Pool automation: making a splash with builders and pool owners alike
The development of automation has important implications for the pool and spa industry. Let’s take a look at the benefits that remote pool management systems can bring to a builder’s or technician’s business, and to their clients.
Traditionally, maintaining a pool has required a fair amount of personal attention and effort. Maintenance meant grappling with managing a pool’s chemistry, filtration and cleaning — tasks that have deterred many would-be pool owners from taking the plunge into pool ownership. But as pool automation has become increasingly more sophisticated, the hassle of operating and maintaining a pool or spa has been all but eliminated. Automation minimises human effort and maximises the time spent enjoying a pool.
The benefits of pool automation for the home owner are obvious — but what about the benefits to pool builders and contractors?
First and foremost, presenting an automation system to a customer during the sales presentation of a mid-to-high-end pool establishes the builder or contractor as credible and tech-savvy. Offering this option benefits the builder, and of course it benefits the customer if they choose to implement an automation system with pool control.
Automated pool systems have a wide range of benefits for home owners, which gives pool builders and contractors new selling points. Most importantly, automation systems help home owners save money. For example, if they are not running a pool’s heat pump around the clock, their energy bill will be lower, much the same way a programmable home thermostat saves money on energy for the house. Various pool systems — heating, filters, lighting — are frequently left on more often than needed. It’s very common to crank up a pool heater and then forget to turn it down. Automation systems leave features like heating on only when necessary, therefore saving the home owner money.
Checks and balances
Automated chemical balancers minimise chemical costs by adding chemicals with precision. An automated pool and spa system can manage chemical balance for home owners. It can report on pH, ORP and salt levels for pools equipped with compatible chemical controllers, making it even easier to care for pool and spa water. Automation also helps to keep swimmers safe by preventing chemical balancing systems from overcorrecting imbalances.
Depending on the platform and accessories installed, many manufacturers allow builders to view historical information on their customers’ pool or spa chemistry. These configurations allow builders to receive alerts if the chemistry falls out of balance, which helps them to ensure that their customers understand how to manage their pools or spas properly. This can also help prevent damage to the equipment, pool finish and other accessories — ultimately saving the customer money while avoiding warranty issues.
Remote access and automatic reporting make it easier than ever for a pool technician to diagnose a problem — and sometimes even fix it — without having to leave the office. By receiving alarms and remotely monitoring chemistry levels, they can better plan their routes, make sure they have the necessary chemicals and equipment on hand when dispatched and proactively address issues to avoid serious chemical imbalances, saving their customers money on consultation and testing. It’s no surprise that an increasing number of home builders and pool companies are making these products standard on all new installations knowing that, down the road, the time and money they save will more than make up for the initial cost.
The pH of pool water can move up and down quite a bit within just a few hours. And pH affects all the other elements of water quality: if the pH drifts too high, the pool’s chlorine loses nearly all of its sanitising ability and algae, bacteria and viruses make their way into the pool water and thrive. An automation system provides constant pH control, resulting in a cleaner, safer pool.
Automation offers home owners simple control and convenience. Through an automation system, mobile apps can control the various functions of pools and spas on-premise or remotely via Wi-Fi or smartphone. These apps provide a simple, intuitive interface that enables users to easily and conveniently monitor and control water temperature, pool covers and other pool features.
Aside from being practical, automation can also be fun. Automation can enable the automatic programming of lights, jets, fountains, waterfalls and other features. Home owners can turn on the spa heating remotely from the office so the spa is ready to sink into when they arrive home at the end of the day.
Imagine an automated pool lighting system that mixes and matches combinations of LED lights to create a vibrant spectrum of colours in a pool. These combinations can be automatically sequenced to illuminate and cycle through colours at varying speeds, and in different sequences of colour. It’s like having a theme park in the backyard!
In addition to pool control and automation, a decorative fountain, a disappearing waterfall, a Koi fish pond, an irrigation system or an ornamental garden stream in the backyard can all be integrated into an automation system. This can allow the scheduling of decorative water fountains to turn on and off to conserve electricity, the monitoring of pumps used in garden fish ponds to keep aquatic life healthy, the scheduling of irrigation systems to optimise watering and more.
Inside and out
Beyond the backyard, an automation system also helps to manage everything inside the home — from temperature to lighting, blinds, audio/video and media, etc — in a similar manner to what remote pool management provides in the backyard. Home owners want to be able to use one interface to control their entire property — from opening their garage doors to engaging security systems, turning on lights and music and firing up the jets in a spa. Fortunately, modern control and automation systems enable control of an entire property.
Advanced technology and remote pool management starts with insight from a technology integrator. Interested builders should consider partnering with an expert who can assist in designing the perfect system for their customers.
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