The Best Equipment for your In ground Pool

There are many manufacturers of in ground swimming pool equipment.  By equipment I am referring to pumps, filters, heaters, etc.  However they are not all the same.  Like anything else there are different levels of quality associated with them.  The brand of equipment that I have found to be the best is Jandy.  In my experience Jandy offers the best features and highest quality associated with their equipment.  They also have a very extensive selection of accessory goods ie. lights, water sanitation, automation, and pool cleaners.  One of the coolest things that is offered by Jandy is their automation systems.  This is a system that will allow you to link the aspects of your pool together to be controlled remotely without having to physically open valves, adjust your pump, or adjust your heater.

If I were having a pool built I would definitely look into what Jandy products fit my needs and lifestyle.  I don’t necessarily mind putting a little work into the things that I have, but at the same time it would be really nice to not have to worry about it.  With the right Jandy products I would be able to just sit back and enjoy my pool rather than worry about how much time I will have to spend getting the pool ready to be enjoyed.  For instance if I were having a pool party over the weekend I could simply go to my controller and adjust the heat so it is ready for swimmers.  I could also toss the robotic cleaner in for a while to remove all of the debris from the pool.  I could set the system to turn the waterfall on when my guests arrive.  I could even program the lighting to cycle through the various colors throughout the evening.


So clearly I would want one of their automation systems.  The type of automation system that I would get would depend on the number of items I want to control.  If I only needed to control four or less items then I could go with the Z4 system.  Anything more would require me to move up to one of their RS systems.  Either way I could make sure that I could control the components that I want.


They have several pump options available, from single speed to variable speed.  All of their pumps are designed with efficiency in mind so I won’t have to worry about an over usage of electricity increasing my power bill.  If I were going for quiet efficiency I would choose their Stealth pump.  As the name suggests this is a quiet, powerful, and efficient pump and it is available in several models depending on my horsepower needs.  Lets say that I already have a pool and my current pump has just failed.  In this situation Jandy offers the FloPro pumps for easy replacement of existing pumps.  Several different bases for these pumps are available which change the height of the pump allowing you to install it in an existing system without having to alter the plumbing.


They also have several styles of filters available.  They have everything from sand filters to DE (diatomaceous earth).  For me I would likely go with one of their standard cartridge filters, and I will tell you why in a minute.  Their cartridge filters are designed with efficiency in mind and will work well with their pumps and heaters.  With a cartridge filter their is no need to backwash so their are no long hoses that I would need to stretch out to the street or under the fence into the neighbor’s yard for a few minutes only to have to wrap it all back up.  In addition to that I find cartridge filters easier to maintain.  When it comes time to replace the cartridges it is a fairly simple process whereas with a sand filter it can be difficult to remove the old sand.


When it comes to heating I will always spoil myself.  I am not a big fan of swimming in cold water.  That being said, when I go swimming I want my pool water to be warm.  Jandy offers a few different options when it comes to heating.  They offer a heat pump as well as a standard gas heater.  With the gas heaters they even come set up for either natural gas or liquid propane.  The difference between the gas heater and the heat pump is simple.  The heat pump uses the ambient temperature to heat the water, whereas the heater burns LP or natural gas to heat the water.  This means that the heater will heat the water much faster than the heat pump.  On the other hand it typically costs more to run the heater than it would to run the heat pump.  However when it comes to warm water versus cold water I am willing to pay a bit more to be comfortable.  It really comes down to personal preference.

Versa Plumb System:

With Jandy products, when you use a pump, cartridge filter, and heater you have the option of using their Versa Plumb System.  This is basically a way of plumbing the entire system allowing the best hydraulic efficiency.  They provide you with the fittings and pipe needed and it is just a matter of putting it all together.

These are all reasons why I think that Jandy has the best equipment for your pool.  They have so many options available that they are able to fit the needs of anyone.  In addition to that I know that their standards of customer service are set much higher than any other equipment manufacturer out their.

The benefit of a 12v Light over a standard 120v

Since 1990 there have been over 60 deaths by electrocution and over 50 serious electricity related injuries due to faulty wiring in and around swimming pools. You might be thinking why would anyone have electrical lines around their pool area. You must understand that the majority of swimming pools have underwater lights. These lights can go bad in a couple different ways and result in stray electricity entering your pool water.

A swimming pool is meant to be a happy place where people can relax and enjoy a hot summer day. It shouldn’t be a place where people are at risk of injury. Older pools are at greater risk of having an incident. The lights used in older pools were likely to have a full 120V going to them. Today many manufacturers are changing their lights to a low voltage to prevent this type of thing from happening, or at least offering this option to those with concerns. What is likely happening is that the lights are failing and in some case water can get inside the light. Obviously this is a huge concern, especially if that light had 120V going to it. There could be other possibilities as well. If there is lighting around the pool then you will want to make sure that it is properly wired and grounded.

There are a couple ways that you can help to ensure the safety of your swimmers.

1. Signs of mold or other growth on the inside of the lens are signs of water leakage.
2. Have an electrician inspect the underwater lights and make sure that junction boxes and wiring connections are installed correctly.
3. Be sure that the power switch and GFCI for underwater lights are properly marked and easy to get to in case of an emergency.

One thing that you can do to help prevent any unfortunate events related to electrical shock in your pool is to have low voltage lighting installed in the pool when it is built.  There are several manufacturers of low voltage lights for in ground swimming pools.  Granted one low voltage light will not be as bright as a standard 120v light but you can make up for that by simply adding additional lights to the pool.  In addition to that these low voltage lights typically have the same capabilities as the larger 120V lights that are out there.  For instance many 120v lights are capable of changing colors.  In many cases the same goes for low voltage lights as well.
The point of all this is to inform you that you have options when it comes to swimming pool lighting.  One option being a low voltage light for your pool.  This will greatly reduce the risk of electric shock in your swimming pool, as opposed to a 120v light that would be very dangerous if it were to fail.

Swimming pools that require little maintenance

In today’s fast pace lifestyles, people always seem to be looking for the quickest or easiest ways to do something.  This is apparent by the way we live our daily lives.  For example, when my wife and I are sitting at home in the midst of a discussion that our opinions differ on, the quickest and easiest way to settle the difference of opinion is to look the answer up on the internet.  Instead of going to the computer, to do this we grab for our phones.  This is a perfect example of how we as americans want things “now”.  It is no longer acceptable to have to go to the computer to get information.  We would rather have that information readily available in our pockets.  It used to be that at dinner time, one would have to physically prepare food.  Now there is a restaurant on every street corner.  These are just examples that demonstrate what I am saying.  This same mentality is now crossing over into the inground swimming pool industry.

People are still wanting inground swimming pools, but either they are not too keen on doing the maintenance on them, or they just don’t have the time in their daily schedules.  So what can be done?  Obviously the water would have to be maintained in order to keep it clean, and the pool itself would surely get debris in it.

With the technology that is available today the swimming pool industry has seen dramatic shift in the way that people are maintaining their swimming pools.  There are now systems that have been designed to clean the swimming pool so that you don’t have to.  Paramount has developed a system that uses specialized returns, floor nozzles, and main drain to remove debris from your pool.  This system basically eliminates the need to sweep the swimming pool.  They have a few different versions of this system that have different levels of cleaning.  I break it down a good, better, and best.  The good version utilizes the specially designed main drain and a secondary safety drain to clean debris out of the pool.  The better system uses those drains as well as the specially designed wall returns to direct debris to the main drain and remove it.  The best version is when the main drain, wall returns and floor nozzles are being used together.

So lets break this down even further.  The main drain that they have specially designed is called the MDX – R3.  This is basically an over sized main drain that is capable of removing even large debris from your swimming pool.  The way this works is by using a 4″ opening on the bottom of the drain.  This then gets reduced to a 2 1/2″ pipe.  All the debris that gets removed from the pool then gets deposited into a debris canister or it goes into your pump basket.

With this main drain it would be necessary to use the SDX secondary drain.  This drain acts as a safety drain.  It gets plumbed into the same line as the MDX- R3 so if something were to completely cover the MDX-R3 then the SDX is completely capable of taking on the full force of the pump.  This way, whatever is covering the MDX-R3 can be removed easily.

The specially designed returns are called SwingJets.  The SwingJets have ratcheting technology so they actually pop out pointing in one direction.  They then go back in and when they come back out they point in a new direction.  They ultimately have three different directions that they point to.  For the system to work properly there would need to be multiple jets in a single pool.  With multiple jets all working together they effectively push debris toward the main drain.  If the pool were to only have these SwingJets and no in floor nozzles then you might find that the debris is settling in the center of the pool in a line up the slope.  This would require you to simply brush the debris toward the main drain.  To Eliminate this problem you would want the “best” version which uses the in floor nozzles.

The in floor nozzles are basically a type of return fitting that actually gets installed in the floor of your pool.  There would typically be a few of them strategically located in your pool and would effectively force the debris to the main drain to be removed.

These systems are designed to take the work off the shoulders of the homeowners.  However this still leaves the problem of treating the water.  For some people this is not that big of a deal, however there are others that don’t want to even mess with it.  For this reason there have been products designed to treat the pool water so that you, the homeowner do not have to.  I say that, however they don’t completely take the human element out of it.  There are two particular products available that when combined they make your pool sparkling clean, and crystal clear.  They are the Clear O3 and Ultra UV.

These units work together to kill 99.9% of all bacteria and viruses in you pool water.  As I said, they work well together but the way they kill bacteria and viruses is completely different.  The Clear O3 system injects ozone into the filter system by way of the pump.  The Ultra UV uses Ultra Violet Radiation to sanitize the water.  The Clear O3 Unit will mount near the filter system and actually has a small hose that runs to the pump where it injects the ozone.  The Ultra UV will actually get plumbed into the system so that water will run through it where it will pass by an ultra violet lamp allowing the UV rays to kill any viruses or bacteria in the water.

As I said these systems will allow for the bare minimum of work to be done by the homeowner in regard to water sanitation.  However there will still need to be some residual chlorine in the water to take care of any excess “filth”.  This simply means that from time to time you would have to add some chlorine to the pool.

If you are interested in getting a swimming pool but have no desire to spend extra time taking care of it then you may want to look into these systems as they take a lot of the work out of owning a swimming pool.  The Clear O3 and the Ultra UV can be installed after the pool has been built, however the good, better, and best Paramount in floor cleaning systems will really need to be installed at the time that the pool itself is installed.

For more information regarding the Clear O3, Ultra UV, and the Paramount in floor cleaning systems please check out Paramounts website here

Swimming Pool Technology

Things are changing in the world of in ground swimming pools.  Technology has taken hold of the way things are done and the products that are available.  If you were to look at an in ground swimming pool that was built in the 50’s, it would be quite different than a swimming pool that was built last year.  So what are the differences, and how have they affected the industry?

To begin let’s take a look at the building materials that are used to build an in ground swimming pool.  Years ago in ground pools were primarily made out of concrete.  As I have said in previous posts this type of pool is typically more costly than other types that are available.  From there the industry has provided other building materials that are used to construct in ground pools.  Today vinyl liner pools are becoming more and more prominent in the industry.  They started with the use of steel walls that would be bolted together and then covered with the vinyl liner.

The latest and greatest material in the industry is composite.  The steel wall pools are still being installed, however with the growing trend of “salt water” pools a change had to be made.  Obviously salt and steel are not the best of friends, as anyone in the northern U.S. can attest to.  Salt is highly corrosive to steel and as a result the steel walls are corroding faster than ever before.  There have been a number of non-corrosive alternatives developed in recent years, however there is only one true composite wall panel on the market, and should not be confused with the other non-corrosive materials available.  The reason you don’t want to get this product confused with the others is that the quality of this product if far superior than everything else that is out there.  Only Alpha Pool Products has taken their non-corrosive pool panel to the next level… Well I should say that they have taken this panel to the next several levels.  There is nothing on the market that even comes close to the quality and structural integrity of Only Alpha’s composite panel.  You can see for yourself by checking out their website at  There you can see what makes their composite panel different and even find links to their youtube videos that demonstrate the difference in their composite panel’s structure.  You can also find more information about what makes their composite panel, and their company different by checking out the rest of my blog.  It goes without saying that this high quality, non-corrosive wall panel will naturally come with a slightly higher price tag.  However for those that have their wallets in mind, Only Alpha has also taken the standard steel wall and drastically improved it as well.

In the in ground swimming pool industry there is a basic understanding that steel is steel.  It will rust at some point in time.  In addition to that there is one common theme across the board of steel wall manufacturers.  That is that they all use 14 gauge g35 galvanized steel.  The 14 gauge is the thickness of the steel and the g35 represents the amount of galvanization on the steel.  Galvanization means that the steel itself is coated with a layer of zinc.  That zinc is there to prolong the life of the steel by sacrificing itself first.  It is a forcefield of sorts that protects the steel from corrosion.  However once that galvanization is gone the steel will begin to rust.  Only Alpha recognized this problem and has taken steps toward improving it.

They use the same 14 gauge, g35 galvanized steel and add another layer of what they refer to as their “Alpha Shield”.  It is basically another layer of protection that gets applied to the steel after the galvanization.  This does two things for the steel.  One is that it gives the steel an almost stainless look, which in my opinion benefits the builders by allowing them to offer their customers a product that looks as new as it is.  Other steel panels will often times appear to be weathered and aged before being installed in the ground.  Now imagine that you are getting a brand new in ground pool and you look out your back window to see these dingy looking panels that in some cases already have some corrosion on them being installed in your backyard.  You would wonder what your hard earned money is being spent on.  The other thing that this “Alpha Shield” does is it actually repels moisture away from the steel.

This gives the steel a much longer life and gives you and your family piece of mind knowing that you have a quality product.  If you visit you will see a series of logos that represent the different lines of pool building material that they offer.  Two of which are steel panels, the Titan Steel line and the Trimax XP3.  All of those logos are actually links to sites specifically about those lines.  If you click on either of the Titan or Trimax logos you will be directed to those sites and have the opportunity to find out more.  My favorite part of these sites is a video that demonstrates what this “Alpha Shield” really does.  Once you are at the Titan or Trimax site you will see a tab that says either “Why Titan” or “Why Trimax XP3” depending on the site.  If you click there then scroll down the page you will see the video.  I recommend watching that video because it is quite impressive.  Again you can also find more information on what makes Only Alpha’s steel superior by checking out the rest of my blog.

Technology has also allowed for huge improvements in the realm of how we maintain our pools.  As mentioned above “salt water” systems are taking the industry by storm.  Honestly I think that there is some misconception about what a salt water pool really is.  People tend to think that this type of pool uses salt to replace chlorine, so in turn it is a healthier pool for their families.  This is somewhat true, however they typically do need to have a residual amount of chlorine added from time to time.  It just doesn’t require as much so you would be saving money on chemicals.  However, what most people don’t realize is that the system changes the salt into chlorine for sanitation purposes, and then it changes back to salt.  So the pools still use chlorine, just not directly.  Again, you can find more information on that in another post I have written.

If salt is not what you are looking for, there are quite a few other ways to treat the water in the pool.  a couple other things that are growing in popularity are UV sanitation and Ozone sanitation.  These are systems that will likewise be plumbed in at the filter pad and either use ultra violet radiation to kill harmful bacteria, or ozone.
When used in conjunction with one another the result is clean and clear water.  Again, with these systems there would still need to be a little bit of residual chlorine added to the pool.

Another huge advantage that technology has made possible manifests itself in the form of pool cleaning.  It used to be that in order to remove debris from your pool, you would have to get out your pole and net and skim the water’s surface, or use the pool vacuum to remove debris from the pool floor.  Now you can have your pool installed with an in floor cleaning system that will eliminate the need to physically skim or sweep the pool.  Through the use of specialized returns, floor nozzles, and main drain, anyone can have a pool that literally cleans itself.  You can find more information on this technology and others by checking out the rest of my blog.

These are just some of the ways technology has improved the swimming pool industry.  If anyone has any questions please feel free to post them in the comments section below and I will do my best to address them in a timely manner.

Polaris Robotic Pool Cleaners


When you hear the words robotic cleaner what comes to mind?  No not Rosie.  I am referring to robotic pool cleaners.  First be aware that there is a difference between a robotic cleaner and a suction side cleaner.  The main difference is that robotic cleaner creates its own cleaning power, where a suction side cleaner depends on the pools pump to create the power to clean the pool.  The easiest way to spot this is by looking at the skimmer of the pool.  If it is a suction side cleaner then you will see a line going into the skimmer.  This is what is doing the cleaning.  With a robotic cleaner you will see no such line.  Instead you will see a line going from the cleaner to its “caddy”.  The caddy supplies the power and acts as storage for the robot when it is not in use.  Lets take a look at the actual mechanics of each of these types of cleaners for a moment.

Suction Side Cleaner

A suction side cleaner utilizes the power of the pump to clean the pool.  It basically crawls around the pool sucking up dirt and debris and depositing it into the skimmer basket or pump basket.  Without the suction of the pump then the cleaner would just sit at the bottom of the pool doing nothing.  A robotic cleaner does not require the use of the pump to clean the pool.  It gets power from the caddy and uses a brush or brush like component to clean the pool.  Any debris or dirt that it stirs up gets deposited into a net that is built into the robot itself.  This aspect of the robot is enough to peak the interest of pool owners across the country.  It is a major selling point for the robot due to the fact that pool owners won’t have the task of cleaning out their skimmer baskets, pump baskets, or backwashing their filters after cleaning the pool.  You now see that there is an obvious difference between a robotic cleaner and a suction side cleaner.  Now you should know that there are differences from one robotic cleaner to another.  For me there is one brand of robotic cleaner that stands out from the rest.  Polaris robotic cleaners are in my opinion at the top of the game when it comes to innovation.  One reason is that they have redesigned the debris containment basket so that the cleaner remains highly effective even as the basket fills up.  Polaris has developed a new line of robotic cleaners that I want to briefly talk about.  These are the 9350 Sport, the 9450 Sport, and the 9550 Sport models.  Obviously, being that there are three different models available you can assume that the higher the number the more features the robot will have.  So lets look at the 9350 Sport.

9350 Sport – This model offers the fewest options.  It is kind of like the base model with no bells or whistles.  However it still utilizes the new design as far as the Vortex Vacuum Technology.  This basically allows this line of robots to have 25% more vacuum power than other robots on the market.  In addition to that this model offers dual cleaning cycles, which allow users to choose from a cycle of 1.5 hours, or 2.5 hours.  Basically, if your pool is extra dirty then you can set the robot to clean for a longer period of time to remove more debris.  It also offers floor, wall, and tile line cleaning.  Out of the three new models this is the only one that has two wheel drive.  To me this means that this model is ideal for smaller pools, shallower pools in which the robot will not have to work too hard to access all areas of the pool, and pools with gradual turns.  The amount of cord you get with this model will accommodate a 50′ pool.  Another feature that should be noted is that the brush on this model is pleated rather that a solid blade.  The last thing is that the caddy is included.  I am not sure why this point would need to be stressed so much unless with other brands you would have to buy the caddy separately.  I just don’t know for sure.  Anyway lets move on to the next one.

9450 Sport – This model is the next step up.  It still offers the Vortex Vacuum Technology, but it also comes with a few upgrades.  For instance instead of the dual cleaning cycles, you get a seven day programable timer.  This model also offers the floor, wall, and tile line cleaning.  Another difference is that this model is four wheel drive.  This feature would be ideal for larger pools or pools with sharp corners.  Again this model comes with enough cord to accommodate a 50′ pool.

9550 Sport – This model is like the fully loaded Cadillac of cleaning robots.  It has options that are unique to this particular brand and model.  One of which is a motion sensing handheld remote.  Yes motion sensing!  This is basically like the remote of a popular video game system in which the robot will move in the direction that you hold the remote.  With just the tilt of your hand you can get you robotic cleaner to turn left, right, or up, and down.  No other robotic cleaner has this technology to my knowledge.  This basically changes cleaning the pool from a chore to a fun way to relax or interact with the kids.  Another feature that is unique to this model is the dirty canister indicator light.  This light will come on when it is time to empty the robots debris basket.  In addition to that you can program the robot with cleaning patterns that are unique and specific to your pool.  This makes for a very efficient cleaner.  It is also four wheel drive and comes with a seven day programable timer.  The caddy is again included.  However this model is the only one of the three that comes with enough cord to accommodate a 60′ pool.  It is also the only one of the three that has a solid blade brush, which means that there will be no debris escaping.

These are the features available with each model.  I wanted you to know in case you happen to be thinking about getting a robotic cleaner for your pool and are unsure of which one to get.  I would recommend getting a Polaris robotic cleaner, however it will be up to you to determine which model best suites your needs.  One thing that I forgot to mention about all of these models is that they are equipped with an easy lift system.  When you are ready to remove the robot from the pool you simply have to press and hold a button on the caddy and your robot will come to the surface and make its way to the edge of the pool where it will wait for you to remove it.  Another thing is that each of these models is equipped to deal with being overturned.  If your robot ever flips over then it will shut itself down and float itself upright again.  For more information on swimming pool basics, please check out my other blog posts.  If you have a specific topic in mind that I have not yet covered please feel free to mention it in the space provided for questions and comments.

The Best Gas Heater for Your Pool – Features and Benefits

I would venture to say that most of the time, when someone has a brand new inground vinyl liner pool installed they typically also have a heating device installed.  There are several different types of heating devices that

one could choose from.  Today I am going to spend a few minutes to talk about gas heaters.  Specifically the Jandy LXI heater.  However before I get to that I want to talk about the differences between a gas heater and a heat pump.  I would say that these are probably the two main sources of heat that people choose for their pools.  So what is the difference?

To start it is important to understand that the initial costs of these two are a bit different.  You will be spending more on a heat pump up front than you would on a gas heater.  However the heat pump will likely save you money in the long run.  A heat pump is a very efficient way to heat your pool.  You will save money due to the fact that you won’t have to pay for the natural gas or LP that you would if you had a gas heater.  The downside comes from the fact that a heat pump is limited to what it can do.  A heat pump will only work well when the air temperature around it is 65 or above.  Generally anything below that will cause the heat pump to struggle.  This is because the heat pump uses the air around it to heat the pool.  Conversely a gas heater will work well in any climate.  This could potentially prolong the pool season.  Another con for the gas heater is that they will have to be turned on and off to get the temperature that is desired.  A heat pump on the other hand controls more like the air conditioning in a home.  You would just set the desired temperature and the heat pump will bring the pool water to that temp and shut off.  If the water drops below the desired temp then the heat pump will again turn on and adjust the temp to where it needs to be.  Another downside of the heat pump is that this adjustment may take days depending on the difference between the current pool temp and the desired temp.  For instance if a pool was just installed and filled with cold water, and the heat pump is set to 80 degrees F then it will likely take a few days for the pool water to reach that temp.  On the other hand a gas heater could have that water to the desired temp in a matter of hours.

Before deciding on what type of heating device to get, it would be wise to do some research before committing to one over the other.  Not everybody can comfortably afford the higher cost of running a gas or LP heater, and the features may be different depending on the brands of equipment you may be looking into.  This brings me to the title of this post.  Jandy LXI Heater – Features and Benefits.  If you are already doing some research then I want to give you some facts about the LXI Heater so that you can make an informed decision.  I also want to point out that the information you are about to read can be found at along with information on their entire line of equipment.

Things to know about the Jandy LXI Heater 

* Exceeds environmental standards for low NOx emissions – this will allow you to enjoy your pool more, knowing that the heater was designed with the environment in mind.

* Automation ready – easy integration with Jandy’s AquaLink controller as well as other control systems.

* Built in freeze protection

* Exclusive maintain temperature function available – this will keep the pool temperature where you want it without having to manually turn the heater on and off.

* High efficiency heat exchanger is standard – this will lower the operating costs to provide greater savings.

* Feature rich control panel is standard – equipped with a user friendly, back lit display and simplified menu for ease of operation.

* Low NOx combustion and hot surface ignition system – provides maximum performance in any weather conditions.

* Built in one touch automation – allows for easy switching from pool to spa.

* Available in 250K and 400K BTU sizes – There is a heater for any size pool.

* Smallest equipment pad footprint – takes up the smallest amount of room on the pad out of any heater on the market.

These are some of the benefits and features of the LXI heater.  I provided this information to show my readers what is leading the pack in regard to gas heaters and their capabilities.  In case you read this and are wondering about the automation aspect of the heater you should know that with the AquaLink automation system the heat can be adjusted with the touch of a button from the comfort of your home.  The days of manually adjusting your heater are over.

For more information on heaters and heat pumps please check out my other blog posts related to heating.  You can also check out my other posts to gain more information on vinyl liner in ground swimming pools and products related to them.

Best Inground Pool Light Available

There have been some significant technological advancements in the swimming pool industry within the last 10 or so years.  These advancements have made products better and allowed pool owners more time to just enjoy their pools.  One of these advancements comes in the form of the underwater light for your pool.

Years ago there were only large, bulky, metallic lights available, and they were wired into a 120 v circuit.  It has become very evident that this is not the best way to make a light for a swimming pool.  One downside is that these lights are not the brightest.  They only light up a small area of the pool.  The other problem is that the gasket system of these lights often failed resulting in water leaking into the light housing.  If you know even the littlest thing about electricity, you know that water and electricity are not two things that work well together.  This fact has resulted in some tragic events taking place.  Even to this day we hear about people being injured or killed by faulty pool lights.  Zodiac has taken the steps to remedy these issues.

They have created a new style of pool light that is not only brighter but it also runs on low voltage, eliminating the risk of electrocution.  In addition to that they have the capability of changing colors.  The Jandy Pro Series Nicheless LED light delivers bright, efficient, and reliable lighting to your pool for up to 50,000 hours of enjoyment.  These lights are designed to be smaller and can be installed just 4 inches below the waters surface.  These lights are also 100% non-metallic so there is no need for bonding.


There is also no requirement for a traditional niche and they can be installed in a standard return fitting.  This will allow homeowners some piece of mind knowing that they don’t have a enormous hole in the liner where the light is cut in.  They offer 9 vibrant colors and 5 different light shows.  The amazing thing is that they can be hooked up to Zodiac’s RS or Z4 automation systems and if you have more than one light in your pool they can be synced together so that they are always on the same color.  They can also be controlled by Zodiac’s iAquaLink.  This allows the pool owner to control the lights through their smart phone or any other internet capable device.  If that is not something you are interested in they can also be controlled with a regular light switch.  However if that is the way you want to go, be advised that in order to change the color or light show you will have to turn the light off and on.  The colors change by killing and restoring the power to them.  They are so small that for larger pools, in order to have adequate lighting you may need more than one.  However they are safer than traditional pool lights.

Another benefit is that they are fully compatible with Jandy Pro Series Standard LED lights.  These are larger LED lights that still function on less power than the traditional white lights.  Again these two styles of lights can be used in conjunction with one another and synced together through their automation systems.  As stated above they will last for up to 50,000 hours.  However if there should be a problem then they can be easily replaced and you won’t have to break the bank to do so.

The right lighting can transform even the most ordinary looking pool into a work of art.  For more information on Jandy Pro Series Nicheless LED pool lights visit  There you can also take a look at a wide variety of products offered by Zodiac Pool Systems.  For more information on vinyl liner in ground pools please check out my other blog posts.

Zodiac Automation

As technology gets better and better, automation is getting more and more prevalent in the swimming pool world.  Leading the swimming pool automation industry is Zodiac Pool Systems.  Zodiac offers several different types of automation for your pool to make life easier and more enjoyable.  Although they offer a couple different systems, today I am going to focus on their AquaLink RS system specifically.  I am not going to go into the technical aspects of the system.  Instead I am going to focus the bulk of this post toward the features of the system and what it can do.

The AquaLink RS system will allow you the convenience of being able to change variables about your pool and spa with the touch of a button.  From spa temperature to sanitizer generation, all the main functions of your equipment can be adjusted by simply touching a button.  There is more to it than that.  This system allows you to control individual pool and spa equipment from the comfort of your home, and automate daily pool equipment functions such as filtration, sanitation, and cleaning.  Below is a list of control features that come standard with the system as well as a few that are optional.  This list can also be found at Zodiac’s website by following this link

AquaLink Standard Control Features

Remote control of your entire system:  Immediately control all pool equipment with a single touch.  Manage your pool and spa temperatures, jets, cleaners, lights, heater, and more.

Equipment Protection:  Sophisticated sensors ensure automatic freeze protection.  Heater cool down and system lockout modes keep valuable equipment running smoothly, protecting your investment.

Automatic Monitoring and Scheduling:  Allows you to custom program to suit your lifestyle.  Monitors status of equipment functions, keeping your pool sparkling clean and ready to use.  Scheduled automation will maximize energy savings.

Automated Filtration:  Automatic and efficient filtration cycles allow you more time to relax.

Automatic Spa Control:  Switch from pool to spa with the touch of a button or automatically at a set time.

Water Feature Control:  Set your water features to perform at your command.  With one touch your backyard will come alive with relaxing sounds.

Pool and Spa Lighting:  Create a mood or just brighten the backyard for an evening swim.  Effortless and fully customizable from within your home.

Landscape Lighting:  Dim pathways, thresholds, safety lights and more at different times or all at once.

Solar Heat Priority:  Maximize energy efficiency by prioritizing solar energy to heat your pool.

Optional Features

Control From Any Internet Device:  Monitor, adjust or program your pool’s equipment form anywhere.

Computer Control:  Set up programs, boost the heat in your spa, and check the temperature from your personal computer.

Whole Home Automation:  Integrate AquaLink with your current home automation systems for both indoor and outdoor enjoyment.

These are some of the capabilities of the AquaLink RS automation system by Zodiac.  To see more innovative products from Zodiac check out their website at

Sand filters – Why all the settings?

So lets say you got yourself a brand new vinyl liner in ground pool, and along with that pool you got

the standard sand filter with a top mount multi port valve.  These valves will typically have several different settings.  You may know that each setting does something different but you are just not too sure as to what each setting does specifically.  Some of these may be self explanatory like the setting that says “filter”.  Okay that is the setting that cleans the water being delivered to the filter by the pump.  What about the other settings?  What do they do?  Well that is the purpose of this post.  I want to shed some light on this topic because I feel that sometimes people act like they know whats going on because they are too embarrassed to ask.  Trust me, when it comes to something that you have spent a substantial amount of money on then there is no shame in asking what does what.  That being said let’s get started.

Being that I have already mentioned “filter” or “filtration” I will start there.

(Please note that it is important that you shut off the pump before switching the multi port valve settings.  Failure to do so can cause damage to the valve and filter)

“Filter” – This setting is used for filtering the pool

-The incoming water from the piping system is directed by the multi port valve to the top of the filter bed.  As the water is pumped through the filter sand, dirt and debris are trapped by the filter bed and filtered out.  Then the filtered water is returned from the bottom of the filter tank, through the multi port valve and back through the piping system to your pool.

“Backwash” – This position is for cleaning the media (sand)

Water flow is reversed by the multi port valve through the filter bed so that water flow is directed to the bottom of the tank and up through the filter bed, flushing the previously trapped dirt and debris out the waste line.

“Rinse” – This is the position for flushing the filter system

The water flow is directed by the multi port valve through the filter bed and out the waste line. This process settles the filter media bed into place and ensures that any dirt or debris is rinsed out of the filter, preventing any possible return to the pool.

“Waste” – Position for bypassing the filter bed for waste

Water flow is directed by the multi port valve straight to the backwash outlet, bypassing the entire filter bed.  This position is used for lowering the water level or for vacuuming water with high dirt loads.

“Recirculate” – Position for bypassing the filter bed to the pool

The multi port valve recirculates the water flow directly back to the swimming pool, bypassing the filter.

“Closed” – Position for closing all flow to the filter

This position is not to be used while the pump is running.  This setting closes all ports, not allowing the water pass through.  Operating the pump while on this setting could result in damage to the filter, pump, or yourself.

“Winter” – This setting is to be used when closing the pool for the winter

This position will allow water to continually drain from the multi port valve.  This is to prevent water from staying in the multi port valve.  Water left in the valve could freeze and cause damage.

If you have wondered about this I certainly hope this helps.  I know that when I first started in the swimming pool industry I had no clue what these different settings did.  As always if anyone has any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to speak your mind.  After all that is how we learn.
For more information on vinyl liner in ground swimming pools please check out my other blog posts.  I have written about almost every topic that I can think of so if you are wondering about something related to pools then chances are I have a post about it.  If you can’t seem to find what you are looking for let me know and I will do my best to cover it in a future post.

Pool Pumps – How To

I have written about a lot of different topics relating to swimming pools.  Mainly due to the fact that the purpose of this blog is to inform you, the reader of all things related to swimming pools.  I have geared the posts toward the pool owner rather than the pool professional.  This is due to the fact that as a pool professional they are more than likely already aware of everything that I am trying to relay in this blog.  Keeping that in mind, today I want to discuss the pool pump.  I know that in the past I have touched on certain aspects of these things but today I will approach it from a different perspective and that is through the eyes of the swimming pool owner.  A homeowner that is getting their first pool will often times start to feel a bit overwhelmed by all the new information they get regarding their pool.  It is almost like watching a baby see something amazing like fire works for the first time.  They are not sure what it is or does for sure but they know that they like it.  Hopefully with today’s post I can alleviate some of the fear that a new pool owner may be feeling in regard to their pool equipment.  So being that the pump is the first step to the system I will start there.

The pool pump is the device that brings the water from the pool and sends it through the filter and heater/heat pump.  It is also the thing that is generally making the most noise.  Take a look at the diagram to the left.  You will see that the pump consists of several different parts.  Those parts are pretty much standard on all pumps regardless of brand.  This particular pump has two or three inch inlet/outlets.  This is ideal in that the pump will not have to work as hard to draw the water from the pool.  Think of it as if you were drinking through a straw.  If you drink through a really narrow straw like one of those coffee stir sticks you will have to suck rather hard to get any fluid to your mouth.  Conversely, if you drink through a large straw like one of those you might get with a fountain drink at the gas station you will find that you do not have to put much effort into it to get very good results.  It is the same for pool pumps, well pool plumbing in general.  The larger the pipes, the easier it is for your equipment to work.  This will increase the flow and cut down on noise and vibrations from your pump.  Anyway notice that the pump has two main parts to it, the pump body and the motor.  These are separated by the seal plate.  The two parts are also considered the dry end and the wet end.  Basically the motor is what draws the water from the pool into the pump body.  The seal plate is what keeps the water from entering the motor.  The motor is powered by electricity and obviously water and electricity don’t mix, so the seal plate is a very important component to the pump.  There are some other things going on internally as well that you should know about.

The picture to the right shows the element known as the diffuser.  What this does is controls the characteristics of the water by decreasing the speed and increasing the pressure.  This allows the pump to send the water through the filter and the heater/heat pump more easily.

This next picture on the left shows both the wear ring and the impeller.  The impeller is attached to the motor shaft which spins when the pump is running.  This spinning is what creates the suction and draws the water from the pool.  The wear ring is basically a barrier between the impeller and the diffuser.  This protects both the diffuser and impeller from premature failure due to friction and heat.  Without it you would likely have to frequently replace the impeller or diffuser.

Next we have the picture on the right which shows the motor shaft and what is known as the mechanical seal.  These are located behind the impeller which is located behind the diffuser.  As I said before the motor shaft is connected to the impeller.  The seal goes around the motor shaft and is what keeps the water from entering the “dry end” of the pump.  The item in my hand in this picture is another seal which also goes around the motor shaft and aids in keeping water out of the motor.  Without these two seals in place you would have water entering the motor and causing damage.  These seals will need to replaced from time to time.  Extended dry runs of the pump will increase the potential for damage to the seals.  You will know that the seals need replaced if you see water coming from the motor end of the pump.  The motor has bearing in it that need to be kept dry.  If you get water through the motor of the pump then the bearings will be susceptible to corrosion.  You will know that the bearings are going out by the fact that the pump will become much louder than before.

Now these motors come in several different sizes.  Commonly pool pumps will range from 1HP to 2HP. (1 horsepower and 2 horsepower)  There are others available but most residential pools will use 1, 1.5, or 2HP pumps.  Typically the more HP you have in your pump, the more expensive it will be.  Figuring out what size pump you will need on your pool gets kind of tricky, and in my opinion is best left up to the builder to decide.  This is another reason why it is important to use a trustworthy builder from a highly regarded company to build your pool.

Most pool pumps will give you a gpm rating or gallons per minute.  To figure out how many gpm your pump must be capable of producing you will have to do some math.  You need to figure out your approximate pool volume in gallons.  Use the equation length X width X depth.  Most modern in ground pools have a shallow and a deep end if this is the case then you will first have to determine the average depth of the pool.  For that you simply have to take the deep end measurement and add it to the shallow end measurement and then divide the result by 2.

For instance if your pool has an 8′ deep end and a 4′ shallow end then you add 8+4 which = 12 and divide by 2 which gives you 6.  6 is would be the average depth of the pool, so to figure out the total approximate volume you take the length X the width X the average depth.  For example if your pool is 20′ wide X 40′ Long then you would take 40 X 20 X 6 = 48,000gal.

To get the gpm of the pump you will need for a pool that size you need to take the pool volume and divide it by the turnover time.  A turnover as it relates to pools is when the pump has successfully pumped out all the water in the pool and put it back.  Typically you want this to happen every eight or ten hours.  So to get the gpm you take the 48,000gal divided by 8 = 6,000 then take the 6,000 and divide by 60 = 100.  So you will need a pump capable of pumping at a rate of 100 gallons minimum per minute to achieve a turnover every 8 hours.

But we can’t stop there we now need to figure out the maximum flow rate for the plumbing.  The maximum flow rated is determined by the size of the plumbing used.  For instance the maximum flow through a 1.5″ pvc pipe is 44 gallons per minute.  So you will need to count the number of intake lines to determine the maximum flow rate.  For each 2″ intake you will get a maximum flow of 73 gpm to the pump.  For a 1.5″ intake you will get a maximum flow of 42 gpm.

This will give you a good idea as to if the pump you have is sufficient for the size of pool or if it is over kill.  In all honesty there are a few other things that come into play when sizing pumps but to keep from overloading anyone today I am going to leave it at this.  If you want more information on pump sizing you can find a lot of information on line.  I found some of this information at

For other information pertaining to in ground swimming pools and specifically vinyl liner in ground swimming pools please check out my other posts.  I have written about many different topics.  If there is a topic I have not yet covered that you would like me to discuss please feel free to let me know.