Title 24: New CA Law Affects Pool Pumps
There is a new California law called Title 24 that became effective January 1st, 2010. Most of the law deals with building permits and energy efficient homes. This includes pools and pool pumps. To sum it up regarding pool filter pumps, any motor that equals 1HP or more and needs to be replaced, must be a two speed or variable speed pump. The typical cost can range from $550 to $2600. Some pools actually do not need a 1HP pump, even though that is what is currently installed. We have converted customers to smaller HP pumps that helped save money on their electricity bills and replacement filter cartridges or grids. Depending on the pool, a smaller HP pump is all that is necessary. It can be money well spent by hiring a professional to evaluate your needs. We can give you an honest evaluation for your pools specific needs as all pools are different. Our evaluation fee is $95.00 and if you choose to hire us, this money will be applied to the cost of the job.
How to Hire a Pool Service Company
How many years have they been in business? I believe this is the most important question to ask. I believe 5 years should be the minimum. There has been huge advancements in water chemistry and equipment technology. For example, there are at least 3 types of filter pumps available for residential pools. They are single speed, two speed, and variable speed. A person with the proper experience can save you thousands of dollars down the road in electricity costs and prolonging the life of the pump. The truth of the matter is, most pool service company’s are just getting by with doing the minimum. Each year there are trade shows to attend. I find these to be invaluable for the advancement of any company. A person has the chance to learn from the best in the industry by covering all the different subjects that will improve any person that attends a trade show. Also there are classes and seminars throughout the year for more education such as: heaters, salt systems, and control systems. There are very few companies out there making this a priority. Not only are they short changing themselves, but they are short changing their customers, the most important person.
Are they water chemistry certified? I am a member of the IPSSA. This organization requires us to be water chemistry certified. Pool water balance helps prolong pool equipment and plaster which can cost thousands of dollars in repairs. Also this helps bather comfort such as red eye and itchy skin. Just because water is clear doesn’t mean the water is balanced. The Langelier Index is a nationally recognized standard for pool water balance. This index will help you determine if your pool water is balanced, or too acidy or alkalinity. By adding the values of your pH, temperature, calcium hardness, and alkalinity factor and then removing 12.1 from this number, you have your Langelier Index. A value of 0 is a balanced pool. Acceptable ranges are from + or – 1. A negative number means your pool water is acidic. A positive value means your pool water is alkaline. A certified pool service company understands the importance of this and other factors in keeping your pool balanced.
Ask for referrals. Referrals can be helpful, especially if you can speak to the people giving the referral. Our company has experienced excellent growth from customer recommendations to other potential customers. People often hire a company based upon price, which can be a big mistake. A person may save $5.00 to $50.00 a month on service, however it may cost thousands down the road. In our industry, pretty much you get what you pay for.
To sum it all up, ask the company how many years they have been in business. Taking care of a family pool doesn’t count. What types of courses and specialized training do they have? Do they belong to a service organization? Are they water chemistry certified? Do they have liability insurance? Do they keep records of chemical tests or when equipment needs service? And ask for referrals.
Do You Have a Leak?
A normal pool in summertime will lose up to a quarter inch per day due to evaporation. So any loss greater than this is because of a structural or plumbing leak. There are two good ways to measure the amount of water loss in a pool or spa.
First is the Bucket Test Method:
- Place a 3-5 gallon bucket on the bench or first step of the pool. Fill the bucket to the level of the water in the pool. In other words, the water inside the bucket should be at the same level as the water outside the bucket.
- With a piece of tape, mark and date the level of the pool water on the side of the bucket.
- Run the system on its normal timed cycle and check the pool water level after 24 hours.
- If the water in the pool and in the bucket have decreased but are at an even level, the water loss is from evaporation only. If the pool water level is lower than the bucket level, the pool is leaking.
The second method is simply to mark the water level on the side of the pool with a piece of tape that notes the time and date. Repeat over the next few days to determine rate of loss. This will not account for evaporation.
Keep the pool at normal operating level. There is no need to let the water level drop, as this can casue damage to the pump. Also, make sure the pool is clean and has the proper amount of chemicals. This will allow for a scuba dive inspection.
A couple things to know: Leaks that are ignored will not go away. They will undermine decking, cause structural damage to pools and decks, and will cost you money in chemicals and water. For your family’s safety, you should replace the drain covers in your pool and spa with ASME-approved anti-entrapment drain covers. Even though your covers may not be cracked, broken, or worn out, they can present a drowning hazard.
A growing trend to use swim diapers in pools may not be that effective in preventing the spread of recreational water illness (RWI) of the most common cause of documented outbreaks, Cryptosporidium (Crypto).
Crypto is spread by diarrhea from infected people or mammals and is the single largest illness threat to pool users. To prevent the spread of Crypto, it is advised that people should not get in the water if they have diarrhea.
Swim diapers can release up to 50% of human fecal matter within minutes of being in a pool. Crypto, a parasite that causes diarrhea and dehydration, is one of the most common causes of documented recreational water illness outbreaks. It is found in the infected people’s stool and cannot be seen by the naked eye. It is highly resistant to chlorine disinfectants used in pools.
For more information, visit www.nspf.org.
You Can Prevent the Damage to your Pool Pump
There are several reasons why a pump motor will burn out faster than usual. I will mention the most common that can be easily prevented.
- Putting Chlorine tabs in the skimmer basket will cause the pump seal to fail, which if left undetected, will cause the motor to start making a bearing noise.
- Pump and skimmer baskets not properly maintained will shorten the life of a motor. At any sign of a crack in the basket, replace it immediately.
- Water level not properly maintained can cause the motor to overheat, which will shorten the life of the pump.
- Replacing filter cartridges when needed will also prolong the life of a motor.
- Properly balanced water will also help prevent motor damage.
- Oversized pumps with small filter system.
An experienced pool technician can advise you on which system is right for your pool.
Enzymes: For Crystal Clear Water
I am a big fan on using enzymes in pools. They will keep the water crystal clear and prolong the life of filter cartridges .
Suntan lotions, body oils, sunscreens, and eucalyptus leaves can clog cartridge filters without the use of enzymes. It breaks them down, thus preventing build up inside the pleats of cartridges.
Energy Savings: Ways to Save Operating Pool Equipment
With the ever increasing cost of electricity, there can be several different ways to save money on operating pool equipment.
An over-sized pump will cost more to operate than a properly sized one. Until a few years ago, it was not uncommon to have a pool built that had an over-sized pump installed. However, there has been a paradigm shift within the Pool industry.