A pool once lost has now been found

When John Reynolds purchased a rundown Texas home two years ago, his intention was to renovate it and sell it for a profit, but now that he’s discovered a fully intact vintage pool in the backyard, he says he will never let it go.He discovered the pool three months after buying the property when heavy rainfall revealed that the backyard might contain a hidden gem buried under a mountain of junk and debris.According to Reynolds, the previous owner had been a hoarder, and he said that the property was in total chaos.“There was crap from one end of the property to the next,” Reynolds said.He’d purchased the Mineral Wells property from the county for back taxes, just weeks before it had been sch...

Cowboy pools & hillbilly hot tubs

With stay-at-home orders in effect and entertainment venues closed, the world has turned to backyards for relief during stressful times. This year, that meant installing a pool or spa, an idea that occurred to everyone in the world at about the same time, and led to another of the shortages that has marked 2020.Some consumers got to the table early enough to get their wish.In Florida, Megan McGee started looking for an above-ground pool during spring break. Even still, it took traveling to five or six stores before she got lucky, and that was in March.According to a recent article appearing in the New York Times, based on permit numbers, 94,000 new in- ground residential pools will have been...

‘Puddles’ — The leak detecting dog

A North Carolina water utility company has a new employee, and she’s not yet 1-year-old. Her name is Puddles, and she’s a chocolate Labrador Retriever who is being trained to sniff out underground water leaks.Cultured Canine is a dog training company in Asheboro, North Carolina. Business partners Annissia Justice and Alyssa Lubarski train dog basic obedience as well as therapy dogs to go into hospitals and service dogs for a variety of disabilities.But a few months ago, they were approached by a Davidson Water official who wanted a dog trained to find underwater leaks, training they had never before done.They accepted the challenge and have since learned the skills to teach Puddles, who is j...

Pool chemistry changes can indicate leaks

By Robert W. LowryI got a call I got from a pool service tech who said, “do you know why the salt level has gone down from 3,400 ppm to 1,900 ppm, calcium hardness from 350 ppm to 230 ppm and my CYAto be down by 30 ppm?” I said, “how long did it take for the readings to go down?” “Well, I checked it a couple of months ago, but they usually don’t change so I don’t test them very often.”Lost Water Replaced by Automatic RefillA pool may have a leak or many leaks that are small but cumulatively, the pool can lose a considerable amount of water. Recognizing that a pool is losing water is difficult with automatic refill devices and regions with high evaporation. The lost water is replaced automati...

Common signs of a leaking pool

The most obvious sign of a leaking pool is water loss, but are there other common symptoms to be on the lookout for?Absolutely!Here are a few additional items that pool service professionals can pay attention to, even if they are not leak detection specialists, to help customers avoid further damage to their outdoor investments.Water Level ChangesThe clearest sign a pool is leaking is that the water level drops within the pool. But is it leaking, or just evaporation? Evaporation rates vary depending on wind, air and water temperature, humidity and other factors.Anderson Manufacturing has an easy to use and free online Evaporation Calculator to see the evaporation rate in a specific area base...

Trichlor shortage — Service techs seek options

The trichlor shortage has numerous service techs scrambling. It has been estimated that about one third of the nation’s trichlor supply was taken out of circulation by the August 27, 2020, fire at the Biolab manufacturing plant in Wesltake, Louisiana.Prices are going up, distributors are rationing, scarcity is real.For those service techs that rely on trichlor (and there are many) the future is probably going to require making significant changes in how they maintain proper disinfection levels at the pools they service. Perhaps the vast array of specialty chemicals may provide some solace during these trying times.Fortunately, the swim season has come to an end in most regions of the U.S. an...

Expect higher prices with Trichlor shortage

Trichlor is in short supply following the massive chemical fire at the Biolab facility in Westlake, Louisiana. The manufacturing plant produced roughly one third of the nation’s supply of trichlor, which was lost in the wake of Hurricane Laura.How serious is the situation?A short conversation with Robert Rankin, Vice President of Pool Corp, indicates that the situation is real, and it is serious. Rankin said Biolab was one of three major producers of the country’s trichlor, the others being Clearon Corporation and Occidental Chemical Corporation.It is difficult to overstate the impact that this will have on pool service companies and Rankin doesn’t mince words. A few brief questions and answ...

Drowning matters every day, not just every May

Drowning injuries and fatalities are so commonplace that the stories could fill up whole newspapers.The CDC estimates that about 10 people die from drowning in the U. S. every day.Children ages 1 through 4 have the highest drowning rates and most of those drownings happen in home swimming pools.Drowning events are real, tragic, frequently preventable, and much more than just statistics.There are measures that service technicians can take to promote drowning awareness.Speak to parents about removing toys and other temptations from the pool area.Encourage parents to learn about layers of protection: pool covers, gates and alarms.Remind parents there is no substitution for total supervision aro...

It’s time to check those drain covers

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGBA), effective December 19, 2008, imposes mandatory federal requirements for the avoidance of suction entrapment. One of the main components of the VGBA is the requirement of safety drain covers, and those covers have limited life spans.Drain cover manufacturers are required to provide the consumer with information that tells them when the drain cover must be replaced before they begin to crack or show other signs of failure. Many manufacturers have designated a life span of 5 years, others up to 10 years.It is time to check those covers.All plastic drain covers, skimmer equalizer covers and spa suction outlet covers have a life span stamp...

Chlorine — Nature’s miracle

In the fight against the recent coronavirus pandemic, chlorine bleach has emerged as a true winner due to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).This powerful chlorine compound has a proven track record to safely remove both bacteria and viruses from surfaces and from the water. The CDC has stated “there is no evidence that Covid-19 can spread to people through the water used in pools, hot tubs or water playgrounds. Proper operation and disinfection of pools, hot tubs and water playgrounds should kill the virus that causes Covid-19.”In the pool industry, liquid chlorine, or sodium hypochlor...