Automatic Pool Equipment for Easy Maintenance
Routine maintenance is a necessary part of pool ownership—and it’s easier than you think. Thanks to technological advances in swimming pool equipment, pool care has become more simple, convenient, and efficient than ever. Here are six pool tools that will make taking care of your pool a quick and easy process.
1. Automatic Pool Cleaner
Automatic pool cleaners automate the otherwise manual task of removing dirt, leaves, and other debris from the pool. There are different types of automatic pool cleaners and most manufacturers offer a variety of models to fit any swimming pool, budget, or lifestyle.
Suction-side pool cleaners are the least expensive option, ranging in price from $200 to $500. These cleaners attach to the suction (input) side of the pool’s filter system and suck up dirt and other fine particles and transfer them to the skimmer.
Some models come with a separate filter bag to keep large debris from building up in the skimmer basket while others contain features that remove algae. For instance, the foot pad on the Kreepy Krauly® SandShark™ (pictured at right) has rows of squeegee-like fins that wipe away dirt and debris from vinyl, gunite, or fiberglass surfaces as the unit moves across the pool’s floor.
Click to see more automatic pool cleaners from Pentair Aquatic Systems >>
Pressure-side pool cleaners use either the return (output) side of the pool’s circulation system or a separate booster pump with a dedicated water pressure line to move around the pool and draw up dirt and debris into its attached filter bag.
Pressure-side cleaners have a larger intake than suction-side cleaners and can handle both small and large debris. Most models have a tail that stirs up the pool water and helps filter out finer particles to the main drain. Models typically cost around $425 without a booster pump and approximately $900 with a booster pump.
Robotic pool cleaners contain their own filtering systems and are self-powered by solar energy, a rechargeable battery, or a water-safe cord plugged into a standard GFCI-protected outlet. Because they have two intake ports, robotic cleaners are efficient at sucking up small and large debris, from pollen and sand to leaves and small twigs.
Many cleaners will also dislodge dirt and grime from the pool’s floor, walls, stairs, and waterline tile using built-in rotating brushes or powerwashing jets.
Robotic pool cleaners cost more than other automatic cleaners, with basic models starting at $1,190 and higher-end versions running as high as $3,350; however, they offer the most convenient and efficient cleaning process.
How to choose the right automatic pool cleaner model for your pool >>
2. Automatic Pool Covers
The simple addition of an automatic pool cover provides major maintenance benefits: Covering your pool between swim sessions not only keeps your pool cleaner longer by blocking out dirt and debris; it also prolongs the need to replenish water and chemicals by stopping the evaporation process.
Most automatic pool cover systems consist of a rectangular vinyl cover that fits into tracks permanently installed along the sides of the pool.
These cover systems can be installed in a variety of ways to fit any type and shape pool or design aesthetic: the tracks can be mounted into the pool deck, installed under the pool coping or in the pool wall for a seamless look, or mounted under a slightly raised rectangular or cantilevered deck to accommodate freeform pool shapes and vinyl-liner or fiberglass pools.
Above: This automatic cover by Cover-Pools, Inc., is able to accommodate a freeform pool with a built-in spa and water feature. View more automatic pool cover installations by Cover-Pools, Inc. >>
Right: The HydraLux cover from Aquamatic Cover Systems (right) is a trackless automatic pool cover system composed of interlocking PVC slats that float on the water’s surface. The cover deploys from a flooded vault installed behind the pool wall or in the pool floor and each slat is individually cut to fit the exact length and contour of the pool. The trackless design allows for installation on the most complex or limited pool shapes.
See more photos and watch a video of the HydraLux pool cover in action >>
3. Chlorine Feeders
Chlorine feeders, also called erosion feeders and chlorinators, hold several chlorine sticks or tablets (trichlor) and continuously dispense a stream of chlorine as the pool water passes through the feeder and slowly dissolves the tablets.
Chlorine feeders are available as a floating dispenser or an automatic chemical feeder that is plumbed into the pool’s filter system. Most automatic chemical feeders feature a regulation valve or dial that lets you adjust the feed rate to meet your pool’s specific needs.
4. Salt Chlorinators
While saltwater pools still contain chlorine, they produce and disperse the chlorine automatically via a salt chlorinator or salt chlorine generator. Instead of using sticks or tablets of chlorine, salt chlorinators use pounds of sodium chloride (salt) to indirectly chlorinate the pool water. At startup, and typically a few more times throughout the season, several bags of salt are added to the pool. As the salt-infused pool water passes through the chlorinator, an electrolytic cell inside the device converts the salt in the water to chlorine before it re-enters the pool. Once the pool is effectively sanitized, the chlorine converts back to salt and the process starts over.
Check out automatic chlorine feeders and salt chlorinators from Pentair Aquatic Systems >>
5. Digital Test Strip Reader
Digital test strip kits make maintaining balanced water chemistry an easy and straightforward task.
After a test strip has been placed in a water sample, a digital test strip reader will automatically compare the reacted color blocks on the test strip against the color chart pre-loaded inside the device and translate the reading into numerical results, displaying the current levels of sanitizer, pH, and total alkalinity in the water on an LCD screen.
Photo courtesy of Hach Company/ETS Business Unit AquaChek
Floating pool sensors take digital water chemistry a step further. These wireless systems consist of a floating pool sensor that analyzes the water’s chemistry and transmits the results to an indoor display unit. This makes it simple and convenient to check the pool’s chemistry levels at any time without walking outside to the pool.
6. Floating Pool Sensors
The floating sensor continuously monitors the water’s chemical levels, and if they become unbalanced, the indoor unit will register the exact chemicals and dosage that the water needs. In addition, the indoor unit monitors the temperature of the pool so you’ll know when it’s time to turn up the heater.
Photos courtesy of Great American Merchandise and Events