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5 Must-Have Tech Upgrades for Pool Maintenance and DesignJuly 26th, 2017 by
Owning a pool is an amazing thing, especially in the summertime. When it’s hotter than an oven outside—especially if you live in the sun-scorched south like I do—there are few things better than being able to slather on the sunscreen, slip into your swimsuit, and step outside to a glittering oasis.
But anyone who owns a pool knows that it’s not all daiquiris and lazy, ray-filled days. It’s a lot of hard work. Pool skimmers. Chlorine tablets. pH balance. You need specialized tools and equipment along with a base understanding of pool maintenance and chemistry just to make sure the whole thing doesn’t turn green and get people sick.
If you’re looking to build an oasis of your own, read our article about hiring quality pool contractors.
Luckily, like everything else in the age of smart homes and pocket-sized computers, technology is here to help. And though the pool industry hasn’t seen as much of a boom as others in terms of technological innovations, there are still a handful of pool tech tools and equipment that can help maintain the shimmer and increase the shine of your backyard resort.
Here are the few that we’ve found so far.
Remote Water Monitor
Without a doubt, the worst and most nerve-wracking part about owning a pool is making sure it is both sanitized and chemically balanced.
According to the CDC, to avoid dry or acidic water the pH level of a pool should be somewhere between 7.2 and 7.8. To achieve this, you need the right balance of pH, calcium hardness, and alkalinity. Beyond that, for sanitation’s sake, the chlorine level needs to be around 1 and 2 parts per million (ppm).
So, where does technology take over? Thanks to products like Sutro and pHin, the guesswork of chemical imbalance and constant monitoring is being taken over by smart pool monitoring devices. These items float on the surface of your pool, measure its components—including pH, free chlorine, and alkalinity, among others—and they’ll send an alert to your phone when the pool needs servicing.
Some of their cooler features include:
- App-based monitoring
- Historical testing and long-term tracking
- Chemical subscriptions
- Inventory monitoring
- Automatic supply ordering
UV Water Purifier
If you’re looking to free yourself from the harmful effects of chlorine altogether, or if you’re simply tired of your eyes being red and itchy every time you dive underwater, you’ll want to look at an installing an ultraviolet sanitation system.
Utilizing the same technology that kept the pools clean and clear in the 2012 Olympics, UV water purifiers like the SpectraLight Ultraviolet Pool System reduce chlorine to levels that are safe enough for consumption—from 1 to 2 ppm to 0.5 ppm and below.
It works by filtering pool water through a tube harnessed with a high-powered UV light. The light zaps both the DNA and RNA components of all organic materials, killing off germs, bacteria, and other microscopic miscreants. The technology is safe, requires limited maintenance, and is relatively easy to install.
Pool Cleaning Robots
Chemicals and water balance is one thing; scum is another. Dirt, leaves, rocks, algae, and other items large and small that settle into the water can not only lead to unsanitary conditions, but they can also make your pool look like a veritable swamp.
There are several ways to rectify this, including hiring a full-fledged pool maintenance service, purchasing a suction or pressure pool cleaner, or doing it all yourself. But the tech nerds of the world will undoubtedly want to go with option D; a pool cleaning robot.
The top brands include Dolphin, Hayward, Aquabot, and Polaris, and while features differ depending on the model, the overall functionality of a pool cleaning robot remains the same. Using sensors, algorithms, and suction-based technology, they’re able to clean a pool within hours using very little energy.
Some things to know are:
- Most require an external power source (often provided).
- Most are designed to clean the bottom, sides, stairs, and waterline of a pool.
- Some models may scratch or damage pools with delicate surfaces.
- Not all models are compatible with aboveground pools.
LED Pool Lights
There’s more than one way to upgrade the look and feel of your pool, and if you’ve already got a system in place for sanitation, debris cleaning, and chemical control, then it’s time to consider the design.
You could go for a full remodel, maybe add some stone around the edges or refinish the surface area, but if you’re looking for a lower-cost, higher-tech option, LED pool lights are where it’s at.
If you already have pool lights in place, then switching to LEDs is as simple as replacing a few covered light bulbs. On the other hand, if you don’t have lighting equipment already installed, you might want to consider other LED lighting options—like external strings, floating lamps, or spotlights—if you’d rather not pay for the construction.
The benefits of using LEDs:
- Make your pool shimmer and shine, even at night.
- Extend your pool’s overall use, from daytime into the evening hours.
- Can provided extra light for safety purposes on walkways and around structures.
- Can highlight pool features like fountains, waterfalls, and hot tubs.
- Can add visual flare with the use of multicolored, programmable bulbs.
Outdoor Tech Decor
Technology doesn’t stop at the water’s edge. For a full-blown, outdoor technological masterpiece, to create a space that’s truly worthy of sitting, standing, lying, cooking, and even dancing in for hours, you’ll need a handful of non-water tech products to get you grooving.
First, you’re going to need a good outdoor television, because there’s no real relaxing when your hanging out outside when the game is on. Brands like SunBrite and SKYVUE fetch a hefty price, but they’re worth it if you’re looking for something that can withstand the sun, the extreme heat, and yes, even the cold.
Next, you’ll need some speakers. I won’t go down the rabbit hole of suggesting the many brands and products available—you’ll need to test them out for yourself—but if you have an outdoor TV, and it’s been wired into a wall, you might want to consider a more traditional style for the full experience. If not, get something portable, water resistant, and smart phone friendly.
Finally, the great outdoors isn’t all that great if you don’t have a fire. And though no apps are involved, the ethanol-fueled and eco-friendly fire pits designed by EcoSmart Fire are pretty cool to look at and worthy of anyone’s outdoor décor.
When you own a pool, you’re everyone’s best friend. But what most don’t know is that pools require a lot of responsibility. Thanks to technology and products like remote chemical monitoring, LED pool lighting, UV filters, and eco-friendly fire pits, these things are getting easier and much, much cooler to take care of.