Handling harsh chemicals and feeding them reliably into a commercial pool is a nasty job. A thankless job. Chemical feeders don’t get credit for long stretches of doing it flawlessly, and get singled out when there is an issue… sometimes cussed at. We have been using Stenner feeders for nearly 40 years, and have become big fans. So have thousands of customers. Why? They’re self priming, feed chemicals reliably, are comparatively inexpensive, and are much simpler to operate than other forms of liquid chemical feeders. While they started out as a Florida-regional company, they are now a worldwide powerhouse, but they haven’t forgotten their roots, and have made all improvements backwards compatible. They also have provided continuing improvement and innovation along the way, to keep refining their systems and accessories.
What have we learned along the way? What is the best way to keep the feeders running reliably over many years? Here are a few tips:
- Keep injection points clean: Most of the clogging associated with these feeders occurs at the injection fitting, where it meets the pipe. CES has often installed an isolation valve to allow for simple cleaning without getting wet, so you would typically shut the valve, remove the injector, soak in the acid tank for a few minutes, and re-install. This can be done periodically, monthly, or on some other schedule. Please let us know if your isolation valve went missing, or you need a new valve installed, or if you need more detailed instructions. Pro Tip: If you have both liquid bleach and muriatic acid you can swap the 1/4” tube AT THE INJECTION POINT, and the acid line will clean the chlorine fitting etc. You can swap these periodically.
- Run full strength bleach solution: Lines seem to clog quicker when the bleach is diluted in the barrel. This dilution seems to form deposits that can accumulate at the injection point. We have found that running your bleach full strength reduces the deposits, and allows the feeders to operate longer without clogging.
- Inspect and change feeder tubes periodically: The feeder tubes squeeze chemicals into the pool piping, but can get weaker with age. Change feeder tubes for acid feeders annually, at bare minimum, and more often on bleach lines. Change tubes earlier, if they have a pattern of rupturing. You can tell if a tube is getting weak when the impression made on the clear housing becomes more “oval” in shape rather than the more “rectangular” impression made from a new tube.
- Change all feeder tubing lines periodically: Feeder lines get micro cracks and can either leak or can suck air instead of chemicals, and either result is problematic. Change all feeder lines from the tank to the feeder, and from the feeder to the injection point annually, at a minimum. If you have a phantom suction problem, try changing that tubing out first… before pulling your hair out, Also use UV-resistant black line in outdoor installations, although you will want to install a “flow indicator” (below) to help you in monitoring feeder performance.
- Listen for noises…they tell a story: The purr of the motor is normal, but loud clicking or noisy gears are signs that something bad is happening soon. Let us know if you need any assistance in troubleshooting this issue, and if we can provide service to stop an issue before it starts.
- Hire it done: Don’t have time and money for all this stuff… a CES Stenner PMA preventive maintenance plan is quick, comprehensive, and affordable. We change the lines, the tubes, lube the feeder and repair any other impending issue all in one quick service call. Proactive maintenance is cheaper and better than feeder replacement.
Your feeder can last 10 years or more, so sometimes you’ll find that you don’t have all the newest gizmos that help them operate more effectively. Here are a couple, and we can upgrade your feeder during our PMA service.
- QuickPro® head: Some older feeders might be using the earlier generation head, but the QuickPro® head introduced years ago provides easy tube replacement without tools, and has a collapsable roller assembly and a tube housing attached with latches. It’s always great to have an extra QuickPro® assembly on hand to avoid a lot of drama if your existing tube breaks.
- Flow indicator: This is a great addition to the Stenner family, but we see many facilities that are not using it yet. This simple device quickly confirms that fluid is moving through the tubing (otherwise impossible to tell), and also can serve as a bit of a check valve to lessen the change of reverse flow. These are in stock and can be installed by our team or by CES techs during your next service visit.
We want to thank the wonderful folks at Stenner for making such a simple to use and reliable feed system that costs a fraction of the previous piston-operated models, and want to offer our technical support and service to help you keep operating reliably without any down time. Many customers have found that having a small supply of spare parts or even a spare feeder around can save down time, and our best customers tell us that Stenner repair should not constitute an emergency service call.
Let us know if we can provide wholesale parts, technical support, preventive maintenance or service for your Stenner feeder, and let’s get ready for the upcoming swim season and help reduce unneccesary down time.