2014 will be remembered as a pretty crazy year filled with many peaks and valleys, but in the aquatics industry several major trends developed momentum. Here's a quick look at the top aquatic water quality trends for 2014.
Note: Some folks confuse a trend with a fad. They are very different. There have been a lot of fads come and go over the years in the commercial marketplace (remember magnets, floating chemical frogs, Hydrolyzers, ECS treatment, hydrogen peroxide, etc.), yet only a few solid, long term trends have continued to flourish. It takes lots of in-field testing, discipline, and even more research to avoid silly fads over the years....so hats off to the real trends of 2014.
Self-funding energy modernizations:
During 2014, many major aquatic operations completed substantial self-funding energy modernizations. These are defined as mechanical improvements that save more money (in energy, labor, chemicals, water, and liability) on a monthly basis, than the monthly COST of the modernization based on borrowed money. Thus they earn the CES designation of being self-funding. Examples of successful implementations include:
- Control & pumping conversions that are operating on major pools at an average of 42-65% power,
- Packaged pool heating & pool cover conversions using Geothermal or 97% efficient Aquas heaters,
- Saline modernizations with either CES ChlorKing "Chlor" units (pool is turned saline) or Nex-Gen (makes chlorine out of pool water),
- LED lighting conversions,
- Hi-rate sand filtration conversion
Taking more internal control over aquatic operations:
Spectacular Safari Swim Indoor Swim School - Jax FL
We are seeing a marked reversal of the trends of the last decade, where some pool owners literally "handed the keys" to their pool operations to pool service or chemical companies. This is good news! As corporate control of the pool (with selective subcontracting) has proven to provide the best results over the past 35 years. Corporate control means that the overall game plan, DOH compliance, DOH-required record keeping, and ADA/VGB/OSHA/DLES certifications are being spearheaded in-house. These items pose a high liability and high exposure for your organization, and cannot or should not be subcontracted. CES supports your in-house programs with on-site operating training and technical support, DOH-required operator certification, monthly site assessments, and affordable PM programs for any mechanical equipment.
Remote control & Communications:
Popular Cyber Support Programs
The technology that appeared to some as a optional gimmick when introduced in 1996 has emerged as the backbone of some of the biggest, smallest, highest profile, and lowest profile operations in Florida and the Caribbean. All you need is access to a local wifi signal or wired ethernet connection and you can seamlessly connect your equipment room via an ultra secure protocol.
Customers are able to monitor and/or control chemistry, pumping systems, filtration, water consumption, heaters, saline, UV, and more from their PC, tablet, or smart phone. They're also keeping continuous electronic records of pool vital signs for the ultimate in liability avoidance. Finally, managers and their staff are receiving programmable and scripted text and email alerts in the event any major mechanical parameter falls outside their acceptable parameters.
The feedback from customers has been terrific. The cost savings and liability avoidance savings are huge. There are no monthly communication fees, and CES offers award-winning Cyber support to help pinpoint and rapidly resolve previously-lingering nuances. If your IT department is too busy or hesitant to join the leading facilities in the region, then we can offer the PCD (Precision Communication Device) solution. This off-network wireless communications device, contracted on a temporary or permanent basis, is set up in minutes and funded via a nominal monthly access fee.
Monitoring, Controlling, and Saving Water -- Sensibly
Reliable new ways to monitor and control water consumption.
A growing trend over the past few years is to implement precise digital water level control, monitoring of auto-fill functions, and monitoring of overall water consumption on your pools and spas. These parameters can be monitored remotely, and when extreme water losses occur, your team will receive email and text alerts. So far these systems have uncovered several previously-undetected but severe leaks that would normally not have been discovered until a future multi-thousand dollar water bill is received. This feature is also a popular retrofit with existing BECSys5 and BECSys7 control systems. Our ultimate goal is to utilize only best practice use of water in pools and to avoid any excessive consumption.
Direct control of circulating pumps via MCC-VFD
Great Energy Savings with MCC-VFD, and new PFD packages.
Taking direct control of the pump flow (in GPM) via your CES control system has become one of the more popular self funding modernizations with customers. On an large project with FPL collaboration, the customer is AVERAGING 42% of normal power by maintaining precise flow rate required by the DOH (Department of Health). Additional DOH-approved off-peak savings mode provides pumping cost of only 12.5% of normal power. The standard CES MCC-VFD package also includes phase protection, surge protection, and a integral bypass switch to help extend the life of your pool pumps. Systems range from 5 HP to 150 HP.
Many customers asked us for a CES VFD solution for inexpensive pumps of 5 HP or less. Earlier this year we introduced the Precision PFD (Precision Flow Device) that provides an industrial grade UL-listed VFD in a water tight cabinet. It takes direct control of GPM, and displays volts, amps, KW, and electrical faults (like its big brother), but is provided without some of the additional features meant to protect larger and more expensive motors. The PFD comes in 2, 3 and 5 HP configurations and converts single phase power to highly efficient 3-phase motors.
Making your own Chlorine on Site:
Two great ways to make chlorine from recycled pool water.
Once considered a fad, there are many examples of poorly-installed saline "wall ornaments" in the field making saline more suspect than ever in the eyes of many. But, CES industrial grade saline modernizations are almost 10 years old and providing between 85-95% of our customers' annual chlorine needs depending on sizing and bathing load. These systems maintain the salinity level in the pool water and make chlorine on demand from that saline solution. Many of the installations have been self-funding, and the average life of the replacement electrodes have averaged over 3 years, or 3-6 times the life of some residential-grade electrodes. Many systems were installed as the customer wanted soft and silky pool water, so the extreme chemical savings have been a great bonus!
For sites that do not want to add salt to the pool water, the skid-mounted Nex-Gen system uses the same basic technology to manufacture chlorine out of pool water. It is basically a small pre-plumbed Chlorine factory on a skid.
Using better additives to control environmental pollution:
New concentrated additives resolve environmental problems.
No one wants to add a bunch of extra chemicals in their pools, but there are some problem solving chemicals that have gained tremendous popularity in treating certain difficult environmental conditions or "pollution". Here are a few:
- Excessive bather waste, soaps & gels, and partially oxidized organics can cause ugly water line soiling and place a big burden on your chlorination system, raising your chlorination cost. A popular trend of using AAD (Amino Acid Digester) can help resolve these issues.
- Copper and Iron deposits in relatively harmless levels enter into the pool from the fill line. Once there, they concentrate and achieve higher levels that may exceed EPA guidelines and can stain the pool or spa. The use of MSI (Metal & Scale Inhibitor) will help keep these levels under control.
- Phosphates, also in trace amounts, are introduced into pool water from the fill line. These concentrate and reach higher levels that interfere with the chlorination and elevate consumption tremendously. They also serve as vital food to promote algae growth. Use of CPR (Concentrated Phosphate Remover) will restore the phosphate concentration to an acceptable level.
Reliable Robotic Vacuums with on-site service:
Clean your pool effortlessly for less than $10/day.
Robotic pool vacuums have traditionally been a source of great frustration for CES and customers alike. The value of robotically vacuuming your pool cannot be questioned, as manual vacuuming is considerably more expensive and less effective than a good robot. The problem has been finding a reliable robot that you can keep on the pool deck, and keep out of the shop. The Enduro-Turbo Clean has been gaining popularity since its introduction a while ago. The new on-site bumper to bumper preventive maintenance and warranty administration plan is UNIQUE in the pool industry, as the vacuum literally NEVER leaves your pool deck. We are improving our service program on a daily basis as we conquer new challenges one at a time, and there is a bright future for hassle-free pool cleaning. New lease plans allow you a guaranteed pool cleaning solution starting at under $300 a month, and customers have told us that there is no way to clean a pool manually for that amount.
UV and Ozone - Great Supplements for Chlorination:
Time-tested non-Chlorine treatment systems have specific roles.
Although both Ozone and UV systems have been around for a long time, they are gaining popularity as supplemental treatment for chlorinated pools. UV provides full flow single pass treatment for chloramines, and some models are EPA certified for single pass remove of Crypto, but are not designed to save a lot of money on Chlorine. Ozone provides tremendous oxidation on overloaded pools, along with more substantial Chlorine savings, and is also gaining popularity on high end residential "chlorine free" pools. Both Ozone and UV require systematic maintenance, so do not consider installing unless you are going to make a commitment to maintain on an semi-annual or annual basis.
What's ahead in 2015:
Technology moved really quickly in 2014 and promises to move even quicker in 2015. What is coming down the pike?
Look for a tremendous new e-commerce inventory and ordering solution next month, followed by innovations in controls, communications, UV, Ozone, Saline and pumping systems. We will also be implementing advances in preventive maintenance, on-site service, remote monitoring, electronic water testing, robotic vacuums, and more.
That is only what we have planned for release so far... but who know what additional opportunities will come up once we dive headfirst into 2015.
Thanks again for your patronage in 2014, and buckle in. We're going to have some fun.