Posts Tagged ‘Greenwich’

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…”

 

 

 

 


“…Is my pool/spa safe?”

Bob Russell | June 30, 2010 in Equipment maintenance,Pool equipment,Pool renovations,Pool safety,Pool Service,Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Is my pool/spa safe?

I enjoy writing about the joy and recreational benefits of owning a pool or spa. When it comes to safety, things get very sober and serious for pool and spa Owners and those in the business.

In the last decade there have been several changes to standards and codes in the pool and spa industry.  The question I am asked most frequently is: “Is my pool or spa safe?”

Today’s safety codes are complex. Pools and spas are also complex. Most pool and spa Owners are bombarded with media hype, marketing gimmicks and general misinformation. I’d like to help. Here are the basic things I look for while inspecting a pool or spa. 

 1) Suction Outlet Covers: Floor and wall drain covers should be in place and secured by stainless steel screws. Residential pools and spas built since 2003-2004 are required to have two suction outlets that are spaced 3 feet apart.

Spa above with a single suction outlet- built before 2003.

2) Anti-entrapment Covers- In December of 2008, all [existing] commercial pools were required to install specially designed “anti-entrapment” suction outlet covers. Residential pools were to have existing covers replaced when they failed, or at the discretion of the homeowner. Note: The new covers are designed to prevent an object (such as a human body) from creating a seal over a suction outlet; they are also designed to prevent hair entanglement. As expected, these new covers are much more expensive than the old style; they are also made of extraordinarily strong material- unlike the older covers which are relatively easy to break.

Should you replace your spa or pool floor suction covers now?

That’s a good question to ask your service professional!

Some floor suction outlets (e.g. such as the single suction outlet pictured above) are more of a risk than others- it depends on how the pool or spa is plumbed.

The first and most important “layer of safety” is the most obvious: make sure the suction outlet covers are in place and secured.

Spa pictured above is fitted with an approved anti-entrapment cover.

3) SVRS Or, Vacuum Release System- A vacuum release system is an additional layer of safety that became law in 2005  for new residential swimming pools or spas

Vacuum release units (SVRS) vary in shape and size but are all designed to do the same basic thing: release an object that has made a seal over a suction outlet. 

Some ask, “…how can people get stuck on a main drain?” The answer requires a discussion of physics but in short, there can be tremendous force at a suction port that has been sealed. A one horsepower pump (for instance) has enough force to trap a grown man and hold him fast. Some drowning accidents have in fact happened in this way.

Pictured above is a common mechanical SVRS installed on suction-side of pump.

Is your pool or spa equipped with an SVRS?

Is it operational?

These are questions to ask your service professional!

 

Summary:

When inspecting your pool or spa, look for the following  “layers of protection”:

1)      Secured and approved anti-entrapment suction outlet covers. This is the most important layer of safety!

2)      Dual suction outlets - pools built after 2003-2004. (A second outlet can be added to existing pools.)

3)      SVRS system (vacuum release) - required in pools built after April 2005. SVRS systems can be added onto any pool for an additional layer of [anti-entrapment] protection.

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If you have concerns or questions about your pool or spa after reading this post, you should contact your pool professional and get your questioned answered! Safety is nothing to guess at.


Ozone = Delicious Water

Bob Russell | June 29, 2010 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Ozone is wonderful stuff!

In my opinion, Chlorine or Bromine with Ozone is the best water quality you can get.

Now that I understand pool water chemistry better and how incredibly good pool and spa water can be, I wouldn’t use anything else. For instance, I know now that it was ammonia/chlorine compounds that hurt my eyes while on the swim team years ago and not “Free Chlorine” by itself.

Things have changed since the seventies. Chlorine and Ozone paired together makes for terrific water! This is what the best pools in the world are using-  just ask the olypmpic swimmers

Ozone brief- What it is and what it does:

1) Ozone oxidizes or “burns up” organic matter.

2) Ozone rids pool or spa of ammoniaAmmonia combines with chlorine to form the obnoxious eye and mucus membrane irritants most often attributed [incorrectly] to chlorine. Manage the ammonia and your water quality increases dramatically. The best way to get water that is both pure and sweet is to pair your sanitizer with an ozone generator system.

3) Ozone is NOT a sanitizer. It is an oxidizer- I often explain it this way: “Your sanitizer kills bacterias, viruses and plant life… ozone burns up the dead bodies…”

4) The right unit for your pool or spa- Ozone generators, like most equipment, must be properly sized and selected for your pool or spa. Some of these units will not work if installed where equipment is below water level. Be sure your service company selects the right unit for YOUR system.

Example of a popular ozone generator. 

When employed with a reliable sanitizer like chlorine or bromine, ozone gives you superior water quality- water that delights the senses rather than irritating them.


Service – Don’t Build A Pool Without It.

Bob Russell | October 15, 2009 in Pool,Pool Service | Comments (0)

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Today, dependability is often at or near the top of the list in all our major purchases.

Many of the pools built today are complex.:

The pool pictured above has a raised spa and two filter systems. The pool pictured below has a raised spa, a waterslide and  a sophisticated sanitization system. BOTH pool/spa combinations have remote controls.

Like the high-tech “Smart Home” or the latest model car, today’s state-of-the-art pools require trained and licensed service companies and technicians to keep them in top form.

Pools in the Northeast are typically open for 5-6 months and closed for 6 to 7 months. In spite of this, the owners of both of these pools will tell you it is definitely worth it!

Beautiful pools like these require “beautiful” engineering. You may not think much about pumps, filters, heaters or remotes when you see a pool like this, but, I can tell you from experience, if there are equipment problems, or if the pool was not designed well hydraulically, you WILL think about them… and, a lot!

My job is to think about such things at the planning stage so a pool/spa Owner doesn’t have to think about it later. A residential pool is for recreation, family fun and peaceful relaxation. It shouldn’t be a headache or a distraction.

Low Maintenance- Easy To Use:

The “heart” of  the pool pictured below is nestled neatly beneath the house and sits on an equipment pad approximately 4′ X 12′. The equipment was selected, designed and built by service people. Smart move.

My first piece of advice is basic-  so basic it might be overlooked:

When selecting a Designer and Builder for your pool, of course you will look for great design and excellent construction credentials… but also, find a company with a strong service foundation. When Designers and Construction and Service people put their heads together, you will find that the end results are far superior to other one or two dimensional companies.

This is where the king swims daily before  meeting heads of state

This pool and spa is located in West Harrison, New York area.

In future blogs, I will be writing about various aspects of pools and spas in the Northeast and what it takes to get the most enjoyment from them- things a pool Owner will find helpful.

Please feel free to ask pool and spa related questions in the “comment” section below. We will be adding a Q&A section in future “waterblogs.”