Paramount Pool Products – Swing Sweep System – Technology at Work

Technology seems to be the theme of many of my blog posts.  The reason for this is that we are a technologically advanced society and we want instant gratification.  There are technological advancements being made in every field across the board.  The swimming pool industry is no different.  Many companies are coming up with new ideas of how to make owning a swimming pool even more enjoyable and less work to maintain.  Why are they doing this?  It is because that is what we want as consumers.  We don’t want to buy something that requires maintenance every week.  We want something that doesn’t require a lot of work or money for that matter to maintain.  One of the leaders of swimming pool innovation is Paramount.  This is a company that has taken innovation to the next level.  When everybody else was doing the same thing that they have always done in the past, Paramount was thinking about how they can make things better.

Typical Main Drain

Let’s look at the main drain for a minute.  For years the inground swimming pool main drain has remained the more or less the same.  Granted there has been some slight modification to its design for safety reasons, but overall it remained the same.  That is until someone at Paramount realized that it could be dramatically improved.  Going back to the old style of main drain you have to realize that it was designed to move water to the pump/filter/heater.  That is all well and good but that is all that it did.  With Paramount’s innovations they have taken the main drain to a whole new level.


Their MDX-R3 main drain does what other main drains do and more.  It moves water to the pump/filter/heater just like the others, but this main drain also removes debris from the pool.  The special opening in the drain allows even larger pieces of debris to pass through without requiring any effort on the part of the pool owner.  Basically any piece of debris that comes in contact with the MDX-R3 is sucked up and removed from the pool.  In todays world safety is a big concern, so you may wonder what would happen if a person were to come into contact with the MDX-R3.  Well I am here to tell you that you can rest assured that the MDX-R3 is VGB compliant.  This means that it meets or surpasses all safety standards required of any main drain.  The way that it does this is two fold.  One is in its design.  It’s cover is a dome shape to help prevent entrapment by making it very difficult to completely block the flow.  The other way is by using Paramounts secondary safety drain, the SDX.

SDX Secondary Safety Drain

The SDX is Paramounts secondary safety drain that is installed on the wall of the pool.  It too is VGB compliant in its design, and it is also plumbed into the same line that the MDX-R3 is on.  Basically what this all means is that if anything or anyone was able to completely block off the MDX-R3 then the SDX is fully capable of taking on the full suction of the pump preventing entrapment.  If you do not want the SDX on your pool then another MDX-R3 would be required to be installed on the floor of the pool and at least 3 feet from the other one.  By utilizing the VGB main drain specifications and having the SDX secondary safety drain on the pool you will have enough power to remove any debris that comes close to the main drain but without having the risk of entrapment.  Now I am sure you are wondering where all that debris goes once it is sucked up into the MDX-R3.  Well I am glad you asked because that brings me to my next point.

Debris Canister

Paramount thought of this as well and what they have come up with is remarkable.  They have developed a debris canister that gets installed poolside in the deck of the pool.  Think of it as kind of a skimmer basket.  All of the debris is delivered to the canister on the way to the pump, and you will have easy access by simply removing the lid and pulling out the netting to empty it.  Being that it is poolside you don’t even have to leave the pool area to empty it.  The other option is to just let the debris collect in the pump basket.  The downside of that is you will have to leave the pool area to empty the basket and the debris canister is much larger than the pump basket so you would be emptying the pump basket much more frequently.  At this point I am sure that you find this information as compelling as I do but let me take it a bit further.  You may be thinking that this all sounds pretty good but what about the shallow end of the pool or the corners of the pool.  You are right, there is likely to be debris in these areas and typically it would not find its way down to the MDX-R3 for removal on its own.

That is why Paramount came up with the SwingJet.  The SwingJet basically a modified return that delivers the debris in the pool to the MDX-R3.  It does this by utilizing ratcheting technology and making a 90 degree arc.  Basically the SwingJet is plumbed into a valve that operates multiple SwingJets in a sequence.


Notice that the arcs are all aiming toward the MDX-R3

Typically there are several SwingJets per pool that work together to deliver the debris to the main drain.  The water valve automatically switches between SwingJets in a pattern.  Every time that a SwingJet activates it pops out of the wall and sprays water up to 16 feet.  When the valve switches to another SwingJet that first one retracts and changes position so that the next time it is activated it pops out in a different direction.  It does this in three different direction and by utilizing several SwingJets on the pool they will very effectively deliver any debris in the pool to the main drain.

The combination of the MDX-R3, the SDX, and the SwingJets together in one system is called the Swing Sweep system and reduces the amount of physical cleaning that a pool owner will have to do to basically none.

In addition to this technology Paramount has several other products that are geared toward reducing the amount of time and money that people commonly spend on their pools.  To see a complete list of products and descriptions visit  You can also see other information on how to make your in ground vinyl liner pool clean itself by viewing my other blog posts.  If there are any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

Testing Pool Water at Walmart

The bulk of the information in this post was obtained from the article Will Water Test Kiosks Catch On in the May 9th issue of Pool and Spa News, Vol. 53


I frequently discuss the benefits of technology as it relates to the swimming pool industry.  The fact is that many companies are developing new products that make owning and maintaining a swimming pool much easier for the average person.  I still maintain that this is true but is there a line somewhere that shouldn’t be crossed?  The fact is that as with most businesses the pool industry is a supply and demand type situation.

People all over the place would love to have a swimming pool, and pool builders everywhere would love to sell all of them a pool.  So what is stopping this from happening.  To start I know that not everyone has the means to afford a brand new inground pool.  However one of the most common reasons people give as to why they don’t own a pool is that it is too much work and costs too much to maintain.  That being said I can see why all of these companies are coming up with products that take the work and cost out of the maintenance of a pool.  When you have pool builders telling these manufacturers that their customers want something that makes maintenance easier of course they are going to work on something that they can sell them.  That’s just good business in my opinion.  The point is that in this day and age we as consumers are always looking for quick easy results.  This is why you constantly see commercials about how to lose weight without exercise.  This is why there is a restaurant on every corner in most cities.  This is why there has been a technological boom in our society in the last 20 years or so.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, are all a result of our obsession with doing things right now.  We have DVD players and Blue Ray players because we don’t want to have to fast forward through the previews.  We can shop from home for anything imaginable so we don’t have to make a trip to the store.  I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that, because honestly I did all my Christmas shopping online just so I could avoid the craziness at the mall.  The point is that we seek convenience in our lives.  So this brings me to the main point of this post.

I recently read an article in Pool and Spa News about water test kiosks.  More specifically the article was titles “Will Water Test Kiosks Catch On” by Nate Traylor and it can be found in the May 9th issue of Pool and Spa News, Volume 10.  I have worked in a swimming pool store in the past and I have seen the water test being done.  This is something that most swimming pool retail stores offer to their customers.  It allows their customers the ability to know how there water is.  There are specific standards that should be followed in regard to the water you swim in.  The water test is done to ensure that you have the appropriate amount of chemicals, TDS’, etc. in your pool to make it safe to swim in.  Having the water tested from time to time will allow you to know what chemicals if any that you need to add to your pool.  It also allows that swimming pool company to sell you the products that they carry.  It has basically been this way for years.  However now a company called HTH Pool Care Products owned by a Swiss biotech company called Lonza has developed and introduced a new way of testing your water called Test to Swim.  This is a self serving kiosk that allows customers the ability to test their own water through a series of touch screen prompts.

This kiosk is currently located in 215 Walmart stores across the U.S.  and the kiosk is so high tech that it will actually analyze the water and generate a list of recommended HTH products and dosage for you pool based on the sample.  With this and other smart technology products their is some concern on the part of the pool store owners that they will loose their competitive edge against the big box stores.  The reality of the situation in my opinion is that while there may be some impact on the smaller pool stores in the country as a result of this water testing kiosk, but in the long run it won’t be too drastic.  The smaller pool stores will still be needed by consumers for their expertise in the swimming pool industry.  A lot of smaller companies offer full pool services which includes weekly maintenance and pool cleaning.  This is something that offers consumers that convenience factor I mentioned earlier.  The reason that this kiosk exists is to offer folks the convenience of making one stop while they are out running errands rather than multiple.  Lonza officials stated that this kiosk is geared toward the busy mom who is likely to be shopping at Walmart anyway.  Another thing that the article touches on is the fact that this technology is not limited to the Lonza company.  There is another company called Blue Ocean Corals that is using similar technology in pet stores to test the water of consumers’ aquariums.  The technology is very similar and the user interface is also like that of Lonza’s kiosk.  Making the switch from aquarium water to pool water would not be that difficult.   Blue Ocean Corals would however need a partner in the pool industry to buy into the technology.  The question was raised as to why a pool company would want one of these types of kiosks in their store, and the answer is simple.  To offer customers the ease of testing water and to cut down on labor costs for their business.

While this cutting edge technology is infiltrating the swimming pool industry there are some that are not happy with this idea.  I would like your feedback on this please.  In my opinion I think that this product represents another step forward in the ease of swimming pool ownership.  I may not agree with all of Walmart’s business practices but the fact is that with this kiosk available there they offer their customers more convenience which is something that most people are open to.  The technology available today is something that allows people everywhere to rethink their stance on pool ownership and could potentially increase the amount of pools being sold by smaller companies and pool builders.

Give me your thoughts please.

The bulk of the information in this post was obtained from the article Will Water Test Kiosks Catch On in the May 9th issue of Pool and Spa News, Vol. 53

Building a Pool: Things to Look For

I just want to touch on a couple of things today regarding what to look for when you are having an inground vinyl liner pool installed.

As I have said before, this type of pool is becoming more and more popular due to the fact that you are able to have the high end look of a concrete pool without the high end cost of one.  In addition to that, the time it takes to install a vinyl liner inground swimming pool is substantially less than that of a concrete pool.  There are some things that you as a homeowner can and should look for during the building process.  One is making sure that the builder has all the permits that he or she needs for the pool.  Without proper permits, the building inspectors can postpone the build until proper permits are acquired.  This could potentially cause a lot of stress for you as the owner.  That being said, it is also a good idea to check out the companies in your area that do vinyl liner installs.  There are a lot of “companies” that will agree to do the job but their work may be questionable.  A good place to start is finding out if the company has a store front.  This may seem irrelevant to some, but the truth is that a company with a store front is likely to be more reliable than the guy working out of an old barn and rusty pick up truck.  Think of it this way: if they are responsible enough to maintain and run a store, then they will likely have that same mentality when it comes to building your pool.  I also recommend arranging a meeting with the owner prior to making any arrangements to break ground.  I always like to know who is working on my projects well before any plans are made to start.  By doing this, you will also have the opportunity to meet and assess their character.  I know we are taught to not judge a book by its cover, but when you are potentially spending a significant amount of money on something it is perfectly okay to want to get to know the guy who is going to be in charge.  In addition to that, be aware that a lot of companies contract out certain parts of the build to other companies.  It would be wise to find out who they sub the work out to ahead of time to allow you to check that company out.  You can find out all kinds of information online these days and often find reviews of companies done by customers who have used them in the past.  I know that this all may seem like common sense to some, but think about all the people who have been burned by a company in the past.

In addition to getting the proper permits, make sure your builder is getting all the inspections done that are required in your area.  The rules and guidelines to be followed differ from state to state and county to county.  So it is important that your builder is getting the required inspections for the area in which you live.  Most places will require a plumbing inspection as well as a bonding inspection.  This brings me to my next point: in many places it is required to have every piece of metal around your pool properly bonded.  This includes the wall panels of the pool (if they are steel), the coping around the pool (if it is metal), and the rebar around the pool that will be encased in the concrete sidewalks.  During this process you will see a copper wire running around the perimeter of the pool tying all of the metal components together.  This is a must in most locations.

Coping not covered

Speaking of the concrete around the pool and the coping,  most builders will cover the coping of the pool with something (usually plastic) before they pour the concrete around it.  This is a protective measure to keep the concrete off of the coping to ensure that it stays nice and neat.  If the builder does not cover the coping, then you could end up with concrete on the coping and nobody wants that as the finished product.  Another thing that this does is protect the coping from the sealer that they will use on the concrete.  When you have metal coping, it is usually painted or sometimes powder coated.  The sealer used on the concrete can actually eat through the paint on the coping.  When you have a brand new pool, you do not want the coping to be insufficient.  Once the coping is on the pool and the concrete deck is poured, the only way to fix the coping is either to strip off the old paint and re-paint it or bust up the concrete deck and replace the coping all together.  Neither one of these solutions is ideal, especially if the pool is brand new.  So, make sure that the builder is covering the coping prior to pouring the concrete.

Bad Pool Plumbing

The final thing I want to touch on is the plumbing lines.  Again, the code may be different from place to place, but usually they are to be buried at least 18 inches down.  This is to keep them from potentially freezing during the winter months.  If they are under concrete, I think it is a little different in that the concrete itself offers some protection to the pipes.  However, if you have your filter pad located a good distance from the pool, which most people do, make sure that the pipes in that stretch from the pool to the pad are below the frost line.

These are just some essentials to watch out for while your pool is being built.  I urge you as the homeowner to be aware of the project going on in your backyard.  Knowing what to expect could potentially save you from expensive repairs later on.

Why Own A Pool

Nothing says awesome party like a swimming pool.  Swimming pools are becoming more and more common, and more affordable than ever.  Obviously an above ground swimming pool would be cheaper than an inground.  That being said an inground pool is something that can be used to compliment your backyard whereas an above ground pool is something that some people see as more of an eye sore.  In some cases home owners associations dictate if you can have an above ground pool or not.  In my opinion above ground pools are somewhat of an eyesore for the yard.  They are just a large object obstructing the view of the yard.  So if you have nice landscaping around the pool it would not be easily visible from any given point in the yard.  An inground pool on the other hand is something that can be used to compliment the backyard.  Depending on what you are willing to do and what you are willing to spend you can potentially turn your backyard from something boring and simple into an elegant backyard oasis of sorts.  Really the possibilities are endless.  The awesome thing about an inground pool is that no matter what type of landscaping you do around the pool and in your backyard, you will be able to see it from anywhere in the yard.  Some people may say that a swimming pool is too much work to maintain and costs too much to install.  With many different financing options available you might be surprised at how affordable they really are.  With the technology available today the cost of maintaining a swimming pool has gone down substantially, and the time needed to spend on maintaining the pool can be drastically cut down.  There are certain products available that can be combined into one pool that can make the pool virtually maintenance free.

There is also two rumors that constantly circulate regarding swimming pools and property value.  One is that having a swimming pool lowers your property value.  The other is that having a swimming pool increases your property value.  The truth is that it all depends on the market, and if the potential buyer is looking for a house with a pool, and understand the needs of a swimming pool.  If you live in an area that having a swimming pool is a must for most people then it stands to reason that by having one your house could sell for much more than it would if it did not have one.  It just depends, so before you buy into either rumor be sure to check out the market.

There is also the assumption that swimming pools are dangerous.  As with any body of water there are some risks involved.  However with the appropriate precautions that risk decreases dramatically.  Things like fences, alarms, and adequate supervision play an important role in keeping everyone safe around a swimming pool.  The most at risk of injury are younger children, and to keep them as safe as possible it is important that they first be taught how to swim.  In addition to that the fence, alarm system, and supervision will go a long way to keeping them safe.

Swimming pools can be a wonderful benefit to any backyard.  They offer a place of solitude, as well as a place for recreation, fitness, therapy, and many enjoyable summer days.  For more information regarding swimming pool safety you can check out my other blog posts with swimming pool safety in the titles, or visit where you can see the most up to date information regarding swimming pool safety.  For other information on the types of vinyl liner inground pools, how your pool can maintain itself, and the benefits of having a vinyl liner inground swimming pool please check out my other blog posts.  If anyone has any questions regarding any of the information in my posts please feel free to ask.

Why Steel Pool Walls Rust

Well we are finally having some nice weather here in northern Indiana.  That being said, new pools are being dug, and existing pools are being opened.  As I have mentioned in past posts, there are several different types of in ground pools on the market.  I want to touch on just two of those today.  The first is the steel wall in ground vinyl liner pool and the other is the composite/ non-corrosive wall in ground pool.  Only Alpha Pool Products manufactures both of these types of pools.  The reason they are both manufactured by one company is to offer customers some options when it comes to deciding on what type of pool to get.  In my opinion Only Alpha’s composite pool walls are the way to go.

It is know secret that steel will rust over time.  That is something that I would almost consider to be common knowledge these days.  On the other hand the composite pool wall is 100% non-corrosive.  So it stands to reason that if you look at two pools that have been in the ground for a number of years you might find that the steel wall pool is showing signs of corrosion or rust.  This is common and inevitable.  The thing is that you will not see any corrosion on the composite pool wall.  That being said, over time the steel wall pool will eventually get to a point in which something will need to be done in order to preserve it.  This could be anything from sanding the walls and coating them with a cold galvanization compound  to covering rust holes with sheet metal to prolong its life.

The steel panels manufactured by Only Alpha Pool Products are pre treated in an effort to prolong their life from the minute they go into the ground.  Like all steel pool walls the steel is galvanized to protect the steel from corrosion.  This means that they are coated with zinc.  The zinc will sacrifice itself prior to the steel rusting out to help make the steel last longer.  In addition to that Only Alpha has come up with a product that is used to coat the steel over top of the galvanization.  This product is basically a proprietary clear coat that protects the galvanization from sacrificing itself.  When it comes down to it the panels have two layers of protection against corrosion.  Unfortunately that does not mean that the steel panels will last forever.  It just means that Only Alpha has taken steps toward making their steel pool walls last longer than their competition.  There are some things that can increase the corrosion process.

For instance, salt cells are being used more and more these days.  They are products that convert salt to chlorine to sanitize and swimming pool water.  With this type of product a good amount of salt will have to be poured into the swimming pool, then through the salt cell that salt is converted into chlorine and then a short time after re-entering the pool it forms into salt again.  This product was made to lower the cost of chemicals for swimming pools and decrease the amount of maintenance for the pool.  It is a pretty good idea but as anyone from a northern state can tell you, salt and metal do not mix.  Every winter after a snowfall or ice storm the roads are covered with salt to melt the snow and ice.  That salt gets on the underside of vehicles and causes significant corrosion.  So salt cells are nice and all but really they should be used on composite wall pools rather than steel wall.

Keeping the chemicals in the pool at their proper levels is also very important.  A pool that is chemically unbalanced can cause some serious problems.  First the chemicals can damage the liner to the point where you will need a new one, and if it gets bad enough it can actually have an adverse effect on the steel walls.  Anything with a high level of acidity or base can cause the panels to corrode faster than they would if everything was balanced and at appropriate levels.

With that in mind it has also been discovered that fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides can increase the

rate at which steel corrodes.  Steel pools that are near ponds that regularly get chemically treated are at a greater risk of rapid corrosion.  Also regular fertilization of a yard surrounding a pool can increase the rate at which that steel corrodes.  Many people these days have an irrigation system in their yard to water the grass regularly.  These can also cause problems.  If the grass is fertilized and then the sprinklers come on that fertilizer can leach toward the pool and cause the steel to corrode faster.

With regard to the sprinkler system itself, if there is a leak in the sprinkler system underground that water can flow toward the pool every time the sprinklers come on.  That constant flow of water can also cause the steel to rust faster.

There are a few other things that can increase the rate of corrosion of the steel pool wall.  Stray electric lines underground can do it.  A pool that is not bonded properly is at risk of rapid corrosion. Also a pool in a low lying area may be at risk.

These are just things that should be considered when purchasing a pool.  Or if you have a steel wall in ground vinyl liner swimming pool with a salt system, you may want to think about removing the salt cell and just using a chlorinator.  If you are thinking about getting an in ground vinyl liner pool you may want to consider Only Alpha Pool Products’ composite pool wall.  They are just as strong as the steel wall but without the corrosive nature of the steel wall.