Spa, Hot Tub, and Pool Topics: Get a PhD in pH Balancing, Pump Performance and more!

Benefits of Chemical Automation

Operating a swimming pool, spa, or water feature without an automated controller is analogous to running your home’s heating system without a thermostat. Constantly turning your furnace on and off manually would simply be unthinkable, yet the majority of swimming pool and spa operators control their water chemistry in this same fashion. Water balance oscillates between “under feed” and “over feed” as operators attempt to maintain chemistry control in conjunction with other work activities. As a consequence, unsafe water conditions, chloramine formation, and excessive organic loading are common occurrences.

A conscientious facility operator typically checks and adjusts pool or spa water chemistry hourly. A CAT automated controller continuously samples pH and sanitizer activity, constantly adjusting the feeding of chemicals on a basis proportional to the demand. The results include elimination of “human error,” accurate and reliable maintenance of chemical levels 24 hours a day, compliance with health department chemistry standards, reduced burden on operating staff, and a reduction of chemical usage and costs. Enter CAT 2000 automated controllers.

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CAT 2000 Automated Controller

The CAT 2000 automated controller is the water quality solution for pools, spas, and a multitude of other water treatments applications used around the world. The power microprocessor-based design makes simple science of water chemistry maintenance under even the most challenging conditions. CAT 2000 constantly monitors pH and sanitizer activity and implements chemical dosing in proportion to the demand. Its proportional feed capabilities ensure precise water conditioning without overfeeding.

And, for superior bacteriological water quality, CAT controllers operate using the Oxidation-Reduction Potential (ORP) method of water analysis. ORP is the only reliable method proven to ensure rapid deactivation of such waterborne pathogens, such as E. Coli, in spa and swimming pool water.

With the power to meet the demands of virtually any application, CAT 2000 is priced to please the fiscally conscious, while its simplicity ensures success in the field. CAT 2000 is your “no-compromise” solution to your water chemistry control requirements.

Ever Consider Upgrading Your Pool System?

Energy costs are rising! Let us help you save money for the long term!

Ecotech EZ Variable-Speed Motor/Control by Emerson

This is an innovative technology that gives you a timer-controlled motor. Not only can you program its running operation, but you can adjust your pumps various flow speeds. This motor can be adapted to almost any pump housing. Another way you can control your energy usage.

IntelliFlo High-Performance Pump

The IntelliFlo high-performance pump is a complete pump that offers all the same benefits as the Ecotech EZ, but comes as a complete unit ready to install.

For more information on these products, or to have your questions answered, please feel free to give us a call or visit Pleasure World Pool Service!


ORP and You
Many pool and spa operators don't understand ORP. Still more don't even know what it is. It stands for oxidation/reduction potential. Essentially it is a measure of a substance’s ability to attract or give up electrons. Why does it matter? Back in the 1960s it was established scientifically that if water had an ORP of 600mV (600 millivolt static charge) ninety per cent of the bacteria in that water would die within 30 seconds. This is because the water could draw electrons out of a single-cell organism. Drawing the electrons out destroyed the cell membrane and the cell could not survive. As chemicals dissolve in water they can raise or lower this static charge. All pool and spa sanitizers on the market use this principle to kill bacteria.

ORP is a measure of the effectiveness of your sanitizer, not the amount of your sanitizer. It can be altered by a number of factors, but for the purposes of pool and spa treatments, the main factors are temperature, pH, and the amount of sanitizer in the water. In a heated pool or spa, the temperature is kept fairly constant so the relationship between pH the amount of sanitizer will decide the ORP. As pH drops, ORP goes up, given the same amount of sanitizer in the water.

Since people will be in the water, the pH must be maintained at comfortable levels between 7.0 and 8.0. Below a pH of 7.0, water is corrosive to the pool and the equipment. Above a pH of 7.8 the amount of sanitizer required to achieve the desired ORP is impractical to maintain. So, maintaining pH within a range of 7.2 to 7.6 is ideal.

It has been found that an ORP of 700mV is capable of destroying the more persistent strains of bacteria commonly found in the warmer water of a spa.

If you are using a chemical feeder which measures ORP it should be set to maintain ORP at a minimum of 600mV for a pool or a minimum of 700mV for a spa.

Alkalinity acts as a buffer and prevents rapid changes in pH when sanitizer is added. Total alkalinity should be kept at a minimum of 100ppm. High alkalinity can cause errors with pH sensors so a maximum total alkalinity of 150ppm is recommended.

If the pH is within the ideal range, a minimum 1ppm of chlorine should achieve 600mV ORP in a pool. For bromine in a spa, a minimum of 5ppm should achieve 700mV ORP. Bromine is preferred for use in a spa because chlorine evaporates quickly at spa water temperatures.

Saying Ugh to the Jug?
Your pool is a pool. It is not a water treatment plant. Liquid chlorine is good for use in municipal water treatment for a few reasons:

1. It kills bacteria effectively.
2. It’s inexpensive.
3. It breaks down quickly after use for minimal impact on the environment.

In a pool, more stable chlorine compounds are preferred for other reasons:

1. Pools are exposed to the sun and it’s the UV from the sun that breaks down chlorine.
2. Almost all of the water stays in the pool for years. A painted pool needs to be drained approximately every five years for painting. A vinyl, tile, or marbleite pool will not require draining for ten to twenty years. After ten years, even with draining for winterization, the majority of the water in your pool will be the same water that came out of the tap when it was initially filled.

Chlorine has historically been used in pools for two purposes:

1. Killing bacteria. Generally speaking, a 1ppm (parts per million) reading of chlorine will kill over ninety percent of the bacteria in your pool water.
2. Oxidizing (breaking down) organic contaminants from sweat, leaves, bugs, etc. At a higher level, around 9ppm, chlorine will oxidize those contaminants. Adding a high dose of chlorine for this purpose is commonly referred to as “shocking” or “super-chlorination.” At any given time, the majority of the chlorine in pool water is attaching itself to these compounds, so reducing them in any way is always a good thing.

The Alternatives:

For killing bacteria...

Many other methods are available, such as UV treatment, ozone treatment, ionization (with metals), and the newest method: generating hydroxyl ions in the water with a small electrical charge.

These methods are highly effective at killing bacteria. The problem is, they on treat the water which is passing the filtration system at the moment. The swimmers in the pool are left unprotected, swimming in water that may not have been treated for up to 8 hours. It is for this reason that a concentration of 1ppm of chlorine must be maintained in the pool water where people are swimming. (2ppm for bromine, but the same principle applies.) Just think of the alternatives as supplemental protection.

For shocking...

1. Oxidizing agents do a better job than chlorine at breaking down organic contaminants, so they are preferred in most cases. So, in most cases, they should be preferred. However, they do not contain chlorine. If the chlorine reading is too low for some reason, then products that contain chlorine can be used for a quick boost.

2. Powdered products are less messy and easier to handle than liquid chlorine. Powdered shock (calcium hypochlorite) is a common alternative, but care should be taken to prevent undissolved powder from sitting on the pool bottom. Other products use a blend of powdered shock and oxidizing agent, often with a mixture of other chemicals to help maintain good pH and other chemical factors.

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