Problem Solver - August 2007
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Keeping a Larger Swimming Pool Clean

We have a very large pool, and we're looking for a pool-cleaning vacuum that will be able to handle it.

That's great that you've got such a large facility for your customers. Swimming is certainly a draw, but it'll lose its appeal if you have a dirty pool. Keeping up appearances of a large commercial pool becomes quite a task in terms of time, energy, money, staff resources and staff ability. Your best bet is an automatic pool cleaner that can really handle the largest bodies of water and different shapes and surfaces.

Automatic pool cleaners have been around for a while, and they made quite a splash in the industry when they were first on the market. It was practically magic: Turn them on, leave for the night and return in the morning to a sparkling pool. They meant less back-breaking work for your staff and more time and money for other things. But these amazing robot machines could only handle about 10,000 gallons of water per hour and that wasn't quite enough to handle a massive, commercial pool of 85 feet or more. That is, until recently.

Newer systems can filter more than 19,000 gallons of water per hour, meaning size does not matter. Look for units made with a cast aluminum magnetic clutch sealed drive unit and pump and a chromium-alloy high output votex impeller, which has both front and rear rotating scrubbing brushes, as well as a double internal high-volume filter bag that will hold all that dirt. For added convenience, some of these units have a built-in remote control that is operated from a cart.

These self-sufficient machines can save your staff time and energy, reducing human power to zero. Because the filter is doing its job, you will also cut down on the amount of chemicals you need in your pool.

Water chemistry can be a complex issue, but it goes hand-in-hand with pool cleaning and is an essential aspect to running a successful pool of any size. It involves monitoring chlorine, pH balance, alkalinity, calcium hardness and saturation index, with chlorine a top priority as it's so vital to killing bacteria, including E. coli.

Depending on who uses your pool, the water temperature, dirt and other variables, chlorine levels will vary. One of the biggest factors is exposure to the sun, whose ultraviolet rays neutralize chlorine pretty quickly. So after determining your facility's variables, you'll learn that chlorine levels may be kept as low as 1 part per million, but more likely they should be between 3 ppm and 5 ppm. For the pH balance, there is also a range, usually between 7.2 and 7.5. Plus, the effectiveness of the chlorine is associated with the pH: As pH increases, chlorine power decreases. If the pH is too high or too low, swimmers will also experience eye and skin irritation.

While your independent pool cleaner can do the job without supervision, those chemical aspects of your water do need vigilance. It helps to keep a checklist where you can record daily tests. Check with your equipment manufacturer as many of them offer a free checklist to customers.

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