Guest Column - September 2022
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inPERSPECTIVE / AQUATICS

A Second Opinion
Regular Checkups for Aquatic Facilities

By Samantha Greig


What would you do if, let's say, your knee really hurt? You'd go to the doctor. Or when those headaches won't go away? You'd go to the doctor. But what about when you're feeling great? We typically don't make a point to spend our time at a doctor's office getting a checkup if everything seems fine. Stay with me, this will all make sense and be tied in to swimming pools in a minute. But, what if we took a preventive path? What if we went in and spoke to our doctor about how, with their advice and guidance, we could make our lives even better? Should we try this diet or exercise plan? Maybe cut back on those weekend drinks? What could we do to make our bodies happier, healthier and running better?

Metaphorically, your body is your swimming pool facility. Your facility might be running smoothly right now, with clear water and happy swimmers, but could it be running even better? Could you have better water and happier swimmers? How do you even answer that question? Well, you go see the doctor. You don't need to be an expert in every aspect of running a swimming pool—there's helpful advice out there! Just like we aren't meant to diagnose our every ache and pain, you likely don't know the nitty-gritty particulars of how to make your facility run the best it can.

I'm recommending that you periodically reach out to your specialist suppliers for the different aspects of your pool to get their opinion. There isn't one person out there who knows your facility better than you do, but, like in the medical field, there are specialists. Someone who is intimately familiar with one aspect or another of running a swimming pool. You wouldn't go to a podiatrist if you had a toothache. And you wouldn't talk to your pump supplier about how to reduce lighting costs.

A fresh set of eyes is always a good way to make changes or adjust for the better. So, consider this, the next time a specialist is in your area, invite them to your facility for a full tour, and maybe even buy lunch, to ask them how you could use their product in a more effective manner. Make sure they see the whole shebang, from beginning to end, so they get the entire picture of what you work with on a daily basis. Don't just show your chemical supplier how you store your chemicals. Show them the pump room, the pool itself, the aerobics class that meets every Thursday night. Ask your chlorination specialist if there is something you can do to help you use your chemicals in a more efficient manner, saving you money. Ask your pump supplier if the pumps you have are currently the right choice for your facility, or maybe there is a better, more energy-efficient option? If you have an outdoor facility, how can you reduce water evaporation to reduce filling costs, or could a windbreak help to reduce your pool's energy consumption? Talk with your filtration specialist to see if your system is up to snuff for the kind of use your pool gets—too much or not enough? What about lighting? Could your lightbulbs be changed out for a more energy-efficient type? And, finally, see if the air filtration in your building could be improved.

Technology has changed so much in recent years (and will continue to change) that you might not be as up-to-date as you could be. Saving money doesn't have to cost a lot. And this preventive maintenance scheme could save your facility lots of money in the long run and increase your own operational knowledge! You know the saying, "a stitch in time, saves nine"? These second opinions could help your facility prevent problems well before they ever become an issue.

While this might seem like a lot to do, you just need to start with one thing at a time. One specialist and one piece of advice at a time. But think of the money you could save, the support you might need for future improvements provided by a third-party expert, and the happy swimmers in your pool. That's the goal, isn't it? Happy and healthy swimmers coming back to your pool again and again? Let's do what we can to ensure that.

And, as we head into autumn, this could be the perfect time to start reaching out to those experts. A second opinion from a specialist could be just what you need to get that 2023 budget approved. The recommendation to switch to an improved chlorinator, let's say, might have more weight if it came from you and that specialist.

So, start reaching out! Get moving in the right direction to a healthy, well-maintained, and efficient pool. RM



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Samantha (Sam) Greig is a research chemist with Westlake Corp. out of Monroeville, Pa. She has been working with and researching water treatment products for the past 10 years.