozone generators and non-chlorine shock has all but eradicated the red eyes and obnoxious odors caused when ammonia meets chlorine. End of problem… but wait… what about our quest for the perfect bather experience?

UV (Ultraviolet) light is making a resurgence in today’s marketplace- a marketplace that continues to demand the ultimate bather experience.

While a salt/chlorine generator and ozone combination makes for delightful water to bathe in- the demand for “perfect water” (which generally means LESS CHEMICALS) is still heard from the most discriminating pool and spa owners.

This is where UV sanitization is becoming increasingly popular.

A quick description UV and it’s applications:

UV can not be used in place of chlorine, but, it can reduce the “chlorine demand” by reducing the volume of pathogens- specifically the ability of water-bourn pathogens to reproduce.

Remember a point I made in a previous article- I compared the swimming pool or spa to a “Petrie Dish…” It’s actually a very good comparison. There must be a sanitizer present (i.e. an agent that kills bacteria, viruses and plant life) to maintain water that will not make bathers sick or grow algae.

UV is making a come-back because it reduces the amount of sanitizer required to maintain sanitary conditions for bathers. UV alters the DNA in live organisms so they cannot reproduce- thus reducing the demand for more chlorine. It must be noted here that UV does not kill bacteria or viruses, but it has been shown effective in reducing their ability to reproduce. Recall the Petrie Dish experiment- if you want to grow a particular bacteria, virus, fungus, or algae FAST, place it in a sterile environment with food. Live things reproduce exponentially unless they are checked by an agent (e.g. Chlorine)- or altered so they cannot reproduce, this is what UV light does.

UV is used extensively- it is popular in water features and ponds that host aquatic life- since there is no sanitizing agent like chlorine in a pond, UV helps control unwanted growth of water-bourn pathogens that can adversely impact plants and fish.

If you are one of those looking for the perfect bather experience, consider adding UV to your sanitizing system. It will reduce the chlorine demand.

If you share our passion for this subject, you are on a quest for the ultimate bather experience! Contact us at Glen Gate Company and one of our experts will be happy to help you find that perfect bather experience.

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Below is an excerpt from a Wikipedia post:

Sterilization and disinfection

“…Ultraviolet lamps are used to sterilize workspaces and tools used in biology laboratories and medical facilities. Commercially available low-pressure mercury-vapor lamps emit about 86% of their light at 254 nanometers (nm), which is near one of the peaks of the germicidal effectiveness curve. UV light at these germicidal wavelengths damage a microorganism’s DNA so that it cannot reproduce, making it harmless, (even though the organism may not be killed). Since microorganisms can be shielded from ultraviolet light in small cracks and other shaded areas, these lamps are used only as a supplement to other sterilization techniques.

Disinfection using UV radiation is commonly used in wastewater treatment applications and is finding an increased usage in municipal drinking water treatment. Many bottlers of spring water use UV disinfection equipment to sterilize their water…”

 

 

 

 


Remote Controls And Other High Tech Stuff- Part 1

Bob Russell | in Equipment maintenance,Indoor pools,Pool,Pool equipment,Pool Service | Comments (0)

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There are many remote control options for the pool and spa owner today. The one pictured above is from a pool inspection I did last summer in Westport. I’ll be nice: I hated this thing. I wondered what it must be like for pool owners.

If you are interested in remote controls, here are some tips to make your decision easy:

1) Ask someone who services and operates all these systems- I’m referring to your professional pool and spa service person. This is where you will get the best advice. Of course, you can ask your neighbor or co-worker, but I’m guessing they won’t be comparing ALL the systems an experienced service professional sees on a weekly basis.

2) Ask the right pool and spa professional.

That may smack of arrogance but here’s some inside information about the pool and spa trade:

  • Some companies are construction oriented- this orientation tends to select systems that install easily and give favorable margins.
  • Some companies are design oriented- this orientation seems to love bells and whistles and handsome controllers that integrate with whole-house systems- things that an interior designer or architect would approve of.
  • Some companies are service oriented- this orientation tends to select systems that are easiest to repair and maintain.

It is rare to find a company that is ALL THREE, this is what Glen Gate brings to the marketplace: brilliant design, installation AND a committed service relationship that makes owning a pool truly enjoyable.

Here is what we look for in remote control systems:

  1. Easy to operate: This may sound like a no-brainer, but in the end, it’s the Owner who will operate this equipment on a day to day basis.
  2. Supported by manufacturer: This is critical for us as our service clients expect reliable performance. On our end, that means our service team can always depend on technical support, available parts and a company that stands behind their work.
  3. Brilliant Design: Our demanding design team simply wants it all. When designing an award-winning property with a pool, spa and water feature- everything has to come together.

There are a LOT of remote control options out there. My advice is, don’t ask just anybody who looks like an expert. Ask a company that values and demands it all.

If you are interested in hearing more on this subject- including our 24/7 monitoring capabilities; or the new remote control APPS for your smart devices, please contact us. What you’ll get is a depth of experience and advice you can’t get anywhere else.

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Pool and Spa Winter Maintenance

Bob Russell | in Equipment maintenance,Pool,Pool equipment,Pool safety,Pool Service,Sanitizers,Winterize | Comments (0)

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Winter And Your Outdoor Pool/ Spa

New England winters are long and harsh. You may have noticed :)

Protecting your outdoor pool and spas however, is pretty basic.

Here are 4 basic things you must do to protect your outdoor pool and spa:

1) Make sure the water is balanced and sanitized when pool or spa is closed.

If you are unclear how to do this, I suggest you consult with a professional.

There is a science to minimizing winter damage through good water chemistry.

This step is critical to protecting your investment and conserving water.

2) Make sure circulation system and all related plumbing is properly winterized.

The reasons for this may be obvious- ice can break or damage just about anything. As a pool inspector I am still amazed at how much ice damage I see. My advice, hire a professional to handle this aspect of seasonal maintenance. If you prefer to do it yourself, make sure you obtain good instruction from a professional.

3) Minimize damage to masonry by keeping ice below pool tile and coping.

Pool tile that is rated as “frost-proof” can be misleading. Ice against pool tile expands and contracts every day as temperatures go up and down, this will break any tile and can also lift pool coping off it’s setting bed. Masonry damage is very expensive to repair.

Winter ice must be maintained below tile. Care should be taken to NOT exceed the levels specified by your winter cover installer as the cover is designed to float on water when bearing the weight of heavy snow. Typically you should not exceed 8″ below the bottom of pool tile.

Maintenance of ice levels in pools often requires 3-4 pump outs between fall closing and spring opening- this is based on average rainfall.

4) Utilize a good quality winter safety cover to keep pets and people safe as well as keep fall debris out of pool.

Our #1 reason for using a good quality winter cover is safety.

#2 is to keep the massive amounts of leaves and debris out as these will overwhelm the sanitizer and allow pool to turn green with algae by spring.

Failing to maintain clear, sanitary water will encourage staining of the finish that will require draining pool to remove. Unsanitary water also provides a breeding place for mosquitos.

 

There are other things a pool owner should be aware of, such as protecting critical components such as heater and filter, but these are the (4) critical things for protecting your investment.

For more information please contact Glen Gate Company.

 

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