Looking for someone who knows what the ideal range for pH is?
Tired of Dating Someone who throws Tablets into the Skimmer Basket?
Want to date someone who loves the waterpark… because of the pump room?
NATIONAL SINGLES DAY is the first Saturday of Singles Week If you are Married and wish to Celebrate, a Divorce Attorney should be your first step. Married and choose to Celebrate anyway? a Divorce Attorney will be your last step. ?
Do you need a mate who appreciates the smell of chlorine in the morning? Need someone that knows that muriatic acid creates a plume ? on a cool morning? If what your doing hasn’t backwashed your filter, ForPoolProsOnly Online Dating may be the tripper on your time clock! ⏰
Remember: If you think taking long walks on the beach as the sun sets is romantic, if only one of you know that you are doing it together, that’s Stalking not Dating
Does this “Pool Boy Gone Mad” psychological thriller tread water?
When the sight of water fills you with an urge to kill, it only makes sense that you take a job working for a pool service company. That is exactly what Johnny Taylor (Randy Wayne – Escape Room 2018) did in “Death Pool,” directed by Jared Cohn (Atlantic Rim: Resurrection) and co-starring and Sara Malakul Lane (Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs 2015). Death Pool Movie.
“You know what Debbie likes.”
Do we? Molested (at least this is what we think happened) in the family backyard swimming pool as a child by Debbie, the babysitter, Johnny gives up on an acting career that never came to fruition at the suggestion of his bong-wielding friend and finds himself with a skimmer in hand. The story takes place in an implausible world of asshattery, where all you need to maintain swimming pools in the San Fernando Valley is a beat-up old Chester van, a pole, a vacuum hose and… Oh yeah, an empty bucket.
Death Pool Movie
Like treats from a Pez dispenser full of chlorine tablets, Johnny’s parents’ gag At the notion of their son cleaning swimming pools, referring to his mental status in the presence of H2O – some unspoken backstory that we are missing? Despite claims of stability, Johnny has already taken his first victim – who just happened to be his first pool customer of the day. We know that young twenty-somethings are always in a hurry to invite the pool boy in for a swim, but this temptress of troubled technicians quickly learns why breath-holding games are not allowed at the pool.
Feeling an incredible rush as the young pool owner’s lungs fill with water, Johnny, with only the one pool on his route for the day, heads out to the streets, searching for more. Not more pools to clean, but more pools to drown more women. It is not long before he passes a swim school with an unattended entranceway and absolutely no security. Johnny enters, dressed as a janitor, and drowns some more.
“I Can’t help it. When I see a hot chick, and I see water, I want to hold them down.” will ultimately be the catchphrase that comes from a film already Jam-packed with corny dialogue. The most appropriate line in the movie coming from Johnny’s father when he said: “You’re not right in the head,”; which also applies to the creators of this project. Just like a handful of Calhypo thrown into the wind, this trash-bound thriller is painful to the eyes.
Back to the pool route, Johnny and his co-worker arrive to clean a swimming pool, which will be used as the set of a low-budget seedy movie (the irony). Of course, Johnny has no choice but to drown the porn star. Then, later that night, another at a party, the two pool service techs attend.
Death Pool Movie
The press has provided the serial killer the moniker of “The Valley Drowner” as bewildered authorities skim the surface for clues. The community elevates the Serial Service Tech to celebrity status holding drowning parties in his honor, complete with souvenir t-shirts and bobbles within the LA PnP. Brandon, Johnny’s pool cleaning cohort, relishes in his friend’s rise to fame.
Eventually, Johnny turns to drown people in bathtubs, sinks, and plastic kiddie pools. Men become beyond exclusion, and when he cannot find water – a gasoline drowning seems to satisfy his thirst. Like a pool with an accidental fecal release, this film should have been closed to the public.
Despite the Valley’s growing love for Johnny, I found myself wishing someone would maim him with a telepole as I struggled to watch the last three-quarters of the film. That is not saying that the first twenty minutes of this B-flic was not unlike gargling muriatic acid. If the writers had stuck to their guns and continued with the original premise of a serial killer pool tech who drowns his customers, they may have ended up with a better film. Consulting with an actual service company for accuracy in character portrayal would have been a huge benefit.
“There’s a Shark in the Pool!!!” Teens at a house party struggle to find a solution to a series of deaths that seem to have no end in sight due to a great white shark that has mysteriously appeared in the swimming pool. This one takes a poke at teen scream horror flicks and does it well. Please take a look at our review of the short film Shark Pool.
When McGradey (Tobin Bell), the pool manager, triggers the automatic pool cover to close, two sisters become trapped beneath the surface. The struggle to get out of the pool is only overshadowed by the personal differences the young women have for one another. Add a crazed parolee caretaker on a work-release program and settle in for a night of terror. Please read our review of the movie 12 Feet Deep
Sodium Hypochlorite (NaOCl) is one of the more popular methods of chlorinating swimming pool water in both commercial and residential applications. When NaOCl (liquid chlorine) is added to water HOCl, Na+, and OH– is formed. However, what happens after the hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is used up (either due to UV from sunlight, or as the chlorine sanitizes and disinfects) is a common topic for debate among pool operators. Chemically, the HOCl becomes HCl (hydrochloric acid) in the process – no one is arguing this. The controversy is regarding whether the amount of acid (HCl) produced is enough to counter balance the initial increase in pH the dose had generated.
In my personal experience, swimming pools that I have maintained with sodium hypochlorite have recognized a drop in pH following the initial increase, ultimately realizing a net zero change. I did not have to add muriatic acid or CO2 to balance, which would support that the amount of HCl formed was in sufficient quantity to offset the initial increase in pH. Still, I have had lengthy conversations with others in the industry, pool operators I consider experts in their own right, whose opinions and experiences were polar opposite to mine.
I theorize that the experiences my peers are facing are caused by any and all things that could contribute to a change in pH in a swimming pool: greater levels of turbulence; Total Alkalinity; fill water chemistry; etc. Anything, that is, except the addition of liquid chlorine. With an open mind, I decided to reach out to a couple of the leading chemists/scientists in the industry to get their opinions. On my behalf, I was thinking I would end up with a paragraph and had the intention of a single article. What I received was greatly appreciated and so much more:
So, does sodium hypochlorite raise pH?
According to pool/spa water chemistry expert Richard Falk (AKA: Chem Geek), “When any hypochlorite source of chlorine is added to a pool, the pH rises because hypochlorite is high in pH. However, when the added chlorine is consumed over time, this is an acidic process and pH drops back down close to where it started. The only net pH rise from the hypochlorite addition comes from the “excess lye” in the product such as chlorinating liquid that is used for greater stability of that product.”
Richard went on to explain: Nevertheless, there is the observation that pH rises in pools using hypochlorite. The reason is that the pH rise comes from other sources, primarily from the outgassing of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide outgasses from pools causing the pH to rise with no change in Total Alkalinity (TA). The reason is that swimming pools are intentionally over-carbonated in order to (ironically) provide pH buffering and to saturate the water with calcium carbonate in order to protect plaster surfaces. The other main source of pH rise is the plaster itself as it continues to hydrate and cure though this is most noticeable in the first months to year of a new or re-plastered surface. Vinyl pools do not show this effect but may still have carbon dioxide outgassing.
It is for this reason that covered vinyl pools tend to be the most stable with regard to pH when using hypochlorite sources of chlorine while uncovered plaster pools with greater sources of aeration such as fountains, waterfalls, spillovers, and higher bather-load with more vigorous splashing or movement have the pH rise the most. Pools using saltwater chlorine generators tend to rise in pH not only because their generation of hydrogen gas bubbles aerates the water, but those with short pipe runs from the generator to the returns can also outgas some undissolved chlorine gas (the rate is low, but done over an extended period of time). Pools not using CYA can also show greater net pH rise due to some chlorine (hypochlorous acid) outgassing. Also, there are some lesser pathways to chlorine usage that result in some pH rise, such as chlorine oxidation of nitrogenous compounds to produce nitrate instead of nitrogen gas.
If there were no carbon dioxide outgassing nor hydration/curing (or dissolving of) plaster, then with 80 ppm TA the addition of 10 ppm FC either at once or cumulatively added would have the pH rise from 7.5 to 8.12, 20 ppm FC would rise to 8.55, 40 ppm FC would rise to 8.8. When the chlorine is then consumed/used, the pH drops down to 7.52, 7.53, 7.57, respectively.
One can minimize the amount of pH rise from carbon dioxide outgassing by operating the pool at a lower TA level and higher pH target. The following chart shows the relative amount of over-carbonation in the pool with respect to air at various TA and pH levels (with 30 ppm CYA since TA is increased some by the CYA level as a function of pH):
Relative CO2 Out-Of-Equilibrium at Various Levels of pH and Alkalinity
30 CYA, 550 TDS, 300 CH, 80oF
<————————————— pH ———————————————>
NOTE: A value of 0.0 means there is an equalibrium amount of carbon dioxide in the water and in the air so there is no Carbon Dioxide outgassing.
A value of 1.0 means there is twice as much Carbon Dioxide in the water compared to the equilibrium amount.
A value of 2.0 means there is three times as much Carbon Dioxide in the water compared to the equilibrium amount.
Check back with us on July 26th (2018) for the second half of this 2-Part series when we speak with chemical consultant, author, and pool/spa water chemistry expert Robert Lowry in our cleverly titled Sequel: “Does Liquid Chlorine Raise pH?“
Don’t forget to throw us some stars if you liked it:
A Single Dog in a Swimming Pool for Eight Minutes…
Its like a fish story. Every time you hear it, the number in the second half of that analogy seems to grow and grow. I remember the first time I heard it I was told “A dog in a pool for 8 minutes has the same impact on water chemistry/quality as 20 people in a pool for 8 hours.” I think the highest number I have heard was 100 people for 12 hours, and that was fairly recent. Without conducting the proper research, I can’t tell you which is true – if any at all. I can tell you that, as a Pool Operator, maintaining a pool that a dog swims in is not without its challenges.
“Dog Hair!!! Clogs the filter, reducing circulation, sticks to pleats of cartridges, gets stuck in clumps in the skimmer basket, clouds up the water, puts demand on chlorine, phosphates…” – Andrea Lynne, Adventures of the Pool Girl
Then, of course, there is the threat of waterborne zoonoses (diseases of animals that people can get). Dogs do carry several things that people can contract. The majority of these, just as illnesses that are spread person to person at recreational water venues, are easily and quickly inactivated in properly maintained swimming pools. Still, the Health Department does prohibit a dog from not only swimming in a public pool, they are not even permitted to be within the confines of its barrier (fencing). No matter how this introduction may sound – I am a huge fan and I think watching dogs swim about the backyard pool, or jumping in to retrieve a ball, is awesome. We should encourage folks to find unique ways to spend time with their pets and simply unplug from the day to day drama so many of us face. I personally don’t mind spending a little extra time cleaning the pool each week if it means a four-legged fur baby will get to enjoy the water as well, but all of this left me wondering…
Summer is here and most people have already experienced their inaugural swim in the family pool for the season, but should your four-legged family members have been included in the fun? Let’s highlight some of the benefits and risks of pool time for Fido.
Swimming is a low-impact, joint friendly workout that may help your pet to sustain or build muscle mass without the concussive forces associated with running or jumping. However, if your pet is fearful of water, you should never force your pet into the pool as stress and anxiety will likely negate most health benefits. Also, always monitor your pet around the pool as drowning is a real threat- especially in young puppies, elderly pets, pets with impaired vision, and in pets that suffer from seizure disorders.
Similar to people, some dogs will experience skin dryness, irritation, or allergy secondary to contact with pool water. Chronic exposure to pool chemicals can strip natural oils from your pet’s skin and result in flaking, dryness, and red, irritated skin. Damage to the skin barrier can progress to skin infections and potentially worsen underlying allergic skin disease. Pets can also show irritation of the eyes with increased redness, tearing, discomfort, and possible scratching at the eyes. Additionally, trapped moisture within the ears may lead to painful ear infections. It is very important to develop a regular routine of rinsing your pet thoroughly with water and cleaning the ears after each swimming session.
video courtesy of laura mickas & brian slate
Pool water ingestion can cause a range of clinical symptoms, depending on water quality and filtration. In an unbalanced pool, high chemical levels can cause GI irritation resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite. Insufficient chemicals and filtration can increase the risk of viruses, bacteria, and parasites that may potentially infect people and animals.
video courtesy of kelly & charlie sudano
What about the effect of your pet on your pool? Pets usually carry small amounts of fecal material on their fur(in addition to other debris). Having pets in your pool will likely increase the amount of chemicals necessary to balance your pool’s delicate equilibrium- not to mention the added debris and hair. Additionally, sharp pet nails can cause damage to pool liners, costing considerable money in repairs.
According to the American Kennel Club, the following dogs are most commonly associated with being strong swimmers (though we know there are quite a few others that should be on the list ?):
American Water Spaniel
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Irish Water Spaniel
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Portuguese Water Dog
Spanish Water Dog
Dr. Ligman added: Overall, swimming can be a fantastic, healthy activity for your pooch. Just keep in mind that having your dog in your pool may necessitate extra pool care time and extra after-pool pet care time.
What do you think about letting dogs swim in the pool?
Lowering Your CYA to < 15ppm is Now the 1st Step in Treating a Diarrheal Incident in a Public Pool – CDC
The Myth: If your Cyanuric acid level is high enough, it will lock up all of the Chlorine in the pool.
The Facts Cyanuric Acid, Chlorine Lock, and the CDC
In October of 1965, John R. Anderson Ph.D. P.E. published a paper titled “A Study of the Influence of Cyanuric Acid on the Bactericidal Effectiveness of Chlorine” which has been credited by many as the origin of the Chlorine Lock Myth. In fact, the publication actually supports a lesser-known, but more fundamental belief. Anderson’s study was sparked by Marks, Wyss, and Strandakov’s research in “The Mode of Action Compounds Containing Available Chlorine,” published in 1945, which had shown that the bactericidal properties of chlorine vary within vast limits in the presence of different compounds.
Dr. Anderson was actually able to determine the amount of free chlorine necessary
to achieve a 99% kill rate of Streptococcus faecalis (now Enterococcus faecalis) would increase at a rate substantially higher when raising the Cyanuric acid level from 0 ppm to 50 ppm than it would as we increase the Cyanuric Acid content to levels > 50 ppm. The time necessary to achieve this kill rate at 50 ppm would be 2,300.00% greater than the required time at a CYA of 0 ppm; the sufficient time to accomplish this kill rate at 100 ppm would be only 88.70% greater than the time necessary at a CYA of 50 ppm.
“As far as measuring CYA levels <20 ppm, that’s a little tricky. Right now, the standard turbidimetric method can only go as low as 20 ppm with most test kits. The standard color pads on test strips are not much better. Most start at zero, and the next standard is 40 ppm. It’s a guessing game. Colorimeters/spectrophotometers can go a little lower than 20 ppm. For example, Taylor’s TTi 2000 Colorimeter can measure CYA in a range of 7-200 ppm” – Wayne Ivusich, Director of Education, Taylor Technologies
The paper not only shows an increase in inactivation time
about increasing levels of cyanuric acid, but it does also provide research on chlorine’s effectiveness being pH-dependent. This research is relevant because it proves that a higher level of chlorine is necessary to achieve the same inactivation rate at higher levels of Cyanuric acid. At a Total Chlorine level of 0.48 ppm, a CYA of 50 ppm, and a pH of 7.0; Anderson was able to obtain a 99% kill rate of S. faecalis in 4.7 minutes.
He was able to achieve that same kill rate at a Total Chlorine level of 0.97 ppm, a CYA of 100 ppm, and a pH of 7.0; in 4.1 minutes. This does evidence that increasing the level of Total Chlorine by 102.08% will yield only a 12.77% decrease in germ inactivation time (CT: Chlorine Contact Time) when faced with a 100% increase in the level of Cyanuric acid. In other words – the higher the cyanuric acid level gets in the pool, the higher a level of chlorine, you will need to inactivate pathogens.
“The best option that we have for measuring Cyanuric Acid is using Hach Method Cyanuric Acid, Turbidimetric Method 8139. This is still turbidimetric so the chemistry is still the same, but it removes the subjective nature of using a visual interpretation. Instead, it measures the percent transmittance of light through the sample to calculate the result, which is much less subjective than doing it visually, and you can get a higher sensitivity and resolution, which leads to a lower range. The range of the test is 7-55 mg/L on a Colorimeter and 5-50 mg/L on a spectrophotometer. The lowest cost instrument that can run this method is the DR900 (Hach DR900) which is a colorimeter” – Matt T. Technical Support of Hach Company
This relationship between Chlorine and Cyanuric acid
was later revisited by Ben Powell of Pool Solutions. This can be found in his “Ben’s Best Guess Swimming Pool Chlorine Chart” developed in the mid-70s. It was then discussed in greater detail, more recently (October 2015), in an article written by Eric Herman that appeared in AQUA Magazine titled “New Thinking: Chlorine/Cyanuric Acid In Balance”. Here he interviewed industry chemical expert Robert W. Lowry on the subject. It was in Bill Powell’s “Best Guess” that the rule of 7.5 would come into effect.
Powell’s concept suggested
in order for a swimming pool to be both algae and bacteria-free, one would need to maintain a chlorine level that was 7.5% of the cyanuric acid level in that pool (i.e., a pool with a CYA level of 100 ppm would require a Chlorine level of 7.5 ppm). This relationship had served as a footnote in the CDC’s “Fecal Incident Response Recommendations for Pool Staff,” as a disclaimer, for well over a decade before the effect on germ inactivation time would appear in the instructions regarding the diarrheal incident:
“This level of Crypto inactivation cannot be reached in the presence of 50 ppm chlorine stabilizer, even after 24 hours at 40 ppm free chlorine, pH 6.5, and a temperature of 77F (25C)”. – CDC Fecal Incident Response Recommendations for Pool Staff, 2010 edition
In the fall of 2016, addressing the Cyanuric acid level became an actual step
in the CDC’s “Fecal Incident Response Recommendations for Aquatic Staff.” With that, as many health departments utilize the CDC’s fecal incident response guidelines within their regulations, lowering the Cyanuric acid (Stabilizer) level to 15 ppm or below before you begin treatment is now the first step in handling a diarrheal incident in a public swimming pool. Even then, with a CYA level of 1 ppm – 15ppm, the requirement is now to raise the free chlorine concentration to 20 ppm and maintain it for 28 hours with a pH of < 7.5, vs. the 20 ppm for 12.75 hours with a pH < 7.5 we have all grown to know and love. (which is still the procedure with a CYA of 0 ppm) as it had been in the past.
“Getting pools down <15ppm of CYA before treating for a fecal incidentseems like a tough haul for many public pools who routinely run in the 30-70 range. Note that most melamine-based test methods for CYA have a “reagent-blank” of about 3 to 5ppm due to the mixing of the reaction. It is challenging to make a true zero 100% perfectly clear when melamine is added.” – Richard LaMotte, VP Sales & Mktg, LaMotte Company
“The ColorQ or Spin Touch photometer can measure down to 0 to 5 ppm with a +/- 5 ppm accuracy at low levels. We do have test strips that measure down to 0 ppm, but the accuracy is +/- 20 ppm, so not as accurate as the ColorQ or Spin Touch.” – Rich DeMoss, Pool Mkt Manager, LaMotte Company
With a good portion of the swimming pool industry using avisual determination
turbidimetric means of testing cyanuric acid (Current method Taylor Technologies), with a low end capability of 30 ppm, many will need to change their method of testing in order to meet both CDC recommendations and DOH regulations regarding public pools pertaining to Fecal Incident Response.
Do you want to put your customer service skills to the test? Try working Memorial Day weekend in a busy swimming pool supply store. It’s hot, there are lines literally out the door, and everybody is having a party on Saturday! Then it happens. Entering your store is an unhappy customer.
I was lucky enough to get my start in the industry working in retail pool supplies. I can tell you from first-hand experience that in this environment your customer service skills have to be NEXT LEVEL STUFF. There is absolutely nothing like having an irate customer screaming at you from across the store. Knocking over signs and berating your staff, as sixty other patrons mill about a two-thousand square foot brick and mortar. Hating life because they feel that thirty minutes is too long to wait in a water test line just shy of a dozen people deep.
Trained with an egg timer
When I ran my store up on Long Island, I would teach my water test staff to analyze water and prescribe chemical doses with an egg-timer. I had a part-time employee whose only job was to delivered cold bottled drinking water to those waiting in a line that extended out of the door and onto the sidewalk. With two dedicated water test employees at all times and three minutes per test, the twentieth customer in each line would still be facing a sixty-minute wait… – Rudy Stankowitz, President/CEO of Aquatic Facility Training & Consultants
Reaching out to a Retail Guru
I have been out of the retail pool supply game for nearly eighteen years at this point. Wanting to put together a piece on “diffusing the irate retail customer” I decided to reach out to one of my CPO Certification students, Erin Thibodeau of Pace Pool & Spa Service. Erin was recently awarded Pleatco Filtration’s Outstanding Service Award. She received this for her retail customer service skills in Pleatco’s 2016 Nationwide Perfect Pool Guy/Gal Search at the International Pool & Spa show in New Orleans. Erin, who currently serves as the manager of Pace Pool’s Pace Florida retail pool supply location, reminds us of Berlin EA. & Fowkes WC.’s customer service model LEARN (1983).
What Pleatco’s Outstanding Service Gal said
‘Can’t win ‘em all’ is what they say. It is statistically impossible to please every customer that walks through the door. Whether they’re unhappy with the results of a product, are confused by varying opinions, or simply feel mistreated. A dissatisfied customer can make or break the day. Your response to the situation can affect not only your relationship with that customer but with any others that are witness to the debacle occurring in your storefront.
How exactly do you react to a displeased patron? You L.E.A.R.N.
Listen. Empathize. Apologize. Respond. Negotiate. (Berlin EA. & Fowkes, WC. – 1983).
While discussing automatic cleaners with one customer, it struck a chord with another who chose to voice their opinion quite prominently. “I wouldn’t buy one if I were you. That piece of junk never has worked right. I bought one online a year ago, and it hardly moves around or does anything.” I was not going to allow one customer’s bad experience put a damper on that of another. A few key questions and carefully listening to the replies, it was determined that the customer’s online purchase was for a completely different cleaner than the one being currently discussed. “That sounds like a frustrating ordeal,” I said “to spend several hundred dollars on an item and not have it perform as you’d expect. I’m sorry you had that experience. Let me explain the differences in the systems and also the advantages of purchasing through our company versus the internet….”
Someone unhappy or frustrated will more than likely be willing to give you an earful about their situation. Why are they mad? What happened and what steps were taken that procured a less than desirable outcome? What was the expectation, and how did we fail to meet it? We are often too quick to react. Take time to hear what is being said. Listen with intent and let the customer have their moment to spout off.
Compassion goes a long way for someone upset or discouraged. “I’m so sorry you’re having a difficult time. It sounds like you’ve been working hard on this issue.” Instead of greeting their anger with hostility, a soft tone and a sense of understanding can quickly diffuse a situation rather than causing it to escalate. Remember, it’s not just this customer, there are onlookers as well. Your goal is to come to a resolution, and adding fuel to the fire will get you nowhere fast.
Even though you didn’t make the product, or personally offend them, say you’re sorry. Maybe the result of their issue was due to their own negligence or misuse of the merchandise, say you’re sorry. I am sorry you feel this way and or the confusing information you received. I understand the frustration you are experiencing. Give them a sense of validation. That their concerns are real and that you do feel bad for having not met the desired outcome, whatever it may be.
Now that you’ve heard the problem, felt compassion for the situation, and apologized for your role in the circumstance, it’s a problem-solving time. What will you do to fix it? Is the customer due a refund? Can you reach out to a manufacturer’s representative to gain clarity on the use of the product? Is this a warrantable item? What are you going to DO about the situation? The active response is required. The customer has come to you with a complaint. You must react to it in a means they find favorable.
Some customers cannot be pleased. Once they have it in their mind that you or a product have done them wrong, even returning any monies spent, an offer of assistance outside the shop and/or an elaborate apology. Some folks just aren’t accepting of the circumstances. It’s ok to negotiate the parting of ways. Sometimes a company/customer relationship must end.
The variance here is that you have now supplied every ample possibility to resolve and assuage the situation. Hopefully, the steps you have taken are realized, and that relationship is salvaged. Those bystanders have seen your willingness and eagerness to work through a tricky scenario and the extent you have gone to make one customer happy. Even if the end result means one less customer, you have gained the trust and respect of those who witnessed your brilliant customer service tactics.
Handling customers en masse is no easy feat, especially when one among them is quite displeased. In those difficult times, take a moment and L.E.A.R.N. How you handle the circumstances will be far more memorable than the complaint itself. Let your actions speak louder than your words, and as the old adage says, “the customer’s always right.”
Why are pool technicians always in such great shape?
It is more than just a coincidence. These Backyard Water Warriors’ burn calories and work muscles almost non-stop. It’s “just another day at the office.” The Pool Operator Fitness program works nearly every major muscle group. It is no wonder why the pool pro is usually thin, tan, and cut. With an average pool route of fifteen pools per day, there is continuous physical repetition. This five to six-day workweek workout involves lifting, cardio, isometric, and both concentric and eccentric contractions. Lose weight quick ?
Workout Like a Pool Girl, Work it Like a Pool Boy
If you have ever watched the pool guy/gal service a pool, you have probably noticed that they are always moving. These Backyard Water Warriors’ burn calories and work muscles almost non-stop. Back and forth to the route truck, to the filter, skimming, vacuuming, etc. The exception being the five minutes spent on the water test and short drive in-between accounts. There is no part of pool cleaning where a person is standing still. According to LIVESTRONG.COM, A moderate walking pace of about 2 to 3 mph is intense enough to put the average person in the fat-burning zone during a walk. Lose weight quick ?
With fifteen pools a day at an average of twenty-five walking minutes per pool (30 minutes – 5-minute water test), our pool operator is on his/her feet and moving for 6.25 hours per day. In that time they cover a distance of nearly 12.5 miles (Verified by my personal Fitbit). Then consider the added weight of chemicals and supplies. According to SparkPeople, that alone would have a 175 lb. Service person burning 1,228 calories per day. I know personally, I had difficulty keeping weight on.
FACT: At 10 lbs per gallon, a 2 1/2 gallon carboy holds 25 lbs of liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlorite)
The job involves near-continuous heavy lifting. Everything from chemical buckets to safety covers. Then there is the repeated lifting lighter weight. MENSFITNESS reports that lifting relatively light weights (about 50% of your one-rep max) for about 20–25 reps is just as efficient at building both strength and muscle size as lifting heavier weights (up to 90% of one-rep max) for eight to 12 reps. This is according to their study, which is the latest in a series done at McMaster University in Ontario.
Fact:A Mesh Safety Cover for a 20′ x 40′ pool can weigh up to 70 lbs
Plenty of Torque
Skimming the surface of a pool sounds like an easy task, but it does involve holding a sixteen-foot pole extended across the pool’s surface for long periods. Can this static hold of 1.8 lbs of aluminum with a 1.5 lb net attached actually benefit an individual? According to Blueprint Fitness of Atlanta, a great advantage to static holds is their ability to increase your muscular strength without lifting heavy objects.
WAIT! This is not just 3.3 lbs of net and pole we have to consider, there is also this thing that physicists refer to as torque. Torque is the amount of force it will take to hold that 17 foot of net and pole horizontally from one end. If we do the math, we can see that our pool operator would need to exert 14.4 ft-lbs of force to hold that 1.8 lb. Pole when extended and that’s without the net. To intensify the “skimming for shredded shoulders” workout, try using the heavy-duty 3.5 lb commercial fiberglass pole instead.
4800 reps per week
Brushing the walls of a pool, again with light resistance as discussed above, will require similar movements as completing sets of chest dips with resistance on the downward push. Consequently, we would expect to work for those same muscle groups. According to ExRx.net, the target muscle of the exercise would be the pectoralis major chest muscle, along with the following supporting muscle groups: deltoid anterior, triceps brachii, pectoralis minor, rhomboids, levator scapulae, latissimus dorsi, and teres major. With a brush width of eighteen inches, which would be sixty-four strokes per pool (16 x 32 avg.). This multiplied by our 15 pools per day would equal 4,800 strokes per week (excluding brushing the tile).
Vacuuming a pool utilizes a motion similar to a seated cable row and decline bench. Resistance is on both pulling and pushing. “Seated Cable Rows emphasis is the trapezius muscles, latissimus dorsi, the erector spinae, rear deltoids, biceps, biceps brachialis, and forearm flexors,” says Curtis Schultz of BODYBUILDING.com.
“The decline bench press, either with a barbell or two dumbbells, you target your pectoralis major’s sternal heads. These muscles are more commonly known as your chest or lower pecs and assist in many upper-body movements. The other muscles that help you execute the decline bench press exercise are the clavicular head of your pectorals, anterior deltoids, triceps, and biceps.” explains William McCoy of LIVESTRONG.com. Using a self-contained vacuum with a twenty-one-inch head and a pool floor surface area of slightly more significant than 512 sq. Ft. it would take 19 reps to vacuum the floor thoroughly, 75 sets per week for a total of 1,425 reps.
The evaporation fog hovers thickly in an eerie mist above the swimming pool. The morning sun begins to destroy the night. The clouds become bludgeoned with broad blood-soaked brush strokes that feather into orange. Darkness reluctantly surrenders its hold of the sky. The gate to the customer’s yard emits a spine-tingling yowl. The Pool Tech lobs his hand forward, forcing it to swing open until hushed by a thunderous clap. The barrier folds upon itself permitting entry. Keeping Employees Engaged
He grasps his weapon of choice. His head hung down, somewhat resembling a defeated javelinist. He carries the telepole listlessly toward the pool deck. Each step labored; ponderous; as if his boots had become weighted by mud. His vision tunneled as he trudges forward, oblivious to his surroundings. He looks directly at the pool; his eyes dead; his stare a thousand yards.
“Poooools” he grumbles beneath his breath in a low and raspy tone.
Your company has just fallen victim to the Walking Tech!
It’s no secret that the best place for a service company to sell a customer a product is while you are standing in that customer’s back yard. If your tech is your eyes and ears, how many opportunities are you missing if your employee is in zombie mode? How many potential problems could have been avoided? How many dollars in potential sales are lost?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could clone yourself and have a dozen little yous out there servicing your customer’s pools? Of course, we want individuals to be individuals – That’s the beauty and strength of a Team, but how about a Team of individuals that were fully engaged and handled their route with a sense of pride and ownership?
PREVENTING A ZOMBIE PANDEMIC: THE BASICS
CHECK YOURSELF FOR BITE MARKS
We need to first make sure that we, ourselves, have not become infected. This may be a little tougher than you think. We need to also make sure that it doesn’t seem like we are infected (Even if we are confident that we are not.). An employee will never be more engaged than they perceive their immediate supervisor to be. What message are we sending?
A survey conducted by Dale Carnegie reports that 62 percent of engaged employees say their manager sets a good example.
ZOMBIE DEFENSE TRAINING
Don’t just train your employees – preparing alone can give you Zombies. We need to make sure that we also educate our team. We don’t want mindless repetition. What we wish for are individuals that can problem solve, recognize opportunity, and contribute to a higher level. Explain the “Why” behind the task. Let them know the reason something is done a certain way. Discuss the benefit to both the individual and the organization. An individual who understands the value in action or method (especially to one’s self) is more likely to apply that method. Promoting self-thinking will empower your employees. This will, in turn, will foster an increased level of ownership. An investment in education will pay for itself.
STRENGTHEN YOUR FORCES
Team meetings are an opportunity to encourage collaboration. An opportunity to create involvement and an increased employee sense of ownership within an organization. Use these meetings as a time to share information and company successes. Turn it into a think tank to elicit ideas and develop strategies regarding solutions and opportunities. Encourage an upward line of communication in meetings. Allows Team members to identify opportunities and permit them to assist in creating a plan to achieve these goals. Employees will give a higher level of support to the policies and goals that they helped create.
ANTI ZOMBIE GEAR
You can’t expect your team to excel and feel good about the job they are doing if they do not have the right tools for the job. Having to function with a lack of, or with subpar equipment will put your employees at risk of becoming infected.
SECURE THE PERIMETER
As managers, we are taught that employee errors and/or shortcomings must be addressed immediately. This will bring the undesired action to an immediate halt. Counseling forms and corrective actions serve as the tools we have at our disposal. Sadly, many save praise and accolades for the employee performance appraisals. These we conduct quarterly? Semiannually? Annually?
Motivation 101: Employees work hard and feel value in what the work that they do when they know the work they do is appreciated. If we address the errors immediately, why wouldn’t we address the successes quickly? An Atta Boy, Atta Girl, or Thank You can go a long way. If we praise successes as they occur, there will be more successes to praise.
Employees who benefit from the success of a company will contribute to a higher level to the success of that company. You can’t expect a real sense of ownership if you are only looking to your team to contribute to your success. The employee should see any rewards associated with that increased level of prosperity as well. This doesn’t mean you have to divvy up the profits. However, you can throw them a pair of movie tickets when the company meets its goals, or take the Team out for a celebratory breakfast.
Don’t be afraid to make hard decisions. Sometimes an employee is just too far gone to save. If you fail to terminate this employee promptly, you risk infecting other members of your team. Do not put yourself in a position where you develope a zombie horde.
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We have heard it a thousand times, “I don’t use chlorine; I have a saltwater pool.” The truth about saltwater pools is that homeowners do not always understand that they are using chlorine and that the only difference between this and a tablet is the chlorine delivery system. So why do they insist that it is not a chlorine pool? Here is The Truth About Saltwater Pools
Sodium chloride (NaCl).
It is merely a combination or compound of elements taken directly from the periodic table. The Cl in NaCl is Chloride. It is in a group on the periodic table known as halogens and has an atomic number of 17.
The truth about saltwater pools is that the salt cell separates bonded elements (compounds) and in such allows for complexation. It does this through a process called electrolysis.
When we add salt is to water, we form an aqueous NaCl solution; the compound then disassociates into Na and Cl–. Therefore, it is not producing chlorine. Instead, it is “charging” the element so that it can be chlorine. Once separated and in the salt cell, 2Cl– (Chloride) becomes Cl2 (Chlorine gas) + 2e– at the anode.
Electrolysis of Water
But wait, that’s not all. Do not forget that water (H2O) is also subject to electrolysis. Hydroxide is single hydrogen, and a single oxygen atom with a molecular bond formed in the electrolyzed water after the two hydrogen (H2) atoms separate from the Oxygen (O) atom. Some Hydrogen does become Hydrogen gas in the process. The Oxygen, as you can see from all of the “O” s above and below (i.e., HClO, ClO–, H2O, OH–), does not leave the water.
One in a Million
To simplify, we add 3,000 to 4,000 ppm of salt to a swimming pool (about 250 to 333 lbs per 10,000 gallons). Yes, this does also increase the Total Dissolved Solids level (1 pound of salt will increase the TDS of 10,000 gallons of water by 12 ppm). The saltwater solution we created passes through the electrolytic cell that contains electrically charged plates (a cathode and an anode). The sodium chloride separates into both Na (sodium) and Cl– (Chloride) in water. The Chloride becomes Chlorine Gas, then hypochlorous acid (HClO) and hypochlorite ion (ClO–). The combination of the two is known as FAC (Free Available Chlorine). The H2O separates and becomes hydrogen gas. Hydrogen’ bubbles off’ at the cathode and Oxygen collects at the Anode. This ‘bubbling’ due to electrolysis within the cell creates turbulence, which causes an increase in pH. This, and a complexation of NAOH.
The pH of salt
Wait a minute; I thought the pH was always high in a saltwater pool because the pH of salt is high? Not quite, NaCl has a pH of 7.0. The only way sodium chloride (table salt) will change the pH of water is if the starting pH is very low or very high, drawing the pH toward neutral upon addition. Do not forget, with a pH of 7.0, the closer to 7.0 the pH gets, the more salt it will take to change. Still skeptical? Try this: Take a sample of water with a pH of 7.0, add a teaspoon of salt and wait until dissolved. Do not shake the sample as turbulence can cause the pH of your sample to increase (that is an entirely different conversation). Retest your pH. Your pH will not have changed.
A Rising pH
In theory, SWGs will not change the pH of the water. In view, this is true. You start with a neutral salt and split it into Na and Cl- and put it all back into the water. In practice, the hydrogen produced is a gas, and because it is gas, it leaves the water. The hydrogen would usually neutralize the OH generated, but the hydrogen leaves creating turbulence in the water. A minute amount of sodium hydroxide is also produced.
Busting the Saltwater Pool Myth
When these chlorine generators first came about, the industry was extremely hungry for a magic pill, and so were the pool owners. A one-stop end-all used to treat all pool-related problems in one shot. Unfortunately, there were, among the many honest professionals, a few bad apples. In a snake oil salesperson kind of way, the capabilities of these systems were greatly exaggerated. “Get away from the harmful effects of chlorine,” “Never add chlorine again,” were just a couple of the phrases used to close the deal.
“You don’t want your kids to suffer from chlorine allergies, do you?” kicking it into a used car lot, borderline life insurance sales type pitch. “You’ll never have to adjust the pH, buy chlorine tablets, brush the walls, skim the surface, vacuum the pool, mow your lawn, empty the dishwasher, or make your bed – the saltwater system for your pool will do it all!” Okay, I strayed, but you get the point. Sadly, the Pool Operator is usually the one who has to explain how these things work to the often-doubting Facility manager or homeowner. Not only are they using chlorine in their pool, but technically they are a chlorine manufacturer. That’s the truth about saltwater pools.