Thanks to recent technological advances, pools have
undergone some pretty impressive changes in the past 20
Aquatics facility managers now have the ability to
control all facets of a pool via an automated system, and
the technology is becoming more reliable and financially
accessible. ?Microprocessor circuits have enabled
much more stable electronics and less maintenance,?
says Bob Kappel, a regional sales manager with Siemens
Water Technologies Corp in Warrendale, Pa.
Digital chemical controllers are perhaps the most
notable example of automation. ?Digital chemical
controllers have made water management much easier and more
precise,? says industry consultant Mark Duda of
Duda Inc. in St. Johns, Fla. ?The use of chemical
controllers has saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars
on the usage of chemicals.?
These advances mean the capability for remote monitoring
is emerging. Operators can view pool conditions from
virtually any computer terminal, enabling them to act much
more proactively. When problems do occur, they can be
corrected quicker than ever before.
Today?s pool operators have some other
advantages as well. Thanks to the development and
refinement of stronger plastics, pool equipment is more
chemical-resistant and less maintenance-intensive than in
the past. ?We can [now] use plastics in pumps of
higher horsepower,? Kappel notes. These pumps cause
less problems with dielectrics and are lighter, and
therefore less expensive ship, according to Duda.
When it comes to pumps, another advancement has been the
incorporation of variable frequency drives. VFDs
?replace the starter on a three-phase pump and work
similar to a dimmer switch for a light,? Duda says.
They are not necessarily a new technology, but in the past
20 years, ?the cost of the VFD products has
decreased to the point where they really make sense for
pool people,? Kappel says. ?Now we can save
energy and buy the [variable-speed pumps] at a price where
we can get a return on investment in less than a
Experts such as Dr. Alison Osinski, Ph.D., Aquatic
Consulting Services in San Diego believe that, spurred by
legislative action as a result of concerns over RWIs and
water conservation, the trend toward automation and
technological advances will continue. But with more
sophisticated pool systems, operators will need more
training on how to properly run and maintain them.